Is Online Banking Safe to Use?

doing online banking on a computer

Is online banking safe to use? It is an interesting question as some love using online banking while others fear it. And it is easy to see why because we live in a time where we can literally purchase everything online. However, with that comes skyrocketing cyber crime which seems to be getting worse by the day. Hence the dilemma.

The Fears of Online Banking

These fears can be summed up in three areas:

  1. The fear of my bank account being hacked and compromised resulting in loss of money.
  2. Computer or system glitches preventing me from accessing my account.
  3. Human error resulting in moving money to the wrong location or source resulting in loss of funds.

Are These Online Banking Fears Founded?

In a word, no. Online banking has come along way and here are three reasons why these fears are unfounded:

  1. Security-Online banking systems have sophisticated security software to protect the user from hacking. For example my bank uses Trusteer Rapport which is security software developed by IBM. Also, banks have a guarantee to users to compensate them for any losses due to their account being compromised. Here’s an online guarantee from my bank, “We will fully reimburse you in the unlikely event that you suffer direct financial losses due to unauthorized activity in your accounts through Digital Banking Services provided you have met your security responsibilities.”
  2. Systems glitches are pretty rare. I have been using online banking for a long time cannot remember the last problem there was. There could be the rare time that the system is down for maintenance but the website usually has a warning if this is the case.
  3. Extra steps implemented to prevent human error. When you do any transaction, there is usually a step that asks you to confirm a transaction or asks if you are sure. This gives you the opportunity to double check. If you do make an error, who can call the bank’s call centre or email their help desk to get help to reverse the transaction.

Benefits of Online Banking

Here are two benefits below:

  1. Time. This one is obvious! What is faster? Driving to your bank to pay a bill or apply for a credit card or turning on your computer going to your bank’s website and doing it all there? You save lots of time!
  2. Convenience. Imagine, you can pay your bills, pay your taxes, invest, and apply for a loan at once. If you did it the old way, you would have to line up at a bank, see multiple people, and potentially go to other places to pay for your bills or invest. With online banking, you can do it all in the comfort of your home.

Conclusion

Should I use online banking? If you value time and convenience than the answer is a resounding yes! The benefits definitely outweighs the risks and if something does go wrong, you bank will compensate you for any losses. It’s a win win situation which is a rarity in our world today. So, why not give it a try?

You Might Also Like: https://bargainblog.ca/should-i-open-a-tfsa-today/

A Reverse Mortgage, Is it Worth it?

A picture of a house to denote that you can have a reverse mortgage in you own your home.

A reverse mortgage, is it worth it? It is an interesting question. Reverse mortgages are definitely on the rise. There are now many commercials airing on TV stating the merits of getting one. But what is a reverse mortgage? Who is eligible? What are the pros and cons? Is it worth it?

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

Here’s a definition from the government of Canada website, “A reverse mortgage is a loan that allows you to get money from your home equity without having to sell your home. You may be able to borrow up to a certain percentage of the current value of your home. The maximum amount you will be able to borrow will depend on your age, your home’s appraised value and your lender.

You don’t need to make any payments on a reverse mortgage until the loan is due. This is usually when you move out of your home, sell it or the last borrower dies. You will owe more interest on a reverse mortgage the longer you go without making payments. This may result in you having less equity in your home.”

Who is Eligible?

The government of Canada website says that you have to be at least 55 years old, a homeowner, it has to be your primary residence. Also, if you have a mortgage or lien on your home, you have to pay it off when you get a reverse mortgage.

What are the Pros and Cons?

Here’s some details from Government of Canada website:

Pros

  • You don’t have to make any regular loan payments
  • A person may turn some of the value of your home into cash, without having to sell it
  • You don’t have to pay tax on the money you borrow
  • This money does not affect the Old-Age Security (OAS) or Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefits you may be getting
  • You still own your home
  • You may have options as to when and how you receive the money

Cons

  • Interest rates are higher than most other types of mortgages
  • The equity you hold in your home may go down as the interest on your loan adds up throughout the years
  • Your estate will have to repay the loan and interest in full within a set period of time when you die
  • The time needed to settle an estate may be longer than the time allowed to repay a reverse mortgage
  • There may be less money in your estate to leave to your children or other beneficiaries
  • Costs associated with a reverse mortgage may be higher than a regular mortgage or other lending products

Some Caution about Reverse Mortgages

As mentioned above, a reverse mortgage is a loan and with a loan there are conditions that have to be meant and this is where caution is needed. For example you required to keep up the value of the home by maintaining it. However, as you get older this could be harder to do and if your place fall into disrepair you could default on your loan and potentially lose your home. A similar scenario can happen if you do not pay your property taxes and home insurance.

