Protect your banking interests

Like most Canadians, you probably do most of your banking online. In this new reality, bank branches and call centres are no longer dedicated to processing transactions or customer service issues.

Instead, their focus has shifted in part to selling products and services. A common sales technique used by banks is cross selling, which is the practice of selling an additional product or service to a customer. For example, if you call your bank about an online transaction, the bank representative may take the opportunity to sell you a credit limit increase on your line of credit.

In a situation like this, you should never feel pressured to make a decision on the spot. Take the time you need and make sure that you have all the information to assess whether the offer is really in your best interest.

Banks need your consent, or permission, to sell you a product or a service. They can only get your consent by communicating in a way that is clear, simple and not misleading.

Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Keep your antenna up. Think twice before purchasing a product that you weren’t planning on getting. For example, don’t be tempted to get a credit card if you weren’t planning on getting one in the first place.
  2. Know before you owe. Before you sign anything, read the documents you are given—including the fine print. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification. If necessary, insist that the person selling the product clearly explain the terms and conditions to you.
  3. Do your research. Shop around to find the best deal that suits your needs. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has online credit card and bank account comparison tools that can help.

If you think your financial rights haven’t been respected, complain to your bank and tell FCAC your story. Learn more about your rights and responsibilities when dealing with your bank online at canada.ca/it-pays-to-know.

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