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Establishing credit important for newcomers

OTTAWA Navigating finances and establishing a good relationship with your bank can be a challenge for many Canadians at the best of times.

But for those new to Canada, it can be even more difficult.

Elizabeth Mulholland, chief executive at Prosper Canada a company that works to improve financial literacy with a focus on low-income Canadians says language isnt the only barrier.

One of the issues when youre dealing with people from different parts of the world is, in some places you cant trust your public institutions or your governments, she said.

Even though many newcomers are already financially literate, Mulholland adds, they need to learn a new system and may be a target for scams that prey upon their lack of familiarity.

A lot of what were working on with people initially is whats normal here and who you can trust and who do you have to be a little bit careful about, she said.

Establishing credit is a key step for newcomers because their credit history before coming to Canada is generally not recognized.

Mushtak Najarali, vice-president of everyday banking and cross-border banking at TD Bank, said whether new Canadians come to the country with assets or not, building a credit history is important.

One of the (misconceptions) is: I dont need credit or a credit history because Ive come with assets, he said.

To start building a good credit history, Najarali suggests newcomers get a credit card and be sure they make their payments.

A TD survey suggested that 88 per cent of new Canadians considered establishing good financial standing in their first year after arriving a top priority, but 45 per cent didnt know where to start.

The online survey conducted between April 26 and May 10 by Environics Research Group polled 502 adults born outside of Canada who moved to the country within the past five years.

The survey also found that the Top Three financial goals of new Canadians included saving for a down payment for a home, saving for their childrens education and buying or leasing a car.

Najarali advises newcomers to take advantage of any financial education that is available from their bank.

It is important that they find the right support from their bank, he said.

Puneet Mann, director of branch customer experience and multicultural banking at Scotiabank, said depending on where they are coming from, newcomers can open a Canadian account even before they arrive and wire money into it.

That also allows new immigrants to use their bank statement to show proof of funds when they land, which is a requirement for the government, she said.

And then when they get here, they get really quick access to their money.

Mann says from the banks point of view, newcomers to Canada are good customers.

Weve done lots of analysis ... and we find often that newcomer customers are actually much more responsible with credit, theyre quicker to pay credit off and they want to make sure theyre doing the right thing when they get here.

The polling industrys professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

By Craig Wong, The Canadian Press



University of Idaho Launches University-Wide Financial Education Initiative with iGrad

Moscow, ID, June 29, 2016 --(PR.com)-- Financial literacy education leader iGrad announces the University of Idaho has selected iGrads adaptive learning platform to support the schools new Better Education About Money for Students (BEAMS) program. The program, offered through the schools Student Financial Aid Services, will set students up for financial success by providing financial knowledge and skills.

The university, established in 1892, serves over 11,000 students and generates 74 percent of all research money in the state. The student body, recognized for exemplary community service and civic engagement, will be instructed in wise financial decision-making through special presentations, one-on-one sessions, and iGrads online, interactive learning modules.

The University of Idaho has established a new program called BEAMS to enhance student financial literacy, smart borrowing, and knowledge on student loan repayment options. We look forward to iGrad being an integral part of our new program, stated Dan Davenport, Director of Student Financial Aid Services, about the partnership.

The iGrad adaptive learning platform enhances learning by recognizing the unique characteristics of each individual learner. We now have a deep understanding of how students process financial education and it is clear that the delivery must be personalized to each individual. That is, it must be engaging and perceived as relevant, or the brain simply checks out. This is much more difficult than it sounds, but we have been fortunate to work with many of the best universities in the world to perfect this, discloses the companys vice president Kris Alban.

The complexity of personalized instruction is enormous. One of the more challenging learning problems occurs when the brain does not believe that a package of information has immediate relevance and therefore promptly dismisses the information presented. Each individual has a unique perception of relevance during different points in time, and therefore context is very important. If the information presented is not immediately relevant within the learners own context, then a context must be provided that facilitates the critical connection in the brain.

The outcome of this learning process is both deep learning and great insight into patterns of success. We feel that the reporting tools and analytics will not only be very useful in helping us reach our goals for the BEAMS program, but also will provide insight into how we can further assist our students in achieving success, added Mr. Davenport.

