Monito.com
How to withdraw money without a card

How To Withdraw Money From an ATM Without a Card

Byron Mühlberg, writer at Monito.com

Byron Mühlberg

Guide

Jul 27, 2023
Advertiser disclosure

Although the use of cash continues to decline and become replaced by the likes of cards and electronic payments¹, cash payments nonetheless hold force across the world, and many people frequently need to access cash at the ATM — sometimes even without an ATM card.

While it may seem tricky at first glance, there are many ways to withdraw money without a card — regardless of whether you lost your card, forgot it at home, or didn't own one at all. In this guide, we explore how to withdraw money from an ATM without a card before comparing the best travel card options to use instead.

recommendation icon

To withdraw money from an ATM without a debit or credit card, the best option is to use a cardless ATM with a digital app that waives withdrawal fees:

  • Global: Revolut allows a withdrawal limit of $1,200 monthly without fees, plus no foreign card transaction fees (though third-party fees may apply).
  • In the US: Chime® gives access to 60,000 ATM network fee-free at stores like Walgreens®, 7-Eleven®, Target®, Circle K, and CVS Pharmacy®.
  • In the UK: If you're a UK citizen, never get charged ATM withdrawal fees by Starling Bank both domestically and worldwide.
  • In the EU: N26 gives EU citizens no ATM withdrawal fees within the Eurozone and three free monthly non-Euro withdrawals.

Option 1: Head to the Bank

Robert Bye on Unsplash Withdrawing cash at the bank

The first option to withdraw cash without an ATM card is simple: visit your bank's nearest branch and request a cash withdrawal directly from your current account from the clerk.

While this service isn't available everywhere, most traditional high-street banks still offer over-the-counter withdrawals, making it easy and accessible to withdraw cash without an ATM card. In most cases, this service will be treated as an ordinary ATM withdrawal, meaning that if your bank imposes a limit on cash withdrawals (either in frequency or value), they will probably also apply to in-branch withdrawals too. Additional service fees may apply for in-branch withdrawals, although this is not always true.

Practically all banks require that only the signatory or account holder can withdraw money in-branch, meaning you may be required to bring along your ID in order to get the job done.

Pros

  • Safe and secure.
  • Good for larger withdrawals that ATMs sometimes restrict.

Cons

  • Bank withdrawal fees and limits usually apply;
  • Only available on weekdays;
  • Sometimes requires a 24-hour notice;
  • Additional service fees may apply;
  • Bank branches tend to be less accessible than ATMs.

ChangeGroup: A Cheaper Alternative to Get Physical Banknotes

If you need physical cash in hand before your flight abroad, ChangeGroup is a good option to exchange foreign currencies cheaply. High-street banks also offer this service, but they apply un-transparent markups to the mid-market exchange rate at 10% up to even 30%.

ChangeGroup is a convenient and cost-effective solution for obtaining physical banknotes, currently available in the UK and Finland. You may conveniently have the banknotes delivered to your doorstep for a fee, or you can enjoy the flexibility of picking them up in person for free. ChangeGroup also offers guaranteed buyback rates so you can confidently exchange your currency, knowing you'll receive fair value in return.

Regarding popular currency pairs like GBP to EUR, ChangeGroup maintains a low FX markup of approximately 2.2%. This means you'll save on unnecessary fees and retain more money. For less common currency pairs like GBP to Turkish lira, however, their rates may be comparable to those offered by traditional services, hovering around 15%.

recommendation icon

Use ChangeGroup Instead of a Bank

Get physical banknotes conveniently and cost-effectively with ChangeGroup. Available in the UK and Finland, they offer hassle-free delivery to your doorstep or the flexibility of free in-person pickup. With their guaranteed buyback rates, you can exchange your currency with confidence in getting a fair value upon return.

Option 2: Cash a Check

CC0 Withdrawing cash using a cheque

While an increasingly outdated way to receive cash, cheques are still a perfectly valid and surprisingly widely-used method (by around 7% of the US population²) for withdrawing money without an ATM card.

When cashing a cheque, the process can be done very quickly at most bank branches. Unfortunately, it's not possible to cash cheques at ATMs on the other hand, meaning you'll have to go to the bank to get the job done.

If you have a bank account, you can even write a cheque to yourself and then cash it at the bank — a process that will usually be costless, making it fractionally cheaper than withdrawing the cash over the counter at the bank.

Pros

  • Seldom fees for writing and cashing cheques.

Cons

  • Only available on weekdays;
  • Bank branches tend to be less accessible than ATMs.

Option 3: Get Cashback

Annie Spratt on Unsplash Withdraw money with cashback

If you urgently need a small sum of cash fast and have been paying with your debit card (or a digital debit card through your smartphone), at some stores, you may be eligible to add some cash to the transaction total and get that cash paid out to you in return.

