Financial Literacy Newsletter – September 2023
Managing your money in an increasingly digital world
A few words from FCAC
Welcome to the September issue of the Financial Literacy Newsletter. Fall can be an exciting time, bringing new beginnings and changes that often require us to make important financial decisions. To support you in making choices that lead to positive financial outcomes, we have chosen “Managing your money in an increasingly digital world” as the theme for this issue. In today’s world, making financial decisions increasingly requires having the skills to navigate the digital financial marketplace.
Digital innovation has been transforming how we manage our money ever since Canadians started online banking in the mid-1990s. Digital innovation benefits financial consumers in many ways. These benefits go far beyond the convenience of 24/7 access to your bank account. They include better tools that can help you find tailored solutions to your financial needs, more access to your financial data, and a faster and easier process to transfer products and services between financial institutions.
Digital innovation also brings challenges. Financial products and services are becoming more and more complex, and the number of financial players and the choices you have to make are constantly growing. In recognition of the fact that the financial ecosystem needs to support Canadians within this complex landscape, FCAC’s National Financial Literacy Strategy prioritizes the skills needed to navigate the financial marketplace as a key consumer building block.
The goal of this newsletter is to help you build your awareness of resources that can help you to better manage your money in a digital world. In this issue, you will learn about 4 innovative digital tools that can help you to identify products that meet your unique needs, save unnecessary charges, and know where to go to resolve issues. While using these tools, you may decide to make changes to your financial products and services or even to change financial institutions. If so, make sure you read our article about the steps to take to transfer your products and services, including the digital considerations you need to keep in mind.
As the financial marketplace has become more digital, FCAC and the consumer protections the Agency oversees have also needed to adapt and to evolve. You are protected whether you manage your money at your local bank branch or through digital channels. Take our quiz to see how well you know your consumer protections when banking online or using a mobile app.
We are also fortunate to have contributions from organizations that promote digital financial literacy. For those who are at the beginning of the learning curve, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada shares information about how to manage money in Canada, including online. The Canadian Bankers Association describes banks’ active role in promoting digital financial innovation and the knowledge and tools that will help Canadians safely benefit from its conveniences. The Office of Consumer Affairs alerts you to watch out for “dark commercial patterns” that can influence your decision-making when you are shopping online. Finally, the Ontario Securities Commission describes the technological innovations it has recently introduced to its GetSmarterAboutMoney financial education website to help Canadians get information more quickly and more easily.
Please share these articles with those who you think might benefit from the information and resources shared. We can all help support friends, family and colleagues to acquire the skills to navigate the financial marketplace in an increasingly digital world.
4 tools that will improve your digital money management skills
Knowing how to bank online or with a mobile app is an important skill for managing your money in today’s increasingly digital world. More and more Canadians are becoming familiar with online basics such as viewing bank statements, transferring funds, paying bills and making e-transfers.
But today’s digital financial marketplace offers many additional benefits to consumers. Digital resources and tools are now available that nudge you to take action to safeguard your interests, and that can help you access products and services that meet your needs while avoiding those that do not.
Here are 4 digital tools that can help you make better financial decisions online.
Tool #1: Account Comparison Tool
Tools are available that make it easier for you to find products and services that are appropriate for your situation in an increasingly digital financial marketplace. For example, the digital Account Comparison Tool will help you find a chequing or savings account that meets your needs.
The Account Comparison tool will ask you for certain criteria, for example whether you are a senior, newcomer or student. Based on the answers you provide, the tool will enable you to compare the interest rates, monthly fees and number of free transactions associated with chequing and savings accounts offered by different financial institutions.
Tool #2: Electronic alerts
Electronic alerts are a consumer protection tool that can help you better safeguard your interests by avoiding unnecessary bank fees.
Banks are now required to send you electronic alerts in 2 situations:
- When the balance of your chequing or savings account falls below $100 CDN (or an amount you have set)
- When the credit available on your credit card or personal line of credit falls below $100 CDN (or an amount you have set)
Tool #3: Electronic cheque deposits
Electronic cheque deposits are a digital resource that provide improved access and convenience to a basic banking service. You can deposit a cheque into your account from anywhere, simply by taking a picture of the cheque using an app on your smart phone or tablet.
The process is simple. Start by downloading your financial institution's official banking app. You can find a link on their official website or from your mobile device’s app store.
Make sure you are using an official app from your financial institution to deposit a cheque electronically. By doing so, your financial information will not be stored on your mobile device.
Avoid using public or free Wi-Fi connections when making an electronic deposit or any other financial transactions.
