Idriss Bouhmouch on educating consumers about financial products

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Phil Siarri talks to Idriss Bouhmouch, who leads the Quebec operations and business development for RateHub.ca, a website that compares mortgage rates, credit cards and deposit rates with the goal to empower Canadians to search smarter and save money.

Hi Idriss, nice to meet you. Can you tell us about your background?

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I have a finance background, graduating with a bachelor of commerce from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. I grew up in the Montreal area. The plan was always to come back and work in the city.

After a few months in an analytical role in commercial banking, I attended a Queen’s Young Alumni networking event, where I met Alyssa, RateHub’s co-founder and CEO. The timing couldn’t have been better, as she was looking for a bilingual partner to grow the company’s presence in Quebec.

What is the story behind RateHub.ca?

RateHub launched in 2010 as a mortgage rate comparison website, with an easy-to-navigate platform and sophisticated mortgage rate calculator that helped its users compare a variety of rates, easily connecting them to mortgage brokers, credit unions and banks. Its mortgage calculators are unique, and stand out from the competition because they calculate the total cost of home ownership. Everything from mandatory Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) insurance, to land transfer taxes and first-time home buyer credits, are included in both the monthly payment and affordability calculators.

Five years after launching, RateHub diversified into three new financial product verticals — credit card, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) and savings accounts — and this year launched free online credit scores. RateHub’s calculators and comparison tools are highly competitive because they generate personalised recommendations. For example, our newly launched free credit score tool will allow us to direct our users to products they are more likely to qualify for.

What is your business model? Is it solely based on intermediation?

We focus on profitable customer acquisition online for financial products. We provide our users with the best online tools, calculators and education materials to help them make the best decision when it comes to financial products. We give Canadians the opportunity to compare thousands of rates from hundreds of providers with just a few clicks, at home.

On the flip-side, we supply leads to banks and other providers, which is especially vital to those smaller providers or new entrants who are trying to gain market share.

What is something RateHub does well to educate consumers on various financial and insurance products?

For each product line on RateHub.ca, we have robust education centres to help build the knowledge of our users around that financial product. These education centres allow Canadians to dive a little bit deeper into topics around buying, moving or refinancing a home, or to help explain the many types of credit card on the market, for example. We supplement this evergreen educational content with daily blog posts. That’s where we’ll try to answer more specific questions or address certain topics that are important to our users, as well as cover breaking news and other events that are important to our financially curious customer base. We take pride in our education centres and blog content, which is updated daily.

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Founder of Nuadox | Tech & Innovation Commentator | Digital Strategist | MTL | More about me> psiarri.xyz

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