How to Compare Chequing Accounts

Jessica Lyn
by Jessica Lyn March 4, 2017 / No Comments

Looking for a chequing account that meets your banking needs can be a challenge with the numerous account offerings and features available. Deciphering through all the included transactions and potential fees can be a difficult task. But with RateHub’s new chequing account comparison tool, comparing chequing accounts can be done in a few clicks.

When comparing chequing accounts, there are a few steps you should follow to find the right account for you.

Step 1: Determine your needs

One of the first things you should do when comparing chequing accounts is to determine your banking needs. Some questions you may want to ask yourself are:

  • How often do I use my debit card?
  • What type of transactions do I mainly use my chequing account for?
  • Will I carry a large balance in my chequing account?
  • How many Interac e-Transfers do I make a month?

These questions are just a guide that can help you determine what sort of account features to look for when comparing accounts. The more you know about your banking needs, the easier it will be to narrow down the number of accounts that meet your criteria. For example, if you know you make 10 Interac e-Transfers every month, you may want to look for an account that has unlimited Interac e-Transfers or provides some for free every month.

Step 2: Compare fees

Depending on the features included in a chequing account, monthly fees can range from $0 to upwards of $30. Additionally, transaction fees can range from $0.65 to $2.50, depending on the transaction. To determine which chequing account satisfies your banking needs for the lowest cost, you’ll want to determine your estimated monthly cost for each chequing account offering. This can be done with the help of a chequing account comparison tool.

To calculate your estimated monthly cost, you’ll need to know the account’s monthly fee, the transactions you’ll make in a month, the number and type of transactions included in the account, and the transaction fees for additional transactions.

For example, let’s say you make 10 debit transactions and two Interac e-Transfers a month. And you want to determine your estimated monthly cost for a chequing account that has a $4.50 monthly fee, includes 12 debit transactions, and each Interac e-Transfer costs $1.

Since you’re only making 10 debit transactions—which is less than the 12 included transactions—you won’t incur additional fees for your debit transactions. However, since you’re making two Interac e-Transfers, which cost $1 each, you’ll pay an additional $2 every month. Therefore, your total estimated monthly cost will be $6.50 ($4.50 monthly fee + $2 for two Interac e-Transfers) for this account.

Step 3: Compare ATM networks and branch locations

If you conduct the majority of your banking transactions with the help of a teller, you may want to look into whether or not branches are close by. Some banks will provide branch transactions for additional fees or some will offer unlimited branch transactions. And some online chequing account providers don’t have any branches, which means you can’t make branch transactions. This reiterates the importance of the first step. In order to find the best chequing account for you, you must first know your banking needs.

ATM networks can vary greatly between banks. Therefore, you’ll need to determine how often you use ATMs. Using your debit card at ATMs outside of your provider’s network in Canada and abroad can incur large transaction fees. If you plan on traveling and using your debit card, make sure your provider’s ATM network is adequate to ensure you don’t incur additional transaction fees.

Step 4: Look for rebates and specialized accounts

While comparing monthly fees, you’ll want to see if you qualify for any rebates or specialized accounts. Providers typically have specialized account offerings geared towards students, youths, and seniors, or will offer a rebate if you’re a student or senior. Some financial institutions will also offer you a discounted monthly fee if you have multiple products with them. Additionally, some providers will waive the monthly account fee if you carry a balance above a certain amount.

Step 5: Look at additional perks provided with the account

Depending on the chequing account, additional perks may be included that may provide added value to you. These can include reward points for debit purchase, discounts on safety deposit boxes, and additional accounts at no extra cost.

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