Unfortunately, this service isn't widely available at retail locations, and gift cards, PayPal, and even cheques are often used as the primary cashback payout method instead of cash. Even where available, cash as a cashback payout is usually restricted to a very low limit, usually $10 to $30 and seldom more than $100.

Pros

  • Useful if you've earned cashback points.

Cons

  • Not widely available;
  • Low maximum payout limit.

Option 4: Use a Cardless ATM

how to withdraw money from atm without card

If it's available, one of the smartest and most convenient ways to withdraw cash without an ATM card is to use your bank's mobile banking app to withdraw money from an ATM using a generated barcode, meaning all you'll need is your smartphone, a bank account, and your bank's mobile app or affiliated mobile wallet (e.g. Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay).

While cardless ATM withdrawals may sound unusual, they are an increasingly popular method of cash withdrawal based on near-field communication (NFC) technology, meaning all you need to do is tap your phone (either using a QR code or contactless scanner) or use biometrics at the ATM to withdraw cash without an ATM card. Some cardless cash withdrawals might require you to enter a PIN manually, however.

The first step will be to check whether or not your bank offers the service in the first place. While not all banks have taken to the trend, many major banks around the world have, including the following:

Banks That Have Cardless ATMs

You may be able to withdraw cash without a card from ATMs operated by the following banks:

* Includes NatWest and Ulster Bank
Last updated: 19/06/2023

If your bank does offer cardless withdrawals, the next step will be to download the relevant mobile banking app or mobile wallet and set up the process as instructed.

When it comes to ATMs, it's also worth noting that not all machines support cardless withdrawals by default, but those belonging to banks that offer the service certainly will.

Pros

  • Highly secure;
  • Convenient and quick;
  • No withdrawal fees;
  • Zero-touch contactless withdrawals.

Cons

  • Not supported by all banks or ATM networks.

Option 5: Use a Prepaid Debit Card Instead

Withdraw cash with a prepaid debit card

Whether you lost your ATM card or simply forgot it at home, the most effective way to withdraw cash is to use a prepaid debit card specially designed for low-fee transactions — including ATM withdrawals.

Using any one of the competitive travel card products out there, you can dodge ATM withdrawal fees altogether, especially when travelling overseas and spending in a foreign currency. (The only costs you might incur in these instances could be network fees from the ATM itself or a small Visa or Mastercard exchange rate markup, although it depends on the card.)

If you live in the US, Chime is a particularly capable product for keeping the costs low, and if you live in the UK, then Starling Bank is a good choice. In Europe, Monese and N26 take the cake with their fee-free withdrawals in the Eurozone. In all these locations, Wise's Multi-Currency Account and Revolut are another two bank-like alternatives that we also recommend due to their low withdrawal currency conversion costs.

info icon

If you live in the US, take a look at our pick of the best banks for international travel (number one is among the best options out there for fee-free international withdrawals).

Also take a look at our guide to the best travel cards to learn more.

Best Apps to Get Cash Without Physical Card

If you have access to an ATM that can scan cardless, then these are the best virtual debit card apps to get cash from ATMs virtually. All of the following waive international card transaction fees too:

  • Revolut: 🌍 Enjoy withdrawal limit of $1,200 per month without fees, plus no foreign card transaction fees
    | Read full Revolut review.
  • Chime: 🇺🇸 Access 60,000 ATM network fee-free at stores like Walgreens®, 7-Eleven®, Target®, Circle K, and CVS Pharmacy®
    | Read full Chime review.
  • Starling Bank: 🇬🇧 If you're a UK citizen, never get charged ATM withdrawal fees by Starling Bank both domestic and worldwide
    | Read full Starling Bank review.
  • N26: 🇪🇺 EU citizens can enjoy no ATM withdrawal fees within the Eurozone and three free non-Euro withdrawals per month
    | Read full N26 review.

References Used in This Article

2. U.S. Consumers’ Use of Personal Checks (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 31.1.20)

See Other Monito Guides on Debit Cards and How to Withdraw Money Without a Card

Why Trust Monito?

You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.

Learn More About Monito
  • Monito is trusted by 15+ million users across the globe.

  • Monito's experts spend hours researching and testing services so that you don't have to.

  • Our recommendations are always unbiased and independent.

Monito.com

Global Impact Finance Ltd
Rue du Pont 22
1003 Lausanne
Switzerland

Affiliate Disclosure
Instead of banner ads and paywalls, Monito makes money through affiliate links to the various payment service providers featured on our website. While we work hard to scout the market for the best deals, we're unable to consider every possible product available to you. Our extensive range of trusted affiliate partners enables us to make detailed, unbiased, and solution-driven recommendations for all types of consumer questions and problems. This allows us to match our users with the right providers to suit their needs and, in doing so, match our providers with new customers, creating a win-win for everybody involved. However, while some links on Monito may indeed earn us a commission, this fact never impacts the independence and integrity of our opinions, recommendations, and evaluations.