Written by Mai Habib
Friday, May 3rd, 2019
Whether it's for paycheque deposits, bill payments or e-transfers, everyday life calls for a chequing account.
Since you're going to have one, the next question to ask is: How can you make the most of your chequing account?
Here are three main tips to mastering your chequing account:
Look for a Low-Fee or No-Fee Chequing Account
Are you currently being charged a monthly fee for your chequing account? Sometimes there's no fee as long as you don't go over a set number of transactions each month. It's something that's easy to ignore. And even if it's not a noticeable sum of money, why pay fees if you don't have to?
You can also find a way to reduce your chequing fees.
- Calculate how many transactions you're making each month. Count all the "withdrawals/debits" in your statements to make sure the number of transactions you're averaging per month matches the account type you have. If you're exceeding your allotted transactions, the bank will charge you for each additional one. On the flip side, if you're not using all of your allotted transactions, you could think about going with a different type of account.
- Reducing your number of transactions per month means you can jump into a cheaper banking package. If you're good about paying your credit card on time, and don't carry a balance on it, you can look at using your credit card as a main source of payment for transactions, and then make one payment to the credit card. That means only one transaction, as opposed to all those times you would have swiped your debit card.
- Make sure the account type you have doesn't have any hidden fees. There could be additional charges for debit card use, e-transfers, or if you dip below a required minimum account balance. Read the fine print!
Ultimately, you want to get your fees way down or completely eliminated, but not to the point where you're worried about every transaction. It's about peace of mind.
Have a Primary Chequing Account
It may come as a surprise, since banking fees can cost a shiny penny, but people often have several chequing accounts. There are good reasons for having more than one, such as having a separate business account, but if possible, you could try to consolidate your chequing accounts into a primary one to simplify your everyday banking.
This will help you track all your incoming money from paydays, freelance work, Grandma's birthday gifts, etc. It will also help you track all your outgoing payments. Seeing your cash flow in and out will help you budget and keep on top of bill payments.
Don't Use Your Chequing Account for Savings
Whatever you're saving for, you deserve to get the best return on your money. Because chequing accounts hold your most liquid money, interest rates are typically very low, if they pay interest at all.
Consider using your chequing account to start an automatic savings program, directing a preset amount of money every month into a separate high-interest savings account.
Look at a chequing account as if it's a transit stop for your money. From it, you begin dispersing accordingly. Don't think of it as a permanent stop: it's a place for your hard-earned money to gather, then go out and work hard for you!