Survey: Paying With Taps And Apps Leaves Some Feeling Disconnected From Their Money

With mobile apps on your smartphone, and tap-and-go debit and credit cards, it’s never been faster or easier to pay for things. This has led to some of us feeling disconnected from our money, according to new research commissioned by MARU in partnership with Tangerine Bank.

“Apps and taps for payment are becoming such a way of life that some Canadians feel they’re not as strongly connected to their money,” said Mark Nicholson, Vice President of Client Experience at Tangerine. “One in five (20 per cent) of our survey respondents, feel that way. And on top of the lost connection to money, a large majority of Canadians with a bank account – 71 per cent – wish they could save more money each month, and almost half (47 per cent) say they’re worried about their financial future.”

Younger Canadians are especially concerned, with 70 per cent of those age 18-24 saying they’re worried about their financial future (compared to a 46 per cent average for all other age groups). Thirty per cent of younger respondents, age 18-24, say they’re unsure that they’ll be able to pay off their debts, versus just 17.5 per cent among other age groups.

Among some of the other findings, the national survey found that only 37 per cent set a budget every month and stick to it. When asked where their monthly spending goes, respondents listed phone, internet, TV, transportation, utilities and rent as part of their monthly spending.

To help Canadians focus on saving and keep better track of their spending, Tangerine has introduced two new features on its mobile app and online banking: Goals and Left to SpendGoals lets users establish one or multiple savings priorities, like a vacation or a new car, set up regular contributions, and provides real-time updates on progress being made. Left to Spend monitors regular expenses like rent or mortgage payments, car payments, insurance etc., and calculates how much disposable income you have “left to spend” in each month or pay period.

“Debt remains an issue, with loan and debt payments taking the third largest chunk of monthly spending (20 per cent), after rent or mortgage payments and other types of spending such as groceries. So we think it’s more important than ever to offer features like Goals and Left to Spend to help Canadians better keep track of their everyday spending to help with their long term financial goals,” said Nicholson.

The survey found almost three-quarters of Canadians (71 per cent) use online banking to track their spending, with almost one-third (27 per cent) using mobile banking apps.

“Information is power, especially when it comes to managing spending and achieving savings goals,” said Brenda Rideout, President and CEO. “While technology makes it easier to spend than ever before, it also empowers Canadians to manage their money. These new features are designed to make it easier for Tangerine Clients to keep fully up to date on spending and saving.”

On a positive note, the survey found that Canadians are finding ways to save. According to the survey, four in ten Canadians save money most months, with a similar number saying they save money every single month. Typical monthly savings are up to $250, with retirement, emergencies and vacations making up the top three things Canadians are saving for.

ABOUT THE SURVEY
From August 31st to September 4th 2018 Maru/Blue executed an online survey of 1,000 randomly selected Canadian adults with an active bank account who are Maru Voice Canada panelists. Among them were respondents in the following age groups: 18-24 (n=33), 25-34 (n=222), 35-44 (n=176), 45-54 (n=233), and 55+ (n=336). For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 3%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

ABOUT TANGERINE BANK
Tangerine is a direct bank that delivers simplified everyday banking to Canadians. With over 2 million Clients and close to $38 billion in total assets, we are Canada’s leading direct bank. Tangerine offers banking that is flexible and accessible, products and services that are innovative, fair fees, and award-winning Client service. From no-fee daily chequing and high-interest savings accounts, a Credit Card, GICs, RSPs, TFSAs, mortgages and mutual funds through its subsidiary, Tangerine Investment Funds Ltd., Tangerine has the everyday banking products Canadians need. With over 1,000 employees in Canada, our presence extends beyond our website and Mobile Banking app to our Café locations, Pop-Up locations, Kiosks and 24/7 Contact Centres. Tangerine was launched as ING DIRECT Canada in 1997. In 2012 it was acquired by Scotiabank, and operates independently as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Tangerine was recently selected as ‘Best of Show’ winner at the 2018 Finovate Fall Conference for their Left to Spend and Goals features. Finovate brings together more than 1,200 financial services professionals, investors and Fintech enthusiasts to celebrate the cream of the crop in the Fintech world.

