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Alterna Transfers
May 16, 2016
2:15 pm
dougjp
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Because the last thread was closed and we were invited to start a new thread on the subject...

I noticed this on the web site, not sure if it is new;
https://www.alternabank.ca/Personal/EverydayBanking/Me2Me/

All I want to know is, what are people experiencing now, are transfers to and from the linked 'A' Bank chequing account working fast both ways now? Have the promised improvements been made, and is it as fast as, say, Canadian Tire Financial, Canadian Direct Financial, Bridgewater or Peoples?

The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to
annoy people who are not in them.

May 17, 2016
6:03 am
nik
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dougjp said

Because the last thread was closed and we were invited to start a new thread on the subject...

I noticed this on the web site, not sure if it is new;
https://www.alternabank.ca/Personal/EverydayBanking/Me2Me/

All I want to know is, what are people experiencing now, are transfers to and from the linked 'A' Bank chequing account working fast both ways now? Have the promised improvements been made, and is it as fast as, say, Canadian Tire Financial, Canadian Direct Financial, Bridgewater or Peoples?

Works for me now, since last week (May 8, 2016). Successfully transferred the money from Alterna to Tangerine, by linking and initiating a transfer on the Tangerine side. So, it looks like this has been done and is now working.

May 18, 2016
9:30 am
3oakwest
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I just emailed copies of two voided cheques as well as their transfer form to them. They are setting up "me to me transfers" between BNS and TNG to and from them for me.

They are living up to their promises, plus a good rate!

May 25, 2016
6:03 pm
Saver-Mom
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I am concerned and uneasy about the outgoing transfer limits, $25k daily, $50k weekly and $125k monthly. Incoming transfer limits are $100, $250k and $500k for those time periods. Why have any such limits? It's my money! If it can be securely transferred in, why not out? Plus, they say "For security reasons, there may be a 4 business day hold on outgoing Me-to-Me transfers." Sounds excessive! Aren't holds usually only on incoming funds? Opinions?

May 25, 2016
6:31 pm
dougjp
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Saver-Mom said

I am concerned and uneasy about the outgoing transfer limits, $25k daily, $50k weekly and $125k monthly. Incoming transfer limits are $100, $250k and $500k for those time periods. Why have any such limits? It's my money! If it can be securely transferred in, why not out? Plus, they say "For security reasons, there may be a 4 business day hold on outgoing Me-to-Me transfers." Sounds excessive! Aren't holds usually only on incoming funds? Opinions?

I can sort of understand the limits, as being a small bank the changes in overall funds available for them to put in play could be a significant if someone moved large sums in and out constantly.

Now the bit about "for security reasons....may be 4 business day hold" is hogwash. Thank you for pointing it out. We are talking about cleared funds on deposit, there is nothing security related. The only reason I can think of is for them to stop paying us interest and use our money without cost for 4 days! THIS requires specific clarification by Alterna in here, right now.

The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to
annoy people who are not in them.

May 25, 2016
9:48 pm
Loonie
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All FIs have ways of limiting withdrawals. This is particularly true with cash withdrawals, but can apply to any.

A while ago I needed to take something under $5000 in cash from TD. (I just needed to walk it to the other end of the block to cover a pre-authorized debit at another bank, as there wasn't enough time to wait for it to clear through any other means.) They hummed and hawed quite a bit before they finally let me have the money. It didn't matter at all that they knew exactly who I was both by ID and by personal recognition or that I had well beyond the money required to cover it in my accounts or that this was not really a lot of money, for a bank. I had apparently exceeded their withdrawal limits. They let me have it, presumably so as not to antagonize me to the point where I might take ALL my business down the street. There is probably something about this in the fine print somewhere in the account holder agreement.

Yes, it's your money, but not entirely. You have chosen to deposit it in a bank. You did not hide it under the mattress or put it in your household safe. You have, in effect, loaned it to the bank, even if they don't pay you any interest. And they do with it what they will. They also make the rules. And governments and regulators make another level of rules. And, at a more extreme level, the International Monetary Fund makes more rules. Remember the line-ups in Greece a year or so ago as people tried to get their money out of the bank but couldn't due to imposed restrictions?

