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Are seniors taken advantage of? At Scotiabank for sure!
April 27, 2021
11:30 am
AltaRed
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We all do need to help our elderly family members but they also have to want the help. Kam's example is one where father actively declined help and potentially: 1) no sharp CSR/teller actually knew what was happening, and/or 2) had nothing in it but personal goodwill to suggest changes and open a hornet's nest, and/or 3) actually did make the suggestion and get shut down by the customer. Any of those things are entirely plausible.

April 27, 2021
11:44 am
KamWest
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AltaRed said
We all do need to help our elderly family members but they also have to want the help. Kam's example is one where father actively declined help and potentially: 1) no sharp CSR/teller actually knew what was happening, and/or 2) had nothing in it but personal goodwill to suggest changes and open a hornet's nest, and/or 3) actually did make the suggestion and get shut down by the customer. Any of those things are entirely plausible.  

Nope, I confronted the bank on this charge and it took quite a bit even for me to find out what it was.

IE I asked what is this $20 charge

Bank: A service charge

Me: Charge for what

Bank: Monthly service charge

Me: Nope because it changes every month and there are almost no transactions in this account with 20k in it.

Bank: Withdrawals

Me: What withdrawals etc etc

I did not let it drop before I was finally told the $20 was for 4 debit card transactions on the savings account.

My Dad would never have gotten that out of them, he would have just shrugged and accepted the service charge response.

Some of you might think 20k is a lot but for my mom, that and a basic pension is not a lot. I am the guy who will be topping up my mom and I gladly do that but I resent the bank charging $5 for a debit transaction.

Yes I know it is a charge on the savings account but matter of fact is it was initiated with each debit transaction and was NEVER clearly communicated with my parents. Even I had to firmly keep pressing to get the answer which astonished me. I had no idea a debit transaction on any account could ever initiate a $5 service fee.

It is highway robbery when merchants pay 5 cents a bank can collect $5 dollars on the other end because they are not educating the customer.

Had my dads statement said anywhere on it that these continuing $5 charges were for single debit card transactions he surely would not have done them.

It is very easy to pull the wool over the eyes of seniors and banks probably draw a huge proportion of their fees on unsuspecting seniors.

April 27, 2021
12:31 pm
topgun
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Bank Fees - A couple years ago I looked at Scotiabank annual report. It turns out about 1/2 their income is from fees. The other 1/2 is interest collected. I discussed this with some long time friends. I said there are a lot of silly fees. They mentioned fees. I think they were charged fees for moving RRSP funds to greener pastures. They deal with different major bank than I. The banks must be competitive with each other. Scotiabank 2020 income. Net interest income 17.32 Billion. Non-interest income 14.016 Billion.

Have a Great Day

April 27, 2021
1:09 pm
dougjp
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I agree it is disgusting how these fees are way too high to be justified by anything. Its not only seniors that are victims.

As interest rates/interest earnings are so low these days and fees are going up, could I suggest we start a listing of no fee/very limited fee banks that people can go to?

Granted it might get complicated as they would have to offer debit cards and also take into account ATM withdrawal fees for those. Interac transfers would have to be possible. It wouldn't matter if they offered credit cards.

There are 3 kinds of people: those who can count & those who can't.

April 27, 2021
2:31 pm
Alexandre
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I must be lucky to some extent: my father is quite old, but he is internet savvy, manages his own banking account online mostly problem free. My mother relies on my father for all matters financial, they have joint account at Scotiabank.

Yet, I still face challenge of deciding when should I embed myself in my parents' financial matters, in which of those exactly, and how forcefully.

As an example, some time ago my father forgot to pay his credit card monthly bill. He was adamant he paid it just fine. He complained to me that some idiots from credit card company, or he thought maybe just scammers, calling him telling he must pay his balance or at least minimum payment. This is how I learned.
It is good thing he uses online banking for everything. All we had to do is pull his banking account transactions history, to see that no payment to credit card company was made.
Surprisingly, credit card company was very forgiving when they got a call from us with explanation and apologies, they waived all interest and fees for unpaid balance.

I also understand that in a few years I'll be in the same position he is now, so how would I feel about someone telling me what should I do with my banking, how should I use my debit card. How much would I resent other people embedding in my financial matters, when I feel I am still totally capable of deciding everything by myself (even if in reality I might not).

April 27, 2021
2:55 pm
HermanH
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Alexandre said
Surprisingly, credit card company was very forgiving when they got a call from us with explanation and apologies, they waived all interest and fees for unpaid balance.

I also blundered when I opened accounts with HSBC. I treated my SAV acct like it was my CHQ acct (because I thought they were the same.) I rang up $60 in transactions fees and called the bank for an explanation. Once I told them of my mis-understanding, they graciously (to their eternal credit) gave me a one-time reversal. Now, I am much more careful with tracking the number of transactions allowed across all my accounts. IOW, it can happen to the best of us. 🙂

April 27, 2021
5:23 pm
dollarbill
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I had a Seniors Powerchequing Account for 17 years with Scotiabank. When I opened it the representative told me to never close the account because I would never have to pay charges on that account.
Two months ago I received a message telling me that starting the following month I would have to pay $2.25 per month to keep that account.
I told them to close the account and I transferred a $60,000.00 TFSA, which had just matured, to another facility and got a much better rate.

April 27, 2021
7:19 pm
pooreva
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KamWest said
It is very easy to pull the wool over the eyes of seniors and banks probably draw a huge proportion of their fees on unsuspecting seniors.  

It is a blessing your parents have you to check up on them!
How many other seniors particularly in long term care are ripped off by the banks and other institutions...

Solution is simple - change the bank. CIBC has no account fee for seniors (at least one chequing account I am aware of). Tang, EQ have no fees at all.
Yes, it could be a little bit of a PITA to change it and redirect pensions, cpp, oas, whatnot but it is doable.

April 27, 2021
7:25 pm
pooreva
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Alexandre said
As an example, some time ago my father forgot to pay his credit card monthly bill.

Pre-authorized payment.
I have it for all my bills since '90-is. Never had an issue, never was late with any payment.
I could suggest if he likes computers to use MS Money. Old program, still works very well (Win 7, 10), no rocket science; he can create sort of money flow estimate for few months ahead (enter all income, bills, etc.) and just monitor. Program is free... I can help if needed to set it up...

April 27, 2021
7:28 pm
AltaRed
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I think the OP's mother will need a brick and mortar bank for various needs as she ages and perhaps even a POA in the not too distant future. A straight digital bank won't provide all that she likely needs as an aging senior.

The only real alternatives to the brick and mortar banks (including the likes of CWB) are the local (regional) CUs such as, in the BC Interior, being Prospera CU and Interior Savings. That is likely what keeps these regional CUs going

April 27, 2021
7:41 pm
Loonie
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There is no need for these complicated and problematic conversations between CSRs or bank managers and their senior clients. Just don't charge the fees! Motus doesn't charge them, and neither do many of their competitors. If they can do it, and they are much smaller than you, then so can you.

The greed which is shown with the many fees is a relatively recent profit centre for these banks, especially with seniors. Seniors accounts used to always be no-fee accounts, period. It should have remained that way.

Let's be clear though about where these fees end up. They contribute to company profits, which in turn pay for the high dividends that shareholders enjoy. Many people on this forum hold shares in these banks. If you aren't happy with the way your bank treats seniors, go to the shareholders' meeting and make a big stink. Be sure to let the media know.

