Tuesday, July 31

Bank of America, At Least Some Parts

I have accounts with several banks, and when you count credit cards, there are even more banks with which I deal. The problem is that these banks are not everywhere in America (including Bank of America), and that means fees if you need cash.


I was in Wisconsin, needing $100 to attend a local county fair. I'd gotten an offer from my in-laws to borrow some cash and then pay it back later. However, the fact that I have several bank accounts led me to think I should be able to access MY money just as easily. Not quite.

I looked for my nearest Bank of America branch or ATM. It was over 50 miles away in Illinois. I don't go to Illinois when I don't have to, and this trip would have cost me $20 in gas money. The problem is that the only bank debit card I had was BoA. One of my other banks is Chase, and there was a Chase branch a few miles away, but since there was no Chase branch in Kansas when we lived there, I decided to try a more local bank in Jax. I did this partially because of the free museum offer with Bank of America, but that's been kind of a bust, anyhow. I never use the Chase bank card, so I didn't bring it, if I even have one anymore.

I have learned that there are Chase Banks in Jacksonville. Maybe it makes sense to move all my money to one bank, especially since Bank of America has been less than stellar for us, even before the inability to get cash in Wisconsin. The location on Monument is just annoying -- several personal bankers sitting around while one employee rudely runs the main desk.

So I did not have a Chase card, and there was no way for me to use my banking app to get money, besides electronic funds. The fair only took cash. I could have gotten the cash through my credit card, but I ended up doing that when my bank card failed in Europe, so I know about fees for using credit cards. Paypal was another source of money that didn't seem to have a cash option. I probably could have sold something on Craigslist, but that's not really a wise financial choice.

Ironically, I ended up getting cash from Chase using my Bank of America card. Chase charged me $3.00, and BoA charged another $2.50 for the convenience. All I can say is screw both of them, really. It was an electronic transfer that cost each bank $.01. I'd like to fire both banks, but once you get autopay set up and all that, it's hard to get away.

If you think you're getting a true American bank with Bank of America, or even free ATM usage across America, think again. Same goes for Chase or any other bank. You might be able to use ATMs for free when using a credit card, but that's just silly. ATMs are called TYME Machines in Wisconsin, by the way. I am sure at least one of my banks at some point over the years offered free ATM usage at all kinds of locations around the country, but it certainly wasn't Bank of America. I wouldn't expect it, either, since I am sure there are beach houses for executives to purchase, and I'd really hate to eat into the bank's bottom line.

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