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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
What are your "creative solutions?" (no "perfect" all-in-one banking option)

Howdy all.

I also abhor fees but I don't see any perfect all-in-one banking solution in Canada.
I have some creative solutions for fee avoidance and maximizing returns.

My portfolio is small and I subscribe to the Couch Potato style of portfolio so the TD e-Series index Mutual Funds offer the lowest costs.

No fee chequing: PC Financial. Free replacement cheque books. ING charges $12.50/book ($0.25/cheque).

Access to e-Series funds: no-fee TD Waterhouse TFSA and unregistered account.
Problem: while money can be moved in via bill payments from other institutions, you can't get it out easily.
Solution: no-fee TD Canada Trust savings account (free to transfer inside TD group - one free debit/ATM transaction per month from savings account)

Canadian Direct Financial (CDF)'s KeyReach TFSA offers a 3% interest rate - great for parking liquid funds.
Problem: cash can't be moved out of it easily.
Solution: CDF Savings account - access to a bunch of cooperative ATMs (Alterna, HSCB etc) - transfers from 3% TFSA to savings are free so move the money virtually then use the regular savings account as the external gateway.
I don't really want the TD or CDF savings accounts but they don't have monthly fees attached and they give me options for moving money to and from the TD and CDF accounts I do want.

Credit cards: cash back or PC points to get 1% or more back. (we shop at PC grocery stores to it's money we need for food) I'd like to hear of any other cards people like for cash back.

I could go on but you get the point.

How about you guys: how have you gotten creative to keep costs down?
 

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This may be totally useless to you, but we roll with TD's Select Savings checking account + Visa Infinite.

Pros: no fees for the checking account or the visa, 1.5% of expenses back in the form of travel cash. You can buy hotel rooms/cars/flights as you would normally and phone TD to get a credit applied to your visa, or use their rebadged Expedia/Hotwire site and have the credit applied immediately.

Cons: it's a travel card, not a cash back card. You need to keep $5k in the checking account to avoid paying fees on the account ($29/mo).

It works for us -- we view the $5k as money we'd otherwise keep in a CD / high interest account for emergency use, so we're only losing a pittance of interest ($75) on it. While that reduces our effective return on Visa purchases, we think the convenience of having everything in TD makes life easier. You also get free bank drafts in CAD and USD, which is useful to me for paying taxes to the IRS. Your mileage may vary, of course.
 

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I don't pay any fees with CIBC (other than commission fees when I buy stocks). If my chequing account balance were to go below $1500 then I would pay a fee but I make sure it never falls below that.

I use my LOC when I need to write a cheque, as they give free cheques for the LOC while you have to pay for cheques for your chequing account. If you pay it off as soon as the cheque is cashed you will pay only a few cents in interest. I think you can also transfer the money to your LOC before using it, and avoid any interest at all.

None of my credit cards have a fee.

I don't have a savings account as I consider it a big waste to have money sitting in an account earning 1.25% or whatever their savings accounts are paying these days, when that money could be earning me at least 5% in some nice dividend stocks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I hadn't thought of a travel rewards card but that could be useful as we travel about once a year to visit family.

5,000 would earn $150 interest in the CDF account at 3% so as long as the cash back exceeded that, it'd break even.

$150 is 1.5% of $10,000 making that the break even spending on the card to make the reward worthwhile.

...I don't have a savings account as I consider it a big waste to have money sitting in an account earning 1.25%...
That resonates with me.

$1,000 in a savings account for the purpose of "fee avoidance" at 1.25% earns $12.50 interest.
$1,000 in a CDF KeyReach TFSA at 3% earns $30 interest.

I'd be "paying" $17.50 in lost interest for the privilege of not paying other fees.

Thanks guys.
 
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