What Are the Functions of ATM Machines?

ATM machines are primarily used for withdrawing cash from a bank account. But you can also use many of them to check account balances, get cash advances from credit card accounts, make deposits and even buy postage stamps.

What Are the Functions of ATM Machines?
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Getting Money from an ATM

Automated teller machines, or ATMs, are a common way to conduct banking business. According to a 2016 Federal Reserve report, 75 percent of Americans with bank accounts use the devices, which you can find in banks, stand-alone kiosks and stores.

Among the most common uses of an ATM is withdrawing cash from a checking or savings account. Generally, to take money out of an ATM, you'll need to insert a debit card provided by your bank, enter a PIN number and indicate how much money you want to withdraw. If you're unsure how much money is in your account, you can usually check your balance from the ATM before making your withdrawal.

Some ATMs charge a fee to withdraw money, including bank-owned ATMs that charge people with accounts from other banks to use them. Some banks charge fees for using ATMs outside of their networks, while some banks will reimburse you for fees charged to use ATMS, so it can be helpful to know your bank's policies and in-network ATMs when you need cash.

Making a Deposit

Some banks allow customers to deposit cash and even checks at an ATM. Which ATMs you can use to make deposits, and how much you're able to deposit at a time, can vary from institution to institution.

Some ATMs will save photos of the checks you deposit so you can review them later through online banking.

Credit Card Cash Advances

Many credit cards allow their customers to get cash advances through an ATM. There's typically a fee for doing so, and you're usually charged interest as well, since you're essentially borrowing the money from your credit card company. That means taking money out of a checking or savings account is often a better option if you have the funds available.

Fees and the amount you're able to borrow vary from credit card to credit card. As with other withdrawals, the owner of the ATM might also charge you a fee.

Buying Postage Stamps

In addition to handling deposits and withdrawals, some ATMs also sell U.S. postage stamps. This can be more convenient than buying them at a post office or store, but you might have to pay a fee beyond the cost of the stamps.