Archive for August, 2009

The Fastest Way to Lookup Multiple Historical CAD to USD Rates

Friday, August 21st, 2009

At Perceptus, we deal with the Canadian Dollar to US Dollar exchange rate a lot.  Doesn’t every small business in Canada? We need to convert our US revenues to Canadian CAD amounts for tax purposes, among other things.

We used to use the common websites like or to get our historical exchange rates.  But those sites are too slow if you need to look up a half a dozen exchange rates from the past.  It takes several clicks to retrieve a single exchange rate for a date in the past.

So, I went looking for something better to use.  In fact, I was prepared to create a new tool for looking up historical Canada to USA exchange rates on the Web Tools by Perceptus site if I couldn’t find a satisfactory alternative.

Unfortunately for, I did find a reasonably good way to get a lot of old exchange rates in an efficient way.  The IMF website, of all places, has a great custom table generator.

Here’s the link: Http://

However, this link (until it breaks, anyway) will take you directly to every CAD to USD rate in the last 365 days in a nice and tidy table.  Just generate the table, and look up the rate you need for the date you need.


Canadian Provinces and their Capitals Bingo template

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

It’s sad.

We’re a Canadian company, yet our first template word list for was the American State Names. It’s just a fact of life, we always knew that the vast majority of our customers would be from the USA.

Anyway, it’s taken us three or four years to finally put together a template word list to easily create a bingo game with Canadian Provinces and Territories, and their Capitals.

As ever, basic use of is free; however, you get more features if you upgrade for $10.

Easy Online Credit Card Donations for Canadian Charities

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

A couple months ago, Ed at Plum mentioned to me.  He was researching payment taking options for one of the charities that he works with.

CanadaHelps is a great site that makes it easy for small charities to take credit card donations.   Just this week my sister was looking for a way for a registered charity for which she volunteers to take credit card payments, and this was my best suggestion.

From their own about page: “CanadaHelps, a public charitable foundation (896568417RR0001), is Canada’s only donation portal that provides access to all of Canada’s 80,000 charities, from national organizations like national cancer charities to smaller groups like local animal shelters and soup kitchens. ”

They’ve taken the publicly available list of all Canadian registered charities and pre-populated their website.   Every charity has a generic landing page with the basic information from the CRA, such as name, address, phone number, etc.  A charity can create a login to customize their information to further detail.

All that CanadaHelps takes for accepting a credit card donation and forwarding it to the charity is 3-4% off the top, this is inclusive of all the credit card company fees (e.g. Visa and MasterCard).  All-in-all it’s great for the charity because of costs and ease of use.

Taking credit card payments is not easy, nor free.  For example, our web based revenues from and are on the margins for where it would justify the effort and cost of getting a merchant account.  Thus, we still use a PayPal account.  We would be lucky to setup a  merchant account with someone like Moneris for less than $50/month, and the discount rate would only be slightly better than we get at PayPal’s – we probably would not get much below 3% as a discount rate. Plus, we would have to spend hours writing our own payment pages.  We keep putting it off.

For a charity with limited time resources and modest expectations of taking donations by credit card, I highly recommend looking into