The BEST and WORST Canadian Consumer Banking Rates and Fees Experiences
motusbank provides the Best Overall Consumer Banking Rates and Fees Experience in Canada.
What a difference 16 months has made when it comes to consumer banking rates and fees. Since March 2022, Canadians have endured 10 prime rate increases, a barrage of increases not seen in some time. The constant increases, along with housing price increases, have left many Canadians wondering if they can afford a mortgage renewal at the higher rates. As the government raises the key lending rates, so do consumer banks and credit unions which means Canadians are forced to make monthly adjustments to manage the concerning high consumer debt levels. In our opinion, MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION owned MOTUSBANK provides the best overall consumer banking experience when it comes to digital banking rates and fees.
Despite all the rate changes, one thing that remains clear in 2023 is that marketing to consumers is a strategic game played by all consumer-facing businesses. The messages focus on the smallest of differentiations and ignore the largest of gaps. Today's messaging is intense and full of confusion, mainly due to social media platforms and the consumer's willingness to be available for messaging as long as they are awake. Big Banks offer packages to distract from the less competitive rates and fees. Credit Unions promote ownership and collective goals but most have inferior digital platforms. Neo Banks promote easy and that they have invented the new, and better, way to bank which are ridiculous statements. And discount banks promote no-frill relationships in exchange for competitive rates and better fees. Beware of the distractions and hone in on your needs. And don't be shy of multiple relationships.
Non-Branch Subsidiaries Offer the Best
The NEO/branchless banks who have a larger corporate owner tend to provide the best rates and fees. MOTUSBANK is #1 (Meridian Credit Union) - TANGERING #2 (Scotiabank) - ALTERNA BANK (Alterna Saving Credit Union) #3.
The Best BIG BANK Ranks 15th Overall
Ranked 15th overall is nothing to be proud of but BMO BANK of MONTREAL has the most competitive rates and fees amongst the big bank with competitive GIC rates.
TD CANADA TRUST Ranks Last Amongst Big Banks
Despite competitive mortgage rates, a href="https://www.surviscor.com/retail-banking/company-reviews/td-canada-trust-online-banking-canadian-review" target="_blank">TD CANADA TRUST ranks #23 overall, last amongst the big bank-owned firms with poor savings and registered account rates and fees.
ATB FINANCIAL is an Expensive Proposition
Mortgage rates and registered investment rates dominate the landscape today and simply put, we would think twice about banking with ATB FINANCIAL because of their ultra non-competitive mortgage and registered product rates.
EQ BANK Mortgage Rates are Hidden
No window shopping allowed at EQ BANK when it comes to mortgage rates. One would think a mortgage company would be proud to show their stripes but that's not the case. It's hard to back the best rate promise without transparency.
The 2023 results indicate less-competitive rates along with higher fees at the big banks, a wide variety of performance through the credit union firms and more favourable rates and fees through Neo/branchless firm. Our advice would be for consumers to continually source out all available product in the marketplace and take a good look at the rankings to focus in on your current relationship(s), taking time to seriously question what you may be missing.
|Rates & Fees Experience Rank||Digital Banking Firm||Experience Score||Full Company Review|
|1||motusbank||81 %||View Company Review|
|2||Tangerine||77 %||View Company Review|
|3||Alterna Bank||75 %||View Company Review|
|4||Simplii Financial||71 %||View Company Review|
|5||Conexus Credit Union||68 %||View Company Review|
|6||Manulife Bank of Canada||66 %||View Company Review|
|7||Coast Capital Savings||65 %||View Company Review|
|8||Laurentian Bank||63 %||View Company Review|
|9||ATB Financial||56 %||View Company Review|
|T-10||EQ Bank||53 %||View Company Review|
|T-10||Meridian Credit Union||53 %||View Company Review|
|12||Motive Financial||52 %||View Company Review|
|13||Vancity||51 %||View Company Review|
|14||Desjardins||50 %||View Company Review|
|15||BMO Bank of Montreal||49 %||View Company Review|
|T-16||Alterna Savings||47 %||View Company Review|
|T-16||HSBC Canada||47 %||View Company Review|
|18||Scotiabank||46 %||View Company Review|
|19||Blueshore Financial||45 %||View Company Review|
|20||CIBC||42 %||View Company Review|
|21||National Bank of Canada||41 %||View Company Review|
|22||RBC Royal Bank||40 %||View Company Review|
|23||TD Canada Trust||38 %||View Company Review|
|24||Servus Credit Union||37 %||View Company Review|
|25||PC Financial||18 %||View Company Review|
In a world of fast-moving rising interest rates, the smallest differentiation can stand out. Our goal is to always go Between the Lines and provide guidance at each level of the product marketing campaigns, shedding light on the merits of each product within each firm. While comparisons are not always apples to apples between firms, posted rates do tell the real story, as best as it can be told.Glenn LaCoste, President and CEO of Surviscor Group
For more information on the categories reviewed and the depth of review in each category, click Rates and Fees Process and Methodology
The depth of Surviscor reviews translates into tough marking, meaning firms must earn each and every ranking. Ranks are not given to firms by sponsored ghost writers or false marketing pieces and messages; however, Surviscor will also give credit where credit is due. The hope is that all Canadian consumers hold their banking partner accountable to provide ultra-competitive rates and fees that match, or closely match, the best firms in each category.
