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Tuesday, December 18th 2018

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



2018
1
February
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 Mar 31, 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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    12 Responses to "The Amazon Visa is no more - but here's what you can replace it with"


      Has Edirol been here?
         Edirol on January 29th, 2018

      How is this compared to the Rogers MasterCard?

      Has Kevin been here?
         Kevin on February 25th, 2018

      I got this card last summer and love using this while traveling. But I’ll be honest in saying that I don’t trust they will keep this around. The tangerine MasterCard jumped from 1.5 to 2.5% last year (as well as lowering the cash back from 1 to .5%). All the other cards with no transaction fees are being cancelled. I just don’t see this company keeping the 0% foreign transaction fee.

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

      This is a great post. I spent a month in Australia this past fall and couldn't find anything even with a "reduced" fee (anything under 2.5%). However, my Scotia Momentum Visa was great. It gives 4% cash back on groceries and gas, and every place we got gas and groceries in Australia the cash back worked. So we were actually getting 1.5% cash back on the majority of our purchases while there. Not sure if it would work in a lot of countries aside from UK, USA, AUS, NZ, but it's worht looking into. Getting dinged with the 2.5% fee on every purchase aside from gas/groceries still really sucks though.

      Has Linda T been here?
         Linda T on March 16th, 2018

      Any update on this?? The alternative I was thinking was also the Rogers MasterCard.

      Has Sandra been here?
         Sandra on March 16th, 2018

      Some things to watch out for with the Rogers / Fido cards:

      - The only convenient way to cash out your 'cash back' rewards is to apply them to your Rogers / Fido bills. However, once a year, you can call and have them apply the cash back to your Mastercard.

      - Rogers/Fido are dropping the cash back on Foreign transactions down to 3%, starting in May.

      Has Abcd been here?
         Abcd on March 16th, 2018

      The Rogers and Fido mastercards essentially offer no forex fees. They still charge the 2.5% but then you get 3% cash back on the transaction so the net is in your favour. You also get 1.25% cash back on everything else. (Note that it used to be 4% cash back on forex and 1.5%-1.75% cash back on all else, but they changed it effective May 23, 2018)

      Has Abcd been here?
         Abcd on March 16th, 2018

      As Sandra mentioned, be sure to have the cash back applied to your MasterCard once a year if you don’t have a Rogers/Fido plan. It is bizarre that I have a Fido card but have never used Fido in my life.

      Has Kimberly been here?
         Kimberly on March 17th, 2018

      LauraH I applied around the same time, and received mine a few days ago.

      Has LauraH been here?
         LauraH on March 19th, 2018

      Kimberly that's good to know. There may be hope yet:-)

      Has Pat been here?
         Pat on March 20th, 2018

      Scotiabank just released a new credit card with no foreign transaction fee. It’s a visa infinite card with full travel insurances and 6 free lounge passes. I feel like it’d be a great card for most followers.

      Has Ashton S been here?
         Ashton S on March 20th, 2018

      I received my card a few weeks back. They took about two weeks to get back to me after I applied, but I got the card soon after I was approved. While I don't have much experience with it, I feel their customer service may be lacking. However, if its like my Amazon card, I probably wont need to contact customer service much. Hopefully, this one sticks around or I will have to start carrying cash. Lol!

      Has Ed been here?
         Ed on April 1st, 2018

      I applied mid-February and got a note mid-March saying my card had been approved. Still haven't gotten the card itself.

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