SOURCE Tangerine

 

Alterna offers emergency loans to Ottawa and Gatineau residents affected by tornadoes

Alterna Savings is offering emergency interest-free loans to their members affected by the tornadoes that took place in the Ottawa and Gatineau regions on Friday, September 21st. Alterna has also donated$50,000 to the Red Cross and hopes that other local businesses will be inspired to give generously.

“Extreme weather, like the two tornadoes that touched down in Ottawa and Gatineau, have been devastating and left others in hardship. We know that when disasters strike, not everyone has access to ready cash to handle the immediate expenses of either repairing damage to their homes or replacing homes completely torn from their foundation,” said Rob Paterson, President and CEO of Alterna. “To help, members can access up to $5,000 in credit if they need financial assistance right away and can take advantage of the first 90 days without interest. After 90 days, a low-interest base rate will apply on terms of 2-5 years, with the option to pre-pay at any time without penalty. Interested applicants will need to visit a branch to review terms and conditions before signing.”

“It can take some time for insurance to pay out, and not all homeowners even have home insurance that covers damage resulting from tornadoes and other extreme weather. The 90-day interest-free grace period gives people time to make financial arrangements,” said Paterson.

Alterna Savings has a strong history of helping members and communities at a grassroots level – a legacy which began over 110 years ago when Alterna became Ontario’s first credit union. Recent examples include providing support for federal employees impacted by Phoenix payroll issues and creating emergency loans for residents affected by the 2017 Ontario and Quebec spring floods.

“It’s about helping to support our communities, and we’re here to help”, says Paterson. “With many homes left in ruins, we are particularly concerned about what people need today in order to feel safe. Even if someone isn’t an Alterna member, we’re happy to talk.”

Those affected by the Ottawa and Gatineau tornadoes are encouraged to call 1-877-560-0100 to set up an appointment at one of the Alterna branches and to confirm branch availability. Alterna Savings serves communities across Ontario and in the Gatineau region of Quebec.

You can find a list of branches at Alterna.ca.

About the Alterna Financial Group

The Alterna Financial Group (Alterna) is celebrating 110 years of being the good in banking! Alterna is made up of Alterna Savings and Credit Union Limited and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Alterna Bank. Together, we have over $7.13 billion in assets under administration. Our members and customers benefit from industry leading online brokerage and investment management services and have access to the largest surcharge-free ATM network in Canada, with over 3,700 ATMs to serve them.

Alterna Savings has been charting new directions to help Ontarians and achieve their financial dreams and build strong, vibrant communities for more than a century. As the first full-service, member-owned co-operative financial institution outside Quebec, Alterna Savings shares our expertise with more than 158,000 members through a network of 32 credit union branches across Ontario, including our federated partner Peterborough Community Savings, a division of Alterna Savings and Credit Union Ltd.

Alterna Bank is one of the most innovative banks in Canada and the first to offer all Canadians an end-to-end digital mortgage experience. Customers also get fully-digital financial services that include our highly competitive high-interest eChequing, eSavings, RRSP and TFSA products available online and through mobile banking.

For more information please visit www.alterna.ca and www.alternabank.ca and connect with us on https://twitter.com/alternasavings.

SOURCE Alterna Savings and Credit Union

Sun Life Financial announces appointment of Helena Pagano

Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX: SLF) (NYSE: SLF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Helena Pagano as Executive Vice-President, Chief Human Resources and Communications Officer, effective June 11, 2018.

Reporting to Dean Connor, President and Chief Executive Officer, Helena is responsible for leading Sun Life’s enterprise-wide human resources and communications strategies, programs and governance. It is a critically important role as we drive for a disproportionate share of top talent, wrapped in a diverse, inclusive and engaging culture.

Helena Pagano (CNW Group/Sun Life Financial Inc.)

“Since joining Sun Life, Helena has had a big impact, enhancing our approach to global wellness, data and analytics, and our employee agile program,” said Dean Connor, President and CEO, Sun Life Financial. “She demonstrates the leadership and forward-thinking that will continue to support our Client For Life strategy and purpose of helping Clients achieve financial security and live healthier lives.”

Helena brings deep global human resources expertise, with more than 20 years in financial services supporting retail and institutional businesses. Prior to joining Sun Life, she held several senior roles in financial services. She joins an Executive Team committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce, which includes strong female representation in leadership roles. Helena succeeds Carrie Blair who announced her retirement from Sun Life earlier this year.

