Old Financial Technology Habits Die Hard

For the longest of time, I refused to deposit cheques in the ATM machine (after reading horror stories about stolen cheques and the like, from nefarious false fronts which steal cheques), but after a while, I started using this technology (usually because the lines for the tellers were so long). I have written previously about not wanting to use my home WiFi (and absolutely never use public WiFi) for on-line banking, just because I am that kind of paranoid guy, but now I find myself doing most of my on-line banking using my laptop which is connected via WiFi (but not public WiFi). Am I a lover of old financial technology , only ?

old financial technology

Old Technology? Image courtesy of cooldesign, at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last night I caught myself in another one of my “still thinking like an old cranky guy” habits, and that was taking cheques with me to work, so that I could deposit them on the way home at the ATM machine at the bank. I dutifully went out of my way to stop at the bank, and deposited the cheques, but since TD has gone to a new ATM interface, it dawned on me, why wasn’t I just doing the “take a photo of the cheque” deposit method?

The TD ATM machine is simply photographing the cheque, and ‘parsing’ it (although they also keep the cheques, although I have no idea whether the darn things are archived or just shredded after a few days), the same methodology as if I was using my phone. Why didn’t I simply use my phone? My only explanation I can give is old habits die hard, and I keep forgetting about some features available from my bank.

I do still feel some paranoia, so I tend to photograph my cheques with WiFi turned off, and using my Cell Phone Providers network (which is marginally more secure), but I have to remember that the feature exists in the first place.

Old financial technology was useful at the time, but maybe it is time for me to move on.

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Apple Pay and Interac Together

Is this a good thing is the question to be answered, but later on in this I will discuss that. I have written about Apple Pay and Near Field Communication (NFC) before, but now it seems to be really will be usable in Canada, with Interac announcing an agreement with Apple pay on using this technology.

NFC and Apple Pay

NFC an interesting idea?

Before you leave this page to go set this up remember there are a few limiting factors here:

  1. You need an iPhone 6 series (or above) or a later iPad series (although who would wander around with an iPad to buy things). The Apple Watch has Apple pay  also, but it ends up being “attached” to an iPhone as well.
  2. You need a bank account that you can access via Interac (figured I’d point that one out, just in case you were not sure).
  3. For the Interac part of Apple pay, you need to have an account with RBC or CIBC. CLANG!!! I knew there was going to be a catch.
  4. Apple Pay also works with Amex cards, ATB Mastercards and Canadian Tire Mastercards

OK, so the title is a little bit misleading, as only a few banks are covered here.

The real question, is NFC (Near Field Communication) a good thing? Depends on who you ask. If you read the link I supplied you will know:

NFC is a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a separation of 10 cm or less

Sounds perfectly safe, doesn’t it? PC World has a very good article about a few steps to take if you are going to use this technology (the reading the fine print and your agreement on use of the technology). The other thing to remember is if you are going to use this technology, your phone had better be secured (i.e. password locked, at least).

It will be interesting to see how well this whole thing works, now that it is more in general usage (in Canada).

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Cheques, Cameras and Banking Apps

My loathing of having to go to my local bank branch has caused me to review one of my rules about using banking apps on wireless devices (and using wireless phone networks). Every bank now offers “free cheque” deposit using your phone or tablet camera. Their ATM machines are effectively doing the same thing i.e. photographing your cheque and clearing it that way.

You simply take a picture of the front and the back of the cheque, with your mobile phone (inside of your  banking apps), input in the app how much the cheque is for (with a note to associate with it as well), note on the actual cheque that you have done the deposit (and when), keep the cheque for 10 days (to make sure it clears) and once it clears, shred the cheque (TD offers this, as does Tangerine and a few other banks).

banking apps

Only Work in a Secure Wi Fi Environment

Previously I have ranted about the insecurity of doing your on-line banking over a wireless network (it’s also incredibly bad to do your on-line banking in an Internet Cafe or on any computer that you don’t control (even the one in your office, assuming your place of work is safe can be a dangerous assumption)), however, given using this new service means I don’t have to go to my “brick and mortar” bank, I will qualify my rant about wireless and banking apps .

