Technology throws at us many ways of making our financial lives easier though it can be the direct opposite. Picture a fellow who with only one job has four bank accounts just because he could not resist the allure of a bank salesperson begging them to open an account because they can get a loan.
The fellow has an equal set of ATM cards, bulging out of their wallets. They make it a point to show them off to whoever cares.
The same applies to credit cards to those who have access. Such fellows suffer from the disease of showing off and most of the time cannot afford to own such a variety of financial instruments, in fact they do not know that they cannot afford them.
Let’s say for every ATM transaction, you lose two hundred francs, the more you keep withdrawing small quantities to keep up appearances in restaurants, bars etc , the more you lose your money.
ATMs and credit cards are tools of financial converse. If you have an emergency in the middle of the night then the ATM card is the ultimate solution.
But if your emergencies extend to joining friends for the sudden trip to Lake Kivu over the weekend or the frequent offering of loans to friends for transport every time they find it hard going financially, then they become tools of financial misuse.
Remember that the bank would like to encourage you to get an ATM so that you can withdraw money as many times as possible – that is how they make their money. If your saving account has an ATM don’t move with it. In fact it is not advisable to carry around easy access to a savings account.
By the month’s beginning, you should have your monthly budget ready such that you withdraw specific amounts for specific spending and if possible, a lump sum to take care of several things to reduce the number of transactions. Don’t withdraw money daily for your transport, instead withdraw for a specific period like a week and take only what is enough to carry every day.
Be in the habit of requesting for your bank statement at the end of a fixed period, say a month, and see how much money goes to transactional bank charges.
ATMs can be good or bad – the important thing is to know how to exploit their benefits and avoid the pitfalls.