April 20th, 2016 is Talk with our Kids About Money

Be sure to circle April 20th, 2016 on your calendar.  It is  Talk with our Kids About Money Day.

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This day is set aside to focus on  encouraging and supporting parents, guardians, and teachers to start or continue such talks with youth. Canada’s Task Force on Financial Literacy noted that improving financial literacy was a shared responsibility, that it would be a lifelong process, and that it was important for financial education to be provided in our public schools.

Visit the Talk with our Kids About Money website here.

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Selecting The Right Bank Accounts and Services As A Student

As an enrolled student, you should be on the lookout for different banks that offer discounted fees for their services. Discounted fees will permit you to keep more money in your pocket while obtain the same level of services as a regular client. A prime example is banks that offer specific accounts and services to students for the years that are spent in school.

With the various banks that a student can choose from, it is important to understand the basic accounts and services which will influence the selection of the financial institution that you will place your money in for the semesters to come.

Here are 8 financial services and related fees that banks specifically promote to studentbankstudents before every semester.

1. Monthly Bank Account Fees

All banks will offer students the ability to open an account where there are not any fees charged for basic banking services. Services may include: cheques, withdrawals (including automated banking machines), transfers, pre-authorized payments, bill payments and debit purchases. These are usually known as “unlimited debit transactions”. Check with your respective bank to see what specific fees are exempted in their offer to students.

2. Monthly Recordkeeping Fees

To maintain an accurate record of your bank account, banks may charge fees for specific recordkeeping services. Banks will assign a fee to provide paper statements, cheque images returns and passbook updates. Fees can range from $1.50 to $2.50 per month for each service. If you are already and a good manager of money and tracking your deposits and withdrawals, you may not have to use the recordkeeping services offered by your bank.

3. Online & Mobile Banking

Via a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer, banks should offer students the ability to bank online. Using these tools, it will allow you to conduct transactions at your own convenience. For example, the majority of the main banks in Canada offer you the option of making a deposit by just asking a picture of your cheque with your mobile phone. Access to online and mobile banking is free.

4. Rewards Programs

To encourage client loyalty, some banks will prompt students to enroll in rewards programs. By participating in such programs, you can eligible for discounts for anything from movies to music downloads. If such rewards programs interest you, be sure to read the fine print on the details on the offer and ask questions to your local branch manager.

5. Savings Programs

For students that have trouble saving on a regular basis, banks will assist in establishing automatic withdraw-deposit transactions. This can be very helpful when you are planning your future years in university when the cost of tuition and books are most likely to rise.

6. Access To Credit Cards

Although using credit cards maybe costly in the hands of students who may be tempted impulse shop, some banks offer to access credit cards with customized budget alerts to better manage money and promote wise spending. It is important to note that some banks will grant credit cards with a “no income” requirement which may be dangerous for students who may not have enough funds to pay credit charges when they are due. As a result, it is your responsibility to use the credit card for the purposes of your education and not your wardrobe or social life.

7. Access To A Line of Credit

To ensure that you have a sufficient amount of funds to pay your tuition, banks will offer students a line of credit to use to cover costs. A line of credit is a source of money from a bank or a level of government that must be paid back with interest. Eligible students can access this type of financing with some conditions and restrictions. Speak to a representative at your bank for more information on obtaining a line of credit for tuition purposes.

8. Loan Programs

When students are not able to obtain a bursary or a loan from the government for tuition and books, banks have loan programs which should be considered as an alternative. Depending on your needs, you can get a loan which best fit your financial status. If one bank does not offer what you are looking for, visit another bank. Do not be afraid to negotiate the best deal possible.

If you are student and in need of financial services while attending school, it is

it is recommended that you conduct research regarding what each bank offers and how you can benefit from different accounts and services for your academic future.

recommended that you conduct research regarding what each bank offers and how you can benefit from different accounts and services for your academic future.

