May 3, 2019

How to avoid common debit card usage fees

By Ryan Ashton

By Ryan Ashton


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We know how it feels when you suddenly see a charge on your bank statement for a transaction that you didn’t know would cost you —  it feels frustrating and sneaky. The best way to avoid credit or debit card usage fees is to know what type of transactions you get charged for and the ways to avoid them.

Purchase or ATM withdrawal decline fees

When you have insufficient funds in your bank account, you can get charged for attempting a POS transaction or ATM withdrawal that gets declined. The best way to avoid this fee is by checking your balance before you use your card, through your bank’s free online portal or app.

ATM withdrawal fees

Some banks may charge you for each ATM withdrawal you request. To avoid this, a little planning ahead can help. Request cashback at participating stores across the U.S. when making a point-of-sale purchase.

Inactivity fees

Inactivity fees are charged when your account has not been active for a period of time. If your bank charges this fee, know what this time period is and remember to use your card at least once by then. If you have a card with inactivity fees but aren’t using it all that much, consider closing your card with that bank.

Text messaging alert fees

It’s good to get notified of suspicious transactions on your card to monitor any fraudulent activity. Some banks may charge for this add-on. Find out if you can get free e-mail notifications instead of opting in for text messaging alerts. If you’re using an Instant Visa debit card, you can sign up for free purchase alerts.

Out-of-network ATM withdrawals

When you withdraw money from a third-party ATM, you will be charged an additional surcharge by the third party ATM operator. Locate the nearest in-network ATMs and plan to get your cash in advance.

Instant is partnered with the MoneyPass® ATM network  and you can withdraw cash for free from any of the network ATMs.

Paper statement fee

More and more banks are going paperless for monthly bank statements. If your bank charges you for written statements, select the paperless option on your online portal. You can view your transaction history and statements when you log in. Not only is it convenient, but you’re supporting the environment too!

To sum up, the best way to avoid common debit card usage fees is by knowing what you’re getting charged for and planning ahead. Each bank should have its fee schedules posted online — you can usually find them in the Terms & Conditions or listed in the Cardholder Agreement. Instant Visa cardholders can visit our FAQs to learn more about using their card.

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