Between me and my wife, we have three bank accounts and use three sometimes four credit cards. We do not pay any fee on any bank account or credit card but get back about $100 in each card per year. It may not be a lot but it definitely gets us couple of dinner outings and it is just smart saving without cutting down on anything you do.
When I mention it my friends, I have often asked how and I’d explain it to them. So, I thought why not share it widely and some one may benefit from what I had been doing for last few years, here is how –
For sake of clarity and easy understanding, lets call the three banks bank1, bank2, bank3 and credit cards are CC1, CC2, CC3, CC4
We do not use bank1 account on regular basis. We have parked our emergency fund for rainy day in this account. Since it has balance of over five thousand, it comes with fee waiver and visa credit card with benefits like travel insurance etc. Hence the zero fee on first bank account.
I’m full time employed and have a salary account in bank2. This is also the account we use for daily/monthly expenses. I also have my RESP, RRSP and credit card CC2 with the same bank. Due to multiple products, I get reimbursed on my monthly bank account fee. Hence the zero fee on second bank account.
My wife is also full time employed and has salary account in bank3. We use her salary to pay off mortgage which is also with bank3. When we moved the mortgage with this bank3, we availed of a promotional offer that with checking/saving account and salary credit, our account will be upgraded to premier without any fee as long as we have mortgage with them. With the living cost gone up so high and salary we take home, I don’t see us paying of mortgage anytime soon. Hence the zero fee on third bank account.
With bank accounts taken care of, lets move to credit cards one by one..
Well, we use mostly master cards that come without fee so no brainer there. But lets discuss $100 average cashback on each,
I use one master card for all bill payments and all online like gas, utilities, insurance, phone, internet etc. Once you link this card with Petro-Canada, it gets you 1) 3 cents per liter off on gas, 2) gets you points on credit card and 3) points on Petro-Canada that I have used for free car washes.
We pay almost all bills from one credit card and here are few reasons why?
- Keeps me organized as I get to see all bills in one statement
- Less exposure of multiple cards to online fraud
- Accumulated cashback/points on card due to higher usage
We use another master card for most of other personal items shopping, eating out, groceries, Costco and what not. Costco shopping alone gets our yearly fee back, big Costco fans eh!!
I also have a PC master card. We have a Loblaws & Shoppers Drugmart in neighborhood and shop there often. This card also gets points on Mobil and Esso gas stations. On this card, we accumulate close to $100 worth of points every year.
Fourth card is visa travel to accumulate points. I use it only when we travel. It helps me in better expense tracking and optimize points.
Of course, there are many variables like access to these systems and personal preferences, I’ve just worked out an arrangement that works for me. Hopefully, it can help you to find your optimal strategy.