Eventually, these banks will have to think of a new trick. Gradually, people are realizing that there are alternatives. I am only a few years younger than OP's mother, and i have accounts at multiple CUs and smaller banks. I have a chequing account at CIBC for everyday use and pay no fees. The day CIBC starts charging me, I will start moving that money and my pre-authorized bill payments to AlternaBank. I should do it now but have been too lazy. And, as you all know, I have a lot to say about banks and bank accounts on this forum as well (perhaps too much! - LOL) I would caution against assuming that seniors are necessarily prey for the big banks.
My dad used to go into his TD bank branch regularly until he was in his late 80s and could no longer do it, and he sometimes found they had made small errors, which he was dogged about getting reimbursed. Back then, they had a policy where they paid the customer five dollars if they had to wait more than five minutes for a teller. He timed them, and regularly made money this way. It made his day. There were no fees.

My worst nightmares have been with RBC, but I have also had issues with Bell Tel. On my mother's phone (she was in her mid-90s at the time and was not checking her bills closely), she was billed monthly for a telephone rental that she had not actually had in many years. I was able to stop this, but she too only got six months refund. I'm happy to say she will be 100 shortly and is no longer a Bell customer.

Such garbage also happens with the gas company We used to have a contract with them for maintenance and decided to ditch it. As the time for the annual renewal approached, we asked to get out of it. No can do, they said, as it requires X months' notice. I think it was 3 months. We were stuck for another year. After much prodding, the guy on the phone finally offered that we could exchange the furnace maintenance for another gas appliance on his list which was cheaper. The cheapest was a gas fireplace. We do not have a gas fireplace or any other kind of fireplace as we don't want one. Nonetheless we switched to gas fireplace maintenance because we really really wanted to get rid of this company. Several times in the subsequent year we received phone calls from them wanting to come and service our gas fireplace. We told them we didn't have one... They were, shall we say, perplexed.

On the issue at hand, I would advise against going any legal route. It will cost you money, time and aggravation and you won't win. They have armies of lawyers (which your praents helped pay for) and they are really careful about their T&C. But shaming and embarrassing them is definitely on!

April 27, 2021
9:00 pm
Norman1
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KamWest said

It is highway robbery when merchants pay 5 cents a bank can collect $5 dollars on the other end because they are not educating the customer.

Had my dads statement said anywhere on it that these continuing $5 charges were for single debit card transactions he surely would not have done them.

It is very easy to pull the wool over the eyes of seniors and banks probably draw a huge proportion of their fees on unsuspecting seniors.

Your characterization of the situation is not accurate.

It doesn't matter if your Dad understood exactly what that $20 to $25 charge each month was for. He knew it was $20 to $25 and didn't mind.

It is significant your Mom is not willing to keep all the money in the chequing account instead and then select the chequing account instead on Interac debits. That would lower the fees down to $8 to $10 instead each month. Like earning an extra $12 to $15 of interest each month!

Your parents like that Scotiabank savings account, for some reason.

I had a similar talk with my parents years ago about their RBC chequing account. They understood what the service charges were for.

I mentioned the Royal Trust chequing account to them. Zero transaction fees for a minimum average monthly balance of $1,200. They did open one and did some of their transactions through that account.

But, they kept their RBC chequing account, even to this day!

The problem is actually in your mind and my mind. Your parents and my parents don't mind. You will just stir up needless friction between you and your Mom.

April 27, 2021
9:47 pm
AltaRed
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Appears the OP has already talked his Mom into moving to motusbank so the ship has sailed. What I don't know is if motusbank provides cheques, bill pay, bank drafts or Interac e-transfers, etc. or whether that is somehow covered by Meridian. Bill pay especially is pretty critical for those things that cannot be handled by pre-authorized debit or Interac e-transfer. Hopefully this change is not a knee jerk reaction.

April 28, 2021
1:06 am
Loonie
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motusbank is trying hard to be a full service bank.
It offers chequing, interac, ATM access, bill payments, and mobile cheque deposit. I've never looked into bank drafts.
All of these services are FREE of charge, as are the accounts themselves, including the first 25 cheques.
Even their lowly chequing account pays more interest (0.15%) than a so-called high interest savings account at the Big Banks.
If the mom ever needs a service they don't offer, she can open an account at a bricks and mortar local credit union for that purpose. She might want a safety deposit box, for instance.

