ATM Withdrawal Limits

Woman using ATM
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It's pretty rare to use cash these days but sometimes you need it, and you might want more than the automated teller machine (ATM) allows you to withdraw. Say you're buying some used shop equipment from an individual, and they'll only take cash. You need quick access to more than your  ATM's daily withdrawal limit of $300 or $500.

Why Limit Withdrawals?

At most banks, wanting to take a large sum of cash out of the ATM presents a problem because they only keep a fraction of their total deposits on hand in cash.

Banks also limit ATM withdrawals in case someone steals your ATM card, knows your PIN and tries to clean out your account. If somebody is using a stolen card or a fake card, the bank will never recover the money, and you might be out of luck if you don't notice and report the issue quickly enough.

Which Accounts Have Limits?

Most people can access both their checking and savings accounts through an ATM, but banks only apply the withdrawal limits to checking accounts. You can take larger amounts out of an ATM from your savings, although savings accounts have a federally-mandated limit of just six withdrawal transactions per month. Some accounts, such as student accounts, may have even lower limits as a way to help students manage their spending.

Maximum Daily Withdrawal Limits Vary

If you often need larger sums of cash, it pays to ask about daily ATM limits when choosing your bank. Wells Fargo Bank, for example, only allows $300 daily cash withdrawals.

On the other hand, Bank of America allows up to $1,000 per day, and Citibank allows up to $2,000 per day withdrawn from an ATM.

Ways to Get More Money

You can get around the withdrawal limit if you go to a bank and instead of using your debit card, use a credit card for a cash advance. You don't even have to go to your own bank; any bank can accommodate you, although they may charge a fee for this service.

You may have a few other options, including getting cash back at a grocery store or gas station.

Be aware that debit cards often have daily limits on in-store transactions as well. If you attempt to get a large amount of cash back at a store, and even if you want to make a large purchase directly from the store, you might find that you're still subjected to certain limits on how much you can spend.

To prevent yourself from getting in a tight situation in the future, you can ask your bank to raise your ATM withdrawal limit. For more details on those strategies, see How to Get Around ATM Limits. Of course, this depends on the maximum that your bank allows.

In some cases, you won't be able to get more than $500 or so of cash per day no matter what, so you may need to switch to a bank with a higher daily ATM limit if this creates an issue for you. It's a good idea to find out your bank's daily ATM withdrawal limits long before you find yourself needing cash quickly.