They are in busy places all over the city: at train stations, bars and restaurants, the shopping mile in the city center and hotels. Preferably where people are in a hurry and where a particularly large number of tourists are attracted.

We’re talking about ATMs. What sounds plausible at first – where many people spend a lot of money, many ATMs are also needed – is a money printing machine for the operators of the machines and an annoying cost trap for consumers.

Because while traditional banks’ ATMs are disappearing, specialized companies are increasingly expanding their ATM networks. And since they earn their money exclusively with the machines, they often charge high fees.

Even those who feel safe with their bank’s promise of “free withdrawals anywhere” can fall into a cost trap with these machines.

One of the largest providers of such ATMs in Germany is the US company Euronet. According to its own statements, the company is the leading ATM operator in Germany with over 2,000 ATMs and recyclers, the parent company Euronet Worldwide Inc. offers over 47,000 ATMs throughout Europe. Annual turnover in Germany alone: ​​over 350 million euros.

Turnover does not equal profit, but the business seems to be worthwhile. No wonder, after all, withdrawing from the machine costs customers between 1.95 euros and a whopping 4.99 euros.

This ATM fee is often also paid by those who could withdraw their credit card free of charge from all classic banks, such as customers of direct banks such as ING.

Customers for whom free cash withdrawals are limited to ATMs in their own bank or in the banking association are hit even harder. In this case, ATMs from Euronet and Co. often have additional fees from the house bank on top of that.

If you want to withdraw cash from an ATM, you should definitely pay attention to who the operator of the machine is. With machines like Euronet, you almost always pay the machine fee, regardless of your bank’s conditions.

After all, the operators of ATMs are obliged to show you the fees incurred before you withdraw your money. If the amount is too high for you, you can cancel the process. However, the fees are often displayed very late. In order to avoid cost traps, it is best to avoid machines from specialized companies as a matter of principle.

A recommended alternative to get cash is to withdraw it at the supermarket checkout. If you shop for a certain minimum amount (usually 10 to 20 euros), you can withdraw cash free of charge directly at the checkout using a Girocard. The maximum amount is usually 200 euros.

The original of this article “Caution, cost trap: You should not withdraw cash from these machines” comes from