Apr 042016
 

I’m not much of a hipster, but last year I started to use the Tangerine money-back credit card during its trial period before it was cool. After using this card for many months I’ve decided it’s time to blog about my experience with it. Normally I don’t review consumer products, and I’m not being paid to write this post, but I genuinely think this is a great credit card that I would recommend to my personal friends. 🙂

16-04-Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

About the Tangerine Mastercard 

Let’s go over the main features of the card.

  • No annual fee 😀
  • Earn 2% money back on select categories, and 1% on every other purchase.
  • No limit on the amount of money-back rewards you can earn.
  • Interest on overdue balances and cash advances is 19.95%
  • Mastercard is accepted worldwide at more than 24 million locations in over 210 countries

Continue reading »

Oct 312014
 

The following is by staff writer, Peter.

If you accept credit cards in your business or you are planning to do that in the future, one of the things that you will need to do is to choose a credit card processing company. There are many different companies that you can choose from, so how do you choose the right one? Before you can pick one, you need to know what to look out for.

Not Reading the Fine Print14-10-credit-card-dealer

According to Skybank Financial, a huge mistake that a lot of business owners make when it comes to credit card processors is that they don’t read the fine print in the contract. This can be quite costly. You want to do more than just glance at the contract.  Check for the fees that they are charging up front, along with the hidden fees, penalties, and other things.  Even though credit cards are made to make life easier, the industry is also huge and they’re out to make money. They want to make as much money as possible from everyone.  If you’re not careful, you can be facing a lot more fees than you expect.

Bad Selection of Plans

Most of the companies that offer credit card processing via a POS system like Shopify also offer a lot of different plans that vary by services provided and price.  A huge difficulty for many business owners is deciding which of the plans is going to be best for their business. For example, one business might choose a certain plan that assumes there will be a lot of transactions every month. But this is going to likely be better for a larger chain that is able to meet those obligations. Another example would be a business that is rapidly growing conservative in their estimates regarding the type of service they’ll need. Maybe they underestimate how many transactions they’re going to have. This can result in a plan that’s insufficient or the business having a lot of fees.

Ignoring the Termination Fees

According to Singular Payments, this is one of the most common mistakes people make. When you are looking for a card processing company for your business, it’s essential to look at all of the information before you choose one. One of the most common types of fees that businesses often will ignore is the termination fee. This is what a company will use to lock their clients into contracts. These fees are really high and many of the processors ask that their clients sign an agreement for more than one year. Even though these seem innocent, this kind of contract often will lead to the provider charging you a fee for early termination. They also often may charge a penalty for liquidated damages due to lost profits.

Falling for the Bait & Switch

If you are looking for something and you think that it seems almost too good, you may want to look elsewhere. A lot of merchant services will lure businesses into something with a great rate or some other delectable item and then change it after you’re hooked. When you’re considering a company to process your credit cards, you want to ask them if they’re offering guarantees about what you’re being sold. Look for guarantees that offer protection against baiting and switching so that you know what you are getting into and you don’t have to worry about unpleasant surprises.

Not Reading Reviews

One of the best ways that you can find out about a credit card processing company is to read the reviews online. Look at the things that other people have said about the company and what they say about their fees, services, customer service, and anything else you want to know about the company. This is going to help you make the right decision.

Not Comparing Companies

In order to find the right processing company, one of the best things that you can do is to look at the different companies that are available. You may find one that you really like, but if you stop looking, you may miss out on one that you would have liked better. So compare the different companies and see what they have to offer, and then choose the one that is going to be best for you.

A gentlemen wrote about his own search for a credit card processing company and the problems that he had dealing with all the fees, manipulations, and other less-than-stellar tactics used by card processing companies for the New York Times. If you are concerned about finding the right payment processor, then follow in the NYT writer’s footsteps and tread warily, pay attention, and take your time to think.

When you take the time to learn what you shouldn’t do and what you should do, you will have a better chance of finding the right company for processing your credit card transactions. Take time and look for the one that suits you best and you will be less likely to make mistakes. If you want a good POS system, go visit Shopify and see what sort of services they can provide.

Sep 132014
 

We teach kids to not begin a sentence with the word “Because.” We tell them the smallest things in the universe are atoms and molecules. But when the kids grow older they learn about proper grammatical structures and subatomic particles and inevitably realize that the information they were taught as children were simply inaccurate :|. Popular financial advice like “Don’t carry a balance on your credit card,” can be misleading as well.

One favorable reason to carry credit debt is for investing purposes. Earlier this summer, my pal at Finance Journey updated his June net worth where he had multiple credit cards with a combined balance of $26,800.

Being $26,800 deep in credit card debt may sound like a bad situation to be in, but he was actually leveraging the promotional low interest rates on his credit cards to buy large cap, blue-chip companies that paid him more dividends than the interest he accumulated on his credit card loans.

