How to Withdraw as Much as Possible From Your ATM

Ways to Maximize the Cash You Can Get From a Debit Card

Image by Evan Polenghi © The Balance 2019 

When you need cash, you can usually just turn to the nearest ATM. But you're limited in how much you can take out each day. If you need more than a few hundred dollars in cash—$500 is a typical ATM withdrawal limit—it helps to know how to maximize the cash you can get with your debit card.

What Is Your ATM Withdrawal Limit?

Daily ATM withdrawal limits can range from $300 up to $2,000 a day, depending on the bank and the account; some banks charge different amounts depending on which tier of service you've signed up for. You'll need to check with your bank to see what exactly your limit is. How much you can withdraw may vary depending on your relationship with the bank and your banking history; two people with the same type of account at the same bank might have different withdrawal limits.

Withdrawal limits reset every 24 hours, so it pays to know when your bank resets. If your bank resets its limits at midnight, in theory, you could withdraw the max just before midnight and again just after, taking advantage of two consecutive days' worth of withdrawal limits in a short time.

Banks can only keep so much cash in their machines, so limiting your withdrawals helps them preserve their cash on hand as well as mitigate the risk of loss, both for you and for the bank. If a thief were to try to withdraw money from your account after you did, he could run up against the daily withdrawal amount and be prevented from cleaning out your account.

However, if for whatever reason you need more cash than your daily limit allows, there are a few ways you can get around it:

  • Request a temporary increase in your daily limit.
  • Use a debit card cash advance to withdraw funds.
  • Get cash back with a purchase at the store.

Request an Increase

As soon as you know you need extra cash, call your bank and ask them to temporarily raise your ATM limit. They may ask you to provide certain information (such as a driver's license) to prove your identity, but by doing so you might be able to increase your limit by several hundred dollars.

You won’t always have success requesting an increase, but you have nothing to lose by asking. Although most ATM limit increases are temporary, you might be able to get a permanent increase if you frequently need more than the maximum.

Get a Cash Advance

.Another option for withdrawing more cash is to get a cash advance with your debit card. Here's what to know about using cash advance:

  • Debit card advances: If you can’t visit a teller at your bank to make a withdrawal, go to a different bank. Ask about using your debit card to get a cash advance, which allows you to withdraw more cash than ATMs allow. Banks typically charge a modest fee for the service if you’re not a customer, so find out how much it costs before you go this route.
  • Credit union customers: If you use a credit union, you may have even more luck. Many credit unions participate in shared branching, which allows you to make free withdrawals from your account using other credit union branches nationwide. Different credit unions have varied hours, so look for a location that’s open when you need it—for example, evenings or weekends.
  • Cash advance limits: Debit card cash advances at branches still have limits, but they’re generally higher than limits at your local ATM. Note that any withdrawals you already made at the ATM will probably also count against your daily in-branch limit.

Ask for Cash Back at the Store

You can also try to get cash back at grocery and convenience stores. By making even a tiny purchase, such as a pack of gum, you can get cash back; go for the maximum amount possible if you need it. Most stores limit cash back to relatively small amounts such as $50, but that amount combined with the maximum you can pull from the ATM might get you what you need.

If necessary, you can use multiple cash-back transactions until you hit your debit card’s daily purchase limit, which may be several thousand dollars or more. However, you’ll likely have to endure the inconvenience of visiting several different stores and securing cash in small increments.

Regardless of the method you use, keep an eye on your bank account balance, in case you withdraw money that you have already committed to auto-pay bills or rent payments. A store may approve a cash-back transaction that causes you to have insufficient funds and incur fees from your bank.