Is it Worth it?

It depends. If you plan to stay in your home right up until you die and you have no beneficiaries to your estate then the reverse mortgage might be to your liking. But if you have beneficiaries you want to give money to after you die, or you plan to downsize or go into assisted living, then it might not be for you. So do your do diligence and do your research. Because a reverse mortgage is not free money but a loan that has conditions like other loans. So you need to be mindful.

You might also like:

Amazon.ca Deals – the Complete Far Side Collection (by Gary Larson) – Cartoons and Comics – 42% off Hardcover Edition

Regularly $245.00 – Now only $141.75

Is it only my Dad who would laugh aloud while reading this? If you have fans of the Far Side in your family, then this seems like a no-brainer gift for them! The entire collections comes in two hardbacked editions, tucked away in a really cool storage box. Now, if only I could find a Calvin & Hobbes collection, too…

Amazon Deals – 43% off a KitchenAid Mixer Value Package

Regularly $528.97 – Today only: $299.99

Wow, this is one of those bargains that just can’t be missed! If you’ve been waiting for a spectacular sale to invest in a KitchenAid stand mixer, then this might be exactly the right time for you to go for it.

This value package includes the 4.5 quart stand mixer, an extra 3.5 quart bowl (super handy to have for when you’re doing a lot of baking!), and a flex edge flat beater.

10 Ways to Save Money on Rent – Saving on Apartments and Condos

There is no greater cost for most of us than our housing costs – either our monthly rent, or mortgage. In some large cities – I’m looking at you Toronto and Vancouver – monthly rental costs can easily swallow up half of our paycheques! (Or, sadly sometimes way more!!) With rent prices skyrocketing, we thought it would be helpful to discuss some ways you can save money on renting an apartment, house or condo. If you can lower your rent costs, then you’ll be able to live within a budget. So, here are our 10 favorite tips!

1. Look for apartments in the ‘off season’

Sometimes you just can’t control when you need to rent a new place. For instance, if you’re a student – well, you need to rent an apartment to be ready for the new school year! But, if you are in a situation when you can be flexible about when you look for your new digs, choose winter time to search. Fewer other people will be searching then, and you might secure a lower lease because of it.

2. Add up all the costs – rent plus utilities

Sure, that gorgeous little downtown condo sounds like an impressive bargain! But, make sure you include all costs in your total rent payment. If the rent is $1500, but then parking is $150 and utilities are $200 your total rent payment is actually $1850! If there’s another condo located in the same building for $1750, with all costs included then you’re better off choosing Condo B. Do your research to discover what your full monthly housing costs will be.

3. Negotiate a lower rent

If you’re a brand new tenant, you may be able to negotiate rent by being knowledgeable about the area and what typical rental costs are. You can even print out similar properties with the rent that is currently being charged. If the landlord is reasonable, they may be willing to lower the rent. Or, if you’re a long-term tenant, use your record of excellent payment and tenancy to negotiate to either stay at the same rent or even lower it. Or, sometimes landlords are willing to negotiate for other freebies such as free additional storage space, or free parking. (I’ve recently done exactly that – received free parking that would’ve otherwise cost $65/month, because we are long-term, excellent tenants.)

4. Offer to do repairs, maintenance or lawn work

Your landlord may really appreciate it if you’re willing to do some of their hard work for them! It never hurts to ask if you could do some repairs around the place for a lowered rent. Or, you could do regular maintenance or yard work – such as raking up leaves, mowing the lawn, or shoveling snow. Ask them if you could negotiate your rent based on offering these maintenance services. Then, if they agree – get your agreement in writing.

5. Manage an apartment building

Some people get free rent by managing an apartment building! Others will receive reduced rent for doing this job. But, make sure you know what you’re signing up for. Other tenants will come to you with complaints, and worries and even possibly to drop off rent cheques. Make sure you want to take on this responsibility before signing up to be a resident manager. If this kind of job sounds ideal, then you may snag some very cheap rent!

Home sweet home

6. Get a Roommate

Sure, getting a roommate may be an obvious choice to reducing your overall rental costs, but make sure to do your research. As in: know the person you’re going to share your home with! Ask around your friends to see if anyone needs a good roommate, or even at your workplace. Set up careful rules about how rent will be paid, how utilities will be divided, and even how food will be shared.

