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Finding a good bank in Toronto

GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
edited January 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Okay, so for reasons I don't want to get into i've decided to change to a different bank up here in Toronto, ON.

The current bank i'm using is Scotiabank, and I picked it because they seemed to have the most locations in the downtown area (they even have their own movie theater). Can anyone recommend another chain bank that is just as good or better than Scotia? I'm looking for a company that has a lot of locations so I won't get hit with a withdrawal fee, something that won't drain my bank account with bullshit hidden monthly fees, and something that generally gets good reception around the area.


So, can anyone offer suggestions? I'm all ears!

Godfather on
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Posts

  • EtiowsaEtiowsa TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I would suggest PC Financial. No debit fees or anything of the like, so I basically use debit for everything and barely carry cash. You can use any CIBC ATM for withdrawals and deposits. For other stuff, you'll need to use either phone or online banking, since they don't have their own physical locations.

  • UnderdogUnderdog Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Etiowsa wrote: »
    I would suggest PC Financial. No debit fees or anything of the like, so I basically use debit for everything and barely carry cash. You can use any CIBC ATM for withdrawals and deposits. For other stuff, you'll need to use either phone or online banking, since they don't have their own physical locations.

    I was going to suggest PC too. As long as you use CIBC bank machines to do your withdrawls, there are no fees involved. There aren't any fees for other stuff either, including ordering new cheques which is nice. But like Eti said, they don't actually have any physical branches so some things are a bit less convenient. I've never had a problem with that but then my banking uses are pretty limited.

  • EntriechEntriech Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    The only bank you can really go with that's going to give you any kind of ABM presence without a fee is PC Financial, and that's through the CIBC ABMs. Alternatives are of course credit unions or one of the other non-major Canadian banks (like ING) but they're more investment oriented.

    I used PC Financial for a number of years, and the service was good. So long as you can do your transactions all via ABM and online you'll be set.

    Gamecenter/Gamertag/Steam ID/PSN: Entriech
    Guild Wars 2: Entriech.3507 | Scythe Gearsnap, Phlork, Irenic
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Would you be able to do money wire transfers through PC financial?

    What about getting a debit card? Would I be able to get one of those? (It's very important!)

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  • EntriechEntriech Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Godfather wrote: »
    Would you be able to do money wire transfers through PC financial?

    What about getting a debit card? Would I be able to get one of those? (It's very important!)
    I don't know about the first, the second though, yes you get a debit card. www.pcfinancial.ca is their site, I advise looking around it. Or perhaps jaunt into your nearest branch (will be in a Zehrs or Loblows or something) and talk to their representative.

    Gamecenter/Gamertag/Steam ID/PSN: Entriech
    Guild Wars 2: Entriech.3507 | Scythe Gearsnap, Phlork, Irenic
  • Steve BennettSteve Bennett Registered User
    edited January 2011
    My wife and I moved our personal banking from CIBC to PC Financial. Very pleased. They provided higher interest savings account (not meant as a common usage account, free deposits, 3-day withdraw period), and no fee checking account. We then also moved our credit cards there, since they give the equivalent of 1% back on everything that goes through it (sometimes 2% or more with special promos). It's in PC points, but for us that's as good as cash, since it's groceries or gas. Basically, we put everything on credit card (paid every month of course), and that means we get about $1200/year in free money. We spent $5k on re-shingling our roof through the credit card, transfered money to cover it, then bought $100 in groceries for free, thanks to the points + promo.

    PC basically gave us everything CIBC gave us, with no fees and more rewards. Oh, and CIBC gave us free stuff when we tried to leave them too ($100 free for keeping things with them for 1 year.. which we took and then never used their services for that year, then cancelled). :D

  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    The grocery bills points, what is that about?

    It's absolutely dire that i'm able to wire money to this account from the States. Also, when you mention points in general, does that mean that i'll be able to withdraw money from a local CIBC machine as well? I have a strong feeling that i'm going to have to use cash a lot, and since i'm not a Permanent Resident or a Citizen I don't believe a Credit Card is an option for me :(

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  • UnderdogUnderdog Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Godfather wrote: »
    The grocery bills points, what is that about?

    It's absolutely dire that i'm able to wire money to this account from the States. Also, when you mention points in general, does that mean that i'll be able to withdraw money from a local CIBC machine as well? I have a strong feeling that i'm going to have to use cash a lot, and since i'm not a Permanent Resident or a Citizen I don't believe a Credit Card is an option for me :(

    The points thing is basically a rewards program. You can earn PC points 2 ways it seems; through the use of your debit card for purchases at participating stores or through a MasterCard that you open up through PC. Then you can redeem your points at participating stores.

    I don't really know much about wire transfers but hopefully this will help:
    http://www.banking.pcfinancial.ca/a/legal/dailyBanking.page?region=ON&language=en&signinop=#13

    Since PC does not have any physical locations, all your banking is done through CIBC bank machines OR online. So yeah, you can withdraw cash from CIBC machines. I think it's like a $500 daily limit.

    Edit: To clarify, it's 10 points per $1 spent whenever you use your MasterCard and 5 points per $1 spent when you use your debit card at certain stores. Also, your bank card doubles as your debit card so you have that to use right off the bat. The MasterCard you need to apply for.

  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    So apparently you need to be a Canadian Resident to open up one of these! This is what my parents told me whenever I ran the idea past them. I went to a Loblaws today and they answered a lot of my questions, but when it came to things like wiring money to the account or about student immigrant account options, they directed me to another location at Jane and Dundas. That's where one of the main offices are located, and hopefully it would be a possibility later down the line.

    In case this doesn't work, does anyone else have any banking options for me?

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  • WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    RBC has free student accounts and a lot of locations. I only use them cause they're closer to my house than a PC financial location though, which I preferred overall. Once you're not a student anymore though they have pretty ridiculous fees.

  • LaOsLaOs Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I believe there are TD Banks in the US... would opening an account there give you any benefits for working with TD Canada Trust banks in Canada? That might help you with the residency problem. Maybe?

  • ApogeeApogee Lancks In Every Game Ever TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    As a guy working in the financial sales business, I can say with confidence that getting a free bank account, especially as a student, is not hard these days. Every main bank has a freebie package for students, usually with a credit card too. Every bank also has a free account package for adults too, although usually with strings attached (i.e. TD and BMO require minimum balances, RBC requires credit cards/investment products).

    PC financial is great if you're okay withcheap-as-free self-serve banking, but if you need actual financial advice (like mortgage/investment/credit stuff) you're stuck with that guy at the Loblaws kiosk or telephone support. If you don't need that stuff, it ain't a bad choice. Otherwise, go with whichever bank is closest, or offers you a special deal.

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