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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.





93 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. 1. Amanda

    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.

  2. 2. Steve R

    I’ll stick with my PC Financial acct. They have a better ATM “plan” than ING (i.e. more accessible).

  3. 3. Melanie Samson

    I’m very tempted, but I don’t know if it’s worth the hassle of switching everything over at this point. We have our mortgage, Visas and RRSPs with RBC, which gives us a free unlimited chequing account, so I don’t know if the misery of changing our automatic payments and transfers with worth the .25% interest and free email transfers.

    I am a fan of ING, and love my savings accounts there, but I just don’t think I’m ready to break off my long-term relationship with my bank, yet. (I did try PC Financial briefly, but I shut it all down because there isn’t a CIBC in the area and the nearest PC ATM is 2 hours away)

  4. I’m happy with PC Financial. I have way too many bills and savings on automatic withdrawal to bother making the move to ING. The 0.25% interest is a new move, but I keep my chequing account near $0… just enough to cover bills and such, the leftover goes to TFSA.

  5. 5. Vasile

    Hi!

    I think you are wrong, the cheques are not completely free, at least that’s what I understand from their website (the emphasis is mine): “Need to write a cheque? No problem. We’ll even provide your ***first*** chequebook for free. You can write, deposit and view your cheques online at no extra cost”.

    Regards,
    Vasile

  6. 6. Meeghail

    Aren’t they both subsidiaries of CIBC?

  7. 7. Andrew F

    Subsequent cheques are 50 cents each ($10 for 20). That is enough to be a deal breaker for me.

    Also, it’s worth noting that there is interest on the PC chequing account as well, but it’s lower on the first 10k (but higher past 25k). Also, you get PC points with their debit card. Does ING have a rewards scheme?

  8. 8. Echo

    Yes, don’t forget about the extra perks that come along with PC Financial (PC Points), which I believe you earn by using your debit card and also by keeping a balance of $1,000 each month.

  9. 9. Cat

    I have been waiting for ING to do this. I have been mulling over signing up with PC Financial because I am tired of paying bank fees, but since I already have a savings account with ING it will be easier to get a chequing account with them. Finding an exchange network ATM isn’t a big deal to me…should be easy enough. I have already signed up to try and be one of the 10,000 who gets to try out the new account in Oct.

  10. 10. Anthony

    ING has free electronic transfers to and from other banks from their savings accounts, just like PCF does. It’s safe to assume this will be available with their chequing account too.

    As already mentioned, ING cheques are $10 for 20 after the first free set. To me, they can’t call this a “no-fee” chequing account by charging for cheques. I hope they re-think this during their “preview” and perhaps offer a free book every year or something like that.

  11. 11. Andrew F

    I have to say that the email money transfer thing has piqued my interest. It sounds a whole lot more convenient than cheques.

  12. @Echo and Frugal – echo that – PC Points! Gotta luv ‘em! I don’t plan on switching banks but you’re right, competition is always good for the consumer. Cheers.

    @Tom – very good strategy, I like that.

  13. 13. Chris

    It’s hard to beat PC’s ATM network. CIBC machines are everywhere and there’s several where I live that will give you USD as well.

    Looking at the Exchange Network, I don’t see an indication that any of them would give you USD.

    I love ING as a company. But their lack of ATMs, and the hassle of moving will keep me at PC. I moved from ING to Ally because of the interest rate, and I wouldn’t use their Streetwise mutual fund because of TD’s eSeries mutual funds (or RBC’s mutual funds if you’re with a discount broker, or ETF’s if you have that amount of money).

    I -want- to use ING, they just don’t seem quite competitive enough.

  14. The competitive interest rate on their ISA account did convince me to open an account at ING; but their chequing account isn’t enough for me to switch. The ability to access any CIBC bank machine is good enough for my location.

    For new clients, ING may be an option – more competition can be a good thing for consumers.

  15. Thanks for the heads up on the cheques, I did not know that subsequent cheque books would cost money – thumbs down on that.

    They did not indicate that you can transfer between banks, but perhaps even if they dont’ offer it, you can get an ING savings and create the connection to other banks that way.

