ATMs can be found all over the globe. They make
cash available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to
withdrawing money, you can check account balances, transfer money
between accounts or deposit funds into an account. As technology
advances, you'll see automated teller machines featuring a wider
array of functions such as online bill payment.
Open a checking account and you'll be given an ATM
card so you can siphon money out of your account without writing
a check or using a teller. For decades, the cards could be used
only at ATMs. But in recent years they've been given another function,
a debit feature, so you can also use the card to pay for purchases.
As a debit card it will have a Visa or MasterCard
logo and can be used anywhere Visa or MasterCard is accepted. Unlike
a credit card, where you pay for your purchases once a month when
you receive a statement, purchases paid for with a debit card are
deducted directly from your checking account. We'll delve into debit
cards later in this chapter.
ATMs provide convenience, and convenience almost always
has a price tag. Fees are the price you pay for using an ATM that's
convenient but doesn't belong to your bank. You can avoid having
fees drain your account by planning ahead.
If you have an account with Bank of America, you may
never need to look very far for an ATM owned by Bank of America.
But if a community bank, or even a regional bank, is more your style,
you won't find one of their ATMs on every other corner. Try to withdraw
enough money from your paycheck to last until the next payday. If
you are running low, make an effort to stop at your bank's ATM to
refuel your wallet -- before you really need the cash.
It's rare, but ATMs do malfunction from time to time.
The article "When
ATMs malfunction" can be useful if the ATM eats your card.
One caveat, where there is money, there are criminals.
Bankrate's article, "Skimming
the cash right out of your account," can help you avoid
phony ATMs. Also, read "10
consumer tips for ATM safety and security," to avoid potentially
In the next section we'll examine the fees that plague
so many ATM users.
||Top 10 ATM owners, 2004-2005 (1)
||Bank of America
Chase & Co.