Helping the Masses

Kelvin Mangaroo, president.

Giving power back to the consumer, with Kelvin Mangaroo, president of RateSupermarket.ca

While searching for a home mortgage in Great Britain, Kelvin Mangaroo discovered what would become his winning business concept. “I saw all of these websites that allowed you to compare mortgage quotes and rates,” he says. “In effect, they gave consumers the power to select the best deal for them. I thought it would be great to bring this concept home to Canada, and RateSupermarket.ca was born.”

Today, RateSupermarket.ca has become one of Canada’s leading online firms connecting consumers to multiple providers of insurance, mortgages, credit cards, loans, and financial services. Advantage caught up with Mangaroo about his formula for success and future plans for his firm.

Advantage: How did you acquire the resources for starting RateSupermarket.ca?
Kelvin Mangaroo: In 2006, I started a business while I was living in the United Kingdom, focusing on the auto industry. Unfortunately, my timing was off—the automobile industry and global economy went into crisis—and it failed. I used my last few dollars to start RateSupermarket.ca. I wrote a business plan, tested the market, and found investors. Fortunately, the Canadian economy wasn’t experiencing the same economic turmoil as the rest of the world when we launched, in 2008.

How does RateSupermarket.ca work?
We demystify confusing personal finance products and enable Canadians to compare the market. Consumers can easily and quickly see how various financial institutions stack up against each other in terms of rate and product details. Afterwards, they choose the best offer, and we put them in touch with the provider.

Why do these providers choose to work with you as opposed to similar websites?
Over the past four years, we’ve developed a huge online presence and have proven we can drive targeted, new customers to our partners. Our providers are among the best in their industries—banks, credit unions, and brokers. They participate with us because we provide one of the best platforms for getting their hottest rates and most competitive consumer offers to the public. Our reach and coverage strongly benefits their marketing and advertising goals. This is even more evident in our partnerships with Post Media and AOL. We can now be accessed through websites for such leading publications as the Financial Post and the Ottawa Citizen. If a provider isn’t on our site, they are missing out on a prime business opportunity.

What are the advantages to consumers in going virtual with RateSupermarket.ca?
Convenience and accessibility are the two biggest reasons for comparing financial products online with RateSupermarket.ca. Within minutes, consumers can acquire the information they need—comparing different policies and offers from a large number of companies—to make an educated, informed decision about the financial product that is best suited for them. Even the application process is simple and fast. With just a few mouse clicks, many consumers can apply for products online and hear back from company representatives just as quickly.

How do you ensure that consumers are, indeed, making the right financial product choice?
One way we help consumers, which also sets us apart from the competition, is our educational content. Through our website, it is possible to review articles, fact sheets, calculators, and other vital information that keep consumers up-to-date on the latest trends in personal finance. This provides them with the most current knowledge for making the best decisions possible among financial products. For example, through our RateAlert service, consumers can even be immediately alerted to interest-rate changes.

How important is customer service to your business strategy?
It is vital. When dealing with people’s money, quality service is expected. We frequently follow up with consumers to see if they are satisfied with our service. Key to satisfaction is quick and efficient customer service. For instance, it is not uncommon for applicants to hear back within a minutes from provider representatives about financial products.

Speaking of growth, where do you see RateSupermarket.ca heading within the next few years?
Our goal is to make RateSupermarket.ca into Canada’s leading money-saving brand for financial products. We’re doing this in many ways. Recently, we expanded our product lines to include banking, investing, and loans—a higher interest rate on your TFSA, or a lower rate on your debt. All help to realize savings. We’re also encouraging providers to increase their offerings of products that save customers money. And by increasing our educational content, we further empower consumers. Since our start, we’ve helped millions of people while realizing triple-digit growth in both website traffic and revenues. We’re looking forward to continuing this forward momentum in the years ahead.