BMO and Simplii Financial security breaches
At the end of May, it was reported that BMO and Simplii Financial systems had been hacked, and that the information of 50,000 BMO customers and 40,000 Simplii Financial customers were stolen. Both banks reached out to the affected customers and also offered them free credit monitoring. The hackers threatened to publicly release the customer data unless a ransom of $1 million per bank was paid. Neither bank appears to have paid the ransom, and there has not yet been any confirmation about whether the data was publicly released.
June savings account and GIC leaders
EQ Bank is still the savings account interest rate leader at 2.30%, where it’s been since May 2017, followed by Hubert Financial at 2.10%, where it’s been since February 2018. TFSAs remain steady, with Alterna Bank and Hubert Financial both at 2.10%.
Among the GIC changes over the past month:
- Oaken has increased its rates and is the standalone GIC leader on 1 and 2-year GICs, and tied as the leader with EQ Bank for 3, 4, and 5-year GICs
- ICICI Bank, whose rates had languished near the bottom of our chart for quite a bit of time, has seen huge increases of between 0.85% and 1.05%, bringing them back to being competitive, although still significantly behind the leaders
- Motive Financial has seen a few rate drops to its 1-year through 5-year GIC rates, cumulatively between 0.16% and 0.30%
HSBC joins the no-forex fee credit card group
Adding to the recent influx of new credit cards that don’t charge a foreign currency exchange fee (typically 2.50% in addition to the exchange rate) is the HSBC World Elite Mastercard that does not require an existing banking relationship with them (unlike their existing similar credit cards). Currently, it has a $149 annual fee that’s waived for the first year, and provides 3% back in travel rewards for travel purchases and 1.5% back in travel rewards for all other purchases. It also comes with a $100 yearly credit for seat upgrades, baggage fees, and airport lounge passes.
The other currently notable credit cards in the no-forex fee space are:
- Rogers World Elite Mastercard: no annual fee; 1.5% net rewards on foreign exchange purchases; 1.75% on everything else
- Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite: $139 annual fee; 6 airport lounge passes; 2% back on grocery, dining, entertainment, and daily transit; 1% back on everything else
- Home Trust Preferred Visa: no annual fee; 1% back on all purchases
Alterna Bank GIC promotion
Alterna Bank has an 18-month 2.75% term deposit promotion that was originally available only to in-branch clients. After much demand from online clients, they’ve made this promotion available to everybody!
Experiences with Manulife Bank?
The Manulife Advantage Account “might be the most useful savings account in Canada” according to The Globe and Mail, and it currently has a savings account promotion with a 2.4% interest rate. However, Manulife Bank has not received good reviews on our site. If you’ve got Manulife Bank experiences to share, please let us know!
New bank: Haventree Bank
Canada’s newest bank is Haventree Bank (formerly Equity Financial Trust), but so far it only offers GICs. There are no chequing, savings, TFSA, or RRSP accounts. Its focus is on being an alternative mortgage lender.
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