Having financial stability, security, and safety you can count on when you need it the most is paramount for leading a life of prosperity and wellbeing. Almost all working people have a bank account. Many of them wrongly think that having a bank account is free of any charges.
Your account is seldom completely free, but it all depends on how you use it. If you don’t know how to manage your finances and banking fees properly, having a simple bank account can turn out to be quite costly. There is much more to an account than a monthly fee.
Then, there are also bank users who expect a range of benefits for paying their monthly fees regularly. These benefits usually include either a breakdown cover or a type of insurance. However, the truth is that you don’t really need any of these extras.
All you need to get the most out of your bank accounts is to know how to use them and what to watch out for. With that in mind, the following tips are meant to help you understand the importance of financial responsibility and why developing healthy financial habits is paramount for staying on top of your both financial and banking account game.
In this article you will learn about:
- How to Use Your Bank Accounts in Canada
- How to Choosing the Right Bank in Canada
- How to Reduce and Eliminate Bank Fees
- How to get Bigger Rewards & Higher Returns
How to Use Your Bank Accounts in Canada
Improper use of your bank accounts leads you to develop a lengthy debt, paying unnecessary fees, penalty rates, etc. You can avoid all these financial perils and improve your cash management by understanding a few basic things.
- Use Free Text Alerts
- Learn All About Mobile Banking
- List All Bank Charges
- Develop a Healthy Relationship with Your Bank
- Know When to Switch Accounts
- Take Care of Your Overdraft
- Find out All about Overdraft Fees
- Seek Financial Advice
- Think about Having a Reward Bank Account
- Bonus: How to Know When to Switch Accounts
Use Free Text Alerts
Modern banks are constantly upgrading to the latest, most innovative automatic services such as free text alerts. You can benefit quite a lot from using such a service, and all it takes to get it is giving your bank your mobile number. The bank sends text alerts when users go into overdraft.
Since going overdrawn involves some fees, knowing that you went into overdraft can help you minimize the impact. On the other hand, you can request text alerts yourself. They inform you when you have received money or when your balance is near the end. It’s good to have these to know your financial situation at all times.
Learn All About Mobile Banking
Mobile banking is a quick and convenient way to do almost everything you can do by visiting a branch office. All you need to get this amazing service is a smartphone. A mobile banking app allows you to file an application to change your overdraft, make various payments, check your balance, etc.
Setting up your mobile banking app is quick and easy, and you can use it wherever, whenever. If you’re about to make a purchase, but you’re not sure about your balance, this is the quickest way to make sure you have the necessary means.
List All Bank Charges
There is a range of things that banks charge you. The best examples are foreign transactions and cash withdrawals. Many people use their cards when abroad, without being aware that each transaction they make abroad involves a certain charge, fee, rate, etc.
You can list all the charges your bank applies by either giving your bank a call for a list or checking it yourself online. By knowing how and when your bank charges, you can develop a healthier banking routine to manage your finances more responsibly and avoid paying those unnecessary charges.
RELATED: How Interest Charges Works in Canada
Develop a Healthy Relationship with Your Bank
Nothing can do you justice better than being in a healthy relationship with your bank. If you’re not sure about something or think that your account may not be suitable for your current financial needs, talk to your banker. Explain your situation, and try to be consistent about what type of services would be more appropriate for your financial situation.
Most of the time, people aren’t sure what they really want from a bank, and they end up with a completely wrong bank account. Since this is nothing more than an unnecessary charge on your already overwhelmed budget, speaking to your financial advisors may be the thing you need to improve your financial standings.
Every bank has a range of different bank accounts, each with different services, benefits, etc. Look into those offers and evaluate each of them to know what they offer and how it fits your financial picture.
Know When to Switch Accounts
You can save quite a lot by not using an account that doesn’t cover your exact needs. Instead, know when to switch accounts. Think about what you want from your account:
- Do you need a bigger or cheaper overdraft?