Helena is a Board Member of the Artists’ Health Alliance and is a member of the United Way’s Major Individual Giving Cabinet.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate Clients. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canadathe United States, the United KingdomIrelandHong Kongthe PhilippinesJapanIndonesiaIndiaChinaAustraliaSingaporeVietnamMalaysia and Bermuda. As of March 31, 2018, Sun Life Financial had total assets under management of $979 billion. For more information please visit www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Note to editors: All figures in Canadian dollars

Media Relations Contact:
Irene Poon
Manager, Media & PR
Corporate Communications
T. 647-256-2596
irene.poon@sunlife.com

Investor Relations Contact:
Greg Dilworth
Vice-President
Investor Relations
T. 416-979-6230
investor.relations@sunlife.com

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Inc.

Worry-Free Money Starts with Worry-Free Spending

Smart money management starts with smart spending. That’s why Interac has teamed up with money expert Shannon Lee Simmons to help Canadians manage their everyday spending, a process that starts well before reaching the till. According to Simmons, having a spending strategy in place – versus a ridged budget – and choosing to pay with your own money are great tools to avoid what she calls the ‘spending vortex’.

“The spending vortex, or that feeling when the paycheque has just come in and you realize it’s gone before debating on dinner on the town or brunch with friends, can be combated with a spending strategy,” says Shannon Lee Simmons, financial planner and founder of the New School of Finance. “This means understanding if a purchase is realistically within your means and choosing a safe way to pay for it using your own money like Interac Flash.”

Simmons occasionally hears from her clients that they are hesitant to try out a new spending strategy or a new payment method like Flash®, but stresses that easy ways to pay with your own money can go hand in hand with a savvy spending strategy. Understanding the rationale behind why the approach works helps encourage her clients to try something different. Together with Interac, she offers Canadians tips to smart spending, before and at the till:

  1. Ditch the rigid budget: Budgeting with 50+ spending categories – from coffee shops to takeout to clothes, pets, housing and bills – isn’t realistic and sets the average person up for failure. There are only four types of money that needed in a budget:
    • Fixed Expenses, or the bills that must be paid each month, like housing, insurance, or minimum debt payments
    • Meaningful Savings, which includes money that’s put aside to improve overall net worth by increasing assets or decreasing debts
    • Short-Term Savings, or money to stash away for emergencies or spikes in spending.
    • Spending Money, which is the money left over to spend on things like groceries, gas, clothes and entertainment, offering greater flexibility to account for shifting priorities month to month.
  2. Spend with purpose: Don’t fall into the trap of mindless spending. Carve out time each payday to allocate money to the first three categories, and the remainder that’s left becomes the fourth category. Sticking to one payment method, like Interac Flash® or Debit on your mobile device, allows you to use your own money for purchases until the spending category reaches zero for that pay period. Plus, with an online banking app you can instantly see transactions in real-time and keep track of where you are throughout the pay period.
  3. Protect your hard-earned cash: A spending strategy is one thing, but Canadians also need to know the payment method they choose is safe. Contactless payments make it easy to flash your debit card or mobile device quickly – and securely – to pay for things like groceries, gas or that morning coffee using your own money. One of the safest forms of payment available today, Interac Flash has built-in secure EMV processing, making it next to impossible for criminals to counterfeit your card, protecting you against fraudulent activity such as skimming, transaction replay, and electronic pickpocketing. For added peace of mind, the Interac® Zero Liability Policy* protects you from losses that are beyond your reasonable control if your card is ever lost or stolen, and transactions limits set by your bank will occasionally prompt you to identify yourself with your PIN. Additionally, since your debit card number is an identifier only, the card number alone cannot be used to make a purchase. Your debit card must be present to make a purchase as all transactions happen in real time. This applies whether you insert your card and enter a PIN, use Interac Flash or Interac Debit on your mobile device.
  4. Digital payments are just as safe: Just like your debit card number is only an identifier in store, when you add your Interac Debit card to your mobile wallet, your card number is substituted with a token, a unique ‘virtual account number’, so no financial information is stored or shared with the merchant. As an added layer of security, your mobile wallet is also typically protected by Touch ID or passcode.

