Screwed on Bank Charges

We just got our first bank statement since attempting to stop using our credit cards completely. My plan to reduce our total spending by not using a credit card may have back-fired slightly, as there was a whopping $17 in extra charges charged to our bank account, in addition to the $11 we are already charged for our monthly plan “Everyday Banking Plan.” We were pushed over our transaction limit because we are such heavy Interac/Debit users, and we have many automatic deposits and withdrawals coming in and out of our account every month. To combat the problem, we will carry around more hard cash in our wallets in December and I hope this will help us stay under the transaction limit.

I am seriously considering using our BMO bank account for all our bill payments and direct-deposits, and using a separate ING Direct account (they allow you to create 4) for Interac charges, since as far as I know there is no limit to the number of Interac transactions you can make with ING Direct accounts, just as there is no limits or charges associated with transferring money from an ING Direct account and a big-bank account (except charges incurred from the big-bank). It will be nice when ING Direct one day provides bill payment and direct deposit service.

8 thoughts on “Screwed on Bank Charges”

  1. You should think of using PC Financial. No fee banking. You can write all the cheques, debits, transfers, etc.. that you want with no fees.

  2. Damn, you’re right I totally should. I actually opened a PC Financial account a few years ago when I was in Ontario but never used it because I never got all my direct deposits and automatic payments set up with it. That will be a pain to switch, but I could do it over the course of a few months.

    What about withdrawals from the big banks’ or independant ABMs?

  3. I second Anon’s suggestion. I use PC Financial for all my checking / debit transactions. You can withdraw money at most Loblaws and any CIBC ATMs without any charges. All checks are free and no limits on transactions.

    I still keep my main checking account at Royal, because occasionally I might want a draft and I want to be able to get it in person, not wait for my mail to arrive.

  4. I’m thinking of actually keeping our BMO account, reducing it to a cheaper plan (hopefully one that is around $5/month) and transferring amounts twice a month to a PC Financial account for everyday expenses (cash, Interac, cheques). This is similar to what we do now with our BMO Savings account (we use the savings account button on the Interac machines and on ABMs). I was planning to talk about this system of ours in a blog post coming soon.

    How are transfers made to the PC Financial account? Can they be done online as with ING Direct? or do I have to write myself a cheque and deposit it in PC Financial/CIBC ABM?

    So CIBC is the parent of PC Financial and the defunct Amicus bank? Interesting.

  5. When I switched to PC Financial, I redirected my paycheques to automatically get deposited there. I only keep enough in that account to pay for my monthly bills. Any extra gets transferred up to my ING account immediately (as it pays better). Then, I just slide money back and forth between my PC Financial and my ING account online.

    I kept my CIBC account, but changed it from a chequing account to a savings account. The savings account has no minimum balance and no monthly fees. I get 1 free transaction a month and a pay $5 for each transaction over that. Since I have moved to PC Financial, I have never used my CIBC savings account for anything. Once a year, I transfer $10 into it so it doesn’t go dormant! 🙂 I have kept this account open in case I needed something special from a bank that I can’t get from PC Financial. The only thing I have used them for is signing the back of share certificates when I want to transfer them to someone else.

  6. Anonymous, thanks for the reminder to keep my old BMO account open, no matter what I do. That’s something I might have forgotten about, should I go ahead and move things to PC Financial.

    I just finished getting our paycheques and all our bills set up with BMO. It’s going to be such a pain to switch them to all to somewhere else!

    Any bets on whether I can negotiate with BMO to waive all my fees? Maybe use our big student loan as leverage? It’s a loan at prime, so unless there is another bank out there that lends at prime that we can threaten to move to, I don’t think that will work. Do banks respond to threats like this to take our money elsewhere?

  7. PC Financial has given me about $150.00 in free groceries so far, with no charges (now I am not using it the same way you are, I am using their Mastercard to pay for EVERYTHING and then paying it off every month, which is kind of opposite of your plan).

    I have used PC Financial as an argument to get no fee banking before, and will use it again, problem is when the bank calls you on it, you have to be ready to GO.


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