Money talk: a rewarding debit card & microlending in Canada

I had this goal/resolution before this year started to not pay interest on my credit card by my birthday in March. NPY shakes his head at this thought because it is inordinately dumb to pay credit card interest. (At least transfer it to a line of credit!!) I haven’t managed it yet but am definitely on track for mid-year… which is looming up in just over a month. And while doing so, I’ve made some positive and fun updates to my finances.

Fun? Finances? … I find it so.

It’s age-old advice to use your debit card so you don’t spend more than you have. I have been using my debit card more often because the withdrawal is reflected immediately while there is a delay between credit card being authorized for payment, receiving payment from a different institution and thus balance and available credit updating. Larger spends, though, I like to put on my credit cards for the points or dividends.

Which lead me to wonder if I should consider one of those debit cards that reward you with dividends or points for using them. I hadn’t yet turned up which banks have such an offer when I realized one important detail – two details, rather. One, I’d have to shuffle money between different banks’ accounts while most of my accounts fairly necessarily would stay with Tangerine. Two, that Tangerine has no monthly service fees or fees on all transactions – this is worth more than the rewards another bank gives me (which would be lessened with a service fee per month on the account).

NPY’s recent question about current interest rates at Tangerine prompted me to take a closer look. I realized I had been transferring funds into a low-interesting RSP Savings account (1.1% – ack!) and it was insanely easy to create a new RSP GIC, transfer in a chunk of funds into a one-year GIC (2.5% – haha), and arrange that in a year, the GIC matures and automatically dumps principal+interest back into the RSP Savings account. Yes. Because I hate how for a traditional bank, I have to call someone at the end of the GIC term to avoid the GIC automatically rolling into a new one.

In a meeting earlier this week regarding my company’s in-house travel support, the speaker kept referring to them having robots (read: robotic processing automation) that are programmed to send users emails on specific triggers. To me, that sounded merely like scripts (or IFTTT) but in order to organize the set of scripts, they gave the two robots/sets of scripts names. I realize that the collection of scripts I have running on my accounts is a not-too-intelligent robot, and I shall name it … David. Why? Because that’s the first name of the The Wealthy Barber, the first and basically only personal finance book I’ve read. (As David Chilton relates to being a personal finance author, not that the not-robot I named after him is not intelligent.)

Every now and then, I need to get a handle on how many accounts and timing of the transfers. So I made a 2018 representation and “white-out” the confidential information. Everything is connected … except the VISA card.


And then there’s Lending Loop. Finally, there is one microlending option in Canada. It has been around for a few years but it took me a little bit of time to scrape together the minimum deposit and get started and I was investing and received my first repayments in mid-September last year.

Half a year later and I’ve invested in over 10 companies. I find it an awful lot of fun, the return is very encouraging although I’m nowhere near making my principal back yet. Sometimes I feel like a cult member because I am so happy to be in Lending Loop yet no one else I know is doing it. But hey, look – early this month, Ontario committed $3m to fund loans on Lending Loop, fintech it apparently is. I’m super small beans but find it rewarding and share things like the below screenshot with NPY to diffuse some of my enthusiasm. :)

On this day..