June 09, 2021

Are green mortgages starting to take off?

While Canadians are interested in reducing their impact on the environment, the decision to buy a "green home" is really being driven by saving cash, according to a recent survey.

Green Despite saying all the right things, more than 59 per cent of respondents cite financial savings as the main reason for making eco-friendly upgrades and purchases.

The trend toward green living has encouraged Canadian banks to start offering "green mortgages," which offer home buyers a discounted interest rate and other incentives to buy more environmentally sensitive houses or perform upgrades aimed at lowering their environmental footprint.

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April 28, 2021

Is the chequebook quickly being consigned to history?

More and more, banking and personal financial transactions are moving farther from brick, mortar and piles of paper, and closer to being totally digital.

Cheque Everyday brings a new financial app or program focused on engaging consumers electronically, often through their mobile phones.

Starting next month, anyone applying for U.S. government benefits or pensions will automatically receive their payments electronically, while those already receiving paper cheques will need to switch to direct deposit by 2013.

And the state of Georgia is mailing debit cards instead to tax-refund cheques to select residents under a pilot program.

This is all bad news if you’re the company that prints those paper cheques, however. So, it’s not that surprising that Deluxe Corp, one of the largest cheque manufacturers in North America, is fighting back.

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March 29, 2021

Banks chasing small change to boost market share

Nearly everyone has spare change piling up in a jar or piggy bank, or lurking beneath the couch cushions. Now two major banks are starting to fight over those pennies in an effort to get you to switch accounts.

Coin Following the Toronto-Dominion Bank’s installation of automated coin-counting machines at 13 of its Ontario branches, Bank of Montreal is following suit, unveiling a plan to introduce dozens of the machines in new and renovated branches across Canada.

It’s not a new idea, of course. Lots of TD’s U.S. branches have “Penny Arcade” machines located inside bank branches.

The machines are the legacy of TD’s acquisition of Commerce Bancorp, which actually introduced them more than 10 years ago. The machines are quite popular and TD is hoping to replicate that success north of the border.

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March 23, 2021

Are ATM fees heading higher again?

Some of the biggest banks in the U.S. are imposing a variety of new fees on those withdrawing money from automated-teller machines.

Atm Looking to replace billions of dollars in revenue expected to be lost from new federal regulations on overdraft charges and debit cards, the banks view ATMs as their next cash cow.

So much so that JP Morgan Chase is currently testing a $5 ATM fee in Illinois and a $4 ATM fee in Texas – both for non-customers who use its ATMs – to see if they produce enough revenue to introduce nationwide, CNN reports.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...