AndyO Blog

Saturday, January 23, 2010

ARCO's ATM is anything but convenient

On Thursday, on my way to get car tabs, I stopped at an ARCO gas station to get gas and cash. I pulled up to the pump and inserted my debit card into the ATM. Of course, there was a 45-cent convenience fee (actually not bad for a cash machine).

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After I started pumping gas, I examined the ATM a little more; it soon became clear that there wasn't an option to get any cash from this machine. I was paying 45-cents for the convenience of using ARCO's gas pump, which is odd because Shell and Chevron don't charge extra fees for using their gas pump. 

I felt a little swindled by ARCO. I think most people would agree that an ATM should include the ability to spit out some cash. Even if you pay with a debit card at Safeway or 7-11, there's usually an option to get back some cash. And they don't charge you a convenience fee.

What does ARCO have to say about this? Here's their website, which says this about how convenient their gas stations are:

Straight up convenience.

You can pay on the gas island with cash or your ATM card using PayQuick, It�s an easy way to purchase at the pump to get in, out and on your way quickly.

To avoid the 45-cent convenience fee, use your ARCO Debit MasterCard. Plus you can earn reward points when you use it!

Because I was in a hurry (and I needed cash for the emissions test you have to get in Washington state), I went inside to see if they had a real ATM. They did, but now they wanted $2.00 for the convenience of withdrawing cash.

I don't know about you, but I don't find $2.00 in fees very convenient. Which is why I won't be visiting ARCO again anytime soon. I also recommend that ARCO change the language on their pumps to be more accurate. For example:

Pay with cash or debit card

The worst part was that I did pay the $2.00 convenience fee at the real ATM, because I was in a hurry. I know that ARCO was counting on this, but you would think they'd be interested in forming a long-term relationship with me so I'd be willing to return to their store and buy snacks -- because that's where the real profit is.

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posted by AndyO @ 4:49 PM   4 comments