No place like my bank

Private ATM fees drain public students’ wallets

Graphic by: Jordan Lodge | Production Manager

ATM fees are annoying. Plain and simple. In most cities, there are easy ways around them and alternatives that are free but right now in Big Rapids, there are few other options than paying to withdraw money. The most prevalent ATM that students are familiar with are Huntington Banks throughout Ferris State’s campus. This is a leftover of a previous partnership that still has traces on campus today.

Not long ago, students had the ability to access a checking account with their student identification card if they chose to create a corresponding Huntington Bank checking account. Other benefits that came for students who had an account with Huntington is that they could receive their financial aid a few days before other students.

When I re-enrolled at Ferris this year, I was looking into whether I should open an account with Huntington so I would not have to worry about stretching out my savings. I had worked during the summer but had to take out a private loan to help cover parts of tuition and housing. The sooner I could get my reimbursement to my apartment complex, the better it would be. So I called around and was informed that is no longer an issue. Disbursement is on the same day for all who have direct deposit setup. However, Huntington is still making money off of Ferris students in an unfair way.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. You’re in the library and you need to print something for you next class. You don’t have any funds on your printing account and you don’t have any cash in your wallet. There is an ATM in the lounge at the library so you go to that. The fee is $3.50 per transaction. There’s no point in withdrawing $20 because the machine that loads your print deposit does not have the ability to give change. In the end, you take out a 10 dollar bill, add that to your printing account and call it good. Well with that you spent 35 percent more money than you were planning to.

The simple work around for this is to just create a Huntington account, right? Well what about the students this is inconvenient for? My direct deposit for multiple accounts is tied to a credit union back in my hometown. That same account is used for all my bills, car loan, credit, etc. I could try to manage a little money over to another bank but that would be incredibly inconvenient and completely unnecessary.

Ferris State is a public institution that is funded by public money and tuition. Currently, it is promoting a private institution and in a way that directly affects how an individual would choose to manage their finances. It just feels wrong. Ideally, the ATMs on campus would be a part of a network that allow anyone to withdraw from it using whichever ATM network that would be of the best service to students. Whether that would be through Co-Op, Jeanie or another provider, reasonable fees would at least be a welcome change.