Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Bank Problem courtesy of Wells Fargo

After yesterday telling all to not panic about the Bank Holiday, today a friend of mine called to tell me about his "Bank Holiday" problem.  My friend traveled from California to South Dakota to do some hunting, visit friends, and shop at Cabella's.  
Today he bought several hundred dollars worth of items at Cabella's and went to pay.  He pulled out his credit card.  Sorry, they don't take credit cards but he can use it as a debit card.  Not a problem, my friend just got paid plus he recently sold some cattle.  His checking account is flush with money.  DENIED!  How could it be denied?  He has as much money in his account as many people make in a year.  He called Wells Fargo.  Their entire Nationwide ATM network was down.  His thought was ok, at least there isn't a problem with his bank account.  He just pulled out his checkbook at wrote a check for the five hundred plus dollars he just spent.  No worries, except that was his last check.  He told me it didn't matter because he doesn't expect to need to use any more checks.
His logic is terribly flawed.  What if Wells Fargo ATMs are down for more than just an hour?  He doesn't have cash on him.  He expects that his check will be good no matter where he goes (if he had any more checks).  He's 2000 miles from home.  I suppose he can just charge everything...  I didn't overlook the fact that he is someplace where they don't required your life history to purchase ammunition.  Why in the world is he not paying in cash?   
My logic when traveling and how much money to carry.  Carry enough in your wallet to get you home.  Carry enough in your bug-out bag to get you home.  Carry enough in your vehicle to get you home.  Carry enough in your secret compartment in your jacket or pants to get you home.  This means you need to carry three to four times the amount of cash you think you need to get you home.  I'm not saying you can't charge things or use the ATM card.  Just be prepared for when cash talks.  Yes, I also carry some silver coin, but I don't really expect (but do prepare for) that I will be so far away from home that I can't make it back prior to all currency being worthless. 

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