You’re in the Money: Free ATM-Locator Apps
June 21, 2011 | Permalink
Most of us are looking to make our money go farther, and when we find ways that mean no compromise on comfort (like staying in an Extended Stay Hotel) or added time and hassle (like banking online), we grab ‘em. One such strategy is avoiding ATM surcharges, though that’s not always easy when you’re traveling. Once again, however, apps come to the rescue. While the Google Map app and various GPS systems can handle this task, there are dedicated apps that are fast, easy and, above all, free to download for all kinds of smartphones, iPads and other tablets.
You can almost always get free apps developed by your own bank, and if your institution is one of the biggies (e.g., Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup or Sun Trust), its apps probably include an ATM locator feature. Since using your own bank’s ATM saves you surcharges, what’s not to love? Well, there are a few downsides, such as:
• Not all the apps are very user-friendly
• Platforms may be limited
• The apps generally have fewer bells and whistles than other ATM locator apps.
Credit Card-Connected ATM-Locator Apps
One of the most popular is produced by MasterCard: ATM Hunter. Available in platforms for iPhones, Androids and Blackberries, you can access both lists of nearby ATMs and maps, basing your search on your current location or on an address you enter. The narrowing filters are useful, letting you select by particular bank or by such things as drive-thrus, being open 24-hours and no-surcharge facilities. You can also find out where the ATM is housed (e.g., in a store, mall or bank) which can be a nice personal safety feature.
VISA also produces an ATM locator app for its iPhone and Blackberry cardholders. One of the benefits that this locator includes is merchant discounts and special offers, redeemable onsite, online or by phone.
MoneyPass ATM Locator (available through the iPhone App Store and online for Androids) is not produced by a credit card company or a particular bank. Rather, it is the product of an independent company that more than a thousand banks and credit unions (mostly the slightly smaller institutions) join. Customers of member companies can take advantage of there being no surcharge assessed for using other member ATMs.
Another independent, Allpoint Mobile ATM Locator App, supports all major phone platforms. Easy to download and launch, the app uses a geo-locator so that you can get an instant list of nearby ATMs from the 43,000 Allpoint networks nationwide—many of which are located in convenient spots, such as Targets, Walgreens and CVS Pharmacies.
Go Cutting-Edge with Augmented Reality
If you’re into the latest technology, you’ll want to check out Addison Avenue Federal Credit Union’s newly released augmented reality ATM finder app for iPhones and Androids. The GPS-driven visual locator uses a point-and-shoot approach. Point your phone in any direction, and you get a live-time picture of nearby ATMs—each posted with a symbol indicating whether they’re free or not. Too cool!
Those small ATM charges may not seem like a big deal. However, given that they’ve been steadily rising—now up to $5 for non-customers at some ATMs—even occasional use during a trip can add up. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money on another Philly cheese steak sandwich or an “I © New York” t-shirt?
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