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Free Banking ?

Written in 2007, but you can still ask for free banking. They may not give it to you, but other banks might. You will need to be willing to change your bank. Why are you paying service fees?

Last night, my wife and I went for our yearly meeting with our current bank to move some money around, update our kids’ RESPs and attempt to receive Free Banking. My wife was sure that this would not happen and that we would walk out of there empty-handed, and I would be ranting about how we had to change banks. I guessed I might get something, given I had some compelling arguments, so we had a friendly wager(my wife taking the “We are going to continue paying bank fees” side of the bet) for a sweet treat at a local food establishment.

If you don’t remember, my compelling arguments were outlined in yesterday’s posting: Changings Banks? But I thought of 1 or 2 other ideas just in case.

My extra arguments that I thought of on the spot during the discussions were:

  • If I walked into the Bank of Montreal and said, I’d like to transfer all of my banking to this branch today. If you give me free banking for a year, I am sure they would comply with my request (and if they don’t, I could go to the Scotiabank in the same mall and ask them for the same deal).
  • If I were a new client, would you give me a free iPod, which retails for about $130, yet as a customer in good standing, you expect me to pay $156 a year to use your bank?
Very High Bank Fees free banking
Very High Bank Fees

The meeting was quite cordial, and we got the banking we needed to be done, and we were delighted with the service that we received, but when we were left alone, my wife was still adamant that we would not get free banking (and I was starting to wonder if she was right).

The counter points made by my bank representative were:

  • PC Financial, EQ Bank Savings Plus Account and Tangerine have no service charges (free banking) because they are virtual banks and have much lower overhead due to them not really having “branches”. This is an interesting argument, except that PC Financial isn’t even really a bank. It is a FRONT to CIBC right now.
  • There is a policy not to give free banking services to anyone since this is a business. As a shareholder in TD I am glad to hear that, since I like seeing companies I invest in profit. However, as a customer, I am not happy to hear that.
  • If I carry the minimum balance in my checking account, I receive free banking (i.e. no bank fees would be charged). I pointed out that $3000 in my bank account does me little good, but $3000 paid on my debts does a great deal of good. My guess is if I ever get out of debt, I will carry a balance and get free banking (of course, by then, I will get the Senior Citizen discount).
  • Depending on where you work, some banks also give discounts to specific employers. If you work at a bank, I doubt you pay service fees?

Did I Get Free Banking ?

What was the final resolution of this discussion? Did I get free banking? Well, I promised the bank representative that I would not say and abide by that agreement.

Later in the evening, I enjoyed the Dairy Queen Blizzard that my wife bought me. I will enjoy it for the entire year.

Free Banking

Of course, there are plenty of folks that offer free banking

Feel Free to Comment

  1. Hi Big Cajun,

    I love this story. It’s too bad most Canadians just pay what they are told. (I guess we are too polite)

    Anyway, I have a newsletter that I send to about 600 of my clients and would love to include a version of this to them.

    Could you contact me to discuss?



  2. I was not bluffing, when I told them that I would get up and leave their bank. I already have accounts with PC Financial and the Bank of Montreal will gladly take me back (I have been told) as well.

    You cannot be bluffing when you ask for free banking.

  3. I wish you would let me know how you convinced them. I have $20,000 in debt with TD and when I tried to negotiate no fees on the Infinity Account, they would not budge.

    Perhaps I did not emphasize the debt that I was carrying with them enough.

    Anyhow, congratulations on your free banking.

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