Thursday, 26 April 2012

Bank Inflation

A few years ago Bank of Montreal (BMO) added a new feature to their ATMs, I think it is called "Fast Cash" and it used to just dispense $40 and then spit out your card right away; this eliminates lots of steps, like the ATM asking if you want to do another interaction or if you want a receipt. (I actually rarely use this feature.) I noticed the other day that this amount has skyrocketed. Some machines now say they dispense $60 for their "Fast Cash" feature and at others I have seen $100.  Doesn't this just encourage people to carry more money and spend more? Is that in a banks best interest? Perhaps, through focus groups, or trends, or something, they determined that these amounts were preferred by customers instead of the original $40.

I just researched this ATM feature online, yes I do things like that when I'm curious. The BMO website now says that some ATM machines have a feature on them that you can program ATM customizations into your card. This includes language preferences but also the amount you want the ATM to suggest for the "Fast Cash" option. Then instead of just "Fast Cash" and the amount selected by the bank you get the option of  "My Usual Fast Cash" and the amount that you have programed. I don't think I have a usual amount so won't be doing this but I think it is cool to see these slight changes in machines that we basically take for granted.

Side note: I swear I have been places in Europe where ATMs did not have fees at the machine (just charged quietly afterwards by your own bank back home.) However, my brief research on this fact doesn't seem to outline where I would have been, since most places have the fees when you are using a bank's ATM other than your own. Also, Yen and I got in a huge debate before we left for China since I wasn't taking much cash (actually only the Yan that Taylor and Kristen had given me.) I insisted that I would pull from an ATM once we got there and that was the easiest and often cheapest way to do it - he insisted that my card would not work. Of course it worked and I still believe that when traveling pulling cash from a foreign ATM with your bank card is pretty much the best way to do it.

1 comment:

Fae said...

I feel like when I was in Ireland, they didn't charge me a fee at the ATM, but I was just charged by my bank back home. Maybe I'm just forgetting, though.

Also, the Fast Cash option has been around as long as I've had a bank account, I believe, but I did notice the other day there was a $200 option. Who needs $200 FAST? Unless you're on the run.