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The big five banks are constantly trying to acquire new customers, offering everything from 40-inch TVs and tablets to straight out cash if we open certain accounts with them. These promotions aren’t aimed at customers who are brand new to banking. Instead, they’re trying to get customers to leave their current banks and start fresh.

Switching is no easy task. Many of us have our credit cards, payroll deposits, investments and many other services all integrated with our bank, so we would need a pretty big incentive to make a switch – hence why some of the giveaways are rather generous. But not all banks rely on giveaways.

Some – like EQ Bank – offer bank account shoppers the full package: a high interest rate that others might not be able to match in an easy-to-understand, no-fee product. Your money is just like your health. When something doesn’t feel right, you go to the doctor to check things out. When your money isn’t working for you the way it should, it’s time to strive for more and find out who – and what – can help.

A question of customer service

Most people who seriously consider making a change usually aren’t happy with the service at their current bank.

In the past, the major complaint was the hours, but the banks responded by extending their hours during the week and opening their doors on the weekends. This was great for many clients but these days, customers are expecting even more.

Another big complaint from Canadians today concerns the bank fees that we pay. Keeping a chequing account open can be expensive. Again, some banks have listened to their clients, and now there are a few different accounts that are appealing for a low monthly fee. Sometimes it’s simply the product offered that doesn’t interest us. We’d rather look somewhere else.

The good news is, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to who we trust with our money and it doesn’t have to come down to the big five. At EQ Bank for example, the goal is to give each customer a well-rounded, personalized experience. The online bank allows unlimited day-to-day transactions as well as five free e-transfers each month, all for no monthly fee. You also don’t have to maintain a minimum balance. Customer service is available 24/7 with live agents to assist you in banking any time of day or night.

Complementing our day-to-day banking needs

Another common complaint about banks these days is the lack of interest we earn in our accounts. Online banks tend to have significantly higher interest rates. Still, that doesn’t mean we need to switch everything over to a new place. We can simply sign up with an online bank and then link our regular bank accounts to them to get the best of both services.

With credit cards, many people assume they’re limited to choosing one from their own bank. But there’s nothing stopping us from applying for a credit card that is owned by another bank. While our home bank may offer us a free premium card, you might be able to find one that better suits your needs from a different institution. We don’t have to remain loyal to one product.

The way we invest has also changed over the years. In the past, many of us would purchase mutual funds from our bank or an investment firm. Now we have the option to invest with robo-advisors, who can give us a professionally designed portfolio for a much lower fee compared to traditional mutual funds. Working with a robo-advisor won’t require us to switch banks, so it’s another good option for complementing your banking needs.

Putting our banks on notice

There is no doubt that there are plenty of reasons for us to switch banks. While many of us may be hesitant to do so, remember that new products are always being brought to the market.

The big five do their best to keep up but it can be difficult for them to react to certain trends – especially when the costs of running an online-based bank are so much lower, enabling those savings to be passed along to you. As customers, we shouldn’t let loyalty or laziness prevent us from getting the best services possible. And while traditional banks can offer solid products and services, it’s always a great idea to have a look at your options. Switching banks or simply complementing your daily banking needs is a great way to get what you – as a customer – deserve most.

At the end of the day, that’s more money in your pocket.

EQ Bank currently offers one of the highest interest rates in the country with its Savings Plus Account. There are no monthly fees or hidden charges to pay, no minimum balance to keep and customers have unlimited day-to-day transactions and five free Interac e-Transfers each month. You can access your account from anywhere at anytime using the bank’s mobile site and app. And should you need assistance, EQ Bank offers 24/7 customer care with live agents stationed right here in Canada. All this makes it easy to track your goals and save more money – for whatever you need it for, whether it be right now or far in the future!

Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a personal finance and budget travel expert at He has been quoted by media in Canada and the United States including The Financial Post, The Toronto Star, Business Insider, The Globe and Mail, and has appeared on HuffPost Live.

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