Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are Canadians too polite when it comes to collecting owed money?

Fewer than three per cent go online to remind about owed money, though etiquette expert says it's perfectly polite

TORONTO, September 28, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadians are stereotyped as some of the world's most polite people, but that endearing trait may be holding us back when it comes to collecting money owed from friends, family and co-workers, according to an Interac® network survey, conducted by The Strategic Counsel. The survey results are based among 530 respondents who were ever owed less than $500 by a friend or family member at one time.

Although Canadians are also among the world's most frequent Internet users, the survey shows that we aren't taking advantage of online tools to simplify what is for some an awkward task. Fewer than three per cent of respondents use the Internet as their primary means of reminding someone about money owed. Do Canadians think it's awkward or rude to talk about owed money via the Internet? Do their manners need to evolve for the digital age? For the one in five respondents who said outstanding money owed has definitely or probably factored in a relationship gone sour, the answer may be a relief.

Canadian etiquette expert Louise Fox gives online money talk the green light. "Canadians do everything online - from shopping to banking and even dating," says Fox. Yet very few people are communicating online when it comes to reminding someone they owe them money.

"There's no reason to be shy about bringing conversations about owed money online and into the 21st century - it's perfectly polite," says Fox. "Whether in-person or online, the key to handling money matters politely involves being up front about repayment expectations in a way that makes others feel comfortable, so whether you choose to email a friendly reminder or use Interac Email Money Transfer to invite someone to pay you back online, asking for repayment via the Internet is absolutely fine."

Nearly two in five respondents (37 per cent) say they find it very uncomfortable or feel awkward asking a friend or family member to repay money owed, and the top reasons cited as causes of this discomfort suggest that our politeness is to blame. Most respondents either said they didn't want to pressure someone for repayment in case the person didn't have the money or they didn't want to give the impression that they didn't trust their friend, family member or co-worker to repay them.

"The Interac Email Money Transfer service provides even those of us who are comfortable about reminding friends and family members about owed money with a subtle, online means to remind them using the 'Invite Tool,' while also suggesting they pay you back electronically, right from their bank account to yours," says Caroline Hubberstey, Director, Public and Government Affairs, Acxsys Corporation, whose shareholders are the architects of the Interac network. "No need for cheques or cash - with Interac Email Money Transfer it's simple and immediate - and secure."

Interac Email Money Transfer allows Canadians to send and receive money directly from one bank account to another, simply and securely, using online banking and email notification. Interac Email Money Transfer is integrated with online banking, so the sender does not need to know the recipient's banking information, which means personal financial information is never shared. Email is used to notify the receiver about the transfer, while the money is transferred by the sender's financial institution to the recipient's financial institution, through online banking and the Interac network.

A new feature available through www.interac.ca/invite , called the Invite Tool, provides Canadians a convenient way to remind a friend or family member - via email - about money owed and invites them to use Interac Email Money Transfer for repayment.

The Interac Email Money Transfer service is currently available to customers of 25 banks and credit unions including BMO Bank of Montreal, CIBC, President's Choice Financial, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Canada Trust among others. More information about the Interac Email Money Transfer service and a complete list of participating banks and credit unions can be found at www.interac.ca/consumers/productsandservices_ol_emt.php.

About Acxsys Corporation

Acxsys Corporation, comprised of eight large financial institutions as shareholders, is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. The Corporation's shareholders are the architects of the Interac network, Canada's national debit network. Acxsys specializes in the development and operation of new payment service opportunities, as well as consulting and management services in the field of electronic payments. Acxsys Corporation businesses include the operation of the Interac Email Money Transfer service, the Interac Online service and international services, through agreements with NYCE Payments Network, PULSE, and China Unionpay. For more information, please visit www.interac.ca.

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