During my time at a leading Canadian financial institution, I interacted with many clients who paid high monthly fees for their chequing accounts while only getting the bare minimum in return.
With digital banks on the rise, a lot of that is changing and more.
In addition to $0 monthly fees, good rewards and cashback features are also offered through regular bank accounts now.
PC Financial’s PC Money Account is a good example of this.
In today’s post, I will do a PC Money account review to help you decide whether it might be a fit for you.
Let’s get started.
Digital Spending Account
Fantastic PC Optimum cashback rewards coupled with no monthly fees
- No monthly fees
- Fantastic cashback and reward opportunities
- Unlimited and free transactions and Interac e-Transfers
- Great user experience
- 24/7 customer support
- No interest paid on the balance
- Can’t write or deposit cheques into the account
- High NSF and overdraft fees
A Quick Intro to PC Financial
President’s Choice Financial – most commonly referred to as PC Financial – is an arm of Loblaw Companies Ltd.
The digital banking company has two main financial products: the PC Money Account (which can be compared to a chequing account) and various credit cards paired with their PC Optimum points system.
The bank has features similar to other Canadian digital banks, including low fees, fully digital access and rewards.
PC Financial was founded in the late 90s and is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario.
The PC Money Account is an everyday spending account. Because it is partnered with Mastercard, you can view it as a prepaid credit card with no monthly fees and good rewards.
Let’s dive into the product features, fees, and more.
Here are some of the features of the PC Money Account.
- $0 monthly banking fees and no minimum balance required
- Free and unlimited everyday transactions, including money transfers, withdrawals at PC Financial ATMs, bill payments, Interac e-Transfers and purchases
- Extra PC Optimum points with every transaction (more on this feature later)
- Overdraft service available at a fee
- Free digital monthly statements
- Compatible with Google and Apple Pay
The PC Money Account is a spending account in partnership with Mastercard.
It offers all of the exclusive Mastercard perks, such as 24/7 fraud protection and Mastercard’s Zero Liability Promise for unauthorized purchases, plus the perks of a digital chequing account.
You can transfer funds into this account in two ways: by linking up your account held at another financial institution (which can take up to three days) or by Interac e-Transfer (it is free to send and receive them with the PC Money Account.) You can also set up your payroll to this account if you prefer.
Overall, this account is comparable to other spending accounts, such as Koho. Where it really shines, however, is its PC Optimum rewards program. I will cover this rewards program now.
PC Optimum is a rewards program offered by Loblaw Companies Ltd.
If you have ever shopped at a Loblaw’s grocery store or Shopper’s Drug Mart in Canada, you have likely come across this rewards program. Here is how the program works:
- Scan your membership card and earn points with every dollar spent at Loblaw associated stores
- Redeem your points for money off your purchases ($10 off every 10,000 points)
The PC Money Account helps cardholders earn significantly more points than the regular PC Optimum program. That means more money off your grocery and drugstore purchases.
With the PC Money Account, you earn:
- 10 points per dollar spent at Loblaw grocery stores
- 25 points per dollar spent at Shopper Drug Mart (normally 15)
- And an additional 10 points per dollar spent on all other purchases (normally zero)
Given that the card has no monthly costs or transaction fees, these added reward points are a fantastic perk. So I would recommend the card to you, especially if you are a regular shopper at Loblaw-associated stores.
The PC Money Account has no monthly fees. There are, however, some other fees associated with this account that you should keep in mind.
- The optional overdraft service has a monthly charge of $5 in addition to a 19% interest on all overdraft balances
- The non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee is quite hefty at $40
- Using a domestic, non-PC Financial ATM costs $1.50
- Using an international ATM costs $3.00
- A 2.5% fee is charged on all foreign exchange transactions
Please also keep in mind that this account pays no interest on its balance. As such, I would only recommend using it as a spending account and keeping your savings in a high-interest saving account elsewhere, such as EQ Bank.
