When you need a place to stash your money that isn’t a shoebox under the bed, it can be hard to find a good option. Minimum balance requirements, fees for the privilege of having an account…it’s all very complicated, especially if you don’t have a lot of money to deposit. Simplify things by joining the First National Bank of GameStop.
When did GameStop start a bank? Well, it didn’t. But thanks to the fount of wisdom that is 4chan, one enterprising soul shared his alternative banking system with the world. It’s very simple:
- He pre-orders games at GameStop, putting the money down.
- If he doesn’t actually want the game, or needs money ahead of time for some other reason, he cancels the pre-order.
- GameStop gives the money back.
- Want long-term savings? Trade in games for store credit.
How do you know whether the FNBG is for you? Well, if you have a standard account at a regular bank, with deposit slips and a debit card and whatnot, it’s probably not for you. If you never buy anything at GameStop, it’s not for you. But for many unbanked Americans, this plan just might work.
Now whenever I get paid I go preorder a whole shitload of games. Whenever I need money, I go to the nearest gamestop and ask for my money back on a game I don’t want and make a withdrawal. The lines are shorter at gamestop than at the bank and I can trade in old games and have money go straight to my savings account. Gamestops are just as prevalent as banks in my town and I work at a mall so it’s even more convenient than running an errand to the bank or using an ATM and getting charged.
There’s probably a GameStop near you, and it most likely is open longer hours than your bank branch. The disadvantages: no ATM, no debit card access to your money, you can’t write checks, and your balance is not FDIC-insured in case GameStop abruptly goes out of business.
How to Turn GameStop Into Your No-Fee Bank [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]