It's increasingly rare to use cash, but you will likely need it at some point. When you do need cash, like during a private, person-to-person transaction, you might find that you need more than the automated teller machine (ATM) daily withdrawal allowance (typically $400—$1,000 depending on your bank). If you're buying a car through a classified ad, for instance, $400 probably won't cover much of it.
Withdrawal limits exist for important reasons. By gaining a better understanding of why there are limits, you can work within the rules to meet your cash needs and maximize your withdrawal amounts. Learn why the limitations exist, what they are, and what you can do if you need more cash than an ATM will give you.
- To bypass ATM limits, you can get cash advances from a bank, cash back with purchases at some merchants, or ask your bank to raise your limit temporarily.
- ATM withdrawal limits are there for your protection and the bank's, but that doesn't mean they aren't occasionally inconvenient.
- For those who regularly need cash, it's a good idea to find out the bank's daily ATM withdrawal limits and plan ahead.
Why Are There ATM Withdrawal Limits?
Generally speaking, there are two primary reasons that a bank imposes withdrawal restrictions on its customers: cash availability limits and security concerns.
When you deposit a paycheck into your checking account, the bank doesn't simply store that cash in a vault and wait for you to withdraw it. Instead, a bank puts the money to work for the institution, bundling it with other people's deposits to lend money to individuals and businesses.
The bank lends out the cash you deposit, but your money is protected if you're using an FDIC-insured account. If risky loans force a bank to go out of business (which rarely occurs), you're insured up to $250,000 per institution.
Even if the bank did keep your cash at the ready, it would be impossible to know which ATM to keep stocked to meet your needs. Are you using the ATM at your local bank branch or the one at your nearest corner store? Withdrawal limits help ensure that customers can't clean out ATMs or drain the bank's cash reserves.
Banks also limit ATM withdrawals in case someone steals your ATM card, knows your PIN, and tries to empty your account. Federal law protects you from losing more than $50 through this kind of theft, but you must report it to the authorities within two business days to qualify for protection.
If a rarely used card is stolen, and you don't notice for a long time, it could be difficult to get your money back. Withdrawal limits help reduce the speed with which a criminal could empty your account.
ATM Withdraw Limits Vary by Account
Most people can access their checking and savings accounts through an ATM, but banks can impose different limits on the two types of accounts. Checking accounts generally limit the amount of money you can withdraw using an ATM.
Savings accounts allow you to take more out through an ATM, but you may not be able to make more than a limited amount of withdrawals per month, depending on your bank. Consumers used to be limited to six savings withdrawals per month, but the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System changed this rule in April 2020.
Account types may also have different ATM limits. For example, some student accounts may have even lower limits to help students manage their spending.
If you often need more than your account's limit, you can ask about daily ATM limits when choosing your bank. Some banks limit daily cash withdrawals to $300. Bank of America, on the other hand, allows for up to $1,000 (or 60 bills at one time) in daily cash withdrawals, and most Citibank accounts allow for up to $1,500, depending on your account.
How to Get Around Your ATM Withdraw Limit
You can't get rid of ATM withdrawal limits altogether, but there are ways you can get the cash you need that might exceed any limitations.
You can bypass ATM withdrawal limits by going into a bank and using your credit card for a cash advance instead of a debit card. You don't have to go to your own bank—any bank can accommodate a credit card cash advance. However, banks may charge a fee for this service. It's also expensive to use a credit card to get cash because most card issuers start to charge interest immediately on cash advances. They may also charge you a higher rate than for a purchase.
Cash Back at a Store
Grocery stores, gas stations, and convenience stores usually allow customers to get cash back if they purchase an item. However, debit cards often have daily limits on in-store transactions. If you attempt to receive a large amount of cash back at a store, you might find you're still subject to certain limitations on how much you can spend.
Ask Your Bank To Raise Your Limit
To prevent yourself from getting in a tight situation in the future, you can ask your bank to raise your ATM withdrawal limit. Of course, this depends on the maximum that your bank allows and your standing as a customer. If you go into a brick-and-mortar branch, you may be able to take out larger sums upon presenting your ID to a teller.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have to wait before I can draw more money from my account?
Many banks reset the clock at midnight every day, including weekends. It's less common for banks to require a 24-hour waiting period.
What's the highest ATM withdrawal limit?
Some banks and accounts allow up to a $3,000 withdrawal in one day, including Truist's Wealth checking account.
Is there a limit to how much I can spend on my debit card in one day?
There are usually limits, but the amount varies widely among banks and the type of account linked with the debit card. Amounts range from $1,000 to $25,000.