Smart Student Banking

Image via Thinkstock
Image via Thinkstock

Which bank gives the best bang for your buck?

By Aaron Guillen, Contributor

Saving your money can be tough. Personally, I love to go out with my friends to watch a movie, or eat at a new restaurant once in a while. If you can’t keep track of your spending, you will soon find yourself at wit’s end with your finances. With the inevitable recession creeping around the corner for all Canadians, I felt like it was time to start taking a serious look at my money.

A couple weeks ago, I began looking to find another bank, because I had recently begun a part-time job at a local grocery store and was determined to begin investing.

Hoping to complete this task within a day, I jumped onto the Internet to find the best deals there were. From CIBC to Scotiabank, all I could dig up were low interest rates for students. Although they promised many unlimited avenues, the thought of having merely 0.1 to 0.2 per cent interest until I hit $5,000 sickened me. Additionally, many of the savings accounts that I found had strings attached. Either you were restricted to a limited amount of monthly transactions, or you weren’t able to touch your finances without incurring a fee. Needless to say, I was unsatisfied.

A couple days later, I stumbled upon an RBC ad on the front of a 24 Hours daily newspaper. It promised high interest rates of 0.65 per cent and free online transfers, so I immediately booked an appointment. The next day, I walked out of their office with a card in hand, but feeling unfulfilled. Within the previous 30 minutes, they revealed to me that I could only have one ATM cash withdrawal per month and the free online transfers they had promised were exclusive to RBC accounts. The more I thought about it, I realized the mistake I had made and the unfortunate circumstances I was placed in. You see, RBC has great deals, which included free iPads, but not for students under the age of 19.

That night, I went online, searching yet again for a great deal. Among an assortment of tabs, I recalled my parents with their Tangerine account. I inquired, and they promised me that by simply opening a savings account, I would receive $25 as well as start off with an interest rate of 2.1 per cent. It seemed promising, especially the free money part.

The next morning I canceled my newly established account at RBC and have since been trying out Tangerine, and so far I like it. I still worry about my spending, but it’s much less than I did before. I can personalize how much I want to transfer to my savings account each day, week, or month, which makes budgeting a lot more bearable.

Though this situation turned out perfectly for me, you might not face the same circumstances. Each person’s financial situation and wants are unique; find the bank that works best for you. Take your time to hunt out the ideal setup. The economy is ever-changing, so be sure to make smart investments.