PC Financial Now Simplii FinancialLast week it was announced that Loblaw’s and CIBC will no longer be partners in operating PC Financial. CIBC is buying out Loblaw’s and moving all PC Financial customers over to its new online bank called Simplii Financial.
The rebranding will be effective November 1st so time is of the essence.
Here’s what you need to know about it.
Full Disclosure: I’m a big fan of Tangerine bank and this post contain affiliate links.
PC Financial Now Simplii Financial: What You Need to Know
- All existing PC Financial customers will move to CIBC’s new online bank called Simplii Financial.
- All your account numbers, mortgages, bill payments and direct deposits will remain the same.
- Loblaw’s will still offer the PC Financial MasterCard and you can still accumulate PC points with it.
- Other than the MasterCard, no other banking services will allow you to get PC points. If you have a mortgage that gives you PC points on your anniversary date, then you’ll get a cash payout instead of points.
My Experience as a Long Time PC Financial Customer
PC Points System
I’ve been banking with PC Financial for nearly 15 years. The big appeal with PC Financial was the PC Points reward system that they offered. Those PC Points can be redeemed at any Loblaw’s store (Superstore, Fortinos, No Frills etc.) at the checkout to lower your grocery bill. It was a great rewards system that Loblaw’s will continue to offer.
However, over my 15 year experience with PC Financial I noticed that customers had fewer and fewer opportunities to earn PC Points. In the early days, you could accumulate PC Points every time your pay was direct deposited, whenever you made bill payments etc. Years ago PC Financial stopped doing that.
Getting PC Points with Your Mortgage Was Never A Good Deal
They also offer an incentive with their Fresh Cut Mortgages, where clients can receive PC Points every year on their mortgage anniversary date. My first mortgage was this type and I thought it was a great deal. I got about $300 in PC Points each year for 5 years.
But back then I was pretty stupid. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t really getting “free money.” The interest rate charged on the Fresh Cut Mortgage was more than the mortgage product offered with no points at all. So I was actually paying a higher interest rate (that amounted to about $500 extra each year), only to get $300 in free groceries. Nice trick. I wonder how many other people figured this one out. Needless to say that I no longer use that PC Financial Mortgage product.
Should I Stay or Should I Go? PC Financial vs Tangerine
I’ll be honest with you, this whole PC Financial thing has made me seriously consider doing all of my banking at Tangerine Bank. If you’re not familiar with Tangerine Bank read my comparison of PC Financial and Tangerine.
I already use their Tangerine MasterCard (which is better than PC Financial’s). Check out my comparison of the two cards.
Cash Bonuses for Joining Tangerine
Tangerine also offers cash bonuses of about $100 on sign-ups for their savings accounts and chequing accounts. If you sign up for both accounts, you could get about $225 in cash bonuses plus if you refer a friend, you get $50 per referral. This is what sets them apart from PC Financial. There’s just more incentive to bank with Tangerine.
Tangerine now offers $125 in bonus money when you open a Tangerine Chequing Account and set up a Direct Deposit. Long ago when PC Financial offered their points for direct deposits, I got 50 PC points per direct deposit (or 5 cents for each pay deposited). If you’re like me and get paid bi-weekly, then that means I got $1.30 a year (WhoopTiDoo!).
To get what Tangerine is offering me upfront, it would have taken me over 96 years to reach the $125!!! But wait a minute! I forgot that Money has a time value stamped on it. So if I took that $125 from Tangerine and kept it in their savings account earning 2% for 96 years, that money would have grown to $836.62 thanks to my dear friend Mr. Compound Interest!
Gee, thanks PC Financial for offering the bare minimum in a now discontinued way to earn points!
Tangerine Offers Better Mortgage Rates
But more important for me is that the mortgage interest rates offered by Tangerine are way better than PC Financial’s. This was not always the case, but more recently I noticed the shift. PC Financial’s mortgage interest rates increased significantly (ie. 4.44% for a 5 year fixed versus 2.89% for a 5 year fixed at Tangerine as of Aug 20, 2017). PC Financial does offer a special 4 year fixed for 2.99%, which is the closest comparative mortgage rate I could find. Not really a great deal at all compared to Tangerine.
Enough Wishful Thinking, Time for Action!
This brings me to another important point about the CIBC rebranding of PC Financial.
Some people are hopeful that the CIBC rebranding of PC Financial into Simplii Financial will breathe new life into the low fee, online banking world. This all sounds really great, like North Korea giving up their nukes!!!
Me…I have my doubts. Remember, CIBC has been running the bank behind the scenes for years and now look at how uncompetitive their savings, chequing and mortgage interest rates are.
If you’re an executive at CIBC reading this post then I would suggest you start offering higher interest on savings and chequing accounts, much better mortgage interest rates, no fee email money transfers (EMTs) and a competitive no annual fee cash back credit card (with no minimum payout threshold). If you want to retain me as a client, then that is the bare minimum of what I will accept. Simply telling me that nothing will change is just not good enough. I want more.
If you’re a client of PC Financial DO NOT be lulled into complacency by this change. Demand all of what I mentioned above. Use this move as an opportunity to advocate for better no-fee banking services. Or make the move over to Tangerine.
PC Financial has nearly 2 million customers and I want all 2 million to read this post so please share this with as many people and as many times as you possibly can. Hopefully we can lobby for a better online bank.
Thanks for reading PC Financial Now Simplii Financial.