The biggest banking woe of Canadians isn’t branch hours or interest rates – but fees.
According to recent research by Leger for Presidents Choice Financial, 71 per cent of people see bank fees are their number one frustration when it comes to banks, followed by surprise costs (42 per cent) and time spent waiting for service (25 per cent).
Customer Frustration is Growing
Those fees are earning banks a dismal score from consumers. Seventy nine per cent of the nearly 3,000 Canadians polled for the research said that a good bank is one that saves them money or offers no fee banking – but only 35 per cent feel that their bank is offering solutions.
In a statement released by PC Financial: “Canadians are busier than ever and are looking for ways to make daily life simpler and more affordable, but banking is becoming more complex, and more expensive. It’s no wonder that bank fees are one of the top frustration for Canadians.”
Look For No Fee Alternatives
It’s not impossible to find a bank that offers low fees. In RateSupermarket’s 2013 ranking of Best Chequing Accounts, ING’s THRiVE Chequing Account, PC Financial’s No Fee Bank Account and Peace Hills Trust’s Spirit 55 Chequing Account earned top marks.
Are Fees Necessary for Greater Savings?
But banking is not one-size-fits-all. While low- or no-fee banking is a good option for consumers who are looking to save money on daily transactions, aggressive savings goals may be better served by a savings account with a high interest rate.
PC Financial recommends that Canadians ask themselves — and banks — the following questions when shopping around for bank accounts that best suit their needs and goals:
- Is there a monthly fee or transaction fees associated with the account that you are opening?
- Is there a competitive interest rate associated with the account that you are opening?
- Is there a minimum balance you need to keep in your savings account in order to get the best interest rate offered by the bank?
- Are you paying for every transaction that you make or are you paying a fixed fee for a set number of transactions?
- Are you paying for cheques?
- Are there charges for using bank machines?
- Do you have the options for how you would like to bank, in person, online, telephone or mobile?
- Are there any rewards programs associated with the account and are they relevant to your needs?