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ING Direct Thrive vs PC Financial – Battle of Free Chequing Accounts


It looks like the no-fee chequing account space is heating up with ING Direct being the newest player in the market.  ING has introduced a new online based chequing account, called “Thrive“, and is direct competition to PC Financial’s offering.

As a client of PC Financial since its inception, I must say that I’m a fan of the no-frills account. What I like is that I can write cheques without the fee of buying the cheque book and the bonus of not requiring a minimum balance.  Another bonus is the ability to transfer money to/from any other bank account (ie. other big 5 bank) without fees and the recent addition of Email Money Transfer ($1.50).  The downside, of course, is that since it’s an online operation, the lack of human/teller access can be inconvenient at times (like when getting a bank draft).

ING’s Thrive offers more or less the same features as a PC Financial account, but with noticeable differences as well.  For one, in order to make a deposit or withdrawal for free, the client will need to access an ATM within the Exchange Network, which is the network used for credit unions.  PC Financial, on the other hand, uses CIBC’s ATM network for their cash needs.  One feature that is quite innovative in the ING account is that they allow up to $250 in overdraft without interest or fees providing that it’s paid back within 30 days. Another feature that I really like about the ING account is free email money transfers where it costs $1.50/transfer with PC Financial or other institutions.

ING Thrive PC Financial
Monthly Fee $0 $0
Cheques Free (1st book free) Free
Minimum Balance $0 $0
Deposits* Free Free
Withdrawals* Free Free
Bill Payments Free Free
View Cheques Online Free Free
Transfers to Savings Free Free
Email Money Transfer Free $1.50
ATM Access Exchange Network CIBC ATMs
Extras Email notifications for withdrawals, up to $250 in overdrawn funds without fees or interest. Free connection with any other bank account.

*Deposits/Withdrawals are free providing that their partner ATMs are used.  Otherwise, there is a fee based on the ATM machine used.

Overall, although there isn’t a big difference between the two competitors, it’s a great thing for consumers as they have another option for no fee banking.  The new ING chequing account will be a great addition for those who already have an ING savings account. Will I be switching from PC Financial to ING?  Probably not.  Although the free email money transfers (EMT) are appealing, I like the convenience of linking and transferring money to/from my other bank accounts with a couple mouse clicks.  I would be able to transfer out of my ING account for free via EMT but transferring money to the ING account electronically would be an issue.

What are your thoughts on the new ING Thrive Chequing Account?  Will you be switching?

Update: Readers have pointed out that cheques with the ING Thrive account are only free for the first book.  After which the cost is $10 for 20 cheques.

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FrugalTrader About the author: FrugalTrader is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 93 comments… add one }

  • Duke Myers November 28, 2010, 1:15 am

    PCF customer (since 2000 i think) no fee account.
    ING will have to do better to get my daily account business. I am assuming here ING is looking to hit the Big 5 and not PCF.

    ING will have to do a better job to get PCF’s business.

    HUGE ISSUE:

    ING-In Regina SK exchange network appears to have 1 ATM in the city.
    PCF (CIBC) ATMS all over to deposit and withdrawl.

    Smaller issues:

    PCF No fee cheque re-orders.
    PC Points every 6-8 months get 20.00 in groceries at Superstore.
    PCF-I can view cheques online.

    PCF Customer Service is below average (based on the 5 interactions I have had over the phone).I frankly don’t need to pay a Big 5 10-15.00 a month for what I get at PCF. I get what I pay for- I am happy to get any service since I pay them nothing.

    Savings over the past 10 years $1200.00. not including my 400.00 in PC points redeemed.