The iGrad platform allows students to create a profile and immediately begin to experience content customized to their needs. The tools and full library of resources include learning modules, current articles, videos, webinars, interactive games and calculators. The platform has been designed to both assess the students financial skills and guide them through achieving their personal financial goals: building a personalized plan, developing money management skills, critical knowledge in money-saving techniques, establishing credit and smart borrowing.

About The University of Idaho: The University of Idaho is Idahos oldest public university and is one of only 72 land-grant research universities in the United States. From its residential campus in Moscow, UI serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Coeur dAlene, Boise, Idaho Falls and Twin Falls, and Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to more than 11,000 students statewide, UI is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. UI competes in the Big Sky Conference and Sun Belt Conference. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu

About iGrad: iGrad is privileged to partner with over 600 schools across the country to provide an industry-leading, customizable platform, which connects over 1.2 million students, as well as alumni and staff, with the tools needed to succeed in the real world of personal finance. iGrad is the only online community providing a comprehensive and customized financial literacy program featuring career assistance for students and graduates, user-specific financial education courses, and video-based student loan entrance and exit counseling. iGrads recent accolades include: 2013, 2015 amp; 2016 Education Program of the Year, the Institute for Financial Literacy; Best Product of 2013, 2014 amp; 2015, University Business magazine; and Outstanding Consumer Information Award, Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education (AFCPE).

Contact Information:
iGrad
Edgar Rodriguez
760-487-8414
Contact via Email
http://Schools.iGrad.com
Dan Davenport - Director of Student Financial Aid Services, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; http://www.uidaho.edu/financial-aid

Read the full story here: http://www.pr.com/press-release/677528

Press Release Distributed by PR.com



There are simple ways to establish good credit

A good credit history is nearly indispensable. Without it, youll have trouble buying a car, renting an apartment, and perhaps even getting a job, since some employers order job applicants credit reports. Here are ways to establish a good record:

? Start by ordering free credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. Whats the point if you dont have a credit history? Because you want to make sure no one has appropriated your financial identity.

? Open a bank account. Having an account wont directly affect your credit reports, but credit applications generally ask for bank information. Be aware that negative banking information, such as check-bouncing, will show up on your credit report.

? If your parents have good credit, ask one of them co-sign for a credit card with you or include you as a user on one of their cards. Use this privilege responsibly because missing a payment will hurt your parents credit scores as well as yours.

? Apply for a secured credit card or credit line. Secured credit requires you to make an initial deposit that then serves as your credit limit.

? Dont hold more than one or two cards. Too many can make lenders nervous.

? Use your credit card for necessities only, and keep your debt under 30 percent of your credit limit. If possible, restrict charges to amounts you can pay off each month.

? Obtain and hold a steady job. Potential lenders regard employment history as a major factor in deciding whether to extend credit.

? Pay bills on time. A poor payment history can negate all of the positive steps you take.

? Once youve begun establishing credit, make a full circle to where you began by ordering free credit reports from the three major credit bureaus each year. After all your work establishing a good credit history, youll want to protect it by correcting inaccuracies.

Sandra Sunken is principal of Sunken Accountancy Corp. in Ventura.



Money talk for newcomers: How to learn a new financial language

TD offers advice to new Canadians to start establishing a financial foundation

TORONTO, June 28, 2016 /CNW/ -#160;Moving to a new country can offer a wealth of opportunities, but can also come with its own set of hurdles, like learning how to navigate a new financial system. According to a new TD survey, nearly half (45 per cent) of new Canadians said they didnt know where to start when it came to setting up their finances in Canada, and yet almost nine in ten (88 per cent) consider it a top priority to establish good financial standing in their first year after arriving to Canada.

Starting over in a new country can be daunting, from finding a place to live, locating new schools, learning a new language to navigating a new banking system, said Shirley Malloy, Associate Vice President, Everyday Banking, TD Canada Trust. Cash flow is often top of mind, but dont let banking fall off the radar. Basics like a chequing account, debit and credit card are essential to day to day life, and securing them early can make it easier to pay for things like rent or groceries, allowing you to focus on building your new life.

After those initial needs are met, Malloy suggests newcomers revisit their finances regularly as their situation evolves and requires more complex financial advice. For example, the survey found the top three financial goals of new Canadians include saving for a down payment (51 per cent), saving for their kids education (35 per cent) and buying or leasing a car (35 per cent).