Note that depending on the type of account you have, your financial institution may charge a fee to deposit cheques electronically. Read your account agreement carefully and check with your financial institution to see if charges apply.
Tool #4: Complaint-handling process search tool
It is important to know how to safeguard your financial interests in an increasingly digital world. This includes having a clear understanding of who to turn to if you have a complaint to make.
FCAC’s complaint-handling process search tool will help you find the complaint-handling process for your federally regulated financial institution. All federally regulated financial institutions must have a complaint-handling procedure in place. The complaint-handling process may be slightly different from one financial institution to another.
FCAC’s role in complaint-handling
FCAC is responsible for protecting the rights and interests of consumers of Canadian financial products and services. This role includes ensuring that federally regulated financial institutions have a complaint-handling process in place. You can contact FCAC if you can't find information about your financial institution's complaint-handling process or if you're experiencing delays after filing a complaint.
Quiz: How well do you know your online and mobile banking rights?
FCAC and the consumer protections the Agency oversees have had to adapt and evolve as the financial marketplace has become increasingly digital. You are protected whether you manage your money at your local bank branch or through digital channels, and some protections are specifically tailored to the service or channel you are using.
Take our quiz to see how well you know your rights and responsibilities when banking online or using a mobile app. To see the correct answer, click on the drop-down arrow.
1. When you bank online or with a mobile app, most financial institutions protect you from unauthorized transactions if:
- You keep your personal identification number (PIN) confidential and never share it with anyone, not even a family member
- You avoid choosing a PIN that is easy to guess like a birth date or a telephone number
- You do not share your information with a third-party financial application (fintech app)
- You notify your card issuer without delay if you see an unauthorized transaction, if you lost your card or if someone stole it
- All of the above
Answer to question 1
Most financial institutions have policies that protect you from unauthorized transactions while using their online banking service. Unauthorized transactions are transactions that you didn’t make or approve.
It's your responsibility to always keep your banking and online banking details confidential.
If you give them to anyone, including a spouse, partner, family member or friend, you may:
- lose the protection against unauthorized transactions offered by your financial institution
- be responsible for any unauthorized transactions on your account
To receive a full reimbursement for unauthorized transactions on a credit or debit card, you must:
- notify your card issuer without delay:
- of any unauthorized transaction
- if you lost your card
- if someone stole your card
- keep your PIN confidential and never share it with anyone, not even a family member
- avoid choosing a PIN that is easy to guess, like a birth date or a telephone number
You may also be responsible for any unauthorized transactions on your account if you provide your personal or banking information to fintech apps, for example.
2. If somebody gets your personal identification number (PIN) by looking over your shoulder when you are online banking or using a mobile app:
- You are responsible for any unauthorized transactions that result
- You may dispute any unauthorized transactions that result
- Your financial institution will recognize it’s not you thanks to fingerprint technology
- None of the above
Answer to question 2
Federally regulated financial institutions must always fully investigate a transaction that you dispute. It doesn’t matter how someone processed it, including:
- with your PIN
- by magnetic swipe
- through other technology
They should consider all factors that contributed to the unauthorized use of your credit or debit card. This includes circumstances beyond your control such as:
- someone forced you
- someone stole your card
- there was a system malfunction
- someone obtained your PIN through shoulder surfing
Shoulder surfing is when someone gets your PIN by looking over your shoulder. They do this while you enter it at an automated teller machine (ATM) or anywhere else you use your card.
3. You have the right to receive an electronic alert from your bank:
- When the balance of your chequing or savings account falls below $100
- When the credit available on your credit card or personal line of credit falls below $100
- When your chequing or savings account or credit card reaches an amount that you have set with your bank
- All of the above
Answer to question 3
Your bank must send you an electronic alert in 2 situations:
- When the balance of your chequing or savings account falls below $100 or an amount you’ve set
- When the credit available on your credit card or personal line of credit falls below $100 or an amount you’ve set
Your bank will automatically set the electronic alerts to $100. You may ask your bank to set them to a different amount.
4. If you provide your banking or credit card information to a fintech app, you:
- May be breaking your financial institution’s account or online banking agreement
- May be responsible in the event of unauthorized transactions
- May be protected in the event of unauthorized transactions once there is an open banking framework in place in Canada
- All of the above
Answer to question 4
Fintechs can help you manage your finances online. These apps offer personalized products and services such as product comparison tools and budgetary tools. They may also allow you to view all your financial products in one place.
To use a fintech app, you usually have to provide information about yourself or your finances.