  16. 16. Laura

    It seems like banks are getting more competitive deals going in an effort to stay on top of the market. Maybe if you wait a couple more months, there will be an even better deal offered???

  17. 17. Greg

    $10 for 20 cheques seem a bit much for a “FREE” chequing account.

    This is a little off topic, but do you have to buy cheques from your bank. I found a 3rd party company that says it can provide cheques for you for any bank or credit union. 100 cheques for $20 ($0.20 per cheque).
    http://www.asap-cheques.com/cheques.htm

    Has anyone bought cheques from a 3rd party like this?

  18. 18. Robert

    $10 for 20 cheques is a no-go for me though. However, I will probably open one just so I can use the free email transfers. I would transfer in just enough from my savings account to cover the transfer.

    Now I am concerned that PCF might start charging for cheques … I just ordered another 50 just in case!

    Would love it (even with the cheque charge) if my small business could open an account. I write only a few cheques, and frankly, could email most of those for free. But I am not holding my breath!

  19. 19. Derrick

    Many credit unions across the country offer free chequing and a much better ATM network when you carry a minimum balance. In addition, their customer service is far and away much better than the big banks. You can even use online high interest Credit Union subsidiaries for your savings accounts like Outlook Financial and Acheiva where all your money is 100% guaranteed.

  20. 20. Bank Guru

    I think THRiVE is a positive step forward for ING Direct. The product is awesome and I think it shows that banks are listening. Well ING Direct is listening…

  21. 21. singsonn

    I think you forgot to mention that only the 20 first cheques are free. Then for each additional 20 cheques you’ll have to pay $10. I don’t call that free cheques compared to what PCF offers. However, as I’m currently living in Quebec, the ING chequing account would be the only option available to me. No PCF here unfortunately…

  22. Nice comparison.
    I’m an ING customer already so it’s very tempting to switch my TD Bank chequing account. (It would be good to also see a comparison with chequing fees for the big 5 banks — any around I wonder?) But, hey, who writes cheques these days anyways? Everything is electronic.

  23. 23. frugaldoc

    I want to see a free business chequing account there too….

  24. 24. Mike

    I have been looking for a way to access money in my US accounts from the US. So far I have not been able to use a US ABM to withdrawn from my US$ account at ING or elsewhere. Will this be possible with Thrive? If so I would use it but likely continue with PC as well.

  25. I’m all over this!! I signed up for the preview on september 14 already.
    Really cool of ING to do this, it will really turn the heat on the big 5.

  26. 26. Tom

    Hopefully the new ING chequing account will include the PIN/TAN system so I can transfer money to whoever I like and pay bills online without having to go to a branch and set up a “personal payee” first. ING’s European branch has this for many, many years. It’s about time that this convenient banking system eventually gets introduced and replaces the medieval methods we still use here. Can’t even remember when I ever saw a cheque in Europe…

  27. 27. Savings Guru

    My husband and I switched all of our banking to PC Financial 9 months ago. We love the free cheques, no fee account, unlimited debit, ease of transfers and the vast CIBC ATM network.

    In the last nine months, with signup bonus points and regular use of our PC mastercard (paying it off each month of course), we have accumulated a combined $450 in PC points, which comes in handy since we do a lot of our grocery shopping at Superstore.

    I was an ING Savings Account customer up until last year, but the PC points lured me!!

  28. For me ING is a great place to “park” my short term money. Having free cheeking now means I can connect my ING account to the rest of the online payment gateways.

    Each year I write between 3 and 5 checks, the rest is paid online, cash or credit card (Which I pay each month). So 20 checks could last me 3 to 4 years.

    I use voided checks to make automatic payments. Here is one example. I have yearly automatic payment of our life insurance premium. By paying annually we save 14%.

    Currently I transfer from our main account 1/12th of the annual payment to my ING account’s Insurance sub-account each month. Then when the payment is due I re-transfer the money back into our main account. Bit of a hassle.

    Now it will all be done though ING Direct. I also have a Pre-Paid Mastercard and I will be able to link it to my ING “Fun- Money” sub-account.
    Again, a quick transfer and my card is loaded with funds.

