Pros and Cons for Cash Machines and ATMs

ATMs are simply machines, or tools that can be used or abused depending on your degree of financial responsibility. Before ATMs became widespread, consumers had to think ahead in order to make sure they had enough cash on hand for all the purchases they wanted to make. Now that ATMs are widespread, it is much easier to withdraw cash but it is also more difficult to control spending.

Easy Availability: Pro

ATMs make it possible for you to make purchases that might otherwise have been impossible from merchants who do not accept checks or credit cards. This is particularly useful when you discover a one of a kind item at a flea market or thrift store that may not be available in a few days, or the length of time it might take you to come back with cash if there were no readily available ATM. The proximity of an ATM allows you to have more spontaneity in your spending decisions. Banks are often open during working hours, so if you work a conventional schedule it can be difficult to withdraw cash any time you need it.

Easy Availability: Con

The easy availability of ATMs make it difficult to control your spending habits. The amount of money you can withdraw from an ATM is limited only by the balance in your bank account and the ATM's daily limit. If you tend to spend money impulsively, this makes it difficult to avoid spending more than you should. In addition, the presence of ATMs provides the impression that you can always get more cash when you need it, lessening the need to budget and conserve. If you have plenty of money this may not be an issue, but if you need to save in order to cover basic expenses it can be a problem.

Service Charges

ATM service charges can run from less than a dollar to several dollars per transaction. These fees can add up if you use ATMs regularly, and they are unnecessary if you plan ahead and make sure you have cash on hand. When you pay a service charge for using an ATM, you are spending money for the convenience of having readily available cash, but you ultimately end up with less cash to spend because of the amounts you are charged in fees.