  • Kim November 28, 2010, 9:33 am

    I don’t shop at PC so that was never an option for me, my test run of ING is almost complete and I’m pretty much ready to close BMO account for good. I live downtown Toronto so no lack of ABM here, ING service has been stellar and all account features work great. 1 free book of cheques will probably last me 10 years (who uses cheques that much anymore?). I’m not sure I can receive email money transfers in my ING account yet which would be my only complaint so far but once that is possible it will be the perfect account for me

  • Ryan November 30, 2010, 5:23 pm

    I have both (just opened the ThrIve) and I have to say that both are comparable. Keep in mind that INGs is their preview so they may rethink the whole $10 for a book of cheques deal.

    I do have to say that INGs service is way better than PCF. For the odd time when you have to call, I have been on hold for up to 15 minutes with PCF. They give you the option to call back at your convenience (ie you call them back, not them call you), but I would not be calling if I didn’t need to speak with someone.

    When I logged in to ING and was given the option, I jumped on opportunity to try out ThrIve. I was online maybe 20 seconds and was given the opportunity to online chat with a rep. Now that is pretty good service.

    Overall, I don’t think that I will dump PCF. In terms of PC Points, they have really reduced what they payout, but as a whole, the no-fee thing is pretty good. In terms of access to money, PC customers can use CIBC. ING customers can use ANY credit union bank machine that is part of the Access system (which I think is all of them), so either way, it is a no brainer.

    One bit of feedback that I gave them (besides the $10 cheque book) was that they should offer $500 for overdraft to start. PCF gave me $1000 when I opened my account without batting an eye.

    I’ll let you know how things go. I have diverted funds from my part-time stint so that they are deposited into ThrIve so that I can take it for a spin.

  • Rod December 21, 2010, 7:15 pm

    I’m surprised so many have been selected for the Thrive Preview. I’ve been with ING Direct almost since day one, have a ton of money there, and haven’t been selected for Thrive. My patience is running out, both with ING and Scotiabank and their fees, guess I will check out PC Financial, sounds like they are pretty good and I really don’t need the customer service much, if ever.

  • Ryan December 22, 2010, 12:48 am

    To Rod: You need to click on the ThrIve Preview once you log in and request an account. Answer a couple of questions and they will get back to you within a week or so. I’ve been with them for an Investment account since they started… but I had to request an invite to get one.

    From memory, they are going to be offering them to everyone in the new year, but if you select the “Join the Preview”, you should have it sooner than that.

  • Gabe January 5, 2011, 1:17 am

    To say that email transfers are free with ING is slightly misleading because it is comparing apples to oranges in my opinion.

    PC now has “Interac email money transfers”, ING has its own email transfer system that is inferior in a number of ways.

    1. Interac transfers are instant and work with most major banks in Canada

    2. Very simple to use, just click on the bank you use and log in to your online account, accept the transfer.

    that compared to ING’s system send the transfer the person then has to input their bank account number (branch, bank code and account #) and then wait 2 or 3 days for the money to arrive.

    Not exactly the same thing, another thing to consider is if someone sends you an interac email money transfer it will cost you $4 from ING and $0 using PC.

    Nevertheless I already had an ING account for savings so in the interest of simplicity I will give ING a try, but I do hope they give the option of interac email money transfers in the future.

  • Ryan January 7, 2011, 2:10 pm

    I actually prefer ING’s method as you (recipient) get to decide where the money goes. The Interac method has the sender enter the destination account.

    Also, Interac is no faster than ING… they both show up around the same time (I have tried). And Interac is LOTS SLOWER if you don’t deal with one of the big banks (3 – 5 business days to deposit as per their website).

    PC charges to use Interac Money Transfer ($1.50 per transaction). ING is free. And it doesn’t cost anything to receive one (I tried it today).

    Regardless, they are both good accounts. I just think that ING needs to offer free (or at least cheaper) cheques and $500 minimum of Whoops protection.

    One thing that I wish for is to be able to change change my ING PIN (you can’t unless you go to an ING kiosk, Toronto only). This apparently will change once Chip cards are released to the public and then you can do it from any machine.

