Cheques, Cameras and Banking Apps

My loathing of having to go to my local bank branch has caused me to review one of my rules about doing on-line banking on wireless devices (and using wireless phone networks). Pretty much every bank now offers “free cheque” deposit using your phone or tablet, (and their ATM machines are effectively doing the same thing i.e. photographing your cheque and clearing it that way).

You simply take a picture of the front and the back of the cheque, with your mobile phone (inside of your banks mobile banking app), input in the app how much the cheque is for (with a note to associate with it as well), note on the actual cheque that you have done the deposit (and when), keep the cheque for 10 days (to make sure it clears) and once it clears, shred the cheque (TD offers this, as does Tangerine and a few other banks).

Secure Wi Fi

Only Work in a Secure Wi Fi Environment

Previously I have ranted about the insecurity of doing your on-line banking over a wireless network (it’s also incredibly bad to do your on-line banking in an Internet Cafe or on any computer that you don’t control (even the one in your office, assuming your place of work is safe can be a dangerous assumption)), however, given using this new service means I don’t have to go to my “brick and mortar” bank, I will qualify my rant about wireless on-line banking.

  • Surprisingly it is better to use this on your a cellular data network (the security on those networks is much better than you might think), so if you are going to use this service and you are not at home don’t use public wi-fi or any stuff like that, use your cellular data network.
  • Don’t use Public Wi-Fi, Restaurant Wi-Fi, or “Hey look I found open Wi-Fi”, for anything, but especially not for Internet Banking, seriously, you aren’t doing that, are you?
  • If you have a home Wi-Fi Network and it is not open (i.e. you use WPA2, WPA or WEP protocols) then you can use your home Wi-Fi (also don’t broadcast your SSID either) for on-line banking.

An interesting issue can arise (that I read about on this Reddit Thread) that if you try to deposit a post dated cheque early (using your camera and your mobile phone app), you are going to end up being in a bit of a mess. To sum it up, the bank will negate the deposit, and the cheque you have will be useless, as it has been refused by a bank, so whomever wrote you the cheque will have to write you a new one (this is why it is well worthwhile reading the /r/PersonalFinanceCanada Reddit sub).


More Blocked Mutual Fund Transactions at TD

Again, I am tripped up by my “investing profile” at TD? Yes, again, due to my Mutual Funds account investing profile was not “up to date” and thus my risky transfer from a Money Market Fund, to a Bond Fund was blocked. What do I mean by blocked? It was disallowed and my money remains in the Money Market Fund.

Transaction Denied

Dikembe must work for TD ?

I sent the following message:

So AGAIN, my transaction in a TD Mutual Fund account is BLOCKED because my “Profile” is not up to date? I was just in my bank branch, having to do the EXACT SAME THING for another Mutual account, yet I must do it again?

Can I do this on-line? If not, why not? My level of frustration with this system is nearing a critical level, and feel that while it is good that you care enough about your customers to ask them about their investing needs, I am also growing weary having to wander into my local branch to update my profile once a year.

I figured I’d hear nothing back, however, I got the following even more frustrating message back, using the secure message feature of TD’s On-line banking interface.

Thanks for connecting with us. I am happy to offer further guidance.

The idea of reviewing your investments once a year is to make sure they still align with the level of risk that you are comfortable with. Since your investment goals and some events in life might have changed, by reviewing your profile, you are reducing the chance of being affected by unpredictable changes.

You can revisit your priprities and review your Mutual Funds Investment profile by calling us at 1-866-222-3456 option 5. A licensed representative will be happy to assist you with your Mutual Funds from the comfort of your home.

I trust this will help. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

How does this address my query? How is this helpful? Telling me that yes, you need to review your investing profile every year seems to suggest my e-mail was not quite understood?

OK, so this has now convinced me, I only have 2 TD Mutual fund accounts left, and I will be closing those, enough is enough.



No I Can’t Do Anything About That

That is a direct quote from a TD representative when I asked if anything could be done about the interest rate on my Unsecured Line of Credit.

For the longest of times, this Unsecured Line of Credit was “Prime + 1.5%”, but about 2 years ago, it was raised to “Prime + 2.0%”, which while annoying, was something I could live with, however, about six months ago I got a terse piece of Snail Mail announcing, “Yeh, it will be Prime + 3.0%. I was quite irked by this (as a customer of TD), and decided the next time I was in the Bank (say to cash in an RESP) I would ask about this.

The Answer

The Answer is Always No, if you don’t ask

In the interim, my daughter got her Student Line of Credit from CIBC, which I co-signed, and she got that at Prime, so I figured I’d bring the documentation with me (to TD)  to see if I could motivate my friendly TD rep to do something about my unsecured line of credit rate.  This is where the title of this post came in to play.

First I was easily able to cash out my daughter’s RESP (as I had move all E-series Index Funds into the Money Market fund, won’t get fooled twice on that one), in a relatively quick few minutes. I then had to have my “investing profile” updated to allow me to do what I wanted in another account, again done quite quickly as the rep simply cloned the last time I did this update.

At this point I brought up my Unsecured Line of Credit and the high interest rate (in my opinion) and the fact that I have good enough credit to co-sign a loan for prime only, and the answer was short and to the point:

“No, that is an unsecured line of credit and I cannot lower that rate.”