To reach these medium to long term financial goals, establishing a positive credit history in Canada is key. In fact, building up good Canadian credit history is often required before buying or renting a home or even securing a mobile phone plan. Eventually, building a healthy credit history opens the door to more relaxed borrowing options, often with lower interest rates.

Eighty-four per cent of new Canadians wish they had a better understanding of how to build their credit rating, said Malloy. The reality is that theres no quick fix when it comes to building credit. Over time, practicing sound financial habits like paying your bills on time and in full will naturally result in an improved credit rating.

To start your new life on the right financial foot, Malloy shares her top tips to unpack banking basics in Canada:

  • Dont skip banking 101: As a newcomer in a new country, take the opportunity to ask questions about banking in Canada while addressing your immediate banking needs.
  • Learn the building blocks: Your credit history from another country is not considered when establishing credit in Canada. Thats why its important practice good financial habits right from the beginning, like paying all bills on time and in full. Setting up pre-authorized debits to pay credit card and other bill balances each month is a simple and effective way to ensure payments are never missed and your credit rating continues to improve.
  • Cut the jargon: There are plenty of savings vehicles that make finances easier for Canadians, but you cant take advantage of what you dont understand. An advisor can explain how things like a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) can help you maximize saving for the future.
  • Practice makes perfect: Like many newcomers, you may face compressed timelines to reach your financial goals. For example, in the first five years, you may plan to buy a home, while saving for your childs education and retirement. An advisor can help build a plan for the future to address competing priorities that works for your financial reality.

Everyone has different financial priorities, so we encourage newcomers to come and talk to us about their personal goals, whether its buying a car, a home, saving for the future or their childrens education, said Malloy. Especially in the early months, its important to revisit and revise the plan as the financial situation evolves, and as income, lifestyle and financial goals change.

For more information, visit www.tdcanadatrust.com/newtocanada

About the TD Newcomers Study Poll
TD Bank Group commissioned Environics Research Group to conduct a custom online survey of 502 adults from Tuesday, April 26 Tuesday, May 10, 2016. In order to qualify for this survey respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, be born outside of Canada and moved to Canada in only the past 5 years.

About TD Canada Trust
TD Canada Trust offers personal and business banking to more than 11.5 million customers. We provide a wide range of products and services from chequing and savings accounts, to credit cards, mortgages and business banking, plus credit protection and credit travel medical insurance, as well as advice on managing everyday finances. TD Canada Trust makes banking comfortable with award-winning service and convenience through 24/7 mobile, internet, telephone and ATM banking, as well as at over 1,100 branches, with convenient hours to serve customers better. For more information, please visit: www.tdcanadatrust.com. TD Canada Trust is the Canadian retail bank of TD Bank Group, the sixth largest bank in North America.

SOURCE TD Canada Trust

Image with caption: Money Talk for Newcomers (CNW Group/TD Canada Trust). Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160628_C1937_PHOTO_EN_723291.jpg

For further information: Daria Hill, TD Bank Group, 416-963-2698, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Giacomo Grisanzio, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, 416-413-4692, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



RentTrack Review: Credit for Paying Your Rent — Maybe for Free

Renters feel the same pain homeowners do -- the big bill that comes due every month. But homeowners at least get a positive note on their credit reports when they pay it. Renters don't.

RentTrack and some other rental reporting services are out to change that, offering a way to get a positive rental payment history onto the credit reports used to calculate scores needed to qualify for credit cards, personal loans and mortgages.

It's a new concept. Only about 1% of reports carry an entry (a "tradeline") for rent, says credit scoring powerhouse FICO.

Traditionally, credit scoring algorithms haven't taken rent into account, relying on revolving debt from credit cards and installment debt from auto loans and mortgages to gauge a borrower's creditworthiness. Now a number of alternative credit scores consider alternative data such as rent -- and a small industry has emerged to make sure it is reported to the major credit-report providers.

Rental data reported to the credit bureaus may help you qualify for some credit cards or loans, and those in turn will result in a traditional credit score accepted everywhere.

RentTrack not only sends payment information to all three bureaus, but it also collects the rent on behalf of landlords, about half of whom pick up the tab for reporting.

