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Tuesday, April 23rd 2019

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YVR." - Chris Myden



2019
23
March
The Amazon Visa is no more - but here's what you can replace it with

Replace the Amazon Visa with the Home Trust Preferred Visa

I know for a lot of travelers out there (myself included), the Amazon Visa was your favorite credit card to use while traveling, or making any kind of purchase in a foreign currency.

Why?

The key feature of the Amazon Visa was that it didn't charge you the 2.5% foreign exchange fee that every bank, ATM, foreign exchange kiosk, and virtually every credit card on the planet is charging you, any time you make a purchase or withdrawal in a currency other than Canadian dollars.

Even if you don't *think* you're paying this foreign exchange fee any time you purchase something while traveling, or withdraw money from an ATM, or exchange currency at a bank / kiosk, you most likely are.

Most places hide this 2.5% foreign exchange fee from you by building it into the exchange rate itself. They charge you an exchange rate that is higher/worse than the 'real' exchange rate (technically known as the spot rate).

The Amazon Visa charged you the 'real' exchange rate, without the additional 2.5% exchange fee. On top of that, it offered 1% cashback on all purchases. Paying for items this way while traveling was tough to beat with any credit card, or any other form of payment.

It was the best way to buy anything while traveling, assuming you paid your credit card bill on time.

There were better cards to use at home, because you didn't get the 2.5% advantage when buying things in Canadian dollars. But for traveling, and buying things in a foreign currency, it was always my go to card.

Chase Bank announces they are canceling the Amazon Visa and the Marriott Visa

If you were a holder of the Amazon Visa or Marriott Visa, you've probably recently received the letter announcing the demise of these cards, as of March 15th, 2018.

I've seen a lot of people wondering if there is a similar card out there. A card with no annual fee, and one that spares you from the 2.5% foreign exchange fee.

Cards without an annual fee *and* sparing you from the 2.5% foreign exchange fee are really, really rare in Canada, but there is one out there...

The Home Trust Preferred Visa

It's called the Home Trust Preferred Visa and it has the following features:

  • no annual fee
  • 0% foreign currency conversion charges
  • 1% cashback on everything you buy (no limit)
  • roadside assistance (included free)
  • car rental collision insurance (included free)
  • purchase security insurance (included free)
  • In other words, it's virtually identical to the Amazon Visa, with a few extra features (roadside assistance, rental car insurance, and purchase security insurance).

    How to apply for the Home Trust Preferred Visa

    1. Go to the Home Trust Preferred Visa Application Page

    2. Scroll down to the bottom and click on 'Start My Application'.

    Update March 2019: My experience after using the Home Trust Visa for 1 year

    Having used the Home Trust Preferred Visa for about a year now, in various countries, here is what I've found:

    - It's worked perfectly in every country I've used it, except for one time in the Cook Islands when it wouldn't process my transaction.

    On that occasion, I received an e-mail from Home Trust asking me to click on a link to verify that it was me trying to use the card. It seemed a little unorthodox, but I clicked on the link, and the card worked fine from that point on.

    - You can now (finally!) set your own PIN number.

    - There is now an option for paperless statements.

    - It's still my go-to card for any purchase while traveling, or any purchase in a foreign currency.

    Update March 2018

    - I received my Home Trust Visa card sometime in March, approximately 6 weeks after submitting the application.

    - Home Trust has been overwhelmed with applications ever since the Amazon Visa was discontinued, and current applications are taking as long as 8 weeks to process.

    A few quirks to note about the Home Trust Preferred Visa:

    - there is a maximum of 10 transactions allowed per day

    - you cannot change your PIN. If you forget it, you need to get Home Trust to issue a new card (this is apparently going to be fixed later this year).

    - it does not support 'tap' payments











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    23 Responses to "The Amazon Visa is no more - but here's what you can replace it with"


      Has Muber been here?
         Muber on February 22nd, 2018

      RIP Chase Amazon/Marriott Visa.

      I applied for the Home Trust Preferred Visa on January 17, 2018 and today (February 22, 2018) received my security PIN in the mail (which is the first sign I got that I actually got approved). So, I can confirm that it takes about a month.

      Note that there 2 other options for Canadians who travel:
      (1) The Rogers Platinum MasterCard, which doesn't waive the 2.5% foreign exchange fee but does give you 4% cashback on foreign purchases (4% - 2.5% = 1.5% effective cashback).
      (2) The Fido MasterCard, which is similar (4% cashback on foreign purchases).

      I would still recommend the Home Trust Preferred Visa though, because the only way to "cash out" your cashback rewards with the Rogers/Fido cards is to apply it to your Rogers/Fido bill, which obviously is only possible if you're a customer. Also, I prefer Visa over MasterCard because (1) Visa is slightly more ubiquitous globally and (2) Costco stores in the States only accept Visa, if that matters to you (and it should if you travel to Hawaii often!)

      Has Chris Myden been here?
         Chris Myden on February 22nd, 2018

      Thanks Muber, great info!

      Has adewade been here?
         adewade on February 23rd, 2018

      Muber - I have the Rogers FIDO Mastercard, and what you've said isn't QUITE true -- you can phone them once a year and get your cashback applied to your mastercard bill (i.e. phoning in December and having a year's worth of cashback applied to your January credit card payment). But only once a year, if you phone them. Seems like a legal thing or else they can't call it a cashback card, or something.

      I can confirm that it works.

