Almost all ATMs charge "convenience fees" for non-network withdrawals. Are there any ATMs which don't? | General financial discussion | Discussion forum

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Almost all ATMs charge "convenience fees" for non-network withdrawals. Are there any ATMs which don't?
September 9, 2020
6:10 am
unforgettableid
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Background information (you can skip this)


I've cross-posted this question from a Personal Finance Stack Exchange post.

I have Motive Financial's "Cha-Ching Chequing Account".

Motive's fees page suggests:

  • If I use the Exchange ATM network, I can make unlimited free ATM withdrawals.
  • If I use another ATM network, such as Interac or Acculink: I can make two withdrawals a month without having to pay $1.50 to Motive. But the ATM owner can still charge me a "convenience fee".

TransferWise writes: "Free ATMs are rare in Canada". But I hope that some do exist. They can drive foot traffic to convenience stores or to bars. And they can save me from having to pay surcharges. 🙂

Perhaps there's some small member-run credit union or other small institution, somewhere in Canada, which hasn't instituted convenience fees. This source suggests that credit union ATMs might be less likely to charge convenience fees than bank ATMs.

I know that I could instead get cash back from a store; but many stores limit cash back to $200 or less per transaction.

My question


I'm curious whether or not there still exists any no-fee ATM in Canada. By this, I mean: an ATM which does not charge any "convenience fee" for out-of-network transactions. How likely is it that at least one such ATM exists, somewhere in the country? Preferably in Toronto.

September 9, 2020
12:12 pm
Loonie
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I doubt such a thing exists.
But, really, why would they offer this for free? It's a business. They service the machines and make them available, so it's reasonable that user would pay to use them.
If you are a bank customer, then the bank is already making money off you anyway and this is part of the package.

September 9, 2020
12:37 pm
unforgettableid
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Convenience stores

Loonie said
Why would they offer this for free?

Please see this article.

In the US, some convenience stores have surcharge-free ATMs. This is a growing trend over there.

If a convenience-store owner installs any ATM at all, it will bring traffic into the store. The article states: "Stores that install an ATM see a 20% increase in sales."

If the owner installs a surcharge-free ATM, this might bring even more traffic into the store. Including repeat traffic.

I hope I've now successfully convinced you why they might offer this for free. 🙂

No-fee ATM interbanking agreements


Another partial solution to the convenience-fee problem would be as follows: More banks and/or networks could sign no-fee ATM interbanking agreements with each other. For example, RBC could sign such an agreement with TD. Then RBC customers could withdraw money at TD ATMs, and TD customers could withdraw money at RBC ATMs. These customers wouldn't have to pay any convenience fees. Both the customers and the banks would benefit.

September 9, 2020
4:46 pm
Alexandre
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More banks and/or networks could sign no-fee ATM interbanking agreements with each other.

Is not it what Exchange network about? It is well represented in Toronto.

September 9, 2020
5:10 pm
Loonie
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I see.
I never used them, but there used to be some at 7-11's. It's a long time ago and I don't know if they were free or if they are still there.

I have no idea what the statistics are but I would not be surprised to hear that Canadians are more cashless than Americans in their transactions. If so, that would make these machines a less attractive investment. And it does seem to be the way we're going, especially since covid.

September 9, 2020
5:53 pm
unforgettableid
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Alexandre said
Is not it what Exchange network about? It is well represented in Toronto.  

You are correct. Together, many small institutions have enacted a no-fee ATM interbanking agreement; they have created the Exchange network.

I think it would be wise for some of the big banks to sign similar no-fee ATM interbanking agreements with each other.

September 9, 2020
6:18 pm
unforgettableid
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Loonie said
I never used them, but there used to be some at 7-11's. It's a long time ago and I don't know if they were free or if they are still there.

Yes. Please see this article from eight years ago: "7-Eleven Canada stores debut surcharge-free Allpoint Network ATMs".

There are definitely still ATMs at 7-Eleven Canada stores. I don't know if they're still "surcharge-free". I also don't know whether or not they're still affiliated with the Allpoint interbank network.

Aha! Maybe I shall check into this, if I find myself visiting a 7-Eleven in the near future.

September 9, 2020
10:25 pm
Loonie
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There used to be one on Danforth near Donlands but I don't know if it's still there - if that's any help. I think it may be gone now but not sure.