Providing your banking or credit card information to a fintech app may break your financial institution’s account or online banking agreement. This means your financial institution may hold you responsible in the event of unauthorized transactions.
Open banking is a secure way for you to share your financial data with fintechs. Open banking is not yet available in Canada, but it is available in other countries, like Australia and the UK. The Government of Canada is currently considering the best way to enable its safe introduction in Canada.
5. If you have a concern about your consumer rights while using online banking and you submit a complaint to your bank:
- Your bank must deal your complaint within 56 days of receiving it
- Your bank must reply to your complaint within 56 days of receiving it
- You must follow up with your bank 56 days after submitting your complaint
- None of the above
Answer to question 5
All federally regulated financial institutions (banks, authorized foreign banks, federal credit unions and federally regulated trust, loan and insurance companies) must have a complaint-handling procedure in place.
Each bank’s complaint-handling procedure will have some differences.
When you file a complaint with a bank, they must:
- confirm to you in writing the date they received your complaint
- tell you about their complaint-handling procedure
- provide you with any information to help you meet the requirements of their procedure
Banks must deal with your complaint within 56 days of receiving it.
How to transfer your financial products and services in a digital world
In today’s digital financial marketplace, it is possible to transfer your financial products and services to another financial institution without stepping into a bricks-and-mortar branch. Transferring financial products and services online involves several steps and may take some time. You will need to keep in mind that any digital services, such as pre-authorized debits and direct deposits, will also need to be transferred.
Why you may want to transfer your products or services
There are many reasons why you may want to transfer your products or services to another financial institution.
- you want to save on fees or interest charges, or earn more interest
- you found other products or services with another institution that better suit your needs
- you're unsatisfied with the service at your current financial institution
- your financial institution is closing the branch where you hold your products or services
What to consider before you transfer your products or services
Before you transfer your products or services to a new financial institution, there are things to consider:
- Learn how to identify all your current products and services
- Learn how to identify your banking needs
Steps to take to transfer your products and services
The steps you need to take are different for each product and service. Not all products and services can be transferred. Use the list below to plan in advance for the steps you may need to take to transfer your products or services to a new financial institution.
- Transfer your chequing and savings accounts
- Transfer your credit card
- Transfer your loan and line of credit
- Transfer your mortgage
- Transfer your registered product
Review the different levels of consumer protection that financial institutions offer
There are different levels of consumer protections in place for financial institutions that offer financial products and services. The level of protection depends on who regulates the financial institution in question. For example, some financial institutions are federally regulated, and others are provincially or territorially regulated.
You benefit from new and enhanced protections when dealing with a federally regulated financial institution, such as a bank. These protections are part of Canada’s new Financial Consumer Protection Framework.
In the news
New FCAC Mortgage Guideline helps protect Canadians
The Mortgage Guideline sets out how FCAC expects federally regulated financial institutions to provide support to consumers who have mortgages on their principal residence and who are experiencing severe financial difficulty.
FCAC publishes What We Heard report on mortgage guideline
In spring 2023, FCAC undertook a public consultation on the proposed Guideline on Existing Consumer Mortgage Loans in Exceptional Circumstances. FCAC has now published the report, What We Heard: Public Consultation on the Guideline on Existing Consumer Mortgage Loans in Exceptional Circumstances.
Canada Revenue Agency announces new and updated benefits and credits
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) updated its benefits and credits this summer to include the Interim Canada Dental Benefit and the new Grocery Rebate.
Life and health insurance protections increased for Canadian policyholders
Assuris, a not-for-profit organization that protects Canadian policyholders if their life and health insurance company fails, recently announced higher levels of protection for policy holders.
FCAC launches Money Management Competition
Attention teachers and students! FCAC’s Money Management Competition will taking place between September 20th to October 18th and is an opportunity for Canadian middle and high school students to become more confident about money management while having fun competing for their school.
FCAC launches post-secondary student competition
Are you a post-secondary student interested in personal finance, financial consumer protection or financial literacy? We have a challenge for you! FCAC’s Building Better Financial Futures Challenge is a post-secondary student paper competition designed to promote the creation of actionable, evidence-based solutions to current financial challenges faced by vulnerable communities. The deadline to submit papers is April 30, 2024.
CRA announces Learn About Your Taxes competition
The competition for Canadian middle and high school students is based on the Learn About Your Taxes courses by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The competition runs from September 20 to October 18, 2023 on ChatterHigh, a gamified content engagement platform.
September is Life Insurance Awareness Month
#LifeInsuranceAwareness Month promotes awareness of the life insurance industry, life insurance products and available protections should your life and health insurance company fail.
