Although there are ATMs everywhere in Las Vegas, if you don’t plan ahead then withdrawing money can get very expensive, as the average ATM fee is around $5.
Withdrawing cash can be especially pricey if you withdraw while at a casino, particularly on the Strip, where you can expect to pay up to $10 in fees.
Even if you bring a big pile of cash with you (more on that later), chances are you will need to withdraw a little extra at some point because Vegas is going to drain your wallet.
So, if you’re heading to Vegas for your next trip, here are some tips to help you avoid any nasty extra costs.
How To Get Cash Out For Free In Vegas
Free ATMs in Vegas are a rarity.
Unless you’re a US bank account holder e.g. Bank of America, and can visit a branch as a customer while in Vegas, finding a free ATM is going to be very difficult.
But here are some handy hints.
1. Free ATM Withdrawals Through Your Bank
Wells Fargo account holders – get cash out for free from ATMs at airports and car rental centers. It can depend on the location, but the bank has a number of outlets across the city.
Canadians using Interac and Plus should look out for the no-fee Allpoint green logo at locations such as CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, and the Monorail Station Harrah’s & the LINQ on the Strip.
Or head slightly further afield to the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Another alternative is to open an account with a bank that offers ATM fee reimbursements. However, there are often caps with these.
2. Bank Alliance Schemes
Some banks are also part of ‘alliance’ schemes or cooperatives with other banks and retailers.
These can give you access to a large network of ATMs, not just your own banks’.
If you travel regularly within the US, it’s
worth doing your research to see if your account qualifies, as the more
withdrawal points you can use, the better your chances of finding a
3. Cash Back In Stores
Finally, if you expect to do some shopping while you’re in town, you can always try avoiding ATMs completely.
Many retailers offer a free, or very cheap, ‘cash back’ service when you make a purchase on their premises.
This could be convenient, but the costs can still clock-up and, as the limit will likely be lower than an ATM, you may have to make more trips.
Tip: Locate the machines before you travel and pin them on your maps app.
ATMs With The Lowest Fees
As mentioned, it’s really hard to find an ATM with zero fees in Vegas – but there are some places you can get lower fees (around $3).
The bank ATMs on the Strip won’t be free if
you’re not a customer. But they’ll usually end up saving you a couple more
dollars than the in-casino options.
On the Strip itself you should find a few Bank of America outlets, with Wells Fargo locations sandwiched in between the Strip and Downtown Vegas.
However bear in mind that if you’re travelling from outside the US you may get stung with extra bank charges.
Other options for lower fees are ATMs at convenience or drug stores.
ATM Fees Are Highest In The Casinos
When you’re having fun, it will be tempting to stick with the closest ATM in your casino or hotel. And that’s exactly what the establishments bank on!
The issue with the ATMs in casinos is they come with hefty charges.
The introduction of ‘table-top ATMs’ a couple of years ago hasn’t helped matters either.
as the machines pay out currency in the form of casino chips — meaning players
don’t need to leave the gaming tables — they’re a very easy way to lose money.
The fees for these ‘point-of-sale’ transactions can be a few dollars lower than an ATM, at roughly $4 plus around 2.5 percent of whatever you withdraw.
So it’s a stretch to call them cheaper. And for many, they can prove too good to be true.
Use one of the alternative suggestions above and save your hard-earned cents
for the fun stuff instead.
And if you’re wanting to spend your moolah on services other than gambling, you can always turn to your digital wallet and use cryptocurrency.
As a city that always has one foot firmly in the future, Vegas has had bitcoin ATMs in casinos for a while now.
As for alternate ideas, wire transfers direct to the casino cages, and setting up lines of credit with the casino, are both also options.
come with their own pros and cons.
can have large minimum limits, meaning they’re only usually viable for fairly
big spenders and high-rollers, and they’re quite restrictive.
of credit can be ‘dangerous’ if you’re worried about suppressing your budget.
Withdrawing money inside casinos is the most expensive way to get cash in Vegas. [Image: ChumaA/Unsplash]
ATM Fees At The Most Popular Casinos In Las Vegas
Ever wondered how much you’ll have to pay to get cash out at your favorite Vegas casinos?
Reported ATM fees at the following casinos:
Bally’s – $9.99 Paris – $9.99 Planet Hollywood – $9.99 Caesars Palace $9.99Flamingo – $9.99Aria – $8.99MGM Grand – $8.99The Venetian – $7.99 Luxor – $7.99
Despite our recommendations for seeking out the
cheapest ATM you can find, be careful. Cheaper doesn’t always mean more secure.
Use your gut and don’t withdraw money if
anything about the machine looks unusual, or if you don’t feel comfortable in
Image: Joseff Little/Unsplash
Just like anywhere else in the world, card-skimming scams can occur in Sin City.
There’s no need to be overly worried, but it pays to be vigilant in Vegas, where crooks know there are plenty of travelers distracted by the sights and sounds — and wanting to withdraw money.
It can be tough to spot skimming technology with the naked eye.
Just a few examples include magnetic strips
that read a credit or debit card’s data, to fake PIN devices, hidden cameras,
and so-called ‘Lebanese Loops’ that act as shell on top of ATMs to trap
customers’ cards inside.
Your safest options are usually ATMs in banks
and airports. As for those who like to use contactless ‘swipe’ payments for
smaller bills, keep your eyes peeled for anyone getting too close at the bar,
or on public transport.
While you’re out and about, one potential scam is opportunistic theft via a portable card reader.
Travelers often try to get around this by using Radio-frequency identification (RFID) blocking card inserts or wallets, but it is unknown how effective these are.
Carrying Cash vs Withdrawing – Which Is Your Best Option?
Bringing cash with you to Vegas gives you greater flexibility.
It means you won’t be faced with the dilemma of leaving to withdraw more money, or risk being charged eye-watering fees on the casino floor. And you’ll have the means to pay, wherever you are.
However, using money to pay in public can make you a target for pickpockets. Don’t walk around with too much loose cash, and make use of internal zippers, well-concealed money belts etc.
Of course, walking around with a full wallet is far from ideal. So take the usual precautions and avoid poorly-lit places and going off the beaten track, especially if you’re alone.
Using your card to withdraw money, as and when you need, can have more ‘cons’ than just ATM fees. Card scams can still occur, and the more often you withdraw, the more likely you are to attract attention.
Avoid taking out large amounts or asking for a lot of cash-back in public spaces.
Don’t forget about tipping in Vegas. It’s expected that you’ll tip a wide range of hotel and casino staff, usually a few dollars a time, making easy-access cash and small bills essential.
So, with benefits and drawbacks for both
approaches, what’s best? If you want to save money and stay safe, think ahead.
You don’t have to limit yourself to one idea.
If you’ll be travelling with cash, divide it up into smaller amounts in multiple secure locations.
And, of course, once you arrive at your hotel or Airbnb, there should be an in-room safes available, allowing you to take a little out at a time.
But, even if you plan how much you’ll need beforehand, expenses can quickly escalate as Vegas is expensive.
So, give yourself the flexibility to withdraw
when needed, and keep a little budget back on your plastic in case anything
does go wrong. As well as logging the better value and cheaper ATM locations on
your phone’s maps.
By mixing and matching approaches, you’ll have
all bases covered and most of the funds you need on hand or within easy reach.
Now you’re armed with the best tips and tricks when it comes to ATMs in Vegas. Enjoy your trip!