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.

{ 3 comments }

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.

 

{ 4 comments }

Employee Discount Scam

Employee Discount, What Does it Mean?

I note one of the major banks is now offering Employee Rate Mortgages, attempting to entice you to move your mortgage over to their bank, with the promise of the same kind of discounts or lower rates that you would only receive if you were an employee of said bank. This continues on from the automobile manufacturers (specifically Ford) that offers Employee Rate discounts on their cars, but what kind of discount are you really getting?

RBC even touts these discounts when trying to entice new employees:

Whether you are looking to arrange a loan or buy a home, employee banking benefits can help you reach your financial goals. You’ll have access to valuable discounts on a wide range of banking, investment and insurance services, including reduced mortgage rates and reduced home and auto insurance rates.

These must be amazing discounts, and they are willing to give any person who walked in off the street the exact same “employee enticing” savings that they offer to their new hires ? That is amazing, but if they are giving you the same “insiders” rate that they give their own employees, weren’t those same folks taxed on that “benefit”?

Employee Discount

The Employee Discount Scam

No, this has little to do with the employees of RBC, and more to do with car financing marketing schemes from the Automobile industry. The Mortgage business is becoming quite cut-throat, so this is RBC attempting to differentiate themselves from their competitors by cloaking a better deal with the promise of it being an “insider’s deal” (thus assuredly the best deal you could possibly get).

What is next? I can see the marketing scheme already,

If you can find a better mortgage deal, you bring it to us and we will match that deal!

No, wait, that is precisely how the Mortgage business currently works.

Given our finance minister’s laissez faire attitude towards the banking industry lately, we may see more interesting “marketing schemes” introduced to entice us to move our hard earned cash to another banking institution.

Changing banks is fine, but make sure you get a good deal when you do it.

{ 7 comments }

iPad Compatible Banking Apps

A while back I purchased an iPad for myself to see if I could “run” my small business (yes, this web site is a small business, stop snickering) on an iPad. I have learned a fair amount about the apps on the iPad and such, but I have also learned that for some odd reason many different apps only have iPhone compatible versions.

For those unfamiliar, you can run iPhone compatible apps on your iPad, however, they only run in Portrait Mode (short across top, longer on the side) and it looks pretty clunky (and most likely, if anything goes wrong, you are not going to get any customer support).

Apple iPad

Your New Banking Device ?

Whilst attempting to figure out how things work, I tripped across a couple of interesting issues with the Canadian Banks and their “apps”:

  • TD has an iPad compatible app, as does Tangerine bank, haven’t tested to see if the scan cheques capability works on either app
  • PC Financial, Capital One and Amex all have iPhone apps, but nothing that runs on an iPad, currently
  • For those of you curious this site is supposed to be iPad compatible too.

Having iPhone compatible apps is fun, and convenient, an iPad version with a few more features would help consumers more (although you would be banking over very unsafe WiFi networks).

How did I deal with this shortcoming? I tweeted about it (naturally):

Amazing stuff. Boomer and Echo pointed out that ten years ago I wouldn’t be making these complaints, but I had a retort for that as well:

No answers to my tweets (yet), aside from TD favoriting my comment about how their app did work with an iPad.

This was written on an iPad using Microsoft Word, and OneDisk to store it, which was then transferred to my web site, convoluted, but it works (for now).

Do you use your Tablet for on-line banking? How about your Smart Phone?

{ 8 comments }

Thank You TD

I figure I should write an official thank you note to TD, TD Mutual Funds and TD Waterhouse, because without them I would not have some of my most popular articles.

TD Toronto Dominion Bank

TD

I went back over my archives and I realized that not only am I a customer of TD, TD Mutual Funds and TD Waterhouse (and a shareholder as full disclosure), but I write about their services a great deal.

Many (if not all) of the articles in my RDSP page talk about TD Waterhouse’s RDSP, which while currently one of the only RDSP Investing Vehicles that gives you the freedom to choose whatever portfolio you like, it still has many shortcomings that need to be addressed.

The RESP page is all about the RESPs that I initially set up with Canada Trust Mutual Funds, that got transferred to TD Mutual Funds, and I should have moved them over to TD Waterhouse (but that is my own fault).

Then there are the many discussions about Bank Fees and my begging for cheaper rates.

A Bill Paying Solution

I also note that the TD Banking Web Page has added a very useful tool to their web bill paying and that is the ability to show you the last time you paid a specific bill. Remember I lamented about getting inundated with bills from various sources, but with this page, I can at least go and check to see when the last time was that I paid a specific bill.

TD Bill Payment

New TD Bill Payment Page

Having the record of when you last paid a bill and how much you paid will make life a little simpler for me at least.

{ 10 comments }

%d bloggers like this: