Cash advances are sometimes the definite convenience of choice, especially when the need for the cash precursors an important event. Dinner at a favorite restaurant; getting those coveted movie tickets; being impromptu and taking a quick cruise around town. These are all reasons why you would find it necessary to have cash on you or at least quick access to cash to spend. Little conveniences like accessible ATM machines make being spontaneous and having both flexible and doable.
Possibly one of the biggest drawbacks to this ATM cash withdrawal spontaneity would be those often steep fees that come with withdrawing cash. Small ticket items like dinner out, or gas for a road trip may not require significant cash withdrawals. However there are some purchases and some situations that require you to access your cash in large sums. A cash advance transaction allows a person to withdraw cash from their bank accounts or ATM machines in large amounts. Very often however, a person would need to go inside of their financial institution to make a cash advance since it would be necessary to sign the appropriate paperwork before being given the money.
Cash advances are treated in many ways like small, personal loans, and often have a significant interest rate fee attached to them. Fees can vary significantly from one institution to the other, but they generally stay around the same percentage rate in order to stay competitive with other banking facilities. If an individual has a major credit card, he can use that card to make a withdrawal against the card and receive cash in a transaction. The convenience of using an ATM machine to access their credit line is what is so attractive for this type of convenience.
Using the credit card works essentially the same way that it does for the holder of a debit card. They simply insert the card into the ATM machine, enter their PIN number onto the keypad and continue with his transaction. Whether that transaction is to withdraw money or transfer funds, the transaction is handled just like a personal loan, and the person making the transaction would have to agree to the terms stated before they’re allowed to continue with their transaction.
Now, just because the convenience of the transaction is so simple does not negate the other things that have to be done before the transaction is complete. There is still the need for the banking system to verify that the funds that are requested are indeed available for the person to withdraw. This means, that if the person who is attempting to make the withdrawal does not have enough available cash in the account, they are denied access to the funds. The same thing of course happens with transactions that are going to involve moving money from one account to another or any variation of that type of issue. However, if the customer has allowed for another type of access service on his account, he can in fact withdraw the money if the requested amount is not available in his deposit account.
Making a cash advance, which is an advance against the person’s major credit card, can still access the cash withdrawal where the money is not readily available. The cash that is withdrawn is charged to the person’s credit card account and statement, and a date is set for the person to repay back the withdrawal amount.
Economic conditions have caused cash advances to steadily become a preferred convenience item, and banks and ATMs profit from that convenience with their fee policies. And although the fees can vary and can be somewhat high, that does not deter the need or preference for individuals to use that route.Read More
Credit cards are often used as a matter of convenience rather than need. It’s easier and sometimes safer to pay for some goods and services with a credit card than it is to walk around with wads of money in your wallet. They’re a matter of convenience too because you get to thoroughly review your credit cards statement before paying it, which gives you time to go over each line item very carefully. If there is suspicious activity, you can alert your credit card company right away. If there has been fraudulent activity, your credit card company will oftentimes reverse the charges or hold any accruing interest on that particular charge until the matter has been investigated. Credit cards also make it easier for you to budget and spend, especially if you’re accustomed to recording your exact transactions.
With debit cards, they are too a matter of convenience, but that convenience is recognized in a different way. With debit cards, you can only spend what is available on the card or in your bank account. In other words, if the dollar amount is not available in transferable cash, you are prohibited from making the transaction. There is no “extension” granted to you or other withdrawals. Only what is available is what is accessible. However, debit cards can bring you a lot of convenience, especially if you prefer NOT to use your credit cards and you have cash in your debit card account.
So, which one is better to use? When? Why?
Is there really a question when it comes to whether or not to use credit cards versus debit cards? Many would think so, especially considering the sometimes exorbitant rates that accompany credit cards. With interest rates that can sometimes go as high as 33%, using a credit card can be extremely costly to do. However, with credit cards, if you carry a balance over from one month to the next, you may find yourself with a “growing” bottom line instead of a shrinking one. This means mounting debt that can sometimes be overwhelming. But for the highly-disciplined individuals who can and do pay their credit cards off from one month to the next, this is not a problem, and they never have that insurmountable, hard-to-conquer-debt problem.
Also, like what was mentioned earlier, using a credit card in lieu of a debit card is the ultimate fraud protection. If there is suspicious activity on your account, you are only obligated to pay the bank for the charges that you ARE in agreement with. The other amount(s) are placed under investigation until it’s resolved. And until that time, you are not responsible for them. This is a great thing to have happen if there is a fraud situation, as it does not tie up your funds for lengthy periods of time.
By contrast, if someone gets a hold of your debit cards and makes a fraudulent transaction, that money is immediately deducted from your bank account. Although there are some financial institutions that provide policies and protection for some cases, in general, once the funds are gone, they’re gone. It’s far easier to pay a credit card balance with money that you DO have than it is to try and recoup money that really is yours!