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He’s an average, middle class guy but he’s managed to grow his investment portfolio to about $100,000 in just a couple of years thanks to his modest savings and credit card leverage. Even low risk government bonds will still yield a higher return than the cost of those special credit card rates. If we know for certain that our borrowing cost will be low for a set period of time, and higher returns can be made elsewhere, then we can use the opportunity to make some extra money at virtually no risk ;)

Credit cards can also be used as a bridge loan, for example to cover the cost of buying a new car before selling the old one. It’s a way to use other people’s money at no cost to us. Many people including myself also use credit cards as emergency funds :D When I received a promotional 1.9% balance transfer last year, I did not hesitate to carry a $5,000 balance for many months. My credit card loan became part of the money used for a down payment.

Simplified financial advice is designed to connect with the most number of people so it tends to be generalized. Believing credit card debt is inherently bad is like believing humans evolved from apes. It’s just a convenient lie we tell kids because their brains are not developed enough to comprehend the real truth. But we’re not kids anymore. We must look at credit cards objectively and make decisions based on facts, and not on stereotypes.

We shouldn’t borrow money just for the sake of having debt, but in some circumstances carrying a controlled amount of credit card debt can be our best option to financial freedom :) At the end of the day what really matters are results. Crunch the numbers and do whatever makes sense to you.

Random Useless Fact:
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Both humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor that lived 5 to 8 million years ago. Given the right conditions, a modern ape species might evolve into something like a human, but it would take millions of years.

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Jun 072013
 

Expensive Night Out  – Read an article in the paper version of the Globe and Mail where a 16 year old Japanese adolescent went on quite the joy ride after spending $56,000 on his dad’s American Express credit card on a one night club binge. The teenager and a friend visited multiple hostess clubs, where he paid to sit and drink with women working there. At one of the venues, he spent a couple of thousand dollars on a single bottle of wine. The teenager’s dad pleaded with the local court to reduce the tab.

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Hostess clubs in Japan can’t allow minors to enter in the first place (must be 18+), so the clubs were partly responsible. The judge ruled that credit card companies should also flag questionable activities like racking up a large bill in a relatively short amount of time so American Express was also partly responsible. In the end the dad’s bill was reduced down to 800,000 yen ($8,200.) I wonder just how rich this family is (>_<) And I’m surprised credit card limits can even go up that high 🙂

Job Boom  – According to Statistics Canada, our economy had its best month for job creation in more than a decade last month in May, adding 95,000 new jobs thanks in large part to the construction industry 😀 It’s the equivalent to the U.S. adding over one million new jobs in a single month. Canada’s unemployment rate fell, but still remains stubbornly above 7%.

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Blog roundup – Personal finance and other interesting articles from around the web
Pauline from Reach Financial Independence writes about the importance of customer service
Mashed Thoughts reviews a local Oyster Bar in Vancouver

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Random Useless Fact: A zedonk is a crossbreed between a zebra and a donkey 😀

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Jun 042013
 

The world of personal finance can be so complex that it cannot be accurately represented with any rules or strict guidelines. This is why it’s so hard to give financial advice. Unless we know absolutely everything about someone else’s finances and personality, it’s nearly impossible to give them proper guidance and tell them what they need (not want) to hear. We can be as honest as humanly possible with our sincerest suggestions, but to think that we know what’s best for them especially if we haven’t been in their shoes, may be a bit vain. So I believe there is simply no such thing as universal rules when it comes to financial management. Every time we come across one of those “Top 10 Rules to investing,” or “…to get out of debt,” or “…to plan for retirement,” or whatever else, we must look at it as only rough guidelines, and nothing more 🙂

The golden rule is that there are no golden rules.  ~George Bernard Shaw

Rules are meant to be broken anyway. I break generally accepted personal finance “rules” all the time, like choosing to pay high bank fees instead of keeping the minimum balance in my account, or buying a car when I still had student loans, or using consumer debt to buy a $2,250 souvenir, or not having an emergency fund, or agreeing to purchase a property when I have no savings. Lately I decided to carry a $5,000 credit card balance, which is arguable another no no in the personal finance community, except I think I can be forgiven this time because my interest rate is only 1.9 percent 😀

13_06_transferbalancejpg, break all the rules, credit card balance transfer

Once in awhile I get these cheques from my credit card lender, TD. I can use them to spend on anything I wish. This was my last chance to get in on the deal because after this month they will not be sending out any more of these blank cheques :*(  With no time to lose I wrote $5,000 on one addressed to myself 🙂 and deposited it into my CIBC account. This works out perfectly because I need money for my farmland downpayment so by happenstance I’m now $5,000 closer to buying that property 😀 There IS a 1% transfer fee, so I paid $50 for this service but I think it’s worth it in the end 🙂

Following mainstream rules like credit card debt is bad, but student loan debt is good, will limit our options to raise capital and create wealth. By being more agnostic to what others say and focusing on our own situations we can achieve so much more 😀 There’s no such thing as rules, only suggestions.

If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere.” ~Marilyn Monroe

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Random Useless Fact: 3 – 4 cups of green tea each day can boost your metabolism by 4% which burns 50 to 100 extra calories a day.