Five ATM mistakes to avoid when withdrawing cash and they could cost you

YOU may have withdrawn cash from the ATM incorrectly, and it could cost you a fortune.

Making any of these common mistakes at the ATM could result in charges.


Making these mistakes at the ATM could cost you dearlyCredit: Getty

It comes as cash makes a comeback in the cost of living crisis.

The Post Office said it processed a record £801million in cash withdrawals in July, around 20% more than the same month last year.

This follows a long-term decline in the use of cash, and people are opting for contactless payments and using apps to make purchases instead of handing over notes and coins.

In fact, a recent study by found that the number of ATMs has fallen by 14% since 2010.

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But some experts say more and more people are now using cash to help them stick to a budget during the cost of living crisis.

But if you’re not used to withdrawing money regularly, it’s easy to make mistakes.

Here are a few you’ll want to avoid in order to avoid surprise charges.

Use the wrong card

Before withdrawing money from an ATM, make sure you have the correct card at hand.

It’s usually free to withdraw money to a debit card, as it simply gives you access to the money in your bank account.

But using a credit card at an ATM could be a costly mistake.

James Andrews, personal finance expert at, said: “Using a credit card for cash withdrawals is a no-no.

“Every time you withdraw money using your credit card, you pay the daily interest rate on the amount from the day you withdraw it until the day you pay off the balance.”

On top of that, you might be charged a cash handling fee, which is usually around 2% of the amount you withdraw.

Fees and interest could add a significant amount to the actual withdrawal, so avoid breaking the credit card at the ATM if you can help it.

Not checking fees

If you’re looking for cash, it’s easiest to head straight to the nearest ATM.

But before withdrawing your money, check if it comes with any fees.

While many ATMs are free, some will charge you to withdraw money.

Typical fees can be £1.99 – and that’s regardless of how much you withdraw. This equates to a 20% fee if you only withdraw £10.

Try using an ATM at a bank or supermarket if you can – they’re usually free (but you should check anyway). Those at convenience stores and gas stations often charge extra.

James said: “Keep the ATMs. The ‘independent’ ATMs you see at small convenience stores, gas stations or newsagents are more likely to charge you a fee for using their service.”

The Link ATM operator allows you to search by postcode for the nearest ATM and will tell you if it is free or not.

Access your overdraft

Overdrafts can be expensive, so it’s best to avoid a cash withdrawal that will put you in debt if you can avoid it.

Many bank accounts come with an overdraft – this effectively allows you to spend more money than what’s in your account up to a certain limit.

But you are charged interest on this amount. Rates vary, but some accounts have interest of up to 39%, which means your interest charges can quickly increase if you stay in your overdraft.

And if you don’t have an arranged overdraft (one that’s been agreed with the bank) and you take out more money than is in your account, it’s called an unauthorized overdraft and you will be charged a fee.

The regulator has cracked down on these fees in recent years, so the fees aren’t as punitive as they once were, but they’re still best avoided.

Withdraw money on vacation

If you are going abroad, it is best to have a specific overseas card for any expenses.

You will be charged additional fees if you use your usual credit or debit card in another country.

And withdrawing money from an ATM when you’re abroad can be expensive.

Not only do you often get a poor exchange rate if you withdraw money, but you’ll also be charged a fee – either a flat rate or a percentage of the amount you withdraw.

Graham Mott, director of strategy at LINK, which runs the UK’s ATM network, said: “It’s important to remember that ATMs overseas operate differently to those in the UK. .

“In Europe or the United States, customers using an ATM that does not belong to their own bank will be charged for this privilege.

“Some of these ATMs will charge you for using the machine and if you’re not careful, their own exchange rate too.”

Check your account details to see what your bank charges to withdraw money in another country.

If the fees are high, you can either withdraw your money before you leave or take a payment card abroad. is a good place to compare your options – neither Chase Mastercard and Starling Bank Mastercard fees for ATM withdrawals, for example.

Not checking the machine

You may be doing all the right things when it comes to your own finances, but you can still get away with it if you’re using an ATM that’s been tampered with.

If fraudsters have compromised the ATM, it could be set up to save your details or trick your card into the machine.

James said: “To protect yourself, be sure to cover the keypad when entering your PIN and check the machine for any signs of tampering first.”

And be careful when withdrawing money, he added.

So-called “shoulder surfers” watch you to try to see what your PIN is when you type it in – then they steal or clone your card to use it themselves.

Graham added: “Don’t use machines that look dodgy and make sure the area is well lit.

“If you lose your card or think you have been the victim of fraud, contact your bank as soon as possible.”

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