CONVENIENCE: what does that mean to you? In today’s fast paced world convenience is an important factor for many people as they go about their daily routine.

For some, convenience is not the first consideration. Some people may go to a particular gas station for the price or the brand of gas. Some go to a certain grocery store because they like the variety in the store or the meat or produce they can get there.

woman at ATM

However, there may be times when convenience takes precedent, such as when your tank is almost empty and you stop at the next most convenient gas station, where the price is a little higher. Or you may just need a quart of milk, or loaf of bread, and stop at the local “convenience” store where you can run in and out instead of into the larger grocery store. In each of these cases you make the decision to pay a little more, if needed, for the convenience. We all make decisions every day based on many factors, some we can plan ahead while others can come up on us unexpectedly.

An example of convenience today is “bagged salad”. People will pay a higher price for lettuce, or a mix of salad greens, that have already been cut, shredded, and washed, in order to avoid preparing their own salad. The extra steps involved in putting together that “bagged salad” add expense to the final product.

So what does all of this have to do with getting MY money from MY account?

Well, think about this: where did you deposit your money? When you go to the financial institution to withdraw your money, do they charge a fee? Granted, there may be fees associated with the type of account you have, but they are normally not tied to withdrawing cash from the account.

The arrival of ATMs in the early 1980s made it very convenient for customers to obtain cash without having to go into their branch (when it was open), write a check, wait on line, see a teller, wait for the teller to process the check and hand you the cash. You could walk up to an ATM (24 hours a day), and access your cash very quickly.

Then, with the growth of ATM Networks, you were able to get YOUR money at virtually thousands of ATMs throughout the country and the entire world, regardless of what bank provided them.

So how does your money get from your account, into your hands at an ATM across the country? It is through an elaborate network of computer software and machines, (including the ATM) that allow for the transfer of the money in your account to the ATM you are using within minutes.

For the convenience of being able to access your money throughout the world, yes there is a fee to cover the expense of that elaborate network.

For those who wish to withdraw their cash from the place it was deposited, there is no fee, even though there is the convenience of access through an ATM at your financial Institution 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Robert Foster