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What parent of a college-age child hasn't gotten the frantic call: "Send money quick!"? Some big banks are rolling out services for just that type of call for cash. Wells Fargo (WFC
) and Bank of America (BAC
) customers can now transfer funds via the Net to family and friends for free. Citibank (C
) charges $5 for a similar service it launched last year.
With the click of a mouse, cash moves from one checking or savings account to another and is available for ATM withdrawal the same day.
Before this, the best quick-cash option was a wire transfer, which cost up to $30. For now, senders and receivers must have accounts at the same bank, though Bank of America and Wells plan to offer interbank transfers next year. Gift cards can make the holiday shopping season a lot less stressful. They're easy for givers to buy, and easy for recipients to use. But many cards come with Scrooge-like fees and restrictions.
First, there are big differences between bank-affiliated and store-branded cards. Prepaid Visa, MasterCard, Discover (MWD
), and American Express (AXP
) cards issued by banks often come loaded with fees, including charges that eat away at a card's value if it isn't redeemed in a year or two. You have to pay for bank cards: $5.95 to buy a $100 Bank of America (BAC
) Visa gift card, for example. And if you use them to get cash from an ATM, you'll pay as much as $2.50 per transaction. Retailers' cards are redeemable only in the stores that issue them. However, most store-branded cards bought in person sell without an up-front fee, and expiration dates are becoming less common.
One tip: Treat all cards as cash, and always write down the ID number. That will make it a lot easier to get a replacement if the card is lost or stolen. No need to pour paint from cans with Dutch Boy's new container. Ready to Roll comes with 2.5 gallons of interior paint or primer, enough to finish a typical project. It has a zip-off top that's easy to open and close, and the built-in roller tray makes for easy cleanup. The bottom is even sloped toward the front so the last of the paint ends up where you dip the roller. If you're not sleepy and there is no place you're going to, head over to Seattle's Experience Music Project (emplive.com) to see the tambourine that inspired Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man. It's part of the rock museum's latest exhibit, "Bob Dylan's American Journey, 1956-1966," which runs through Sept. 5, 2005. The exhibit includes such artifacts as a letter Dylan wrote to the mother of his then-girlfriend, Joan Baez, in which he pretended to be Baez.