  • superchicken January 9, 2011, 10:49 am

    I changed all my banking over to ING. I do have a PC account and it’s good of course .. I just wanted everything under one roof. They do charge for cheques but since I hardly write them anymore I really didn’t care that much. It works very nicely and I’m happy to be rid of TD Canada Trust once and for all.

  • Ryan January 9, 2011, 7:19 pm

    100% agree with superchicken. Regardless of which one you choose, you the consumer are the one saving money. There are merits to both and I hope that both are around long-term.

    Keep this in mind: if you put money into a bank, you are lending them your money (which they use to make money). So why then are the big banks charging you for monthly fees???

    Long live free banking!

  • Rod January 17, 2011, 10:26 pm

    Thanks Ryan, sorry for the slow response but yes, I did get in on the Thrive chequing. It’s going to be so “weird” not getting nickel-and-dimed to death for the first time in decades but somehow I think I’ll be able to get used to it!

  • Raj January 28, 2011, 10:06 pm

    Hi FT,

    Switched my primary banking from BMO to ING as part of the preview ; no complaints thus far. Extremely responsive customer service & awesome website (typical ING).

    Just got notified by ING that they’re looking to enhance some of the features (defn some that I’m sure was based on customer feedback):
    – Increasing the number of cheques in a chequebook to 50. First booklet of 50 free.
    – Changes to the hold policy
    – Chip cards

    It’s nice to see a an institution, a bank at that, listening to its customers.

  • Ryan January 28, 2011, 11:43 pm

    It’s still working great for me so no issues to complain about.

    Would be nice to see increased cheques for the cost.

    Would be nice if they offered overdraft (not just whoops).

    But, the account is working great and I am looking forward to chip cards so that I can change my PIN #.

  • Faye February 24, 2011, 11:05 am

    I have both PC financial and Thrive checking accounts and each have their own special traits. Both are versatile providing you’re willing to do some creative banking in the process. I still have one checking account with another institution as well for those times when I need a check cashed/available immediately.

    PC Financial

    Pros
    -Free checks
    -Cibc network widely available
    -Unlimited transactions

    Cons
    -Long hold times on deposits and transfers (5-7 Business days)
    -No interest
    -No international abm allowances

    Ing Thrive:

    Pros
    -Quick processing on deposits and transfers (2-3 Business days)
    -250 Overdraft limit without penalty if paid within time limit
    -Can use selected international abm’s
    -Interest (rather low, but still)

    Cons
    -Fees for very few checks (It’s cheaper to get custom ones from D+H)
    -Pin changes are very buggy and vary from abm’s on the exchange network
    -Slow to setup unless you already have an ing account

  • Wayne carpenter April 11, 2011, 12:55 pm

    One word of caution with PC Financial. I had a chequing account and a savings account, both quite active. At one point, my savings balance was $2000. My chequing was getting low. I wrote a cheque for $ 20.00, leaving my chequing account overdrawn by 82 cents. They automatically bounced my cheque, and charged me $40.00. Obviously this is automatic, no matter what my history, or other accounts. Other that this. I found these accounts good value.

  • Bob April 11, 2011, 3:29 pm

    I opened a Thrive account a short while ago just so I could “email” money occasionally and avoid the bank fees. It works, BUT ..
    1) It is NOT an Interact email transfer. You are setting up an EFT directing ING to transfer money to someones account.
    2) it is NOT instant – found this out the hard way when my daughter need a bit of cash while traveling… 2 business days is what it took
    3) Recipient needs to click on the link, which takes them to the ING site (not the recipients bank site). There, they need to enter their banking information (Institution, transit and account number), as well as answer the security question you setup for each transfer. Make sure the recipient knows this info!
    4) On the plus side this transfer should work for any institution in Canada, regardless if they are part of the Interac network or not (credit unions, etc).

    For me, now that I know this, it still works to avoid paying $1.50 each time I want to send money. For non-urgent situations it will be fine. In a family emergency, I would pay the $1.50.

