No ATM Fees: Bank Checking Accounts That Refund ATM Fees
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Hilary Stockton
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Have a travel question we haven't covered yet? Want to share your secrets for traveling well for less?

TravelSort reader Melissa asks: "Which banks offer checking accounts that rebate other banks' ATM fees? When traveling, I don't want to have to hunt for my own bank's ATM (plus, sometimes there aren't any)."

Great question Melissa. Here are 5 banks (updated to include Fidelity, thanks to Melinda's comment!) that offer checking accounts with no ATM fees, along with the pros and cons for each. 


1. Charles Schwab Bank High Yield Checking with No ATM Fees

It's almost too good to be true: unlimited ATM fee rebates from all ATMs worldwide, with no monthly service fees and no account minimum!

Pros

  • Schwab Bank refunds ATM fees from all ATMs worldwide
  • No account minimum
  • No monthly service fees
  • Free standard checks and a Visa Platinum debit card
  • Free online Schwab Bank Bill Pay
  • 0.15% APY variable interest rate on any balance

 

Cons

  • Must open a Schwab One brokerage account in conjunction with High Yield Checking Account, although no monthly fees or minimums for either account


2. First Republic ATM Rebate Checking

My husband has had an account with First Republic for years, and while I swear their free cookies were an influential factor, their ATM rebate checking is actually a nice and very personalized product, if you're able to keep a sizable average monthly balance to avoid service fees.

Pros

  • First Republic Bank refunds ATM fees from all ATMs worldwide (so convenient when traveling internationally)
  • Interest earned on balances of $3500 or more
  • Personalized service whenever you visit a branch--you sit down at a desk with the banker, no teller windows
  • Easy to raise your ATM daily withdrawal limit--convenient if you periodically need to withdraw a larger sum than usual
  • Free online banking and free billl pay
  • First order of checks is complimentary
  • Free cookies!

Cons

  • Minimum opening balance: $500
  • Minimum average balance to avoid monthly service charges: $3500
 

If you're willing to switch your direct deposit to State Farm, you can get unlimited ATM fee rebates from all ATMs worldwide, although you do apparently have to call to get your rebates for fees from non-U.S. ATMs, which is a hassle if doing a lot of international travel.
 
Pros
  • State Farm refunds ATM fees from all ATMs worldwide if your account has direct deposit
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance (must open account with at least $25)
  • Free online banking and free bill pay
  • Free initial order of checks
 
Cons
  • If you don't use direct deposit with your account, your ATM rebate is capped at $10 per statement cycle
  • No interest
 

This Fidelity has no monthly fees or minimums and reimburses non-Fidelity ATM fees as long as they are at machines that display Visa, Plus or Star logos. There is, though, a 1% foreign transaction fee that is not waived and is charged to your account.
 
Pros
  • ATM fees are waived from all ATMs worldwide if the ATM machine displays a Visa, Plus or Star logo
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance
  • Free online and mobile bill pay
  • Free checkwriting, no charge for standard checks
  • Variable interest earned 

Cons
  • For ATM fee to be reimbursed, ATM machine must display a Visa, Plus or Star logo
  • International ATM withdrawals incur a 1% foreign transaction fee that is not waived



Pros

  • No ATM fees at any ATM nationwide
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance
  • No minimum deposit to open
  • Free online banking, mobile banking, bill pay
  • Free Debit MasterCard
  • Free checks and unlimited check writing
  • 0.40% APY variable interest rate on balances less than $15,000
  • 0.75% APY variable interest rate on balances greater than $15,000

 

Cons

  • No ATM fees is only specified for U.S. ATMs; international ATM fees are apparently not rebated
  • Cross border/currency conversion fee of up to 1% charged

Have a favorite bank checking account that refunds ATM fees? Tell us in the comments!
 
 
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Comments
Picture?type=large Melinda D. commented 19 Jun 2012
I think Fidelity also refunds ATM fees for their checking account.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 19 Jun 2012
Melinda, thanks for mentioning Fidelity! Have updated the post and included a link.
Picture?type=large Ehtesham Q. commented 20 Jun 2012
Do you know any web site where you can look for fee free ATMs. I know these are dying breeds but once in a while you will find them.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 21 Jun 2012
Ehtesham, only am familiar with networks, such as STAR network, CO-OP for credit unions, etc. that have fee-free ATMs if your financial institution is a member. But personally, I like having an ATM card with a bank that rebates *all* withdrawals, including from foreign ATMs, so I don't even have to think about it!
User_avatar_default David S. commented 26 Jun 2012
I have a Schwab account and find it really convenient. If you travel its really helpful to use any ATM without fees, they also have mobile deposit which makes it easy to deposit checks quickly.
Picture?type=large Zack P. commented 12 Oct 2012
Any idea what counts as a direct deposit at State Farm? Can we use an ACH transfer from another checking account as our "direct deposit"
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 12 Oct 2012
@Zack Believe that would work, but keep in mind it needs to be done every statement cycle. Even without direct deposit, $10 reimbursement per statement cycle isn't bad.
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