I’m on the road for a short consulting project. Yesterday morning I picked up the local newspaper that was slipped under my hotel room door while deciding what to have for breakfast and read about potential $10 in combined ATM fees that are about to hit bank consumers.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I guess I haven’t visited an ATM lately, and don’t remember visiting one that did not belong to my bank in years. I do remember paying ATM fees back in college when we took road trips and needed cash on the go.
These fees were typically $2 to $4 per withdrawal charged by the local ATM machine. In addition my bank used to charge another $2 per transaction. So going from a combined maximum fee of $6 to $10 in just a few years is equivalent to an inflation in ATM rates of 67%. I don’t recall anything else inflating, appreciating or depreciating by this amount do you?
I guess instead of being grateful for us bailing them out, the big banks have decided they can squeeze more out of us instead. What a brilliant rationale that is. Let me get this straight. You want to charge me $10 for access to my own cash? Are you stupid?
Apparently this is not it. New checking account charges are being planned out as I write this and new fees are going to show up on your statement. It’s just a matter of time but they are all coming!
The big banks will continue to get away with murder so as long as customers put up with it. The sad thing is that many customers do put up with it, valuing their convenience over their wallets. I have made mass switches in the past and as complicated as my baking relationships are, I don’t think the process has ever been bad enough for me to just sit and take the abuse.
There are a handful of alternatives to paying a high ATM fee and bank charges. The first that comes to mind is to not visit any ATM that is not owned by your bank, and ensure you meet the minimum standards so that you don’t get slapped with unnecessary fees and charges. This is not necessarily the easiest option depending on one’s personal and financial situation.
The second is to bank with a credit union, an online bank or an account tied to a stock broker that will reimburse you for an ATM fee whenever you incur one. Most online banks do. Charles Schwab provides unlimited ATM withdrawals, just the way it should be. Other banks like USAA (military affiliates only) reimburse up to 4 ATM withdrawals monthly.
We all work hard for our money, so why are we ok letting someone take it away from us just like that? Since the government will not do anything about this, the only way to reform current predatory practices in my opinion is to send a message to big banks about how the consumer market really feels. How do you do that? Abandon them and bank with someone who puts your best interest at the forefront. Why not?
What’s the largest ATM fee you have ever paid? Have you or are you being constantly victimized by high ATM fees and other kinds of bank charges? How do you feel about that? What have you done / or going to do to stop the green bleeding?Previous: Blog Security: Do You Really Need Expensive Software to Protect Your Blog?