Personal Finance

What are the downsides of PC Financial's 'no fee bank account?'

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[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 16, 2010
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What are the downsides of PC Financial's 'no fee bank account?'

So I've finally made my mind to do all my personal banking at a non big five banks. I'm liking PC Financial, other than the fact that it is not a b/m bank are there any other downsides. The way I bank is that I use my chequing account only for deposits, bills, etc. Other words, all my money goes to the CHQ account, I then transfer it to SAVINGS, and only transfer back to CHQ if I have issued a cheque or if I have to pay bills, etc., so how fast does PC transfer between CHQ and SAVINGS account, if I do it online, will I have to wait? Are there any other disadvantages?
125 replies
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Feb 5, 2009
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jewville wrote: So I've finally made my mind to do all my personal banking at a non big five banks. I'm liking PC Financial, other than the fact that it is not a b/m bank are there any other downsides. The way I bank is that I use my chequing account only for deposits, bills, etc. Other words, all my money goes to the CHQ account, I then transfer it to SAVINGS, and only transfer back to CHQ if I have issued a cheque or if I have to pay bills, etc., so how fast does PC transfer between CHQ and SAVINGS account, if I do it online, will I have to wait? Are there any other disadvantages?

Transfers into savings are immediate, transfers out of savings have to be scheduled 1 day into the future.

Personally, I use a PCF LOC as my chequing account, because then the timing of transfers is no longer an issue. Still a good idea to transfer ASAP, but if you can't/forget/whatever, it's only going to cost you a few pennies in interest.
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Dec 24, 2008
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I've been a PCF customer for close to 10 years and love it. The only issue I ever had was once when I needed to get a certified cheque. It's not an immediate thing, but it, like anything, can be done. My PC mortgage was easy and no hassle, I have linked accounts with my daughter, no hold chequing account, etc.
Newbie
Sep 14, 2010
4 posts
Vancouver
if you're traveling and think you need to pull out money from the machine while abroad, you won't be able to. you'll need to transfer money into an account where the client card can do more than just interac.
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Dec 24, 2008
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psych wrote: if you're traveling and think you need to pull out money from the machine while abroad, you won't be able to. you'll need to transfer money into an account where the client card can do more than just interac.

I don't quite get this. I used my bank card at machines everywhere - Cuba, Mexico, etc. It's linked to CIBC so there is no difference.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 16, 2010
629 posts
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angel_wing0 wrote: no branches, depositing a big amount of cash is risky as there are a few threads regarding that recently.

ohh i totally forgot about depositing cash, and i certainly don't want to risk depositing cash in the atm, and what if i need to withdraw big sums of money, what is the limit to that?
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Mar 20, 2009
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taylyn wrote: I don't quite get this. I used my bank card at machines everywhere - Cuba, Mexico, etc. It's linked to CIBC so there is no difference.

There is a difference. PC Financial supports Interac only, which is good enough most places in North America, but doesn't have the international support of Cirrus (MasterCard) or Plus (Visa).

But aside from the minor issues already mentioned, I've been a happy customer of PCF for many years.

I can take $1000 cash out of the bank machine. If I need more cash than that, I can certainly plan a few days ahead to use an alternative method.
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Mar 7, 2005
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Elmira
I'm with them right now but I'll be the first to tell you, they are crap. They love holding onto your money for over 5 business days before its posted into your account too. Super annoying.

What's the risks depositing into the ATM you guys are talking about though? I routinely deposit like 3000 dollars cash into their machines, I'd like to hear more on this?
a closed mind is already defeated
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Sep 30, 2003
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Been with them since about 04 or so. Never had major problems.
They do have holds but that's never been a big issue with me, and you can ask for holds to be reduced over time. Direct deposits are never held.
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Sr. Member
Feb 1, 2010
872 posts
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I have both PCF and now ING Thrive. I like Thrive better as it allows instant transfers between accounts, and they gave me 5 times the hold waiver than PCF do. The negative is you pay for cheques after the first 50.
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Mar 23, 2004
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Markham
jewville wrote: ohh i totally forgot about depositing cash, and i certainly don't want to risk depositing cash in the atm, and what if i need to withdraw big sums of money, what is the limit to that?

$1000 per day, their highest limit afaik.
duckdown wrote: I'm with them right now but I'll be the first to tell you, they are crap. They love holding onto your money for over 5 business days before its posted into your account too. Super annoying.

What's the risks depositing into the ATM you guys are talking about though? I routinely deposit like 3000 dollars cash into their machines, I'd like to hear more on this?

that depends on what your hold limit is. For me, it's anything above 5k for each account = 10k total. More than enough for me.

dont have the exact links right now, but do a search. Someone deposited 600 (or 6k, forgot exact amount), wife called, made an error of somesort, and got screwed out of $300 (or 3k).
Jr. Member
Apr 26, 2010
129 posts
10 upvotes
Burnaby
I have been with PC Financial for so many years and really happy with them. Two obvious downsides:

1. Depositing huge amount of cash can be bit of a risk. Personally I've never experienced any problems with CIBC/PCF's ATM but have read a thread on it here.

