BMO Mosaik Mastercard: $25 Annual Fee on New and Soon Old Accounts

BMO American Dollar Credit Card Fees

I've been quite a fan of BMO Mosaik's No-Fee US$ Mastercard.

Bank of Montreal had the only fee-free US$ credit card in Canada without making you jump through any hoops.  TD Bank has a "free" one if you subscribe to their most expensive banking plan (or free with a minimum $5000 deposit, ya right!). 

Whistler Stuff to do: Where to go out (NightLife) + Where and What to Eat

Whistler Nightlife 

Remember that most clubs have promo tabs so get friendly with either the bartender or manager, or get to know some locals who often go to the same bars. They're sure to have built up some amount of rapport. 

Banking & Currency Advice for a Canadian moving to the USA

I received an email from a reader (and got permission to repost it anonymously). I'm sure it is a situation familiar to many that end up on this website:

Blue is my writing, green is the reader's.

Guide to Opening Canadian Bank Accounts for Americans (and other foreigners).

Canadian Banking Industry Information for Foreigners/Americans

First, I'll give a brief introduction to banking in Canada before providing the information on how to open a Canadian bank account as a foreigner. 

HorizonPlus Prepaid Credit Card

It looks like the Horizon Plus Prepaid Credit Mastercard Lives On.

HorizonPlus Prepaid Credit Card

Looks like this is still available, despite the lack of usability of Peoples Trust's Website. That's right, they don't put a possessive apostrophe on the Peoples. Grammar Fail. 

How to Send Money to a TD Bank Account / Canada Trust Bank Account

If you need to send money to a friend/relative via TD Canada Trust, there are two good ways of doing so:

ZoomPass Payment/Money Transfer System: Anyone use it?

Zoompass: Canadian Mobile Payment System

Now I'm seeing a bit of web advertising for it. Looks like a soft-launch to me.

I think it's just a stored-value system (like a prepaid credit card) integrated with Paypass. The difference with Zoompass and a prepaid reloadable Mastercard is that Zoompass:

People's Trust Secured Mastercard (formerly the Horizon Plus Credit Card Products, like their Prepaid Cards)

People's Trust Secured Mastercard Credit Card

It looks like People's Trust/Horizon Plus is no longer in the prepaid credit card market. (This is incorrect, please see comments below for why this confusion occurred).  Now they only offer the HorizonPlus Mastercard directly through Peoples Trust, whereas previously they were through the HorizonPlus subsidiary (or so I think). If you're looking for a prepaid gift card, it would still be a good idea to take a look at my Canadian Prepaid Visa/Mastercard Gift Cards Review here.

July 2009 Canadian Dollar to US Dollar Currency Exchange Rates

These are the Canadian Dollar to US Dollar Exchange rates (noon time), day by day for July 2009.

The source of this data is the Bank of Canada (equivalent to the US Federal Reserve Bank).

The average rate, highest rate and lowest rate for the month of July 2009 are at the bottom of the page. 

You can use these rates to compare to the rate your credit card offers or other foreign currency transactions.

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

Prepaid Visa/MasterCards and Booking Hotels/Motels/Vacations

Generally speaking, a prepaid card should be accepted anywhere a Visa or Mastercard credit card is accepted.

How To Tell Which Provider A Cell Phone Belongs To

Wondering which company a cell phone number belongs to?

Wondering whether a phone number is a cell phone number, or a landline?

Wondering if a phone number would be long distance or not from where you live?

Check out TelcoData.US

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. 

Thinking Aloud: A Better Way to Install a Tankless Water Heater in a Cold Climate

This is by no means an actual recommendation, and I have no idea if it would meet any building codes (though I don't see why it wouldn't). I'm just thinking aloud of what might work.

The biggest problem with tankless water heaters in an area like mine (S. Ontario Canada) is that the incoming cold water pipe is COLD, year-round. Probably 10 degrees Celsius year round here, and perhaps even colder for some people in some seasons. 

This creates a problem for tankless water heaters that have to heat water another 40 degrees Celsius on an ongoing basis. 

Visa Gift Cards in Canada

Background on Prepaid Visa/Mastercards in Canada

I've already written a very popular article on prepaid cards in Canada, and I do recommend reading it, as it is full of useful of information on this topic. When purchasing a card like this, it is very important to shop around and look at all of the available options. 

US Accounts for Canadians: Bank of America and other Big US Banks

Past Article on US Bank Accounts for Canadians

I've already written an article here on opening up a US$ bank account at a US-based bank in the USA. It's a good background, so I suggest reading it for its useful information and posted comments. 

The only problem is that the bank I chose is a relatively regional one that doesn't do much business in border states.

Every Kilowatt Counts: Not a Chance. Just how low electricity costs are in Ontario

As written in my article on the roll-out of "Smart" Meters for electricity in Ontario (which doesn't seem to be a very smart idea in many situations), the cost of electricity generation itself is determined by supply and demand by the "Independent Electricity System Operator".

Electricity Prices & Rates In Ontario: Smart Meters

Will Smart Meters Cause my Electricity ("Hydro") Bill to Increase?

(Just want to see the rates and not the commentary? Scroll to the bottom!)

March 2009 US Dollar Canadian Dollar Currency Exchange Rates

These are the noon-time US<->Canadian Dollar Exchange Rates. The source of this information is the Bank of Canada.

This information is for the month of March, year 2009. 

These are nominal values, rather than actual "sell" or "buy" rates, so they're best used for comparison or statistical purposes. Having said that, there's no "official" exchange rate either. 

Protect Yourself Against Power Outages with Multiple Cellular Phones

A Potential Cellular Phone Power-Cut Scenario

Say you don't have a landline telephone, but you use a cell phone for all of your calling. This could leave you in a scary situation if you need to make a 9-1-1 call and your cell phone provider doesn't happen to backup power, or its backup power has run out.