Last updated August 18, 2007
Note: this review originated on my blog reviewing Citizens Bank, ING Direct, and PC Financial together.
Accounts of note: Ultimate Savings Account, 4.00%; Investment Savings Account, 2.4% as of January 27th, 2008
Citizens Bank is actually a Vancity company, and is my favourite bank. You get free cheques on the Investment Savings Account, and can transfer funds between that account and the Ultimate Savings Account instantly (instantly as in… as soon as you click the button!).
Therefore, keep as much money as you can in the Ultimate Savings Account and transfer it to the Investment Savings Account whenever you need it (this transfer happens instantly).
Regarding ATMs, Citizens Bank is on the Exchange network, which HSBC and all of the BC credit unions are a part of. Did somebody say coverage?
-no minimum balance required
-pair the Ultimate Savings Account and Investment Savings account for a powerful combo
-free cheques, free bill payments
-four free debits from ATMs on the Exchange network, which should be plenty if you use your credit card as much as possible…
-Ultimate Savings Account’s interest rate was unofficially pegged at 0.05% higher than that of ING Direct’s, but in late 2007, Citizen’s Bank’s rate has been consistently even higher.
-If you’re familiar with credit union online interfaces such as Vancity’s and Envision’s, you’ll feel right at home.
-Call their customer service line (available 24/7) and get some of the same representatives that handle Vancity’s customer service. They’re not supposed to reveal this fact, but some of them will admit it…
-Transfers between two of your own Citizens Bank accounts occurs instantly, unlike at PC Financial.
-You can transfer money instantly to any Citizens Bank account online. Internal transfers can be done at other banks, but often you have to wait a few business days or do the transfer over the phone.
-You can choose to stop receiving paper statements from Citizens Bank (to be environmentally friendly).
I have accounts at Citizens Bank, ING Direct, and PC Financial and here’s my conclusion:
Use Citizens Bank for the most powerful, flexible account with the best feature-to-rate ratio.
Use ING Direct for the easy-to-use interface.
Use PC Financial for the highest rate if you have more than $1,000.
Latest posts in the Citizens Bank forum