RentTrack at a glance

To review RentTrack, NerdWallet collected pricing information and gathered six data points, reviewed the online application process, interviewed company executives and compared the company with others that target the same customers.

RentTrack is a good fit for those who:

  • Live in a building that uses the RentTrack system and pays for it.
  • Need help establishing credit. If you have not yet been approved for a credit card or installment loan, the credit history established by rental payments may help get you one.
  • Can pay by electronic check or automatic withdrawal, minimizing the cost of the service.

RentTrack may be less valuable for those who:

  • Have established credit. If you have a credit card or installment loan, you almost certainly have a traditional credit score already.
  • Want to keep their personal financial information private. The RentTrack payment system requires that you share your information with the company.
  • Pay the rent with a credit or debit card. The fees charged for doing so mount quickly.
Jump to:

How RentTrack works

How RentTrack is different

Where RentTrack falls short

What does RentTrack cost?

How RentTrack works

RentTrack collects rent for landlords and reports rent payments to credit bureaus. The rent payments appear on credit reports as a loan repayment.

You can go to the RentTrack website to see if your landlord participates. Right now, that's mostly large apartment complexes, but the company is rolling out a service for smaller landlords. Enter your rental address to check.

When you create an online account (you have to verify your identity and allow access to your lease), you see a dashboard that shows your payments and your obligations. You'll also see a TransUnion VantageScore, which uses rent-reporting data and updates monthly, so you can track your progress.

Most people who use the service and pay on time can expect to see their VantageScore rise, according to a 2015 RentTrack survey of its customers.  Those with the lowest scores to begin with saw the biggest gains. Briggs says the rental information is usually on credit reports within two weeks of payment and scores typically begin to rise in two months.

Renters whose landlords already work with RentTrack can also have as many as 24 months of back payments reported, extending the length of their new credit history.

It's worth noting that VantageScore considers rent payments in its credit score calculations, but the FICO scores in widest use do not. You may be able to get a credit card or loan through a lender that uses VantageScore; the vast majority of mainstream credit cards and loans automatically generate a traditional FICO score.

If you sign up for RentTrack, you're not obligated to stay in the program; you can drop out with a phone call or email, Briggs says.

RentTrack says it uses bank-level security to encrypt your financial information.

How RentTrack is different

The most obvious difference between RentTrack and its competitors is that it reports to all three major credit-reporting agencies -- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. That's exactly what you want.

Another difference is that it might not cost you anything to use it. In many cases, the landlord picks up the tab for reporting.

It's also possible to get your rent reported without your landlord's cooperation on your own dime. In that case, you would share your lease agreement with RentTrack and use an e-check or credit card to pay via RentTrack. Back rent, however, likely can’t be reported unless your landlord is in the RentTrack ecosystem.

Where RentTrack falls short

If you're hoping to get your rent reported without changing anything you do, RentTrack might not be a good choice. While CEO Briggs says his ultimate goal is to "be the most loved payment and reporting solution," this may not be the service for you if you want to pay offline, via paper check or cash.

In addition, if you use a credit or debit card, the fees can add up pretty quickly. (If you're hoping to get rewards points, putting as many payments as possible on plastic works only if you are earning enough rewards to offset what you are paying to use a credit card.)

What does RentTrack cost?

RentTrack costs depend on both how you choose to pay and who's paying for it. If you're a renter whose landlord picks up the tab, it may not cost you anything to get your rent reported.

If you pay for RentTrack yourself, the reporting service is $2.95 per month if you pay by e-check (a check written online that is immediately debited from your account). That's $35.40 a year.

If you pay with a credit or debit card, there is a charge of about 2.95%, Briggs says. (If your rent is $1,000 a month, the credit card fee would cost $29.50 a month, or $354 a year.) Renters, not landlords, pay those fees, Briggs says.

Either way, there's no sign-up fee. Briggs says pricing may vary.

Ask these questions of any rental reporting agency you are considering:

  • What would my total costs be for a year of service, including any setup fees or fees for previous rental history?
  • How do you protect my personal data?
  • Which of the major credit bureaus do you report to? (All three is ideal.)
  • Do you provide free access to credit scores, and if so, which score(s)?
  • How soon should I expect the information to appear on my credit report?
  • How can I cancel the service?

Bev O'Shea is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Twitter: @BeverlyOShea.