BREAK­ING THE BANK

Be­fore the lit­tle piggy goes to mar­ket, here’s how to take ac­count of the Big Six

ZOOMER Magazine - - ZOOM IN MONEY - By Gor­don Pape

RE­CENTLY, I RE­CEIVED an e-mail from an up­set reader. She wrote in part: “Could you do a story about bank charges for se­niors? I have just turned 65 and am shocked to learn that [my bank] does noth­ing for se­niors. I have their ba­sic bank­ing ac­count, which pays ab­so­lutely no in­ter­est and also charges me for deal­ing with the bank tell­ers.”

I posted her com­ment in the Q&A section of ev­ery­thing­zoomer.com, ask­ing read­ers who had found good deals at their banks or credit unions to write in and tell me about them.

Given the level of re­sponse, I asked the six ma­jor banks to pro­vide me with de­tails of the in­cen­tives and dis­counts they of­fer to boomers. Here’s what the Big Six of­fer.

ROYAL BANK

RBC of­fers se­niors (65-plus) a full re­bate on a ba­sic day-to-day chequing ac­count (reg­u­lar monthly fee is $4) and a par­tial re­bate on other per­sonal bank­ing ac­count prod­ucts, up­ward­sof$4amonth.Forex­am­ple, on a No-Limit Ac­count, the fee for se­niors is $6.95 a month com­pared to a reg­u­lar price of $10.95. Se­niors with an ac­tive credit card and in­vest­ments re­ceive a full re­bate on the monthly fee. For a Sig­na­ture No-Limit Ac­count, the fee for se­niors is $10.95 a month com­pared to $14.95. For a VIP Ac­count, se­niors get a $7.50 dis­count from the reg­u­lar fee of $30.

The se­niors’ re­bate is au­to­mat­i­cally ap­plied to an el­i­gi­ble client’s ac­count, and the re­bate will ap­pear on the monthly state­ment. If a client qual­i­fies for two re­bates, they

au­to­mat­i­cally re­ceive the greater of the two.

CIBC

The CIBC Smart Ac­count for Se­niors (65-plus)of­fers a $4.95 monthly fee dis­count. The ac­count pays no in­ter­est but al­lows up to 12 free trans­ac­tions a month and a $10,000 capped fee for un­lim­ited monthly trans­ac­tions. Se­niors with a Smart Ac­count get a $3.90 monthly fee dis­count on a CIBC Ev­ery­day Chequing Ac­count and a $4 monthly fee dis­count on a CIBC PremierSer­vice Ac­count. There is also a CIBC Pre­mium Growth Ac­count that pays in­ter­est at a rate of 0.05 per cent and has no monthly fee. But you are only al­lowed two free trans­ac­tions a month. As well, se­niors are of­fered $5 off the an­nual ren­tal charge for a safety de­posit box.

TD BANK

Se­niors who are 60 years of age or older can re­ceive 25 per cent off the monthly fee for per­sonal chequing ac­counts. Some con­di­tions ap­ply depend­ing on the type of ac­count held by the cus­tomer. For ex­am­ple, a se­nior cus­tomer who holds a TD Un­lim­ited Chequing Ac­count can get a re­bate of 25 per cent against the monthly fee of $15.95, bring­ing it down to $11.95. They qual­ify for free bank­ing if they hold a $4,000 min­i­mum monthly bal­ance. Ac­count ben­e­fits in­clude un­lim­ited trans­ac­tions, no TD ATM fees in Canada and free In­terac e-trans­fers.

SCO­TIA­BANK

Sco­tia of­fers a se­niors’ dis­count for those 60 or older, which in­cludes a $4 monthly re­bate on all chequing ac­counts, ex­cept for their Ba­sic Bank­ing Ac­count. It has a $3.95 re­bate, which cov­ers the monthly fee. Se­niors can also hold the bank’s U.S. Daily In­ter­est ac­count and Euro Daily In­ter­est ac­count for free.

NA­TIONAL BANK

This bank of­fers a va­ri­ety of pack­ages with vary­ing lev­els of ser­vice. The Mod­est, The Con­nected and The To­tal pack­ages all of­fer a $5 monthly dis­count to those aged 60-plus. The To­tal pack­age, which costs $20.95 a month af­ter the dis­count is ap­plied, in­cludes up to 100 free cheques a year (you have to pay taxes and ship­ping), over­draft pro­tec­tion, $5 off the price of a safety de­posit box, un­lim­ited trans­ac­tions and free e-trans­fers. It re­quires a min­i­mum bal­ance of $6,000. The ba­sic ac­count, called The Min­i­mal­ist, is a bare-bones ser­vice that car­ries a monthly fee of $3.95. How­ever, that is waived for those 65-plus who qual­ify for the Guar­an­teed In­come Sup­ple­ment.

BMO

Bank of Montreal of­fers $4 off each of its five pack­ages, bring­ing the monthly price range to zero for its Prac­ti­cal Ac­count with min­i­mal ser­vices to $26 for a Pre­mium Ac­count with all the bells and whis­tles. Cus­tomers are au­to­mat­i­cally switched to the se­nior rate when they turn 60. BMO also of­fers free pa­per state­ments to par­tic­i­pants in the Prac­ti­cal Ac­count. That’s a ser­vice that’s be­com­ing in­creas­ingly rare these days.

NONE OF THESE in­cen­tives are very ex­cit­ing, but they’re bet­ter than noth­ing. My sur­vey only cov­ered the ma­jor banks, but smaller ones and credit unions may of­fer bet­ter deals. Ask for de­tails from the fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion you deal with. Com­pare them with the in­cen­tives of­fered by the Big Six and choose the one that of­fers the ser­vices you want at the low­est price.

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