Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Stalking the wild NetBank ATM

I'm traveling this week -- Seattle for fun, Santa Clara for work -- which means blogging will probably be light. But I just had a wacky personal-finance moment. I'm at the Santa Clara Convention Center (for EclipseCon) and stopped at one of the convention center ATMs to snag cash. While it was processing, it flashed a commercial. For NetBank. *Blink.* I'm used to thinking of my bank as this semi-obscure thing. My first thought was that running my NetBank card somehow triggered a NetBank ad, but then I noticed the ATM was NetBank-branded. I've never seen a NetBank ATM in the wild! As mentioned before, I'm used to sucking it up and paying ATM fees (on the front-end only, not the back) whenever I withdraw cash.

Yes yes, I realise this is a financially unwise move, but I really like my bank, and for a long stretch it just didn't have any in-network ATMs in NYC. It was "pay the fees or switch banks." Plus, I'm lazy, and relatively willing to pay the fees for the convenience of going to the very nearest ATM (rather than hunting for one associated with my bank) when I need cash. I think the fees should be a hell of a lot less, but that's a whole other blogpost.

But this NetBank ATM prompted me to go take a look and see where others might be hiding. It seems my little bank got big when I wasn't paying attention -- their website claims they operate the second-largest ATM network in the U.S. They even appear to have a few near-ish my office in Manhattan now! Who knew?

It was a slightly surreal feeling getting money out of the ATM ... and not paying a surcharge. ($2, on this ATM. Bad NetBank! Stop price gouging!) Now I want to go play with the free ATM again and again. It's like my own little slot machine.