To use an ATM, insert your debit card or credit card into the machine, input your PIN, and then select the type of transaction you want to make from the menu. You can check your balance, withdraw money or deposit money. You also may be able to transfer money from one account to another or pay a bill, depending on the ATM. Unless you use an ATM owned by the financial institution that issued your card, you will likely have to pay multiple fees when withdrawing money from an ATM. There could be an ATM-owner surcharge as well as a fee charged by your card’s issuer.
Using an ATM with a debit card is far better than doing so with a credit card. You should actually avoid credit card ATM withdrawals whenever possible because this type of transaction – called a cash advance – is very expensive. The average credit card charges a fee of $12.65 or 3.27% of the amount withdrawn, whichever is higher, plus an APR of 20.49% that takes effect immediately. But the actual process of using an ATM is pretty much the same no matter what type of card you have.
Here’s how to use an ATM:
- Insert your card into the machine.
- Type in your PIN when prompted. This is typically 4 digits but can be longer. With a debit card, you should have gotten this number with your card or soon after by mail. With a credit card, you have to call the issuer to request a PIN.
- Look at the menu options. You should be able to make a deposit or withdrawal (debit card only), check your balance, or take out a cash advance (credit card only). You may also be able to transfer funds between bank accounts or pay your credit card bill.
- Choose what type of transaction you want to make, tap it on the screen and enter the amount of money when prompted.
- Select whether or not you want a paper receipt. You may also have the option of receiving a receipt by email. Depending on the ATM, you might be asked this right when you put your card in.
- Take your card if the machine held it during the transaction. And don’t forget to take your money if you made a withdrawal or cash advance.
If you’re unsure which ATMs, if any, are free to use with your particular card, you can give the issuer a call. If you do use an ATM with a fee, it won’t be more than a few dollars, but that can add up if you make a lot of transactions.