How to Avoid Paying ATM Fees


In our current situation, we are still dealing with a lot of fees — subscription, toll gates, tuition, insurance, deliveries (food and other items), and so on. And, of course, we want to save money; after all, who doesn’t? Of course, if you still do semi-conventional banking, you’ll have to factor in ATM fees.

Recently, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) mandated the banking industry to implement the Acquirer-Based ATM Fee Charging (ABFC) last April 7, 2021, to promote transparency among the transacting public.

Bank transactions via ATM & Online banking

Back in the 80s, the introduction of Automated Teller Machines became one of the most revolutionary developments in banking. Imagine that instead of lining up inside the bank, this high-tech machine can now dispense cash by just tapping into its buttons.

With the introduction of much more advanced technological advancements such as Internet banking or online banking, the ATM may already be obsolete. Plus, the cost of sustaining it is high for banks: power, insurance, leasing (banks do not own them), and other expenses. And for a very, very long time, all these operational costs are shouldered by the bank.

Inter-bank ATM Fees & ABFC

Now, let’s go back to the third paragraph of this post. Let me talk about the NEW fees that was implemented recently.

The issuer-based pricing model, which charged a set price of P10 to P15 for withdrawals and balance inquiries, has been replaced by ABFC, or Acquirer-Based Fee Charging, which means you’ll be charged somewhere between P10 t0 P18 for withdrawals and up to 2.50 for balance inquiries.

This will be the scenario: if you are a non-BDO card user, and you withdraw money from a BDO ATM, for example, your fee would be P18. In case you just want to check your balance, it would cost you P2.

And if you are like me who does balance inquiry first and then do the withdrawal later, that’s already P20.

Do you know how much is P20 in a household today? That’s five pieces of Nescafe stick, sir… ma’am. Or half a kilo of NFA rice, which can survive one meal already.

Tips on Avoiding ATM Fees

There is an imminent situation. What can be done now?  What’s the trick, you may ask.

  • Be loyal to your bank.
    • As a BDO customer myself, I am just glad that BDO ATM are scattered everywhere. As of this writing, BDO has over 4,000 ATM nationwide. Withdraw cash from your own bank’s ATM. That’s the trick.
  • Be wise, locate your local ATM.
    • Use your phone and Google is your friend. Find where’s the nearest ATM in your area and it will save you five (5) pcs of Nescafe stick.
    • Check out BDO ATM Locator here.. And bookmark this post for easy reference in the future.

I am a non-BDO cardholder, what should I do?

Good question.

And if there are more BDO ATMs near you than your current bank, take my advice, open a BDO Online Savings account now.

This will save you time and money.

To open an account, simply fill out the online registration form, schedule an appointment at your favorite BDO branch, and bring two legitimate IDs and an initial deposit to the branch to complete the application.

Need more information about this? Head on to this link about BDO Online account opening.

Wise move: Online banking with BDO

Managing money has never been easier than it is now, thanks to online banking. We don’t need to go to the bank to review our balance or make a payment. We have access to all of this material.

And to make your online banking even more secure, read these tips.

  1. Never, even let out your banking details, such as your debit and credit card account numbers, PINs, and CVV codes (the special number at the back of your ATM)
  2. Never, even share OTPs (One-time passwords). No bank will ask you to share this.
  3. Username, login name, and passwords MUST not be shared to anyone. 
  4. Use strong passwords and change them regularly.
  5. If you are using some else’s laptop make sure to open an Incognito browser and don’t save information or password on that laptop.
  6. Make it a habit to check your account regularly; be familiar with your transactions.
  7. If you notice something irregular, change the password immediately and inform your bank about it.


Multiplying the P20 ATM fee by hundreds is the equivalent of paying a large sum of money taken from your pocket.

Don’t forget that we are still under the curse of the pandemic. 

By switching from the ATM-way of banking to online banking will save us — time and the risk of getting infected.

In case you can’t avoid using the ATM, use your own bank’s ATM. Don’t pay an additional ATM fee again.

You can read more about ABFC from Bangko Sentral at this link.


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