Category Archives: Bank Accounts

SmartyPig – Online Savings Account

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Bankaholic.com just introduced me to one really neat idea! It’s a cross between an online savings account and a social network site. Neat eh? Checkout what Bankaholic people have to say about it.

*This service is available to US Citizens only!*

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A Fun Twist on Savings Accounts

You open an account with a minimum deposit of $25. Deposits are funded through ACH bank-to-bank transfers. Your money gets stored at West Bank, an FDIC insured bank. The best part is that you earn 4.30% APY interest (as of 3/22/08).

SmartyPig has some social-networking that differentiate them from traditional high interest savings accounts

  • You can set up a savings goal. Ie, if you need $1000 for rent or $1500 for a plasma TV
  • You can make your goals public so that your friends and family can see what you are saving $$ for.
  • People can give you $$ to help you reach your goal. Ie, if grandma sees that Junior is saving up $100 for a new tricycle, grandma can use SmartyPig to give Junior some cash. You can also add-on SmartyPig’s Facebook and Myspace applications to share your savings goals with the world. Who knows who might be inclined to help you out with some money?
  • If you decide to cash out your money in the form of a gift card (ie, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc) you can get up to 5% extra.

If you have an account with SmartyPig, you can contribute to other SmartyPig customer’s savings goals for free. Alternatively, you can contribute via credit card for a 2.9% processing fee. (If you use a 5% cash back credit card like the Citi CashReturns card, then you can actually make a few bucks.)

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If this interests you visit SmartyPig’s website at:

http://www.smartypig.com/

Review – President’s Choice Financial no fee bank account for Canadians

Greetings everyone. Today’s post is mainly geared towards my fellow Canucks (slang for Canadians). I am going to do a brief review of President’s Choice Financial no fee checking account. As far as I know this is the only completely free checking account offered by a Canadian financial institution, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. When I come to think of it, it is really sad that PC Financial is the only bank offering this level of service. The major Canadian banks don’t even come close to providing the same “bang for the buck.” Simply put, everything with this checking account is free. This makes complete sense to me, as why should I be paying them to keep MY money when in fact the use that money to make a whole lot more money than they ever will offer me in the form of interest – this applies to all banks which operate on the fractional reserve banking principle.

Before I talk about the benefits offered by this bank, let me give you a bit of a background so you know who you’ll be potentially banking with.

President’s Choice Financial is a financial institution that offers banking services through a joint venture between Loblaw Companies (a supermarket chain) and CIBC (a major Canadian bank). There are a number of distinct organisations under the President’s Choice Financial umbrella.

Most standard bank products are provided by CIBC (a major Canadian bank). MasterCard services are provided by President’s Choice Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Loblaw Companies. Insurance is provided by PC Financial Insurance Agency Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Loblaw Companies.

PC Financial has no branches; rather, customer interactions are carried out over the Internet, the telephone, at ABM’s or at sales “pavilions” located in Loblaw-affiliated stores.

President’s Choice Financial was rated as the best mid-size bank by J.D. Power.

PC Financial, through CIBC, is a member of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) and registered member with the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), a federal agency insuring deposits at all of Canada’s chartered banks. It is also an Interac member for its debit card.

Ok, now that you understand a bit more about President’s Choice Financial (from here on called PC Financial) I can start to discuss what it has to offer.

1: You pay no monthly service fee

2: You pay no transaction fees

3: Free checks (try to find a bank that will give you free checks without paying a monthly fee and come and talk to me then) When you run out of checks you just give them a call and they’ll mail you some more.

4: Free debits/deposits at President’s Choice Financial bank machines and CIBC bank machines across the country.

5: You can link your no fee checking account to their “Interest Plus” account and ear 4.25% on your money (I will review PC Financial’s Interest Plus account in another post)

6: Simple and easy to use online banking platform.

You should know that unlike your typical “big bank,” PC Financial has no branches. But it has “pavilions” where you can go and sign up in person.

For the nitty-gritty you’re going to have to check out PC Financial’s FAQ section over here. I simply do not have the time, space, or inclination to go over every possible question you may have.

Ok, that does it for this review. My next review will include another President’s Choice Financial product – their “Interest Plus” savings account. So stay tuned to this blog for more info.

To get more info or to open a PC Financial no fee checking account visit this link (opens in a new window):

http://www.pcfinancial.ca/

Eternitybanking VISA debit card & US bank account: perfect for non US residents

Sometimes I find something of potential value that I
know many readers of my updates will find useful.

The first of these I want to mention has to do with
obtaining a Visa or MasterCard branded DEBIT card.

Let me clarify: I’m not talking about a plain ATM
debit card (which are a dime a dozen) – but a debit
card with the Visa or MasterCard logo/hologram.

For US residents getting such a card is a breeze.
But for most others, such a card is a prize to
seek – as it has all the advantages of a credit
card, except you are not incurring debt – rather
simply using your own money.

Sometimes such a card is referred to as a pre-paid
credit card.

One of the problems in obtaining one arises from
the fact that such cards are usually only available
to those who live in certain areas – in the region
served by a particular bank. And banks in various
countries are not usually allowed to distribute such
cards outside their own country.

The only exception is what is termed “affinity”
groups – which could be a company, a private club,
a group of employees etc.

There have been many attempts to provide such cards,
but these have often failed, precisely because the
issuer did not adhere to the policies of either
Visa or MasterCard.

EternityBanking info:

This is an e-payments system which provides for
a number of useful financial services – including
the provision of a US bank account and Visa Debit
Card.

Now, a US bank account is no big news to those already
in the USA, but for those in other countries, this
is potentially very useful (and offshore). One obvious
advantage is that such an account can be used to verify
PayPal accounts – and more importantly, receive PayPal
withdrawals.

I’ve opened an account with Eternity myself – and
am in the process of validating it with my ID so I can
get this Visa debit card. I can see a lot of use in
it for me personally.

There are a lot of options with this service – including
being able to load by wire transfer, various e-currencies
MoneyBookers, Western Union, PayPal and ACH – and I
think it’s well worth a closer look, if you are a non-US
resident. However, even US residents may find the loading
options very attractive – even though the card would
certainly not be “offshore” to them.

I should also mention that they DO have an affiliate program where you can earn a modest fee
for referring others to their service. However, the real value is in the service provided not so much in the referral program.

Click HERE For more info!