Students fed up

Published: October 30, 2015

JAMES MAIMONE
Business Correspondent

An ATM, or an automated teller machine, is an electric banking outlet that allows customers to complete basic transactions without the aid of a branch representative or teller. Having access to an ATM is very important to consumers because it is one of their primary ways of gaining access to their money. ATMs are very important to college students because a large portion of students do not have vehicles or any type of transportation to get them to a bank. Luckily, The University has numerous ATMs that reside close to campus. There is an ATM located on the first floor of the DeNaples Center, along with one in CK’s Pizza.

As a Bank of America customer, I use the ATM in CK’s because I am not a user of PNC. Since the ATM is not owned by Bank of America, I will be charged a fee around $2. Though it annoys me that I am being charged to simply take money out of my account, the $2 per withdrawal will not cause that big of a deficit in my account. As many as you probably agree with me, what if I changed up the scenario and said you were charged $10 every withdrawal? Would you still withdraw the cash?

For automated teller machines that are not tied to a customer’s bank account, usage fees rose to a record of $4.52 per transaction over the past year, according to a survey from data provider Bankrate Inc. that will be released Monday. In New York and Atlanta some of the fees have topped off at $5, and can rise to as much as $8 per withdrawal under certain circumstances.

Economists and financial experts have a few hypotheses on why these fees have risen to such an extent. One of the main reasons is simply because of a lower demand for ATMs. In the last decade, debit-card withdrawals have declined 41 percent. One reason why the shift in demand might have occurred is because consumers are finding more ways to get cash free of charge. Besides going to the bank to take out cash, consumers can get cash back at local supermarkets or drugstores whenever they make a purchase. Another reason for the spike is banks being under pressure by consumers to reduce other kinds of fees, such as overdraft and certain credit card charges.

The concept of paying a fee to take out your own money is preposterous to some consumers, even those with a great amount of it. Steven Cohen, a retired computer programmer who banks with Wells Fargo, stated that paying cash for more cash is out of the question.

“I can see no reason to pay a fee unless there’s some type of emergency,” stated Cohen. When speaking to college students, I found that most students agree with Cohen. “I would rather walk a mile to the bank instead of paying a $5 fee,” stated Mike Rosa, a junior business administration major at The University.

In addition to Atlanta and New York, the Bankrate survey found that the cities with the highest ATM fees included Phoenix at $4.88, Miami at $4.84 and Milwaukee at $4.78. If anyone is visiting these cities, I would highly recommend bringing some extra cash in your wallet. Your quick stop at the local supermarket’s ATM could end up costing you the price of your lunch.

Contact the writer: james.maimone@scranton.edu

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