One of the few large banks that had been offering free ATMs for their basic checking accounts is TD Bank, but this will be coming to an end. Blaming new regulations, many of the large banks are introducing new checking account fees. TD Bank's new ATM fees are the latest example.
For most large banks, you are charged twice when you use ATMs from other banks. First, your bank will charge you between $2 and $3 for using a foreign ATM. Second, you'll be hit with a fee by the owner of the ATM.
TD Bank still describes its free ATMs as of 2/19/2011 on their website.
All of our checking accounts include:
Free ATM access at over 5,400 TD Bank and TD Canada Trust ATMs, plus we'll reimburse other banks' ATM fees.
This no-fee ATM policy will be ending soon. A reader just emailed me a letter he received from TD Bank informing him of the new ATM fees that will take effect on March 9, 2011. I confirmed with a TD Bank CSR that this new policy will affect all TD Bank customers. In summary, they will face a $2.00 ATM fee when using a non-TD bank ATM. In addition, there will be no reimbursements of foreign ATM fees.
Here's an excerpt of the start of the letter:
At TD Bank, we appreciate your business, and want to keep you informed about upcoming changes to your Convenience Checking account. Beginning March 9, 2011, when you use your TD Bank ATM or Visa debit card to get cash at a non-TD Bank ATM, your account may be subject to ATM transaction fee from TD Bank and from the financial service provider who owns the ATM. As always, you may use your TD Bank ATM card or Visa debit card at any TD Bank ATM for free.
More details are listed on the second page of the letter.
TD Bank Fees When You Use non-TD Bank ATMs
Beginning March 9, 2011, we will begin to assess a $2 fee for transactions conducted at ATMs that we do not own or operate. These fees will be reflected in your April 2011 statement. Such transactions are referred to as "non-TD Bank ATM" transactions. For certain account types, we will waive the fee on some non-TD Bank transactions, as described in the chart below.
TD Bank's chart shows unlimited transactions fees waived for Premier, Relationship and Interest checking accounts. No fees are waived for all others.
No Reimbursements of Fees from Other Banks
For non-TD Bank ATM transactions, the institution that owns the ATM (or the network) may assess a surcharge fee at the time of your transaction, even if you are just checking your balance. As described in the following chart, for some checking account types, we will reimburse you for these surcharge fees at the end of each statement cycle. Beginning March 9, 2011, for all other account types, the surcharge fees will not be reimbursed.
TD Bank's chart shows a minimum $2,500 daily balance for the Premier, Relationship and Interest checking accounts is required for the reimbursement. There are no reimbursements for all other accounts.
Checking Accounts That Offer Free ATMs
There are still a few big banks that offer free ATMs for their basic checking accounts. However, you have to wonder how many will follow TD Bank.
PNC Bank still offers reimbursement of non-PNC Bank ATM fees with a $2,000 minimum average monthly balance. You can also get free ATM usage with BBVA Compass Build-to-Order Checking. However, Compass requires you to mail in ATM receipts to receive the ATM rebates. Also, Compass just recently announced new monthly service fees on its Build-to-Order Checking Account.
If you want to avoid both monthly service fees and ATM fees, you may want to consider reward checking accounts from community banks and credit unions. The vast majority of these are free checking accounts with no worries about monthly service fees. However, to get free ATMs, you do have to meet the reward checking monthly requirements. 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.