Sunday, November 14, 2010

ING THRiVE Chequing vs BMO

I've been an ING Direct saver since early 2010, having made a cool $2000 with the their Orange Key referral program. I also invest monthly into a TFSA (the streetwise mutual fund, to be exact). Earlier this year, ING Direct opened what they call THRiVE Chequing.

Given that I've had a BMO Chequing account for over two years, switching to THRiVE wouldn't be something I do without due diligence. ING Direct list their primary selling points for their new chequing account on their website. I decided to dig a little deeper and discover how BMO compares before making my decision.

No-fee daily chequing
I pay for the BMO Plus plan a a cost of $8.50 a month. This fee is waived if I don't let the balance dip below $2000.

THRiVE, however, is free – you don't pay a monthly fee. But there are fees associated with other services.

For example, replacement debit cards with THRiVE are $15 but you get one free a year. BMO provide free replacement cards no matter how many you lose (I wasn't charged either time when I lost my debit card twice in one year).

ING charge $10 for Canadian drafts, but BMO charge $6.50 (in any currency).

A book of twenty cheques will cost THRiVE customers $10 (but the first twenty are free). This could add up considerably if you write a lot of cheques. BMO, however, don't charge at all for cheques.

In summary, given that I'm careless with debit cards, BMO are the winners. Maintaining my chequing balance above $2000 to avoid the $8.50 fee isn't a problem.

Pays Interest
THRiVE pays 0.25% on balances below $50000. Perhaps it's just me, but I don't think people who could afford to keep $50000 in their chequing account would be swayed by the paltry interest rate on offer. Most people would be better served by keeping amounts this large in high interest savings accounts. ING's high interest savings account currently pays 1.5%

BMO pay no interest on their chequing accounts, but you can connect chequing accounts to the Smart Saver account paying 1.35% and switch money in and out online (you're allowed unlimited deposits, but only one free withdrawal from the Smart Saver account each month)

Given the small difference in rates on the high interest savings accounts, we're tied on this point

Free email alerting
THRiVE customers get email alerts for specific account transactions (like payments, balances etc). That's a pretty neat service – BMO do not offer anything similar.

Free ABM Access
ABM access is pretty important if you're an online bank, and THRiVE customers can use the THE EXCHANGE® Network to withdraw cash. I searched for ABMs in my home town of Waterloo and found eight. BMO just edge them out with ten.

Free Whoops! Protection
ING offer free overdraft protection up to $250 (but you have to pay this back in 30 days, otherwise you'll be charged $2.50 a month). This is amusingly called the Whoops! service.

BMO offer overdraft protection of up to $2500 (upon application) but charge you interest on the total.

I'm pretty savvy with money and I've never been in the red, so this isn't a factor for me.

Mobile Banking
If you're a proud owner of an iPad, iPhone or Blackberry, you can bank while mobile with the THRiVE account. BMO are technological Luddites and don't offer this service.

ING primarily advertise THRiVE as a no-fee chequing account. Since I effectively don't get charged for my BMO chequing account (as long as maintain a balance of $2000), this isn't a factor. So ING's offering has to stand on its other merits.

I currently hold a BMO credit card, and their online services allow me to see my balances across all my accounts. This unified website is a very big plus for me. ING Direct don't (yet) offer a credit card, so I'd have to constantly switch between two websites to keep track of my day-to-day finances.

THRiVE's other benefits, however, aren't enough for me to shift my banking to ING. I still value the presence of a physical BMO branch barely a mile from me more than I do THRiVE's other selling points like free overdrafts and email alerts.

In short, I'll keep my chequing account with BMO until ING decide to raise their game.

ING Direct Canada Orange Key Promotion

If you open any ING account with an initial deposit of $100, and specify any of these working Orange Keys during the online application, you (and the owner of the Orange Key) will get $25 each.


You'll also get your own Orange Key so you can make your own referrals, and get $25 each time, up to a maximum of $2000. Here's a rundown of the referral scheme

Refer 10 friends - get $25*10 + $50 bonus = $300
Refer 20 friends - get $25*10 + $100 bonus = $350
Refer 30 friends - get $25*10 + $150 bonus = $400
Refer 40 friends - get $25*10 + $200 bonus = $450
Refer 50 friends - get $25*10 + $250 bonus = $500
TOTAL = $2000

Once you have your own Orange Key, visit this site and post it in a comment. I'll then feature it in a new blog post!


