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Personal Banking Options For Seniors

When my husband turned 60 I was eager to have our banking switched to a seniors plan with all the accompanying benefits. When I worked at the bank that I currently deal with, customers were automatically enrolled into “Plan 60” on their 60th birthday. This meant all kinds of perks including no-fee chequing, drafts and money orders; free personalized cheques; discounts on things like safety deposit boxes; and even a bonus 0.5% interest on savings accounts.

Sadly, this service was eliminated earlier that same year. No banking freebies for Mr. and Mrs. Boomer.

And, “monkey-see, monkey-do,” other major Canadian banks soon followed suit.

Related: 5 ways to avoid monthly bank fees

Banks are required to provide a basic, low-cost account to all their customers, so there are still some options. You just need to review your current chequing account to see if it still meets your needs, or you can downgrade to a less expensive alternative if applicable. Keep in mind that you will have to ask for a seniors account – it’s not automatic anymore.

Personal Banking Options For Seniors

Seniors Banking Options Compared

Here’s what our five major Canadian banks offer for seniors.

  BMO CIBC RBC Scotia TD
Basic Banking Practical Plan 60 Plus Everyday Day-to-Day Basic Banking Every Day for Seniors
Monthly fee Free Free Free Free $8.20
# free trans 12 unlimited 12 12 25
#e-transfers unlimited $1.50 per unlimited 2 unlimited
MMB* N/A N/A N/A N/A $3,000
Other perks -Free PMOs and Drafts

-$5 off SDB

 

Earn Scene Rewards
Unlimited Account Performance Plan N/A No-Limit Banking Basic Banking Plan Unlimited Account
Monthly fee $10.95 $6.95 $6.95 $11.95
# free trans unlimited unlimited 25 unlimited
#e-transfers unlimited unlimited 2 unlimited
MMB* $4,000 $3,000 $4,000
Other perks 1 non-BMO ATM w/d Earn Scene Rewards -free non-TD ATM w/ds

-$20 off 1st yr Credit Card annual fee

Paper stmt $2 N/A N/A $2.25 N/A
  • MMB (minimum monthly balance) required to waive monthly fee
  • No more free paper statements. If it is offered at all there is a charge. E-statements are free.

Each of the big banks also offers one or more ‘elite’ accounts for seniors with monthly fees ranging up to $25. These accounts come with additional benefits. Check with your bank to see if one would work for your needs.

Alternatively, you can check out no-fee banking options such as PC Financial or Tangerine.

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14 Comments

  1. Maggie on July 14, 2017 at 4:52 am

    My TD Plan 60 account is totally free. I’ve banked with them for almost 30 years and found out about the free for seniors account when I was 63, ten years ago. Have not paid a cent in fees since even when I ask for something extra like bank drafts or changing foreign cheques. I’m in Ontario.

    • boomer on July 14, 2017 at 10:02 am

      @Maggie: Yes, this is the one that was discontinued a few months before my husband’s 60th birthday. There was no change to the people already enrolled.

  2. Lorraine on July 14, 2017 at 5:02 am

    My credit union, in Manitoba, has a free account for seniors.

  3. Murray on July 14, 2017 at 5:56 am

    I find it ‘interesting’ that when my father-in-law turned 60 nothing was mentioned nor automatic until he requested at age 63, but the day my son turned 18 he received a letter saying his ‘Youth’ account status was terminated. The discussion with bank was humorous as I accompanied f-i-l to discuss with same person that a week prior I had been at with son. I felt sorry for the employee trying to keep a straight face as they tried to explain how the bank doesn’t keep track of someones age or birthday after previously telling me that policy/rules state that timely changes based on this information are done.

    • boomer on July 14, 2017 at 10:08 am

      @Murray: Isn’t it funny that in my old banking days we had minimal technology to work with and could still track people’s ages – and now somehow they can’t.

