Admin's blog

NSF Fee on Declined/Rejected Credit Card Payment?

NSF Fees

These fees are very annoying, hitting you at your worst. Typically, a bank would charge the person trying to cash a cheque on an account that didn't have enough funds for the payment. Since the bank would charge the company trying to claim payment, the company would often forward the fee to the cheque-writing customer.

Logitech MK710 Review: Wireless Keyboard+Mouse+Micro Receiver

Logitech MK710 Review

Confusingly, the keyboard in the MK710 package is the MK700, and the mouse is the MK705. However, there is also an older keyboard+mouse package called the MK700, which has the old big USB-stick receiver. Avoid the MK700 keyboard+mouse package. Get the MK710.


WestJet Dollars Credit Card - Westjet Royal Bank RBC World Mastercard REVIEW

WestJet Dollars Credit Card

Banks love to issue special "rewards" credit cards with points or miles as their rewards. Even MBNA's Smart Cash "cash back" Mastercard gives out MBNA Reward Dollars or something.

Bell Network Charge for Bell Home Phone Customers: Another Deceptive Charge?

Bell Rolling out Network Charge to More Customers

To understand this, we need to have an educational talk about the two kinds of Bell phone service. There are two types of "local phone" service in Bell territories:

3V Visa Cash Card: Alternative to the Traditional Prepaid Mastercard/Visa?

3VCash is a new product on the Canadian Market.

How 3VCash Visa Card Works

3vCash Vouchers are a bit more directed to the needs of the prepaid Visa/Mastercard market: Those that only need a card to buy online, but can't because they don't have a credit card.

Hamilton (Ontario) Car Insurance Rates Suck

Although I have a clean driving record (no accidents, no claims and no moving violations), 7 years of experience (and I drive a lot) and drive a crappy car with little value and probably even less impact force in the event of an accident, my car insurance rates suck.

Bank of Nova Scotia / ScotiaBank Complaints / Problems: Resolve Quickly and Efficiently

ScotiaBank Problem Background

I have a Scotia "PowerChequing" Account that I don't really use as a part of my Scotia line of credit account package. It was supposed to be free during school, and for one year after I graduate.

Buying a Used Car in Ontario - Negotiating & Haggling

And I've been looking to purchase a used car. Dealing with used car dealerships is hilarious.

In order to test drive any car, all they usually need is a photocopy of your driver's license ("G" only acceptable in Ontario). If they ask for your phone number, it's certainly for the purposes of trying to call you later.

My advice is that any used car should be purchasable with at least 15% off list price, and certainly no less than 10% off list price.

December 2009 Canadian Dollar to US Dollar Daily Exchange Rate

Did you buy something in US$ with your credit card, but your credit card only reports the total in Canadian Dollars, so you don't know what they charged you, or what their commission was?

Here is the daily US Dollar to Canadian Dollar Exchange Rates, noon-time rates. Data is from business days only. Generally, changes are minor on holidays and weekends (though it is true that the forex market is open 24/7 and rates are constantly fluctuating). 

Bank Draft/Money Order Cost Fee @ Canadian Banks: TD, BMO, RBC, CIBC & Scotia

This is a quick page about the cost of money orders (also known as bank drafts) at the major Canadian banks, as well as a few big credit unions for comparison. Keep in mind, this is 2010 data.

See this page regarding Canada Post Postal Money Orders. 

TD Bank Draft: $7.50 in the currency of the draft

CIBC Bank Draft: $7.50

Postal Money Order Cost through Canada Post

A postal money order is a lot like a bank money order, or bank draft, except it can be cashed through both a bank and any postal outlet/office.

Some banks and banking "plans" offer free/cheap bank drafts. Sometimes you can ask nicely and they won't charge them to you either.

Want to buy: Credit Union Investment Shares (Series A, B, C, etc) & Special Shares

I am looking to purchase credit

Visa Infinite Card Benefits, Features, Perks + Which Banks Offer It

The Visa Infinite website is created in a confusing way that is mostly inaccessible to Google and the blind (everything is an image, no text!).

Please feel free to comment on any of the benefits/features, as well as any other positive or negative elements about the Infinite cards.

CIBC Dividend Infinite Visa Credit Card

aka: CIBC Dividend Infinite Visa vs Capital One Cash Back Plus Platinum

It looks like CIBC card is the successor card to the CIBC Dividend Platinum Visa card that I've written about before.

The tiers are the same, and there's still an annual fee, but as a nice plus, the card now includes:

Tax Free Savings Account Contribution Limit for 2010

TFSA Contribution Limits

The limit to contribute to a TFSA for the year 2009 is $5000. Most everyone already knows this.

But how much will the Tax Free Savings Account Contribution limit go up to for the year 2010?

The TFSA Contribution limit goes up by the CPI, or the amount of inflation in a given year, but in $500 increments only.

MBNA Smart Cash: 1%, 3%, even 5% FIVE PERCENT Cash Back Mastercard

There is a new credit card out that appears to be Canada's best cash-back card with no annual fee. Apply for the card today here: Smart Cash MasterCard® Credit Card

US Bank Accounts for Canadians only: No US Visit req'd: Harris Bank (BMO-owned)

Yes, it looks like it is now possible for Canadians in Canada with no US connections to open up a US-based US$ Bank Account. Well, one that has no transaction fees that is. You don't need to make a trip down to the USA to open this account as a Canadian.

US Dollar to Canadian Dollar Exchange Rates For May 2009 and June 2009

These are the noon-time market exchange rates for May 2009 and June 2009 from the Bank of Canada (and a bit of April 2009)

Chinese Homemade Cooking: Make your own authentic Chinese food!

My friend Kirk runs a cooking website for everyone on making authentic Chinese food dishes. The main point is that you don't have to be of Chinese descent to be able to follow the directions or buy the ingredients, anyone can try these out. 

So far, he has listed, with detailed pictures and directions, how to make:

American/US Stocks in a TFSA (Tax Free-Savings Account)

TFSAs and IRS Dividend Withholding Taxes

This is just a note that if I held a US-based fund/stock in my TFSA, such as a S&P 500 ETF or MSFT that trades in the USA, I, as a Canadian, would still pay IRS withholding taxes on any foreign dividends. This rate should be 15% and not 30%. So, I would lose about 15% of any dividend to the IRS that I wouldn't be able to claim against my Canadian income tax from that holding, since I'm not paying any taxes on that holding because it is in a TFSA. If this holding were in an RRSP, there is a tax treaty that would exclude this IRS withholding.

There is some weirdness with ADRs and non-US/non-Canadian holdings that I'm not even sure of and not going to bother with. If a US-based ETF holds these, I don't have any idea what might happen with withholdings.