New Debit Card Fees & Some Bank Insights

Last week the federal government announced a discussion period for some prepaid credit card changes. They’re most welcome and long overdue, but they sure don’t go far enough. What the proposed changes include are:
-No expiry for prepaid credit cards
-Fees must be prominently disclosed in advance of purchase
-No maintenance fees for at least one year.

Now help me with this? When are these things a problem when you have cash? Right – they never apply! It’s ok to charge a monthly maintenance fee after a year? What? Does cash expire in the same way? With cash, do you have to look for the traps of fees? Enough said…

There is also a bunch of news from the world of our no-service big six banks:

Scotiabank is now marketing American Express Gold cards. They’re the only Canadian big bank and it’s not the real Amex charge cards, just the Gold credit card with travel points. It’s nice to see the market expanding and they’ve sure done a lot of advertising for it!

The TD had a big announcement last week: They are buying the US credit card portfolio of Target. The total of Target credit card balances is just under $6 billion and the deal is for seven years. That likely means TD will handle the Canadian Target Visa cards when they launch in Canada in March. And, as we discussed a few months ago, the rumour is that Canada will also have the permanent 5 percent discount on any shopping with their Visa card. So skip the Amex Gold and wait for the Target Visa if that’s true.

The Royal, also last week, purchased the Canadian operations of Ally Financial. Do you remember GMAC? It was the finance division of General Motors and THE most profitable part of their portfolio. No wonder when most people finance and don’t shop around for their loan. Well, GMAC was sold when GM was in big trouble. Then they got into even bigger trouble with the US financial meltdown and the government allowed them to convert into a bank. That became Ally, which is now part of the Royal. It’s still massively profitable and the Royal outbid 15 companies and paid $3.8 billion.

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