Why I’m Happy I Made the Move to Free Banking!
If you saw my post on Wednesday about 5 reasons why I pay for my bank account then you might be confused as to why I could make the switch so quickly.
Well, that post was actually written a few months ago and several things have happened since then that made me rethink why I was paying for a bank account, and so my focus has changed. Here are the reasons why I’m now incredibly happy that I made the change to free banking:
1. Higher interest savings account
Immediately we have started thinking about saving money for engagement photos, the honeymoon and of course the wedding. We now need to make saving a serious priority.
I used to have our money in a (low) interest savings account with my bank because it gave me the security of being able to transfer funds immediately into my chequing account if and when I needed to. This has saved me a few times if my budgeting has been a bit off. However, the 0.15% interest rate just wasn’t going to cut it. How can they even call that a savings account? Eugh.
So my money that was my day-to-day savings account has now been moved to Ally – where they have delightfully given me a 1.80% interest rate. The only drawback is that I have to be a bit smarter with planning for bills.
I can still move money to and from Ally really quickly (2-4 business days) and every time I’ve tried to call them (at any time of the day – I’ve been answered within 30 seconds!)
2. Saved myself $180/yr on chequing fees
I was being charged $14.95/mo to be able to access my own money. Plus I kept getting charged stupid little extra fees here and there if I did something out of the normal course of business, like use my card too much, or speak to too many cashiers! By switching to a free chequing account at PC Financial I have saved myself an easy $180/yr. If I live to be 90 (as I plan to) then that’s a saving over my lifetime of $11,700! If I chuck that money at my TFSA that’s making around 5% a year right now then thanks to the power of compounding interest – I will have an extra $88,325.03 by the time I peg it(thanks Math.com).
Wow compounding interest just amazes me sometimes.
3. Location location location
I talked in my last post about how convenient my bank’s location was. Then I realized that the only time I ever go into an actual branch was to deposit a cheque. Everything else I would normally go in for was done via internet banking. PC Financial has a super easy to use online banking system, and it has an iPhone app.
PCFinancial is part of the CIBC network of branches – so I can use any CIBC ATM to deposit/withdraw money. If you’re paying for CIBC, then you could be getting exactly the same service for free with PCFinancial.
4. The ‘Pavilions’
There is a PC Financial Pavilion right next to where my old bank is…
PC Financial Pavilions are actually staffed by people (and their hours are amazing. The one by my work is staffed from 9am – 9pm on Weekdays and 10am – 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays. So I can still stop by and chat with someone if I can’t find the answer to my question online or at the ATM.
So as a conclusion, I feel very stupid for not having made the change to free banking earlier. If you have some time this weekend then I totally recommend just taking a few seconds to search for your nearest PCFinancial Pavilion and going in to have a chat – and start saving yourself the cash!
Am I missing a trick, are there any other free banking options I should think about? What free banks do you recommend to your friends and family?