Foolishness at the ATM

I needed to get some cash to pay Oliver’s support worker, so I stopped at the ATM in The Guild on my way out the door today.

It’s been a long day, and I’ve worked hard on multiple projects; my brain isn’t at 100%. And so I put my MasterCard in the ATM instead of my credit union account card.

Because the PIN number is the same for both, I was able to blithely proceed with a withdrawal before I noticed what I’d done.

So what I got was a “cash advance” on my credit card.

I had a vague memory of reading that interest applies immediately to cash advances, so I called my credit card issuer to confirm this, and to find out how I could put the money back.

Long story short: I can’t.

Well, I can, but credit card payments work on a “last out, last in” basis, so to pay back the $200 cash advance I received means first paying back my entire outstanding credit card balance of $1800; only then do I start paying back the cash advance.

And even if I do this, I’m still out the $2 fee the ATM charged me, the $4 that my credit card issuer charges up front for cash advances, and a few days worth of interest on the $200.

Fortunately the ATM only allows withdrawals of $200 at a time, so the damage was limited.

But it’s a cautionary tale, one that will make me pay more attention the next time I groggily withdraw cash.


Neil Strickland's picture
Neil Strickland on December 5, 2017 - 17:53 Permalink

I read this post with interest (no pun intended). For the past several years, I've had a bank account, a Line of Credit and a credit card. Whenever I use an ATM (usually my bank) I have to been very careful to select the bank account when I withdraw cash.