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May 15th, 2010 4:59 pm
Congress Wants to Limit Your Access to Cash

Of course, they’re not framing it that way.  Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and other Democratic Senators have proposed an amendment to the financial reform package to cap customer ATM fees.  But CNNMoney reports, “some experts suggest that capping fees might result in more harm than good for consumers.”

I realize the free market is too difficult for Senators to understand, but do we really need an “expert” to explain what the consequence of this would be?  ATM’s are a convenience because we’re too busy or lazy to walk inside our bank.  I know my bank doesn’t charge me to use their ATM’s, but other banks will charge me for the convenience of using theirs.  Banks provide more ATM’s because they know that people will go to the closest ATM in a pinch, even if it’s not their bank’s machine.  Customer gets convenience.  Bank makes a few bucks.

By capping these fees, banks will have far less incentive to provide extra ATM’s.  So the next time you are strapped for cash, there may not be a cashbox right around the corner.  And guess what?  Not only will competitor banks cut back their ATM’s, but so will your own bank where, if you’re like me, you can withdraw your cash for free.

Stop trying to help, Congress.  You’ve done far too much already.

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