6 Ways To Avoid Paying Bank Fees

Do you know how banks are able to make billions of dollars per year?  While a great deal of money is made from interest on various financial products such as loans and credit bankfeescards, banks generate profit from services that they provide to clients.   To some clients, bank fees are insignificant, however; for individuals that would like to be better managers of their money, the fees can add up at the end of the year.

Although fees can differ from bank to bank, here are six common fees that you should attempt to avoid paying on a regular basis and tips to use.

1. Using Another Bank’s Machine

Convenience always comes with a price especially when it relates to money.   Although you can use your Interac bank card at any automated banking machines for transactions, you should attempt to use machines that belong to your specific bank to avoid paying unnecessary fees.  Using alternative machines will result in incurring fees which will add up at the end of month.

Tip: Consider taking a lump sum of money the next time that you are at your respective bank branch.  Be sure to withdraw your money on the way home from school or work to prevent theft or impulse buying.

2. Making a number of transactions per month

Having access to your own money is not free.   Even if you are face-to-face with a bank representative at your local branch to perform a withdrawal, it will cost you on each visit.

Tip: Limit your visits to the bank.   Instead of withdrawing $20 three times a week, take out $80 at the beginning of each month so you will pay for fewer transactions.

3. Using the wrong chequing account

If you have and use a chequing account, find out the fees that are attached to it.   Chances are that you are paying fees each time you issue a cheque to another individual or to pay a bill.

Tip: Find a bank that does offer chequing account that does not come with fees.    ING Direct has THRiVE Chequing™ an online no-fee daily chequing account.

4. Paying your bills in person

Crazy but true, banks will charge you a fee for paying your bills in person.  Considered to be a service, you are asked to pay for an individual to process a payment each time you enter your bank.

Tip: Pay your bills via the internet.  Not only will you save money in the long run  but you will not have to make a trip to the bank that can be time consuming.

5. Not having a minimum balance

At some banks, you will be charged a fee for not having enough money in your chequing account on a monthly basis.    For example, having less than $1500 in a chequing account can lead to paying $3.95 per month or $47.40 per year.

Tip: Find account that fits your needs in terms of the money that you can have in the account on a monthly basis.   In addition, consider switching banks that offers low or no fees linked to chequing accounts.

6. Receiving paper statement by mail

If you are still receiving monthly statements from your bank, you are incurring a charge to be just to be kept informed.  Banks substantiate this fee because of the costs of printing and mailing the statements.

Tip: By having access to your online banking profile, you can view your credits and debts and print statements for free.

Looking to save money?  Why not look at some of the bank fees that you can prevent from paying by simply being informed of the charges that you take for granted and a smarter client.

What You Should Know About Credit Unions?

Looking to switch banks?  Unlike in the United States where there are over 4000 banks to creditunionchoose from, there are only five main banks in Canada.  For individuals that believe that all banks are the same, there is an alternative financial institution that should be considered. A credit union.

On the surface, banks and credit unions offer the same products and services in the form of savings and chequing accounts, personal loans, credit cards and mortgages, however; there are clear differences between the two entities to understand before switching institutions.

Here are 7 things that you should know about credit unions.

1. Who owns a credit union?

Unlike banks that are publicly traded companies on the stock market, credit unions are financial cooperatives that are owned and controlled by its members.  Credit unions are nonprofit organizations that strive to provide service over profitability, however; they must make sound financial decisions on behalf of its members.

2. How are clients viewed by a credit union?

Each user of a credit union is defined as a member of the cooperative and not as a client.   A membership in a credit union brings with it certain advantages in the form of: higher interest rates on saving accounts, low interest loans and credit card rates and fewer service fees.

3. How do you become a member of a credit union?

Credit unions have their own respective procedures for individuals to follow in order to become a member. Caisse Desjardins, the largest credit union in Quebec, has different steps to perform depending on your situation based on the reasons that you wish to join.  For example, if you are switching from a bank to one of the credit union’s branches, you are asked to make an appointment with an advisor and complete the “Desjardins Quick Transfer” authorization form.