I suspect that most people would be quite surprised to learn of the low reserves that banks maintain relative to deposits. It runs somewhere around 10%, depending on the bank. You can find this information in their annual reports, which are typically online. I happen to have looked at CIBC's recently, which was around 10%.
At one time this was regulated, but that was removed quite a while ago (although the requirements weren't particularly high). I must confess I don't really understand the system that is in place now.
Some cautious-minded commentators have suggested that 20% reserves would be reasonable. However, the reserves are never going to be such that everyone who wants their money out on a particular day is going to be able to get it all, if demand is extremely high.
Banks must protect themselves against that eventuality because our system of fractional banking assumes low reserves. You have deposited your money, but it isn't actually there any more. It has gone on a long complicated journey, and, to quote from another genre, "It's 10pm, and do you know where your money is?" No, you don't. Nobody does, exactly, because yours is all mixed in with mine and everyone else's. However, you can get some clues by reading the bank's annual reports. At this point, you might find yourself upset, because you will see that they are invested in things that you would never consider investing in by yourself as they do not meet your risk tolerance. You hope they work out well enough that you get your money back, with promised interest, if any.

So, I don't find these limits unusually troublesome. It's a sign of caution, and, as has been said, they are a smallish institution, so that a 10% reserve would be much less in absolute dollars than 10% at, for example, TD. In this case, size offers flexibility.

I wouldn't be surprised if we see tighter limits in general in future. We can now move large amounts of money quickly, due to the arrival of so many online options. If the end result is that a lot of savvy customers figure out the advantages of so doing, this could, theoretically, cause instability in these FIs. They wouldn't like that!

I'm not suggesting that anything as dire as what happened in Greece is about to happen here, but neither am I saying it couldn't. Folks there were surprised and horrified. It does illustrate clearly that, ultimately, we don't call the shots.

It's something to be aware of. Personally, I would not be concerned about the Alterna limits unless I could foresee that I was going to need to make large urgent transfers. In that case, I would look for a bank that had more liberal limits, which would probably be a large bank. Corporations move vast sums daily (on paper), so we know it can be done, but that is a different kind of scenario and has money going both ways whereas you are only anticipating withdrawals.

I would want any FI into which I deposit my money to be stable. One way for them to try to ensure that is to have these kinds of limits. I would rather they didn't run out of money in the short run.

I am not too concerned about the 4 day hold on transfers-out. It's a nuisance, but I think we may see more of this in future too. We are all learning, and the banks are certainly learning, that there is no such thing as 100% fool-proof security. The hold period allows them time to notice unusual patterns of activity and diagnose them before things go haywire.

I think they're being cautious, and that's OK with me.

May 26, 2016
12:50 pm
Alterna
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dougjp said

Saver-Mom said

I am concerned and uneasy about the outgoing transfer limits, $25k daily, $50k weekly and $125k monthly. Incoming transfer limits are $100, $250k and $500k for those time periods. Why have any such limits? It's my money! If it can be securely transferred in, why not out? Plus, they say "For security reasons, there may be a 4 business day hold on outgoing Me-to-Me transfers." Sounds excessive! Aren't holds usually only on incoming funds? Opinions?

I can sort of understand the limits, as being a small bank the changes in overall funds available for them to put in play could be a significant if someone moved large sums in and out constantly.

Now the bit about "for security reasons....may be 4 business day hold" is hogwash. Thank you for pointing it out. We are talking about cleared funds on deposit, there is nothing security related. The only reason I can think of is for them to stop paying us interest and use our money without cost for 4 days! THIS requires specific clarification by Alterna in here, right now.

Regarding holds on transferred funds, holds are only on incoming funds. Our website had erroneously noted that they were on outgoing funds, which has been fixed. Apologies for the confusion.

