A significant number of Canadians are now primarily using online information portals to manage various aspects of their financial lives, recent data showed.
According to the results of the latest survey conducted by finance data resource RateHub.ca, the increasing volume of information available online has helped more and more Canadians with their mortgages by giving opportunities for reputation-based comparison between lenders.
“[These results speak to the importance of comparison shopping and realizing that there are options out there,” RateHub.ca founder Alyssa Furtado told the Ottawa Citizen
Among the top search results among Canadians were online mortgage calculators (which racked up more than 487,000 queries per month) as well as announcements by major banks, the report noted. “It speaks to the fact that banks have such large brand recognition,” Furtado said.
Online resource usage demographics skewed towards the younger tech-savvy market. Mobile searches are also gaining more prominence, growing to 37 per cent last year (up from 25 per cent in 2013).
Among the primary reasons for consulting information on the web is a perception of transparency when it comes to information related to savings, investment, mortgage, and credit cards.
Another driver for growing preference for rate calculators and other web-based resources is the potential for savings. The report noted that all other things being equal, borrowers with $500,000 mortgages can save over $53,000 in interest when using information gathered online.
Furtado warned that the ever-changing and rapidly-updating nature of online information is no substitute for professional advice, though.
“Online doesn’t replace the need to speak to financial experts, but it does empower you,” Furtado said.