Blueshore Financial credit union review
Here at Myratecompass’s, we strive to provide our readers with a comprehensive look into as many financial institutions as we can. This includes traditional banks, credit unions, and investment firms, as well as their modern, online-only counterparts. We've looked at several online-only institutions recently, so today we're stepping out of cyberspace and back into the physical world.
Today, we're going to take a look at Blueshore Financial, so keep reading to learn all about what this institution has to offer.
About Blueshore Financial
Blueshore Financial is a credit union based in British Columbia. Founded in 1941 as North Shore Community Credit Union, Blueshore began as a financial institution designed to provide financial services to blue collar workers who found themselves with very few options after the Depression.
Blueshore grew and grew over the decades, and its efforts have been rewarded with recognition as one of the 50 Best Small and Medium Employers in Canada and as a recipient of the prestigious Waterstone Award, which recognizes Blueshore as one of Canada's 10 most-admired corporations.
In this regard, Blueshore prides itself in its commitment to corporate, social, and environmental responsibility. Blueshore demonstrates its continuing social and community commitments by donating at least 1% of its profits to local causes each year and by encouraging its associates to engage with their community through volunteering, fundraising, and serving on the boards of causes they believe in. Blueshore's approach to corporate responsibility has helped it grow into the 4th-largest credit union in British Columbia, with nearly 50,000 members entrusting Blueshore with the collective management of around $5 billion worth of assets.
Blueshore further demonstrates its commitment to its members by maintaining membership in the Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. The CUDIC of British Columbia is a division of British Columbia Financial Services Authority. Like other Canadian credit union deposit insurers that we've seen, British Columbia's CUDIC fully insures all deposits placed in British Columbia's credit unions with no maximum account limit.
Personal financial services
Blueshore's list of offerings includes everything you'd expect from a full-service credit union. This includes chequing and savings accounts, credit cards, investments, and insurance. We'll summarize each class of product below.
Blueshore Financial Personal chequing accounts
Perhaps the backbone of any full-service financial institution, the chequing account provides customers with a way to safely deposit their money in an accessible and useful bank account. Blueshore currently offers a total of nine different chequing accounts, divided into five classes. We'll summarize Blueshore's offerings by account class.
- Personal chequing accounts: These accounts offer affordable terms and flexible features designed to facilitate members' everyday banking needs such as paying bills and buying goods and services.
- Premium chequing: This account carries a monthly fee of $25. For that fee, members receive unlimited monthly transactions, including Interac e-transfers. Members also receive an annual fee waiver for Blueshore's World Mastercard or Travel Rewards Gold Mastercard, a free small safety deposit box, and free overdraft protection. Blueshore waives the monthly account fee for minimum balances of $10,000 or more.
- Unlimited: This account carries a $14 monthly fee, which Blueshore waives for accounts that maintain a balance of $5,000. This account provides members with unlimited "everyday" transactions, which Blueshore defines as deposits, withdrawals, transfers, bill payments, pre-authorized debits, and Canadian ATM transactions.
- Pay-as-you go: This account charges no monthly fee. Members instead pay service fees of $0.70 to $2.50 per transaction depending on transaction type. This account also gives members the chance to earn interest on their balance. Although it does not appear Blueshore is paying interest at this time.
- U.S. chequing: The U.S. chequing account is a pay-as-you-go account, as well. With transactions fees ranging from $0.70 to $1.00, this account allows Candian members who frequently pay bills or write cheques in U.S. currency to do so while avoid fluctuating exchange rates.
- Golden chequing accounts: These accounts provide unique benefits to members who are 59 years of age and older.
- Unlimited: This account provides members with all the features of the personal Unlimited account at a discounted rate of $10 per month.
- Pay-as-you-go: This account resembles the personal pay-as-you-go account, except the first 30 transactions each month are free.?
- Young Adult Unlimited account: This account is available to members aged 19 to 24 and provides members with free access to all the features of the personal Unlimited account.
- Youth chequing account: This account also resembles the personal pay-as-you-go account, except the first 25 transactions each month are free.
- Community chequing accounts: This account is designed as a low-fee account for clubs, teams, and other community groups. Blueshore provides account holders with an assortment of transactions including cheque clearing, in-branch banking, withdrawal, and deposits in exchange for a monthly "package fee" that ranges from $1.50 to $3.00 per month.
Blueshore members also receive fee-free access to over 4,700 ATMs across Canada and the United States.
Blueshore Financial Personal savings accounts
Blueshore also offers 9 different savings account, this time divided into 4 classes.
- Personal Savings Accounts: These account provide a safe and insured way to save money while earning interest.
- High-interest savings account: This account carries an interest rate of .30% and requires no minimum account balance. It also provides members with one free transaction per month. Additional transactions cost $5.00 to $7.50.
- Regular savings account: This account carries an interest rate of .25% and also requires no minimum account balance. It provides members with one free transaction per month. The difference is additional transactions on this account carry fees ranging from $0.70 to $3.25.
- U.S. Savings: Like the U.S. chequing account, this account gives members the ability to save funds in U.S. currency. Members receive one free transaction per month, along with the ability to transfer funds to their Blueshore U.S. chequing account. This is an interest-bearing account, but Blueshore does not appear to currently pay interest on the account.
- Registered Savings Accounts: Blueshore offers a full suite of tax-advantaged savings account to help members save for education expenses or retirement. These include TFSAs, RRSPs, and RRIFs, all of which we've explore previously.
Blueshore, however, also offers an RESP Growth Savings account, which we haven't looked at recently. RESP stands for Registered Education Savings Plan. These accounts allow members to save up to $50,000 per account for a child's post-secondary education expenses. Gains grow tax-free but are subject to tax once withdrawn. However, because the beneficiary will always be a student, who typically have very low incomes, the marginal tax rate paid on the proceeds will generally be quite low. The government also matches RESP contributions up to a certain amount per child each year.
- Youth Savings Account: This account gives members aged 18 years and younger a convenient way to save for a financial goal. It provides members with 10 free transfers between Blueshore accounts each month and carries an interest rate of .50%.
- Golden Savings Account: This account resembles the Youth Savings Account in nearly all respects except that it carries only a .25% interest rate.
Blueshore offers a complete array of personal lending services including mortgages, lines of credit, and personal loans.
When it comes to mortgages, Blueshore offers fixed-rate open, fixed-rate closed, variable-rate open, variable-rate closed, and split-rate mortgages, as well as an interest-only option for when members need to temporarily reduce their monthly payment to the absolute minimum.
Blueshore also offers more innovative mortgage products such as the "own-to-rent" mortgage designed for owners of rental property, the Summit mortgage designed for high net worth clients looking for a mortgage of up to $3 million, and the Self-Employed Mortgage, which is designed to account for entrepreneurs' earning potential while recognizing the fluctuations of owning your own business.
Blueshore Financial Credit cards
Blueshore offers eight different credit cards, each designed for a different type of user.
- World Mastercard: $120 annual fee; 19.90% interest rate; 2 points per dollar spent; price protection; travel protection; travel health plan; and extended warranties
- Travel Rewards Gold Mastercard: $99 annual fee; 19.90% interest rate; 1 point per dollar spent; comprehensive travel insurance features
- Centra Gold Mastercard: $50 annual fee; 9.90% interest rate; ability to earn points toward merchandise, travel rewards, and cash back
- FlexRate Mastercard: $40 annual fee; interest rate varies from 9.85% to 18.35% based on member's creditworthiness; mobile device insurance
- Classic Mastercard: $30; 11.90% interest rate; purchase protection, extended warranties, and mobile device insurance
- Cash Back Mastercard: $0 annual fee; 19.90% interest rate; purchase protection, extended warranties, and mobile device insurance plus the ability to redeem points for cash back
- Student Mastercard: $0 annual fee; 11.90% interest rate; purchase protection, extended warranties, and mobile device insurance; available to students only
- U.S. Dollar Mastercard: $50 annual fee; 19.90% interest rate; travel health plan; travel insurance; purchase protection; and extended warranties
All Blueshore Mastercards come with zero-liability fraud protection.
Business financial services
Blueshore offers a full array of business financial services to compliment its consumer services division, including chequing and savings accounts, investments, payment processing, and insurance.
Blueshore Financial Business accounts
- Business chequing accounts: Designed to serve as a business's operating account, Blueshore offers 5 business chequing account packages. Each account differs in the number of monthly transactions the account provides. The options are:
o Pay-as-you-go: $6 per month; $0.70 to $3.25 per transaction
o Business 20: $15.00 per month; 20 free transactions
o Business 40: $25.00 per month; 40 free transactions
o Business 60: $35.00 per month; 60 free transactions
o Business 120: $70.00 per month; 120 free transactions
- Business Savings accounts: This account provides for two free transactions per month and unlimited deposits. Blueshore advertises a "competitive" interest rate, but does not publicly display what that rate is.
Blueshore also offers U.S. currency versions of its business accounts.
Blueshore Financial Business credit cards
Blueshore offers four different business credit cards
- Platinum Business Mastercard: $99 annual fee; 19.90% interest rate; ability to customize credit limits per card holder; 2 points per dollar spent; travel insurance
- Low Rate Business Mastercard: $25 annual fee; 12.90% interest rate; purchase protection and extended warranties
- No Fee Cash Back Business Mastercard: $0 annual fee; 19.90% interest rate; 1 point per $2 spent; redeem points for 1% cash back
- U.S. Dollar Mastercard: $50 USD annual fee; 19.90% interest rate; 1 point per dollar spent; travel health plan; travel insurance; purchase protection and extended warranties
As a full-service credit union, Blueshore offers its members a full wealth management and investment practice. This includes mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, bonds, and other investment tools, along with registered accounts and GICs.
Blueshore also offers its GICs, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs to business members, as well.
Blueshore offers its members a variety of insurance products as well. These include life insurance, critical illness care insurance, disability insurance, long-term care insurance, extended health and dental insurance, and mortgage and loan insurance.
For business members, Blueshore offers buy-sell life insurance, key person life insurance, critical illness insurance, disability insurance, business loan insurance, and group health insurance.
How does Blueshore stack up to the competition?
Blueshore is a very traditional full-service credit union. As such, it still very much relies on the traditional fee-based account model of banking. Although this model is still quite widespread in Canada for the moment, the industry appears to be transitioning away from it with the advent of more and more online-only banks that offer free unlimited chequing and savings account options. Still, Blueshore's size and established character allow it to offer a truly comprehensive suite of financial services, including insurance and several mortgage products that are quite unique.
Blueshore is a traditional credit union with a traditional fee structure. But members also receive no-fee access to one of the largest ATM networks we've seen so far. Additionally, its full wealth management practice and insurance practices, Summit mortgage offering, and Golden chequing account features make Blueshore an attractive option for higher-net worth members looking for a full-service financial institution. As always, we encourage you to look them up or schedule a meeting to get a sense whether they're the right fit for you.