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Are seniors taken advantage of? At Scotiabank for sure!
April 27, 2021
6:32 am
KamWest
Toronto
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This is a general topic of how banks take advantage of seniors that are not internet savvy. The banks count on the fact that seniors do not understand bank fees and are scared of internet banking. Although this topic addresses all banks I made a point of addressing ScotiaBank in the title so it trends on google.

Let's begin...

My dad passed away of cancer complications at 82 a couple weeks ago. He also had the onset of dementia and was insistent he handle all finances. My mom never got the opportunity to handle the them.

Upon checking I noticed they were getting virtually 0% on their savings so I proceeded to move out the savings to motus bank so I could get my mom at least 1%. I needed a full service bank with chequing etc and since I was already familiar, and had accounts at motus, I picked them for my mom.

I was told by Nova Scotia that if my mom kept 3k in her chequing account there would be no fees but that turned out not to be true. It is $1.50 for each transaction after 12 transactions, which means she cannot use her debit card for fear of going over the transactions. At $1.50 per debit that is 30 times the charge a merchant pays to accept debit cards.

If that were it I would say it is the norm for banks but instead it gets worse...

My dad was paying $5.00 per debit card transaction for years. This was on top of the $1.50 in the chequing account. My dad used the savings for his debit card and yes you read it right, for each and every debit card transaction he was charged $5 which is 100 times the charge a merchant pays to accept debit cards.

Banks count on these fees with seniors because they know seniors will not sign up with the digital banks to avoid theses fees. Well they did not count on my mom, at 78 she is wise and eager to change now that my dad has passed.

When we added up all the charges at CIBC and Nova Scotia, not only was she getting zero interest but they were charging her a small fortune in fees. Over the years my parents have been severely taken advantage of and I was unable to help because my dad was fiercely independent wanting to control his finances yet not really understanding them.

So even though there is nothing too outside of normal in this post the $5 per debit card transaction for years is over the top and borders on elder abuse.

The Bank of Nova Scotia should be ashamed of themselves for doing this to the most vulnerable part of the population. I am disgusted at how much money they have stolen from my parents over the years.

I am happy to be switching my mom to motus. They do not pay the absolute highest rates but at least they pay 1% and charge no fees. We are comfortable at motus because the secure messages put you in touch with a live person and it looks like everything we needed was taken care of including moving the TSFA account from a non interest bearing account to 1.1%

I have to keep saying it, I am disgusted that a NovaScotia representative would not have contacted my parents and told them to use the chequing account for debit card transactions instead of the savings account. Nope they needed to suck the $5 per transaction out of my parents pockets and with so many seniors probably making the same mistake the bank of Nova Scotia is effectively stealing from our elderly.

Absolutely disgusting!!!

April 27, 2021
6:37 am
KamWest
Toronto
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I forgot to mention....

The bank made the huge offer to credit back the last four debit card transactions totaling $20 once I pointed out to them how they were effectively stealing from my parents.

I am sitting on the fence contacting a lawyer and seeing if somehow I can do a class action with this. A $5 debit card per per transaction!!!!

At what point is stealing from our elderly who just don't understand.
Why do they continue this without warning the elderly?
I would love to get statistics on how much they have sucked out of the pockets of seniors with this insane fee.

Let's not forget about the $5 fee to close the account, so the crappy little interest they pay gets annulled when the account is closed.

April 27, 2021
7:00 am
canadian.100
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Was the $5 debit charge because he used a teller for his transactions? Otherwise what reason for $5 debit charges?

April 27, 2021
7:06 am
KamWest
Toronto
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No it was for using the Debit Card to make a purchase.

So lets continue this...

I contacted Bank of Nova Scotia and asked for the savings account to be removed from the debit card. The response...

You should not remove the savings account from debit because placing restrictions on the account affects other types of transactions. Just ask your parents to select chequing.

Really!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With other banks I can remove the savings account in seconds without limiting the account (whatever that means).

They are still counting on senile customers selecting savings when doing a debit card transaction!!

April 27, 2021
7:38 am
KamWest
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One more thing...

The charge was called simply SERVICE CHARGE

One month $20, then $30, then $10 etc etc.

Where in the world can you charge something and not accurately describe what the charge is, should it not clearly say...

Debit Card usage fee @ $5.00 per transaction = $25.00

Should we at least not mandate clearly labeling what the heck the charge is so our elderly can understand them?

I am so saddened by this greed on our elderly that I cannot express it.

April 27, 2021
7:57 am
Alexandre
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My parents have joint account with Scotiabank, so I can relate. It was free of charge till recently, now one must keep $3,000 in checking to avoid account monthly fee.
Of course, all other fees are staying, they aren't removed just because monthly fee is waived.

It is $1.50 for each transaction after 12 transactions

This limit is clearly stated in each account description right on the Scotiabank web page. It is different for different types of checking accounts.

Debit Card usage fee @ $5.00 per transaction

This is when charge is made against Savings account.