7. Sign a longer lease

Have you found your dream place? Are you worried that rent prices are just going to continue going up, up, UP? Well, then sign a longer lease. Ask your landlord or the management company of your building if a longer lease is an option. This could be 1 year, or even 2 years or longer. Then, you’ll have locked in your housing costs for that period of time and won’t have to worry about that dreaded letter being slipped under your door telling you about rent increases.

8. Rental Incentives

Especially in areas where there are a lot of rentals available, and too few qualified renters – there will be rental incentives. Take note of signs in the areas you’re looking to live in of these special offers. $500 off, Free Parking, 1 month free rent, and other offers may be used to entice new tenants to sign a lease at that apartment or condo complex. And, if there are incentives, you know too that the landlord may be willing to negotiate a bit more in other areas – such as free cable or internet. It’s always worth asking! (Just be polite about it, and don’t seem as if you’re trying to take advantage.)

9. Refer a Friend

Often, larger condos or apartment buildings may have a referral system in place to reward you if a friend moves in. At one point, where we live, both we and our friend received $150 off rent, and all because we referred her! It’s worth checking it out, and seeing if there are any perks for referring people to live in the same complex you do. And hey, then you’ll know the neighbors, too!

10. Rent an unfurnished apartment

If this is the first time out on your own, you may be very tempted by gorgeous, glossy looking, fully furnished apartments or condos. But, the price for these can be outrageously high! Instead, choose a small first apartment and then furnish it very cheaply. You can do so by letting your family and friends know (it seems like everyone’s Auntie or Grandma has some extra, old furniture lying around unused in the attic) or also by finding freebies or very inexpensive furniture on Craigslist or Kijiji. It’ll take a little time to furnish your place, but this way you’ll also make it more your own, unique space.

Mega PC Optimum points this week at Superstore

pc optimun card to highlight this week deals

Hi bargaineers! If you’re loading up on PC Optimum points – perhaps saving up for a large freebie like a tablet or a TV – then this is a week to add HUGE points to your account.

Here are the best and biggest point purchases to rack up points at Superstore this week:

3000 points when you spend $15 on Mars pet food brand cat and dog food! (Includes Pedigree, Whiskas, Cesar, Iams, Temptations treats, Crave, Greenies and Nutro)

1000 points on a 6 pack of Royale facial tissues

2500 points on a club pack size of Astro original yogurt (mini cups)

1000 points on 1 kg Jif peanut butter

3000 points on Made Good healthy granola bars (288 grams to 396 grams size)

3000 points on Folgers coffee pods (12 pack)

2000 points on Hellman’s mayo (club pack size – 1.42 L)

1000 points on Hungry Buddha coconut chips snack ($4.00 sale price)

1000 points on Thirsty Buddha coconut water (sale price $2.98)

2000 points when you spend $10 on Yves veggie products (vegan/vegetarian meat replacements)

3000 points on every $15 spent on Oxo kitchen gadgets. (Seriously, some of my favourite gadgets around!!)

6000 points on every $60 spent on Netflix gift cards

1000 points on small bottles of Vaseline lotions

2000 points on Eevlon Photoready foundation, concealer or powder

And there are even more! Check out the Superstore flyer on the flipp app (https://flipp.com – not an affiliate link, I just love recommending this flyer app!) I hope you collect a massive amount of PC Optimum points this week!

At Real Canadian Superstore this week – Bonus PC Optimum points on select gift cards

5000 bonus PC Optimum points on Uber & H & M Gift cards

I love a great gift card deal! Superstore often has bonus PC Optimum points on selected gift cards. The reason why I love PC points so much is simple – they equal free groceries!

This week’s deal is valid from September 20 – 26. Get 5000 bonus points when you purchase a $25 Uber or H & M gift card. (The bonus points apply on every $25 you spend. So a $50 gift card equals 10000 points!)

Remember…every 5000 points is $5 worth to spend at Superstore or Shoppers. So, if you’re looking for a gift, this might be an awesome option! (And I didn’t even know that you could buy Uber gift cards, let alone at Superstore.)

10 Best Baby Shower Gifts Canada – Baby Baskets and more

Is there anything more wonderful or more adorable than a new baby? Since here in Bargainblog land we are currently waiting for one of our dearest friends to have her second bouncing baby boy, we have also been doing a lot of shopping for baby gifts! In particular, we’ve been searching for gifts that are perfect to present to the new Mom at a baby shower. All of these links and resources are available to Canadian Moms, so shop away!