May 26, 2016
1:39 pm
dougjp
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Alterna said

dougjp said

Saver-Mom said

I am concerned and uneasy about the outgoing transfer limits, $25k daily, $50k weekly and $125k monthly. Incoming transfer limits are $100, $250k and $500k for those time periods. Why have any such limits? It's my money! If it can be securely transferred in, why not out? Plus, they say "For security reasons, there may be a 4 business day hold on outgoing Me-to-Me transfers." Sounds excessive! Aren't holds usually only on incoming funds? Opinions?

I can sort of understand the limits, as being a small bank the changes in overall funds available for them to put in play could be a significant if someone moved large sums in and out constantly.

Now the bit about "for security reasons....may be 4 business day hold" is hogwash. Thank you for pointing it out. We are talking about cleared funds on deposit, there is nothing security related. The only reason I can think of is for them to stop paying us interest and use our money without cost for 4 days! THIS requires specific clarification by Alterna in here, right now.

Regarding holds on transferred funds, holds are only on incoming funds. Our website had erroneously noted that they were on outgoing funds, which has been fixed. Apologies for the confusion.

Thank you for letting us know that!

The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to
annoy people who are not in them.

May 26, 2016
2:20 pm
Loonie
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And thanks for fixing the website.

May 26, 2016
5:22 pm
Saver-Mom
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Alterna rep, why the huge difference in amounts allowed on transfers out vs in?

May 27, 2016
6:09 am
Londonguy
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Signed up for the forum this morning in order to contribute back a bit, because I've picked up a lot of info from the posters sharing here.

Of interest to this thread, I'm a new Alterna customer as of last week who also signed up for their me-to-me facility. About an hour ago I initiated an on-line transfer from my chequing account at a Big Five bank into my new Alterna account, so this is going to be a live experiment as to how long it takes and as of what date those funds begin earning interest.

FWIW when I initiated the transfer, the Alterna website warned me that the remitting institution may impose a fee on the transfer (which it won't) and also, oddly enough, that I may incur a fee for making my deposit! It also warned me that the transfer "would take several days" as opposed to stating a specific time frame for completion.

I'll report back what actually happened when I find out myself.

May 27, 2016
7:37 am
dougjp
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Londonguy said

Signed up for the forum this morning in order to contribute back a bit, because I've picked up a lot of info from the posters sharing here.

Of interest to this thread, I'm a new Alterna customer as of last week who also signed up for their me-to-me facility. About an hour ago I initiated an on-line transfer from my chequing account at a Big Five bank into my new Alterna account, so this is going to be a live experiment as to how long it takes and as of what date those funds begin earning interest.

FWIW when I initiated the transfer, the Alterna website warned me that the remitting institution may impose a fee on the transfer (which it won't) and also, oddly enough, that I may incur a fee for making my deposit! It also warned me that the transfer "would take several days" as opposed to stating a specific time frame for completion.

I'll report back what actually happened when I find out myself.

Thank you for joining and contributing! This is the important information we all need to know, and just as important what happens specifically in terms of timelines when transferring out. Maybe you could test a small withdrawal after funds are cleared?

I'm waiting for my account to become active momentarily. Those warnings are very strange! We are all used to "instant" transfers both ways from multiple banks. Many will post incoming deposits to themselves immediately. Many will accomplish the transfer back out to our Big Five chequing account and we get the money usually (80%) 24 hours later, 10% Same Day (I just got a Bridgewater withdrawal same day), and 10% take 2 business days.

THAT is approximately the competitive market as it exists today. No fees (except some only allow as little as one free withdrawal a month, after that a fee is charged).

Is Alterna going to be competitive with this? And why say there are delays and possible fees, are there or aren't there?!

The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to
annoy people who are not in them.

May 29, 2016
8:19 am
Londonguy
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Didn't think I'd be reporting back here so fast, but this morning I happened to be looking at my Big Five account online and saw that the transfer debit described in my original post had been booked against my Big Five account as of May 27th, i.e. the same day I initiated the transfer at the receiving end (Alterna).

