Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

September 26, 2007 10:38 ET

FCAC's Updated Cost of Banking Guide is More User-Friendly than Ever

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 26, 2007) - The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) today released an update of its popular Cost of Banking Guide. The Guide helps consumers shop around to find the best banking package for their needs. The updated version makes it easier than ever to compare the fees and features of over 100 bank accounts available through 18 financial institutions in Canada.

According to a recent survey carried out by FCAC, 96 percent of Canadians have a bank account and 60 percent of them deal with only one financial institution. During the last year 8 percent of Canadians opened or tried to open a bank account, but almost half of them did not shop around.

"Close to 35 percent of Canadian consumers estimate that they pay over $10 a month in bank fees. There may be better banking options open to them, but they can't benefit if they don't check and compare," said FCAC Acting Commissioner Jim Callon. "The improved Cost of Banking Guide makes it easier to shop around. It's fast, simple and effective. Most important, the Guide could save consumers money by helping them find the banking package best suited to their needs."

The Cost of Banking Guide is available in two formats. As an on-line interactive tool, it can be found on FCAC's Web site at www.fcac.gc.ca or through the Agency's new Web portal, moneytools.ca. The tool asks users a few questions about their banking habits, and then gives a short list of accounts that best fit their personal profile. The latest version of the interactive tool allows consumers to compare up to five banking packages at once or see all banking packages available by province.

The Guide is also available in print. The updated version organizes the previous stand-alone tables into three separate booklets: special accounts for youth, students and seniors; banking packages with no monthly fees for those who maintain a minimum balance; and banking packages with monthly fees.

Another improvement in the updated Cost of Banking Guide is that tables are now standardized. Now consumers can easily compare the same features for every type of account, including:

- monthly fees;

- the minimum balance required for fees to be waived;

- the maximum number of monthly transactions, in branch and self-serve, that are covered by the fees; and

- services offered free of charge, such as personalized or certified cheques.

For print copies of the Cost of Banking Guide, call FCAC's Consumer Contact Centre toll-free at 1-866-461-3222 (TTY 1-866-914-6097).

FCAC ensures compliance with the consumer protection laws, and monitors compliance with the codes of conduct and public commitments that apply to banks and federally incorporated trust, loan and insurance companies. FCAC also provides consumers with accurate, objective information about financial products and services, and informs Canadians of their rights and responsibilities when dealing with federally regulated financial institutions.

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