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|
|Cheques||Free (1st book 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.