    Forewarned is forearmed!

  • Amit April 11, 2011, 4:28 pm

    @Bob. I once used TD Canada Trust Business account to transfer money via e-mail to my clients. TD charged me $1.50 for the transfer, and my clients informed me that their bank (Coast Capital) wasn’t listed as the recipients, so I had to cancel the transaction. TD did not refund me the $1.50 fee in spite of the transaction never being completed.

    Needless to say, ING Thrive email money transfer went ahead without any issues. But yes, it’s good to know about the 2 day wait time.

  • Mos Lee April 25, 2011, 1:55 am

    I have both PCFinancial and ING Thrive checking accounts.

    What i like with PC Financial is the free option of viewing cashed checks.
    Works all the time.

    ING claims to have this option also but when I click the link about that
    check i wrote to someone (to see if it was cashed/withdrawn) then there’s this new pop-up window which just opens a blank “.pdf” file.
    So i really cant see the check. Busted feature as in. Off course what I like with ING Thrive is that it doesnt have a hold for deposits up to $1000. After I deposit some cash on any EXchange ABM and viola, the check to write is ready to go. While for PC financial I have to wait at least 5-7 days before my money becomes ready to go.

  • Jeff April 25, 2011, 8:40 pm

    It’s not a battle here in Quebec (surprisingly enough, because just about everything else here is a battle of one kind or another), PC chequing isn’t available for us, only the Mastecard! So, Thrive was most welcome, and have recently moved my CIBC Waive (which isn’t being “waived” anymore) account over to ING Thrive.

  • Mos Lee April 27, 2011, 3:52 am

    just to be fair with ING Thrive, their “view checks online” does works.
    only thing is, its just a day or two delayed. i tried clicking the hyperlink again for my cashed check and there is the check. looks likes its working well, there is only a bit of waiting just like my payroll direct deposit with ING thrive. its 2 days late. perhaps they have some kind of posting delays…

  • Kim April 27, 2011, 6:14 pm

    I noticed only a slight delay with my payroll direct deposit, with BMO I could see the funds available at 12am day of, now with ING it’s posted at 6am day of…overall I’m so pleased with my ING chequing account that I finally closed my old BMO chequing account that I was hanging on to just in case.

  • Jay May 2, 2011, 4:36 am

    how about the Manulife bank advantage account?

  • Bill June 13, 2011, 1:34 pm

    I am a customer of PCF & ING. I would probably switch to ING Thrive except cheque writing for the following additional reason:

    1) PCF transfer from saving to chequing cannot be done on the same day. This is very annoying. For ING, transfer is instant, which is excellent for bill payment.

    2) Transfer between PCF and big 5 takes much longer than ING. I see the money in my TD account on the same day transferred from ING.

  • Nikolai July 13, 2011, 12:06 pm

    I have a chequing account with TD, very basic one. I have mostly switched to my HELOC (actually, one of two, the second one is strictly for investment purposes) for ALL chequing-related operations. It is free, unlimited and I do not worry about the balance at all. I.e. if it remains positive – I lose nothing. If it dips a little bit below 0 until next pay (directly deposited there) – fine, I will pay a few dozens of cents of interest. But I do not need to do any math, planning for overdraft etc, I can write a cheque for any amount without worrying if there is enough cash. And once I see some extra cash left there – I move it to more appropriate place.

    The only thing I used the real TD chequing account for is to pay the mortgage and contribute to RESP. So, 5 transactions a month.

    I will be getting rid of my TD chequing account soon as TD increases the fees and limits for these accounts as of Aug 1st. I like TD but I am not willing to give them extra $500 that will be sitting in the account just to avoid paying the fees. It is not the question of greed, I believe that the value of this account for me is so limited so I am not wasting any more money on supporting it then I do today. And since I am already with ING I have applied for their chequing account – it will replace the one at TD.