September 9, 2020
10:39 pm
Loonie
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It looks like the one on Danforth is gone, but here's a list of locations:
https://stores.7-eleven.ca/#43.6830208,-79.32477440000001

However, at the bottom of the home page under "Services", the only one they list is their cell phones.

September 9, 2020
10:49 pm
topgun
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Alexandre said

More banks and/or networks could sign no-fee ATM interbanking agreements with each other.

Is not it what Exchange network about? It is well represented in Toronto.  

Exchange network used by many if not all credit unions in Canada. 7-11 ATM's associated with Scotiabank/Tangerine today. I remember a deal at Scotiabank many years ago. Use your Scotiacard at 7-11. Not sure how many withdrawals you had to make and they put some cash in your account after so many weeks. The trouble is a 7-11 is not conveniently located most of the time for me.

Have a Great Day

September 10, 2020
3:49 am
unforgettableid
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topgun said
7-11 ATM's [are] associated with Scotiabank/Tangerine today.

Their ATMs might say "Scotiabank" on the outside. But, on the inside, they're run by Cardtronics. (Source.) Cardtronics is the world's largest owner and operator of ATMs. (Source.) Cardtronics owns Allpoint. (Source.)

I checked the Allpoint ATM locator. It looks like 7-Eleven Canada's ATMs are still affiliated with the Allpoint interbank network, even today.

As far as I can tell, the Allpoint network is US-focused. Most or all participating financial institutions are US-based.

Eight years ago, an article stated: "7-Eleven Canada stores debut surcharge-free Allpoint Network ATMs". Perhaps these ATMs are still "surcharge-free" today, whatever that means.

Does "surcharge-free" mean that the ATMs don't charge convenience fees to Allpoint members? Or does "surcharge-free" actually mean that the ATMs don't charge convenience fees to anyone? I don't know.

September 10, 2020
5:09 am
topgun
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unforgettableid said

topgun said
7-11 ATM's [are] associated with Scotiabank/Tangerine today.

Their ATMs might say "Scotiabank" on the outside. But, on the inside, they're run by Cardtronics. (Source.) Cardtronics is the world's largest owner and operator of ATMs. (Source.) Cardtronics owns Allpoint. (Source.)

I checked the Allpoint ATM locator. It looks like 7-Eleven Canada's ATMs are still affiliated with the Allpoint interbank network, even today.

As far as I can tell, the Allpoint network is US-focused. Most or all participating financial institutions are US-based.

Eight years ago, an article stated: "7-Eleven Canada stores debut surcharge-free Allpoint Network ATMs". Perhaps these ATMs are still "surcharge-free" today, whatever that means.

Does "surcharge-free" mean that the ATMs don't charge convenience fees to Allpoint members? Or does "surcharge-free" actually mean that the ATMs don't charge convenience fees to anyone? I don't know.  

Thanks for the information. Scotiabank uses Allpoint as suppliers for 7-11 ATM. I can withdraw cash using my Scotiacard/Tangerine surcharge-free. Maybe eight years ago Scotiabank had the special withdrawal deal. Yes I found 5 $20 withdrawals in Feb-March 2012 at ATM. Probably 7-11 ATM withdrawals. Whatever the bonus it was not worth driving 5-6 km just to get to 7-11. 10-12 km return. I must have had some spare time. That is why I withdrew $20 each time.

Have a Great Day

September 10, 2020
6:47 am
unforgettableid
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topgun said
... it was not worth driving 5-6 km just to get to 7-11 ... I must have had some spare time. That is why I withdrew $20 each time.  

In effect, Scotiabank was temporarily incentivizing some of its customers to consume gasoline to drive to 7-Eleven. I guess the main goal was to help them learn and remember that 7-Eleven stores now hosted Scotiabank network ATMs.

In retrospect, this seems a bit wasteful. They could have just put "Scotiabank Network ATM Here" posters in each 7-Eleven store's window. This might not have been an equally-powerful teaching tool, but I think it would have been good enough.

September 10, 2020
10:19 am
Oscar
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In the Toronto area at least some of the stores known as Macs Milk have been renamed Circle K. These stores have Manulife Bank ATMs
and are part of the Exchange network, so free for credit union customers but not sure about other banks.

September 11, 2020
1:04 pm
Save2Retire@55
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I don't know of any in Canada but in the US there are so many Credit Cards that even cover (Rebate) Foreign ATM withdrawals. We are very limited here in the true North!

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