So I went online into my Alterna account, expecting the credit side of the transfer to disappear into limbo for a few days, but there it was posted to my account, also as of the 27th. That's as fast if not faster than any institutional/brokerage transfer I've ever made, so there's nothing to complain about there.

As for Alterna's official policy of gating transfers out, although I understand their motivations for having such restrictions, it's not a policy I care for, and I hope it doesn't cause me any grief down the line one day. In the meantime, the account arrangement suits my purposes, so for now I'm happy.

May 31, 2016
3:49 am
Keith1
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I used the me to me transfer and it works well. My only concern is with the removal of funds being restricted to 25,000 daily 50,000 weekly. That would mean that it would take at least 8 to 10 days to remove 100,000. Another institution that I deal with that has similar on line restrictions is Meridian but since I have a local branch you can remove all of yours funds at the branch the same day. I have no local Alterna branch. Some other institutions allow you to circumvent any restrictions by calling in and doing the transfers over the phone when the amount exceed the online limit. Maybe Alterna could consider such a policy when someone needs their money right away.

May 31, 2016
10:27 am
Bill
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It's very useful to know you can only get $125K out per month from Alterna. Does anyone know if any other of the banks and CUs listed on this site have such stringent or similar weekly or monthly limits? I'm sure we all get that daily limits of even as low as $25K might be routinely encountered but restrictive weekly and monthly limits are another matter. If it's more widespread would it be useful to have this info posted here? I looked quickly in Services Chart area and this info does not seem to be there.

May 31, 2016
12:10 pm
Loonie
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I agree with Bill but don't know the answer to his question.

I am wondering if this information is even stated in the FIs' legalese sections. It's not easy to find this on the Alterna site. In this particular case, since deposit insurance caps well below the monthly withdrawal limits, it's less of an issue for most, but, still, a consideration for some.

I must admit I am somewhat confused by the limit. What if, for example, you were buying a new car or house and therefore needed a money order for an amount larger than 25K? This is a normal transaction that most people expect to make periodically.

There could be a problem too in keeping up with any changes.

June 24, 2016
6:32 am
Savings
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Hi! I am a new Alterna customer. Try to set a up a transfer for a future date but it wouldn't allow me to do it. The transfer had to happen today. Wondering if anyone else had this issue. When I first go to the "Transfers" page, I see there are options to transfer now, or the future, but once I select the bank accounts, the transfer in the future option disappears.

June 24, 2016
10:47 pm
Norman1
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Loonie said

I agree with Bill but don't know the answer to his question.

I am wondering if this information is even stated in the FIs' legalese sections. It's not easy to find this on the Alterna site. In this particular case, since deposit insurance caps well below the monthly withdrawal limits, it's less of an issue for most, but, still, a consideration for some.

I must admit I am somewhat confused by the limit. What if, for example, you were buying a new car or house and therefore needed a money order for an amount larger than 25K? This is a normal transaction that most people expect to make periodically.

There could be a problem too in keeping up with any changes.

The $25,000 per day, $50,000 per week, and $125,000 per month are the sending (outgoing) limits for Me-to-Me Transfers. See Me-to-Me Transfer FAQ's.

Those are not the withdrawal limits for the eSavings account.

I suspect one could open an Alterna Bank eChequing account, transfer funds from one's eSavings account, and write cheques that exceed those limits. Perhaps, one could order a bank draft and have it couriered.

June 25, 2016
12:00 am
Loonie
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Norman1 may be correct about this strategy. If you use a cheque, though, you will be subject to the hold period at the receiving bank. With CIBC, for instance, for an amount over 1500$, this ranges between 7 and 30 business days. https://www.cibc.com/ca/how-to-bank/branch-banking/inquire-on-hold-funds.html

June 25, 2016
5:10 am
dougjp
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The way I deal with their policy is I won't keep more than $ 50,000 in my Alterna account. I would know a number of days in advance if I needed that much, and would withdraw it all on consecutive days. But waiting another week to get at more of my savings than that if I want it is not acceptable.

The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to
annoy people who are not in them.

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