Seniors savvy to electronic savings

Older Canadians are not generally considered to be on the cutting edge of new technology trends. But Canada's seniors can teach a thing or two to their younger fellow citizens when it comes to making the most of their money.

Seniors such as Mary Machina are among the first Canadians to sign up for direct deposit, a convenient, fast and secure payment service being offered by the federal government that lets people cash in on the benefits of automatic deposits to their bank accounts.

“It was one of the first things I did the last time I moved. I [arranged for all of my] deposits and automatic bill payments [to be done electronically]. It's just one less thing to think about,” says Mrs. Machina. “You don't have to worry about whether your pension cheque has gone in so you can have your bills paid out. If the weather is bad or you're not feeling well, you don't need to go out to pick up the mail. And you don't have to deal with long line-ups at the bank.”

Mrs. Machina's observations sum up the many advantages of the federal government's direct deposit service. There's virtually no risk of a payment being lost, stolen or damaged as cheques sometimes are – or simply delayed due to a postal strike. For those who like to travel, there's no need to stay home in order to be able to pick up the mail when cheques come in each month. And for people on fixed incomes, automatic deposits provide assurance that their money will always be there when they need it, right on time on the exact day that it's due.

Most of Canada's seniors already receive payments such as the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement through direct deposits to their bank accounts. To date, 90 percent of CPP payments made to recipients and 92 percent of OAS payments made to beneficiaries are done electronically.

The federal government is phasing out cheques by 2016 in a $17.4 million a year cost-cutting move that will save money on paper and postage. Cheques cost 82 cents to produce while direct deposit costs only 13 cents.

To register for direct deposit, visit your local bank or financial institution or fill in the form at www.directdeposit.gc.ca. You can also call 1-800-O-Canada to have a form mailed to you.

www.newscanada.com

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