Buoyant Holiday Spending Expected to Boost December Retail Sales

    BMO Mosaik MasterCard offers helpful tips to make your holiday shopping,
    not naughty, but nice

    TORONTO, Dec. 12 /CNW/ - "Retailers can expect cash registers to ring out
loudly in December, as high consumer confidence, low interest rates, retail
price cuts from the strong dollar, and coming tax reductions are expected to
buoy brisk spending into the key holiday shopping period," said Doug Porter,
Deputy Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets.
    "With employment gains still strong, solid income growth should
contribute to broad-based gains across all retail spending categories in
December," he said.
    At the same time, Nancy Marescotti, Director, BMO Mosaik MasterCard,
advises the best shopping strategy is to set a realistic budget and stick to
it to avoid waking up to a post-holiday shopping hangover.

    Ms. Marescotti offers the following Do's and Don'ts for this holiday

    Don't pay more than you have to - Overpaying is overspending. Comparison
shop and look for store sales to ensure you're getting the best price.

    Do use a credit card that rewards you for your purchases - Even if you
pay full price, you can maximize the value of your purchases by using a credit
card that offers rewards for every dollar you spend. Some cards offer
attractive 'cash back' options while others let you redeem your rewards for
travel or merchandise. BMO's Mosaik MasterCard offers the best of both, with
CashBack reward options or AIR MILES Rewards which can be redeemed from a
comprehensive choice of more than 800 redemption items from movie passes, CDs
and DVDs, electronic merchandise, sports and recreation, travel and more. Any
of these could make a great gift for family or friends.

    Don't get scrooged when you shop online - Shopping online can save you
time and money but stick to the reputable sites and beware of sites you don't
know. Pay close attention to shipping dates and build in extra delivery time
so you won't be disappointed. For added protection, consider purchasing your
gifts with a credit card that offers some form of insurance, which will cover
you if gifts you buy get lost, stolen, or broken.
    MasterCard SecureCode from BMO Bank of Montreal, lets you shop online
safely at SecureCode-enabled merchants. When you provide your SecureCode
during your online transaction, BMO will authenticate and confirm that you are
the individual making the purchase.

    Do stick with just one credit card - Keep it simple. You'll find it
easier to track your expenses on a single bill at the end of the month if you
put all of your holiday purchases on just one credit card. And if you're a
Loyalty Rewards Collector, consolidating all of your purchases on a single
card will help you reach your rewards goals faster and redeem sooner.

    Don't let interest charges pile up - January bills can bring February
blahs. Don't let interest charges on your credit card balances eat up your
holiday savings.

    Do pay the piper - Ideally, you should always pay your balance in full by
the due date to avoid interest charges altogether. If you expect to carry a
balance however, minimize your overall costs by making purchases with a
low-interest credit card or by transferring your balances to a low-interest
line of credit.

    Don't wait to report a lost or stolen card - Protect yourself by keeping
a copy of your credit card number and the contact information for your credit
card issuer so that you can quickly report a lost or stolen card.

For further information:

For further information: For Media Enquiries Contact: Ralph Marranca,
Toronto, ralph.marranca@bmo.com, (416) 867-3996; Lucie Gosselin, Montreal,
lucie.gosselin@bmo.com, (514) 877-1101; Laurie Grant, Vancouver,
laurie.grant@bmo.com, (604) 665-7596

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