In fact, the accounts offered at the Big Banks now are already effectively negative interest accounts, but they have found a clever way of disguising it as fees since the uproar would be much louder if they admitted it.
With fees at about $16/month (+ tax?), and an interest rate of .05%, you'd have to deposit about 400K just to break even, never mind any profit with which to deal with inflation. For any deposit smaller than that, you are effectively getting a negative rate. Most people don't have that much to put into a savings or chequing account even if they wanted to. I can think of better things to do with 400K. We all can.
And we're not talking about hair splitting numbers either. You could have that same 400K deposited over four FIs for CDIC coverage (or 1 or 2 CUs) at an average rate of 1.25% and you would earn $5,000 over the year. It's a serious amount of money.

April 28, 2021
5:13 am
KamWest
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@LOONIE

Motus is my day to day bank, my wifes, and now my moms.

It will take me 2-3 months to make sure everything (penesions etc) transfer over and then I am done with Scotia.

From personal experience the "Secured Message" feature is like your own private teller. You never need to re-identify yourself because you are already logged in and they just do what you ask them to.

I have asked them to...

Link an account - done
De-Link an old account - done
Transfer my RRSP - done
Transfer my TSFA - done
etc etc, there is nothing from a brick and mortar I cannot do without a scanner and secured messages.

That said my serious money is at Canadian Tire for interest but the day to day banking with no fees has been exemplary for me at motus. The only down side is the hold times but that is no big deal because I always have a few months of funds in the accounts.

@Norman1

The elderly rarely ever question bank charges, my mom said my dad asked but always got the runaround telling him banking was not free and charges are part of his services at the bank. I talked to my mother yesterday and he even had a meeting to discuss fees and came out more confused than ever. He was told keep 3k in the account and the fees would be removed. The account charge was removed but all the fees continued especially the unexplained ones in savings.

My dad just accepted the charges thinking there was nothing he could do.

April 28, 2021
6:36 am
Loonie
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I'm glad motus is working for you. I did have some alarming experiences with them when they were fairly new, which I wrote about then. I don't use them for much right now, but I do keep it open and keep some money there that I might need to access quickly by cheque. It's too much nuisance to move it all from CIBC, where I pay no fees anyway due to being old. One of these days...

If a bank rep said to me, "banking isn't free", I think I would have said, "neither is my money". Or at least that's what I'd like to have said!

My experience suggests, and I am saying this with a straight face, that employees at these big banks are brainwashed by their training. I don't know what else to call it. I have sat across from some of them and had them tell me the most fantastical things, things that i knew were untrue, and they also ought to have known they were not true. But it was the strangest thing to watch the expressions on their faces and hear the tone of voice, because I think they actually had come to believe what they were saying. It was an unnerving experience, as if they were in a trance. As the customer, I began to wonder who I was really talking to.

So, I would imagine the person your father spoke to had come to believe the bank's sob story and was convinced the fees were justified. They seem to believe it's some kind of

"law of nature," the only way banking could possibly operate. It's like talking to any ''true believer"; you can't get anywhere because it's not a rational argument. Coming out confused would be normal. It probably cost more to pay this person to argue with your father than the fees they would collect from him. And I'm sure a great deal of time is spent in this fruitless pursuit. Not my idea of good management.
People your father's age do expect banking to be free, because it was free for most of their lives, at that very same bank. All these fees are a relatively recent innovation, but most of the people who work in the banks are too young to understand that.

As soon as covid lets up, my mom will be opening an account at Meridian. For her, I think bricks and mortar still matter, and they are a lot easier to deal with than RBC. She has been furious with RBC ever since they conned her into a TFSA she didn't want two years ago, resulting in a $240 fine she had to pay to CRA for an overcontribution. She was 98 at the time, hard of hearing and poor vision, and, most importantly, did not go into the bank to open a TFSA; they took advantage of her, plain and simple. They know no limits. While it might be nice if bank reps took it upon themselves to point out where you might do better with another account, there are also dangers in that because they may not be recommending the right thing, and one has to be careful. A favourite ploy where I live is to get seniors to give up their existing accounts for newer ones, with more "features" (that they don't need and will probably never use), then they find out later they lost some of their privileges as seniors, which they can never get back. Someone tried that one on me several years ago, but I was aware of the situation and didn't fall for it.

