Each of us has our own particular financial set-up: a chequing account and credit card with Bank A, savings account with Bank B, and investments at Bank C. In this post I will go through “bank loyalty”, the importance of having our banks work for us, and provide an outline of my personal financial set-up (which I am tweaking).
This section will be short: do not feel indebted to stay with particular banks.
Embrace and leverage competition. Banks (should) compete against each other to gain and retain customers, and some do it better than others.
My Financial Set-up
There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution when it comes to finance. My set-up suits my needs, but almost definitely does not suit another person’s needs. And just putting it out there: I do not have a financial background, but I do like to read up on personal finance.
I have accounts at 3 different banks*, each with a specific purpose:
- Bank A – “Spendings” – where I have only a chequing account and credit card
- Bank B – “Savings” – where my payroll gets directly deposited into, and where I regularly deposit money into a savings account
- Bank C – “Investments” – where my TFSA is invested in different funds and I only touch it to contribute money
Bank A recently doubled the minimum balance to hold in their chequing account to waive a monthly fee. To me, this is not loyalty.
In my personal circumstance and set-up, I’d much rather have my couple of thousand dollars sitting in a chequing account gaining interest than having to make sure there is a minimum amount just to avoid a monthly fee.
(*in this post I will not identify banks)
Over the past couple of years I’ve read that Tangerine’s chequing account gives you (some) interest as well (which Bank A doesn’t do). As well, there is no minimum balance requirement.
The above 2 points alone were enough for me to:
- Open a chequing, credit card, and a savings account with Tangerine
- Transfer the money I have at Bank A to Tangerine for free, using Tangerine’s account link process (I’m currently at this stage)
- Close my chequing account at Bank A, but keep my credit card with them (to not impact my credit score)
- Move most of my recurring credit card payments to my new Tangerine credit card
- Leave some small recurring charges on my Bank A credit card so doesn’t become dormant. Pay these small charges off by making bill payments through Tangerine
There are quite a few noteworthy things about Tangerine, such as the ability to use Scotiabank ABMs, their interest/cash-back rates, Canadian Couch Potato-friendly funds, as well as their promotions. You can visit their website for more details, as well as RedFlagDeals for the latest promotions.
Some of the promotions currently available are:
- $25 for signing up for their no-fee cash-back credit card + 4% money-back for the first 3 months (expires June 27, 2016)
- $25 for setting up an ASP of at least $100 for 6 months (details at the bottom of this page)
- $100 for setting up a preauthorized payment/debit (expires May 31, 2016)
- $50 for signing up with an “Orange Key” (aka referral code) and putting at least $100 in your account (expires May 27, 2016; afterwards it’s the regular $25). Whoever’s Orange Key you use will also receive the same bonus amount.
On that note – just putting it out there – my Orange Key is
(you don’t have to use this key; see if your friends have an Orange Key you can use first!)
You can open a new Tangerine account online, after which you need to verify your identity. You can do so by going to a Tangerine store or by going to a Canada Post office.
I chose to go to a nearby Canada Post office. About 5 minutes after I left I received an email that said my Tangerine account was set up. Within 10 minutes of getting home I finished signed up for a new cash-back credit card. To open a savings account, you will need some funds in your account.
Alternative – PC Financial
The one drawback of Tangerine is that they (+ Scotiabank) do not have many ABMs available relative to other banks such as CIBC and TD.
PC Financial is another option where you get interest on your chequing account balance (although to get the same 0.25% rate from Tangerine you must have a chequing account balance of $10,000.01+ with PC Financial; with Tangerine you start from a 0.25% rate).
Some other differences between Tangerine and PC Financial are:
- PC Financial leverages CIBC ABMs; Tangerine uses Scotiabank ABMs (and some retail stores like 7-11)
- PC Financial offers “PC Points” as their form of money-back currency (redeem in the form of groceries); Tangerine offers dollar amounts
- PC Financial offers a number of different no-fee cash-back credit cards; Tangerine offers just one no-fee cash-back credit card
Depending on where you are located and how important it is to be able to have access to an ABM, it would be worth looking into PC Financial.
This blog post is what happens when businesses are not loyal to their customers. I encourage everyone to revisit their financial set-ups, read through their bank’s fees, and to explore what’s out there.
I am waiting for my Bank A chequing account to be linked to my Tangerine account so that I can move all my money and also open a savings account, but I am very excited to add “Bank D – Tangerine” to my financial set-up.
I mentioned credit history above; in life, a good credit history is probably one of the most important things to have. It’s what others refer to to see how trustworthy you are.
Initially I was very tempted to just close my credit card that’s with Bank A, but after reading some posts on /r/PersonalFinanceCanada I quickly realized this would be a bad idea especially because I always pay my credit card charges as soon as they appear in my account.
To re-iterate: take this post with a grain of salt. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution when it comes to finance.