  • RJ July 18, 2011, 6:29 am

    If you live in Canada and do not yet have an ING Direct chequing account, ING Direct is currently offering to give you $185 if you open a THRiVE account using the promo code RedFlagDeals (http://dealoftheday.redflagdeals.com/deal/toronto/ing-direct). The catch is that you must arrange to have one payroll deposited to your THRiVE account before Aug 31, 2011. They will deposit $185 into your THRiVE account one week after your payroll deposit has been made. I wonder how many bites they’ll get with this carrot…

  • Sylvio July 28, 2011, 7:20 pm

    Another little ING advantage over PC is that if you use another ATM they will only chardge you 1$ Interact Fee insted of 1.5$ for PC.

  • HDB December 23, 2011, 10:51 pm

    A big caveat re. withdrawing from ING using an Exchange ATM: when you get the options of which account to withdraw from (chequing, savings, other), if you select “savings,” the money will automatically be taken from your ING credit account (if you have one) and ING will immediately start charging you interest on the withdrawal, at the prevailing rate. When I complained about this hugely misleading practice to ING, I was told there is no way for them to link the new ING cards to an ING savings account (even though those of us who had old ING cards — which are no longer valid — did have them linked to our savings accounts). In short, with the new cards the only options are to withdraw from chequing or take a loan from ING. Savers beware!

  • SF2 February 11, 2012, 11:07 am

    I have both and trying it out. What holds me back from all ING is the excessive hold times compared to PCF which allows for instant withdrawal on manual deposit of cheques and money orders. That’s convenience. PCF is still CIBC though, so I like ING for not being a Big 5 bank and it has always had friendly customer service. Having both and with their networks not charging on withdrawals means I have twice the convenience. Considering ING business account. Anyone have that? And how is it?

  • CJOttawa February 29, 2012, 12:50 pm

    This may be an older blog post but it’s still relevant today when comparing ING versus PC Financial’s chequing accounts.

    It’s $12.50 per cheque book from ING. That’s $0.25 per cheque, assuming 50 cheques per book.

    Further, Interac e-transfers with ING are $1.00, according to their website. Their so-called free email transfers aren’t through the Interac network and may not work the same way as the Interac e-transfers. Users beware.

  • Tyler March 7, 2012, 8:08 pm

    Long time PCF user here. I took advantage of the $100 offering to move payroll over to Thrive with the intent of doing a quick hit-and-run (move payroll back once the coin rolled in). The day I did receive the $100, I sat down and took a hard look at the account’s offerings.

    If you’re up for a bit of a read, I take a pretty close look at some of the features that ultimately convinced me to not only keep the account, but make it my primary day-to-day chequing account: http://www.definitely-maybe.ca/2012/03/why-i-switched-to-ing-thrive-chequing.

  • Elmer Thomas March 13, 2012, 6:28 am

    I’m not sure if the chequing account is different (though I can’t see why it would be), but I transfer money between my TD chequing and ING savings accounts “with a couple of mouse clicks” already — the ING online banking allows transfers into and out of my external account. It takes about 2 days, though, so I’m not sure how that compares to the PC account.

    I like having the convenience of the multitude of ABMs and I already get free cheques, bank drafts, safety deposit box, and platinum travel VISA through my Select Service account (though the $5k minimum balance to waive the monthly fee is annoying). So I don’t think I’ll be switching, much as I am a fan of ING for our savings needs.

  • Kim March 13, 2012, 10:10 am

    5K minimum balance would generate up to 125$ a year in interest in most savings account so you’re still paying about 10$ a month in bank fees for all your “free” stuff still not a bad deal but I prefer completely free

  • Daniel March 21, 2012, 1:57 am

    I have the Thrive account now. It’s been a few weeks. I like that I can pay a bill on a weekend and have it be removed from my account straight away, whereas with my Scotiabank chequing account it would (most of the time) make me change the date to the next business day. I’ve noticed my bills are paid more quickly, as in the payment arrives, with ING.
    Can anyone clarify the holds for ABM deposits? In a couple of comments on this post, individuals have stated that there’s not a hold on their deposits up to $1000. Is this true? I am under the impression that all deposits (even EFTs) have a hold of five business days.
    Thus far, although it is still early, I like the ING Direct Thrive Chequing account.
    I would make a couple of changes of I could but c’est la vie.

