How Petro-Canada Patrons Can Check the Credit Score for Free if They Use an RBC Credit Card

Recently, in late 2017, Petro-Canada came out with an offer to reduce the price of gasoline and to award extra Petro-Points is you buy their gasoline using a credit card issued by RBC. We signed up our RBC card for this promotion and that included setting up the RBC card for online access. While snooping around the RBC credit card website, I discovered we can check our credit score for free.

What’s a Credit Score and Why Did I Check Ours?

There are two major credit monitoring agencies in Canada: Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. They both collect financial information on you which they use to create a ranking called a credit score. Financial institutions may use some generic or customized form of this credit score as part of their decision on whether to offer you loans or credit and at what interest rate.

We don’t actually need to borrow any money as our mortgage is paid off and we don’t do renovations until we’ve saved the money to pay for them. Our emergency fund can tide us over when the unexpected happens like getting a car totaled on the 401 or having the roof leak a few years before we planned to replace it.

Nevertheless, like many people, I’m very curious. I wanted to know what our credit score was but I did not want to pay to see it. (You can check your credit record free once per year by asking the bureaus to mail you the info. That won’t include your actual credit score, though, just the facts on which it is based.) So I clicked on the RBC link.

Checking Your TransUnion Credit Score for Free for RBC Credit Card holders

You’ll need to have online access to your RBC credit card. NOTE: You don’t need to have a bank account with RBC to set up your credit card online. At this time, we don’t have an RBC bank account.

  1. Sign on to your RBC account.
  2. Midway down the right side of the screen is the My Services section.
  3. Look for and click on the link: View Your Credit Score
  4. Read through the terms and conditions. If you can live with them, click on the link to accept the terms.
  5. Wait for the CreditView Dashboard to appear.
  6. Your TransUnion Credit Score will be displayed.

That’s it! You now know one version of your credit score.

Ours is not 900 but it’s high enough that we find it acceptable.

Playing with the RBC CreditView Dashboard Score Simulator

Further down the same page is a group of text boxes under the heading Score Simulator.

For some weird reason, it is encouraging you to see what the impact is of various actions on your credit score. For example, you can check what might happen to your score if you added 2 Credit Cards with limits of $2500, Raise the Credit Limit of one card by $10000 and Added a Personal Loan for $30 000.

  1. Type your scenario in the applicable text boxes.
  2. Click on the Simulate button.

Interestingly enough, it made almost no difference to our credit score. Your mileage may vary!

I’ve probably agreed to receiving all sorts of targeting marking from RBC by using this free credit score check, but it was still a fun exercise. I can’t say that it will change my money management plans much though.

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Where Can I Get a Good or at Least Decent Rate on a GIC for my RRSP?

With the stock market pundits forecasting that THIS time it really is the end of the world, many people don’t want to put their RRSP money into a stock, mutual fund or ETF at least not yet. Leaving aside the arguing about whether it’s actually a great time to buy since prices are low, I decided to look and see what rates are available for a RRSP guaranteed investment certificate, GIC, and whether they are good, decent or awful.

Big Banks Do Not Often Offer Great RRSP GIC Rates

Sometimes one of the big Canadian banks will surprise me by offering a good rate for a RRSP GIC. Not this year though.

BMO has 0.85% for a one-year term or 1.25-1.5% for a 5-year term.

CIBC has a bonus rate RRSP GIC at 0.9% for a one-year term or 1.3% for a 5-year term.

Scotiabank has a 1-year at 0.9% and a 5-year term at 1.5%.

TD has a 1-year term GIC at 0.85% and a 5-year term at 1.5%.

Royal has a 1-year term GIC at 0.9% and a 5-year term at 1.5%.

None of these are cashable before maturity. There may be other terms and conditions so be sure to read carefully before you lock up your money in any GIC.

Remember banks often have some discretion about setting their rate. Ask if you can get 0.5% more. They will probably say no, but they might offer 0.25% just for asking.

E-Banks Offer Better RRSP GIC Rates

There was a time when ING Direct operated in Canada and they used to offer some quite nice rates for GICs. Now the former company is called Tangerine and is owned by Scotiabank, and the good rates seem gone.

Tangerine is offering a 1-year term GIC at 1.2% and a 5-year term at 1.9%. Better than the “big banks” but still not great.

PC Financial, which is owned by CIBC, is offering a one-year term GIC at an APY of 1.2% and a 5-year at 1.9%. Yes, that’s the same as Tangerine.

There are some smaller, newer e-Banks though.

Oaken Financial, which is controlled by Home Trust, is offering a one-year term RRSP GIC paying 1.95% and a 5-year term paying 2.5%. That 2.5% is the same amount offered for a 2-year term by Zag bank but you’re earning it for more years. In case you’re interested a 2-year term is 2.1%.

Zag Bank, which is run by Desjardins, has a 2-year term RRSP GIC paying 2.5%. You have to invest before June 1 2016. For a 1-year term GIC, their rate is 1.05% and for a 5-year GIC their rate is 1.90%. So you can see the 2.5% 2-year rate is definitely a lure.

EQ Bank isn’t offering RRSP GICs at this time.

Where Should I Buy My RRSP GIC in 2016?

So none of these places is offering a great rate for a RRSP GIC.

Personally, I’d seriously consider Oaken Financial for a one-year term RRSP GIC.  I’ve been using their services for over a year for GICs for part of our emergency fund and I’ve been pleased with the service. (By the way, I get nothing from Oaken if you buy one. I’m a customer not someone with a business connection to them!)

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