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Today I want to talk to you about money. Chances are, if you’re like me, you like money. You really like money. And you probably never seem to have enough of it. People who say “money can’t buy happiness” probably have too much of it. For the rest of us, I’m sure we could find a way to be happier if we had a little more money in our bank account.
That brings me to the topic of discussion – Tangerine Bank. What used to be known as ING Direct Canada became Tangerine in 2012 thanks to Scotia Bank purchasing good ole ING. At the time Scotia Bank promised not to screw with Tangerine lest they have a massive mutiny of INGers jumping ship. So other than the stupid name, Tangerine remained essentially ING Direct.
We recently received an email detailing a change that would impact me directly. Goodbye Whoops! What’s Whoops!? Whoops! protection is what ING Direct (and later Tangerine) called their version of overdraft protection. It was an automatic $250 cushion for pre-authorized payments that saved you from those ridiculous $40 NSF charges that the big banks love to smack down when someone’s balance goes into the negative because of a bill payment. I’ve seen me get dinged $40 for going $2 into the red… AND they deny the payment. It’s ridiculous, and ING Direct knew that. The best part about Whoops! is that it was free. As long as you got your account into the positive within 30 days, Whoops! covered you without any cost. Not anymore.
Now we have something called “overdraft protection” (catchy, eh?) which starts at $250 and costs $5 any time you use it. Well.. almost. When the change was initially announced it contained few specifics, and I think that the social media backlash might have stung. I know I was vocal (ie snarky) on Twitter. Now that the program has been finalized, there is a caveat included that states if you pay back the overdrawn amount on the same day, no fees or interest charges will kick in. Call me crazy, but I think social media scored a win with this one.
I have to be fair in this post though. There are some benefits of the new program over the old Whoops! I am pre-approved to a $500 overdraft, so that’s twice as much as before. Plus it now covers any sort of payment, not only pre-approved bill payments. No one wants to live on the negative side of their bank account, but it’s nice to know that if I need it, it’s there.
All in all, I think Scotia Bank has done a decent job of incorporating Tangerine into their portfolio without screwing it up. So far. I worry about the future, and whether they will eventually just absorb Tangerine clients into the big red S. But for now it’s pretty much business as usual, and I do appreciate being able to access my Tangerine account through any Scotia Bank ATMs. I don’t do it often, but there were only 2 ATMs in Saint John that allowed me to withdraw cash from my ING Direct account. Now I have access to the network of Scotia Bank ATMs, and there are considerably more of them around.
I am so happy to see that Scotia Bank posted record profits for the last quarter. I was quite worried that my inflated bank fees might not be enough to keep them propped up amid the global meltdown. But no, thankfully they were able to watch their pennies, and squeeze out a paltry $C1.1 billion. And that’s just 3 months.
Just goes to show you, that with a little hard work, some determination, and generously gouging the hell out of your customers, you too can be one of the little success stories.