Reward Checking Accounts and Avoiding ATM Fees
With interest rates so low, the last thing we need is to be hit by banking fees. One common one is the ATM fee. If you don't use an ATM owned by your bank, you could be hit with two fees: 1) the fee charged by the ATM owner, and 2) the fee your bank charges for using another bank's ATM. Large banks that don't charge you when you use another bank's ATM are becoming rare. Banks that have recently started to charge customers include TD Bank, PNC Bank.
This Kasasa blog post quoted the following interesting fact from the WSJ:
In 2010 Americans paid $7.1 billion in ATM fees, $3 billion of which was collected by banks from charging their own customers for using other banks’ ATMs.
To avoid ATM fees, the blog post mentioned the following fact:
Every Kasasa provider refunds ATM fees nationwide
Most Kasasa providers offer Kasasa Cash accounts which are high-yield reward checking accounts which provide both a high interest rate and ATM refunds if you meet the monthly reward checking requirements (see my reward checking overview). You can see all banks and credit unions offering Kasasa accounts here. Kasasa products are powered by BancVue, the company that created the reward checking model. The Kasasa Cash Account is just one version of reward checking accounts. We list all high-yield reward checking accounts including those that are not powered by BancVue. If a checking account has a high yield as long as the customer makes debit card purchases, I consider it a high-yield reward checking account. However, it's important to note that not all high-yield reward checking accounts offer ATM refunds.
If you want free ATMs without any hassles, internet banks continue to be the best option. In my opinion, the best for free ATMs include Ally Bank, Incredible Bank, USAA Bank and Charles Schwab Bank.