My parents listen to me when it comes to banking, but if they weren't I would have told them that it is their money and if they want to waste it on bank service fees, it is up to them.
My only concern would have been if their monthly budget is positive or negative. If they spend more money than they get every month, I would have become more proactive in cutting unnecessary expenses such as banking fees.

I can tell that you are upset, but I would suggest to let it go. What is in the past, is in the past.
Lawyers take advantage of people, too. If you try to sue Scotiabank not only you will lose, but will waste a lot of time, nerves, and money on lawyer fees. For what?

April 27, 2021
8:02 am
KamWest
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I understand your point but remember it is not called a Debit card usage fee.

I am no longer concerned for my parents, the point of this topic is more about all the poor seniors who will only use their savings account and because this is called a service charge will never know that it is $5 per debit card transaction.

I understand the fees for the chequing account are clearly marked but seniors would be outraged if they knew they were being charged $5 each time they use their debit card.

At the very least it should be clearly marked
Debit Card usage fee @ $5.00 per transaction = $25.00

Disguising it as a service charge makes it look like it is a legitimate charge on the account.

My senior parents are no longer being taken advantage of but what about the thousands of others making the same mistake? Should this charge not be clearly labeled so seniors can understand it?

April 27, 2021
8:19 am
pooreva
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Alexandre said
My parents have joint account with Scotiabank, so I can relate. It was free of charge till recently, now one must keep $3,000 in checking to avoid account monthly fee.

CIBC is raising their account fees (for all accounts) as of July 1st.

There are few banks not currently charging any account fees: Tang, EQ... Maybe few more I am not aware of as I do not deal with them...

April 27, 2021
8:22 am
Norman1
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Scotiabank clients are not being charged $5 for each debit card use.

That $5 is actually the charge for doing a savings account withdrawal that is not a transfer to another Scotiabank account.

RBC has the same $5 charge for similar withdrawals from their e-Savings account too.

A few brick-and-mortar credit unions do offer no-transaction fee accounts. Sadly, that is the price for not willing to shop elsewhere. Why would any bank charge less if their customers still stick with them?

April 27, 2021
8:28 am
KamWest
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Norman1 said
Scotiabank clients are not being charged $5 for each debit card use.

That $5 is actually the charge for doing a savings account withdrawal that is not a transfer to another Scotiabank account.
  

It is charged every time they use the debit card and not clearly labelled.

Fact is thousands of seniors are using debit cards on their savings account without realizing it.

Fact 2: when I asked the bank to remove the savings account from the debit card I was told it would set other undesirable restrictions on the savings account and it would be best just to tell my parents not to use savings for debit transactions.

My parents are so stressed trying to remember the PIN that which account to use it the last thing on their mind. They worry there is not enough in the chequing so they select savings and the bank make 5 bucks.

No matter what you call it the seniors are paying $5 per debit card transaction when making this mistake.

April 27, 2021
8:31 am
HermanH
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KamWest said
My dad passed away of cancer complications at 82 a couple weeks ago. He also had the onset of dementia and was insistent he handle all finances. My mom never got the opportunity to handle the them.

[snip]

I have to keep saying it, I am disgusted that a NovaScotia representative would not have contacted my parents and told them to use the chequing account for debit card transactions instead of the savings account.

Sorry for your loss. Are you certain that BNS never talked to your father about the cost of debit card transactions? If they had, would he have insisted that everything was fine?

I handle my mother's accounts with BNS and recently, as you stated, they changed to start charging her fees. Her usual representative was nice enough to steer us towards the Basic Bank Account that allows 12 transactions a month because he knew that she would not want to pay any fees and that her needs would be met.

It may not be BNS policy so much as the attentiveness of a particular employee.

April 27, 2021
8:44 am
KamWest
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Now imagine your mom without you and as forgetful and not being able to handle conflict. Imagine her on basic pension and imagine this x10,000 mothers.

This is not about my parents, this is about all parents who do not have someone to look after them and they cannot even call because they do not know how to get through all the voicemail buttons.

Seniors are so stressed trying to remember the pin for a debit card transaction, then they are not sure how much is in chequing so they automatically pick savings.

Banks laugh, our seniors pay... actually our mothers and fathers pay because they are no longer sharp enough to realize they are paying $5 per debit card transaction.

April 27, 2021
8:46 am
KamWest
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Another point...

Interact was to be not for profit

Except 100 x the charge the merchants pay at 5 cents per transaction. Our seniors pay $5 because they do not know any better.

April 27, 2021
9:08 am
Norman1
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KamWest said

Seniors are so stressed trying to remember the pin for a debit card transaction, then they are not sure how much is in chequing so they automatically pick savings.

Banks laugh, our seniors pay... actually our mothers and fathers pay because they are no longer sharp enough to realize they are paying $5 per debit card transaction.

The answer is to keep the money in chequing instead of in savings.

How much interest is Mom earning in the savings account?

If it is $100/month in interest, then you should leave it alone. She is $75/month ahead by paying the $25/month savings account withdrawal fees instead of paying maybe $10/month in chequing withdrawal fees and receiving no interest from having the money in chequing.

If it is just $2/month in interest, then she should just keep all her money in chequing. She would lose $2/month in interest but save $15/month in fees.

