– Free shipping, free returns. Online shopping is seriously no-worry, because if those shoes don’t fit, you can just slap the UPS label provided back on the box and return them!!
– Amazon Prime: Free 2-day shipping from Amazon.com. We have stuff like toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner etc delivered to our doorstep. I’m not ashamed. Also, free Kindle Lending Library, and Unlimited movie & TV show streaming from Amazon. $7.99 a month…it’s a huge bargain if you even buy one Kindle book per month that you could otherwise borrow from the lending library.
– Using your debit card to pay online. Canada has a bit of this in the form of Interac Online, but here, your debit card can basically pretend to be a credit card, with the “limit” as your bank balance. Super useful for ordering pizza or stuff online.
– Coupons. Often automatically applied to your online order, or you just have to click something that says “Apply coupon”. Also, if you shop at Safeway, you’re given coupons along with your receipt every time you shop there! AND you can go on their special website, which tracks the stuff you buy (associated to your Safeway card) and suggests coupons for you. Not surprisingly, ours all tend to be for wine & steak.
– No email money transfers, or online bill payment. It’s actually a bit ridiculous the hoops you have to jump through here to pay bills. Reminds me of Canada 10 years ago. For our cable bill, we had to give them our credit card (actually debit card) number. For our car loan, we had to snail mail a void cheque along with an authorization form for them to auto-debit our account. Rent has to be paid by us driving over a cheque – OR – you can set up “automatic bill payment” through your bank, where they will print a cheque and mail it on your behalf to your landlord every month. It just seems so stone age!! (we used to pay our rent via email money transfers, which are sooo convenient).
– Online banking in general seems somewhat behind Canada. It also takes several days or sometimes even over a week for debit card transactions to post to our online banking summary.
– We’re not too happy with the cell phone plans/service here. You can go Verizon which has decent plans, but they’re CDMA so you can’t use voice & data at the same time, and you can’t bring your phone overseas and just pop in a local SIM (important to us). You can go T-Mobile, but they don’t have the iPhone, and if you bring over an unlocked iPhone, you have to use their Edge network vs 4G. Or you can go AT&T, who are basically evil. Nick tried to use his unlocked iPhone on AT&T pay-as-you-go, and they detected that it was an unlocked iPhone with no contract, and cut him off. If you want to use an iPhone on AT&T, you HAVE to have a contract. Nick has no credit here, so in order to give him a contract, they charged him a $250 deposit. Also, he has to pay more per month for less data/minutes/texts than he had in Ontario with Rogers. And we thought Rogers was evil!!