    I’m glad ING is offering the service, and again this is for very small amounts of money. To keep sums like 5k or 10k in banks in order to get “free” anything is totally absurd. You need to understand the “Rule of 72″, and get your money working for you.

    P.s. If you refer a friend to ING, you do both get $25.00 that in itself covers a few extra checks if you do write that many.

  29. 29. morgan

    I also use PC for daily banking and will be staying with them, I do have an ING savings account but dont really use it. Having CIBC atm’s around is a lot more convenient then searching for an atm with ING.

  30. 30. Greg

    ING is part of the Exchange Network. According to the Exchange network website, they have over 2400 ATMs in Canada and are also part of the ACCEL/Exchange network. According to the ACCEL/Exchange network website, they have 265,000+ ATM locations throughout the U.S. and Canada (which I’m guessing includes the 2400+ in Canada).

    AFAIK, Credit Unions, HSBC and National Bank are all part of the Exchange Network, so it should be pretty easy to find an ATM.

  31. You can check how many exchange network atms are close by:

    http://www.the-exchange.ca/default.aspx?pageID=1006

  32. 32. morgan

    a CIBC branch is still a lot easier to spot then an exchange network ATM. Either way, PC has been good for me and dont have plans to change.

  33. 33. Kristian

    I am a customer of both PCF and ING right now, using PCF for chequing and ING for savings. I’d have to say overall, both have been pretty conveinient. PCF has no fee’s for the regular daily banking and ING has high interest rate and no fee’s for my savings. PCF also has the PC points which I use occasionally for grocery shopping because I have a NoFrills and Loblaws close to me. I say occasionally because to earn 20000 points (the min required to redeem) it takes about 4-5 months and its only worth $20.

    However, I have not been impressed at all with PCF’s service over the phone or in their pavilions. I’ve only called them 3 times in the 10 years I’ve been a customer and each time it was a terrible experience. The pavilions aren’t any better, having to wait an hour or more to talk to their associates.

    ING on the other hand has fantastic service. I’ve called them maybe 5 times in 10 years but each time has been very pleasent. They know how to talk to people. I also find ING’s website much more intuitive and easier to navigate than any other banks website.

    Now that ING has a chequing account I am definately going to take it for a spin (i’ve already registered and I have my fingers crossed that they pick me). I like the free email money transfers, email alerts, and $250 overdraft protection features that PCF doesn’t have. I don’t use very many cheque’s anymore either as most of my payments are electronic and I don’t mind paying $10 for cheques every 2 years if it means all the other features I like are free. The ABM is not an issue either. There are actually more Exchange ABM’s closer to me than CIBC.

  34. 34. Mark

    Having to sign up to hope to be selected like it’s a gmail beta incite or something is stupid.

  35. 35. Amit

    The Demand Drafts are not free in ING. They charge $10 per demand draft and courier it to you. If you need a demand draft urgently a TD Bank that’s open till 8PM on most days and till 4PM on a Saturday is very helpful and I have never paid over $7.50 for a demand draft there (I have never made a demand draft more than $30K – I believe TD’s demand draft fees increases with the amount of the draft while at ING Thrive the fees will stay the same – $10 for any amount).

    At TD Canada Trust, I have been able to link my business account with my personal account as they add my chequing account as a payee and all it takes me is 1 or 2 clicks online to transfer money from my business account to my personal account. I enquired with ING yesterday and they inform me that I can’t link my business accounts to my ING accounts, so I am not sure how convenient will it be to transfer the money between the two if I use their use email to send money feature. Right now at TD, the money arrives overnight with no hold when transferred between the business and the chequing accounts. When my clients deposit a cheque to my business account there’s no hold as it pays to have a good relationship with local bank officials in a brick and mortar bank. ING will most definitely put a hold on all transfers to it’s Thrive account.

