We all want to save more money and budget better, but like I shared in my post about reworking my budgeting strategy, it’s not always easy. Sometimes making your money work for you is surprisingly a lot of work! Then again, there are a number of products out there to make managing money a heck of a lot easier, we just need to make sure we’re in the know so we can take advantage.
Case in point, Meridian is currently doing something no other financial institution has done before in Canada. They’ve now made it possible to link your chequing account with your high interest savings account with their new Sweep feature.
How Does this Work and Why Should You Care?
The Sweep feature enables you to set a maximum and minimum account balance to your chequing account. This means funds are automatically transferred from your chequing account to your savings account (and vice versa) to keep your balance always on target.
If your chequing account balance exceeds your set maximum amount, the Sweep feature will transfer the extra funds into your savings account. In turn, if it goes below the minimum, it will rollover funds from your savings account back into your chequing account.
To break this down even further, if you’ve got extra money hanging out in your chequing account, the Sweep feature will maximize your saving potential by moving that money into your savings account so it can start earning interest (1.50% interest with Meridian’s Good to Grow High Interest Savings Accounts to be exact).
And if you’re chequing account is low on funds and you’ve got bills that take funds out of that account, the Sweep feature will take money from your savings account and put it into your chequing account so you won’t be late on a payment or go into overdraft.
It’s almost insane that this feature hasn’t existed in Canada before now. It’s so simple yet so practical! I do this manually right now, and freak out whenever I see I don’t have enough funds in my chequing account with rent due in just a few days. Luckily I check my accounts frequently, but man would this be such a stress-saver!
But What’s the Catch?
I tried to find one, and there just isn’t one. There are no monthly fees (one of the perks of being a Member at a credit union), and that includes no fees for the Sweep feature. There may be fees for the chequing account itself however, so just keep that in mind. You can also access your money 24/7 online or by phone, and there’s even a free Meridian Mobile Banking App you can use too.
I think because credit unions are becoming more and more popular, and since Meridian is Ontario’s largest credit union with over a quarter million Members, it wanted to do something innovative and helpful that no one else was doing. I wouldn’t be surprised if other financial institutions start to follow suit because the Sweep feature is kind of a no-brainer.
What Exactly Is a Credit Union?
Since Meridian is a credit union, I thought this would be a good opportunity to explain how a credit union differs from a traditional bank. I think it’s so important to know the difference, so when you are thinking of switching institutions you’ve got all the facts.
Credit unions are different than banks because they are completely owned and controlled by their Members. That’s why when you open up an account with a credit union, you usually have to pay a one-time fee to become a Member. But once you’re a Member, you get a vote to elect the credit union’s board of directors, regardless of how much money or shares you hold with the institution. Essentially, the whole purpose of a credit union is to function like a democracy, putting customers first.
Although credit unions have been around since 1900, they are currently most popular in Quebec and the West Coast. I was actually shocked when I moved to Toronto and noticed there weren’t as many credit unions compared to Vancouver. But I’ve been noticing that more and more people are seeing the value in them compared to traditional banks lately, especially since many credit unions are becoming known for their innovation within the financial industry (like Meridian with the Sweep feature).