My banking needs

| canada, finance

I need a Canada-based credit card for most of my purchases. I'll keep
track of all of the purchases and pay it off in full each month. This
is more for convenience and credit history than actual credit. Also,
using a credit card for most of my transactions reduces the number of
debit transactions I'll need to make at the ATM.

I need a savings account with Internet banking that either allows me
to auto-debit credit card payments at the end of each month or lets me
transfer the funds online. Most of my research grant will sit there.
If I can get high interest, all the better.

If not, I can maintain a current account with good ATM placement and
no withdrawal fees for my day-to-day cash expenses. I'm tracking cash
and credit separately, so I should be able to get an idea of how much
cash I'll need each week.

So, what are my options?

The International Student Center‘s page on transferring funds to Canada lists the following banks as being close to the St. George campus.

The Toronto Dominion Bank
Bloor & Bay Branch
77 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 1M2

The Bank of Nova Scotia
Bloor & Spadina Branch
332 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 1W6

The Royal Bank of Canada
Harbord & Spadina Branch
648 Spadina
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 2H7

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
Spadina & College Branch
268 College Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5T 1S1

The Bank of Montreal
Bloor & St. George Branch
262 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 1V9

For President's Choice:
12 St. Clair Ave E

Toronto, ON

Credit card (no annual fee, 18.5% interest rate)

PC Mastercard .
TD Canada Trust Green Visa Pre-authorized payment service from Canadian banks
Scotiabank Student Credit Cards Tiered moneyback promo calculated yearly. 0.25% for CAD 0 – CAD 1499.99, 0.5% for CAD 1500 to 2999.99, 1.0% for CAD 3000 and up
Royal Bank of Canada Student Visa Classic .
CIBC Classic Card for Students seems to require citizenship
Bank of Montreal Mosaik Mastercard .
Current account

President's Choice No Fee Bank Account

– Free, unlimited Internet and phone transactions
– Free CIBC network transactions
– Free Interac direct payments
– Free chequing

TD Canada Trust Companion Savings Account

– Two free debits per month, CAD 1.25 fee / debit afterwards.
– Bill payments CAD 1.25 plus debit fee
– CAD 0 – CAD 4,999.99: 0.05% interest, CAD 5,000 and over: 0.25% interest

Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan

– Free transactions with minimum balance of CAD 2,000.
– Else, CAD 1.25 monthly fee covers 12 non-teller transactions. Extra at CAD 0.25 each (including Internet banking).
– Includes $500 credit limit on Scotiabank Classic Visa and no annual fee while student

Royal Bank of Canada Student Banking

– CAD 3.50 a month, 25 free debits, CAD 0.50 per additional debit
– Interac fee: CAD 1.50, PLUS: CAD 3.00

CIBC Student Advantage

– CAD 1000 minimum balance = no monthly fee for 0 to 10 transactions, CAD 0.30 for additional transactions(?)
– Reapply every year for student advantage

Savings account

President's Choice Interest First Savings Account

– 2.15% interest (now 4% with balance of CAD 1000)
– Automatic savings plan

ING Direct

– 2.4% interest
– Four free Interac transactions per month, CAD 0.75 for succeeding transactions
– ATM at intersection of University Ave. and Adelaide St., free transactions

Scotiabank Money Master

– 2% interest
– Free transfer to other Scotiabank services. CAD 5.00 debit fee for others.


I've decided to go with President's Choice Financial because it's a pretty good deal in terms of both offline and online banking. One of my labmates keeps her accounts there, and she's quite happy with it. Good stuff. I'll apply for a social insurance number (25 St Clair Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario, M4T 3A4), and then open a current and savings account. If I can get a credit card off them too, yay.

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