Category Archives: Moneytalk

Talk about business and investments in general.

ZERO Percent is BACK!

I mentioned earlier this month how I got approved for a ZERO Percent Citibank Mastercard with no annual fee. In fact, I've already taken the money and stuffed into RRSP's and some in savings so that I've got the funds to pay off my full balance by January 2008, and make a few dollars in interest in the process.

The ZERO percent applies only to the balance transfer portion of the offer. If you have a balance on a higher rate credit card, this will give you a break on the interest on that chunk of your balance till January 2008. Keep in mind though, like most credit card products, this can be a trap if you don't remember that credit cards apply the payments to the lower interest bearing charges before the higher ones. Also, if you use the card for regular purchase, those purchase do not get the ZERO rate promo.

If Citibank gave you $5000 to transfer onto your current credit card, and your charges on that card were $8000 with $2000 of that in lower interest cash advances, the $5000 would pay off the $2000 cash advance balance first, and then apply the remaining $3000 to your higher interest purchase balances. You'd still have $3000 in high interest bearing charges which will continue to accrue interest at the higher rate. With that in mind, you should immediately pay off the $3000 because once you do, you can charge on it again and take advantage of the built in grace period for new charges. But if you don't keep it paid off every month from that point on, you'll have it racked up again and you start accruing interest at the crazy high rate: The credit card trap.

The original offer was set to expire at the end of December, but it looks like due to an overwhelming response, Citibank has brought it back and is extending it to February 15th. However, they also say that you have to have both your balance transfer and account approved before this date. Better get cracking! Here are the details...

If you use the offer code of P6N on the Citibank Canada website, you'll get another shot at a ZERO PERCENT balance transfer, and believe me, nothing beats ZERO PERCENT. In fact, there's nothing better than ZERO percent! So to all of you that were grousing about missing the first offer, here's your second chance. But remember, both transfers and accounts must be approved and authorized by February 15th. Although it is ZERO percent, please keep in mind that you will need to pay it off by January 2008 and you will need to pay the minimum balance every month as part of the agreement. You can see how if you're not responsible, ZERO percent can become a liability in the wrong hands.

Citibank should pay me for pimping this, but I guess making some money off their ZERO percent rate for a year will have to do. Goodluck!

Zero Percent For One Year...

A while back, I mentioned a promotion for a ZERO PERCENT rate Mastercard from Citibank. After hearing about this promotion from my blog, John Chow also applied and got approved, but he got a measly $5000. But like he said, better than no money at 0%. In the meantime, I thought they had forgotten all about me. Apparently not!

While I was at CES, I got a call from Citibank telling me that I was not only approved, but I was approved for a $10,000 line at 0% for one full year! That means that I get rent free money till January 2008! The current promotion they are doing is still good, but you get dinged 0.9% now. Still a good promotion, but not as good as 0% of course.

Although it is 0%, it isn't totally free. Like a credit card or loan, there is a minimum payment each month, usually about 3% of the balance. I asked Citibank to transfer the full $10,000 to my CIBC VISA. Since my VISA is nearly paid off, this will trigger a positive balance. I will then transfer that money off my VISA to pick up some RRSP's this year. I will then use the tax refund triggered from the purchase of those RRSP's to pay off the balance of my card when the time comes.

In the meantime, I'll probably throw it into a PC Financial Interest Plus Savings Account that is currently offering a 4.0% rate on a minimum $1000 deposit. Plus, at the end of the year, they will apply an extra 0.03% on the daily closing balance over the year as a bonus for letting the money stay put. If I put just $5000 away, that will be an extra $205.24 that I didn't do anything for.

The only downside to this card is that it has a very high interest rate of 18.9%. If the balance isn't paid off in full by the maturity date, the remaining balance is billed at this rate when the 0% promotion ends. I'll probably just end up canceling the card unless they can offer me a better rate. It never hurts to ask.

Eating Books

One of the New Years Resolutions that I've decided to start early is to read more books. I was never a readaholic in school. In fact, the only time I ever went to the library was when I HAD to go with the class. Even during College and University, the library just wasn't a place that I gravitated towards. I was always drawn more to the resources available on the web. As a result, I now make all my income from it.

