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Day-to-day free banking
August 13, 2007
3:43 am

Recently, I was denyed free banking by my credit union bank (even though I had been with them for over 14 years). There excuse was that I was I received free banking by accident during their system conversion. When I stated that I had negotiated this feature, they said they would look into it. Well, they looked into it, and I can no longer have my account - so I am leaving them.

My problem now is which bank should I go to? I have always used my credit union account as my hub account, linking all my online and high interest savings accounts to it. So, as you can see, I have to go through quite a process to get my account changed - I want to make sure I make the right choice!

Here are some of the features that I would like:
-free cheques
-free transfers to and from other bank accounts
-free debits (at least 15 per month)
-free bill payments
-no limit on the balance
-good customer service

If you've had a good experience with an account and the above features, please share!

August 13, 2007
9:13 am

PC Financial has everything you listed. The "good customer service is tough to rate because it is so subjective.

I transfer money to and from ING Direct without any fees. I have brokerage accounts with E*Trade and TD Waterhouse and I can easiky transfer funds to/from them.

August 18, 2007
11:30 am

Coast Capital Savings Credit Union (Victoria and Vancouver) has a free chequing account they say is "only truly free chequing account offered by a full service financial institution in Canada".

They actually have a branch near me, so I might switch. PC Financial looks interesting too (free use of CIBC bank machines), but there isn't a branch I can walk into.

August 27, 2007
2:14 pm

We have been banking through Presidents Choice for numerous years now. They are fine for your general day-to-day needs, however, we found that we do require a regular bank account as well. Reason is:
We have been in need of a bank draft on occasion, i.e. when purchasing a car, or buying our house. While PC does do this, it is time consuming and expensive. If you need smaller sums of money to be transferred, email transfers to the trick.
Credit cards: While we like PC's no fee credit card with the added bonus of points which can be used for anything one could buy at Loblaws, Superstore and Fortinos etc., if you use your credit card for business purposes such as we do, and you are establishing credit, be aware that credit limits are set extremely low at first and creep up slowly. ALthough we have a very high credit limit at a different bank, we started out with only $3,500 at PC. In the past, when we started out with our other credit card, we just prepaid the card and were able to use it up with the prepayment, but be aware that President's Choice does not do this. So, if you think of prepaying your card by $5,ooo would increase your limit by $5,000 such as it does at other banks, it does not at PC. Apparently they have had a lot of complaints about it and are looking into changing it, but I am not holding my breath.
We have held a mortgage through them, had a line of credit, savings, so we pretty much have used all of their services, and have generally encountered only the highest customer service.
So, can highly recommend them, with the above limitations.
Hope this helps,

August 29, 2007
3:16 am

Check out the article I wrote - this will give you a good comparison for what I was looking for...

October 21, 2009
1:34 am

Hello people: I've been doing some online research, and there's another interesting option that's not in the charts on this site.
Manulife Financial...
...offers a high interest chequing account! The chequing is free but there are per transaction charges for ATM use, direct payment etc.

Now it seems to me, Manulife has the one thing the HSBC Direct Savings Account lacks (chequing), and vice versa...between the two of them, a person could be able to write cheques, use ATMs & Interac, pay bills etc, AND be earning interest on their money at the same time! Am I missing anything?

This could get even better when interest rates go up.:smile:

October 22, 2009
12:54 pm

the interest rate looks like crap at 1% half of which goes in taxation.

you may as well be putting it under your mattress.

October 22, 2009
2:02 pm

Well, yeah, but that'a a reflection of the current economic situation. Sadly, 1% makes them relatively "high interest savings" in today's terms. Take a look at our host's chart and you'll see there's not much higher, and nothing else that offers the kind of access that might make it practical to use the account as your main bank account for money that you will regularly access. (I'm not considering ICICI because of the reports of abyssmal customer service and other problems.)

One year ago these accounts were more like 3%. Hopefully in the future they will rise again accordingly. Basically now, high interest anything is a joke.

March 26, 2010
6:08 pm

For Western Canada, Canadian Western Bank has absolutely free chequing and savings accounts, brick-and-mortar offices, free ATM at credit unions, immediate online transfers, etc. I started with them with their interest rate was higher than ING's but is now 1.05% (5,000 minimum)compared to ING's 1.2%.

April 2, 2010
7:06 pm
Forum Posts: 1284
Member Since:
May 15, 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

For Western Canada, Canadian Western Bank has absolutely free chequing and savings accounts, brick-and-mortar offices, free ATM at credit unions, immediate online transfers, etc. I started with them with their interest rate was higher than ING's but is now 1.05% (5,000 minimum)compared to ING's 1.2%.

Interesting, although it looks like you have to meet any one of several minimum balances depending on which account you get:

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