It is a sign of the times. TD Bank, which used to offer iPods to entice consumers to switch, is now promising to help them save instead through a program it calls Simply Save (similar to ScotiaBank’s Bank the Rest). Here’s how it works: A preset amount (from 50 cents to $5) is “saved” during each debit transaction or ATM withdrawal and transferred into a savings account on a regular basis. TD Bank is sweetening the offer by pitching in a bonus of $10 per $100 saved, up to a maximum of $200. It sounds like a gimmick but the bonus offer might make it worth your while.

If you already have a TD Bank account with unlimited transactions, you may want to enrol in the program to take advantage of what is essentially a 10% risk-free return even if TD’s savings account pays nothing. To get the maximum bonus, you’ll have to sign up for saving $5, perform 33 transactions per month over the course of an year and make sure that you don’t fall below the minimum balance in the chequing account and avoid any savings account fees.

We don’t have our accounts with TD Bank and I’m not about to jump through hoops as this offer isn’t as lucrative as RBC Direct Investing’s Bonus offer last year. But if I already had my accounts with TD Bank, it would be an easy way to score some extra cash.

This article has 19 comments

  1. $200 saved, and adding more

    Wouldn’t bother if I wasn’t already with TD Select Service

  2. It is a sign of times, and regardless I think it’s a positive sign. With those ING commercials “Like the guy with the accent says..” and now the Scotiabank/TD savings programs, it’s nice to see rather than all those mutual fund commercials.

  3. I’m giving it a try, but TD isn’t my main bank and I only have a basic account. (Very limited for transactions). I’ll probably only earn $30-$40 tops over the year (it’s a limited-time offer), but what the heck?

  4. Charles in Vancouver

    TD is my main bank but I’m strongly disinterested in this program. It seems like a lot of hoops to jump through. I’m already good enough at saving – I’d rather not get distracted with an inferior program 😛

  5. @ Charles
    I already have a TD account and I signed up for this in about 15 minutes, online, while sitting on the couch. It was not “a lot of hoops to jump through”. I’ll take a 10% risk free return!

  6. @ Charles — definitely no hoops to jump through.

    I didn’t sign up for this program because I’m not good at saving. (I am). I just decided that rather than squirreling this money away in a savings account to earn a whopping 1 %, I’d use some of it for this program and earn the 10%.

    What’s inferior now?

  7. I signed up for this program. I like it so far. I make loads of debit transactions (cash? what’s cash?) so it works well for me. It goes into my TFSA, which otherwise would be sadly empty.
    It also acts as a bit of a spending-deterrent, as well as a savings encouragement. Now when I go to buy something, I think to myself “do I really want to buy this, knowing it’ll “cost” me extra money?”. Sometimes the answer is no, which while not a benefit to my Simply Save program directly, is an overall benefit as I’m spending less money. I’m still at the beginning of the debt-reduction/savings journey, and I still need all the help I can get. and hey, 10% is 10%, and I’m not getting that anywhere else right now. I may as well get it for doing what I already do anyway. 😉

  8. From what I can tell, you need the Infinity account to perform the number of transactions required to take full advantage of this offer (Infinity offers unlimited transactions in a month, and you need to perform 33 transactions a month). In order to avoid monthly fees, you need to keep a minimum monthly balance of $3000 in the Infinity account.

    So, at the start of each month you’d have to deposit a minimum of $165 to cover the transfers to the savings account (33 * $5) PLUS whatever amount you think you’ll spend on your bank card (minimum debit transaction is around $5 at most corner stores in my area….I’d say $10 is the point of little embarrassment). So, let’s say $330 additional dollars. That’s $500 a month in addition to the $3000 you need to keep in there.

    Your real return would be, at a maximum, 2% ($200 bonus dollars divided by ($3,000 minimum balance PLUS $2,000 that has to be transferred to the savings account). I guess you could withdraw the money from the savings account on a month to month basis but it would still only push up your return to around 2.5%.

    Too much work. If I didn’t have to watch to make sure I did 33 transactions a month while keeping my bank balance above $3000, then maybe…..but it doesn’t seem worth it to me.

    Phil

  9. 33 transacations a month? For a year? Ha.

    I make maybe 12 per month. Take out some cash before the weekend, pay bills, and pay credit card balance off. I’d much rather be building points on the credit card and keeping the money in my account for the month than goign to essentially a cash-only basis to make the required transactions.

    And what are the tax implications? Are bonuses in a savings account taxed as income or windfall?

    In the end, it sounds somewhat gimmicky.

  10. Just out of curiosity, what would stop people from depositing money and then taking it out again, and then repeating the whole process over and over?

    @ Philip, people over 60 get their accounts for free. This may prove to be useless to me, but I think my parents might like it.

  11. Why am I having a hard time believing that a bank actually wants to really help the little guy. If they really want to help maybe the banks can slash the service fees that are everywhere, drastically increase the interest paid on deposits held in savings accounts, simple things like that.

  12. Pingback: Canadian Personal Finance Blog » Blog Archive » Random Thoughts: Summer is in the Air

  13. I can’t abide this knee-jerk response to the need to save. I’ve just finished posting a family I’ll be working with who had 47 of these transactions on her account with two results: when her auto-debit for her car payment was due to come out, the account was $23 short and she went into overdraft. As for the savings part — she’d transferred all the money back to the transaction account by the end of the month, in dribs and drabs, further racking up her transaction costs. If you’re committed to saving the you have a plan. You don’t need some stupid program that “tricks” you into setting money aside. Lord love a duck. This premise is an American invention — which doesn’t surprise me one bit — but I thought our banks had more sense! Ah, marketing. What lil trick comes next.

    • Canadian Capitalist

      Gail: Programs like this are only good for folks who already save diligently. They’ll simply keep saving and bank the “bonus”. If someone has trouble saving, they are not going to be very successful participating in a marketing gimmick such as this one.

  14. Pingback: The Financial Blogger » Blog Archive » Financial Ramblings

  15. After reading and re-reading the phrasing of the offer on the TD web-site, i decided to call TD for clarification.

    $200 is not the maximum amount of bonus dollars.
    It’s $20! And it’s a one shot deal.
    $200.00 — as seen on the advertisements — refers to the amount saved that would be eligible for bonus dollars. In other words, you will get 20 bonus dollars out of this program. Nothing more.

    bummer.

  16. @ Sean
    I e-mailed TD and here is an exact quote from their response:
    “We are pleased to advise that you can obtain a maximum of $200 in bonus dollars from TD Canada Trust.”

  17. @Sean
    That is simply not true. I’ve already received $120 in bonus dollars.

  18. Pingback: Scotiabank’s Let the Savings Begin Bonus | MoneySense