- Do you want an account with no overdraft at all?
- Do you plan on keeping money as a balance?
- Are you after an account that pays interest on such a balance?
All these things can help you make the most out of what you have.
Take Care of Your Overdraft
The majority of banks offer bank accounts with an overdraft. That isn’t because these institutions are working to their consumers’ advantage but charging a hefty interest rate for allowing their users to spend money they don’t have.
However, it’s possible to save money and use your overdraft. The best thing is to only go in an overdraft if you have a backup plan on how to pay off your debt in full. Knowing the fees for using an overdraft can also help. Most people use their cards to make standing orders and use Direct Debits.
The problem occurs when the user isn’t financially able to cover these expenses promptly. To avoid getting into and over your overdraft, you should constantly keep an eye on your standing orders.
You can save money by canceling the ones you can cancel. If you get over your overdraft, that also involves a penalty interest rate, another extra charge to worry about.
Find out All about Overdraft Fees
Banks charge an interest rate for allowing their users to use an overdraft. Since these interest rates vary from bank to bank, doing some research and comparison may help you find a bank with lower rates and better terms. On the other hand, if your bank has an account with better terms, consider switching to save money.
Seek Financial Advice
If you need an unauthorized overdraft to go about your daily spending, it’s more than clear that you’re about to face some financial turmoil. Since doing so might escalate into serious money problems, the best thing you can do is to seek financial advice.
If you act on it early, there are better chances to fix the problems before they get worse. Waiting will only prolong the situation, leaving you with a lengthy debt.
A financial advisor might lead you out of peril by taking a look at your budget, finances, and banking behavior. Assessing your expenditure and income capabilities is a certain way out of your financial difficulty.
Think about Having a Reward Bank Account
Packaged or reward bank accounts are a special type of account that provides a range of rewards for a monthly fee. These rewards include various discounts in shops and stores, technology and travel insurance coverage, etc.
If you have such an account, it would be good to know if you are getting decent value for your money, to make sure you’re not paying that fee every month without getting anything in return. Having an account with a range of benefits doesn’t necessarily mean that you get your money’s worth.
It would be wise to reevaluate your finances and account benefits to see if you really need extra services. Some banks offer this type of account just to sell more. Most people don’t think it through before accepting. Think twice before you agree to use a reward bank account.
Bonus Tip: How to Know When to Switch Accounts
Take the following factors into consideration:
- Your account is overwhelmed with extra charges.
- The costs of using an overdraft are piling up.
- You’re earning a very low interest on your balance.
- Your account is spending more than it’s returning.
- You plan on starting saving or paying off a debt by switching to get an introductory cash reward.
You should know that switching accounts are easier than ever before, and this can make a big difference if you choose wisely.
How to Choose the Right Bank in Canada
Now, a good part of your banking know-how depends on your ability to choose the bank that offers the right services to support your short and long-term financial needs and goals. With that in mind, here are five great tips on what to look for when choosing a bank.
1. Savings Rates
The first thing you should think about before you choose a bank is your ultimate goal. If you want to earn interest and save money, you need a financial institution that offers banking options that support your goals.
RELATED: See Best Available Saving Account Offers
If you want to save but keep your money accessible, the best course of action is to compare different types of accounts at different banks to see which institution offers exactly what you’re looking for. It will also allow you to see which bank offers the best savings rates.
2. Credit Union Is Always a Choice
There is a wide range of reputable credit unions that offer better terms than the majority of banks. Many of these financial institutions have very flexible eligibility restrictions and consumer-centric services. They offer better interest rates too.
3. Online Banks Are Currently Trending
Online banks are currently trending, attracting lots of consumers due to offering higher interest rates than most banks. When compared to an average local bank, online banks offer more customer perks and free chequing accounts. You should definitely look into what online banks have to offer.
