ATM use abroad - When does it become a transaction?

I recently had to withdraw some money (I wish I didn’t but alas, not everyone takes card) abroad. I was in an area with several banks’ ATMs in the same place so I was shopping around for fees. Went to the first one and the fee was something like 5 USD so I cancelled the transaction. I tried again at a second. Same thing. Eventually settled for the third and withdrew the money.

Each of the ‘checks’ were marked in my account as a withdrawal and refund and thus counted against my £200 limit. When I finally withdrew the money, I already had made it to the 3% charge because I had checked the fees on the other ATM even though I never actually got any money.

At what point in an ATM flow does the money count as withdrawn? Is it as soon as we start using it? Is it fair I get charged the ATM fee if I never actually withdrew any money at the first ATM?


Good point!

I imagine it varies depending on the ATM.
I often find ones at bank branches are free but others cost. Experience varies though.
IMO it shouldn’t count if it’s refunded instantly.


This is a serious issue if they’re indeed charging fees for not-yet-presented ATM transactions (which could include failed ones) and don’t take into account cancelled authorisations (which appear as a “refund” in Monzo’s case).


I had this issue when a cash machine randomly cancelled my transaction at the last second. I went through the chat and they refunded the fees