Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Going From BMO to Tangerine Chequing

I’m not quick to make changes in my life. I’ve known for a while that I should move away from my BMO chequing account, but momentum has kept me there. But I finally opened a Tangerine chequing account. The process was less painful than I expected. (Disclosure: Tangerine did not pay me to write this article. I made a choice based on my banking needs. However, I may benefit from this article as described in the final paragraph.)

I’m a happy customer of BMO InvestorLine. Among other great features, their non-registered accounts treat the cash holdings like a regular chequing account. You can get a debit card for it and make cash withdrawals from bank machines. I’ve run my personal transactions through such an account for years. However, they only give 2 free withdrawals per month.

This limitation isn’t too bad for me because I don’t make many transactions. Until a little over a year ago, I paid 60 cents per excess withdrawal. Then it went up to a dollar. While at a cash machine recently I saw an announcement that this would soon rise to $1.25 per withdrawal. This was enough to make me do the work to open a new account and get free transactions from Tangerine. Another bonus is Tangerine will pay me a tiny amount of interest on my balance.

The process of opening a Tangerine chequing account is surprisingly easy. The longest part was writing a cheque to start up the account. But even then I was able to download a Tangerine application to my tablet to take pictures of cheques for deposit. So, I didn’t even have to send anything by snail mail. I did all this on a Friday afternoon and my Tangerine account was open with my money in it by the following Monday morning.

My Tangerine online account even provided a pdf file of a VOID cheque to make it easier for me to have my pay sent to the new account. I’m sure many of us have gone through the payroll ritual at a new job of saying “but I have the chequing account number” and getting the reply, “I’m sorry, but you have to bring us a cheque.”

Once this is fully set up, the biggest change for me will be going to Scotiabank cash machines rather than BMO cash machines, but both are convenient for me.

Now we get to the self-serving part of all this. If you’re a new Tangerine customer and you open an account, you can type in an “Orange Key” code to get a small cash bonus. This code actually belongs to another Tangerine customer. My Orange Key is 43337422S1. If I understand how this all works correctly, if you use it, both you and I get small cash bonuses. But suit yourself. I didn’t open this account to go for bonus money. But I won’t turn it away either.

20 comments:

  1. If you want to get slightly more interest, keep your money in a Tangerine savings account and transfer it to your chequing account (online) just before you want to withdraw it. Unlike PC Financial you can instantaneously transfer from Savings to Chequing.

    We've been with Tangerine (for Savings) for years and it's been very reliable and useful.

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    1. @Bet Crooks: Thanks for the advice. I'll keep that in mind as I get into the rhythm of a new system.

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  2. It amazes me how powerful inertia can be - how so many people bank at the same place all their life, accept the fee increases and initial mortgage renewal offers without question. Sure, saving a few bucks a month won't change your life, but it's not that difficult to make the change.

    I switched to ING several years ago when there were still a couple of barriers of entry - you know, before you could just take a picture of a cheque and had to physically mail it in, and when they were on the Exchange network (which had all of one ATM in Lethbridge). Now that those barriers have been removed, the process has become that much easier and hopefully more people will make the change (to Tangerine or PC Financial).

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    1. @Robb: I can be pretty bad when it comes to inertia. But this trait can help me as well. For example, I almost never rush out to get the latest new gadget. By the time I decide it would be useful, prices have usually come way down. But this trait isn't so good when it comes to adopting things like online bank accounts to save me money.

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  3. How easy is it to transfer money from your Tangerine account to your BMO IL account?

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    1. @Anonymous: Transferring from Tangerine to BMO IL is trivial -- I can do it online in a few seconds. I haven't tried the other direction yet, but at worst I could write a check and take a picture of it.

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  4. I went from National Bank to Tangerine as my "second" bank ( I always like having 2 distinct accounts, so that I always have a backup plan) because of the 0 fees, and have found the whole process, including depositing cheques, really easy and practical.

    -Paul G.

