Friday, June 12, 2009

ATM Fees Begin to Exceed Withdrawal Amounts

by Benjo

Not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it seems wrong to go to an ATM and not get any money back because the fee is greater than the amount you want to withdraw. But on the other hand, ATMs are really convenient.
Rising ATM fees are nothing new. But recently, some patrons who try to withdraw cash from an ATM have been met with a surprise: the fees are actually larger than the amount of money they're trying to withdraw.

“The other day, I was trying to take twenty dollars out of my account,” said Chad Denton, 33. “But the ATM fee, as it turned out, was $25, so the ATM just subtracted the difference, and I didn't end up getting any cash back.” Denton, a Bank of America account holder, said, “I actually have to get five bucks to B of A now.”

Millie Davis, a Bank of America spokesperson, confirmed that Denton's experience was expected. “At some of our branches, fees reach as high as $30,” said Davis. “If customers are interested in receiving money, they will have to withdraw more than that. If they fail to do so, as was true in Mr. Denton's case, they will end up owing us money.”

Davis attributed the rising fees to the increasingly sophisticated touch-screen technology used by the machines. “The touch screens literally provide a tangible benefit to our customers,” she said. “Customers always have the option of a no-fee ATM that doesn't have a touch screen: it's called a mattress.”

A spokesperson for Sealy confirmed Davis's claim, but indicated that the mattress company is looking into the possibility of imposing fees each time a customer withdraws money from under a mattress.

Despite the increasing costs of using an ATM, customers remain undeterred from using them. “It's just so convenient to have a place on my block where I can just get money,” Denton said. “I mean, sure, I didn't actually get any money this time around, but still, the convenience makes it worth it.”

In an effort to make customers' ATM experiences even more convenient, Davis said, Bank of America will soon begin offering receipts of their transactions to customers who pay a mere $5 fee.

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