November is Financial Literacy Month
Financial Literacy Month (FLM) is an important campaign that helps Canadians strengthen their financial literacy skills and build their financial resilience. This year’s campaign focus is on managing debt, one of the most important actions you can take to achieve good financial outcomes in today’s economic environment. You can support the campaign by joining the #FLM2023 conversation on social media.
New FCAC mortgage webpage
FCAC has published a new webpage to provide information to Canadians who have a mortgage and are experiencing financial difficulties.
New information about real estate fraud
The high price of real estate has attracted fraudsters and scammers. To help you protect yourself, FCAC has updated its real estate fraud webpage.
New infographic about crypto assets and risks
FCAC has published a new infographic on 7 risks to consider before using crypto assets
Free digital literacy workshops for older adults
Connected Canadians is a non-profit organization that works to reduce isolation and loneliness among older adults by promoting digital literacy skills and providing technology training and support. On September 28, 2023, at 5:00 pm (ET) the organization will offer ‘‘Digital Literacy Workshop: The Importance of Connection in Relation to Mental Health.’’
The Appraisal Institution of Canada (AIC) connects Canadians to professional appraisers
The AIC is a self-regulating organization that offers resources to help property owners access AIC-designated appraisers who offer an unbiased opinion of value.
Defending Canadians and their consumer points and rewards programs
The Canadian Consumer Rewards Coalition (CCRC) is a not-for-profit organization that advocates on behalf of Canadians with respect to consumer points and rewards programs.
New Credit Canada resources
Credit Canada is a credit counselling agency that offers information and resources to Canadians about how to manage their finances and debt. New information resources include “Navigating the Financial System as a Low-Income Canadian” and “Credit Card Fasts: Why You Should Try One.” (English only)
Words from our collaborators
Beware of “dark commercial patterns” that could influence your online shopping decisions
By: Office of Consumer Affairs at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Have you ever felt as though you had given up more time, money or personal information than you were comfortable with while using an e-commerce app or website? You may have been a victim of a dark commercial pattern.
What are dark patterns
Dark patterns are a type of web or app design that can be used to influence your decision-making when you are using an app or navigating through a website.
They can be tricky to spot, because they are designed to seamlessly fit into an app or website’s architecture. Here are some examples of what to look out for when you’re online shopping:
- Intentionally making it difficult to cancel a service
- Automatic opt-ins for which you have to manually opt-out (look for pre-checked boxes)
- Adding non-optional charges to a transaction at its final stage (also known as drip pricing)
- Using emotive or misleading language to encourage a specific behaviour
- Creating a false sense of urgency to encourage an impulse purchase
The Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) has created a new web page on dark patterns. Check it out to learn about the various types of dark patterns, what to do when you encounter them, and how and where you can report them.
Charting the Digital Frontier with Canada’s Banks
There’s no question that the pandemic has impacted the way we live and work, propelling us further into digital realms. Digital preferences of customers are changing, and as such, banks are offering Canadians new and secure ways to manage their money. Canadians clearly value the convenience of these innovations and feel better served as a result. That said, it can sometimes be confusing for those who are just starting their digital banking journey.
Tapping into digital banking
Driven by innovation, Canada’s banks have responded to the preferences of Canadians who are looking for digital solutions. According to the Canadian Bankers Association’s (CBA) latest How Canadians Bank study, 90% of Canadians appreciate the convenience of new technologies. Mobile banking apps were once a novelty but have now become a preferred choice, with 65% of the population using them. The study also shows that three out of four Canadians intend to keep the digital banking habits they developed during the pandemic. This speaks volumes about the modern Canadian’s affinity for digital tools that simplify tasks and offer increased accessibility.
Bridging the digital divide
Considering this digital transformation, Canada’s banks have stepped up, not just as service providers but also as educators. They recognize the need to help guide, educate and support Canadians, whether tech-savvy or not, to navigate the digital financial world with ease and confidence. Many financial institutions now offer dedicated programs and tools that are designed to demystify digital banking, to help ensure that each user's journey is as seamless as possible. Be sure to reach out to your institution to learn more about the programs they may offer.
Protecting yourself online
Rest assured, when you step into the world of digital banking, Canada's banks are by your side, not only as financial institutions but also to support your digital safety. Over the past decade, banks have invested approximately $115 billion in technology, which includes technology dedicated to security measures. While banks have extensive security systems in place and work diligently to protect customers from fraud and assist police in their investigations, consumers also have a role to play in protecting themselves. The CBA has many articles on how to recognize online threats. It also publishes a regular fraud prevention tip newsletter to help consumers spot and avoid scams.