April 27, 2021
9:29 am
MG
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Banks are not the only ones who take advantage of seniors. I eventually had a look at my parent's phone bill (once they let me look at their financials) and I saw they were being charged $10 a month for Call Display from Bell Canada. Meanwhile they did not even have a "display" telephone. I asked my mother how long they had been paying this and she said years. When I called to cancel the charge, they credited back 6 months and then had the nerve to increase the monthly phone bill. My parents also got virtually zero interest on their TFSA, shameful. They had no internet or computer so really were at the mercy of companies to which they had been loyal for almost 50 years. sf-frown

April 27, 2021
9:31 am
AltaRed
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I agree with HermanH. Vent and let go. Fees are actually well displayed and communicated online, and when they change, communicated via email and Canada Post mailings. It is up to each account holder to stay on top of fee changes albeit with busy lives, or a disinclination to want to read gobbly gook, they are easy to miss.

Savings accounts have always had hefty debit card charges to the best of my knowledge from all the big banks. After all, savings accounts are for saving, not day to day operational household accounts. Perfectly logical if not also highway robbery. Online transfers are, of course, free for at least a few such transactions each month.

That all said, I agree it is challenging for seniors who have not become internet functional. They are being left behind and it is only the 'above average' teller or CSR that spots absurdities and recommends/offers changes. It is also customers who decline, object, become hostile to recommended changes. My own sons, who are retail branch managers, see it all the time...both ways in their own offices or at teller stations. We discuss that sort of thing every year on their annual vacation visits and there is no good answer.

Example conversation:
*Teller: Madame, do you realize you are paying debit charges every time you make a debit charge to your savings account? You could save money by using only your chequing account for debit charges.
*Madame: But I don't always have enough money in my chequing account and I don't want my transaction to bounce.
*Teller: You could always go online from time to time and move some Savings over to Chequing to avoid that risk
*Madame: But I don't like computers and don't really know how to do it. Besides I will lose interest
*Teller: But there isn't much interest being earned anyway and it would save you $5 in charges
*Madame: That is too much for me to remember and I may forget to move money
*Teller: Okay. Another option is to have overdraft protection on your chequing account so that you don't get into insufficent funds and have a debit charge be declined.
*Madame: Does overdraft protection not cost money every month?
*Teller: Yes, but it would be less than the way you are doing it now.
*Madame: It sounds too complicated to me. Are you sure you are not just trying to sell me more things so you can charge more fees?
* Teller: Excuse me for a moment while I go in the back room and bang my head against the wall.....

FWIW, these are the types of conversations that go on at teller stations. My own mother in her '80s, and worse, in her '90s would have likely not gotten remotely that far in that conversation. It was only because she let my bro and I organize her banking to simplify it such that all she had was a chequing account and we had her discount brokerage account feed her chequing account each month to keep it funded.

Financial institutions could do a better job, no question about it. It would take some effort to have computer algorithms spot anomalies such as debit card charges to savings accounts and issue alerts to tellers and branch managers.

Obviously it is not in head office's interest to do so and I have been told branches do not have the staff (nor the legal right for privacy reasons) to comb through every person's bank accounts for anomalies. Bank staff have no right to look at any person's financials at any time except the specific one that is open at the teller station at the time of a transaction, or with a loan officer, etc, etc. Perhaps those here who have bank branch experience can validate or de-bunk that theory.

April 27, 2021
9:36 am
KamWest
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MG said
Banks are not the only ones who take advantage of seniors. I eventually had a look at my parent's phone bill (once they let me look at their financials) and I saw they were being charged $10 a month for Call Display from Bell Canada. Meanwhile they did not even have a "display" telephone. I asked my mother how long they had been paying this and she said years. When I called to cancel the charge, they credited back 6 months and then had the nerve to increase the monthly phone bill. My parents also got virtually zero interest on their TFSA, shameful. They had no internet or computer so really were at the mercy of companies to which they had been loyal for almost 50 years. sf-frown  

Yes, you get it, thank you for understanding my frustrations

April 27, 2021
9:39 am
topgun
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With the rates on savings accounts who collects even $25 in interest monthly.

Have a Great Day

April 27, 2021
10:41 am
HermanH
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AltaRed said
Fees are actually well displayed and communicated online, and when they change, communicated via email and Canada Post mailings. It is up to each account holder to stay on top of fee changes albeit with busy lives, or a disinclination to want to read gobbly gook, they are easy to miss.

[snip]

Example conversation:

As a former teller, I remember those types of conversations quite well. Some folks are just paranoid/suspicious of any advice from bank employees. (Sometimes, they are justified!)

pooreva said
CIBC is raising their account fees (for all accounts) as of July 1st.

I got the paper notification about CIBC changes and was pretty sure that they would not affect me, but also called them to make doubly damned certain.

April 27, 2021
10:43 am
Dean
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.
A Very Interesting read, for sure ❗

Thanks for starting this thread, KamWest ... I'll be sharing it with others.

We all have to help our Seniors . . .

    Dean

sf-cool " Live Long And Prosper " sf-cool

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