A Money Coach in Canada

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I don’t want to pimp my bank (ie. my fabulous day job) too much on my blog, but some inside scoop:

Starting this fall (mid Sept) Citizens Bank of Canada will be dropping its monthly fees for the chequing account,


when you travel, you can withdraw at any ATM with no charge from us (can’t control what the other bank does – but any EXCHANGE network will be free on their end too).

So if you want a no-fee chequing account,

unlimited point-of-sale

unlimited atm (Canada: all EXCHANGE = most credit union machines, all HSBC machines, all Nat’l Bank of Canada; Int’l per above)

cheques themselves are free,

email me at nancy underscore zimmerman at citizens bank (all one word) dot canada (abbreviated) and I’ll see if I can get you set up even before we formally roll it out in Sept.


About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. angela

    Yay! That’s worth having. I currently have a pc financial chequing account and that is free but the citizens bank sounds nicer as I’m assuming it’s more ethical in the way it runs things ? I must look into this more.
    You mention credit union ATMs being free. I live in Ontario and there is a desjardins credit union on campus – would ATM withdrawals from their machine be free ? How extensive is the exchange network of atms ?


    Aug 14, 2008
  2. angela

    OK I’ve looked up more about you here:
    – but can you tell me how you treat your call centre staff ? Do you pay them a decent wage and give them good working conditions ? What’s the rate of repetitive strain injury in your organisation ? Probably seems funny questions to ask but it’s something I’ve always been uncomfortable about with online banks (even the pc account I own). From the little I’ve read, call centre staff often have to put up with poor working conditions. I’m wondering, as you’re an ethical bank, whether the workers get a better deal ?!


    Aug 14, 2008
  3. @angela I want to hug you for asking about how the call centre staff are treated … because I worked there part time for 2.5 years. Here’s my straight-up response:
    1. The call centre is unionized (and the bank has a union-friendly board). This right there stops some of the practices that other centres may indulge in. Wages are competitive, and even as a part-time employee, we received full medical/dental/extended health benefits, 3 weeks holiday etc. I honestly don’t know about the repetitive strain injury, but I didn’t hear much about that as an issue. The employer provides short-term disability so it would be in their interests to ensure this isn’t an issue.
    2. Having said that, there are some aspects of call-centre life that drove me nuts – on occasion (like, say, NEW YEARS EVE) that I had to work the overnight shift (the bank is 24/7) – at my age, that’s not something I was happy about. At all. There were other aspects that just come with the territory that were not easy, like, being precisely.on.time for everything (call centres run on metrics). So those are some things that the nature of the work demands, that I didn’t like. But every job has aspects that are tough.
    3. The managers, most of them, are wonderful. And I’m not saying that for their benefit, since I don’t work there anymore. They are caring and work as hard as any of us.

    Short answer: yes, in my opinion I think we were fairly treated.

    We’d love to have you with us. If you want, call Robin (she’s in Toronto) at 416-868-8310 and she can get you all set up and answer more questions (exchange network has 2100 machines in Canada, so should be lots of options for you. I’m not sure which city you’re in, but here’s a link that will help: http://www.the-exchange.ca/ )


    Aug 14, 2008
  4. angela

    Yay! Thanks Nancy. I am going to do this!


    Aug 15, 2008
  5. Angela

    I’m not related to the “Angela” from post #1,2 and 4….

    I live in Ontario, but I also have a saving account at Citizens Bank. I’ve called Citizens Bank more than a few times and I can confirm that the call centre people are more than helpful. Meanwhile, my chequing account is with PC Financial and the manner of a few people there leave something to desire…

    Also, I access my Citizens Bank account using the ATMs at HSBC without any problems. I believe HSBC has more branches and ATM in Ontario than Desjardins does.


    Aug 16, 2008
  6. @Angela – hi again! Nice to see you back and I’m glad to hear we’re being helpful when you call. Glad you’re with us, and thanks for the comment!


    Aug 18, 2008
  7. brad

    Oh, how I wish this offer were available in Québec, where I live! Are there any plans to make it available here in the future?


    Aug 19, 2008
  8. @brad Not in the near future, alas, but our VP is from Quebec, and I have a feeling he’s lobbying – and I’d join the lobby! I want a job transfer to Quebec!


    Aug 20, 2008
  9. brad

    Okay thanks, I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Currently none of the good free chequing accounts (PC Financial, etc.) are available in this province, it’s long been a source of consternation for me, especially since I moved here from the States where free chequing and ATM withdrawls have been the norm for many years. I would be better off keeping my money under the mattress.


    Aug 21, 2008
  10. stefan

    I know it sucks that a lot of these product are not available in Quebec, I live in Quebec too.

    However, for PC Financial, you can still get an account, but you have to apply in person. I did this, we drove 40 mins into Ontario to the closest PC pavilion, and signed up. No problems. This is your way around it, for me its worth it, no fees is awesome.

    But for Citizens, will there be a pavilion or something in Ontario that we can sign up in person?


    Sep 09, 2008
  11. @stefan We do have a branch in Toronto and you can call Robin there at 416-868-8310 to confirm this, but I’m quite sure you have to reside in a province outside of Quebec to be able to open an account. I’ll double check, and e-mail you.


    Sep 09, 2008
  12. curriegrad2004

    Well, as of today my Starter Account was upgraded to Global Cheuqings. Is the Starter Account phased out or what? If it is, then yay, I won’t have to be wrongfully charged for service fees again!


    Sep 16, 2008
  13. @curriegrad2004 Thanks for popping by. I don’t want to mix up my personal blog and my work at the bank toooooo much, but if you were erroneously charged service fees, please do make a point of contacting me to get them reversed. Usual number, then press 5, then press ext. 7788.


    Sep 16, 2008
  14. ron

    Yeah, really really thanks Nancy! I opened an account and then got a letter in the mail from Citizen Bank that I had to move my account to another institution because Citizens Bank was no longer offering banking services to the common man and woman. Keep up the good advice Nancy!

    Here’s the mesage I got in the mail:

    “A public announcement made on August 5, 2009 outlines Vancity’s and Citizens Bank of Canada’s shift in business strategy and details the agreement to sell the majority of Citizens Bank’s residential mortgages, personal loans, and real estate secured lines of credit to TD Canada Trust. As a result of this sale, Citizens Bank will leave the personal and small business banking marketplace and will instead focus on offering our highly successful Visa* card and pre-paid card products to consumers, and foreign exchange services to non-retail clients.” – end quote

    For those of you following Nancy’s good advice good luck!


    Aug 18, 2009


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