Majority of Ontarians have paid bills late: missed payments may have consequences

- TD Canada Trust offers tips and advice to avoid missing payments -

TORONTO, July 15 /CNW/ - More than half of Ontarians have missed paying bills on time. Top reasons for missing payments include forgetting to pay on time, forgetting to check the due date or simply misplacing the bill, according to the TD Canada Trust Everyday Banking Poll. Many Ontarians may be overlooking the implications of missed bill payments. A surprising 45% of respondents think that there is no consequence if they miss a bill payment - that they just pay the overdue amount on their next bill.

"If you routinely miss your bill payments each month, it can impact your credit rating," says Carrie Russell, Senior Vice President, TD Canada Trust. "Missing payments by more than 30 days could influence your likelihood to secure a future loan or a credit card because credit-granting companies look at past performance on bill payments as an indicator of future behaviour. It is essential to pay your bills on time. Why jeopardize your ability to access credit in the future?"

Russell recommends the following five tips to avoid late bill payments:

    1.  Have your bills sent to you electronically. It can be easier to keep
        track of than stacks of paper. And it is more environmentally-
        friendly too.
    2.  Set-up pre-authorized withdrawals from your everyday bank account for
        your utilities and other bills
    3.  Set-up an automatic transfer to pay your credit card's minimum or
        total balance each month so that you can be sure to never miss a
        payment
    4.  Avoid the hassle and cost of finding envelopes, cheques and stamps by
        paying your bills online or over the phone or at an ABM - this can
        easily save you $50 a year
    5.  Post-date your online bill payments for a few days before the due
        date to allow time for processing. Why give away your money before it
        is necessary?

"Paying interest and late charges on missed bills, even a few times a year, is like throwing money away," says Russell. "One of the easiest ways to save money and protect your credit score, is to pay bills on time and online. Make sure you have the right everyday bank account - it should include features and services that help make it easy for you to pay your bills on time, keep your payments organized and avoid interest and late charges. If not, you should consider making a change."

How do Ontarians pay their bills?

Online banking is the preferred method of payment in Ontario. This is consistent with the national numbers, which showed that online banking is the most popular method of paying bills, particularly for Canadians under the age of 50. Seventy-five per cent of those 18-to-29 pay their bills online and 78% of those 30-to-49 pay their bills online.

Other popular payment methods in Ontario include pre-authorized payments from a chequing account (59%) and paying at the branch (36%).

When do Ontarians pay?

Only 39% of Ontarians say that they pay their bills as close to the due date as possible. Forty-one per cent pay their bills as they come in and 17% collect all their bills each month and pay them at the same time.

Who pays the bills?

Sixty-one per cent of Ontarians surveyed say that they are the ones who pay the household bills. Another 16% say that they share the responsibility with their partner and 13% say that their partner pays the bills. Nationally, those 18-to-29 are most likely to say that someone else in the household pays the bills (26%), which perhaps could be a parent.

About the TD Canada Trust Everyday Banking Campaign

TD Canada Trust is offering an incentive for new customers who switch to TD Canada Trust. If new customers open a Select Service or Infinity Chequing Account, add its convenient banking services, and get approved for an eligible TD Canada Trust Credit Card by July 23, 2010, then TD Canada Trust will give the new customer a $250 Cash Bonus. For more information about the promotion visit www.tdcanadatrust.com or call 1-800-387-8550.

About the TD Canada Trust Everyday Banking Poll

The TD Canada Trust Everyday Banking Poll surveyed 1,002 adult Canadians, including 384 from Ontario, between May 18-26, 2010. Results for this study were collected through Environics Research Group's national omnibus study.

About TD Bank Financial Group

The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Financial Group. TD Bank Financial Group is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves more than 18 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust and TD Insurance; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD Bank Financial Group also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 6 million online customers. TD Bank Financial Group had CDN$574 billion in assets on April 30, 2010. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

For further information: Karen Williams, Steve Presant, Paradigm Public Relations, 416-203-2223, kwilliams@paradigmpr.ca, spresant@paradigmpr.ca; Tashlin Hirani, TD Bank Financial Group, 416-982-3375, Tashlin.hirani@td.com