Seniors' discount fees for banking charges don’t automatically kick in – you have to ensure they do

Here is a brief comparison of reduced fee banking charges at the five main banks and Alberta Treasury Branch.

Whether you are shopping around for a new bank or you already use a bank, it's a good idea to regularly review the services offered.

At Scotia bank, when you turn 59, there are no monthly plan fees. In addition you get free unlimited transactions. Free cheques and money orders and a discount on a safety deposit box is yours too.

At the Royal Bank, if you are 60 or over, you get a seniors rebate based on the account you open. These discounts vary from $4 to $7.75 per month depending on the type of account.

If you're 60 or over, TD bank’s ‘Plan 60’ account includes free unlimited transactions, free deposits, safety deposit box discount and free personal cheques online.

With the Senior Plan at the Bank of Montreal you do all your banking free when you are 60 and over. Among other discounts, you pay no transaction fees and no Banking Plan fee.

If you’re 60 plus, CIBC offers free transactions, bank drafts and money orders as well as no monthly fee on the ‘Everyday’ chequing account. You also get two free transactions a month on a savings account.

The Alberta Treasury Branch’s ‘Financial Senior Plan’ at age 59 also applies to your spouse. There are no monthly fees on eight items and low fees on four others including a $10 annual discount on a safety deposit box.

The banks really do want your business and they do have quite a bit of discretionary power when it comes to keeping their valued customers.

If you see that another bank has some discounts on banking charges but you want to stay with your bank, see if they will match the other bank.

Bear in mind that your bank won’t necessarily let you know when you become eligible. It’s up to you to request your benefits. Obtain an appraisal of discounted banking charges for your account, preferably before you qualify.

If you are over the age of eligibility and you were a customer when you became eligible, insist that they credit you with the accrued discount owing.

They may try to resist but keep at them until they do. After all, there are other major banks to go to.

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