Banks Must Offer No Fee Banking: Federal Government

Canadian banks must offer no fee banking as of January 15, 2015

Fed up with paying fees, just to keep your money in a bank account?  According to new regulations from the Federal government, you may no longer need to shell out to access your cash.

Canada’s most vulnerable banking consumers – students, seniors and low income Canadians – will now have access to no-fee account options at every big bank.

As of January 15, 2015, Canada’s eight largest banks must have these no-fee options in force, as well as an expanded selection of low-fee options. The largest financial institutions have already voluntarily committed to the new guidelines, including:

  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Toronto Dominion Bank
  • Bank of Montreal
  • Scotiabank
  • Laurentian
  • National Bank
  • HSBC
  • CIBC
  • President’s Choice Financial

More Money in Canadian Pockets

Finance Minister Joe Oliver says the new regulations, along with pending tax cuts upon a balanced budget, are part of efforts to help Canadians to retain more of their wealth, and to promote healthy saving habits.

“Canadians work hard for their money. Our government believes Canadians deserve to keep more of their hard-earned money… That is why we are taking action to improve low-cost accounts and expand access to no-cost banking services for more than seven million people — to protect consumers and save even more money for Canadians,” he stated.

The mandate to cut fees has been a hot item on the Conservative agenda since the February budget, and was also touted in the October Throne Speech.  Canadian banking consumers are sure to appreciate the break from nickle and diming – 71 per cent identified hidden fees as their top banking frustration, according to a Leger Survey conducted on behalf of President’s Choice Financial. Seventy nine per cent of those survey takers also considered the availability of no-fee account options to be a defining feature of a “good” bank – yet only 33 per cent felt their lender offered such services.

Compare For Cost Effective Options

If you don’t fall into one of the eligible categories outlined by the government, don’t fret – there are several no-fee banking options to benefit from.

For example, the Tangerine Chequing Account (formerly named ING THRiVE Chequing) has always offered competitive services (like 0.25 per cent interest earnings), with absolutely no account fees, with the exception of a $1 charge on non-Scotiabank ABMs. In fact, these features earned Tangerine top spot in the 2013 edition of RateSupermarket’s annual Best of Finance Awards.

Questions to Ask when Choosing your Bank Account

Fend off any surprise fees by asking the following when selecting your bank account:

  • Is there a monthly fee associated with the account?
  • Will you be charged fees for any transactions?
  • Must you maintain a minimum balance to avoid fees, or to earn interest?
  • Will you be charged a fee to make debit or Interac purchases?
  • Do you have only a limited amount of free transactions, within a specific time period?
  • Will you pay for cheques?
  • Are there any charges associated with online banking, telephone, mobile or in-person banking services?
  • Will you pay to transfer funds?
  • How much will you pay to access your funds at a bank machine from your bank, or another lender?

Will YOU be switching to one of these new no-fee bank account options?

Related Topics

Personal Finance / Personal Finance News / Savings News

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