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I am sure some of us have seen the meme about the "First National Bank of GameStop". Now at first it sounds very funny and hilarious, which it is, but I'm in a special scenario where I am located in pretty much nowhere where I am hundreds of miles from civilization thanks to my wife wanting to move closer to her family so she can inherit her parents land.

Well my town only has two banks that are owned by the same company, both of which (please do not ask) I cannot be on the premises. While there isn't much of a reason to have cash on me, the times I do need cash, it's very difficult for me. After reading that meme and truly feeling my situation, it doesn't actually seem like the a bad idea. It even works great as there are at least two GameStop locations in my town. They are open much earlier and later than a traditional bank. For those who are not familiar with it, let me explain how it works:

At any GameStop, reserve X amount of games. These games have release dates that are usually far off into the future. When the time comes to collect your cash, cancel those reservations and ask for a refund. GameStop does not charge you any money at all to do this. There are no fees what so ever.

Before we continue, I fully understand that I will NOT be collecting interest. I will not be protected by FDIC or inflation either. I do not plan to put all of my savings using this method, but I expect to put in enough money to be able to manage this properly.

My question is, how viable is this in the long term (or until we inherit our land)? If it is not viable or I do not have my bases covered, what are some alternatives? Either way, I believe it certainly is better than me keeping my cash under my mattress.

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    Use any of many online banks. It's totally commonplace to be with a bank, that, does not happen to have a branch in your town. It's a non-issue. – Fattie Nov 8 '16 at 17:09
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    Question is quite different from title - title asks for downsides, but the body of the question states 'I know there will be no interest/FDIC/inflation protection'. Body of the question then lists several questions at once, and attempts to self-answer in the last sentence. Many irrelevant personal details here - entire question could be narrowed to: 'What are the downsides of using the [described Gamestop method]?' + 'What alternatives are there, assuming no access to a physical bank?' – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Nov 8 '16 at 18:57
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    This question is a silly "SEO by StackOverflow" placement of a story. It's ridiculous it has not been deleted. – Fattie Nov 8 '16 at 19:33
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    Hey Ganesh. if you showed me a Nigeria phishing email, I told you it was a Nigerian scam email, and you said "Do you have evidence of that?" - I'd have no real reply. Ridiculous waste of time for the folks that answered in good faith. – Fattie Nov 8 '16 at 22:20
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    If I'm manager of the local Game Stop, after about the third go-round, I'd be banning you from further reservations. – gef05 Nov 9 '16 at 19:31
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Does your town not have ATMs at alternative locations? Or grocery stores or corner stores with debit card with cash back options?

The Bank of Gamestop method seems like a bad idea. Gamestop might easily shut you off from doing preorders, and should, if you do this more than a few times. And you'd certainly hit their fraud detection algorithms (even though you're not really defrauding them - you're actually helping them out by giving them interest-free loans); it looks like you're a serial returner.

If you find yourself in need of cash at times when grocery stores aren't available, well, talk to your wife perhaps, or find a location - not a mattress - to store a small amount of emergency cash.

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The downsides:

  • your "ATM" only operates when Gamestop is open.
  • They could change the rules and you not realize it: only give you store credit, or charge a $5 cancellation fee
  • They could have a glitch and you may have to wait a few days to get the money.
  • Plus no FDIC.
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It sounds like you are isolated and in a small town. Without the true ability to bank, perhaps you should move.

As an alternative you could do some kind of online banking. Most banks offer the ability to deposit via mobile phone and you could obtain cash by using remote ATMs or writing checks for an amount over your purchase at the grocery store. How are you paid? If via direct deposit, that makes mobile banking even easier.

Did your read your premise out loud? Using Game Stop as a bank is just silly.

Are you banned from banks because of not paying child support or some other legal obligation? If so just "face the music". I know people that are over 40 and owed a relatively small amount of child support and the result of they lost out on order of magnitudes greater income. It was just a short-sighted move that cost them far more than if they just obeyed the court order.

It would be smarter to use a check cashing store, like AmScott, to do your banking. They will cash checks for a fee, issue money orders, or even allow you to pay some bills directly through them. Never, ever use them to cash a hot check or for short term financing but using them or Walmart, or the Grocery store is a much better option than Game Stop.

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Well, first and foremost you're out of luck if GameStop hits rough times and stops refunding cash, or files bankruptcy.

It's a really, really (REALLY), bad idea to use something other than an FDIC insured bank as a bank.

This is a lot of administrative effort on your part when internet banking exists and most of the online checking accounts refund ATM fees. This idea is also not funny or hilarious, I would call it something but the mods here will just edit it out........

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Use Online banking, or open an account with the bank within WalMart. Then you can use ATMs, wherever.

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