  • Tyler March 22, 2012, 12:14 am

    My experience, and their website states there are no holds on deposits less than 1k. I have deposited cheques, cash and done efts with no holds. Only once have I encountered a hold but the specific situation details are slipping my mind.

  • Ryan March 22, 2012, 2:43 am

    I confirmed with a rep that payroll deposits are not held with ING (PC does not either). Sooner than later, all banks will be required to hold ATM deposits/cheques no more than 4 days and they will be required to make immediately available $1500 to you, the account holder.

    My current gripe with ING is that there is no way to add a 2nd thrive account as a savings account (like PC does). So, you either have to use their mobile banking app or transfer funds before you go (unless you still telephone bank).

    If Whoops was made up to$500, I would switch in an instant. ING should also offer a credit card… it would seal the deal.

  • NotWithPCFwithINGguy September 8, 2012, 11:54 pm

    O boy , the paid ” social media boosters from PCF” are really at work,

    Why would you choose PC financial? over ING Direct ( now owned by Scotia Bank)

    Having been with PCF for 11 years and also with ING for 2 I can tell you which one is better from my own personal experience,

    To start off I recently closed my PCF account due to customer service issues, PC financial Customer service is terrible!

    In-terms of fees they are both identical, with the only one difference, chequing costs 20 cents a cheque at ING after the first book , and doesn’t at PCF and Email money transfers are free at ING and cost 1.50 at PCF, I consider them a statistical tie, since Email money transfers to me is more useful especially when dealing with the big 5 banks,

    As far as customer service goes, No one in their right mind can state Pcfinanacial has good customer service, they are the most annoying agents I have ever dealt with in the past 11 years most of them hate their jobs and it shows, simple requests are escalated and the managers are just as bad.

    The whole argument over who has better ATM coverage is kinda ridiculous, Exchange has 3000, CIBC has 4000 most major cities will have one or the other in the same area so saying CIBC has more atms isnt always true, and vise versa, this is a statistical tie for most of canada as the vast majority of CIBC machines are not in rural areas, where as credit union atms are.

    Exchange is canada’s largest ding free network and will be canadas largest network in the next 2-3 years since it encompasses credit unions and some banks as well like HSBC which continuously build the network.

    As far as rates, probably the only reason to even bother “saving” ING has the best rates for online/ electronically accessible transactions, yes Ally has better rates and yes, many manitoba credit unions are now offering ( 2.1 % on their Investment saving accounts) but they only allow 1 debit per month and in the case of ally they want you to call them to do everything, which from my PCF customer service nightmare would rather not do, For me the reduced interest with better accessabiliy ING has is a winner, they also beat PCF at all their rates there is no comparison.

    The PCF pC points argument is invalidated by the fact not everyone wants to be trapped into a point system only valid at one retailer or chain, I find most things at Lablaws expensive and I shop at walmart and Costco more these days. Also with their PCF mastercard the points system works out to 1% in points back, smart cash mastercard by MBNA pays 3% in cash for groceries why would anyone bother with PCF?, I am not trying to completely destroy PCF I am just stating there are not only better options ( more competition) there are better options with better customer service which to is more important. I ended by account with them July 2012 and have never looked back.

  • CJOttawa September 9, 2012, 10:27 pm

    Since my last reply here, I’ve received several ING email money transfers. They’ve worked flawlessly and don’t cost the sender or recipient a cent. Colour me impressed.

    If ING offered free replacement chequebooks, I’d consider making them my daily account. I use enough cheques, however, I can’t justify $0.25 per cheque.

