ATM $urcharges  Advocacy



Join in the fight against ATM surcharges!

There are already laws that regulate ATMs, but most of the laws do very little to restrict surcharging. However, legislation is pending in Congress and many states and localities that would make surcharges illegal. (A few places have already banned surcharges, but banks are challenging these laws in court.)

Write to your representatives in Congress, urging them to support legislation that would prohibit ATM surcharges. Also, write to your state and local legislators, encouraging them to support similar laws at these levels.

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper complaining about ATM surcharges, and urge other readers to express their support for legislation to ban surcharges.

If you have your own web page, add a link to this site. (The URL is

Boycott banks that impose ATM owner surcharges.

  • If you can, close your accounts at banks that surcharge. (As an account holder, you may not have to pay the surcharge, but your bank's surcharging encourages other banks to impose surcharges as well.)
  • If you do close an account because of surcharges, write a letter to the bank president explaining why.
  • If you can't find any local banks that don't surcharge, look for a credit union that you are eligible to join -- relatively few credit unions impose surcharges. (See Six Ways to Find a Credit Union, from the Credit Union National Association, or call CUNA's information line at (800) 358-5710.)

Look for ATMs in supermarkets, convenience stores, department stores, shopping malls, and other businesses that you patronize.

  • If they have begun to impose surcharges, write to the businesses to tell them that you will shop elsewhere unless they arrange to have ATMs without surcharges installed.
  • If the ATMs don't yet have surcharges, write to the businesses to let them know about your concerns regarding surcharges. Tell them you'll take your business elsewhere if the ATMs start surcharging.
  • You can also fill out a suggestion card at many stores, though a signed letter to the company president is likely to have more weight.

Most importantly, never use ATMs that impose surcharges. Look for surcharge-free ATMs, and patronize them often.

The interchange fee that ATM owners receive for processing each transaction is much more than the marginal cost of the transaction, so you'll be helping to make the surcharge-free ATM profitable.

Don't give up! Banks claim that consumers avoid surcharging ATMs at first, but eventually give in and pay the surcharges. By refusing to pay surcharges, you can send banks a message: ripping off consumers will cost them money in the long run.