4. What are the responsibilities of being a member?

Once you have been accepted as a member of a credit union, you have specific responsibilities to meet.  Being a part of a cooperative, you are asked to attend and participate in annual general meetings where issues regarding the future initiatives of the credit union are discussed and voted on.    In addition, you will be asked to support local initiatives that your branch undertakes in the area.  Your support can be in the form of promoting the initiatives and attending events.

5. Where can you find a credit union branch?

Due to the fact that credit union is a financial cooperative, branches are really embedded in the communities in which they serve and fund initiatives.   As a result, you will not see very many branches throughout a city like a regular bank.   To find the closest branch, visit the credit union’s website.

6. Are deposits safe in a credit union?

Since credit unions are in existence to manage money of its members, all deposits in credit unions are safe.  Credit unions have their own cash reserve in case of financial difficulties.  In Quebec, Caisse Desjardins has a reserve of $750 million and through the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), credit union members’ accounts are insured for $100 000.   This is the identical amount of money that Canadian banks insures their clients’ deposits.

7. How competitive are credit unions versus other banks?

Even though there are financial cooperatives, credit unions are quite competitive with other banks from a member’s point of view.  Credit unions offer the same basic products and services as banks at the same or more favorable rates.  If individuals are looking for a more extensive selection of products or services, chances are that credit unions will not be able to meet that need.

In times where individuals are seeking to get more from their savings and pay less in interest on loans and credit cards from a traditional bank, a credit union is a viable alternative to consider.  Becoming a member means knowing what you will be getting from the credit union before you put your money into an account.

Did you know that November is Financial Literacy Month across Canada? Financial Literacy is a very important skill as it allows you to manage your money and make informed daily decisions with your finances.  On Friday November 22nd, 2013 various partners in the field of Financial Literacy will be hosting CONNECT WITH FINANCIAL LITERACY 2013.  For more information, please click here.

Concours de Rédaction Élèves du 5 ième Secondaire

Pour la semaine canadienne d’information sur le crédit, un concours de rédaction a été lancé pour encourager les jeunes à prendre conscience de leur gestion financière. Les élèves du 5ième secondaire sont invites a écrire une rédaction de 1000 mots, texte original relatant la décision la plus stupide que vous ayez prise en matière de gestion financière et les leçons que vous en avez retiré.

  • Un (1) Grand Prix : le Participant sélectionné ayant obtenu la plus haute notation parmi les Rédactions éligibles sera éligible au grand prix de 5 000 $ gracieuseté de la filiale canadienne de la Banque Capital One;
  • Trois (3) Deuxième prix : Les Participants sélectionnés ayant obtenu les 2ième, 3ième et 4ième notations les plus élevées parmi le Rédactions éligibles seront chacun éligible à l’obtention d’un prix de 3 000 $, gracieuseté des commanditaires Platine et Or;
  • Huit (8) Troisième prix : Les Participants sélectionnés ayant obtenu les meilleures huit prochaines meilleures notations seront chacun éligibles à l’obtention d’un prix de 2500 $ gracieuseté des commanditaires Argent.
  • (13) prix la quatrième place – Les participants sélectionnés qui ont soumis les treize prochaines meilleures notations seront chacun éligibles à l’obtention d’un prix de  1000 $, gracieuseté des commanditaires Bronze et sponsors Ami.

Visitez le site: http://www.cewc.ca/French/french-student-essay-contest-rules

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8 Things You Should Know About Your Bank

On a daily basis, millions of individuals use financial services offered by their bank. From knowledgeprocessing deposits to offering mortgages to home owners, banks are important when it comes to personal financial management. As a result, getting to know how banks work and the basics of the Canadian banking system is a must for individuals who wish to become better managers of their financial matters.

Here are 8 things that you should know about your bank

1. Banks Are Regulated By The Federal Government

Although banks are corporate entities, they are regulated by the Government of Canada and are known as “chartered banks”. All banks that you make withdraws from and deposits in are chartered banks.