1. Diaper Bags

A fantastic diaper bag. As new Moms will become aware all too quickly, they need to carry a LOT of stuff around them to keep the little human cared for and happy! A good diaper bag allows storage of diapers (sorry for being painfully obvious), baby bottles, baby wipes and much more. This cool backpack variety means your hands will be free to carry the baby! And I love that it has an insulated front pocket to safely store bottles of breast milk or baby formula.

2. Baby Toiletries Sets

Baby lotion, baby powder, baby shampoo. Other essentials for the new parents to care for their gorgeous little one are all of these baby toiletries! This mini set by Live Clean (baby) is perfect for toting all the time in the baby bag. (Or if the parents are travelling – all of the toiletries are trial size and perfect to store in carry-on luggage on a plane.) If you’d prefer a full-size set, it’s available here. It comes complete with baby lotion, diaper cream, non-petroleum ointment, baby shampoo and baby wash. Live Clean Baby is healthier for baby and the environment, and uses organic botanicals in its formulas.

3. Baby Sleep Soothing Devices – Baby Shusher

This is a new product to me! It rates very highly on Amazon, as being a soothing sleep miracle product for babies. I’d imagine that anything that allows exhausted, coffee-fueled parents a bit more sleep would be greatly appreciated! It creates a rhythmic, soothing shushing noise that eases the baby back to sleep. You can check it out for yourself (and read the reviews) here.

4. Baby Gift Baskets for Boys, Girls or Unisex

Baby gift baskets – These make a fantastic baby shower gift, because there are so many useful goodies inside! You can create a baby basket yourself, or select one that is pre-made. This cute one for a baby boy has amazing gifts in it like a Shampoo rinser (who knew!?), an embossed fleece blanket, a fluffy teddy bear, baby onesies, and baby socks. And this baby girl basket is overflowing with a soft blankie, baby toothbrush, baby nail clippers, a teddy bear and more – all sorted in a handy tote. (Unisex baby baskets are also available.)

5. Baby Food Blenders

Baby food maker/blender – If you know that the new parents are planning to make homemade baby food, then a baby food maker is a great gift! The top rated one I could find is called the Baby Bullet and it comes with everything you need to make baby food – except the fresh ingredients! (This 20 piece set also comes with some storage pieces.)

6. Diaper Cakes – Make it Yourself or Buy it

Diaper Cake – If you can’t be bothered creating one of these popular baby shower centerpieces yourself, this 3-tier diaper cake is already made for you! You can customize it with decorations that go with your baby shower theme, or leave it just as it is. A cute and and practical decoration that the new parents can take home and use! (If you would like to make your own diaper cake, the instructions are here, and they claim to be very simple.)

7. Baby Handprint Keepsake Kit

Handprint and Footprint Keepsake Kit – This adorable idea includes a frame that holds two photos of your baby, plus a clay mold that allows you to make imprints of your baby’s hand and foot! This will be one beautiful gift that will stay out on the wall. Very, very sweet.

8. Baby Books

Soft cloth baby books – To say I like reading is sort of like saying I like coffee. Ahem. And that love of reading, according to my Mom, began right when I was a baby, as they took reading to me very seriously. Sets of baby-safe books means you can read to baby, and then leave the book with them to gnaw on if they so choose. Hey, babies will learn to love books in an entirely different way once they get a wee bit older!

9. Baby Grooming and Health Sets

Baby grooming and healthcare setsThis organized little kit from Glee Baby (A Mom-preneur company!) comes with: digital thermometer, medicine dispenser, nasal aspirator, infant comb and brush, gum massaging brush, cotton swabs, rattle, nail clipper, nail filer and pacifier. Phew! That is quite a complete set, and it also has a handy storage case to keep it all convenient for Mom or Dad to grab when needed. I am seriously thinking about this one as a gift for my best friend at her baby shower!

10. Baby Shower Guest Books

Baby shower guest book – I love a good guest book. What could be better than to look back and see who was at your special event? And read their words of love! Win, win! There are a variety of styles, like this gold-tone ‘Oh Baby!’ book, which I am quite partial to.

Baby showers are a joyful event, and we all love to crowd around and watch the new parents open up gift after gift! We are, after all showering the parents, and their family with love with each present they open. I hope our list has given you inspiration to find a unique gift to give to your favourite new Mom, and her baby.