Today (October 29, 2010) by noon I am mailing out my printed application for a savings account at AcceleRate. I am located in Southern Ontario. I'll update this thread with the timing and experience surrounding my new account opening.
In the 3 page application I also checked the boxes requesting cheques, telephone banking, a bank card, and getting statements just once a year (versus 4 times).
I sent in my first deposit with the application, using one of my new ING DIRECT Thrive chequing account cheques.
You will get good service, Megan, Deserie and Debbie are the three girls that run the whole office, they have been great to deal with, they know me on first name basis now when I call and I just opened my account and Gic's a month ago!
I call whenever I have a question, one of the three girls answers right away, they are very helpful. I am happy with the statements they send, the online service and of course their rates!
I also just bought a Maxa gic, they have great rates too, service was good.
Today -- Tuesday, November 16 -- I received my welcome package in the mail, 12 business days after having mailed in my original application around noon of Friday October 29th. The no-frills welcome package was a letter sized envelope containing:
- a welcome letter (which contained my membership number, and notice that my ATM card and PIN would arrive later)
3 deposit envelopes
2 deposit forms
a chequebook with 20 cheques
Amusingly, there was a half-page deposit slip filled out by hand in blue pen which acknowledged my initial deposit into the account. Talk about old school. It's almost shocking to see physical signs of a real human in this day and age, at least for someone like me who's been online banking since the mid 1990s and never setting foot in branches.
There were no marketing pieces in the kit. It's definitely no frills and simple, which is probably part of the reason they can offer great rates.
I'm curious to see the online banking site once I have access to it.
I'll update this thread once the rest arrives.
Yesterday (November 18th) my ATM card, PIN, and access code for the website arrived in separate letters. I logged in and the website is very bare bones and simple.
Today I activated my ATM card and spoke to Debbie on the phone, who was very nice. They are available Monday to Friday during the usual banker's hours, which is fine as this is not a day to day primary account, it's for savings and there's no real reason for me to urgently need to contact them 24/7 or on weekends.
In my opinion, AcceleRate's main weak spot is the lack of one-off EFT capability.
She said that they may eventually offer on-demand/sporadic EFTs but for now the only way to electronically set up deposits into your account from other bank accounts is to fill out their PAD (Pre Authorized Debit) form which transfers a certain amount (minimum $25) per week/biweekly/month on a recurring basis.
I like the convenience of sporadic transfers to handle cases where I get a lump sum like a bonus from work, or a tax return, so hopefully they DO actually develop the capability to handle that type of one-off electronic transfer in the next year. Mailing cheques costs money (either your own or the institution's) for the cheque, stamp, and the envelope, even though it's not much, but more importantly I'd like to get away from using paper as much as possible because of the resource waste.
Also, the free ATM network you'd use with their debit card is Acculink, not THE EXCHANGE. I had presumed it was THE EXCHANGE since that's what it's been for any other credit union (or HSBC) that I've used. In any case it doesn't matter since we have Acculink ATMs in this city anyway.
Overall, AcceleRate just needs to take advantage of the electronic era a bit more and that will serve them well. Online applications, sporadic EFT capability, and the ability to do your own EFTs online (like you can with Ally, ING DIRECT, or Canadian Direct Financial) would be the three most useful features they could add -- even if it's only to transfer money INTO your account, for starters.
December 12, 2009
Any Canadian credit union should automatically be an Acculink ATM and should be surcharge-free to credit union members. It's basically like The Exchange except The Exchange allows banks and trust companies to participate; Acculink restricts membership to credit unions.
To determine if you have an Acculink ATM, go to the Credit Union Central of Canada website and use the ATM locator.
Sporadic EFT is a non-issue if you use Ally as your transfer hub. You can push/pull money to/from your account via Ally. Use Ally's test deposit system to set it up, and you don't even need to use any of your printed cheques.
I'll do this soon since I do have an Ally account. It's just unfortunate when a financial company doesn't offer the ability to do sporadic EFTs in their own online banking view. One should not be forced to have an Ally account just to gain the ability to move your money sporadically via EFT in and out of an AcceleRate account. AcceleRate should offer this in the first place, so hopefully they do start doing so in 2011. 🙂
Hello Prag (and other posters),
I am considering opening an account with AcceleRate Financial and am hoping to get an update from you on your experience with them so far. Specifically, any issues with
a. depositing cheques to your account using an Acculink ATM?
b. writing cheques to withdrawal from your account?
c. making deposits/withdrawals using your Ally account? (I don't have an account with Ally but am considering opening one - different subject, I know.)
Any other feedback you would like to provide is greatly appreciated.