Q. Can I avoid fees for using another bank's ATM?

A. When you get cash from out-of-network ATMs, you could incur two sets of fees—those charged by your bank, known as "out-of-network withdrawal fees," and those levied by other banks, dubbed "surcharges."

Today, 40 percent of financial institutions automatically waive out-of-network fees for their customers, up from 4 percent in 2012, according to Moebs Services, an economic research firm. Banks are more willing to give up these fees—which average around $1.67 per transaction, according to Bankrate.com—as more people turn to cashless payment options. "This will become standard practice in the next two years," says the firm's CEO, Michael Moebs.

If you're hit with a surcharge for using another bank's ATM—which averages $2.90 per transaction, according to Bankrate.com—know that only 1 percent of banks refund those. Among banks that do are Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, and USAA, says Consumer Reports money editor Jeff Blyskal. All three were rated highly in our most recent survey of banks and credit unions, and will refund $10 to $20 per month in ATM surcharges.

To skip the ATM altogether, use your debit card "cash back" option if it's available—you can usually withdraw as much as $100 from your account. But ask the retailer about any associated fees.

For related information, check our bank and credit union ratings and guide.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the July 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.