RELATED: See Best Available Chequing Bank Accounts
4. Go with an Institution that’s NCUA or FDIC Insured
Only choose financial instruction that’s insured with either NCUA or FDIC. Any institution, a bank, or credit union, that isn’t insured with these regulatory bodies isn’t worthy of your time and trust. Also, this insurance includes certain limitations. Understanding how these limitations work is also a good thing to know.
5. Only Choose Financially-Healthy Institutions
Since dealing with a bank closure and losing your high CD rates is definitely something you’ll want to avoid, check your chosen institution’s financial health before you commit. Just view their health rating online to make sure you’re on the right path.
How to Reduce and Eliminate Bank Fees
It would be ideal if you could issue checks from your checking account balance without paying a fee to your bank or save at an ideally high-interest rate. Since this isn’t the case, the trick is to do the most with what you have.
Since banks try to charge you with anything and everything they can, here are a couple of great tips for either reducing or eliminating bank fees so that you can actually save some money along the way.
1. Find a Bank with Low Early Withdrawal Penalties on Certificates of Deposit Accounts
Many banks condition you with limitations and restrictions when you want to save money. Since certificates of deposit are the best option to save money, look for CDs with the highest earnings and low penalty fees for early withdrawal and have your money always available if you need it ASAP.
2. Only Go with Credit Union with an ATM Network
Having an ATM card has become a regular thing nowadays. You probably have one. If you use it quite often, it would be wise to choose a credit union that is part of an ATM network. That way, you avoid paying unnecessary fees for withdrawing from an ATM outside of your network each time you’re away from your local branch.
3. Look for a Credit Union with a Shared Branch Network
If you’re a frequent traveler, choosing a credit union with a shared branch network makes the most sense. It allows you to avoid a range of fees for conducting your banking transactions as your chosen branch is part of the network.
4. Always Look for Additional Perks
Free checks, free safe deposit boxes, lower fees, any additional perk will do. With that in mind, look for a bank that has balance or other requirements to qualify for these useful and free extras.
5. Avoid Overdraft and Other Fees
Most people get too comfortable with withdrawing money or writing checks, ending up taking more than they can give back. These costly financial mistakes can make your budget run dry quickly. Any transaction that takes you over your available balance includes a fee.
So, as you can see, overdrawing your account leads to paying costly overdraft fees. However, there are a couple of ways to protect yourself from overdraft fees. You can either link your savings account to checking, look into any overdraft protection services, or consider better financial management.
Banks charge a wide range of fees, from fees for several transfers and inactivity fees to monthly maintenance and penalty fees. To avoid paying these fees, you need to understand the reason why these fees are charged and actions you can take to avoid paying them.
If your bank doesn’t allow you to avoid paying these fees, you should find an institution that does.
How to get Bigger Rewards & Higher Returns
Saving money is all about getting the highest earnings possible. Take your time and compare all the options at hand to find an institution with the best rewards and highest returns.
1. Look for Banks that Offer Cash Back on Debit Card Purchases
Rare are the banks that allow their users to earn cashback on all purchases they make with debit cards. It takes some time to find a bank that offers such options, but it’s well worth the trouble as you can earn quite a lot if you use their services wisely.
2. Consider a Bank with a Card Reward Program
The majority of banks offer nice reward programs for users who regularly use debit or credit cards. This reward program allows you to earn points with each purchase. You can redeem these points for cash back, travel, merchandise, digital downloads, gift cards, and more. See a few attractive card offers with rewards below:
- Scotiabank American Express Card (Review)
- Tangerine World Mastercard (Review)
- Scotiabank GM Visa Infinite Card (Review)
We sincerely hope that our tips will help you get a hold of your finances and learn how to manage your banking most effectively. Our aim is to help our readers work every angle of their financial management to get the most out of what they have.
Every bank account has its ups and downs, but the trick is to know both to avoid overwhelming your budget with unnecessary costs. It isn’t that hard to be financially responsible and successful, but it does take some time and effort.