2. Different Types of Banks

In Canada, there are three types of banks that fall into the categories of Schedule I, Schedule II and Schedule III. Schedule I banks are domestic financial institutions and are authorized to accept deposits. The majority of the Schedule I banks have branches that you can walk into depending on where you are located in the country. Schedule II banks are foreign bank subsidiaries that authorized to accept deposits. Foreign bank subsidiaries are controlled by eligible foreign institutions. There are very few branches of these banks that clients can conduct transactions with on a regular basis. Schedule III banks are foreign bank branches of foreign institutions that have been authorized to do banking business in Canada. Once again, few individuals can have access to these banks on a regular basis.

3. A Bank Is Not A Credit Union

Although they provide the basic financial services, it is important to distinguish the difference between a bank and a credit union. The big difference between the two entities is how they see you as an user. Banks refer to you as a “client” versus credit unions see you as a “member” in which you can benefit from several advantages such as low interest loans and credit cards. In the province of Quebec, the sole credit union is the Mouvement Desjardins.

4. Insured Deposits

In the event that a bank experience financial difficulties or fails, the money that you deposit is insured up to $100,000 by Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation. For your deposit to be insured, it must go into one of the following accounts: savings accounts and chequing accounts, guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) and other term deposits with an original term to maturity of five years or less, money orders, travellers’ cheques and bank drafts.

5. Products / Services

Are all banks the same? No. Banks will try to set themselves apart from the competitors by offerings different products and / or services. Depending on what your present and future needs are, banks will try to sell products / or services that they think fits you. It is your responsibility to conduct thorough research to identify the best option.

6. Services Fees

Before conducting a transaction that you do not perform on a regular basis, inquire about the bank’s service fees. From currency exchange to account overdrafts, banks assigns fees to specific services you may not deem worthy to pay. As a result, you should try to avoid the fees when possible.

7. Online Banking

To save you time and effort, you should know the type of transactions that you can do online. Online banking features such as paying bills, transferring funds and making investment are offered by most banks. For example, ING Direct now permits its clients to deposit cheques via their smartphone. It is best to ask your bank about other functions that aid you in managing your money.

8. The Role of The Bank of Canada

Very often, you will hear the Bank of Canada in the news where it comes to financial matters. It is important to know the Bank of Canada is not a chartered bank that you can become a client, however; it plays a vital role when it comes to your banking transactions. The Bank of Canada is responsible for such things as a) designing, producing and distributing Canadian currency, b) setting interest rates used by financial institutions and c) managing the inflation rate.

Many clients often complain that they are getting robbed by their respective banks. One must understand how banks function as a corporate entity within a system that is regulated for the good of Canadians.

Have you entered the Monnaie Money Financial Literacy Video Contest?  You only have a few weeks left to participate.  Deadline is October 25th,  2013.  For more details, click here.

What Should You Know About Virtual Banks?

virtualbanksWhen someone asks you to name a list of banks in Canada, you can probably name the six most common banks.   This is due to the fact that they have a presence in a shopping centre or on every main street in cities across Canada.   In addition, we are constantly flooded with advertisements by these banks to switch, apply for loans and credit cards.   Apart from these groups of banks, there are a collection of other financial services providers that do not come to mind quickly because few have a “brick and mortar” presence.  They are referred to as “virtual banks” and serves as an alternative outlet for individuals that wish to place their savings outside their chequing account.

Here are 6 things that you should be aware of regarding virtual banks.

1. Where To Find Them?

Since you cannot physically walk into virtual bank, you will have to be referred to one.    Ask a financial advisor that is not affiliated with one of the big banks.  If you have access to the internet, you can use Google and enter the phrase, “virtual banks Canada”.  One well know virtual bank is ING Direct.

2. How To Become A Client?

If you are fortunate to know a financial advisor, he or she should have a selection of virtual banks in their portfolio of products and services to choose from.  When you decide on the right bank, you will be asked to fill out the required paperwork which includes details regarding your existing bank and related accounts.   In the event that you are not associated with an advisor, you can apply on the internet to become a client of a virtual bank.  When choosing, be sure that the bank offers services online in your province.