A credit card also helps individuals to build a solid credit history and reputation. Credit cards can also be used as payment holders to book hotels, rental cars, concert tickets, etc. If there are circumstances surrounding the purchase that would cause there to be refunds, it’s much easier to eliminate that transaction from the credit card than it is to request refunds from a rental car pre-payment or to cancel an airline flight reservation.
Instances where it’s not wise to use credit cards are the times when the person knows that they cannot or will not be able to repay the balance within 30 days, or 60 days at the most. This is when interest rates start to climb exponentially and can become overwhelming. For situations where discipline and reasoning are necessary, credit cards should be avoided and debit cards used instead. Of course, that is, within reason as well.
Cash for Convenience
It’s a matter of convenience when you want to withdraw cash from an ATM machine. You may find yourself in a cash crunch and need access to cash right away. Whether it’s to pay a bill or for some cash for last-minute spending, the convenience of the cash machine can be a glorious, welcoming site!
However, cash machines can also bring a bit of angst with their conveniences. Meaning that sometimes when you have to or find that you need to withdraw particularly large amounts of cash, you may find that there are imposed limits on just how much cash you can retrieve. Why is that? Is it fair? After all, since it is your money, how can the ATM machine or the banking facility impose a limit on your money and block you from getting what’s yours?
Locating Cash Machines
There are some cash machines that will tell you or show you the daily limit that you can retrieve from that particular machine. What some customers will attempt to try is to go to several different ATMs and try to withdraw their cash requirements and try to skirt around the imposed limit. They are usually not always successful because the cash restrictions are not tied to the cash machine itself, but rather to the account for which the transaction is tied to. That means that no matter how many machines are visited, the limit will follow the account and not the transaction.
Why Cash Limits Are Imposed
So why is it then that there are limits imposed? Simply put, for security reasons. By implementing a cash withdrawal threshold for each account, this guarantees that a someone who has wrongfully gained access to the person’s account will not empty the account out.
This is especially good news for the person who has either lost their ATM card or find that it has been stolen. If this were to ever happen, the person of course would notify the bank immediately when they discover this. However, at that point it is theoretically possible that the thief can essentially withdraw all of the money from the account, whether that amount is $100 or $100,000. But with limits, there is a cutoff, and the person’s account would essentially be affected by that amount.
Customers and ATM Protection
Stolen cards would become void and deactivated, and then eventually replaced by the bank for the customers. So the person who stole the card would not be able to use it to access the individual’s account, and there are no worries about the account being completely emptied. In the case where there may have been money stolen, the ATM and banking institution will usually have insurance to cover against these losses, and the banking customer would be reimbursed for any losses.
Free-standing ATM machines very often don’t have human security systems, such as guards or uniformed policemen. They have security cameras that record traffic activity and that also monitor any activity from the machine. Therefore, if there is any suspicious activity milling around the machine, the camera will record it and aid in any investigative attempts at fraudulent behavior.
ATM machines will also sometimes display a notice stating the amount of money that the cash machine holds, or, what the daily withdrawal amounts are per customer. They do this for two reasons; 1.) to deter any criminal activity with anyone thinking that the ATM machine contains a substantial amount of money, and 2) to keep customers aware of limits so that they can guard against any ATM suspicious activities like skimming or stalking. Also, ATM machines will sometimes post notices stating that the machines are stocked every 24 hours, also in an effort to discourage suspicious activity in thinking that the machines are full of monies.
ATM fees are just one of those touchy subjects that can make even the meekest of personalities take a turn and show a wild side. That could be mainly because ATM fees vary so widely from one ATM owner to the next and from one financial institution to the next. This can make it virtually impossible sometimes to get a reasonable grip on what’s fair to outrageous to pay. Of course, for the customer, fees are about paying the lowest amount as possible. But for the ATM owner, fees are an integral part of doing business, so while there is a desire to be reasonable, they must also stay competitive in the market just to stay on level with other ATM institutions.
While assessing ATM fees are certainly an important part of doing business, they’re not always welcomed or embraced by customers. There can be a lot of complaining about the rates, and even requests for refunds from customers who may decide to challenge the fee amounts based on several criteria. At any rate, the ATM owner has to become creative at ways to keep his customers happy enough to continue doing business with his establishment. And, at the same time, the owner must try to develop a workable solution that will keep a crucial and much-needed revenue stream coming into his financial business.
ATM advertising is a possible solution that owners can implement that may help to solve some of the customers concerns. It’s an on-screen video message where the customer agrees to watch a pre-recorded advertising message in return for reduced or an elimination of ATM surcharges. The customer is given this option when they begin making their transaction, so there are no worries that the commercial will just simply “play” for them, without their permission. Infringement on a customer’s time in that way can be annoying, so ATM owners want to be sure be aware of that possibility and offer the customers options.
