I once paid $50 a month in bank fees.
It’s horrifying, but it’s true. And I did it out of a belief that I was doing the right thing with my money.
Here’s what happened.
When I was a new graduate, fresh out of my blissful no-fee student chequing account days, I decided that to keep track of my money and live within the means of my modest new salary, I would continue to use my debit card to pay for all of my purchases. I thought I was being so wise, not running up my credit card with purchases that I couldn’t afford.
Meanwhile, I was running up my debit card with fees I couldn’t afford.
Since I was banking with a traditional bank, my new, regular chequing account came with a $6 a month standard fee, and charged for all transactions over a certain amount. Running my 50+ monthly transactions through the card is what got me to a total of $50 in fees that month.
You would think that at that point, I would realize that traditional banks weren’t something that should be a line item in my budget, right?
Wrong. And here I thought I was being good with money.
It took $216 more in fees for me to hit the breaking point – three years of $6 a month in chequing account fees, that is – to finally make the switch to a no-fee, online chequing account with Tangerine. And friends, I am never going back. Here’s why.
There are no fees.
None. No fees whatsoever, not even the “perfectly reasonable” few dollars a month any of the big Canadian banks will charge you just to have an adult chequing account.
All of a traditional banks’ fees support services I don’t even want to use.
Do you know how much I like waiting in line? Adding an errand to my already crammed to-do list? Trying to make an in-person bank visit during their restrictive hours?
The answer is not at all. I don’t like any of those things. And those things – the services offered at a bank branch – are what account fees are meant to cover. The banks need money for the space and the extra employees. Why would I want to pay for something I don’t like or need?
Interest is a beautiful thing.
Beyond just not draining my account with bank fees, I’ve earned $18.72 in interest since I made the switch to fully online banking about five months ago. That’s on top of the $49.94 I’ve saved in fees (approximately, that is.) I now earn interest on every dollar I have with Tangerine, including the ones I keep in my chequing account. My savings accounts are currently earning a cool 3% on all new deposits between now and November too.
Editor’s Note in 2019: In the past 4+ years with Tangerine, my numbers are now a cool $370.56 in interest earned, and $553.92 in fees saved. Approximately.
No other bank pays me so well to be a customer.
Above and beyond no fees and the best interest rates you can find these days, Tangerine is especially kind to their customers. I earned $100 in $10 installments just for switching my payroll to deposit into my Tangerine chequing account – something I was going to do anyways, since it’s my primary (well, only) chequing account. I also received a $50 bonus for becoming a customer and meeting some very reasonable account minimums.
Switching banks is not the hassle they told you it would be.
Honestly, the biggest hassle for me was finally closing my chequing account with my old bank, which required several in-person visits due to a mix-up with my paperwork and moving my accounts to a new branch. You would think with all these new-fangled computers, I wouldn’t have to ask to move an electronic account to a new physical location in order to have the privilege of closing it… but whatever. That happened, and honestly, the rest of the process was done online and with a quick call to my HR department to switch my payroll deposits.
Tangerine also makes the process bonkers-easy for you, but honestly, they could have made it way harder and I still would have made the switch. Beyond all of the bonuses I got for signing up, the joy of not having to go into a branch to deposit a cheque, and the ease of banking online, has been totally worth it.