The Consumer Banking Rates and Fees Experience review establishes the Best and Worst firms for rates and fees by measuring each firm against one another using like product and analytics. The areas of review include a look at five main products sold in Canada including chequing accounts, savings account, registered accounts, GICs/Term Deposits and Mortgages. The following tables provide a quick look at the best and worst firm for each product:
The category audits the transaction-based monthly account fees and interest rates associated with lowest-priced chequing account at each firm.
|Rank||BEST Chequing Accounts||rank||WORST Chequing Accounts|
|1||CONEXUS CREDIT UNION||23||LAURENTIAN BANK|
|2||MOTIVE FINANCIAL||22||HSBC CANADA|
|3||MOTUSBANK||21||RBC ROYAL BANK|
The following firms do not offer Chequing Accounts:
- EQ BANK
- PC FINANCIAL
SAVINGS ACCOUNTS - NON-REGISTERED
The category audits the various transactional fees and interest rates associated with the standard non-registered savings account at each firm. This is the only category where all firms offer the product.
|Rank||BEST Savings Accounts||rank||WORST Savings Accounts|
|1||EQ BANK||25||TD CANADA TRUST|
The category audits the amount of interest earned on both an average TFSA and RRSP deposit account based upon an average account balance.
|Rank||BEST Registered Accounts||rank||WORST Registered Accounts|
|1||LAURENTIAN BANK||24||BLUESHORE FINANCIAL|
|2||MOTIVE FINANCIAL||23||ALTERNA SAVINGS|
|3||EQ BANK||22||SIMPLII FINANCIAL|
The following firm does not offer Registered Accounts:
- PC FINANCIAL
GICs/TERM DEPOSITS INVESTMENTS
The category audits the amount of interest earned on a GIC / Term Deposit Investment based upon both short-term and long-term maturities and various investment amounts.
|Rank||BEST Investment Accounts||rank||WORST Investment Accounts|
|1||EQ BANK||24||BLUESHORE FINANCIAL|
|2||MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION||23||CIBC|
|3||MANULIFE BANK of CANADA||22||ALTERNA BANK|
The following firm does not offer GICs/Term Deposits:
- PC FINANCIAL
The category audits the amount of interest paid on both fixed and variable rate mortgages with <25-year amortizations based on posted rates and various principal investment sizes.
|Rank||BEST Mortgages||rank||WORST Mortgages|
|3||MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION||21||SERVUS CREDIT UNION|
The following firms do not offer Mortgages:
- PC FINANCIAL
- MOTIVE FINANCIAL
The 2023 Consumer Banking Rates and Fees Experience review produced some interesting findings. Here is a quick look at the key points of discussion:
- MOTUSBANK repeats as top firm
- BRANCHLESS-NEO BANKS account for the first 4 rankings
- LAURENTIAN BANK and VANCITY each improved 8 positions from 2022
- CONEXUS CREDIT UNION is the top ranked credit union
- ALTERNA BANK, a branchless firm, ranks 3rd despite poor digital platforms
- 4 of the 6 big banks failed to crack the top 20 as compared to 2 in 2022
- MOTIVE FINANCIAL fell 8 positions from 2022
- HSBC CANADA is the WORST non-Big Bank
- BMO BANK OF MONTREAL now has 100 small-print legal notifications - up 3 from 2022
- EQ BANK is not publicly transparent with its mortgage rates
Consumer Banking is one big maze of information overload, and what a consumer sees through its digital platforms is not always what is really happening. Most consumer banking firms' rebuttal to reviews like this one is that the review is only based on posted fees and there are more competitive fees offer to existing customers. These are some of the high-level lessons of note:
Rates and Fees are an Organized Mess
Finding a firm's full suite of products and services and the associate rates and fees that come along with them is usually a daunting task. If a rate is easy to find, usually its because the banking firm's marketing hooks are involved and they want a consumer to take note. The issue is that the regular rates often take some digging to find. Clear and defined internet searches can sometimes help versus using platform navigational items.
