It doesn’t seem to matter where you live these days, there’s a lot of complaining over high costs and how our financial systems really work. I also know the best way to learn about your world it to look at it from the outside. So, I started to wonder what the real difference is at the ground level. You know, what differences would I notice if I were to move to the UK for instance? After all, our countries can’t be that different. Right?
Canadian and UK Credit Card Deals
I figured if I were going to notice one huge difference, it’d be with my Canadian credit cards. So, I headed to the mbna website to look for the best UK credit card deal. I have to admit that their interest rate of 15.9% was better than ours, which averages somewhere around the 19% mark.
They have low APR credit cards in the UK just like we do here, and the system seems to be exactly the same. Even the application process appeared to be the same. In fact, if I hadn’t seen the little symbol for British Pounds and their phone numbers, I’d have not been able to tell that it wasn’t Canadian.
What I did find interesting, however, was the kinds of credit cards they had. For instance, they had cards that let you support your favorite football team (English football, not our football). They also offered cards that supported charity. I think these are great ideas.
With the football credit cards, you collect points for every Pound you put on the card. Then, when you get enough points, you trade them in for official merchandise and the team receives the money. Charity cards are available too and they work in much the same way.
Of course, we have this kind of thing too, but the money goes back into our own pockets, or we trade them for some cool gadget, rather than giving it to a good cause. Interesting. Does this possibly mean that Canadians are more self-serving than those in the UK?
Mortgages in the UK
It seems that the UK mortgage system isn’t a whole lot different from ours. Anyone with less than perfect credit will find it difficult to get one. And, the housing market seems to be the craps to put it mildly. House prices are falling, and yet they’re giving away fewer and fewer mortgages.
There are a few differences that don’t seem too major, but if you were going to buy a home there, it would make a huge difference. For example, it seems first time homebuyers in the UK have to have 10-15% to put down on their homes. Here, it’s still 5%. Also, those with blemished credit would find it far more difficult to get a mortgage in the UK than they would in Canada. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing and Canada seems to be moving that way as well.
It seems that the two countries might not be a different in this regards as I thought. But, it certainly seems to outline a difference in the two cultures. Just by looking at the two financial systems alone, it seems that the UK had cut out the needless spending (or just never started). Interesting, and definitely something to consider anyway.
(This post also appears on Travel the Prairies at http://www.traveltheprairies.com/canada/canadians-uk-financial-systems/)