This post is sponsored by motusbank. All views and opinions expressed represent my own.
There’s a new full-service digital bank in town and it’s called motusbank!
Backed by Meridian, Ontario’s largest credit union and the third largest credit union in Canada, motusbank was launched to start a new movement in banking. Focused on delivering tech-savvy families and millennials a better banking experience, with better rates and lower fees, motusbank hopes to show why going digital is a step forward for your finances.
Why Are You with Your Current Bank?
Before getting into the details about motusbank, you may be asking yourself “Why should I care?”
Well, if you’re anything like my financial counseling clients, it’s because you should always know your options in case you do want to switch banks.
You see, when I’m working with my clients, we do something I like to call a “cash flow framework review”. That’s just a fancy way of saying we take a look at their current banking setup to see if we can make it more efficient. During this process, we inevitably have the conversation about why they chose their current bank.
What are the most common responses I hear?
- My parents set me up at X bank as a kid and I just stayed there.
- My partner/spouse banks at X bank so I switched over.
- X bank had a branch close to my home/work.
- My credit card is with X bank so it seemed convenient.
- X bank had a promotion going on to get a free __________.
After reading these responses, I want you to take a moment right now and think about why you’re with your current bank.
Avoiding Hassle & Staying Loyal Aren’t Good Enough Excuses for Staying Put
Was your answer similar to one of the examples I just shared? It’s okay if it is! But hopefully, that should signal to you that you need to see what other options are out there. There’s literally no reason to stay with a bank if you’re not getting the best value or the only reason you’re still with them is that switching banks sounds like a big hassle.
The only person you’re affecting by sticking with a bank that’s not the best fit for you is YOU!
Also, in case you’re thinking about loyalty and how your parents used to always get the best mortgage rate at their bank because they stayed there for 30 years, I’m gonna stop you right there. The idea of bank loyalty is completely outdated. You won’t get the best mortgage rate if you stay at the same bank for decades and hope your bank rewards you. You’ll get the best mortgage rate by shopping around. Just ask anyone who shopped around or used a mortgage broker.
Now, I do have to disclose that I am that typical unloyal millennial who has switched banks 6 times in 12 years. I did stay loyal to one bank from childhood to my college years, but that’s before I knew switching banks was even an option! After that, I regularly did my own cash flow framework review and researched what banks were out there and what benefits they offered.
That’s why I’ve switched banks so many times. By knowing my options, I’ve been able to move to better banks several times to take advantage of higher interest rates or savings on bank fees. Was all the hassle of moving banks worth it? Every. Single. Time.
What You Should Look for in a Bank
So, what things should you look for in a new bank that would make it worth leaving where you’re at right now? Here are some of my top criteria for a switch-worthy bank.
No-Fee Chequing Account
I hate bank fees, especially fees just to have a chequing account at a bank. The banks are already making money off you, why do you have to pay them just to house your money with them?
If you’re paying a monthly fee for your chequing account, I’d personally suggest looking for a bank that offers no-fee chequing accounts. motusbank clearly understands this which is why they don’t charge monthly chequing account fees.
Unlimited Interac E-Transfers
Most banks charge you at least $1 when you e-transfer money to someone, which can add up quick if you do this frequently. Seriously. Go through your bank statements and add up all of your Interac e-transfer charges for 2018. I did, and I spent $20 on sending money to contractors, friends and family. Yeah, I’m not happy about that.
Large ATM Network
Most banks only allow you to withdraw funds from that bank’s ATM machines, which means if you can’t find one when you’re out and need cash, you’ll be using some other bank’s ATM and paying some hefty fees. If you’re a frequent ATM withdrawer, those fees can add up quickly! motusbank is part of THE EXCHANGE Network of ATMs, which is a network of thousands of ATMs across Canada you can use to withdraw funds surcharge-free. Fewer or no ATM fees mean more money in your pocket.
This may be hard to find outside of credit unions, but finding a bank with no shareholders has some major benefits for you as a customer.
You see, when a bank has shareholders, that means they are more focused on the bank turning a profit than delivering value to their customers. This is fine if you want to invest in that bank’s stock, but not so much if you’re a customer at that bank.
motusbank doesn’t have shareholders, so it can focus on serving its customers first. Moreover, customers are actually called members, and all members get a say on ideas for new products and features by using motusbank’s feedback tools.
If you’re old-school, this may seem like a setback. For someone like me who does pretty much everything online (including running my business!), having a bank that is digital first is a huge bonus. Just take a look at any digital bank in Canada right now. They all offer way more features, better savings interest rates, and low or no fees because they have much lower operating costs than those brick and mortar banks.
Yes, they may not have physical locations, but when was the last time you went into a bank branch and left with a smile on your face? Literally, everything you need to do at a bank can be done online nowadays. And if you need some one-on-one human interaction, that’s easy. Like other digital banks, motusbank knows that without a physical location, they need to deliver on stellar customer service. That way you can reach a rep by phone, chat, and email.