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Financial Spring Cleaning? No thanks! Canadians would rather clean the garage

May 16, 2007 at 12:00 AM EDT

But when it comes to their credit cards Canadians know what they want: a low rate, and no giveaways or limited time offers

Toronto, ON (May 16, 2007) – According to a new national survey by Capital One Canada, now that tax season is over many Canadians do not want to think about their financial situation. More than one-third (39 percent) want to forget about finances until tax-time next year, and 41 percent would rather clean out the basement or garage than think about their finances. Overlooking some opportunities to save in the year ahead, only 29 percent of Canadians said they would review their credit cards to make sure they are getting the best deal on interest rates and fees by “spring cleaning” their finances. Albertans are more likely to take a hard look at credit options (32 percent) while Quebecers are least likely (20 percent).

“It is important for Canadians to understand their credit options and take control of their finances,” says Pam Girardo of Capital One. “With tax season over, spring is a good time for people to evaluate their position and make better choices with their money,” adds Ms. Girardo, “this includes shopping around for more competitive credit offers, such as Capital One's Prime +1 card that offers Canada's lowest long-term interest rate on purchases.”

The survey also shows that when it comes to credit card interest rates, frills are not the main appeal; Canadians want something they can count on. Eighty-two percent prefer cards that offer one low-rate, and no giveaways or time-limited offers on interest rates. Only 16 percent of Canadians are attracted to offers with a prize or giveaway and even fewer (2 percent) are interested in offers with a time-limited low introductory rate. Capital One's Prime +1 Platinum MasterCard® answers the needs of the market and takes the guesswork out of rates because it's tied to the Canadian Prime Rate (like a Line of Credit). At Prime +1 percent, Capital One's card offers Canada's lowest long-term purchase rate (currently 7 percent), with no annual fee and no balance transfer fee.

Other survey findings offer insights into consumers' money-management strategies and their expectations for the spring and summer months.

Canadians understand that budgeting is important, but extra cash would burn a hole in their wallets

More than two-thirds of Canadians (69 percent) say they use and stick to a budget. Other top moneysaving strategies include: 26 percent buy in bulk and say they are “addicted to Costco”; 17 percent say they look for “freebies” such as samples and meals at work or other functions, Ontario is the most freebieoriented province with 21 percent employing this strategy; and 4 percent of Canadians say they “mooch” off friends and family.

Despite the focus on saving money, given the opportunity many Canadians would spend money. When asked what they would do with $100 or more in their pockets: 44 percent of Canadians said they would have fun and splurge on themselves; 26 percent said they would put the money toward their summer vacation; while just over one-third (34 percent) would save or invest the money. Only 11 percent would donate a portion of the money to charity, where British Columbia (15 percent) ranked among the most charitable provinces along with Ontario (14 percent).

Canadians count on political chatter and “mental health days” for the spring and summer

When asked what they could count on this spring and summer, 74 percent of Canadians looked forward to more chatter and speculation about a federal election, while 14 percent think they will call in ‘sick' to work more frequently as the weather improves. Quebecers are most likely to consider calling in sick (30 percent) followed by Ontarians (12 percent) and Albertans (11 percent). As Canadians gear up for the summer and hatch their travel plans, they can also count on Capital One's Prime +1 Platinum Mastercard® to provide a wise credit choice that offers consumers an interest rate tied to the Prime Rate and the confidence that their interest rate will be low.

Survey Methodology

These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted for Capital One with Ipsos-Reid's online panel from May 1 to May 4, 2007. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1,317 adult Canadians was interviewed online. The sample used in this study has been weighted according to Census data to accurately reflect the population of Canadians. With a sample of this size, the aggregate results are considered accurate to within ±2.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had this entire population been polled.

About Capital One

Located in Toronto, Ontario, Capital One has offered Canadian consumers a range of competitive MasterCard® credit cards since 1996, when the company first introduced the Platinum MasterCard® in Canada. Capital One Canada is a division of Capital One Bank, a subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation of McLean, Virginia (NYSE: COF).

Pam Girardo, Capital One
Tel: (416) 228-5171