Best of: Free Banking?

in Bank, Bank Fees, Service Fees

Last year about this time, I wrote about one of my favorite fights that I have most every year, and that is my fight to not pay banking fees. Some years I win the fight, some years I am forced to pay the exorbitant fees the banks wish I pay, can you guess what happened last year?

Free Banking?

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 to attempt to receive Free Banking. My wife was sure that this was not going to happen, and that we were going to walk out of their empty handed, and I would be ranting about how we have 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.

Now if you don’t remember my compelling arguments were outlined in yesterday’s posting: Changings Banks? but I thought of 1 or 2 other arguments 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 down the road, and say, 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 didn’t I could simply go to the Scotiabank in the same mall and ask them for the same deal).
  • Why if I was a new client, you would 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

Very High Bank Fees

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

The counter points made by my bank representative were:

  • PC Financial and ING (now Tangerine) have no service charges 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 share holder 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.
  • An implied argument, but never stated directly was, “If I give YOU free banking, everybody will want it”, which is very true.
  • If I carried the minimum balance in my checking account (I think it is $1000) I would get free banking (i.e. no bank fees would be charged), so why wasn’t I doing that? I pointed out $1000 in my bank account does me little good, but $1000 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).

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

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


  • May 7, 2013, 2:10 PM

    Cajunman, you have inspired me to go into my bank and request free banking. $14.95 per month and I never ever use their services, unless you count their ATM.

  • Bet Crooks May 5, 2013, 10:12 PM

    This is getting downright spooky!
    1. The Leafs WON a game.
    2. It is not only sunny and warm today, but it will be tomorrow when several people I met today who missed today while inside working at boring low paying jobs will be off. They cannot believe they may get good weather on their day off, too.
    3. You won a Blizzard for reasons that must not be spoken.

    I think we should all buy a lottery ticket asap. It appears that very very good things are happening for no explicable reason!

  • Katy May 4, 2013, 3:50 PM

    My husband’s payroll allows us to split his cheque into more than one bank account — we’ve set a specified “savings” amount to one account at RBC, and the leftovers for day to day (plus extra savings) in another account at PCF.

    We use the $4 savings account at RBC, but as we have a Visa and very small RRSP, the amount is rebated (when the mortgage ended, we needed another product, so the RRSP came). The 2 parts I like about RBC — it’s a real bank (and can do real bank stuff there!), plus we have all our investing done through Direct Investing (the real RRSPs, TFSAs and non-registered). We get into the mindset that RBC doesn’t exist, so we don’t touch the money there.

    PCF — is free, so all the day to day stuff happens there. Get free cheques, which we don’t use much, but can transfer any additional savings to RBC with.

    Our solution instead of a yearly talk with the banks….but we were getting tired of them trying to sell us stuff we didn’t want.

  • Monica April 11, 2008, 10:39 AM

    I do my banking at Caisse populaire Desjardins. I have never understood why they charge me fees when I am a member, not a customer.

  • bigcajunman April 11, 2008, 10:48 AM

    That is a very good question, ask your bank manager that one, those kind of questions get the funniest answers.



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