For those keeping score, I’ve already opened two new bank accounts in the last two months or so. Previous to this, I think it had been years since I opened up a new account, probably a tax-free savings account when they were first introduced. Normally, when people open up a new bank account it’s primarily to save or to make money somehow. I opened up these new accounts only for their secondary benefits, not for saving money at all.
The first new account was a generic savings account at TD Canada Trust. A few months ago, I noticed the local TD just down the street from me had an automatic coin counter installed in the branch. Now some of you might have read that at the time I had accumulated huge amounts of spare change in coins. I had a very time intensive effort in finding ways to cash in the coins without being charged a fee for the process. TD was offering free use of their coin counter machine but only if you had an account with them. I decided to open up an account with them purely for their coin counting machine. I had to choose a savings account that did not require a minimum balance as I did not intend to use it as a savings vehicle. The interest rates at TD suck anyways. I went to the branch, opened up an account, and deposited a very small amount of money (just to keep a positive balance). By this time, I’d already cashed in about $500 worth of coins through other means, so I didn’t have as many coins just a few months ago. Nevertheless, the day after I opened the account, I still was able to get about $150 in coins counted. Going forward, I just have to go down the street now to get rid of all those pesky coins.
The second account I just opened up today. This one is a bit of a strange one. I have several accounts with ING Direct. I think they are a fabulous financial institution. They’re able to provide quality banking products by being an online bank and cutting out costs like branches and tellers. It’s a trade-off sometimes but they don’t do things like charge you money for accessing your money. Anyways, the normal procedure for getting at your ING money is to transfer it to another financial institution and then use their branches or ATMs. Since the Canadian dollar has fallen compared to the US greenback, I’ve been thinking about converting some US dollars I have in an US ING account. Unfortunately, I don’t have any other US dollar accounts anywhere else I can move that money to. If I move it to a Canadian account, then I’m at the mercy of the other bank’s exchange rates, which kinda suck. The only way to get at my money directly is to use an ING ATM, of which there two in all of this province. Luckily, they are both in downtown Vancouver. To use these machines, I required a valid ING bank card, which is only distributed if you have an ING chequing account. So today, I had to open up a new chequing account, just to get that card. It’s got a dollar in it, which will collect interest. The great thing is I’m able to directly get at all my money with that bank via their ATMs now.
So two new bank accounts this summer with almost no money in them, for purposes of something other than saving.