    So, in spite of being a fan of their savings account, I use ING to park my short-term money or to keep my TFSA there or to park my RRSP that I might need to take out due to my LLP. But the Thrive chequing account I am not too sure about. But then with a lot of feedback from people regarding their fees on issuing cheques after the 1st chequebook or the demand draft fees or the holds on chequing accounts or the ease of transferring money between business accounts and the chequing accounts, should ING decide to change the terms then I might look into it. While registering for Thrive, they did ask the question if we shall be willing to provide feedback to them or not – and what’s the point of collecting the feedback if they don’t act on it and improve their service.

    But, it’s good to see them finally open a chequing account. The $250 overdraft feature is nice. But not a deal-maker for me as of yet. I also need to see once they launch it how easy would be to add payees like CRA for various taxes, installments, utility companies etc.

  36. 36. Li

    Interesting feedback.

    I am personally looking into other accounts in part to save on monthly fees.

    I like ING in general but am not yet sure if I would be ready to transfer all my banking needs to them. I finally registered for the preview so we’ll see.

    I was worried about ING’s ABM accessibility but when researching the Exchange Network, found locations in my area.
    I do like the Whoops! Protection offered as well, and the e-mail alert and free interac payments are interesting. I’m not sure if there are charges for interact payments with PC. I also don’t know if when signing up for a chequing account with PC, you automatically receive a credit card. This isn’t something I am looking for.

    The additional chequebook fee is admittedly a downfall if you are currently not paying for cheques, but they may change this after receiving feedback.

    I am not familiar with e-mail transfers.

    You get one free replacement card per year, and it would cost $15 thereafter – more expensive than PC, which is $4.97. Point for PC here.

    The NSF charge is standard with PC whereas ING is advantageous here. I know you can sign up for overdraft protection with PC, but there is still a fee if used. ING seems to offer a better plan for this.

    In the end, it seems PC has paved the way for the “no-fee” account but ING is taking it a step further and reducing costs further. It does seem that PC has many more potential costs, especially for a supposed no-fee account.

    Hmm, will have to see!

  37. 37. Drew Howard

    Both companies have their advantages. I have an Investment savings with ING and a checking with PC Financial. One weakness with ING is ING’s reliance on the Exchange Network for free transactions. In most of the country, it has good coverage (especially BC, Ontario and Quebec). However, the coverage is very weak in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. My preference is to have account in each to minimize the chance of Interac or “convenience”fees. One advantage of the ING Thrive account is they give you a month to get out of overdraft before they charge a surcharge over and above the interest. PC Financial charges $4.97 as soon as you go into overdraft.

  38. 38. Nishant

    There are small differences between PC financial and ING. But the biggest losers are big 5 banks.

    For example, some reasons for switching away from big banks
    1) If a have minimum account fee checking with big bank, they will charge you $ 0.65 per debit transaction once you exceed 10 per month.
    2) It is a shame to pay a charge of $ 1.50 to view image of a check.
    3) Even if you donot use overdraft protection, many banks charge you $ 3.50 just to have the option

    Whether PC or ING, customers will win to have an option

  39. 39. Wei

    Hi,

    Just thought I’ll provide an update – I was selected for the THRiVE preview – I have been banking with ING for several years now -

    1) Opening the account was quick and painless,

    2) Transfers from external accounts – yes, you can transfer funds from an external account to a THRiVE account. I have already made one transfer. I have three external accounts linked – TD, CIBC and PC.

    3) Bill payees – this pretty much sums it up: (ING THRiVE = TD > CIBC = PC). TD has every payee I care about and, good news, so does ING. (Note: I have been unable to find some payees via CIBC or PC, e.g. Custom House.)

    4) I have always found ING’s customer service to be superior to that of PC’s.

    5-a) I like the free email money transfer feature, and will probably be the main thing I will be using the THRiVE account for.

    5-b) I recently switched over all of my daily banking to TD (from CIBC and PC) and have been VERY HAPPY with TD’s service. I have the Select Service chequing account there, so I get everything I care about (except for the email money transfers) for free anyways.

  40. 40. ING client

    Another update on the ING Thrive account: There is a 5 day hold on ALL deposits through bank machines or electronic transfers.
    Dont know what the status is with PC, not one of their clients, however that is a definite drawback.

