SERVICE FEE – 7EPMT/WD/TFR@$.150 at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

The other day I was surfing my savings account's details and I noticed a withdrawal of $10.50 (CAD) that I never did. The description was SERVICE FEE - 7EPMT/WD/TFR@$1.50 and was done on September 2nd, 2010. See the red rectangle in the picture below:


Going back in time a little bit, I noticed that I also had a SERVICE FEE – 4EPMT/WD/TFR@$1.50 on August 2nd, 2010. At that time I was charged with $6.00 (CAD).

I found a pattern in those withdrawals:
  1. They apply always on the second day of every month.
  2. The amount of the fee is the result of multiplying $1.50 by the number preceding “EPMT” in the description.
See the relation below for a trivial mathematical calculation of the fees:

Description:                                                                Fee value:
SERVICE FEE - 1EPMT/WD/TFR@$1.50       =>   $1.50 (CAD)
SERVICE FEE - 2EPMT/WD/TFR@$1.50       =>   $3.00 (CAD)
SERVICE FEE - 3EPMT/WD/TFR@$1.50       =>   $4.50 (CAD)
SERVICE FEE - 4EPMT/WD/TFR@$1.50       =>   $6.00 (CAD)
SERVICE FEE - 5EPMT/WD/TFR@$1.50       =>   $7.50 (CAD)
SERVICE FEE - 6EPMT/WD/TFR@$1.50       =>   $9.00 (CAD)
SERVICE FEE - 7EPMT/WD/TFR@$1.50       =>  $10.50 (CAD)
SERVICE FEE - NEPMT/WD/TFR@$1.50      =>  $1.50 * N (CAD)

At this point I decided to go to the nearest branch of the RBC and ask about the reason for those fees. They said I was charged because I had withdrawn money from my “savings account”, which is intended for “saving” and not for “making payments”. So, if you plan to pay for anything, don't use directly your “savings account”, instead use your “checking account”.

Most Canadian institutions do unfair tricks like the one described above to eat your money. Fortunately, I found a bank in Canada (Tangerine) that does not seem to trick you and eat your money. If you are interested, you might take a look at the link below:

Note: I am a client of Tangerine. These guys conduct a very clear business. They don’t trick, they don’t hide stuff and above all, they don’t charge any fees.

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  1. Algunos bancos tambien te cargan un service fee si haces mas de cierto numero de transacciones en el chequing account (y depende tambien de otras cosas).
    Por eso mas preferible aun (siempre que no sea en negocios dudosos) usar credit card. No hay limite del numero de pagos y a veces tienen money back, aeromiles, y seguro para ciertos tipos de compras.

  2. Wow. I was charged $5 CAD and I was surprised: "SERVICE FEE - 1EPMT/WD/TFR@$5.00 "
    Thanks for the blog.

    I guess the best method is to first transfer money from Savings to Chequing (which should be free?) and then transfer the funds further.

    1. RBC told me that it was free, and I found that exact fee being charged on my Savings account.. I sent an e-mail to get refunded; I hate how RBC always makes mistakes like this.

  3. Exactly “bsv”: Transferring money from Savings to Checking is charge-free.

  4. I think it depends on your account plan. I found the same charges on my Chequing account (and didn't know what they were - so thank-you for this post). That account allows me 15 transactions per month, and "debits exceeding the monthly limit" are $0.65 each. Sure enough:

    SERVICE FEE4EPMT/WD/TFR@$0.65 came out to $2.60

    So double-check the number of free transactions the account gives you, and your usage history. It might be time for you to upgrade accounts. Or switch banks.

  5. I hear you Julia.. I had to pay 14.95. I'll have to be more careful in the future with my account apparently.

  6. Just got hit for $25.00!! I have a chequing account too. I'll have to see about getting that fixed. Seems kind of high to me.

  7. i got charged 31.95!! so angry I had that money put in my savings account for my gym membership!

  8. what choices do we have? royal bank is pretty reliable and "sounds better" than other banks.
    i get charged with that regularly somethimes when buying too much stuff on ebay.
    don't withdraw from atm using saving that one will charge 2 or 5 bucks.
    i had to go in to talk to them to waive the $4 monthly fee for having enough asset or 5000 bucks at least in the account. something like that. quite a PITA to deal with this bank at times. also the mutual funds and stuff basically just losing money. that may because of the market. stressful times.
    all my money goes to saving account now. best thing to do for the next 10 years lol. following my grandfather's foot steps

    1. what choices do we have?
      PC (Presidents Choice) Bank ====NO FEES.
      ING... Online bank..........====NO FEES.
      other Online banks..........====NO FEES.
      It's time to wake up...why do we still bank with these ROBBER BARONS, and THIEVES.

  9. I got charged 21$, was so chapped i couldnt renew my gym membership

  10. thanks for this post, i got charged and had no idea why, because it is so easy to transfer from saving to chequing and then ...well, gotta pay for being lazy not doing the simple transfer :(

  11. Oooh god, RBC charged me $5 three times (15$ total) for only $30 in three transcriptions. We are trapped.

  12. I am new to Canada and opened a chequing and savings account. I asked about when I get charged etc as it appears over here you get charged for so much - banking in UK is free as long as you keep up with all payments. It is insane to charge you for using your own money!! It isn't costing them a cent for you to do this!!
    I asked in good faith to be told everything openly and honestly - drives me crazy seeing these charges on my account now.

    1. I know the feeling Matt. I came to Canada almost 4 years ago and this thing about the banks charging for using your own money is just indecent. Consider moving yourself to an online bank like Ing Direct, which does not charge any fee. I wrote about it in this post:

      Good luck.

  13. Hi Guys,

    Please pay attention that you can select several plan for your checking account for instance my checking account plan is 10 transaction free and $1 for more than 10 transactions per month. You can also have unlimited transaction with a fix monthly charge. In RBC online banking you can use multiple payee features which allows you to pay to several payees with one transaction. by this way you will save the number of transactions...

  14. the author said multiply by 1.5 ,apparently its 5 now, i got charged 50!!! during October, what the hell im going to switch to another bank

  15. Ugh, I wish I googled reviews before moving from PCFINANCIAL to RBC :( Is it best if I don't use my Savings account at all and just withdraw money from my chequing account and deposit it into TFSA?

  16. RBC is the pits. In addition to paying a regular monthly fee of $4 on my checking account, I think I'm paying $1 for every ATM transaction.

  17. 75 fucking dollars UBER pissed right now!

  18. Thank you very useful. I think the bank never loose. :@

  19. What the fuck lol I got charged for fucking $3, even though the amount of money is small but it pisses me off there's so many hidden fees.

  20. I got charge $18... RBC=RealBadChoice.. will move to another bank.

  21. Hi,

    The past two months I was charged $4.00 and $7.00 respectively for #EPMT/WD/TFR@$1.00. I phoned RBC and asked the representative to tell me how many "debits" I was allowed to have from my Day-to-Day Savings Account. He said I was allowed 12 transactions and that anytime I had an automatic payroll deposit go in, I would get an additional "debit transaction". Furthermore, withdrawals going into my RRSP were not to be counted.

    Low and behold, when he and I verbally went through the account transactions, only 10 counted as debit transactions. He kindly refunded me the service charges for both months for a total of $13.00.

    I then asked to speak to his supervisor to find out why I was being charged the extra service fees. The supervisor wasn't sure either, so she took some time to enter my transaction information into an RBC program that produces the RBC system's definition of each transaction.

    Evidently, each transaction coming out of the account (besides the RRSP withdrawal) was being counted as a "debit transaction".

    I argued that the transactions that I made were going to my other High Interest E-Savings accounts which bear my name.

    Ultimately, when one transfers their money between their own accounts at RBC, it counts as a "debit transaction."

    Now, this is outrageous for several reasons. First, all of the transactions for which I was incurring a service fee were to my own accounts. Next, RBC allows clients to have an unlimited number of High Interest E-Savings accounts. Also, when visiting RBC FAQ's I found this question and answer statement:

    Is there a fee to transfer funds between my RBC Bank accounts?

    No. You will not be charged to move money between RBC Bank accounts.

    Ultimately, RBC's system flags all outgoing transactions (excluding the aforementioned RRSP withdrawal) as "debit transactions" and counts them toward your limit.

    RBC needs to change this backdoor hidden charge given the nature of their account marketing and ever-changing client behavior.