“With a spending strategy in place, spending can and should be enjoyable and that includes the payment method itself,” said Martin Ho, Head of Core Products, Interac Corp. “While it seems like there are more ways to pay than ever, each new payment evolution – think magnetic strip to chip and PIN to flash and mobile – has gotten more secure over time. That means you can use Flash or Interac Debit on mobile to pay with your own money knowing the transaction itself is secure – however you choose to pay.”

For more information about Interac Flash, visit interac.ca/flashsecurity

About Interac Corp.

Interac Corp. operates an economical, world-class debit payments system with broad-based acceptance, reliability, security, and efficiency. The organization is one of Canada’s leading payments brands and is chosen an average of 16 million times daily to pay and exchange money. For more than 30 years, Interac Corp. and its predecessors, Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation, have facilitated secure financial transactions through the development of innovative and convenient debit and money transfer solutions. A leader in the prevention and detection of fraud, the organization has one of the lowest rates of fraud globally. Visit interac.ca or follow @INTERAC on Twitter. Interac Corp. has a diverse group of shareholders that includes banks, credit unions, caisses populaires, payment processors and merchants.

Interac, Interac Flash, and Flash are registered trade-marks of Interac corp.
*Protection applies to losses resulting from circumstances beyond your control. Some conditions apply. See your financial institution for details.

SOURCE Interac Corp.

Don’t let your credit die of neglect

By Liz Weston

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Certified financial planner David Rae says he used to think that  “anyone who could draw breath” could get an auto loan. Then one of his millionaire clients tried to buy a car and failed.

The 42-year-old client was turned down for a loan because he had no credit scores , says Rae, who is based in Los Angeles.

Nineteen million American adults are “unscoreable,” lacking enough recent credit history to generate credit scores, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They either have “thin” files, with too few accounts, or  “stale” ones that haven’t been updated in a while.

Roughly 7 million of these people are what credit scoring company FICO calls “credit retired.” They no longer actively use credit, but their histories are free from charge offs, collections or other negative marks that might indicate that “their exit from the credit mainstream was involuntary,” says Ethan Dornhelm, FICO’s vice-president for scores and predictive analytics.

HAVING NO SCORES CAN COST YOU

These consumers can face a host of potential problems, including:

– People without scores could be shut out of credit they might want in the future, including rewards credit cards and low-cost loans.

– Insurers typically use credit-based scores to set premiums for auto and home insurance, so not having credit could cause those without scores to miss out on lower rates.

– People with no credit scores may not qualify for the best cellphone plans and may have to make bigger deposits to get utilities.

The median age of these credit retirees is 71, Dornhelm says. They may have retired from work, paid off their homes and feel no need to borrow money. But the credit retired also can include younger people, including those who live cash-only lifestyles.

CREDIT SCORES CAN DIE FAST

They may not realize that credit scores can die relatively quickly. While closed accounts in good standing typically remain on credit reports for 10 years, lenders often stop updating those accounts soon after they’re closed. Without updates, scores can’t be generated. The FICO scoring formula used in most lending decisions requires peoples’ credit reports to show at least one account that’s been updated within the previous six months.

The rival VantageScore looks back somewhat further, 24 months, for updated accounts. VantageScore and FICO’s alternative formula, FICO Score XD, also generate scores for people based on their histories paying noncredit accounts, such as telecommunications and cable bills. But applicants typically can’t know in advance if a lender uses VantageScore or an alternative score, so they should assume it will be a traditional FICO score.

USING ONE CREDIT CARD CAN SAVE THE DAY

The key to reviving traditional scores? Having and using a single credit card is enough, as long as the card issuer reports to all three credit bureaus (most do). Balances can and should be paid in full each month, since there’s no credit score advantage to carrying debt.

Rae’s client was a renter whose only credit card was tied to his business. Business credit cards often don’t show up on individuals’ credit reports. Rental payments are included on some credit reports, but they’re not factored into the most commonly used FICO credit scores.

So Rae had his client apply for a secured credit card, which required a $500 deposit to get a $500 credit limit. After four months, the client applied for a regular credit card from his bank. His healthy account balances helped convince the bank he was a good bet, Rae says.

Having lots of assets or making big down payments can help the credit retired get approved for many types of credit, notes Jeff Richardson, vice-president of communications for VantageScore. Credit unions, which are member-owned, may also be willing to look beyond credit scores when making lending decisions, Richardson says.

Two months after being approved for the credit card, Rae’s client got a car loan. And a year after that, he got a mortgage to buy a multimillion-dollar home, Rae says.

