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service charges,electronic packages and plan 24 savings account
June 25, 2010
7:53 pm
jude
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i have had an account with vancity since 1997.i opened it in person at the branch.it was a checking account because i wanted to use it to pay rent.i called in many times over the years about excessive service charges but was only ever informed about the electronic package which is $7 monthly for unlimited transactions.i only ever wrote 19 cheques over a ten year period.finally in 2007 a service rep told me about the plan 24 account which has 10 free transactions a month.i couldn't believe that after all my calls,no one had ever told me about it and it has existed for over 40 years.when i complained to management they said maybe it was because i had a checking account.isn't that a stupid answer considering that i could use my plan 24 for the 10 free transactions and transfer funds into my checking account the rare times it was used? another told me it was up to me to inform myself.isn't that what i was doing? i have only had internet for the past few months.i have never had a satisfactory answer.i think it's because they make more money when you pay for services rather than getting them for free.i think they should refund me for money wasted.

June 25, 2010
11:05 pm
msl25
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they should refund you. but that is only in our "good" mind. so they won't. you are right, bank needs all those service fees to have higher buildings and more branches. i feel your pain comrad. the problem is that the bank will always find ways to charge up some fees to us in exchange of that 1.00% interest (some bank even give 0.0% percent.

The only thing we can do is find other banks that have lower fees. But in your case, it might because of "SENTIMENTAL" reason that's why you cant give up on Vancity. Vancity is your bank since 1997? that's a long relationship already me friend. My first bank is also Scotiabank, and after this time, all those fees i paid, i should have already bailed out and bank with other banks but i can't simply because I have already set-up some automatic contribution and withdrawal with that account. But I tell you, my bank [scotia] is also a sucker for fees. And their customer service is i say just borderline average.

June 26, 2010
1:02 am
Doug
British Columbia, Canada
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You have to remember that performing day-to-day banking transactions in branches is the highest cost delivery channel for financial institutions (banks and credit unions alike). It costs a lot of money to build a branch - it's at least $1 million in capital costs to construct the building and ongoing monthly lease costs are between $10,000-$20,000 per month. Factor in an average initial FTE complement of 7.5 staff operating at around $287,500 per year for employee salaries (not including benefits and pension/group RRSP costs). A new branch operates unprofitably at anywhere from three to seven years from initial opening, on average, based on anecdotal back-of-the-napkin type calculations.

If you really don't want to pay for all of this, I would recommend direct banking options or look for accounts that give you so many transactions for maintaining a small monthly balance. Some good options to consider include:

* Canadian Western Bank or its direct banking division, Canadian Direct Financial, which offer free unlimited banking including cheque writing privileges and free initial cheque order (might be able to squeak extra cheque orders out of them at no charge so long as it's not more than one every two years) if you hold $5000 in great rate, non-redeemable GIC or your chequing account. Plus, with CWB, when you call their branch number, you get a real live person located at the branch and not in a call centre. It's like credit union banking with the security, safety and regulatory provisions of chartered banks

* ICICI Bank Canada - Free unlimited banking with $500 monthly balance and connected to The Exchange Network of surcharge-free ATMs

* President's Choice Financial - Free unlimited banking and free cheques through the direct banking division of CIBC. Also offers a great MasterCard product through President's Choice Bank, wholly-owned by Loblaw Companies and its back-end managed by MBNA Canada Bank

There are others, such as BMO and the credit unions. These are a selected few I like though have never used.

Hope that helps,
Doug

June 29, 2010
6:01 pm
djino
Ottawa (Gatineau, Qc Area)
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I would recommend Royal Bank's Day to Day Checking account if you want to have a relationship with one of the Big 5 banks, without having to keep a high monthly balance and without having to keep tens to hundreds thousand dollars in investment accounts.

Day to Day checking account gives you 15 transactions per month which is a cost of $4/month.

BUT, if you open up a rewards credit card with RBC and any type of investment (RRSP, TFSA, etc) account (I had the Rewards GOLD Visa -- no annual fee with a RRSP account that only has had a $10 balance for the past year) you will get a Multi- Product monthly rebate in the amount of $4, which makes the Day to Day Checking account free.

I'd say from out of the Big 5, this is the best offer out there.

I would also recommend PC Financial (as Doug has above), as you you can simply open the one Checking account (without having to open up any other products and without having a minimum balance) and you get unlimited free checking with free checks. BUT you do not have access to a teller (ie, the banking relationship you can have with the Big 5). All banking is done online, phone, and by ATM.

djino

June 29, 2010
6:15 pm
djino
Ottawa (Gatineau, Qc Area)
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These days though, I believe the best way to minimize banking fees while keeping a relationship with the Big 5 is to sign up with either their savings accounts or a pay per use checking account and use a credit card for all day to day transactions then pay your credit card balance in full by the statement due date to avoid any credit card interest charges.

Example:

Scotia Bank has the Gain savings account that allows you to make 2 free transactions (no monthly fees).

National Bank of Canada has their pay per use checking account (65 cents / transaction).

TD Bank has their Investment GIA saving account that allows for 1 or 2 transactions a month (no monthly fees).

I already mentioned Royal Bank in the previous post.

I have not checked BMO and CIBC yet, but I'm sure they have similar products.

Then use a credit card like MBNA's Smart Cash Card (or even a credit card offered by the Bank you have a checking/savings with) for all daily transaction. Remember, with credit cards you do not pay on a transaction basis. You only pay should you carry a balance from month to month (which would NOT be the case if you paid the statement balance by the statement due date).

This way you are only paying for transactions that you cannot complete via credit card which should not be as much as you may think over the course of a month.

djino

June 30, 2010
12:42 am
Doug
British Columbia, Canada
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I believe BMO has a banking plan that is competitive with RBC's Day-to-Day Banking Account with MultiProduct rebate or Scotiabank's GAIN Plan chequing/savings (yes, you can write cheques on the GAIN Plan account - this is the account I have). BMO will waive your monthly fee on their banking packages when you maintain a balance of at least $1000 (small amount). You can keep higher amounts in your account to get larger package fees waived too. CIBC no longer has a fee waiver account - they seem to be the only one so I wouldn't recommend them.

Cheers,
Doug

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