What is an ATM and what are the costs?

ATMs provide an easy solution. You show up, enter your PIN and get your money. Is it that simple? Let's take a look behind the scenes of these handy cash machines.

Get instant access to money from your account at any time of the day without having to step into a physical bank. Need cash and quick? That's where an ATM has been a time saver or even a lifesaver for some.

But do you ever ask yourself? Is an ATM the best option? Do you know what it costs? Where is the nearest one when you are in a hurry? This article scratches below the surface of one of the most useful machines that you pass by several times a day.

What is an ATM?

ATM stands for "Automated Teller Machine" and first appeared in London in 1967. There are over 3.5 million ATM machines around the world. ATMs are convenient since they allow customers to perform quick transactions such as deposits, cash withdrawals, bill payments, and even transfers between accounts. Fees are commonly charged for cash withdrawals by the account holder's bank, by the ATM owner, or even sometimes by both. These fees can be avoided by using an ATM directly operated by the bank that holds the account.

How can I find an ATM nearby?

You are at a restaurant that only takes cash, you need to pay a babysitter, or give a tip? Luckily you can find an ATM, connected to your bank account in switzerland, almost anywhere. Normally you can find them located in or just outside a bank branch but otherwise, you can find them in shopping centers, near public transport stations, or even in some stores.

ATM Fees

Do ATMS cost money when you use them? That depends. Account-holders can use their bank's ATMs at no charge but may need to pay to use an ATM owned by another bank. If you take out cash a lot these fees can add up. Today many banks offer different account packages that can also determine cash withdrawal fees.
In a foreign country, it is much more likely that you will incur a fee. Sometimes these fees can be high as the foreign banks know you may have little choice.

ATMs: two basic types

Bank owned ATMs as the name says are owned by banks. These are usually found inside or outside a bank branch. You can also find bank ATMs in major transportation hubs such as airports, train stations, or large shopping centers. These types of ATM machines give you the option to do other things besides withdrawing money. For example, you can deposit cash, pay a bill, or even print out a statement.

Independent ATMs as this name states are not owned by banks. These machines are usually limited in their functionality and are located in small stores, gas stations, and bars. It's important to be careful of these ATM machines as they tend to charge a much higher fee for a cash withdrawal than bank owned ones.

How much money can I take out from an ATM?

This answer can be found directly with your bank. Each bank has its own rules and some even have daily limits for cash withdrawals. It is useful to have this information and plan in advance if needed.

ATMs overall

In a nutshell, ATMs are very useful machines that let you withdraw cash and give you the possibility to perform other transactions. They are convenient and easy to use. Using them securely and understanding the fees involved will help you make the most of your experience.

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