My money mistake cost me $27 in cash advance fees

Woman using ATM

I'm supposed to be an expert on both personal finance and the Jersey Shore, yet I made a big mistake that ended up costing me.

Recently, I was in Atlantic City for the New Jersey Conference on Tourism. I wrote two books about the area and decided to head to my favorite oyster bar, which is on a different part of the island.

So I slipped my ID, a credit card and some cash into my pocket, and hopped into a cab.

I don't carry my full wallet because I like to travel light, and I only bring my credit card because it offers more fraud protections should I have my pocket picked.

I soon realized my mistake.

According to the valet at my destination, cabs in Atlantic City do not take credit cards. And those rides are relatively expensive.

I quickly hit the max they can charge for one ride -- $13 -- even though I traveled less than three miles. I had only $20 in my pocket.

But I had to get back to my hotel eventually, so I was forced to go the most expensive route possible: Take out a cash advance via the casino.

The smallest denomination I could withdraw was $100. In return, the casino charged me a $16.99 fee. Then my credit card charged me a $10 fee.

So that's $26.99 to get $100.

That's terrible.

Plus, it's considered a cash advance, with a 19.24% APR.

I could rail about how the Atlantic City cabs should accept credit cards, but they really have no incentive to do so.

Most of their customers are casino patrons, and, as my example proves, casinos make big money when someone needs cash, whether to gamble or catch a ride, so why would they pressure the drivers to allow me to swipe?

And the drivers would have to pay fees to take cards, cutting into their bottom line.

No, what this shows is that, even though we are moving to using cash less often, we pay dearly for it, whether it's the fees charged by Paypal to swap money or being forced to take a cash advance just to get back to a hotel room.

I'll carry more cash next time I'm in Atlantic City, because I don't want to pay more than $50 just to go six miles.

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