Atm fees continue to hit customers but there is no reason to pay them

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BANK customers continue to waste hundreds of millions of dollars every year to access their own money.

Analysis by financial comparison website RateCity shows that Australians spent $548 million last year in unnecessary ATM charges, despite there being many ways to get your cash for free.

RateCitys database shows there are several day-to-day transaction accounts available where customers can avoid any charge, including ING Directs Orange Everyday account.

This allows customers who deposit at least $1000 in their account each month to access any ATM in the country and have the charge refunded back to them immediately.

Bankwests Easy Transaction Account also has no fees attached to customers using large banks ATM networks including the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ.

RateCity spokesman Peter Arnold says too often customers are lazy and pay a charge sometimes higher than $2 just to withdraw cash from an ATM. Theres only a couple of players who have these fee-free options if you meet all their conditions you will get your fees refunded which is a pretty impressive deal, he says.

Getting these accounts is a great way to avoid paying these fees altogether and in return you just have to deposit your salary into these accounts; they want your banking. The banks are not going to make money on the transaction accounts but having you bank with them day in day out is a great way to have you as a customer.

The major banks have huge ATM networks including CBA with about 3700 machines, Westpac about 3000, ANZ about 2600 and NAB about 2200.

ING Direct has more than 500,000 Orange Everyday customers and last financial year rebated $12.3 million in ATM fees to its account holders.

The banks executive director of customers, John Arnott, urges consumers to be more proactive in avoiding fees.

The absolute simplest way to avoid ATM fees is to switch to an everyday account that doesnt charge for visits to an ATM, he says.

Customers can also withdraw cash for free at most supermarkets which is another easy way to escape any charges.