      Has turboguy been here?
         turboguy on March 2nd, 2018

      I also submitted my Home Trust Preferred Visa application on Jan 17 (as soon as I got my notification from Amazon about their card). My card arrived 2 days ago on Feb 28. I love the roadside assistance and the rental car waiver - try finding another no fee credit card with those features! However I read that there is no tap payment option (no big deal outside of Canada), the only way to change the PIN is to get a new card number (supposed to be fixed later this year), and you can only do 10 purchases a day.

      Has karen  been here?
         karen on March 9th, 2018

      I applied the beginning of February and finally got my card last week.
      Their application is very thorough and I had to send a bill as proof of my address.
      I used it the other day and no problems.
      Waiting to see what the exchange rate will be.
      I found Amazon almost better than the going rate

      Has Justin been here?
         Justin on March 10th, 2018

      The Scotiabank Passport also has a $110 per year fee. Doing the math, I would have to spend over $5k/year while traveling just to start to break even with the free Home Trust card.

      And even then, I'm not sure at that point if using the Passport card would be better, depending on how the extra 1% cashback with the Home Trust compares against Scotia Reward Points.

      Has Jay been here?
         Jay on March 10th, 2018

      Justin, you are referring to the regular Scotiabank Passport, not the Infinite version.

      Has Justin been here?
         Justin on March 10th, 2018

      Ah thanks Jay, it looks like the Infinite version might not be released yet. I found some info that stated it might have a $139 fee when it's announced, but also saw some other info that said it might be free. I'm guessing maybe waived for the first year.

      Has Jay been here?
         Jay on March 11th, 2018

      Justin, application is available at

      http://www.scotiabank.com/ca/en/personal/credit-cards/visa/passport-infinite-card.html

      Has Ben been here?
         Ben on March 14th, 2018

      I can confirm the PIN can't be changed yet.

      Has Mark Landmann been here?
         Mark Landmann on March 14th, 2018

      I ended up getting both the Home Trust and Fido cards. But I guess the Fido card is better. They're equivalent, except Fido is 1.5% cash back,not 1%. They charge the 2.5% foreign currency fee but then give 4% cash back on foreign currency transactions. You have to remember to phone them 1x per year but it can be anytime. I already phoned them last month for my Jan 2019 statement credit. Plus, the lack of "tap" on the Home Trust I find annoying.

      All things being equal, I use it as my main card, so why not get an extra 0.5% cash back?

      Has SB been here?
         SB on March 14th, 2018

      According to Rogers Bank website, they are dropping the cash back on both the Fido and Rogers MC to 3% for Foreign Transactions. Also still waiting for my Hometrust Card!

      Has Frank N been here?
         Frank N on March 26th, 2018

      Home Trust told me last week that, because of the volume of applications they had received from Amazon card holders, it will take another 8 weeks before they can say whether my application is approved.

      Has JK been here?
         JK on January 10th, 2019

      The home Trust Visa does not have the foreign exchange fee of 2.5% but do appear to have a little built into their exchange rate. I purchased something for that the exchange rate websites said would be $104.815 and checked online a few minutes later after buying and it came out on my statement as $105.03 so looks like 0.2% added on

      Has Chris Myden been here?
         Chris Myden on January 18th, 2019

      JK: Thanks for the info. I have seen a few articles and blog posts over the years that suggest that Visa's base exchange rate is a little bit worse than Mastercard's.

      The difference is pretty tiny, but if you Google 'mastercard vs visa exchange rate' you can find some articles with evidence to back it up.

      Has Shaker  been here?
         Shaker on February 1st, 2019

      Tangerine doesn't charge on any of its worldwide ATMs

      Has Chris_Myden been here?
         Chris_Myden on February 1st, 2019

      Shaker: Yep, but you do still pay the hidden 2.5% fee (inflated exchange rate). Better than other ATM fees though, where you pay both the hidden fee and the additional obvious fee.

      Has Lynne Greenwood been here?
         Lynne Greenwood on February 1st, 2019

      One more quirk of the Home Trust Visa. The 10 transactions don't work on weekends as they have to clear the bank before the next 10 are allowed. Or so i was told when my card was stopped on a Sunday. So if you are traveling on a Saturday and need to use it Sunday, count your transactions. Wddon't use it for small items on weekends. Other than that it's been a great card. Have had it for over a year with no issues.

      Has Il tasso been here?
         Il tasso on February 1st, 2019

      I applied for and received the Home card on your recommendation for travel abroad. They have been nothing short of EXCELLENT! AND i was able to change my password over the phone before I left.

      Has Radtel been here?
         Radtel on March 20th, 2019

      I have been using Brim's free card for about a year. It works great in all European countries that I have visited.

      Has Tony WIllis been here?
         Tony WIllis on March 20th, 2019

      You can now change the PIN number on a Home Trust Visa to a number that means something to you personally.

      Has K-Hi been here?
         K-Hi on March 20th, 2019

      Applied for, was approved for, and received the card for myself and my wife within one month. Changed the PIN over the phone, and it was confirmed with my first PIN-required transaction (at the liquor store :-). They also have a rudimentary website that allows to track transactions and receive notices and alerts by email. All great so far!

      Has Bobby G been here?
         Bobby G on April 11th, 2019

      Brim is better.

      Free Boingo account.

      They just gave a year of Amazon Prime to card holders.

      I used it in Mexico recently by loading the card with money and then taking cash advances. Worked perfectly (Brim does ding you $5 for the transaction though regardless of the amount)

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