ATM Fees Add to Chicago Consumers’ Debt Woes

As if it isn't bad enough that most folks are paying upwards of 20% in credit card interest, now Chicago consumers are paying a premium to use cash, too. But it doesn't have to be that way, say Chicago bankruptcy attorneys.

It's no news that withdrawing money from another bank's ATM will result in a fee - both from your bank and the competitor whose machine you're using. Usually those fees have ranged between $2.50 and $3. But Chase recently announced it's trying out $5 ATM fees for non-customers in Illinois. If you're taking out just 20 bucks, that's the equivalent of 25% interest - even more, when you factor in the penalty your own bank will levy.

If customers are willing to pay these outrageous rates, other banks will likely follow suit. Have Americans really become so reliant on convenience that we're willing to fork over a quarter of our income just for the ease of using the nearest ATM?

If you want to keep more of your paycheck (and who doesn't?) you're going to have to put in a little more effort. Know you need money this weekend? Swing by the ATM if it's on the way home from work. When you know you'll be in the vicinity of your bank, have your deposits ready. Not only will the extra planning help save you money at the bank, it can also lower your gas bill by reducing car trips.

Another way to save money is to use your credit card for purchases, then make sure to pay off your balance each billing cycle (assuming your card doesn't charge annual maintenance fees or other excess costs, of course). But there are pros and cons to every method. If you can't trust yourself to pay off your balance - or if unexpected costs arise one month - you're going to be stuck paying interest.

In the end, getting the most of your money is about finding a method that works for you. Life is expensive enough as it is - you shouldn't have to pay to be able to spend your hard-earned dollars. If bank fees, credit card interest, and other ridiculous costs have left you with unmanageable debt, bankruptcy can help you start over. Not sure if a bankruptcy plan is right for you? Our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys can examine your finances and determine your

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