Low-cost account guidelines

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

The objective of these guidelines is to ensure Canadians have access to basic banking services at a nominal cost through a low-cost account and that youths, students, Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) recipient seniors and Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) beneficiaries have these same services at no cost through a no-cost account. The guidelines represent the minimum service level for low-cost and no-cost banking services.

Minimum features

  • a minimum of 12 debit transactions per month, at least two of which can be done in-branchFootnote 1 
  • cheque writing privilegesFootnote 1 
  • no extra charge for deposits; debit card; pre-authorized payment forms; monthly printed statements; and cheque image return or on-line cheque image viewingFootnote 1 
  • other services are available for a reasonable feeFootnote 1 

Fees

  • low-cost account: $4.00 per month
  • no-cost account: youths, students, GIS recipient seniors and any RDSP beneficiaries are eligible for a low-cost account at no cost

Disclosure

  • use of clear and simple language to identify the features and costs of a low-cost and no-cost account, such as services included and excluded from the monthly fee that adheres to FCAC clear language guidelines and does not mislead consumers
  • display of information about the availability of low-cost and no-cost accounts in-branch and online
  • display of information in-branch and online informing consumers how to access the FCAC Account Selector Tool to compare bank accounts

Banks will provide the FCAC with up-to-date information on low-cost and no-cost accounts.

Indeterminate 

The guidelines are indeterminate, and as low-cost and no-cost banking needs change, banks will expand services to meet the needs of consumers.

Implementation

Banks bring the guidelines into force by January 15, 2015.

Free printed credit card statements

Separate from this low-cost account and no-cost account commitment, banks commit to provide free monthly printed credit card statements.

For information on the financial institutions that offer low-cost accounts, please visit our Bank accounts page

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