How much money can I withdraw from an ATM?
This question requires TWO answers.
1. You can withdraw up to your daily limit (atm withdrawal limits) set by your card issuer (ie: bank), accounting for money fluctuations and exchange rates. For example, if you have a $500USD daily withdrawal limit, you will be able to take UP TO the equivalent of $500USD.
Remember however, that ATM fees and any other fees your bank charges you are included in that limit, which means the actual amount you receive may be less.
2. You can withdraw up to the PER TRANSACTION limit of the machine you are using OR the maximum number of bills to dispense per transaction.
A little confusing — ATM machines have a “BILL” limit. This means that they will only allow withdrawals up to a certain number of bills. Officially, this limit is called the “maximum amount per dispense” limit.
In Thailand, the machines are filled with 100, 500 and 1000-baht notes. Most machines have a 20- or 25-bill limit. If the machine is filled with 1000-baht notes, and the machine has a 25-bill limit, then you will be able to withdraw 25,000-baht (provided your daily limit set by your bank is at least this high!).
At BangkokBank, ATM machines are limited to 25 bills per transaction. Of course you can repeat the transaction you need up to your daily limit, but you will be paying for the foreign ATM fee of 180-baht on each transaction.
If the 1000-baht notes are empty, you would only be able to withdraw 12,500 or 2,500-baht depending on whether the machine is issuing 500s or 100s. Usually the machine will tell you it can’t deliver the larger note and give you a chance to cancel — but it doesn’t always give this warning.
In the USA, most machines are filled with $5 and $20USD notes. Occasionally you will find a machine that provides $1USD notes as well. Your withdrawal will be limited to the maximum number of bills to be dispensed per transaction, the type of bill to be dispensed and your daily limit. I have used USA machines that allowed for $300USD per transaction (15-bills!).
Different countries have even lower limits to prevent fraud and to prevent the draining of ATM machines. I remember in the Philippines ten years ago, if we were lucky enough to find a working ATM machine, we were allowed to withdraw 4,000-pesos (less than $100USD) per transaction! Today, 2015, half of the ATM machines have a 10,000-peso limit; while the other half have increased to 20,000-peso (about $465USD).