Due to the COVID-19 crisis, it can be challenging to find a Canadian bank that fits your needs.
Since the country’s banking sector is gravely impacted by the crisis, some banking institutions aren’t operating in their full capacity, making it harder for you to obtain the answers to your inquiries.
To help you figure out which Canadian bank to choose during this COVID-19 pandemic, we put together some tips and crucial points that you need to consider.
Which banks should Canadians choose?
The bank you choose depends on your needs and the type of services and features the financial institution offers.
However, to ensure safe access to your money whenever and wherever you need it, your best bet is a bank that provides online banking.
With online banking, opening a new account, applying for a credit line, transferring money to other accounts, and other transactions are all possible through your computer or mobile device.
Other factors you should consider in finding the right bank include:
- Banking fees. Many Canadian banks charge $5 – $30 monthly for a checking or a current account. This isn’t the only fee that banks charge so be sure to ask about whatever fees you might incur while banking with the financial institution.
- ATM charges. While most banks in Canada won’t charge you for using ATMs, using another bank’s ATM will incur transaction fees of up to $4 – $5.
Find a bank with many ATMs and in areas closest to your home and workplace to avoid using the machines of other banks.
Where should my money be saved as a Canadian?
Maintaining a savings account with a bank in Canada is one of the safest ways to keep your money.
Canada offers several online banks providing both savings and checking accounts.
Here are several investment options you can look into.
- Mutual funds. Although they come with risks, investing in mutual funds can help you get more from your savings long term, let you spread out your investments, and diversify your portfolio.
- Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). An RRSP can help you establish your savings for retirement since the plan reduces the amount of your income taxes.
Additionally, find the right kind of investment account by comparing investing options in Canada.
This helps you choose the kind of investment account and financial institution that can accommodate your account ownership needs, investing style, and savings goals.
Compare interest rates from leading Canadian financial institutions
High-interest savings accounts are those that pay higher interest compared to standard savings accounts.
Opening an RBC high-interest savings account, for instance, offers a 4% interest per year payout and other features and fees such as free and unlimited online banking transfers.
Unlike chequing accounts, which are meant for daily transactions, high-interest savings accounts will help you save money for longer periods.
Opening an RBC high-interest savings account for instance, offers a 4% interest per year payout and other features and fees such as free and unlimited online banking transfers.
Some banks will let you open a high-interest savings account without charging transaction or monthly fees.
When comparing these types of accounts from different banks, find ones that offer daily high-interest rates and low transaction fees.
Use online comparison platforms such as Ratehub.ca to check rates from different financial institutions in Canada.
Consider other features and services as well, including bills payment options and Interac e-transfers, which let you conveniently send and receive money online through email without needing account details.
Other banks also offer promotional interest rates and sign-up incentives with your high-interest savings account.
Comparing interest rates will help you assess the benefits and make better decisions to find the best bank for you.
Review loan options from various Canadian banks
Personal loans can help you bridge the gap between your saved money and emergency needs.
This type of loan even offers lower interest rates than credit cards, allowing you to pay less on your debt.
Compare loan options from different Canadian banks to ensure you find the best interest rates, payment terms, etc. that match your capacities and needs.
Motus Bank, for instance, offers personal loans of up to $35,000 and, as of February 23, 2020, has an interest rate of 5.15% with payment terms of one to five years.
The bank also offers a personal loan calculator on their website to help you compute the total cost for a specific loan amount.
Check other banks’ online calculators on their website to see the total personal loan cost, including fees and interest rates.
Investigate multiple online banking processes for banks based in Canada
Online banks let you access your savings account quickly, especially during health crises and emergencies.
Aside from being convenient, many online banks in Canada don’t charge transaction fees and offer better interest rates.
Consider these other factors when comparing financial institutions that offer online banking.
- Availability of banking services. Check if the online bank offers 24/7 services, so you avoid waiting times and transact instantly from the comfort of your home.
- Features. Aside from basic transactions, look for online banks that offer other services, including online bill payments, mobile cheque deposits, loan and credit applications, etc.
- Customer service. Assess if the online bank provides virtually accessible personal bankers and customer support through email, phone, or live chat to assist you with issues about your transactions and account.
Researching the different online banking processes will give you insights as to which bank provides the services and features that you need.
Check the online and mobile banking security measures
Keeping your account and money secure should be a top priority of your chosen bank.
When comparing banks in Canada, check for the following security measures.
- Password protection. All your accounts should be password protected and, for added measure, it should require a two-step verification.
- Activity tracking. Online banks that display the time and date of your last sign-in will help you monitor your banking activities and detect unusual actions.
- Session timeout. Additional security measures, such as logging you out of your account automatically after a period of inactivity, will help ensure you don’t knowingly give access to other people.
- Web browser encryption. This helps secure communication between a web server and browser to keep your account and online transactions protected.
Choosing the right bank is an important decision for managing your finances properly. Do some research and reach out to each bank online to get more information if you must.
The tips mentioned here are meant to guide you through Canadian banking during the COVID-19 crisis.
Use them to help you make smart banking choices and find the perfect bank that answers your needs.
What other banking tips in Canada do you know? Share them with us in the comment section. Cheers!