Bank account optimization

This week is Chapter 2 of I Will Teach You To Be Rich and it’s all about bank account optimization. Not much for me to do on this front, as this is something I’ve been on top for for the last 5 years or so since I opened my PC Financial no fee online bank accounts (savings + checking). Over the years I’ve kept an eye on the other offerings in Canadian no fee online banking land, such as ING and Coast Capital Savings, but in the end I’ve stayed put with PC Financial.

One of the big reasons I like PC Financial for my checking account, asides from the no fees, is the ease of withdrawing cash from any CIBC ATM machine since there are lots of them around where I live/work. I don’t use cash a whole lot, but when I need to get some, it’s nice not to have to go on a mission to find a no-fee ATM.

As for the savings account, it’s just easier to have both accounts in the same place for money transfer purposes and while PC Financial hasn’t always had the very highest interest rate, it’s usually been pretty competitive. In fact just now I took a quick look and both PC Financial and ING are offering the same interest rate on their high interest savings accounts.

That said I still haven’t found a very good option for a US$ bank account which is the bane of my existence. I’ve tried to open online checking accounts with some of the no fee US online banks but they won’t even talk to me since I don’t have a SSN. Why do I need a US$ bank account? Maybe it’s not really necessary for the little bit of US$s we receive and have, but it just seems better to save the conversion fees when we get money and when we got shopping in the US. So I keep a lousy TD Bank US$ account that doesn’t charge me fees unless I withdraw money. Lame, I know. If anyone knows a better solution please let me know!

And on that topic, I still keep an account with TD. I barely touch it since when I do I get dinged fees (boo, hiss). But I keep the relationship because once in a while one needs things from a brick and mortar bank that an online bank doesn’t offer, such as US$ accounts, money orders, etc.

Interestingly enough, a few months ago we when we had to go in to the bank because we needed one such special service, the person helping us out asked why we didn’t do all our banking with them. I straight out told him that they charge too many fees and I was giving my business to PC Financial because they don’t charge fees and if he could do that for me I’d bring my business to them. He shrugged and dropped it. Oh well!


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