atmThere’s a bigger point here than a $5.50 savings.

I have a several accounts with Wells Fargo Bank including one that allows me to use ‘foreign’ ATM’s without incurring an additional fee.

I used to think that the fee was only what the competitor’s bank charged for my use of their ATM–as much as $3.00 per visit. But, a month ago I found myself with little cash and the need to get some in a neighborhood that was Wells Fargo-less. I remembered that special card, popped it in for my cash withdrawal, pushed the OK button acknowledging the $3.00 surcharge, appreciating that as a valued customer it would be removed from my the transaction by the time it reached my account.

It was not removed. To add insult to injury, Wells Fargo charged me an additional $2.50 for the ‘foreign’ transaction.

After many phone calls that made me feel less like a platinum customer than I already did, it was resolved. I had been issued the cards in Connecticut, and the New York City banks were not recognizing my special status. Wells Fargo generously, and wisely, refunded my money and explained that if I opened a NY-based account specifically, I could approach ‘foreign’ ATM’s three times a month free of charge. I partook of that agreement.

I had held onto that new card for awhile when I began getting notices that I should initiate it by using it or calling in to have it confirmed. I didn’t really need cash in any outside neighborhood, but figured I’d give it a shot to begin the process. But then I hesitated. Are they (Wells Fargo) just going to reimburse me the $2.50 per transaction for using a ‘foreign’ machine? Will I still be charged the $3.00 fee from the competitor? I hate using an ATM to just get out a small amount of money and paying percentage-wise a larger amount. I don’t mind losing $3.00 if I’m taking out $300, but resent it if I’m only withdrawing $60 to test the system.

This took up space in my head for at least a week. I didn’t want to spend any additional time going through a phone chain to ask that question, and the website is hopeless for finding out that specific piece of information. I finally got tough with myself and thought, “Here’s a $3.00 investment in banking knowledge. Once I do this, I’ll know.” Sure enough, I withdrew $100 and accepted the $3.00 fee at Chase.

The good news was that when I did my daily online accounting the next day, I saw that the $3.00 fee was reversed by Wells Fargo, and there was no additional fee added. The transaction cost me nothing. And took me a week of stewing and fretting to even attempt.

Now, if you can’t indentify with this on some level, then my hat’s off to you. Because every (truth-telling) entrepreneur I’ve ever spoken to has allowed this kind of pre-meditatitive thinking to stall action on things way more important than a $3.00 bank fee. Not knowing the answers is a scary place to be, but inaction is an even more frightening location to operate from.

Now, if I would just take my own advice more often. I know the answer to analysis paralysis.  It is ACTION. Do something and get a result. Then move on from there.

All progress is a matter of baby steps. What millimeter action forward do you need to take today?

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