I’m fed up with paying bank fees!  I’ve banked with TD CanadaTrust my entire life and have always been treated pretty well.  Not only have I held my regular bank accounts with TD, I’ve also opened my investment portfolio and hold my mortgage there too.  Now I’m exploring some no fee banking options.  Here’s why:

I’ve always believed that it was beneficial to have a relationship with a full service bank, one that would benefit me as my assets built up over time.  But I’m still waiting for those perks to kick-in.

Meanwhile, TD just announced changes to the monthly account fees on their different chequing account options.  The following changes took effect on August 1st, 2011:

  • Value account – minimum balance increases from $1,000 to $1,500
  • Value plus account – monthly fee increases from $8.95 to $10.95 and minimum balance increases from $2,000 to $2,500
  • Infinity account – monthly fee increases from $12.95 to $14.95 and minimum balance increases from $3,000 to $3,500

Other changes include increasing additional transaction fees from $0.65/each to $1.00/each and increasing overdraft protection fees from $3/month to $4/month.

The Case For No Fee Banking

The more I thought about it, I realized that I no longer needed this relationship.  I have the Value Account with TD, and it’s a struggle trying to limit my transactions to just 10 per month.

And now their telling me I need to keep a $1,500 minimum balance to waive the account fees?  Plus they’re increasing the additional transaction fees.  It’s too much!

Enter ING Direct, the pioneer of no fee banking in Canada.  I was already a big fan of ING, having recently opened a high interest savings account last month.  A few weeks ago I came across a promotion for their new THRiVE chequing account.

If I opened the account and switched my payroll over to ING I would get a $100 bonus.  As I sized up the offer I thought, why not?  This was the excuse I was looking for to finally switch over completely to no fee banking.

Everything is Online

There really was no need for me to have a full service bank account anymore.  I already pay for all of our monthly purchases with my PC MasterCard, getting away from the poor Canadian habit of paying for everything with a debit card.

I went from having a chequing account with unlimited debit transactions (for a high monthly fee) to rarely using my debit card except for the odd withdrawal from a cash machine.

I pay bills online using ePost, and set-up automatic monthly bill payments on my credit card whenever possible.

With ING Direct’s no fee banking account I can still do everything that I used to do with my TD account, but without having to worry about keeping a minimum account balance or limiting my transactions to 10 or fewer.  They even have free email money transfers and a mobile banking app to keep track of my account on the go.

The only negative with moving to a virtual bank is that there is literally only 1 ABM in the entire city where I live.  But this is easily overlooked when you consider how infrequently I withdraw cash.

No More Excuses

Finally switching over to a no fee banking account was a no-brainer for me.  ING was offering the right incentive at the right time, but PC Financial offers similar benefits when it comes to no fee banking.

Related: Free Chequing Account Comparison

At the end of the day, having to monitor my chequing account every month to ensure I wasn’t paying any fees was becoming more of a hassle than it was worth.  I wasn’t receiving any tangible benefits for keeping my daily banking accounts with TD, so it was an easy decision to leave.

I think I stayed with TD for so long out of some sort of feeling of loyalty.  Do you have a beneficial relationship with a full service bank?  Would you consider completely switching to a no fee banking account at an online bank?

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