For account holders, chequing account fees are a part of life. According to Statistics Canada, households in this country spent on average $216 in bank fees in 2015. But you can avoid common chequing account fees.
Below you will find some ways in which you can avoid paying needless chequing account fees. These are our 5 tips on avoiding regular chequing account fees:
Adhere to your bank’s minimum balance
Financial institutions generally charge monthly fees for maintaining a chequing account. In many cases, you can avoid this charge if you keep a certain minimum balance. With some banks, however, the minimum balance can run into the thousands. Consider banking with an institution that doesn’t charge a monthly fee.
Do your banking digitally
Online banks provide most of the credit and saving facilities of a regular bank without all the additional fees. In many cases, you get a chequing account with limitless transactions for free. Tangerine and PC Financial are the two largest digital banks, and they’re also the best known. You might also be able to get free chequing facilities from your credit unions.
Look for a deal
You may be eligible to have your account fees waived if you belong to a certain age group. For example, students of tertiary institutions can usually have their monthly chequing account fees waived. Depending on the number of services required, seniors sometimes also get to do their banking for free.
Use your bank’s ATM to avoid extra fees
Banks usually charge a fee for withdrawing funds from a different bank’s ATM. This fee is around $2, which works out to 10 percent if you’re withdrawing only $20. These fees can really add up if you do this a few times per month.
Do your banking with an institution with a large branch network and ATMs near your workplace and home if you need ATMs for cash withdrawals. Tangerine gives you access to Scotiabank ATMs and PC Financial clients can use CIBC ATMs for free. Some credit unions have joined together to create national ATM networks, which offer free withdrawals to their members.
Use more credit cards and fewer debit cards
You will be charged when you exceed your cap on debit transactions for the month. As explained earlier, you can also be charged if your account balance falls below the minimum required by your bank. Banks often charge a monthly fee for overdraft protection, plus you’ll be required to pay interest.
You can avoid those charges by using a no-fee credit card. Although using credit might sound counter-intuitive, if you use your card sensibly and pay off your balance in full every month, you can save big on fees.
The bottom line
Chequing accounts are expensive. However, you can avoid paying a lot of service charges if you shop around and use the tips in this article.