One of the annoyances of working as a freelancer is that most of my money comes to me through PayPal — and since PayPal has no local banks and no longer has a bill pay service, paying credit card bills and handling other transactions where debit cards aren’t accepted is a pain.
For many people, getting cash from their PayPal account means going to an ATM, inserting their PayPal Debit MasterCard and getting the cash they need — while shelling out whatever the ATM charges to access money, often several dollars per transaction.
But I don’t EVER pay ATM fees. Paying a fee to access your own money is just like throwing money down the drain, and that isn’t smart, isn’t frugal and isn’t necessary.
You can use one of the following two methods to get the cash you need:
Transfer to a free checking account. If you can wait a few days, you can transfer your money from PayPal to a checking account, then get cash from that account or use the account for online bill paying. But many checking accounts charge you a monthly fee and also for access to your money. But there are still a limited number of free checking account offers around. Free checking isn’t available at the major nationwide chains, however. In Texas, for example, you can get free checking at Bank of Texas, and the bank doesn’t charge any ATM fees for its own ATMs.
Get cash back at a store. The problem with getting cash back at a store is that you have to buy something and you’re often limited on how much cash you can get. Some Target stores only allow $40 cash back, for example. But many stores offer larger amounts. At Walmart, you can often get $100 cash back in many cases. Albertsons and other grocery store chains will often provide even more if you go to the customer service desk. And at ALDI, cash back is sometimes limited only by what’s on hand, and you can often get as much as $200 or more. In most cases, the daily cash limit at an ATM is $400.
Avoiding ATM fees when getting cash from your PayPal card involves a combination of some preplanning and some smart use of your card for cash back during other purchases. If you need some butter, cat litter or cereal, start at ALDI, if there’s one nearby, and you may be able to get all the cash you need there.
If you need more, get cash during each transaction you make where it’s available and you’ll soon collect up what you need without a lot of extra hassles.