“It’s all good . but it was rough and a big hassle at the beginning,” Rae says.

Bank of Canada holds interest rate, underlines ‘growing’ trade uncertainty

By Andy Blatchford

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ A cautious Bank of Canada kept its key interest rate on hold Wednesday as it bought itself more time to monitor mounting trade-related uncertainties out of the United States.

In sticking with its 1.25 per cent overnight target, the central bank blamed recent trade policy changes for the thickening clouds around the economic outlook.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose heavy tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. The announcement added to an already murky context for Canada that includes concerns over NAFTA’s renegotiation and fears over competitiveness, following corporate tax cuts south of the border.

The prospect of tariffs has created deep concerns in Canada, the No. 1 supplier of both steel and aluminum to the U.S. Ottawa has hinted at retaliatory action, as have the European Union and Mexico, in what could become an all-out trade war.

Trump has said that Canada and Mexico might be spared from his plans for a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and 10 per cent tariff on aluminum imports if they agree to better terms for the U.S. in talks aimed at revising the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Bank of Canada noted the widening unease around protectionism, without explicitly mentioning the tariff threat.

“Trade policy developments are an important and growing source of uncertainty for the global and Canadian outlooks,” the bank said in a statement Wednesday that accompanied its latest rate decision.

Many experts now believe the central bank will likely wait until the second half of the year before raising the rate again. Some say the next hike might not come until 2019 and at least one economist said Wednesday that, depending how things evolve, the bank could even lower the rate this year.

“If the worst-case scenario of some kind of trade war goes ahead, well, the chances of a rate cut this year are real,” Sebastien Lavoie, chief economist of Laurentian Bank Securities, said in an interview.

‘It seems to us that it’s very unlikely the Bank of Canada will be able to raise rates in the first half of this year. If it happens, it will have to be in the second half of this year and that may not even happen.”

Josh Nye, an economist with RBC Economics Research, said it’s unlikely metals tariffs on their own would drastically change the central bank’s thinking about whether it stays on a rate-hiking path.

“But if tit-for-tat measures escalate into a full-blown trade war _ and to be clear, we aren’t nearly there yet _ the (Bank of Canada) would have to rethink their tightening bias,” Nye wrote in note to clients.

Experts said the Bank of Canada’s statement also raises other arguments to help support a wait-and-see approach with the interest rate.

The statement pointed to weaker-than-expected growth in the fourth quarter, largely due to higher imports, and said that while wage growth had improved, it still remained below where many expect it should be in an economy with no labour-market slack.

The bank also stressed the need for more time to assess the impacts of new housing-market policies, including recent changes to mortgage rules. It said a surge of strong numbers in late 2017 was followed by softer figures early this year, suggesting “some pulling forward of demand ahead of new mortgage guidelines and other policy measures.”

Growth in household borrowing has also slowed for three-straight months, the statement said.

The bank also noted some encouraging economic developments.

It said global growth continued to be solid and broad-based, the economy was running close to its potential and stronger business investment suggested economic capacity could grow even further without lifting the inflation rate. Looking at the U.S., the bank predicted fresh government spending and tax reductions to increase growth in 2018 and 2019.

The bank also reiterated that more interest rate hikes will likely be necessary over time, but that the governing council will remain cautious when considering future decisions. The council will continue to be guided by incoming data, such as the economy’s sensitivity to higher rates, the evolution of economic capacity and changes to wage growth and inflation, it said.

Ahead of the announcement, governor Stephen Poloz was widely expected to hold off moving the rate because of weaker economic numbers in recent weeks and the expanding trade uncertainty.

Statistics Canada released figures earlier Wednesday suggesting the country’s merchandise trade deficit narrowed in January, though economists noted it was driven by a plunge in imports.

The deficit was $1.9 billion compared with a deficit of $3.1 billion in December. Imports totalled $47.7 billion, down 4.3 per cent from a record level in December, while exports fell 2.1 per cent in January to $45.8 billion.

Poloz has introduced three rate hikes since last summer, including an increase in January. The moves came in response to an impressive economic run for Canada that began in late 2016.

The central bank’s next rate announcement is scheduled for April 18, when it will also publish its updated economic projections. The bank said the impacts on inflation and growth from commitments in last month’s federal budget would be incorporated into its April projections.

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