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    1. @Paul G: I'm glad Tangerine has worked out for you. Hopefully, it works out for me as well. I think I'd like to hear someone with a negative opinion to ground me.

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  5. Like Bet Crooks, I too have been with ING (now Tangerine) for years - at least 5 or 6. If you are looking for a negative opinion, I cannot really oblige. The only downsides for me was that in their early years, they had no chequing, and they had few ATM access points; both "deficiencies" addressed now. When our kids "grew up" and moved out, I helped set them up with ING accounts, where their paycheque goes, and auto monthly deposits to TFSA (invested into one of the Tangerine mutual funds, at 1.07 MER).

    The other really nice thing about their savings account, is that you can create up to 5 "envelopes". For example, I have one for Cottage taxes, another for Car repair fund, a Trip fund, etc. (with auto-deposits to each). It makes for a very convenient saving and budgeting system.

    The other cool thing (now that it's Tangerine/Scotiabank) is that (according to their fine print) you can withdraw at many ATMs around the world, with no surcharges. I haven't tried that yet, but my wife and I are retiring next year, so I should have a chance to try it soon.

    Best regards to all,

    Jean A.

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    1. @Jean: Your positive experience is consistent with other stories I've heard. Hopefully, mine will go just as well.

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  6. With your BMO IL account does it only allow two free withdrawals or 2 free ATM withdrawals? I transfer my dividends out several times a month and want to know if I would be charged after two? Also, do you have to withdraw to a BMO account, or can you transfer to another Financial Institution? Thanks

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    1. @W: It's definitely not limited to ATM withdrawals. Buying stock doesn't seem to count as a withdrawal, but as far as I can tell, everything else counts. Another possibility is that not everyone gets the same deal.

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  7. RBC announce they will change (read crank them up to the sky) their fees june 2015. Is it a way to make me seek for Tangerine for banking and Vanguard for investing ?

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    1. @Le Barbu: RBC certainly doesn't want you to go off to Tangerine and Vanguard, but based on your comment, I'm guessing that's what you'll be doing :-)

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  8. I'm going to go in the other direction and defend my bank which is TD Canada trust.
    I get great service, I have avoided almost all service fee's with the exception of using other banks ATM's here and in the USA. Their staff at "Fundsmart" was/is always really patient with me especially when I did my very first on-line trades and was a bit lost.

    Once you have a decent amount of AUM's with them (They allow you to combine assets with your Waterhouse accounts) make an appointment, sit down and discuss your fee's across a desk one day and they will wave all the ones that they can. I even have a free small safe deposit box included, and free cheques.

    I know some people might want to go to Questrade for example to get a sightly cheaper trade fee (or that one time 50 free trades deal), but in the end having everything in one place also has it's benefits. Like the above person mentioned the 24 hr hold on transferring $ from a savings to a chequing account with PC financial is both a waste of time and just simply silly IMO. That's like having $20.00 bucks in you right pocket but you have to put it in your left pock wait a day then buy your coffee.

    My advice don't listen to headlines, whiners and complainers. The big banks want your business as well. Go past the tellers and get to know some people in the side offices behind them. You will be glad you did.

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    1. @Paul: I've been very happy with BMO InvestorLine for my investment accounts, but I find Tangerine far superior to anything else I've tried for chequing. Your mileage may vary.

      My experience with staff in bank branches is very different from yours. I find they are nice people with very little authority to do much of anything for me. The bank's rules are enforced by computers and the people working in banks (including the manager) have very limited scope for overriding the computer's rules.

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  9. Where did you find the pdf file of the void cheque

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    1. @Anonymous: After clicking on your chequing account and you're taken to the Account Details Page, the middle of the page has several choices: Order my cheques, Order a draft, Print void cheque, and Increase Client Card limits. Choose Print void cheque.

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  10. Is there a limit to how many people can use your orange key? Are you already maxed out or can infuse your key so we both can get the 59$ each

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    1. Unknown: I'm not aware of any limit, but it's been a while since I got any money from this. I don't recall how much money I got from the orange key, but I think it was less than $59.

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