Don't pay to get cash!

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[ Oops! This was Wednesday's entry, but we mistakenly didn't publish it. We'll be back on our MWF (does not mean married white female) schedule next week. -- Zed ]

I remember well the dark ages before the ATM.

In the carefree days before I was old enough to be a schoolkid back in the Seventies, I accompanied my mom the housewife with the weekly errand running, which always started with the bank. Even better was its state-of-the-art drive thru. It always amazed me that we could perform the whole transaction from the car, so far away from the actual bank itself. And the best part was that the teller would always enclose a lollipop in the vacuum tube for me at the end.

Then the ATM came on the scene in the Eighties. It worked out, as long as you didn't get cash from a machine that didn't belong to your bank. Outrage alert: in western Europe, people are not charged to use an ATM! Whether or not it's your bank. The only fee I pay when I access cash in Europe is to my American bank, whose bankers obviously have much better summer homes than their European counterparts.

These days I have an account at a credit union, but there are thousands of ATMs I can use for free, via their credit union network, as well as 7-11 stores, which is quite a boon.

I want to remind people that there's no reason you should pay money simply to get your hard-earned cash. It's something I just don't believe in.

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