Mortgage Rates Require More Attention
Rate increases have immediate impact on mortgage rates and consumer debt management. For that reason, mortgage rates have taken a larger importance in the 2023 review. The amazing fact is that there are so many firms missing the mark and they do it on purpose, as each firm is aware of how to be competitive, which leads us to wonder if those firms are in trouble, over-extended, or simply do not want the business. And if the latter is true, head for the hills with all your business.
Raising Rates Do Not Translate to Chequing or Savings Accounts
Its time to give this some thought. The feds raise rates by twenty-five basis points (.25%) and within days mortgage rates and loans are adjusted at similar increments. Now switch your thinking to what banking firms refers to as deposit accounts, or our day-to-day transactional accounts, the ones consumers are looking for compensation for keeping balances in them. The research indicates that too many firms are still not paying for cash balances and those who are paying a small percentage compared to the percentages charged to borrow.
Account Choosers are Great Tools ... but
In other Surviscor consumer banking experience reviews, props are given to firms who build selection tools to help consumers narrow down options. It is funny how when the review focuses in on rates at each firm, suddenly, the existence of the tool is now a necessity rather than a bonus. The bottom line is the tool would not be necessary if firms would stop building account packages that have minimal differences between each.
Be Careful of Fees Associated with Transactions
Consumer banking firms have long been warning of the demise of cheques, but the truth is, a consumer better have a chequing account if they plan to perform day-to-day transactions in an account. The research indicates that outside of a few neo banks, no-fee savings accounts are not designed to allow consumers to perform day-to-day transactions without incurring huge fees. In most cases, firms charge between $1-$5 for debit card purchases and bill payments and $1-$1.50 for Interac money transfers. Be careful with savings accounts. The $0 fee quickly adds up to big fees with utility payments and daily debit card usage that has replaced cash transactions. #SaveNotTransact
100 Small Print Notices? Really BMO BANK of MONTREAL BANK?
It is hard to figure out of we are angry with the fact BMO BANK of MONTREAL BANK has 100 small print notices or impressed that they want full disclosure. In theory both angles are valid but come on, it is ridiculous and indicates a much larger issue. The bottom line is simplify the products and the services and stop with the nonsense and more importantly, this happens at so many firms which again, is ridiculous.
The discipline of marketing often comes with a world of fine print with not-so obvious messaging that can lead to confusion, all to sell a product or service. The key consumer warning is to understand that the devil typically lies in the details and if a deal appears too good to be true, it usually is. Look into the finer points of each advertised deal to discover if it is the right product.Glenn LaCoste, President and CEO of Surviscor Group
Finding, then acquiring, the best suited rates and fees for desired products amongst the dozens of available digital consumer banking firms is not an easy task. The glaring question is WHY? It could be the maze of confusion in water-downed product and the endless disclaimers associated with each relationship or the smoke and mirrors due to the marketing of products and services at consumer banking firms, big and small. The smaller firms must be aggressive to gain traction and do so with flashy sites and big announcements. Larger firms market the whole experience of being a customer and entice customers with additional add-ons to mostly distract from the less competitive rates that they offer.
The bottom line is a consumer needs to define their current situation and needs, keep in mind that the crucial details are not always front and centre but most importantly, understand there are dozens of firms to choose from to acquire the highest rates and lowest fees.
The Surviscor DISCLAIMER
Surviscor takes the ultimate pride in recognizing, and calling out, any firm for both good, and poor, experiences. Canadians work hard for their money and having a compatible consumer banking financial partner is necessary and Canadian consumers should be holding all firms, big and small, to the highest standards of customer experience and cost of services. The consumer holds the cards, not the consumer banking firm, and there are the posted rates, promotional rates, and even special rates usually meant for new customers or new products. #FindTheRightFirm
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