What are ATM withdrawal limits?

Young woman in a wheelchair using an ATM.Image: Young woman in a wheelchair using an ATM.

In a Nutshell

Many banks limit the amount of money you can withdraw from an ATM on a single day. Whether your ATM withdrawal limit is a few hundred bucks or a few thousand dollars, it could be an inconvenience if you need cash quick and have hit your max. But with a little extra planning, you might be able to find a workaround to get the money you need when you need it.
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ATM cash withdrawal limits can be frustrating, especially when you need a large amount of money right away.

You might need to withdraw money from the ATM for many different reasons — from needing cash to pay for an unexpected expense or emergency to taking out money to pay for a purchase at a cash-only business. Either way, it’s possible you’ll run into your bank’s ATM withdrawal limits.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get the cash you need. There may be ways to work around these ATM withdrawal limits. You might also have some other options to get the cash you need. 

Let’s a take a closer look.

What are ATM withdrawal limits?

When you withdraw money from an ATM, you generally can’t withdraw the full amount of cash in your bank. That’s because there are typically limits in place about how much money you can withdraw — these are daily withdrawal limits.

These ATM withdrawal limits can vary depending on the following three factors:

  • Bank — Most banks generally have ATM withdrawal limits that are the same regardless of which type of account you have.
  • Account — Some banks may have separate limits for different types of accounts (such as checking and savings accounts) or even for different account packages (such as free checking versus premium checking).
  • Machine — The specific ATM you use may have its own withdrawal limits, and this can be different for each machine depending on the owner.

These transaction limits may be frustrating, but they serve a purpose. They can help protect your bank balance if someone steals your ATM card. And these limits may also prevent individual ATMs from running out of cash.

How to avoid ATM withdrawal limits

The first step in avoiding ATM withdrawal limits is knowing what your own limits are, which you can find listed in your bank’s account agreement. You can also check on your bank’s website or contact the bank to confirm your account’s limit.

Once you know what your current daily ATM withdrawal limit is, you can plan better for ways to access cash when you need it. Here are a few options.

Make multiple withdrawals over a few days

You can try splitting up your ATM cash withdrawals over a few days to stay under the limits. For example, if you can only withdraw $250 at a time and you need $750 in cash, you could make three trips to the ATM on different days to withdraw your full limit until you have what you need.

Ask for your ATM withdrawal limit to be increased

If you ask, your bank may be willing to bump up your cash withdrawal limit, either temporarily or even permanently. Some banks, such as Bank of America, even allow you to request this through the bank’s app.

Change banks

If your bank won’t bump you to a higher limit and you don’t want to deal with making multiple withdrawals over the course of several days, it might be time to switch banks. When you’re shopping for a new bank, you should be able to find out what the ATM withdrawal limits are on each bank’s website or by contacting the bank directly.

What to do when you’ve hit your ATM withdrawal limit

If you’ve reached your ATM withdrawal limits and you’re not willing to switch banks, never fear. You may still have ways to make purchases.

  • Visit a branch to get cash: You may have higher limits on the amount of cash you can withdraw if you go in person and get your money from a teller.
  • Get cash back from a store: You can make a purchase with your debit card and request some money back in cash at checkout, but this is usually limited to a small amount.
  • Use your debit card to pay for purchases: If you don’t need to pay in cash, it may be easier to use your card instead.
  • Get a cash advance from your credit card: Many credit cards allow you to withdraw cash from an ATM, but be careful — this is an expensive option.

What’s next?

If you need to withdraw cash from an ATM frequently, it might be better to choose a bank with a branch location near you so you can easily stop by to potentially avoid ATM withdrawal limits. Online banks are good for many things, but getting a lot of cash isn’t one of them. Though brick-and-mortar banks don’t generally have the best interest rates, it is still possible to choose a bank near you.

About the author: Lindsay VanSomeren is a freelance writer living in Kirkland, Washington. She has been a professional dogsled racer, a wildlife researcher, and a participant in the National Spelling Bee. She writes for websites such a… Read more.