Canadians Bid Goodbye to Truly Global Chequing Account

| August 6, 2009 | 4 Comments
moneyglobe Canadians Bid Goodbye to Truly Global Chequing Account

Citizens Bank announced today that it will be leaving the personal banking marketplace.

Bad news for Canadian independent travelers—Citizens Bank has just announced it is exiting the retail banking business.

While there is a lot of healthy competition in the US, with many US players offering global chequing accounts with attractive fees and features, Citizens Bank was pretty much the only Canadian game in town if you wanted a truly global no-fee chequing account.

However, Citizens Bank announced today that it will be leaving the personal banking space. Citizen’s CEO Jason Farris, said that the company is converting to a non-deposit taking bank. In a message to members, Mr Farris relayed that Citizens, “in a national, online market, (was) unable to achieve the necessary size and scale to succeed.”

What a shame—we had just featured Citizens Bank last month in a piece entitled “What is the best bank account for a Canadian to have on a round-the-world trip?“.

Most backpackers would agree that international ATMs are the best way to manage your money while abroad (in most regions). They are convenient, safe, and usually provide travelers with the best exchange rate for their foreign currency. The greatest downside is that most domestic banks charge 1–3% or C$1–8 for every transaction made in a foreign country. These fees are charged for direct purchases as well as ATM withdrawals, and can add up to a pretty hefty sum after a few months of travel. However, Citizens Bank was an online national bank and the first in Canada to offer a no-fee, easy to use account with no ATM fees worldwide.

None of Citizens Bank’s 30,000 members need to take any immediate action. All your accounts, whether they are savings or loans products, will continue to operate as usual. Over the coming months, however, you will need to transfer some of your products and services to another financial institution.

For the bad news—and for further details, check out the message from President and CEO Jason Farris at Citizens’ website.

Thanks to Neil Carey (of 2wanderers.ca) for bringing this news to our attention.


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About the Author ()

For nearly ten years now, Daniel of Two Go Round-The-World has explored how travel captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. One half of the duo that maintains the widely read Two Go Round-The-World blog, Daniel treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. His latest book, The Physics of Flocking, gathers his favourite writing featured over the past two years on Two Go Round-The-World in columns like 'Looking Back' and 'The Whole Picture'—along with new reflections.

Comments (4)

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  1. Chris says:


    I think your guys’ site is very good! Keep it up!


  2. Hey guys,

    I think I mentioned this on a previous comment but I will repeat. We have taken the Select Account from TD Canada Trust. It has no fees when you widthdraw abroad. We been using it on our trip for 7 months now and it has worked great. The only catch for not being charged a monthly fee with this account is to maintain a minimum balance.

  3. Molly says:


    is there any alternative to Citizens Bank ‘global account’?

  4. Simon Ng says:


    Have you considered Scotiabanks Global ATM Alliance? Free Plus withdrawals with a lot of the world covered. By the time you guys travel in 2011 there may be more banks added to the list.

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