PC Financial’s user experience is fantastic.
With a straightforward and easy-to-use digital app, 24/7 online support and enhanced security features, it’s one of the best out there.
President’s Choice Financial is also a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), which can give you peace of mind when it comes to banking with them.
You might also appreciate the fact that you can lock your card directly on the app if you ever misplace it or change your PIN code if you’re worried about security.
All in all, the user experience side of things is really great with this account, so don’t let that hold you back from opening an account with PC Financial.
Let’s look at some other spending accounts in Canada to see how this PC Money Account compares.
Although Koho is not a registered bank, it offers a spending account much like the PC Money Account.
Koho’s prepaid and reloadable Visa card lets its users avoid taking out credit and simplifies everyday finances.
Here is where the two differ: unlike PC Financial, Koho pays interest on its entire account balance.
PC Financial’s rewards, on the other hand, are much better than Koho’s.
Koho only offers 0.5% cashback on eligible purchases, whereas the PC Optimum points earned with the PC Money Account can result in much more significant savings.
I’m personally a fan of both of these accounts and would recommend either to you. If you are a frequent shopper at Loblaw institutions, I’d recommend PC Financial. If you’re interested in the digital features of Koho, such as early payroll, credit building and more, then I’d recommend Koho.
You can learn more about Koho here.
Either way, keep in mind that neither of these institutions can fully replace a full-fledged bank or credit union. Whether you go with the big five, a local credit union or a digital bank such as Simplii or Tangerine, the PC Money Account and Koho can only be one part of your daily finances.
Your main bank, on the other hand, can help you with any of your loan, mortgage, investment or insurance needs.
Stack is a reloadable and prepaid card offered in partnership with Mastercard. The card has a rewards program in place with more than 140 Canadian stores Stack has partnered up with.
You can view Stack as another no-fee, digital spending account. However, PC Financial’s reward program is superior to Stack’s in many ways. As such, I’d recommend that you go with the PC Money Account over Stack.
Where Stack is superior to PC Financial, however, is its travel perks. Not only are you eligible for 20% cashback when you use Stack travel, but Stack also charges no international ATM fees (PC Financial charges $3 per transaction) and gives you special cashback on foreign exchange transactions.
If you’re looking for a prepaid travel card that you can basically use anywhere in the world, I’d say go with Stack. If you’re looking for better rewards in your everyday purchases (specifically if you’re a regular visitor of Loblaw stores), then go with the PC Money Account!
PC Financial is both safe and legit. Not only is the bank regulated by government bodies, but your deposits are also protected for up to $100,000 through the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC.)
PC Financial also has good safety measures in place to protect you from malicious activity.
You can lock or cancel your card directly from the app if it gets stolen, change your PIN code if you are worried about security or chat with one of their representatives about your concerns at any time of day (their customer chat function is available 24/7.)
The PC Money Account is not a chequing account for one main reason: you cannot write or deposit cheques into it.
Therefore, the PC Money Account is simply a spending account.
Once you transfer funds into it, you can use it as you would a prepaid credit card. The card is accepted everywhere Mastercard is and comes with PC Optimum point perks.
You can sign up for a PC Money Account on PC Financial’s website.
Please note that you must be both a Canadian resident and the age of majority in your province or territory of residence at the time of account signup.
If you fulfill these requirements, the application will be easy and relatively quick. Here are the types of information that will be asked of you.
- Personal information
- Employment status
- Tax information
- Account usage
You may also use a referral code in your account application to unlock special refer-a-friend benefits.
Who says good rewards should only belong to credit cards?
Beyond no monthly fees, it is now possible to get good rewards through your spending account, and the PC Money Account is a really good cross between the two.
I also really like the Mastercard features and fantastic user experience.
I would definitely recommend this account to you, especially if you are a regular at Loblaw stores. To further read up on no-fee bank accounts, check out this post on the Ten Best No-Fee Bank Accounts In Canada.