|ATM cards are, without
argument, one of the most convenient things ever invented.
You can do your banking at the market, or at school, or
outside the theater... You can do your banking on
the weekend at 2 a.m. ... You don't have to drive
to the bank and wait in line to ask a teller for 20
think they are wonderful too because they don't have to
pay a teller to talk to you. Dealing with you now
costs them WAY less than it did before. And the
best thing is that they can charge you all sorts of
Wait... It costs them way
less to serve you... But they charge you MORE for
it? Welcome to the real world of business, my
But, some banks and credit
unions don't charge you for using certain ATM machines
-- you just have to look for a certain logo on the
machine (like a star).
When you pick a bank or credit
union, this is one big thing you want to ask about.
Because being able to use ATM's is great and saves so
Unless you don't go
hog wild about being able to access your money too
Having easy access to cash is
THE best way to blow through it quickly! Cash in
the wallet is a dangerous thing. And having those
twenties magically spit out of that machine really does
make it seem like they're coming from some far off world
called Moneyland... But, remember, they're coming
straight out of your very finite paycheck.
Debit cards are ATM cards that
you can use to make purchases. You just swipe them
through one of those cool machine-thingies by the cash
register and you get to walk out with the merchandise.
Again, this might make it feel like you are getting free
So, what's the best way to not
go nuts with all this easy money stuff? Keep track
of every penny you spend! I'll tell you how when
you get to the "Be
Smart & Rich" stuff.
Debit and ATM cards just look
like credit cards. They may even have a VISA or
MasterCard logo. To keep just anyone from being
able to use your card (like if you lose it), the bank
will give you a PIN
Number.) It's usually
4 or 5 digits and you'll type it into the machine (ATM
machine or at the cash register) when you make a
transaction. You can also use your PIN to do your
banking by phone! This is an easy way for you to
check account balances and make transfers. (I love
modern technology!) But, again, be sure to ask if
there are fees for all this neat stuff!
Big PIN mistake
#1? To write your PIN on your ATM card!
Duh! Don't do that!
Big PIN mistake #2? To
keep your PIN in your wallet! Don't do that! (This is the first
place the thief will look! They figure, if you
were dumb enough to lose your wallet...)
You need to just memorize that
puppy! Just to be safe (in case something happens
to you), you might want to give it to someone you really
trust (like a parent).
search for a good bank using our Google "safe
search" option. Or you can search for a different
topic on Finance FREAK. A new window will open
with your results.