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Tuesday, October 16th 2018

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YVR." - 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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    19 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 Ann been here?
         Ann on March 6th, 2018

      I also applied for the Home Trust card as soon as I got my notification from Amazon on January 19. As of today, March 6, I still have not received the Home Trust card I applied for.

      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 Anonymous been here?
         Anonymous on March 10th, 2018

      The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite (no fx as well) is the card to get. The Home Trust Preferred Visa is a inferior card.

      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 Dave T been here?
         Dave T on March 12th, 2018

      Applied Jan.25th, received an email my application is processed on Feb.3rd. As of March 12th no further information. So I have been waiting so far 6 weeks and counting.

      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 JB been here?
         JB on March 14th, 2018

      The 4% cashback cards are NOT the same as a no foreign transaction fee card. You won’t get 4% back when you withdraw foreign cash from an ATM with a cashback card — but you will save 2.5% on the exchange rate when you withdraw cash from a foreign ATM with a no foreign transaction fee card

      My tips — in many countries, you can save the ATM fees associated with a cash advance (I think they’re 1.5% with a $5 minimum on my new HomeTrust card) by going into the bank and doing a cash advance with a teller. And pre-pay whatever you’re going pull as s cash advance on your trip to avoid any interest fees (which start immediately on a cash advance).

      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 Mark Landmann been here?
         Mark Landmann on March 15th, 2018

      Aaaargh, SB, you're right - I just went to check that out. They've changed the terms of the Fido/Rogers cards already, starting in May. What a bummer. 1.25% cash back now instead of 1.5%. 3% on foreign currency transactions, so that means there's still a 0.75% foreign currency transaction fee on the card.

      Annoying. But I guess it's still worth considering. Home Sense is 1% cash back, Fido/Rogers is 1.25%. Maybe having both is good.

      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 Groovyiscool been here?
         Groovyiscool on March 29th, 2018

      I applied mid February. Called on Monday and mine is sitting with the decision maker. I was told they are now ate 8 weeks mark to approve. They were overwhelmed with applications, and are a small company, they now have resources to move the backlog. 40,000 applications in a few months vs that number in a year is what they received.

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