The humble bank account – in all of financial services it seems to be the product that is easiest to understand. Money goes in, it sometimes earns interest, you often pay fees, and then you withdraw money as needed. Whether it is a chequing account or a savings account, they all seem simple, straightforward, and often a bit boring.
That’s not quite the case though. Did you know that even the bank account has been evolving? You might not have noticed, but there are a number of chequing accounts that offer features and benefits that can help you squeeze more benefits out of your daily life. You should start asking what your bank account can do for you, and here are some of the fun features that you might look for.
Sign up bonuses
When banks and financial institutions compete for accounts, Canadians in general often benefit. The spectrum of sign up bonuses being offered right now is quite extensive, varying from cash, reward points, electronics, Amazon Prime subscriptions, and more.
One interesting angle on the sign-up bonus front is offered by DUCA Credit Union. If you sign up for one of the DUCA no fee chequing accounts, you get a $100 bonus – $50 for you, and $50 for the Dugood charity of your choice.
Whether it’s for your own benefit, or for altruistic reasons, getting a new account can be a very profitable decision!
Cash back and rewards
Previously just the domain of credit cards, cash back and rewards are becoming much more common in the world of chequing accounts.
One of the most popular accounts of this type if the Scotia One Chequing account offered by Scotiabank.
This account lets you earn Scene points for purchases on your debit card, which lets you go see movies for free (amongst other potential rewards). Scene is one of the most popular reward programs in Canada, with 9.2 million members as of June 30, 2018.
If movies aren’t your thing though, it gets even better.
No one really likes paying a fee for getting access to their own money. Unfortunately, in those rare times when you need cash, a machine from your own bank is often the one that is hardest to find. This can make moving to smaller bank seem like a risky proposition.
This doesn’t need to be the case though.
Some of Canada’s best chequing accounts are offered by financial institutions with some secret muscle in their ATM networks. Here are a few of the options:
- DUCA Credit Union has access to The Exchange Network of ATMs, letting their account holders access more than 3,300 ATMs across Canada.
- Tangerine chequing account customers gain access to the Scotiabank network of ATMs.
- Simplii Financial customers gain access to the CIBC network of ATMs.
These small providers can give you a great deal on your banking fees, without sacrificing the access to a wider network of bank machines for accessing your cash.
Lower/no fee banking
While you probably knew that keeping a minimum balance on your bank account can get you a discount on your chequing account fees, but did you know that some banks offer discounts for your other financial services as well?
There are two ways that you can accomplish this.
In some institutions, discounts are offered based on total assets held by an individual customer. With a bit of planning, your bank account can help you get discounts on your credit card, or investment and trading accounts.
Some chequing account fee plans cover additional features, such as safety deposit box rental, or discounts to fees on elite credit cards. Upgrading to those plans might not make economic sense on the surface, but if you can keep a sufficient minimum balance, the benefit (in fee savings) might be worth your time.
These circumstances vary depending on your financial institution, so we recommend that you check into the numbers are see what works best for you.
Another feature that is typically a feature of credit cards, buyer protection and extended warranties are migrating over to some chequing accounts. Right now these features only seem to be showing up in credit unions, but if you happen to have the right account with Luminus Financial or a handful of other options, you might save yourself some money if your purchase breaks the day after the warranty expires.