I went out to the local Chapters bookstore to find some good reading material. I also wanted books where I could learn something from. I'm not a fluffy fiction guy, though I did get into reading Harry Potter at one point. I read the first three books on my PDA. Someone had leaked it onto the web and I came across a copy while looking for free apps for my Palm. Anyway, I started thinking of subjects that interested me and personal finance and investing was one of them.

The first book I picked up was "Why We Want You To Be Rich": A collaboration between Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki, the "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" guy. I love the show "The Apprentice" and I had read The Donald's book "Art of the Deal". I really got nothing out of "Art of the Deal". I don't even remember it.

"Why We Want You To Be Rich" is basically like a long interview as Donald and Robert weigh in on subjects like the world economy, investing, and common questions asked of them like "I'm a Baby Boomer with without much money. What should I do?" It also had a lot of "Edumercials" that sold their education services. After the read, I think I'm going to stick with watching the show "The Apprentice" rather than reading more of Trumps books. I didn't like the first one, and I didn't really care too much for what he said. Kiyosaki on the other hand I felt contributed much more to the book. That's why the next book I picked up was "Rich Dad, Poor Dad".

Continue reading Eating Books

Giving Brick and Mortars the Power of the Web

I was just having coffee at my local hang out and noticed that a new store selling YOGA Clothing and Accessories had been trying to open for the last 4 months. We're now into the 2nd week of December right in the middle of the Xmas rush and it looks like they will miss all the potential sales: They're still not open! One can only speculate what is happening behind the scenes, but one of the things that I know many businesses struggle with is a solid point of sale and inventory management system.

Often times, POS systems really do act like Pieces of Shit (POS). Some are difficult to setup, and many require service contracts and specialized equipment. These added headaches can sometimes delay a business opening by a few weeks as service people and technicians come out to get things setup, even if their merchant accounts are already good to go. It could even be that parts are just not available. That's where the power of the web comes in from a company called MerchantOS.

Merchant OS is a point of sale software solution that is totally based on the web. All you require is a computer and the power of the Internet. Optional hardware seems very reasonable in price and their guarantee of if it stops working, just send it back and they'll send you another seems good, though I would have to imagine that they would do a cross ship because you can't do business without a cash drawer or card reader. The system is secure and all the backend stuff is handled by the company on the other side, 24/7. You can pretty much operate as efficiently as an online store while offering the best possible service in the store.

This also frees a lot of business owners to mind their own business away from the business. Because of the web based administration system, owners can check on the sales of their business while on vacation. You can even cut PO's for items that are low in your store and email them out to your vendors, letting your staff concentrate on sales. Since the company also take care of backing up your files, you don't have to worry about additional equipment, or relying on your staff to initiate the backup procedures. In the event of a disaster, having all your real equipment off site can really help get you back on the road quickly.

For Restaurants, our friends at Auphan Software also have a wicked solution that takes that "Squirrel Thing" to the curb. It's called Auphan Dining and also uses web technology to help you increase sales in your restaurant business..

I hope this info helps out a budding business owner. I know that anytime I can figure out another way to automate a system, I have more time to work on other things. Goodluck!

Need a 0% Interest Rate?

This time of year, everyone racks up a little bit of debt on the credit card. Shortly after the Holidays is RRSP top up time again as well too. How do we make the best of both situations? Well, first off, you shouldn't be racking up debt that you can't afford over the holidays! Second, if you were going to pay off your card by the end of the year anyway, why not do it with someone else's money, and get yourself a 0% loan in the process?

CitiBank has a special 0% Balance Transfer till October 2007 on one of their Mastercard products. To get it, go here and apply offer code N6T. Should take you about 5 minutes. Approval rate appears to be fairly good unless you're a total hack. Most people are reporting receipt of their cards and balance transfer checks in about 2 weeks.

Since you had the money accumulating in your 4% savings account to pay off your Holiday Debt anyway, now you can pay it off with the balance transfer, and continue to enjoy your 4% interest rate in your high interest savings account until you need to top up on those RRSP's, or better yet, just keep saving until it's time to pay off your 0% loan. Just keep up with your minimum monthly payments, and you'll ride interest free till October 2007. Great offer!