PC Financial — review by Peter

Note: this review originated on my blog reviewing Citizens Bank, ING Direct, and PC Financial together.

Website: http://www.banking.pcfinancial.ca/a/products/savingsPlusAccount.page
Account of note: Interest Plus Savings Account, 3.35% for balances over $1,000; No-Fee Bank Account, 0.10 to 0.50% as of April 26th, 2008

If you have over $1,000 to save, use PC Financial. (January 27th, 2008 edit: this is currently not true. Citizens Bank gives the highest rates amongst the three in my review.) Otherwise, consider ING Direct or Citizens Bank.

If you have a Superstore near you, head into their financial pavilion and set the account up in person. Then pair the Interest Plus account with the No-Fee account to enjoy free everything (cheques, bill payments, withdrawals from PC Financial and CIBC machines). Just be sure to only transfer as much as you need, when you need it to the No-Fee account. Currently I have $0 in my No-Fee account.

I find the interface a bit clunky, but it just takes some getting used to.

Clunky but usable

Key Details
-no minimum balance required in the No-Fee chequing account
-free everything (practically): just transfer money (allow yourself 24 hours, unlike with transferring between Citizens Bank accounts) from the Interest Plus account to the No-Fee account

Interesting Facts:
-PC Financial is now a divison of CIBC. This hasn’t seemed to negatively affect account features or service.
-Transfers from the Interest Plus account to the No-Fee account take one business day, instead of instantly as you might expect since you are transferring between two of your own accounts.

Bottom line:
I have accounts at Citizens Bank, ING Direct, and PC Financial and here’s my conclusion:

Use PC Financial for the highest rate if you have more than $1,000. (January 27th, 2008 edit: this is currently not true. Citizens Bank gives the highest rates amongst the three in my review.)
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.


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