Anyway, there ARE alternatives. Happily, nobody has to put up with such bad treatment.sf-smile

April 28, 2021
6:55 am
KamWest
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I use Meridian for my business and the service has been insanely good, a small 30 fee for the account and everything else is free. Keep 25k in the account and no fee at all. There is always at least 25k in my business account so no issue there.

For business I was with CIBC and RBC and the charges were insane, even to use the payroll or tax system always had charge after charge. All that is free at Meridian and the website is super easy.

Motus uses the same underpinnings so I was familiar and quite comfortable with it.

For me the best part of Meridian and Motus is secured messages which is like my own teller/assistant.

Only bad part at Meridian vs Motus.

1/2 point less interest and you only get a few free e-transfers at meridian.

I think e-transfers need to be free so for that motus shines.

PS Meridian pays me .50% for business and 0.45% for personal but I only use the personal account to move money through because you cannot link business accounts to other banks.

April 28, 2021
6:58 am
Bobbyjet11
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On a similar note. I have a grand-fathered chequing account at TD; meaning most fees are waived as long as the balance remains above $ 2,000 (it started at $ 1,000).
Recently I received an email stating the minimum balance is going up to a rather ridiculous $ 5,000 as of June 1st. I'm not happy about it but I am not going to run around looking for an alternative to pay bills etc. hence I will have $ 5k sitting there collecting virtually no interest which is a back-handed way to get fees from me. Pretty sleazy, IMO.

April 28, 2021
8:33 am
AltaRed
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Bobbyjet11 said
Recently I received an email stating the minimum balance is going up to a rather ridiculous $ 5,000 as of June 1st. I'm not happy about it but I am not going to run around looking for an alternative to pay bills etc. hence I will have $ 5k sitting there collecting virtually no interest which is a back-handed way to get fees from me. Pretty sleazy, IMO.  

It is very irritating, but $5k @ 1% interest is $50 before tax ($30 AT). That is barely one decent lunch for 2 people. Not the end of the world.. at least not until we get back to substantive interest rates (if ever).

April 28, 2021
9:13 am
Norman1
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KamWest said

@Norman1

The elderly rarely ever question bank charges, my mom said my dad asked but always got the runaround telling him banking was not free and charges are part of his services at the bank. I talked to my mother yesterday and he even had a meeting to discuss fees and came out more confused than ever. He was told keep 3k in the account and the fees would be removed. The account charge was removed but all the fees continued especially the unexplained ones in savings.

My dad just accepted the charges thinking there was nothing he could do.

It isn't just the elderly! Friends that were far from being elderly don't question as well.

One made an astonishing statement that PC Financial's chequing account is not a big deal. She gets "free" transactions with her RBC chequing account that had a $10/month fee! sf-surprised "Free" but $10/month?!?

I think it is more likely that your Dad accepted that there wasn't anything he could do because he, for some reason, wanted to continue with Scotiabank.

My parents were similar. They knew RBC charged a service fee for each withdrawal and each cheque, regardless of balance.

Unfortunately, as your Dad also found out, the bank staff are not good at explaining the fees. That's why I don't ask the staff to explain the fees. It would be similar to asking them to show me how the bank calculated the interest for a particular month because the number doesn't look right!

I just ask for the latest service fee schedule and figure it out myself at home.

I don't think you realize what banks like RBC and Scotiabank have accomplished. They found a large number of people who want to bank with them and will pay them fees for transactions. At the same time, their competitors have to do the transactions for nothing just to get a foot in the door.

Just like the big banks have found lots of people who will accept just 0.10% per annum for deposits while competitors like EQ Bank have to pay 1.25%!

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