Money: How to Save with a Low-Cost Account

Have you ever heard the expression "look after your nickels and dimes, and the dollars will take care of themselves"? Low-cost bank accounts cost less than $4 a month. They are much cheaper than other types of accounts, and offer such features as a debit card, cheque-writing privileges (though the actual cheques may cost extra), a number of free in-branch transactions, and a monthly statement or a bankbook.

As several banks have agreed to offer low-cost accounts, you should shop around for the kind of account that best suits your banking needs. For example, you may prefer to do your banking through a teller. Some banks may charge extra for some in-branch services (such as bill payments) on top of your regular monthly fee. Having this type of information can save you from any surprise fees on your bank statement at the end of the month.

To make sure that you understand all of the terms and conditions of the low-cost account you choose, check out:

  • what the monthly fees are;
  • what types of transactions are included, and how many;
  • how much it will cost for transactions over and above your monthly limit;
  • what extra fees may apply for specific services (such as bill payments).

For more information about low-cost accounts, contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). FCAC is the federal government agency that regulates federal financial institutions. You can call FCAC toll free at: 1-888-461-3222, or visit FCAC's Web site at: www.fcac.gc.ca .

CNM