3. High Interest Accounts

A majority of individuals are drawn to virtual banks based on high interest saving accounts.   These accounts offer clients a higher interest rate on savings than traditional banks with the flexibility to deposit and withdrawn cash whenever they need.   These accounts are ideal for individuals who are looking to place cash aside for a rainy day without committing to any short or long term investments such as a term deposit.   From more information the current interest rate offered by virtual banks, visit the respective bank’s website or call the bank.

4. Are Deposits Safe?

All banks in Canada, including virtual banks, are regulated by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation.  The corporation insures deposits up to $100,000 in case of a bank failure.   Virtual banks will clearly state that they are members of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation on their website and any printed literature that is sent out to potential new clients.

5. Online Banking

Since virtual banks do not offer branches that clients can walk into, transactions must take place online either via the internet or the telephone.  Using both avenues, you can move money in and out of your account, pay bills and write cheques.   It is important to note that any cash transfers will come from or sent to your brick and mortar bank within a 48-hour time period.   In the event that you will be needing cash for a Saturday night outing, you will need to transfer the dollar amount on Wednesday morning from the virtual bank account to your conventional account at the local bank branch to withdraw the money via the teller or the automatic bank machine.

6. Your Current Bank Hates Them

Although there is nothing wrong with having multiple saving account at different banks, your current bank will not be happy with the fact that you are benefiting from a virtual bank.  Each time that you make a deposit into the virtual bank, your conventional bank is losing out on business and the ability to loan money to other individuals at a much higher rate of interest than they are provide you on your savings.   Knowing that you make regular deposits into a virtual banks, a representative from your brick and  mortar bank may get you to think about other investment opportunities offered by their  bank in the hopes of keeping your money internally.

Virtual banks provides alternative savings tools and financial services away from traditional banks that can be seen everywhere.   Primary, individuals that use virtual banks benefit from high rated interest saving accounts that will be translated into an increased level of disposal income in the future to spend or invest.

5 Misconceptions Behind Online Banking

Tired of spending countless amounts of minutes in line at the bank to pay your telephone bill?   Why not consider paying your bills online?

onlinebankingMany individuals that are rather comfortable with the traditional ways of banking are missing out on saving time and effort doing routine banking activities based on common misconceptions.   Although these misconceptions have been around for a long time, they should not stop individuals from taking advantage of user-friendly services that will make banking easier in the future.

Here are 5 misconceptions that may cause some individuals to hesitate to use their computers or smartphone for their banking needs.

Online banking is not safe.  My account information can be stolen.

Every federally chartered bank in Canada has specific sections of their website that is secured which permits clients to perform transactions in total privacy.  Once logged onto the secured section, clients can access their own profile and account details.  Each transaction is tracked by the bank and confirmation codes are given to clients for future reference.  It is advised that clients change their password occasionally to ensure that their account is not hacked into.  In the event that your account has been compromised, banks will reimburse you for loss due to a security breach on their end. (Contact your bank to inquire about their respective reimbursement policy.)

Online banking is far too complicated.  I do not have the time.

Online banking is not that complicated.  If you can log on to read your email or check your Facebook account, than you can handle your online banking transactions.   At the beginning, it will take a little time to get acquainted with the layout of the page in terms of knowing where everything is (such as where to make your credit card payments, status of investments, etc.).   Once you are comfortable with navigating the page, all you need to know is clicking in the right places and entering the correct dollar amounts in the corresponding boxes.  As you master online banking, you will find that the exercise is painless and will take seconds to do.

Online banking is expensive.   I do not want to pay extra fees.

Almost all banks in Canada do not charge their clients to log on to access their profiles and perform basic banking transactions such as paying bills.  Some banks will charge a small fee for transferring money to an external account or accessing a cheque that has been processed.  (Inquire at your bank or visit the bank’s website to see the fees that are charged in regards to online services.)