    I have no problem with “service” or lack thereof with PC Financial. I don’t want “service” from an online bank. I want a suite of fast, efficient, e-banking tools and I don’t want to pay for the privilege of a live person to help me.

    *** *** ***

    On the topic of ATM access:

    ING is on the Exchange Network so you have access to lot of bank machines. (National Bank, HSBC and a myriad of credit unions and regional banks)

    PC has Pavilions in grocery stores and CIBC machines but isn’t part of the Exchange network.

    *** *** ***

    PC or ING – take your pick: free email money transfers or free cheques. You can’t have both and the choice is pretty much that simple.

  • Thierry October 21, 2012, 11:12 am

    I don’t understand how cheques can still exist. It’s such an outdated method involving a lot of costs. They have mostly disappeared in Germany and other European countries decades ago (Überweisung).

  • CJOttawa October 21, 2012, 11:19 am

    Thierry:

    There are a number of factors in Canada that contribute to cheques still surviving.

    Bank machines in Canada only dispense $20 bills. Rather than withdrawing three of those and finding a store that will give me change, I can just write a friend a cheque for $54.73.

    If banks started offering better access to funds without fees (services like ING’s email money transfers) perhaps cheques would fade away. As it sits, they save me money. Even if they didn’t, my landlord and investment plans demand them. I don’t have the option of saying no.

  • Thierry October 21, 2012, 11:27 am

    You would do an electronic transfer (Überweisung) to pay your friend. It’s only convenient for you. Your friend has to physically go to the bank to deposit her cheque or send it in in an envelope with a stamp!
    Same thing for you landlord and your investment plan.

  • Andrew F October 21, 2012, 11:45 am

    Your friend can also deposit the cheque in an ATM the next time she goes to get spending cash. I know that some people never carry cash, but I think that’s unwise and inconvenient.

  • Max October 5, 2013, 12:05 pm

    The only thing that is holding me back from changing from my TD account is because it’s a VISA Debit Card, and that’s handy!

  • Paul October 27, 2013, 4:04 am

    I used to have both ING and PCF, somehow I moved to Scotia since they offered me a line of credit. 15 years later, back to square one. I have already applied for ING Thrive, I have to send the the cheque to activate the account.

    My main reason for choosing ING is simple. Every year I spend few months in Costa Rica. ING charges $2 for international ATM withdrawals, where all other banks charged me $5. On top of that there are HSBC ATMs in CR so I do not have to pay the extra $2 the local banks (in Costa Rica) would have added when I use their ATMs.

    I got really killed with International fees in the past since the ATMs there do not dispense more than 3 or 4 hundred at a time. I have done enough research this time. ING is my best option of all the banks in Canada.

    The closest I found was wiring money to myself from RBC account, up to $2500 for $13 fee. Not bad I though, except I can only send from CAN dollar account and not from US dollar account, so they want kill me with their outrageous exchange rate (I will never make that mistake again). Who sends Canadian dollar to Latin America anyway !!

    One last thing, my Scotia banks card did not work in Scotia bank ATMs in San Jose, but worked in all other ATMs there. It was not helpful at all.

    I also had difficulty opening a Scotia bank account there even though I brought all kind of paperwork they asked for from my banks in Canada. It took me two months to get the account open with Scotia bank.

    However it only took me 15 min. to open an account with the Bank Of Costa Rica (BCR), not too many questions or endless paperwork required. In the end I never used the Scotia bank account I had opened in CR nor their stupid ATMs. I was certain they wanted money under the table, but I was not going to give that.

    An American friend of mine also opened an account with HSBC in San Jose, no problems at all he said.

    Now that I am at it, I am going to move my mother’s account as well to PCF or ING.

    The sad thing is Scotia now owns the ING. I’ll never be free from the big 5!!

  • Paul October 27, 2013, 4:17 am

    ING Cafe in Ottawa would be great.

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