Category Archives: Finance

High Interest Savings Accounts for Canadians

Good day! If you’re a canuck like me and are tired of getting little to no interest on your Canadian Dollar denominated savings accounts, then you’ll be glad you found this blog. Today I’m going to review three of the highest earning Canadian savings accounts available. In my opinion, a savings account that earns you high interest is a smart financial move to make. You never know when you need some spare cash for an emergency or just about anything. Put a decent amount of cash in it, and don’t touch it! High Interest accounts are also perfect for those of you who are more conservative with your money. I certaintly take more risks with my money, and consequently earn a higher return, but even I have TWO savings accounts (with two of the institutions that I’ll be reviewing below. So, without further ado, here is the review.

First one:

ING Direct

ING Direct Canada offeres an online “ISA” (Investment Savings Account) which (as of April 13, 2007) offer 3.50% per year. They also happen to have an US Dollar denominated savings account which yield the same interest (currently 3.50%). As I’m sure you’re well aware of, ING is a major international bank, so you’re money is as safe as it can be. Also they’re insured by the CDIC (Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation) which will insure your money up to $100,000.

This account has the following features:

No fees
No service charges
No minimum balance
ABM card access (so you can withdraw your money anywhere in the world – fees apply)

You can withdraw your money anytime, anywhere without paying any fees or penalties
You can setup an automatic savings program
You can link your chequings account to your savings account (so you can deposit money into your savings account via the web interface)
You can withdraw money from your savings to your chequing account (no fee)

Features lacking:

You can’t write a cheque; this is an online savings account only!

The process of joining is very simple and painless. All you have to do is follow the link that I’ll give you, and complete a simple online form and once your account is approve YOU’LL GET $13 BECAUSE I’VE REFERRED YOU! YES FREE MONEY!

Follow this link:

http://www.ingdirect.ca/en/ISAfriends

You’ll be asked for a referral code, so make sure you type this:

14552363S1

It is important that you type that code, otherwise you won’t get your $13 bonus.

Ok, now on to the next one.

Second one:

ICICI Bank Canada

ICICI Bank Canada is a fairly new bank on the Canadian scene, but they’re off to a good start by offering an excellent yield on your money. A little bit of background on them: They’re the largest bank in India, and apparently they’ve decided to get a piece of the Canadian market (which incidentally has quite a large Indian population).

I’ve had an account with them a while back (I think a year ago) but I move all my money into a savings account with the institution which I will review next.

Here is their current offers:

Canadian $ savings account will earn you: 3.75% (p.a)
US $ savings account will earn you: 4.25% (p.a)

As you can see they offer a slightly better return when compared to ING Direct, but they don’t offer any bonus. I think this one is great if you’re a Canadian which happens to have US dollars they’d like to save. Another cool feature of ICICI is that they’ll give you the ability to conveniently and economically transfer money to India, so if you have relatives of family there, this might be the best choice. As with ING Direct, you’ll be charged no fees to deposit/withdraw your money, and you’ll also get a debit card which is functional at just about any bank machine in the world (fees are involved here though)

Other features:

You can link your chequing account to your ICICI savings account so you can deposit money into your savings account via ICICI’s web interface (no fee)
You can transfer money from your savings to your chequing account online too! (no fee)

Features lacking:

As with ING Direct, you won’t get a cheque book, so you can’t write a cheque with this account.

Ok, so if you’re interested in this one click this link to join:

http://www.icicibank.ca/

*If you wish to receive $20 for FREE just for signing up then click here*

Third:

Achieva Financial

Achieva Financial is my preferred savings account, because it offers the highest interest savings account in Canada. There is small price to pay for this higher yield however, and it comes in the form of fewer features. Achieva Financial is based in Manitoba, in case you’re curious.

Achieva’s savings account currenly offers: 4.10% (p.a)

The difference between Achieva Financial’s savings account and ING Direct or ICICI Canada is that Achieva’s savings account is a full-featured account. You will receive a chequing book, you can pay your bills online, you can withdraw your money at just about any bank machine in the world.

The only negative point about Achieva’s savings account is that they’ll charge you higher fees for cheques/pre-authorized debits.