With this type of marketing and advertising, both the customer and the ATM owner are appeased on different levels; the advertiser for agreeing to play the advertising video compensates the ATM owner, and the customer (possibly) pays a significantly reduced bank fee in exchange for watching the advertiser’s sales pitch. The sales pitch usually won’t take any longer to view than it would to make an ATM transaction, so there is no lengthy, inordinate amount of time spent watching video commercials while standing at the ATM machine. Usually, the ads will be anywhere from 10-30 seconds, just enough time to capture the customer’s attention and make a lasting sales impression.
The ATM owner and the advertiser will work out and negotiate the terms of the advertising contract. They will determine how long, how frequently and what style of commercial is best suited for the machines. Varying factors can determine ad costs, which is why negotiation is crucial. Since this type of advertising is vastly different from print or even television advertising, it’s important to look at the overall marketing package in terms of quality, relevance and style and not just length. For instance, in some cases, the advertiser will need to negotiate the rate based on the length of the commercial, whether it’s 10 seconds or 60 seconds, especially if it’s for a well-known product or brand.
Coupons and More Savings
Another feature that gets the customers attention is the tear-off coupon that’s at the bottom of their banking receipt. These receipts are good for other services or products that are with local businesses in the area, encouraging customers to keep their business with local establishments. This also incentivizes the business owners to place ads with the ATM machines, especially if they’re trying to target a certain demographic or entice the foot traffic that surrounds the area where the ATM is located.
What makes these types of transactions so worthwhile is because the advertisements are targeted specifically to ATM-style audiences, so it’s something (a product or a service) that would interest the customer. The customer does however have the option to “opt-out” of the feature and choose to not watch the videos. If the customer does go this route, they usually will have to agree to pay the ATM fees.
Stealing money from an ATM machine? Does that really happen?
While that does sound like a ridiculous attempted feat given the level of security that ATM machines have, there are some potential criminals who still try to find and exploit any weaknesses in an ATM’s system in order to gain access.
Stealing money from an ATM machine is undoubtedly an attempt that has been tried numerous times. But much to the would-be criminal’s chagrin, it is to no avail. There aren’t any successful ATM heists that you will likely read about in your local newspapers. There won’t be any television news reports about how savvy criminals got away with successfully removing the money from any ATM machine. It just doesn’t happen, and for good reason, no doubt.
Owner and Their Machines
When ATM owners initially set up their cash machines, they are advised to invest in equipment that has the latest software technology, physical locks and vaults and other enhancements that would deter criminal activity. Since most well-made ATM machines generally have safeguards in place as basic features, it behooves the owner to ensure that their machines do in fact have proper security. ATM machine owners can take solace in knowing that the machines have durable, comprehensive security cabinets and vaults that have been made to meet proper standards.
There are two prominent types of security that you will find present on most machines. These are the Business Hours security vault and the 24 Hours Level security vault. Both types of protection offer the owner different protection levels, but basically have the same security. Different business environments and traffic levels will dictate what the best fit may be for the protection levels.
Machines built for ATM needs are known as the UL 291 Standard, which are designed by Underwriters Laboratories. The company is responsible for rating and product-testing consumer goods like home appliances and electrical goods. Investing in a UL 291 Standard ensures that the machine is well-designed to withstand attacks and to protect the contents of the machine.
Business Hours ATM Vault
The Business Hours ATM machines are designed to hold and protect cash where transactions are made during normal business hours. In these instances, there is usually someone on the premises like a manager or an owner who can monitor the machine during the day. Therefore, at the end of the business day, the cash is safely removed from the machine and moved to other locations.
24-Hour Level 1 ATM Vault
The design and structure of the 24 Hour Level 1 ATM machine is designed to withstand inordinate amounts of potential attacks, drilling or any maneuver launched in an attempt to try and gain access to the system. About 300 pounds is what these machines generally weigh, and are also designed to withstand physical pressure loads of up to 50,000 psi.
Foil the Criminal
There are substantially hefty fines and possible jail time that are associated with any criminal activity associated with tampering with ATM machines. This alone is sometimes enough to discourage any would-be criminal. But even the possibility of being caught and punished, it’s is still not enough of a deterrent for some criminal-minded individuals. Thankfully for ATM owners, however, the ATM machines are now equipped with specialized internal and external equipment and enhanced software that can make the machines virtually impossible to steal. The machines are sometimes even bolted down in the area where they’re found, in order to discourage theft. Even in the unlikely event that the thief successfully unmounts the machine from its foundation, it is virtually impossible for him to penetrate the machine to break it in order to get to its cash content. In some cases, even the attempt is punishable by law and the individual can be incarcerated.Read More