Thursday, February 27, 2014

5 Ways To Beat Those Disgusting ATM Charges

Just say "no" to ATM fees!

My temper still flares when I think of how banks are bilking consumers for access to our money! I'm talking about the audacity of levying fees for checking our balances, withdrawing money, etc. I've had banks want to charge me as much as $8 just for taking money out at an ATM!! But just because they want to charge us, doesn't mean we have to let them. To avoid paying those fees, try this:

  • Use debit cards when you're shopping for small things. My favorite trick is to use my debit card when I'm shopping at my local grocery store. I don't use it for my major shopping, just when I have a few things to buy. Then I withdraw cash at the same time. I'm buying stuff I was going to buy anyway.  I get my money out without incurring a fee, so it's a win-win. Similarly, if you shop at Costco, you have to use a debit card any way, so why not take money out while you're doing it?

  • Use in-network ATMs. Many banks and credit unions don't force their own customers to pay fees as long as they're using in-network machines. You could even make a list of where these ATMs are so that the next time you need one, you'll know where to find one.

  • Take out more cash than you'll need. Don't just take out the minimum the ATM allows. Withdraw more than you'll need and then budget at home to avoid going back to the ATM.

  • Write a check. Yes, really. Many stores still take checks. Don't be embarrassed – be smart and get your pen out.

  • If you're changing banks or opening a new account, ASK what their ATM fees are. Let banks know that this is one criteria you're using to evaluate their institution.

The bank's job is to make money; mine is to keep it. Using the steps above should allow us, as consumers,  to hold on to more of our precious income and ensure that we're not hostages to money-hungry financial institutions.

Please check in with me in a day or two. A lot of people in this neck of the woods have had damage in their houses as a result of ice damming.  We had that problem a few years ago and I'll share with you what we did - inside and out.  Namaste!

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