You’re in a new city and have discovered an under-the-radar restaurant but they only accept cash. You’re checking into your hotel and need cash to tip the staff. You’ve found a few treasures at the open-air market but none of the vendors have a credit card reader.
These are only a few of the reasons you might need good, old-fashioned paper money while traveling—and an ATM is likely where you’ll have to go to get it, despite the certainty of paying surcharge and out-of-network fees just to get your hands on your own money. But before you resign yourself to getting nickeled-and-dimed by your bank and the ATM owner, you may have an alternative.
If your financial institution or prepaid card program is a member of the Allpoint Network, you can access your cash surcharge-free at any Allpoint ATM. RewardExpert recently spoke with Nick Pappathopoulos, director of public relations for its parent company Cardtronics, to find out everything you need to know about the world’s largest surcharge-free ATM network.
Inspired by a Quest for Convenience
Accessing your money through an ATM—whether you’re traveling across the state or to the other side of the world—can be costly. “According to the most recent Bankrate.com data published in 2016, the average ATM surcharge hit a new record of $2.90,” Pappathopoulos said. “The average fee charged by a consumer’s own bank for going outside their ATM network—often called a ‘foreign fee’ or ‘out-of-network fee’—was $1.67. Working with those averages, if a traveler were to be accessed both a surcharge and an out-of-network fee, the total cost of using an out-of-network ATM for accessing their cash, on average, is $4.57.”
Helping financial institutions and prepaid card providers give their customers the ability to access their cash virtually wherever they are, surcharge-free, was the inspiration behind Allpoint Network.
“Mercator Advisory Group reported in its 2016 ATM Market Benchmark Report that 71 percent of ATM users will ‘do anything’ to avoid paying ATM surcharges, and 59 percent said they actively seek out ATMs in surcharge-free networks,” Pappathopoulos continued. “While financial institutions certainly understand their customers’ desire to use conveniently located ATMs and access their cash surcharge-free, it simply isn’t feasible—financially or logistically—for all but an extremely small number of the biggest banks to operate thousands of ATMs nationwide. And yet, that’s what their customers demand. Thousands of ATMs nationwide, and in the most convenient locations.”
55,000 Surcharge-Free ATMs Around the World
Allpoint Network has 43,000 ATMs in the United States plus 12,000 more in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Australia. These ATMs are always conveniently located inside high-profile retail locations and stores that are easy for consumers to find while traveling.
“Nationwide, that means most CVS/pharmacy, Target and Walgreens locations, as well as the Kroger family of grocery and convenience stores and many more,” Pappathopoulos said. “On top of that, Allpoint ATMs are conveniently located in many regional and local favorites as well.”
Finding an Allpoint ATM is easy. Travelers can download the Allpoint app or use the Allpoint ATM Locator online. “Additionally, participating ATMs will have the green Allpoint logo displayed on a decal right on the ATM,” Pappathopoulos added.
While anyone can withdraw money from their bank account or prepaid card at an Allpoint ATM, they may only do so surcharge-free if their financial institution or card provider is part of the network.
“A person gains surcharge-free access to Allpoint Network ATMs through their financial institution or prepaid card program,” he explained. “They need to be sure their bank, credit union or prepaid card provider is a member of Allpoint Network. By the numbers, more than 1,300 banks, credit unions and prepaid card programs—representing more than 60 million cardholders—have made the smart choice to become an Allpoint member.”
To determine if your financial institution or prepaid card provider is an Allpoint Network member, you can use the ‘Do I have Allpoint Access?’ button on the Allpoint website. “We also encourage people to ask their financial institution or check the ATM section of its website,” he concluded. “If a bank, credit union or prepaid card provider is an Allpoint member, you’re quite likely to find the Allpoint logo prominently posted on their website.”