By Denis Agar
UPDATE [September 18, 2009] I am quite sad to report to you the loss of one of the pillars of the free chequing market - Citizens Bank. The e-mail went out August 5th, 2009 - after a tough recession and heavy competition from PC Financial, Vancity, Citizens' parent company, has decided to throw in the towel on that grand experiment. Citizens, we were all the better for knowing you, and your loss will be keenly felt.
As I'm sure you know, there are an enormous amount of banking options out there. What always stuns me is that the vast majority of them aren't worth a second glance. Here, I profile the glorious few that blow all other accounts out of the water. One disclaimer before I continue: If you're still interested in conducting operations with a living, breathing teller at a physical bank location, expect to pay for it. None of the accounts profiled here include any considerable face-to-face contact. For most day-to-day activities, though, that shouldn't pose any problems. Generally, I will include chequing accounts in this review if they include two of the following three features:
- Offers an interest rate higher than 2%
- The minimum balance for avoiding monthly fees is at most $1000.
- Includes unlimited transactions
To make the review a little simpler, I've compiled a list of things that you can assume all these accounts have. They are the bare minimum.
- All activity can be conducted either by phone, online or at an ATM.
- The following things are free and unlimited:
- online or telephone transfers
- direct deposit
- ATM deposits
Let's get right into it!
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