The popularity of no fee accounts is growing. ING launched its no fee chequing account early this year. Ally did a big advertising push with TV ads featuring savings accounts that offer some of the best interest rates and PC Financial continues to push ahead featuring no-fee banking to Canadians.
Online Banking Raises the Bar
The world has moved online. The days of standing in line to complete your banking seems like an activity belonging in the pioneer days. Bank customers want quick access to their cash, the ability to easily pay bills, and they won’t wait for anyone to know what their balance is, oh and they want it all for free!
A recent survey revealed by ING shows 35% of smart phone users have done some sort of banking on their mobile devices in the last year. What’s amazing is the same survey shows almost 50% of smartphone users expect to bank from their phone in the next 2 years. Canadian banks have responded. Every major Canadian bank has a free banking app available to their customers. No matter who you bank with you can get your finances in check from the comfort of your bed if you have a smartphone.
Fees? No Thank You!
Online accounts have proven to be a cheap way for banks to put forward their services. This year ING Direct and Ally have stepped up their game in the no-free banking space.
ING fully launched its THRiVE Chequing account in January 2011. It had done a soft launch of the account in August 2010 to 10,000 customers to see how popular the product was. But the full launch was at the beginning of this year.
THRiVE is an online account with no monthly fees. You can deposit, withdraw or transfer your money fee-free and enjoy unlimited bill payments and transactions. Your first chequebook is free and you can write, deposit and view your cheques online at no extra cost. All of this, plus your monthly online account statements will be provided at no charge.
It’s the first real challenge to the no-fee banking giant PC Financial.
PC Financial continues to offer free daily banking. You can get access online and by phone. Customers can access their money at no cost at 3,800 President’s Choice Financial and CIBC bank machines. The account allows free bill payments and Interact payments and the big difference is PC offers free cheques, unlike ING. But if the world is moving online, cheques are also becoming a thing of the past.
Savings Accounts are a Safe Option
In general rates on savings accounts have been very low, but with continued volatility in the market, it might still be the best bet for a risk adverse consumer.
With the unpredictability of the markets, Canadians looking for a risk free way to save money may be looking towards a high interest savings account to park their money while this latest economic storm passes.
Ally has it’s own no fee savings account called the high interest savings account. They boast on having a higher rate than traditional savings at 2%. There is no minimum balance required and your interest compounds daily. This is not a chequing account, but still a great place to put away your money worry free knowing you can get quick access.
A high interest savings account can be used for a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). The TFSA was first introduced in January 2009, and according to a recent survey by ING Direct 13% of Canadians still don’t know what a TFSA is and another 37% are unclear about how it works.
Here’s to hoping that 2012 brings a new found interest from Canadians in understanding the fantastic tax advantages of a TFSA.
The Popularity of No Fee Banking is Undeniable
ING Direct is proud to say 70,000 people have signed up for their new THRiVE account. PC Financial says their customers continue to appreciate their account and how it can potentially offer $200 in saved fees each year.
Another survey by ING showed 38% of Canadians say their chequing account fees disgust them, and 66% believe that the current banking fees are unfair. 25% of Canadians said they don’t know how much they pay in monthly bank fees, and 75% have said they would switch to an online, no-fee chequing account if one were available to them.
2011 has provided many options to those individuals searching for a no fee bank account. Happy New Year!