Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Don't pay ATM fees!

Now, I'm sure most of you are more organized than I am, and you solve this problem the easy way: by always having extra cash around if you need it. But since I use my credit card for almost every purchase, I don't carry much cash in the first place. And while I try to keep some emergency cash in my bag, I always forget to replenish it after I've used it. As a result, it's not entirely rare that I find myself in the situation I was in last Tuesday: I needed cash, and was nowhere near an ATM for my bank. There was a different-bank ATM nearby, of course, but I shuddered to think of paying $3+ in fees, and I thought, "There must be a better solution."

After a few minutes of thought and searching, I spotted a CVS across the street. 5 minutes and a $0.99 package of on-sale candy later, I walked out with $35 in hand. When you're stuck, see if you can find a place to get cash back with your debit card! That 99 cents was already way cheaper than the ATM fees, even disregarding the fact that the chocolate was something I needed anyway. (What's that you say? No one needs chocolate? Clearly you have not been to my desk at work at about 2pm...)

You should watch out for debit-card fees, though. Check and see if your bank charges you for doing a pin transaction on your debit card (mine doesn't, but I hear it's a growing trend). But you'll probably still come out ahead, since ATM fees are just awful, especially when you get double-teamed by your bank and the ATM's bank.

Any other useful ideas like this?


Matt said...

That's a great idea...I'll have to try it. I'm always stuck looking for one of my banks ATM machines, and boy, do those fee's add up. Especially, like you said, if your bank and the ATMs bank tag team you. Ugh...thanks for the advice...


The Baker Family said...

I would switch banks. My bank, USAA, not only doesn't charge for using someone else's ATM, they reimburse me when I do. So if I withdraw "$41.50" from a Bank of America ATM, USAA will put $1.50 back in my account. You don't need to be military to use USAA--check it out.