I asked if there was any chance to discuss it, and was dismissed with, “Your Daughter has a professional line of credit loan, not the same thing, we can’t do anything for you”.  I believe I also asked if anybody else could help, but was told No. Now I have said previously, The Answer is Always No, unless you ask, but evidently it can be No even if you do ask.

If I remember the happy young lady at the CIBC, when she gave us the details about my daughter’s student line of credit, told me that an unsecured line of credit rate for me would have an interest rate depending on my credit rating and how much debt I carry, but she’d gladly check it out for me if I wanted her to do that. I guess I’ll be going to visit CIBC in the near future.


More Reasons to Change Banks

Last year I wrote about how my daughter got a Student Line of Credit, to help pay for her second degree, as a Chiropractor. Remember, I am the one that talks about being willing to change banks, but unfortunately, my daughter is changing banks due to the mistakes of the local branch of National Bank of Canada (which is the reason I changed banks a while ago as well).

The problems started when the line of credit was first set up, and has compounded since then:

  • It took 3 visits to get the student line of credit set up (we thought) with the local branch. Once the application forms were set up, the first application for the account was declined, because the young lady at the local branch was unaware of how to do the application, it was declined  because the application was asking for the entire value of the loan (for all 4 years of the school). There had to be a reapplication to get the loan set up (finally).
  • The Student Line of Credit was actually set up as a standard unsecured line of credit. This caused the National Bank head office to call (more than once, and somewhat irate) to ask why weren’t the minimum payments being made to the account? It then would take an hour of explanation, and investigation for someone to figure out that the account had been set up incorrectly (by the local branch). The only way it could be fixed was by the local branch, and they failed (more than once) to remedy this issue. The account should be set up so that the interest payments do not need to be paid until my daughter graduated (but yes, they still compound).
  • There was an inability to make payments from other banks to the National Bank for this loan. This meant all banking would have to go through the National Bank only (or use Interac transfers to do things). This is also a shortcoming with the CIBC Student Line of Credit.
  • The on-line banking at National Bank, never really worked correctly for my daughter, she had to keep calling their on-line help folks to get access to the account (just to see what the balance was on the account). This happened every time she tried to access the account, and each time she would ask, “So with the information you have just given me, I can get access to my account”, and the help line person would say “Yes”. It worked that time, and then the next time, she had to call back in, because it would not let her in.
  • The straw that broke the camel’s back was that the National Bank Head Office decided that the “ceiling” (maximum for the loan) for students in Chiropractic College (for their entire program) was  dropped by 33%, and because of this, the line of credit would not have covered the cost of the entire program. The reason for this change (we theorize) was that the Chiropractic College in Trois-Rivieres was consulted to see how much their program cost, and the maximum for the line of credit was lowered to reflect that program’s total cost. This is an issue, as my daughter is going to the College in Toronto (which has higher fees and costs). This meant my daughter had to change to another bank or she would have run out of money, so she is now in the process of changing to CIBC for her Student Line of Credit (and Free Banking too). There were inquiries made to the local National Bank branch to figure out why the Loan Cap was lowered, no real answer was given, just that it was being put in place, and that even though my daughter had been enrolled last  year, and the loan agreement included the higher cap, her cap was being lowered in accordance with the new rules.
Change your bank

Keep this in mind if you want to change your Bank

As you can see a great deal of frustration and confusion lead to my daughter changing her accounts over to CIBC. Naturally I was involved in the decision to change, as I am a guarantor on the student line of credit (or as Michael James would say, I have a Student Line of Credit). The change of the maximum loan limit was the main reason, but the other frustrations certainly made the decision to change, a simpler choice.

Remember, never be afraid to change banks, especially if you feel that you are not getting a very good deal. Also, this is why student debt is so darn high.


A Great Financial Idea Dies

When I first started writing, I wrote about how when I was at BNR, they brought an ATM into the office space, and initially it was with CIBC, however at the time, the charges for using a non-BMO (who I was banking with at the time) ATM machine was costly (although nothing like what it is now), so I decided to open a bank account with CIBC, to save that withdrawal charge. Later CIBC closed their office and took away the ATM machine and it was replaced with the Telecommunication Technologies Credit Union and I wondered whether I should open an account with them (I decided against it due to their yearly subscription fee).

The premise of this simple idea was:

Open a bank account with a bank with the banking machine closest to work, so that you can save the “Other Bank” ATM charges if you need some cash at work. Set up the “direct deposit” from your employer to put a small amount in that account which is then available to you.

Currently, my new office is very close to an RBC, so I figured I’d look at the numbers and see if it was worthwhile, opening an account with RBC so that I could avoid the extra charges that arise by using their ATM machines (which act like “White ATM Machines” for non-RBC customers). Unfortunately the numbers do not add up, even with the free iPad Mini 2 that might come with the account (if I either pay bills automatically out of the account or have part of my pay put into the account).

The big stumbling point with this simple theory is, the monthly banking charge on the account being about $14 a month. The equation to look at would be:

Monthly Bank Fee Z < (N withdrawals * $3 service charge per withdrawal)

In this instance if you withdraw from your account more than 4 times, it is better to have the “near work bank account” (for lack of a better term).

For me, I have decided to simply withdraw money from the bank near my house if I need it (and thus no charges for ATM access) and if I am short when I am at work, I work around it (i.e. go without lunch, or make sure I bring my lunch every day).

The better rule to live by is:

Withdraw enough cash for the week from your bank and never use ATM’s that are not associated with your bank, and never use a “White ATM” either.



%d bloggers like this: