Meridian Credit Union Review 2021

  • High Interest Savings Account - 0.45%
  • 5-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage - 2.69%
  • 18-Month Guaranteed Investment Certificate - 1.25%

Find a full range of financial services at Meridian with competitive rates - Claim this offer

This Meridian Credit Union review may provide some insight if you’re new to credit unions. As an alternative to the traditional banks, Meridian Credit Union is leading the charge as the largest credit union in Ontario.

Meridian Credit Union is the largest credit union in Ontario and the second largest in Canada. Their comprehensive range of products and services includes credit cards, investment services, wealth management, chequing and savings accounts and lending products, including loans, lines of credit, and mortgages. You can visit one of their 89 locations or bank them via your mobile phone. In fact, with Meridian Credit Union, you can bank from anywhere.

In this Meridian Credit Union review, I’ll go over why they’re popular among Ontarians. I’ll also explore their product and service offerings in detail.

Let’s get started with this Meridian Credit Union review.

What makes Meridian Credit Union a good option?

Before getting into their products and services, this section of our Meridian Credit Union review will address what makes them stand out.

We think Meridian is a great choice for Canadians because of their competitive rates and appealing products. Meridian is often the better option when compared to banks and other competitors.

Many Canadians have chosen them because they provide all services that a traditional bank does. However, many have opted for Meridian due to their dedication to positively impacting every Member’s life.

As a Meridian Member, you’re not limited to a single banking method. You can bank from anywhere on any device, either online, over the phone, or on your mobile.

Alternatively, if you prefer a more traditional approach, you can always visit one of their 89 branches or reach out to their Contact Centre.

Their services are primarily available in Ontario, and motusbank, a subsidiary of Meridian, is able to service the rest of Canada (except Quebec). This means non-Ontarians can open high-interest savings accounts, purchase mortgages, and take out personal loans.

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Range of Products and Services

This section of my Meridian Credit Union review covers the products and services they offer.

Meridian provides almost every product and service a bank should offer individuals and small businesses. This includes chequing and savings accounts, credit cards, investing, lines of credit, business finance, and mortgages.

I’ll go over these in more detail below.

Personal Banking

There are various personal products and services offered by Meridian Credit Union. These range from savings accounts to travel insurance.

Chequing Accounts

Meridian offers a range of chequing accounts to fit a variety of needs.

Pay as you go, limitless, convenience, electronic, convenience plus, senior, and US Dollar chequing accounts are some options.

While each chequing account has its own set of benefits, almost all accounts have:

  • Unlimited free transactions
  • Unlimited free deposits
  • No monthly fees
  • Free Interac e-Transfers® per month
  • Access for cardholders to over 40,000 surcharge-free ATMs on THE EXCHANGE® Network in North America
  • Free certified cheques and monthly paper statements.
Charges and Fees

These are the charges and fees associated with holding a Meridian Chequing Account:

  • Monthly maintenance — between $5 and $12
  • Self-serve, personal and cheque transactions — $1 per transaction
  • Interac e-Transfer® —$1.50
  • Cirrus® ABM withdrawals — $3
  • Bank draft — $7.50
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSF) — $48
  • Coverdraft — $5 per item
  • Overdraft protection — $1 per month plus interest
  • Overdraft interest rate — 21% per annum

Savings Accounts

The Meridian High-interest Savings Account earns holders interest of 0.45% on every dollar.

Apart from the basic account, they make available a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF), and Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) account.

They also offer an advantage savings account that is available in TFSA, RRIF, and RRSP. And a youth savings account for those 17 years and younger.

The features of a Meridian Savings Account include:

  • Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly.
  • No minimum balance is required.
  • Unlimited free transactions, except for the advantage savings account. This account includes one free self-serve and one free personal transaction each month. However, transaction fees are waived when you maintain a balance of $50,000.
  • Access to over 43,000 surcharge-free ATMs on THE EXCHANGE® Network in North America
Charges and Fees

You may incur the following charges and fees if you hold a Meridian Savings Account:

  • Additional self-serve and personal transactions — $1.25 per transaction
  • In-branch interim paper statement — $5

Meridian Sweep Account

To reach your savings goals faster, link your Meridian Chequing Account to a High-interest Savings Account.

The Meridian Sweep Account works by transferring money between your chequing and savings accounts automatically based on the limits you specify.

You can use the funds automatically moved from your savings to your chequing account for day-to-day expenses. Then any money that isn’t used is transferred to your savings account, where it can earn interest rather than lying idle in your chequing account.

To avoid insufficient funds charges, you can get overdraft or coverdraft protection for your Meridian Sweep Account.

Credit Cards

If you’re searching for a credit card that provides rewards on everyday purchases, Meridian offers a variety.

They are licensed by Visa to issue credit cards. As a result, you can use your card anywhere around the globe.

The annual fee on personal Visa credit cards is $49 or $99, depending on the card. However, they offer a credit card with no yearly fee.

They may also charge you an additional card fee of $30.

Loan & Lines of Credit

You have several options if you need to borrow money for an emergency or to make house upgrades.

Meridian Credit Union provides personal loans and personal and residential lines of credit.

They don’t have a set limit on how much you can borrow. Various factors, including your income and existing debt, will determine the amount they can lend you.

To find out how much financing you qualify for, you’ll have to submit an application.

A $48 late payment charge is a cost associated with a Meridian loan or line of credit.

Mortgages

Meridian offers a variety of mortgages to suit your needs. You might find a solution with them, whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or building a house from scratch.

They provide variable and fixed-rate mortgages. When writing this Meridian CredWhen writing this Meridian Credit Union review, the 5-year fixed mortgage rates are 2.59% and 2.69%, depending on whether you are applying for a high ratio or conventional mortgage.

An open home loan will allow you to prepay without incurring applicable pre-payment charges. However, a closed mortgage will restrict you from paying your loan off early.

A fixed-rate mortgage has rates ranging from 2.09% to 5.95%, depending on the term.

You can choose to pay your mortgage off weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, or accelerated weekly or bi-weekly. In addition, depending on your mortgage agreement, you can skip a mortgage payment once every 12 months without charge. Consult your mortgage terms to learn about limitations that may apply.

The other mortgage options they offer include:

  • Flex line mortgage – A variable or fixed-rate mortgage combined with a home equity line of credit. As your mortgage balance decreases, your available credit limit on the HELOC increases.
  • Self-employed Mortgage – A home loan suited for entrepreneurs, business owners, and self-employed persons.
  • Hybrid Mortgage – A loan mixed with a mortgage to improve affordability for that dream home purchase, ideal for recent graduates or professionals.
  • Construction Mortgage – A home loan catered to those who want to purchase a fixer-upper or build a house from the ground up.

Meridian provides a personalized service in which you can speak with a mortgage expert if you require help. They will guide you through the process and answer your questions.

Insurance

It’s never a bad idea to get coverage in case of life’s unforeseen events.

Meridian Credit Union can insure your home and your mortgage payments. You can also apply for travel insurance if you plan to take a trip within or outside Canada.

Investing

Meridian provides a variety of investing opportunities. You can save for retirement, start an education fund for your children, or build your portfolio.

These are the investments available:

  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
  • Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
  • Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
  • Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
  • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)

You can also apply for Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) and mutual funds.

Business Banking

Meridian offers several business banking products and services, such as credit cards and cash management.

They cater to several industries, including agriculture and healthcare.

The business banking options explored in this part of my Meridian Credit Union review apply to small and commercial organizations.

Accounts

Meridian Credit Union provides a mixture of savings and chequing accounts and plans.

For small businesses, these include the e-prosper chequing account and community/not-for-profit account. They also offer the same options for commercial companies.

In addition, they provide a service where small business owners can pay their taxes online.

Credit Cards

They offer three ranges of business Visa credit cards that carry cashback rewards.

The benefits of a Meridian Business Visa credit card include:

  • Fraud monitoring
  • Auto rental collision/loss damage insurance
  • Mobile device insurance
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

The annual interest rate for purchases ranges from 1.29% to 19.50%. And depending on the card, the yearly fees are $110 or $49. They provide a business credit card with no annual fee as well.

Investing

Meridian provides an assortment of Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) investments for businesses. These include cashable, non-redeemable, and marketable GICs.

Cash Management

A healthy cash flow is critical for any business.

Therefore, Meridian offers a variety of cash flow management services.

This includes rapid check depositing, internet banking, and payroll and receivables management.

Business Financing

Business owners can apply for short, medium, and long-term financing with Meridian.

They can also help you get government financing, such as Export Development Canada’s (EDCs) export guarantee program.

You may also apply for a loan specific to your business’s industry or corporate structured financing.

Wealth Management

Meridian can assist you in finding investment opportunities to help you build wealth.

You can speak with a wealth advisor who will help you set financial goals and develop an investment strategy. They’ll also keep track of your progress and advise you on how to pivot if things change.

Additionally, they’ve partnered with Qtrade Direct Investing to make buying and selling stocks, bonds, ETFs, and mutual funds easier for Members. Before making any commitments, you may try Qtrade for free for 30 days.

Are Meridian Credit Union Products Insured?

Yes, the eligible deposit products provided by Meridian Credit Union are insured.

Eligible deposits (not in registered accounts) are insured up to $250,000 through the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) including:

  • Chequing and savings accounts
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) and other term deposits

Eligible deposits in registered accounts have unlimited coverage through FSRA, including:

  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
  • Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
  • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
  • Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
  • Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
  • Locked in Retirement Account (LIRA)•  Life Income Fund (LIF)

Is Meridian Credit Union Safe to Use?

While I’ve previously shown that saving your money with Meridian is safe because they’re a member of the FSRA, you might be curious about other areas of security.

It’s reasonable to be concerned because they aren’t a bank, which most of us might be more accustomed to dealing with.

As a result, this section of my Meridian Credit Union review may be helpful.

Meridian is headquartered in St. Catharines. They are the largest credit union in Ontario and the second largest in Canada, with about 380,000 Members and over $27.6 billion in assets under management.

All Members’ online banking accounts are secured by challenge questions.

You’ll be prompted to answer a pre-set personal challenge question if you use a mobile device or computer you’ve not previously marked as trusted. This will be something only you would know, like the name of your first pet.

Furthermore, they use appropriate safeguards to protect Members’ data, such as password encryption and restricting database access to essential employees. To further guard sensitive information, they use Entrust’s 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption.

The Pros and Cons of Meridian Credit Union

This part of my Meridian Credit Union review will explore the benefits and drawbacks of their products and services.

Meridian Credit Union ProsMeridian Credit Union Cons
+ Online options
+ Mobile app
+ Lock mortgage rates for 120 days
– Branches only in Ontario

Pros of Meridian Credit Union

  • Online options
  • Mobile app
  • Lock mortgage rates for 120 days

Meridian Credit Union has numerous physical locations and online functions.

As I mentioned in the previous section of this Meridian Credit Union review, various banking methods are available for Members.

You can conduct your banking activities in person at one of 89 branches around Ontario or from the comfort of your home.

Alternatively, if you want to bank online, they provide the option to Members.

Therefore, you can open a chequing or savings account or apply for a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) or a mortgage at any time.

They have a mobile app available for Android and IOS users that you can use to deposit cheques. In addition, they provide online banking and a contact centre for further assistance.

Members can also do their banking at one of thousands of ATMs across Ontario through THE EXCHANGE® Network, or at one of 43,000 surcharge-free ATMs through THE EXCHANGE® Network partnership with Allpoint Network in the US.

Meridian ensures all interest rates and fees of their product and services are available on their website. As a result, you can determine whether it’s a good idea to sign up for one of their products before making any commitments.

Furthermore, you can lock in a mortgage rate for 120 days regardless of application.

Meridian provides an option to trade stocks or buy bonds. To do so, you’ll need to use their partner, Qtrade. 

Cons of Meridian Credit Union

  • Branches only in Ontario

Meridian Credit Union has many advantages, but it also has some limitations.

In-branch banking is only available to residents of Ontario.

If you want to work with a financial institution that has physical locations near you, consider an alternative to Meridian.

Does Meridian Credit Union Have Special Offers?

When writing this Meridian Credit Union review, it’s offering the first year free on their Visa credit cards. This means they won’t charge you the annual fee during the first year of holding the credit card.

This offer is available for both personal and business credit cards.

For more information, visit Meridian’s website, then head over to the credit cards tab on the personal or business banking page.

How is Their Customer Service and Support?

You can reach Meridian Credit Union’s Contact Centre Representatives by phone during any day of the week from 8 to 12 am (EST/EDT). The toll-free telephone number is available on their website’s contact us page.

Alternatively, you may contact them by filling out an online form with information about your issue.

Perhaps you’re interested in getting in touch with a Meridian Contact Centre Rep. In that case, you can find their telephone number and contact form on their website.

As for their customer support, they publish valuable articles about business ownership and money management on their website under ‘good sense’.

In the following section of my Meridian Credit Union review, I’ll summarize the sign-up process. I’ll also go over the requirements and documents needed to use their service.

How to Get Started with Meridian Credit Union

Getting started with Meridian Credit Union is simple.

You can apply for their products and services online, which they claim takes five minutes.

Alternatively, you can visit a branch to speak with someone directly or call their contact centre.

You will have to create an account by providing personal information, such as your name and address.

After that, you’ll submit your application and wait for further instructions.

Eligibility Requirements

To become a Meridian Member, you must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Be the age of majority in your province (at least 18 or 19 years old)
  • Allow Meridian to pull your credit report to determine if you qualify for their products. In this case, they don’t state explicitly whether it’s a hard or soft check.

Required documentation and information

When applying for Meridian Credit Union’s products or services, you may be required to provide the following data and documents:

  • Identity information – Your date of birth, name, address, and occupation. You may also have to provide a valid government issued ID so they can verify your identity.
  • Financial information – Credit history
  • Health information – This is necessary if you’re applying for insurance. They’ll use these details to determine how much coverage you should receive.
  • Social Insurance Number

Please note, some products and services may require further documentation and information if applicable.

Alternatives to Meridian Credit Union

Meridian Credit Union provides a broad range of products comparable to those offered by some of Canada’s largest banks. However, these products aren’t available in all provinces.

For this reason, I’ll go over some alternatives in this section of my Meridian Credit Union review.

Motusbank

Meridian’s subsidiary, Motusbank, is the first and most notable alternative.

Motusbank is a digital bank that specializes in mortgages, savings and chequing accounts, investments, and Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs).

They also offer Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) with an interest rate of 1.10% and secured lines of credit. And they operate in most provinces, excluding Quebec.

Tangerine Bank

Tangerine Bank is a good option if you wish to branch out from the Meridian group.

Unlike Meridian Credit Union, they don’t have any physical branches. They provide their personal banking products and services entirely online.

They specialize in credit cards, chequing and savings accounts, mortgages, and investments. There are Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) and Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) available.

The interest rate on their savings account is 0.10%, which is much lower than the 0.45% offered by Meridian.

Last Word for This Meridian Credit Union Review

Meridian Credit Union’s Member-centric service is a big drawcard and one thing that sets them apart from other banks. Since credit unions are member-owned and operated, your needs are more likely to be prioritized.

I’ll conclude my Meridian Credit Union review by recommending them for anyone looking to switch from a traditional bank. Also, if you are self-employed and finding it hard to get a mortgage, you might consider Meridian Credit Union.

Our Meridian Credit Union review examines one of Canada’s largest credit unions. We discuss their products, pros, cons, pricing, & much more.

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Meridian Credit Union Review 2021

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November 22, 2021
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