August 26, 2008, 6:00 am

The Citizens Bank of Canada Chequing Account

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Reviews
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This morning was quite unusual. In fact, I woke up and go downstairs in my TFB lair (read basement!) and opened up my computer. Everything seemed as usual. Seemed. As soon as the Windows logo vanished to draw my desktop, there was a light coming out of nowhere that was illuminating my face. I felt like I was touched by some kind of angel. I was warm, bright and I felt happy.


This how I would describe the simultaneous connection between my first sip of coffee and my laptop starting up at the same time. The paradise kingdom has opened its door and my day is ready to start!

In my mailbox, I had an email from a loyal reader and regular commentator, Nancy Zimmerman aka Money Coach aka… bank EVANGELIST! While I am still not sure what is a bank evangelist yet (I that bank could buy out churches and make people listen to their new god; money! Hahaha!). Seriously, I would not mix religion and money but that was Citizens Bank of Canada marketing choice anyway.

This post is definitely going in every direction since the very beginning, but rest assured, I’m going somewhere with all of this 😉

She asked me to mention my readers that Citizens Bank of Canada will be offering a revolutionary chequing account starting September 16th. This “virtually no fee account” is offering unlimited POS, unlimited bill payments/cheques (and physical cheques themselves are free) – pretty much unlimited everything you can think of PLUS (what can you expect more actually?) they pay for your international ATM charges!

In Canada, you have this unlimited access in any Exchange Network ATM (that is pretty much any credit unions, National Bank and HSBC. In other words, unless you are stuck in Nunavut, you are pretty much set with a no fee chequing account.

There is no free lunch

Everything for free and there is no counterpart? That is still to be proven. Since I don’t work for the Citizens Bank of Canada and the product is not out yet, we can’t say if there is a catch or not. However, I insist that there is no free lunch in life. In fact, what would be the incentive, on a company perspective, to offer a costly product (not expecting any revenue from a product seems pretty expensive to me!) for free at large?

It can really be only a promotion (read a loss leader), to get people on board and offer them other products. Anyway, for now it’s advertised as being free and if you want more details, I suggest that you contact Nancy Zimmerman through her blog :


image source : flickr


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Hey, thanks for this! I wanted to comment earlier, but of course you had the Woes per your next post. Ugh! Glad you got that sorted out, and I’m now officially anxious about my own blog.

Re: if there’s a catch – truly, no. But you’re right, in that we hope it attracts lots (and lots!) of Canadians to us, who then decide to do further business with us (terms, rrsp’s etc.). Even that ‘further business’ is usually a really good deal – since we’re an online bank, typically we can beat bricks-and-mortar banks for rates. Plus, we’re Canadian-owned, and our profits go back into the community, since our parent company is a credit union (Vancity).

Thanks again for the mention.

by: Bill in Berlin | November 25th, 2008 (9:16 am)

Actually, what Citizens is doing with the free ATM is new only to Canada.

My German bank doesn’t charge on its side for ATM use abroad.

Nationwide in the UK and Charles Schwab in the US both offer global free ATM use. Schwab – like Citzens – will even refund any fee you DO get charged. Wizard in Australia offers a no-ATM-fee Mastercard.

So the 5 buck ATM fee is by no means universal. And of course it’s a great way for a smaller bank to attract customers.

well as for the “virtually no fee chequing account” i know that the credit union coast capital offers this as well. where they make their money is on interest rates on loans and businesses, but it is actually a pretty decent account for the average joe.