Too few people know the key cash machine rules – you can use any bank's cash machine for free, while ATMs that charge must tell you.

A supermarket near MSE towers has three different free banks' cash machines outside – invariably I walk past and see one or two of them have long queues.

For me this is great news, I just nip to the empty one and use that, however it does indicate that most people are simply unaware of the key cash machine rules. If they weren't using any special facilities, such as detailed printed statements, they could simply nip to any machine.

  • You can use any ATM.

    All UK machines that are part of the link network will let any UK bank or building society customers get cash out and usually do a quick balance check at the minimum.

  • Bank-based machines are free.

    Usually, any bank or building society's machine offers free cash withdrawals for UK cardholders, so if it's a machine based at a bank, or specifically branded by a bank then it's usually free (though a few banks do have co-branded machines at corner shops that charge).

  • If they charge they need to tell you.

    There are of course many 'convenience' ATMs which can charge up to 2% or £2. And since 2005, all machines that charge need to notify you. They do this on screen before you can get the cash out and most have stickers on the actual machine telling you too.

  • Never withdraw cash on a credit card.

    Since the introduction of chip and pin, more people now know their credit card pin numbers, which is a worry as it makes it easier to withdraw cash on a credit card which is a nightmare.

    This is because even if the ATM itself doesn't charge the credit card will - a £2 or 2% fee plus interest.

    Then there's the interest situation which is a double whammy, first because the rate is often much higher than normal. For example, the Barclaycard Breathe credit card charges 14.9% APR for normal spending but 27.9% APR for cash withdrawals. Plus, you will usually pay interest on cash withdrawals even if you pay the card off in full at the end of the month.

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