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Get more from your bank account

Every penny counts. So does where you keep them.

A bank account is something you use every day of your life. Whether you're just starting out or have had the same account for decades, it makes sense to take a look at how you bank – and what it's costing you.

These days we're all looking for ways to save, which should include where we keep our money and how we access it. Electronic banking has dramatically changed how we manage our finances. Does your current account reflect that? Are you paying for features you don't need? Or paying extra for features you do? Here are ten tips to help you determine whether you're getting the most from your bank account.

1. Make sure your account matches your banking style.

Take a look at how you bank these days. Have your habits or circumstances changed? For example, do you find yourself paying more and more by debit card? You may find our Self-Serve Chequing Account with 50 free electronic transactions a better fit – the monthly fee may be slightly higher than you pay today, but if you're paying a fee for every debit transaction, you could save over the long term.

2. Count up your accounts.

Like many people, you may have several bank accounts, perhaps at multiple financial institutions. Are you using them? Do you need them? For example, you could be paying monthly fees on a chequing account you don't use or paying taxes on interest earned in a savings account that could be converted into a TFSA. It may make sense to consolidate your accounts.

3. Are you maintaining your minimum balance?

Our Premium Chequing account waives your monthly fee if you keep a minimum balance. But if you find your finances often dip below it, you may want to transfer to a Pay As You Go Chequing Account which has no fees and also lets you earn interest on your balance.

4. Avoid expensive NSF fees.

Do you have a lot of pre-authorized payments from your account? Phone, cable, home or car insurance? Just one NSF (non-sufficient funds) charge can cost you a lot. Not to mention hurt your credit rating. Check into overdraft protection. It costs nothing to have it on stand-by and it kicks in only when you need it. In the event of a shortfall, overdraft protection ensures your payments are made – seamlessly. You're only charged interest on the amount required for as long as it was needed.

5. Bank online.

These days there's no need to do many banking activities in person. Paying bills online and setting up pre-authorized payments, transfers and deposits saves you lot of time – and money. Having your salary directly deposited is also convenient and dependable, and we even pay you, reducing your service charges.

6. Be ATM smart.

Are you constantly stopping by ATMs to grab small amounts of cash? Make sure it's one of THE EXCHANGE® Network of ACCULINK®'s 4,000 ding-free machines. You won't be charged an ATM surcharge at any credit union, HSBC or National Bank ATM across Canada. (Note, banking transaction fees may apply, depending on your account features.) No ATM close by? Consider asking for cash back when using your debit card if the retailer offers that service. And do download our free ATM locator app so you can always find the EXCHANGE ATM nearest you.

7. How much is your savings account earning?

There are many ways to earn more interest on the funds you've put away. High Interest and TFSA Accounts can offer you better rates. Check and compare with our Account Selector tool.

8. Pay off your credit cards.

Not just monthly, but on time. Interest rates on most cards are very high and calculated on the day payment is due. But don't wait for that due date to pay your bill. Consider setting up a pre-authorized debit to automatically pay your credit card's minimum payment due or the new monthly blanace total – no more late fees! If you have no credit card debt and have your spending under control, consider using your rewards credit card for daily purchases. The points you rack up can typically be used for a wide range of merchandise and travel.

9. Premium accounts offer premium discounts.

If you do a lot of transactions each month and want all the premium benefits of your World Elite MasterCard paid for, consider a Premium Chequing account. Your annual MasterCard fee will be waived, and you'll get a host of other benefits, including free(or reduced) safety deposit box rental, free bank drafts and free cheques.

10. Travel south often?

A U.S. savings account lets you access funds without worrying about fluctuating exchange rates. Purchase your currency when the exchange rate is favorable, and make worry-free withdrawals as your travels require.

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What type of account is right for me?

This easy-to-use selection tool will help you determine what type of account you should be considering.

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