2. Getting a bank draft could take some time. Basically, you need to call them and they will make arrangements for you to pick up your bank draft from nearest CIBC branch. Process is pretty straight-forward although it takes 3-4 days and you pay around $30 for draft (with TD, I think it's around $8 and you can request them to waive it off).

But lots of upsides:

1. Free Banking

2. Free cheques

3. Easy to use web interface.

4. Access to all CIBC ATM's without any fees.
Newbie
Aug 4, 2009
70 posts
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Calgary
I've used my PC Bank card in the US and Mexico without issue. Additionally, they've dutifully shipped off new cheques regardless of my account balance.

The downside for me is not being able to get or deposit change. But otherwise, the drawbacks are easy to work around.

- For alternate currencies I usually hit up a place like Calforex or certain CIBC bank machines that give out US cash.
- I've been able to call and have my withdrawal limit temporarily raised for certain things (like last minute tuition payment).
- They do hold deposits for a long while, but honestly, I'm not certain that TD (where I was before) didn't. This is just another thing I work around, by leaving a cushion in my chequing account.

The most serious downside (which I've luckily so far avoided) is that when there's a problem, you're stuck trying to negotiate over the phone.


Really, they've saved me lots and lots of money over TD and the amount of extra trouble has been minimal. They were actually one of the few banks that would allow my wife to open an account before she was a Canadian resident. TD said they'd do it, until we showed up with all the paperwork we thought we needed, then all of a sudden, it wasn't going to work out.
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Dec 11, 2005
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chris233 wrote: I've used my PC Bank card in the US and Mexico without issue. Additionally, they've dutifully shipped off new cheques regardless of my account balance.

The downside for me is not being able to get or deposit change. But otherwise, the drawbacks are easy to work around.

- For alternate currencies I usually hit up a place like Calforex or certain CIBC bank machines that give out US cash.
- I've been able to call and have my withdrawal limit temporarily raised for certain things (like last minute tuition payment).
- They do hold deposits for a long while, but honestly, I'm not certain that TD (where I was before) didn't. This is just another thing I work around, by leaving a cushion in my chequing account.

The most serious downside (which I've luckily so far avoided) is that when there's a problem, you're stuck trying to negotiate over the phone.


Really, they've saved me lots and lots of money over TD and the amount of extra trouble has been minimal. They were actually one of the few banks that would allow my wife to open an account before she was a Canadian resident. TD said they'd do it, until we showed up with all the paperwork we thought we needed, then all of a sudden, it wasn't going to work out.
PCF is great for no-frills banking, I used them for years. But you eventually get to a point where you need more full-service banking and don't want to pay sky-high fees for anything out of the norm. For example, when you used your PCF ATm card in the US and Mexico, you were charged special foreign-use fees, that you won't see any any big 6 bank.
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Dec 24, 2005
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i was with PCF until I realized for $100 a year I could have peace of mind and not deal with the worst service ever

and yes - you can 'plan ahead' --- but i'd rather spend $100 for an entire year to have money when I want it and not deal with any of PCF's bullcrap.

they have absolutely zero flexibilty -- buying a car and need an extra $1000 cash? not possible
going on a trip tomorrow and want some foreign currency? not possible
buying a home and short $600 and need your draft fixed? not possible

PCF is the beige Corolla of banking .. a useless sack of **** -- only great and loved by sociopaths on this site -- for everyone else there's better for a little more money.
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Dec 24, 2008
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Mississauga
duckdown wrote: I'm with them right now but I'll be the first to tell you, they are crap. They love holding onto your money for over 5 business days before its posted into your account too. Super annoying.

What's the risks depositing into the ATM you guys are talking about though? I routinely deposit like 3000 dollars cash into their machines, I'd like to hear more on this?

That's just you - I could deposit a $2000 cheque today and and have no holds. I can transfer funds between my accounts instantly with no wait time. i can get cheques whenever I want regardless of my balance.

And there is no more risk than any other bank when depositing large sums of cash into ATM's - besides the ATMs for PCF are CIBC.

You do have to make certain arrangements for certified cheques and bank drafts as another poster mentioned, but with planning (like when you are closing on a home) this is not a big deal.
There is a difference. PC Financial supports Interac only, which is good enough most places in North America, but doesn't have the international support of Cirrus (MasterCard) or Plus (Visa).
Apples and oranges. A bank card is not the same a credit card for withdrawls. My PC Financial Mastercard can do that.

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