Online banking does not give me complete control of my account and services that I need to use.

Other than printing cash, online banking allows you to manage your funds and take advantage of certain services rather than having you venturing out to your bank.  If you are a disciplined saver, you can modify how much money that gets automatically transferred into another account on a specific date. In addition, you can easily track your spending in a specific period of time and how your investments are performing.

Online banking is replacing a human being.  What if I have questions?

Although online banking is making some individuals less dependent on going into the bank and talking to a bank representative, it does not mean that you cannot speak to a human being when needed.   If you encounter any difficulties with your online banking transactions or questions, most Canadian banks offer a telephone number in which you can have your questions and concerns addressed.

Internet banking offers a variety of advantages to clients.  Not only are clients saving time in terms of not entering their local branch but they are taking control of paying bills and putting away money automatically.  Individuals that have not decided to conduct online banking must realize that their fears are getting in the way of benefiting from the same advantages.

Know of other tips to online banking?  Share them by entering the Monnaie Money Financial Literacy Video Contest or call (514) 342-5678 ext. 228 for more details.

5 Tips To Avoid Bank Card Fraud

debitcardBank cards or debit cards are great.   Instead of carrying around cash and loose change in your pocket, you have the luxury of paying for items and services via a plastic card.   Although it is very convenient, bank cards have a huge risk attached to them.   If they or related information fall into the wrong hands, initial owners can be victims of fraud.  Unfortunately for some owners, not realizing in time that they have been victims can be very devastating.

It is very important to know that each time that you use your bank card, you can follow tips in order to protect yourself from fraud.  Here are five that I use.

1. Plan Your Transactions

Make every attempt to use bank machines that are housed at a bank and not the stand alone automatic banking machines (ABM) usually placed at the corner stores or gas stations.   Machines at banks are less likely to be equipped with card cloning devices that are associated with the independent ABMs.   In addition, try to withdraw enough money that you need for a fixed period of time.   The less visits you make to a machine, decreases the chance of being a victim of bank card fraud.

2. Be Aware Of Your Environment

It is important to know where the machine is located in relation to other individuals who may want to use the machine or just passing by the area.  This holds true when you use the hand held debit machine when you have to pay at the store or restaurant.  With individuals waiting in line behind or beside you, your personal identification number (PIN) can be easily seen if you do not shield your entry in the key pad.   In addition, you should avoid having any discussions with anyone (especially small talk with strangers) during the payment transaction.  Any sort of distractions could make you vulnerable to bank card fraud within seconds.

3. Avoid Card Swiping

Current bank cards use debit chip technology to prevent fraud.    The chip (located on the left hand-side of your card) is intended to be inserted in a merchant’s terminal rather than the traditional swiping track.    Swiping your cards will increase the chances of information being stolen from the black magnetic stripe on the back of your card.  The stolen information can be used to make copies of your card.  If you are forced to swipe your card at a particular store and restaurant, note where you used the card and the amount that your account was debited.

4. Check Your Statements

If you are a frequent user of your bank card, it is advised that you read your financial statements regularly.  Whether you have access to it online or via mail on a monthly basis, it is essential to identify and report any kind of unusual banking transactions.   Unusual banking transactions could be anything from large withdrawal of cash to the usage of the card on dates that you do not recall using it.   Reporting the transactions to the bank immediately allows you to be protected via the Interac Zero Liability Policy.   The policy insures that you do not suffer any financial losses due to fraud.

5. Memorize your Personal Identification Number (PIN)

If you have just started using a bank card or have a new card, do not share your PIN with friends or family members.  Create a number that you will be able to remember easily in the future.   It is recommended that you do not use easily guessable digits, like your year of birth or phone number.    In addition, it is a good idea to change your PIN frequently.

Although a bank card is a convenient and time saving tool, it is the responsibility of owners to be aware of the ways of how others can easily obtain card information to gain access to funds in an account and take the proactive steps to prevent fraud.

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