Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Free Banking Services

Do you have a bank account that is charging you a monthly fee? Are you paying $10, or maybe you're paying $20. That's $240 a year! Just on banking fees. I know I could do a lot of things with $240. Why pay banking fees when there are so many other options out there to eliminate these fees. If you work for a bank, you most likely are not paying any fees at all. Usually bank employees get free banking.

But not everyone is lucky enough to work for a bank. Don't worry, there are other options. I've been banking with President's Choice for a number of years and I find them to be excellent. President's Choice is a virtual bank that offers no fee banking. You can open a chequing and a savings account for no charge at all and get unlimited transactions. Which means you can pay as many bills as you like, charge as many interact transactions as you like and make as many withdrawals as you like. I should also mention that cheques are free.

Some other cool features that I like are:

Direct Payroll Deposit
You can have your pay cheques deposited directly into your PC account from your employer.

Automatic Bill Payments
This feature allows you to automatically pay a bill on a scheduled date. This is great, especially if you forget to pay your bills on time.

Pre-authorized Bill Payments
This is the opposite of automatic bill payments. This feature allows creditors to automatically debit the amount owing to them directly from your account. I don't recommend this option unless you have a fixed amount that you pay monthly. I've seen situations where companies have cleared out accounts.

Personal Finance Manager
If you manage your money by using Quicken or Microsoft Money, PC gives you access to download your account information into it for free.

Monthly Statements
You have access to your statement online, which you can print for no charge. Statements can be viewed for the past 13 months. PC does charge for mailed statements.

Email Money Transfer
This service allows you to transfer money from your PC account to a friend or a family member through email. There is a charge for this.

President's Choice is a part of CIBC, so you can use any CIBC bank machine in Canada to do your banking. There are also PC bank machines at PC Pavilions which are located in Loblaws, Superstore, Fortino's, and some No Frills locations. There are some things you should be aware of. PC does not have any teller service. Money orders and drafts have to be ordered online or over the phone. If you need U.S funds, you can make a withdrawal at select CIBC bank machines. Look for the U.S funds symbol.

Also, be aware of the fees that are charged for insufficient funds, overdraft protection, money orders and drafts. They may cost more with PC than with other banks.

ING Direct is another virtual bank that offers free banking services. ING offers both chequing and saving accounts. Most people I know with an ING account have a savings account. It's a great account to use for an emergency fund. ING recently introduced their Thrive Chequing account, which is a no fee chequing account. With an ING account, you also have access to free email money transfers and mobile banking with their app. There aren't as many ING bank machines as you may be use to, but they are out there. ING also allows you to set up a bank account with another bank and link it to your ING account for convenient transfers.

Are you banking for free, or do you pay a monthly fee?

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