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Banking on the Best Deal

March 14th, 2017

bankingLooking at your banking habits can help you get a firm grip on the services you need and use frequently. It also helps you get a clear picture of yourself as a banking consumer. Now, it’s time to shop around to find the right bank.

When you look at a particular institution and the accounts offered, ask these questions:

  • Does the bank offer a low-fee or no-fee account? Many banks offer free service if you maintain a specific balance in your account. Check the amount and make sure you can maintain it, otherwise you will be charged the full monthly fee.
  • Could you qualify for a senior citizen’s service package? (Your children might also qualify for a student or youth package.)
  • Does the bank offer a service package that includes all the transactions you need?
  • Are there monthly transaction limits? If so, what are the charges if you exceed the limits?
  • Are specialized services such as certified cheques, bank drafts or overdraft protection included in service packages that might be less expensive than pay-as you-go arrangements?

 

Once you answer these questions, you can decide on the place to do your banking. Whether you open a new account – or opt to stay with your current institution – the following six tips can help you further trim your banking costs:

  • Use electronic and automated services (Internet, telephone, ABMs). They are usually less expensive than branch services.
  • Use your own bank’s ABMs to avoid unnecessary fees. Some banks charge convenience fees for non-clients in addition to the Interac and regular account fees. It could cost you as much as $4 for each transaction.
  • Withdraw cash when you make a debit card purchase, the withdrawal will be free of charge.
  • Minimize transactions by withdrawing one larger amount instead of several smaller ones.
  • If a merchant wants to charge you for a debit card purchase, use another payment method or take your business elsewhere.
  • Consider consolidating your accounts if you have more than one.