Majority of Albertans embrace online banking

-- TD Canada Trust Everyday Banking Poll finds there's still opportunity for Albertans to take advantage of automatic and mobile banking services --

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CALGARY, Sept. 8, 2011 /CNW/ - Whether it's a gas bill or credit card statement, Albertans overwhelmingly prefer to pay their regular bills online (64%), as opposed to more traditional methods like branch banking (8%) or by cheques in the mail (4%).

According to the 2011 TD Canada Trust Everyday Banking Poll, Albertans say the most significant change in banking habits over the past five years has been adopting online banking (42%), followed by paperless recordkeeping (11%) and viewing statements electronically (8%). Three-quarters of Albertans (75%) now use online banking to pay their bills.

"Anytime and anywhere, Albertans are increasingly turning to online banking for its convenience, security and ability to simplify how they manage their everyday finances," says Shawnette Fraser, Manager, Customer Experience, TD Canada Trust. "Online banking gives Albertans access to banking information whenever they need it - and they can also use a tablet or smartphone to check account balances, pay bills and make transfers."

But Fraser says there is still an opportunity for Albertans to take advantage of other banking services that will help make saving and managing finances even easier. According to the poll, less than half of Albertans (38%) take advantage of pre-authorized payments, and only 29% use automated savings programs.

"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. This saves money on late fees and interest and helps maintain a credit rating," says Fraser. "With mobile banking, you can access your accounts, transfer funds or make payments with your mobile device anytime, from almost anywhere in the world."

"Plus automated savings programs are an easy way to help take the pain out of saving: your bank can set up a pre-authorized, regular transfer from your chequing account to a high-interest savings account."

According to the survey, Albertans are the most likely in Canada to use mobile banking (12% vs. 8% nationally). But it's younger Canadians who are pioneering banking through their cell phones: 18-to-34 year old Canadians are the most likely to use a mobile app for banking (19% versus 8% overall), for activities such as checking account balances (18% versus 7% overall), making transfers (10% versus 4% overall) and paying bills (8% versus 4% overall). The majority of Albertans who don't use mobile banking say it's because they don't have a smartphone (54%) or they perceive it to be unsafe (20%) or too expensive (12%).

"Mobile banking is still in its infancy, but its popularity has grown exponentially as more and more Albertans switch to smartphones," says Fraser. "As an example, within a year of its launch, more than 1 million Canadians downloaded the TD mobile app, making it the most downloaded banking app in the country."

Fraser offers her tips on simple but effective ways Albertans can better manage their everyday banking and save money:

  1. Make sure you're in the right bank account - Accounts are tailored for different needs, so make sure you're in one that gives you the right features and services for your type and frequency of use.

  2. Consider maintaining the minimum monthly balance in your bank account - This may make sense for you and may allow you to avoid a monthly fee.

  3. Bank and pay your bills online….and automatically
    • Save time and money on stamps and envelopes by using online banking, which gives you the ability to view your spending history quickly and easily. It's more convenient, safe and secure, and environmentally-friendly.
    • Receiving bills electronically can be easier to keep track of than paper statements, so they don't slip off your radar. Eliminating paper statements and bills will also help reduce your carbon footprint.
    • Schedule payments so the money is withdrawn from your account just in time to make the due date, so you're not giving away your money before it's necessary. Keep in mind that transactions can take up to three business days to process.
    • Consider setting up pre-authorized debits to pay your credit card and other bills' balances each month so that you can be sure to never miss a payment. This can save you money on late fees and interest and help maintain your credit rating.
  4. Consider mobile banking - Mobile banking gives you on-the-go access to your account information and is a secure way to check your account history, make payments and transfers and regularly monitor your account to verify transactions and keep an eye out for unusual activity.

  5. Be smart with ATMs - Unless your account includes usage of ATMs from other financial institutions, use your own to avoid any additional transaction fees. Use your bank's online or mobile app branch locator to map out your bank's ATMs near work, home and school. If you can't get to one of your own, take advantage of the convenience of cash back at certain retailers when you're making a debit purchase. This is a more cost effective and convenient option than going to an ATM of another financial institution.

About the 2011 TD Canada Trust Everyday Banking Poll

The 2011 TD Canada Trust Everyday Banking Poll surveyed a representative sample of 1,000 adult Canadians, including 125 from Alberta, through a custom, online survey. The survey was conducted by Environics Research Group between August 3 - 9, 2011.

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, to credit protection and 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 in over 1,100 branches - most open 8 'til late and many now open Sunday. 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

For further information:

Liz Christiansen / Steve Presant
Paradigm Public Relations
416-203-2223
lchristiansen@paradigmpr.caspresant@paradigmpr.ca

Lynzey MacRae
TD Bank Group
403-294-3328
lynzey.macrae@td.com


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