  41. 41. Amit

    Update on ING Thrive Account. I went to a local CAA/AMA office so that I can switch my Auto insurance to ING Thrive, and they just couldn’t find the ING Thrive’s institution code in their computers. They have said that they will follow up on Monday to confirm if they were successfully able to switch me over from my TD chequing account over to ING Thrive or not.

    Also, I received several mails today that all the payees that I had added and the automatic payments that I had set up were deleted today. Another email in the evening stating that there was a glitch and everything has been restored.

    I have now sent the switch to Thrive form to several other places and am not sure if others shall encounter the same issue that CAA had today with ING.

  42. 42. Jungle

    Amit

    Just go with PCF, and use ING for the free email money transfers.

    I Just used the free email money transfer with ING. I have it linked with my PCF account. Best of both worlds!

  43. 43. pmac

    Who’s kidding who, no one uses a chequing account for the interest rate. Having said that, I banked with PC before – great for no-frills banks, free cheques, points etc.. and now offer e-mail money transfers. I switched to TD for a bit more service features and have found their customer service to be very good (sent my Tim’s card for small ‘inconvience’ – sweet!)

    Also banked @ ING for at least 10 years and was selected for Thrive preview account. Yes cheque charged is a bit higher than others, HOLD policy is excessive, considering other options to deposit funds, even EMT from external account is held! Big issue I just found out today is that the e-mail money transfer only works 1-way!! ING is not (yet) a participating financial institution so that limits it even more. Whoops protection in neat, have to try that out, customer service is good.

    Hopefully they will address the feedback they receive during the preview, otherwise….

    BTW..hold policy is normally based on individual basis (I had ‘release’ amount of $3000/week with PC), I think it may be ING’s blanket policy, unless someone know different? I could never be bothered about it for Savings & RSP accounts.

  44. 44. Kristian

    Update on the hold policy for Thrive.

    I didn’t think it made sense for ING not to have a hold release on ABM deposits for their chequing account. They would need it to be competitive with everyone else. So I called in to ask and found out that I have $1000 release on all ABM deposits and can achieve $10000 release in 3 – 6 months if I set-up my pay cheque to be directly deposited in Thrive. Already filled out my “Switch to Thrive” form and will be handing it in to my employer today.

    I didn’t notice anything telling me I had $1000 release when I opened the account (or any info on the hold policy) but the agent said that my initial hold release is based on my credit score and depending how high it is, I would start with either 0, $1000, or $10000 hold release. They wouldn’t tell me the credit score ranges but they assured my that this was a soft credit check and wouldn’t affect my credit rating. The agent didn’t know why the hold release wasn’t communicated during the process of opening the account though. Apparently everyone, no matter what hold release level you start at, can increase their level by setting up their paycheck to be directly deposited into Thrive. This seems like a great feature for Thrive and I’m curious to know why ING didn’t advertise it. Maybe they wanted to see how much feedback there was about it before they communicated it. In any event, this account seems to get better by the week.

  45. 45. Kreps

    Quebec residents will be pleased to know that unlike PC Financial products, the ING Direct no-fee chequing account will be available to them.

    If you live in Quebec like I do… IT”S A NO BRAINER!

    So I’m in. Good by caisse Desjardin!

  46. 46. CB

    I’ve held chequing with PC and savings with ING since 2001. I find the holds on transfers into ING to be verging on excessive. Once upon a time I got a debit card from them but I didn’t activate it. Ironically, I came across it last week and called them to activate it and the girls said they don’t use those anymore and to throw it away. Her words were along the lines of “we want to encourage our customers to save their money…”. How does that philosophy mesh with chequing?

    PC stores all have kiosks in them which gives some semblance of feeling like you have a human available in an emergency. Also, the CIBC branch near me will do all of the other little things- like exchange small bills for larger ones, exchange for different currencies, take my kids’ bundles of pennies, etc. I can find a CIBC at any 7-11 for free ATM banking. There are only 4 Exchange ATMs in my whole city.

    All in all, I have no reason to switch. PC keeps me pretty happy… now if only they would increase their interest rate on chequing balances…

  47. 47. Rebecca

    I have a THRIVE chequing account with ING Direct. I received my bank card in the mail and the PIN number in a separate envelopped. I got my free cheques and customer service was amazing… UNTIL YESTERDAY !!!!

