Money & Career

Is it time to kick your bank to the curb?

That big anti-Wall Street protest is headed North — with rallies planned for Toronto and Vancouver, it looks like some Canadians are going to get a chance to show their dissatisfaction with the global financial services industry.

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Masterfile

That big anti-Wall Street protest is headed North — with rallies planned for Toronto and Vancouver, it looks like some Canadians are going to get a chance to show their dissatisfaction with the global financial services industry.

But there’s another way for you to stand up and show you’re mad — move your money to a bank that will give you a better deal. Again and again, surveys show that we Canadians are frustratingly loyal to our banks: even when that loyalty is rewarded with low interest rates, high fees, and poor customer service.

Year after year, we just stick around and take it, even if there’s a better deal right around the corner or online.

Take me, for instance — I’ve been feeling unloved by my bank for some time. The interest rate on my savings account is a lowly 0.75 percent (and only if I maintain a balance of $5000 or more). Although I’ve been with the bank since I was 15, I can’t even get them to comp me a few cheques when I’m running low. And they charge me for statements — and when I called to cancel my paper statements, they actually said they would charge a cancellation fee!

After years of poor treatment and indifference, I have decided to kick my bank to the curb.

We’ve already moved our business savings account to an online bank where we’re getting a tidy 1.25 percent interest rate on our savings and we don’t pay any fees. There are a few good deals like this around. ING and PC Financial both offer competitive interest rates and no-fee accounts. For example, transactions are free at PC Financial machines and CIBC machines and they give you unlimited cheques…for free!

My point is, there are too many other fish in the banking sea — why should I stay at my old bank and get kicked around?

If you’re thinking about dumping your bank, you’ll have to do some work.

First, research what’s out there. Start by giving your bank a chance to win your business back — do they have a better package for you? Can they offer you a better deal? If not, take the time to shop around. Take a look at the Financial Consumer Agency’s handy bank account selector tools here. They use up-to-date interest rate information to help you find an account that’s right for you.

And make sure nothing slips through the cracks when you do make your move: blogger Squawkfox has this quick and helpful checklist to use when you’re switching banks. It keeps track of any direct deposits, automatic withdrawals and bill payments tied to your existing accounts. That way if and when you decide to make the switch, nothing will slip through the cracks.

So if you’re mad as hell at your bank, then don’t take it anymore — move to one that will treat you better and give you a good deal. 

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