Dive into your digital journey
The trajectory of digital finance in Canada is clear: it is forward-moving, innovative and customer-centric. For Canadians, the message is to keep evolving financial habits, armed with knowledge and confidence. By leveraging the many tools and resources available, and with banks as committed partners, managing money in today's digital world can be an empowering experience.
Learn more from the Canadian Bankers Association:
Investor education website uses advanced technology to promote financial literacy
GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca relaunched this month with best-in-class new features and an exciting new look.
The Ontario Securities Commission’s (OSC) award-winning investor education website now includes artificial intelligence tools, the latest accessibility features, and significant design innovations. It also introduces design elements informed by behavioural insights to help people make better decisions along their investing journey.
GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca is one of Canada’s most popular financial education websites. It provides free, unbiased articles, interesting videos, and interactive tools to help people make more informed investment decisions.
The new GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca has a fresh look-and-feel with animations and cohesive design woven throughout the site. It features streamlined menus, clearer navigation, and an expanded search tool to help you quickly find information.
The advanced technological functions on GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca now include several elements that are unique for financial education websites in Canada such as:
- AI recommendations engine – provides content for users based on their onsite reading history and curated learning paths — a first of its kind for a Canadian securities regulator.
- Text-to-voice article reader – makes content easier to access for users across platforms and abilities.
- On-site voice search – helps visitors easily search the site to find what they need.
The new GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca was designed to be a leader in accessibility. During its development, the team anticipated meeting or exceeding the latest accessibility standard of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.2) even before they took effect (released in July 2023).
Beyond text-to-voice and voice search, other areas of accessibility focus included: improving the ease of navigation, having the same information available in a variety of multimedia formats, attention to graphic designs, animations and colour palettes, and screen-reader accessibility.
The new website has a recognizably unique new look-and-feel incorporating design best practices. GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca has streamlined menus, clearer navigation and new learning pathways. It also includes custom animations woven through the site that help guide the reader through topics.
Behavioural science-informed web design was used to ensure educational materials on GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca are human centred, actionable and high impact.
The website includes ground-breaking research studies led by the OSC’s Investor Office Research and Behavioural Insights Team (IORBIT) that shed light on retail investor behaviours, attitudes and experiences. And there are new resources on the psychology of investing and how behavioural biases may influence financial decision making.
We’ve made many changes to help people get the information they need, faster and more easily. Saving, sharing and printing articles is also even easier.
Innovative technologies on the new GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca will help the people turn their newfound investing knowledge and intentions into action.
Explore the new GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca today.
Managing your money in Canada as a newcomer
As a newcomer to Canada, you may have many new expenses as you settle and plan for the future. It is important to understand how you can manage expenses, meet your goals, and protect your money.
Currency and banking in Canada
In Canada, currency includes both paper money and coins. The most common money is the nickel (5 cents), dime (10 cents), quarter (25 cents), loonie (1 dollar), and toonie (2 dollars).
Open a bank account as soon as possible. Banks offer specific services for newcomers.
There are 2 main types of bank accounts you can use: savings and chequing. The bank will give you a debit card to access your account using an “automated teller machine” (ATM) at a bank, or to make purchases at a store or online.
You can search online to explore different banks and learn more about the services they offer.
A credit card lets you borrow money up to a specified limit. This must be repaid later.
When you use a credit card, you will be charged interest. The interest rate is a percentage of the total amount borrowed. The longer it takes to pay back a debt, the more interest you will pay.
Using a credit card helps to build a positive credit history, as long as you pay back what you owe before the bank’s deadline. A positive credit history is valuable because having one means banks will feel more comfortable lending you money.
Money can be sent back to your home country electronically or by money order. You can send international money orders at a bank or a post office, or you can use a third-party money order service. Before using these services, contact a newcomer services organization or do some research to ensure you are using a secure channel to transfer money.
Managing your money
Your expenses in Canada may be different than they were in your home country. Planning your money through a budget can help you manage your funds to meet your long-term financial goals.
You may wish to plan ahead for your family and invest in the future. For example, there are Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs), Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). Contact your bank for more information.
Fraud and identity theft
Be careful when being asked for your personal identity or financial information. Examples of fraud and identity theft include attempts to steal credit card information by telephone and email, by people who pretend to work with the government or other institutions and ask for your personal/financial information.
Always ask questions, or simply refuse to provide information if you are not sure whether the request is legitimate.
Visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to learn more about protecting yourself from fraud
Visit Welcome to Canada: Publications for Newcomers for more information about settling in Canada.
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