High End Chequing Account Comparison

As a frugalist, I’m all about the free chequing accounts.  Whether it’s completely free, like what PC Financial offers, or free after keeping a minimum balance.  However, I was doing some surfing on available chequing accounts from the big banks and noticed a big variation in their high end accounts.  The fees varied from $12.95/month to $30 /month some of which can be avoided by keeping a high balance.  But $30/month for a bank account?  Really!?

So what else do these expensive chequing accounts offer besides unlimited transactions and free cheques.  From my wanderings, it seems that some of the high end chequing accounts do provide some extra value like free safety deposit boxes, email money transfers, US chequing accounts, or even waiving the annual fee on an expensive credit card.

So lets down to it, who offers the best high end chequing account?.

TD BMO RY CIBC BNS
Title: Select Premium VIP PremierService Value
Monthly Fee: $24.95 $25.00 $30.00 $24.50 $12.95 (50 trans)
Min Monthly Balance: $5,000.00 $4,500.00 n/a n/a n/a
EMT: $1.50/trans 2 free/month 2 free/month $1.50/trans $1.50/trans
Drafts: free free 12/year free free
Certified Cheques: free free 2/year free free
Safety Deposit Box: free $12 off / year $40 off/year n/a $5 off/year
Travellers Cheques: free free free free free
Visa Fee Waived: $120/year select n/a $120/year select $120/year select $110/year select
Online Broker discount: $25/year n/a Fee Waived RRSP only RRSP only
Non Bank Interac Trans: Unlimited 10/month Unlimited 4/month $1.50/trans
International Interac Trans: Unlimited 5/month Unlimited $3-$5/trans $3-$5/trans

There are some details not included in the table above. To start, the credit card annual fee discounts that they offer with these accounts vary. The best offerings are from TD and CIBC.  They both offer to waive the fee on their Visa Infinite cards which are their top of the line travel credit cards.  Whereas Royal Bank is the only account to offer exclusive travel savings for clients of the VIP package.

Personally, I would only consider one of these accounts if they would waive the fee after a certain balance.  Having said that, it seems that TD bank has the most competitive product.  With a $5,000 balance, you get a small safety deposit box, free Visa Infinite credit card, a discount off TD waterhouse along with unlimited Interac withdrawals while traveling abroad.  For good measure, they throw in their U.S dollar bank account for free.  Caution though, if you drop $1 below the $5,000 threshold at any time, the monthly fee applies.

What do you think of these accounts?  Do you pay a monthly fee for your chequing account?

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LD
8 years ago

Julie: Thank you SO much for your answer. This helps greatly! I booked an appointment w/ TD this morning and will switch to this account :)

Thanks again for your time and help!

LD

Julie
8 years ago

LD – I’ve had the Visa Infinite with TD for over a year and it is still free with the Select Service Account. I’ve also used my account for the free US account, free US Visa, and free cheques (US & CDN).

LD
8 years ago

Is the annual fee for the credit card waived EVERY year you have the TD select service account? Or is it only waived for the first year?

Thanks!

Ramanan
10 years ago

Beware if opening a TD Select Serve account. I upgraded my regular checking the account mid month to the select service account in the middle of the month. From the point the account was upgraded i maintained the min $5K for fee waiver. To my surprise at the end of the month they had the cheek to slap on the $24.95 charge because i didnt maintain $5K during the month prior to upgrading my account to the select service account. It took quite a bit of haggling to get the charge reversed. This experience definitely sours my perception of TD’s customer oriented image. Next week I’m going to shop around, see what else is out there.

Jeff
11 years ago

I have made money using PC Financial/PC MC… Why the hell would I ever want to pay?

Cheap Scottish Guy
11 years ago

PC Financial is the way to go. I have not paid a bank fee in several years. Why try keeping a minimum balance getting a poor ROI just to avoid paying a monthly fee? I’d rather have that money working harder elsewhere and not worry if I went below the minimum balance or not.

Sampson
11 years ago

This is a very interesting set of comments. It seems like there’s a split, maybe 30:70 of people who need few services vs. people who need additional benefits of these VIP type accounts.

My household uses only free accounts. Mainly PC Financial. We have self-directed investment accounts at TD Waterhouse and RBC DI – and a bunch of free savings accounts a RBC (basically 0-2 free transactions, however all inter-account transactions are free).

I can see the potential for benefits of the TD Select account, but as Elbryon points out, you really need to be using most of the services to benefit. We don’t have a safety deposit box, road-side assistance, a travel-points credit card, but even considering alternatives or paying for those services separately, I’m not sure it would amount to savings for me.

Our monthly financials are simple, we use the cash advance machine twice per month, all bills are set up to be paid automatically online. I can’t imagine any other way of doing things. So I’m curious, what type of activities are those who need the multiple transactions doing to require unlimited chequeing accounts?

d2cold
11 years ago

PC and I have been married for a decade. Paypass MC is the best. I love getting Timmies without swiping.

Honestly who really uses the majority of those items for a $25/mo fee??

Go PC or go else where and pay more!

DH

Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog
11 years ago

I think I’ll stick with PC Financial for now… I could see going for the TD account if I ever switch to TDW.

The Baker's Son
11 years ago

I was looking at the Select account last week myself. Just a note: the fees on the Visas are waived for the primary holder and one additional holder and if you choose the Gold Elite Visa (which gives 1% cash back) you also get the fees waived for the Deluxe TD Auto Club for your entire family (including unmarried children under 22) and every car you own is covered. I’m paying almost $100/yr for CAA just for myself for less coverage. Also, with the Elite Visa you get trip interruption insurance and delayed/lost baggage coverage included.