To use an ATM, insert your debit card or credit card into the machine, input your PIN, and 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 issuer of 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. This type of transaction – called a cash advance – is very expensive. The average credit card charges a fee of more than $8 or 3% of the amount withdrawn, whichever is higher. Plus, the average cash advance APR is over 21%, and interest takes effect immediately.
But whether you're using a debit or credit card, the steps of how to use an ATM are pretty much the same.
How to use an ATM:
Step 1: Insert your card. Insert your debit card or credit card into the machine to begin the transaction.
Step 2: Type in your PIN. This is typically 4 digits but can be longer. With a debit card, you get this number with your card or soon after by mail. With a credit card, you may have to call the issuer to request a PIN.
Step 3: Choose a type of transaction. 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.
Step 4: Enter the transaction amount. Input the amount of money you are depositing, withdrawing, paying, etc. when prompted.
Step 5: Select your receipt preference. Choose 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.
Step 6: Take your card. Remove 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 find yourself struggling with how to use an ATM at a bank, one of their employees should be happy to help you. And 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.