  • Surprisingly it is better to use this on your a cellular data network (the security on those networks is much better than you might think), so if you are going to use this service and you are not at home don’t use public wi-fi or any stuff like that, use your cellular data network.
  • Don’t use Public Wi-Fi, Restaurant Wi-Fi, or “Hey look I found open Wi-Fi”, for anything, but especially not for Internet Banking, seriously, you aren’t doing that, are you?
  • If you have a home Wi-Fi Network and it is not open (i.e. you use WPA2, WPA or WEP protocols) then you can use your home Wi-Fi (also don’t broadcast your SSID either) for on-line banking.


An interesting issue can arise (that I read about on this Reddit Thread) that if you try to deposit a post dated cheque early (using your camera and your mobile phone app), you are going to end up being in a bit of a mess. To sum it up, the bank will negate the deposit, and the cheque you have will be useless, as it has been refused by a bank, so whomever wrote you the cheque will have to write you a new one (this is why it is well worthwhile reading the /r/PersonalFinanceCanada Reddit sub).

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iPad Compatible Banking Apps

A while back I purchased an iPad for myself to see if I could “run” my small business (yes, this web site is a small business, stop snickering) on an iPad. I have learned a fair amount about the apps on the iPad and such, but I have also learned that for some odd reason many different apps only have iPhone compatible versions.

For those unfamiliar, you can run iPhone compatible apps on your iPad, however, they only run in Portrait Mode (short across top, longer on the side) and it looks pretty clunky (and most likely, if anything goes wrong, you are not going to get any customer support).

Apple iPad

Your New Banking Device ?

Whilst attempting to figure out how things work, I tripped across a couple of interesting issues with the Canadian Banks and their “apps”:

  • TD has an iPad compatible app, as does Tangerine bank, haven’t tested to see if the scan cheques capability works on either app
  • PC Financial, Capital One and Amex all have iPhone apps, but nothing that runs on an iPad, currently
  • For those of you curious this site is supposed to be iPad compatible too.

Having iPhone compatible apps is fun, and convenient, an iPad version with a few more features would help consumers more (although you would be banking over very unsafe WiFi networks).

How did I deal with this shortcoming? I tweeted about it (naturally):

Amazing stuff. Boomer and Echo pointed out that ten years ago I wouldn’t be making these complaints, but I had a retort for that as well:

No answers to my tweets (yet), aside from TD favoriting my comment about how their app did work with an iPad.

This was written on an iPad using Microsoft Word, and OneDisk to store it, which was then transferred to my web site, convoluted, but it works (for now).

Do you use your Tablet for on-line banking? How about your Smart Phone?

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Updated Tip: Scan those Bills

So one of the first useful tips I wrote about was To Scan All Your Bills, so you didn’t necessarily need to keep paper copies of them.

I still continue to do this, although I do keep paper copies as well, for things that I am sure that the CRA might want to look at if I make claims on my taxes like:

  • Tuition receipts for University and my son’s schooling
  • Utilities bills, as I do claim part of those as business expenses
  • etc.,

The interesting updated idea that I have changed to is that I no longer only save these images on my computer at home (which is being backed up). There are now many different services that offer free off-site backup of files such as:

  • Google drive, which comes with your Gmail account
  • Dropbox which is an app that runs on many devices
  • Outlook has file space for you
  • iCloud from Apple
  • Even Ubuntu One offers some free disk space

I am a little leery to use “the cloud” for this kind of storage, so you might want to encrypt them if you use these services, as you never know who the heck might look at your files from elsewhere.

The interesting part about the scanning of my bills was that I did exactly that when I was asked for receipts from the CRA, and I sent them scans of the documents in question, and they seemed happy enough with that. My guess is if it was an actual audit, they would want to see the originals, but for a “request for receipts” the government seems happy enough with a scanned image now as well.

Unfortunately you need to keep your paper records for a while before you can safely dispose of them (i.e. shred and/or burn), but maybe we are finally getting away from paper copies of things?

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