Todd Shaull

May 22 2017

What is a Foreign ATM Fee?

Foreign ATM Fees

Have you ever seen a “foreign ATM fee” on your account statement? If so, you’ve probably questioned what exactly that means. Although it sounds like you have used an ATM in a different country, it actually refers to an ATM that’s not owned by your financial institution. This can also be called a non-financial institution ATM fee.

When you use a different bank or credit union’s ATM, you can be charged a surcharge of anywhere from $1-$5, and you may be paying a foreign ATM fee of $1-$2 back to your financial institution (but not at Hills Bank). Sometimes there is even an additional charge that can be incurred if you happen to buy items at a retailer and run your card as debit (therefore using your PIN number) called an ATM Usage Fee or ATM Withdrawal Fee (but again, not at Hills Bank).

ATM Usage Fee or ATM Withdrawal Fees are confusing, because often times they are tied to debit card transactions at retailers when you use your PIN number, even if you don’t use your card to get cash. At Hills Bank, we don’t have that fee.

Here’s how this would work in a day-to-day scenario. Pretend you’re on vacation and you need $20 from an ATM that isn’t owned by your financial institution. You swipe your card, enter your PIN, and a small warning pops up telling you there’s a $3 surcharge for the withdrawal. You need the money so you click “OK” to continue with the transaction. Behind the scenes, your financial institution may charge you an additional fee, up to $2 for using an ATM that isn’t theirs, but you won’t see that until you get your statement. That means you could be paying up to $25 to get $20 of your money.

At Hills Bank, we’ve eliminated the Foreign ATM Fee and ATM Withdrawal Fee. Our Free Checking account allows you unlimited ATM transactions with no extra charge. The owner of a non-Hills Bank ATM may surcharge, but that’s their fee, not ours.

Money Pass

If you are out of the area Hills Bank has partnered with MoneyPass®. You can access thousands of ATMs nationwide with your Hills Bank debit or ATM card. Additionally, you could always make a purchase at a retailer and run your card as debit to get cash, because we don’t have the ATM usage fee or ATM withdrawal fee.

For transparency, we invite you to check out Hills Bank’s fees compared to your financial institution. And while you’re doing that, take our Free Checking Challenge by looking at your next bank statement and see if your “free” checking account is really free. Visit to learn more about other fees you may be charged at other financial institutions.

Todd Shaull

About Todd Shaull

Todd Shaull is a Vice President, Branch Manager at Hills Bank’s Cedar Rapids location on Williams Blvd. Todd has been at Hills Bank since 1999 helping customers with checking and savings accounts, consumer loans, auto loans, and home equity loans. Todd can be reached at

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