Some selected cool & not-cool stuff about the U.S.A.

COOL:

– 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.

NOT COOL:

– 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!!

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2 thoughts on “Some selected cool & not-cool stuff about the U.S.A.

  1. Just FWIW… 😉

    “- No email money transfers, or online bill payment.”
    Depends on whom you need to be paying; it depends on whether or not they’ve got it set up. I now have every single utility and our mortgage on automatic payments, though Chris still logs in every month to pay the Prius lease online. We could do autopayments with that, too, but we want the option to just pay the whole thing off at once with no hassle if we get too annoyed by it, lol.

    ” It also takes several days or sometimes even over a week for debit card transactions to post to our online banking summary. ”
    Switch to a bank that doesn’t suck? Or a credit union; credit unions are awesome. 😀 My bank gives us paycheques a day early and payments post within 24hrs (except sometimes on the weekends, when it takes until Mondays occasionally)

    “Cell phone plans/service”
    Word.

    1. I’m aware of the automatic payments thing, but what I’m referring to is the ability to, within Canada, log in to online banking and just send/wire money to anyone with a Canadian bank account, with just their email address. I don’t have the ability to do that here (well, Paypal, but, evil + fees). Also, in Ontario, I was able to login to our online bank account and pay bills from the bank’s website, with just our account number with that company, and the company name. Here, you have to go through each company and give them your bank information (it seems…unless I’m doing something wrong).

      Payments were posted immediately with our banks in Ontario…here they show as “pending” for what seems like a long time, or like, with gas station pay-at-the-pump, they show as $1 or something for a few days until the total amount goes through. We’re with Chase and I’ve heard Wells is the same, and there don’t seem to be too many other options around here? Other than credit unions, to be fair we haven’t given them any consideration…

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