  4. Angelo Bin on July 14, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Most of our banking is done online with PC.
    All services are free. We stopped playing the “bank fees game” a long time ago.
    We have our investments at Scotiabank and find that the services that we cannot get at PC (bank drafts etc) are free.
    I cannot understand why everyone does not have an online bank for their needs, but that is just me

  5. Tom on July 14, 2017 at 7:29 am

    I have had several (free) checking & savings accounts for 20+ years (as well as the PC MC.)
    I loved the old Insiders Report with its seasonal perks. (I once bought a Preying Mantis egg case they sold with the Spring Garden Insiders’ Report and it was a HUGE hit when it hatched in my Grade 3 class!) I loved earning PC points particularly when I was able to get a flight to France with points (after paying for my father-in -law’s funeral with my PC MC!!!)
    I cooled somewhat on PC Points after they inexplicably dropped Travel as a perk.
    The perk I’d like to see are free E-transfers which now cost $1.50.

    I also have several similar (free, unlimited transactions) accounts at RBC as well as a variety of other products such as a US dollar account, a secure L of C, a CC, and a TFSA into which I deposit a nominal $25/mo.

    My first (and all subsequent) mortgage was with RBC.
    I like that I have unlimited transactions, can e-transfer for free, deposit a check electronically, and that I can switch $ online from my e-savings to checking immediately, whereas with PC, such transfers take effect a day later.
    My RBC Signature Rewards CC includes travel costs me $39 to earn 1 point/$1 and I can apply the dollar amount to my L of C if I want.
    .
    I like RBC for a variety of reasons all of which other big banks likely match.
    I like that I can talk to someone at RBC and because I can easily access my RBC Bank (US) accounts and I can flip points from my RBC Bank CC back onto my Canadian Signature CC account.

  6. brett on July 14, 2017 at 7:41 am

    We have a 60 plus account and a safe deposit box with our bank. Over the past 8 years we have moved everything away from the bank.

    It started with our investments. High fees, poor service drove us away. Best move we ever made.

    Then we moved our savings accounts to on line banks. We needed cheques four years ago. The bank wanted $40. We ordered them directly from the same printer for $20.

    We are about to drop our bank credit card in favour of another brand. We found a competing card that is better for us.

    Having said that, I love bank stocks. Canadians are so apathetic that they just keep paying those hidden bank and investment fees without complaining. Makes for great returns on bank equity investments.

    Anyone who thinks that the bank is their friend is dreaming in technicolor or living on another planet. They are a business out to squeeze as much revenue as possible from you. People need to remember this when that nice person at the desk is advising them on RSP’s, investments, whatever.

  7. Steve on July 14, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Anyone who cares for an elderly parent, (who still owns one of those old “free senior accounts”) can have themselves added to that account as a joint owner. When the parent passes, and the joint owner is over 60, they become the sole owner of a Free Seniors Account. Then they can add their spouse as a new joint owner. I did that at TD – without issue, and still hold that free account today.

  8. Cheryl on July 14, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Not sure if my credit union offers a senior’s thing – I think they used to. For many years they’ve been no fee, unlimited transactions, so I’m not sure what other perks they’d have to offer seniors that aren’t already offered to the bulk of their members.

  9. Michael Barkley on July 16, 2017 at 4:38 am

    We joined Meridian Credit Union southern Ontario, everything is free and unlimited with $1,000 balance in chequing. Plus you own it not the shareholders. Also it switched automatically at age 60.

  10. Karen on July 16, 2017 at 9:57 am

    I am a TD customer. Despite TD being the only bank not to offer free basic banking for seniors, I was excited to see the $2.75 fee for 25 monthly transactions compared to what I am paying. However, I believe this amount is incorrect. The senior rebate is $2.75. The actual monthly charge is $8.20. I am in Ontario- do rates vary by province?

    • boomer on July 16, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      @Karen. You are absolutely correct (and the correction has been made). TD Seniors get a 25% discount which is $2.75 off the regular fee of $10.95 – so $8.20. I guess I was so gobsmacked by that high fee on what is really a pretty basic account that my mind couldn’t process it :0. TD must have some great customer service to justify charging so much more than the other big banks!

  11. Don Scott on July 22, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    My Credit Union in Alberta, Servus, also has a complete free service for seniors. This is in addition to the other advantages of a credit union. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t bank at a credit union and be a bank owner instead of just a customer.

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