Here is their fee structure:

Account Fees Charge
 
Cheques/Pre-Authorized Debits
(First cheque or Pre-Authorized Debit per month free – each additional)
$1.00
 
Personalized Cheques (First Order)
(Additional cheque orders may be subject to a charge)
Free
ATM/Online Fees Charge
 
Credit Union ATM Deposits Free
 
Credit Union ATM Withdrawals $0.60
 
*Interac ATM Withdrawals (In Canada) $1.00
 
US ATM Withdrawals $2.50
 
International ATM Withdrawals $5.00
 
Interact Direct Payments $0.60
 
Bill Payment (Online or Touchtone) $0.50
 
ATM Card Replacement – Mishandling $5.00

*In addition to the .60ยข ATM withdrawal charge
Internal Transfer of Funds – Achieva Account to Achieva Account Charge
 
Touch-Tone $0.50
 
Online $0.50
 
Phone Request (Processed by a Achieva Customer service representative) $3.00
Administration Fees Charge Charge
 
Achieva Direct (automatic savings deposits from another institution) Free
 
Achieva Direct Deposit (deposit of payroll or government cheques) Free
 
Stop Payment – all information provided $7.50
 
Stop Payment – information incomplete $15.00
 
N.S.F. Charge $30.00
 
Chargeback – on cheques drawn on account holder $5.00
 
Duplicate copies of Statements or RRSP receipts $1.50
 
Official Cheques $5.00
 
Account Closing – Member Request within six months of opening $10.00
 
Dormant Account – 6 months* Account Balance
*Dormant account balances $25.00 and under

————————————————————————————————

Ok, now on to the most important part, the interest rate! According to my research, Achieva consistently offers the highest interest rate of any Canadian institution, and I hope they keep it up. Check out this brief history of their rates:

Rates for the year 2007

Month Rate
February 4.10%
January 4.10%


Rates for the year 2006

Month Rate
December 4.10%
November 4.10%
October 4.10%
September 4.10%
August 4.10%
July 4.10%
June 4.10%
May 3.85%
April 3.65%
March 3.50%
February 3.35%
January 3.30%

To open up an account with them follow this link:

http://www.achieva.mb.ca/default.asp

That’s all for now, and I hope this has been of use to you! Take care.

Alertpay: A possible major competitor to PayPal

In one of my previous blog posts I wrote about e-gold and espoused it many virtues. Now I do realize that some of you are not or will never be big fans of electronic currencies and would rather prefer to use traditional “Payment Processors”. The biggest and of course the most popular payment processor is PayPal. However, lately PayPal’s top-dog position is attracting hungry underdogs who are eager to chew a piece of PayPal’s market share. One such competitor goes by the name of Alertpay.

According to their website Alertpay is ” ..a privately owned and managed company founded in 2004, offers an internet payment system enabling any business or consumer with email to send and receive internet payments securely, quickly and cost-effectively. With its office headquarters in Montreal, Canada, AlertPay is available to users all around world.”

I’ve been a user of PayPal for a long time, and while PayPal has decreased their fees be aware that more economical alternatives do exist. Alertpay is one such alternative payment processor. What I like most is their slightly lower fee structure.

Take a look at this

The following details the fees that AlertPay charges you for processing your transaction.

Type of account: Personal Premium Secured

  Personal Account Premium Account Secured Account

Withdraw Funds

e-gold 4.00 % 4.00 % 4.00 %

Add Funds

e-gold 2.50 % 2.50 % 2.50 %

As you can clearly see, their fees ARE lower than PayPal’s, but can you trust them? So far I’ve heard nothing but good things about them, and my personal experience has been positive.

So which account should you open. Well, I would recommend starting off with a Personal Account, and later on if you need to accept credit card payments (for example if you sell on ebay or other auctions sites) then you can upgrade to a Premium Account. The secured account has absolutely no business restrictions on it. But the main selling point of the secured account is the “chargeback prevention” feature. I haven’t really tested their secured account, so I can’t really say how effective their chargeback prevention scheme is. By the way, I have a premium account.

You may have noticed that Alertpay will allow you to convert the money in your Alertpay account into e-gold and vice versa. I think this an absolutely spectacular feature! As far as their fees for doing this are concerned, well, they are competitive to say the least. You could get better fees somewhere else, but don’t forget that you are paying a bit extra for the convenience.

So, in conclusion, the payment processing market is heating up, which in the end will be of great benefit to us consumers.

Look forward to me reviewing other payment processors/electronic currencies in the future.

Oh, and before I forget, if you want to open up an account with Alertpay, just follow this link:

http://www.alertpay.com/