We’ve all been there. You and your crew finally get to the front of the club line you’ve been waiting in for almost an hour, and you realize you don’t have any cash on you. No biggie. If there isn’t an ATM in the club you’ll find one down the street to get the cash you need, then proceed to do the Stanky Leg on the dance floor, worry-free.
…That is, until you check your bank account balance next, to realize you actually have less money than you thought you did. Now, before you go screaming, “Show me the money!” to that poor teller at the bank, realize that you’ve just been hit by the evil ATM usage fees.
Normally, banks don’t charge you to withdraw money from your own account, unless you do so at another banking institution. Banks are kind of selfish that way. They want you to show all your love to them only, and when you don’t, they charge you for it.
But what’s worse, most times you get charged twice. You’ll get charged immediately by the non-member ATM you’re using, (that’s what that screen with all those words and a dollar amount is, that comes up before you get your money) but a few days later, you’ll also be charged by your own bank. Talk about jealousy. Those two fees can add up to anywhere between $4 and $7, or even more, depending on the fees of each bank. That’s certainly no way to pay yourself first (see $hotgun! ). You can find out your own bank’s fee policy by checking out their website or asking a banker.
And while Senator Tom Harkin’s heroic attempt to cap ATM fees at 50 cents was blocked in the Senate, we’re happy to report that there are some things you can do to keep your cash under your control. If you stay loyal to your bank, using only their ATMs, you won’t be subject to those fees. So, the money you withdraw will be all that’s taken out of your account. If you’re in an area that doesn’t have your bank’s ATMs, try to find a store that offers cash back with purchases. Spend a buck or two on candy or gum, then get the cash back amount of your choice, fee free. Just remember to choose “debit” when making your purchase.
Of course, you can always try to plan ahead by replenishing your cash when it gets low. But, if you don’t trust your memory on that, take a twenty or a fifty and hide it in your wallet for emergencies or “emergencies” (like when you’re the one standing between your friends and that group of freaks on the dance floor).
Yeah, we know this ATM stuff can get pretty tricky. But stick with us at Urban Professor and those mysterious ATM usage fees won’t leave you wondering where your cash is at.