  1. My Orange Key is 35161519S1
    Loving my ING Thrive account, so far :)

  2. Sharing my Orange Key: 35429107S1

  3. Hello, I would like to share my orange key as well: 35397660S1. Thank you.

  4. Here's my orange key: 35059022S1. Thanks!

  5. Hello, my orange key is: 18546196S1

  6. Here's my orange key: 35267721S1 - thank you!

  7. Please use my Orange Key 35466999S1

    Happy Holidays!

  8. 34896503S1

    Have a good Christmas everyone!

  9. Might I mention that BMO cheques are not free for the cheaper chequing accounts. It costs about $30 for a book for the basic chequing account (don't dip below $1000 for it to be free). BUT PC Financial provides FREE cheques and no minimum amount is required in your chequing account (plus you get a small +.05% interest rate).

    ING has the best for interest rates thus far though.

    Feel free to use my Orange Key 34031851S1

  10. Great blog, it is very helpful. I have been a user for over 8 years! I highly recommend ING to anyone. Absolutely no complaints. My Orange Key is: 14654466S1

    Thank you for using it!

  11. Here's my orange key: 34486111S1

  12. Here's mine that's never been used: 16594717S1

  13. Here's my orange key: 35065057S1

  14. here's a fresh one from jan 2011 never used
    get your $25

  15. My brand new Orange Key, as of January 12, 2011, is 34386900S1.

    Thank you in advance.

  16. Thanks for the tip. I got my bonus - and so did you then ;)

    Here is my ING Direct Canada Orange Key 17100653S1

  17. 35537435S1 as of 14/01/2011

    Thanks =)

  18. Here is my ING Direct Canada Orange Key: 30097956S1

    Thanks :)

  19. Hi there!
    Please feel free to use my ING Direct Orange key: 21349135S1

    Thanks very much, and happy New Year everyone!

  20. Here is my Orange Key that has never been used - 33120182S1.


  21. Brand new Orange Key is 35534997S1

  22. Another new Orange Key: 17095704S1

  23. Brand new Orange Key: 35591877S1
    Thanks and enjoy your $25!

  24. Orange Key: 32936841S1
    Help an Astronomy grad student buy pizza

  25. Orange key: 14457440S1
    I'm like 30 grand in debt from pilot school, help a brother out :)

  26. I opened my account last week with an Orange Key in one of these comments -- thanks for the free $25!

    Here's my key: 35644634S1

  27. Brand new orange key (no referrals yet): 33866519S1
    Help a college student out and enjoy your $25!

  28. Orange key 22420388S1. Thank you. Been with ing for 10 years!

  29. My orange key is 34600281S1. Thanks

  30. Orange key: 14221340S1 and 14460703S1
    thanks a lot!

  31. Here is my Orange Key (you can use it as many times as you would like! no expiry!)


  32. New Orange key in the waiting:



  33. Earn an extra $50 with this orange key: 35885617S1

  34. My Orange Key is: 13946029S1. Thanks and 'happy banking'!!

  35. I don't have my orange key.. Can you explain it in detail...
    forzest online

  36. my orange key is 36044411S1, never used

  37. Use this key 38991685S1 if all other keys not working. (Each key has limited number of times for referrals, so try this new one - 38991685S1 for $50 before Dec 31, 2011)

  38. Use this key 38991685S1 if all other keys not working.

  39. Feel free to use this one as well: 36078226S1



  40. New Orange Key: 34001353S1
    You can get $50 free if you open an account using this key and deposit at least $100. Happy Saving!

  41. New orange code: 39228750S1

    Happy saving! Thank you.

  42. Orange key for $25 for you and I with $100 min intial deposit.



  43. 17089661S1

    I just switched over from RBC... tired of paying 10.95 a month. I get everything with Thrive for free or lower priced than RBC. I don't use checks that often, and they give 50 free ones to start (used to be 20)... Those will last me a long time.

    Only downside for me is the closest ABM is about 2 blocks over vs my RBC right across the street. Small price to pay for free.

    Anyways, feel free to use my Orange Key!


  44. Use this key 38991685S1 if all other keys not working. (Each key has limited number of times for referrals, so try this new one - 38991685S1)

  45. Brand new Orange Key - you now get $50 for signing up


    Happy saving :)

  46. I just opened up my account last week and I only found this website today!!! I wish I used your orange key!! :(

  47. Now you can get a bonus of $50 if you open an account by Dec 31.

    Here's my Orange Key 34001353S1

    Happy Saving!