    I went to one of the ATM’s which is affiliated with ING Direct (in this case, HSBC) that way I can bank for free: well believe it or not, I was unable to withdraw money or deposit a cheque at all. I was so upset!!! I spoke to customer service after trying a few times, they had me tried a million times and I kept getting various error messages (transaction denied, transaction not allowed at this terminal, transaction denied at the request of your financial institution) !!!!!!!!!! I spoke to a supervisor, NOBODY knew what was wrong or anything! No explanation was given. The only thing they could offer me is to transfer back my money into my other bank account and funds would not be available till next evening. I was so upset!! They are supposed to investigate the matter today… I don’t think ING Direct has their books in order yet, in order to do what they are trying to do. Personally, I am seriously thinking of closing up everything… because I need an account that’s reliable. Anyone else had some experiences to share??

  48. 48. Greg

    Rebecca,
    I had a similar problem earlier this year with my National Bank account which uses the same Exchange ATM Network that ING uses. No one seemed to know why I was having problems.

    The problem lasted a couple of days. A few days later, I called back again and they told me that they had determined that there had been a communication problem with the Exchange ATM Network and that it had been fixed. Perhaps this is a similar problem?

  49. 49. Rebecca

    Thanks for your comment Greg!
    You know, it’s interesting that you mentioned the Exchange Network… because at one point, one CSR told me the SAME THING – but then when I brought it up to the supervisor, he was pretending that was not true!!

    Until now, nobody has told me what really happened and because I really put up a stink, they basically decided to issue me a new card… claiming that it is the ONLY problem they can think of – yeah right!

    I guess by the time I receive the new card, activate it and use it, their Exchange Network problems will be resolved!

    From what I’m hearing, ING seems to have other glitches (such as a weird e-mail that was sent to all clients, regarding their bill payment set-up). Hopefully, they can fix whatever is wrong and keep their clients happy!

  50. 50. Nick

    For US and overseas ATM withdrawals, ING will charge $2. Thats as close as anybody has ever come to Citibank’s $0.50 charge for overseas transactions (but unfortunately Citibank Canada no longer does retail banking).

    For the same service, PC currently charges $3 and big banks charge $5 (unless you have RBC’s VIP banking, etc.).

    I think its a huge savings for frequent travelers.

  51. 51. Duke Myers

    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.

  52. 52. Kim

    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

  53. 53. Ryan

    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.

  54. 54. Rod

    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.

  55. 55. Ryan

    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.

  56. 56. Gabe

    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.

  57. 57. Ryan

    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.

  58. 58. superchicken

    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.

  59. 59. Ryan

    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!

  60. 60. Rod

    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!

  61. 61. Raj

    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.

  62. 62. Ryan

    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 #.

  63. 63. Faye

    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

  64. 64. Wayne carpenter

    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.

  65. 65. Bob

    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!

  66. 66. Amit

    @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.

  67. 67. Mos Lee

    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.

  68. 68. Jeff

    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.

  69. 69. Mos Lee

    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…

  70. 70. Kim

    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.

  71. 71. Jay

    how about the Manulife bank advantage account?

  72. 72. Bill

    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.

  73. 73. Nikolai

    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.

  74. 74. RJ

    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…

  75. 75. Sylvio

    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.

  76. 76. HDB

    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!

  77. 77. SF2

    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?

  78. 78. CJOttawa

    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.

  79. 79. Tyler

    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.

  80. 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.

  81. 81. Kim

    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

  82. 82. Daniel

    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.

  83. 83. Tyler

    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.

  84. 84. Ryan

    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.

  85. 85. NotWithPCFwithINGguy

    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.

  86. 86. CJOttawa

    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.

  87. 87. Thierry

    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).

  88. 88. CJOttawa

    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.

  89. 89. Thierry

    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.

  90. 90. Andrew F

    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.

  91. 91. Max

    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!

  92. 92. Paul

    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!!

  93. 93. Paul

    ING Cafe in Ottawa would be great.

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