Friday, May 16, 2008

Pay 1% Less for Just About Everything and give Dave $10

This is all about getting a President's Choice MasterCard.
If you cannot pay off your credit card balance every month, stop reading this post now and move on. [Suggestion 1: Managing Your Finances Suggestion 2: Kittens]
I've been meaning to tell you that you should get a no-fee credit card that gives you points that can be directly turned into groceries at a major supermarket chain. Then when you have this card, you should use it for everything that you can use it for.
I'm telling you now because there is something in it for me besides your possible gratitude.
1) Why pay with a No-Fee Credit Card:

  • Except for Canadian Tire and home repair guys, you rarely get a discount for paying with cash. When you withdraw cash from a bank machine you pay fees that may be as high as $3.00 on a $20 withdrawal. Even a $200 withdrawal from your own bank's machine likely has a $1 fee, or you're paying $5 to $10 for unlimited withdrawals.
  • You stop receiving interest on cash when you withdraw it from your account. You stop receiving interest on debit payments when you make the payment. You stop receiving interest on the amount of a credit card purchase when you pay the credit card bill, often more than a month after the purchase.
  • You credit card statements become a useful reference for tracking your spending patterns.
2) Why a Points Card?
  • Points cards give you something back from your purchase.
  • You're paying off the bill every month so the higher interest rate doesn't matter to you.
3) Why to Avoid Various types of Points Cards
  • If the card is going to give 1% of your purchases to a charity, you could give that money to charity yourself and get a tax receipt.
  • If the points are going towards eventually buying a particular type of car, you may find yourself not actually wanting that car when you've got the points.
  • If the points let you buy things in a catalogue, you will find that the items in the catalogue are over-priced. (Say $1000 gets you 1 million points on the catalogue card. It will take 2 million points to buy a kettle that you could buy for $10.00 at Canadian Tire. $10.00 is 0.5% of $2000).
  • If the points let you get air miles or frequent flyer points, you will discover translate to roughly 0.5% back on your purchases and you are more limited in flight times than if you bought discounted tickets outright.
4) Why a card that lets you buy groceries?
You always need to buy food. Spend a $1000 on your credit card, you can apply $10 to your grocery bill. Even if the card is for a supermarket that you don't go to every time, you're going to go to a Loblaws or its equivalent a few times a year for basics. If you need your credit card bonus to feel like a reward, use it buy chocolate.
5) Which card to get?
The only one I know about is the President's Choice MasterCard. 1% of your purchases (on everything, not just groceries, and not just at Loblaws and its affiliates) comes back to you as money you can spend on your groceries.
6) What's in it for Dave?
PC Mastercard is having a promotion. If you sign up on the phone [1-866-745-6812] and use the code 336073, we'll each get 10,000 points ($10) to spend on our groceries. You'll have to earn another 10,000 points (by spending $1000 on the card or by other promotions) before you can use the bonus. (Disclaimer: I'm not aware of a way you can get a better benefit for yourself in signing up for the card that doesn't help me out, but there could be such a way.)
Call 1-866-745-6812 to apply for the PC MasterCard call by Aug 21, 2008 provide your referral code 157317 More Info:


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info, but the man in my life insists on using our Canadian Tire Mastercard for purchases at Canadian Tire and everywhere else. In fact we have just canceled our HBC card so that we will have more reason to use the CT one.

XUP said...

Wow, you're good. If you'd called me in the middle of supper with this pitch I would have totally signed up. I already have the PC Interac card which gives me all sorts of points and no fees and free groceries. I also have a VISA card that gives me actual money back once a year based on a percentage of what I spend. It usually adds up to around $100.So, I'm pretty happy with my current financial arrangements, but I can endorse PC banking and encourage others to sign up.

Anonymous said...

Okay I signed up using your referral code. I'm listening to their scary pre-recorded terms of service at this very moment.

Anonymous said...

Your arguments are compelling but I really enjoy shopping at my local Loeb. I know where all items are located (ask me anything), it's not too big, and I often bump into people I like and then chat with them. Please advise.

David Scrimshaw said...

Red Vera, I am delighted that you use a card that lets Dad buy things at Canadian Tire. Especially because I know that he would not buy something that wasn't going to be bought anyway.

Xup, it does indeed sound like you are well sorted out.

Zoom, I hope it all worked out for you.

Jennifer, no problem. Use your PC card to buy stuff at the Loeb. And everywhere else. Once or twice a year, scan the Loblaws flyers and find something that is even cheaper there than at the Loeb. That's when you go to Loblaws and cash out your points.

bob said...

I once tried to come up with an algorithm to prove that point systems are fundamentally bad for the consumer based on the amount of time wasted at checkout lines, forced/biased shopping patterns, and continual checking of points, not to mention the amount of waste that must be sorted through in an effort to determine how many points you have and what you could get with them... all my work was inconclusive, but i still think they're too much work for little gain.

I respect anyone who gains from the system, but encourage you to question if you really are gaining.

David Scrimshaw said...

Hi Bob,

There's no time wasted with a card like this. It takes the same time as paying with any other credit card, less time than paying with a debit card.

You have enough points to apply money to your groceries every time you've racked up $2000 on your credit card. This is something I'm generally paying attention to anyway.

What can I get with my PC card points? Groceries I've already decided to buy.