Home Trust Preferred Visa Card is Not What I Expected

Like many other afternoon, I thought of spending a few minutes on Reddit, a way for me to justify that I’m still being productive chiming in on topics about finance.

Then I was startled to read that Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card was shutting down. It was my first credit card that gives while I spend. But there’s more to it than getting points and I need to find a new credit card fast.

The goal is to look for a credit card with the following criteria:

  • No annual fee
  • Earn cash back (I don’t mind the percentage)
  • No foreign transaction fee (this is the biggie)

It’s hard to find a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fee and with no annual fee. An alternative in mind is Rogers Platinum Mastercard. Though it charges foreign transaction fee, you also earn cash back at the same time. So you basically don’t pay anything and still gain a bit through cash back.

What will I use it for:

The Solution: Home Trust Preferred Visa Card

The thread on Reddit led me to Home Trust which I haven’t heard before. I was ecstatic that it is also a Visa credit card just like the Amazon.ca Rewards Visa. Most of the credit cards in Canada are Mastercards. I don’t know much of the difference but it’s good to have back up especially while travelling.

What Others are Saying About Home Trust Preferred Visa Card

The reviews of Personal Finance Bloggers in Canada about Home Trust are enough for me to decide to give it a go. And I don’t have much choice because Home Trust is the only card that fits my criteria.

I’m not going into details of what Home Trust is since the other PF bloggers have made amazing post about it.

My goal is to write about my experience in using the card for a few months, so you can decide if Home Trust Preferred Visa is the right choice whether you are looking for a card that has no foreign conversion fee.

Save yourself from “If only I have known . . . I would or wouldn’t have applied for Home Trust credit card.”

Let’s start from the beginning . . . of a long wait

Review: Home Trust Preferred Visa Card

The Only Way to Apply: Online

I applied online which was quite fast, but unusual since I didn’t get a confirmation right away on my email about my application.

It took days before I receive a response from Home Trust that my application is being processed. What  a relief. Better late than never. Then came the long wait. It turns out I wasn’t the only one waiting.

A month later, I finally received an email that I should submit more requirements:

  • Bank statement
  • ID eg. driver’s licence

With the additional requirements and long wait (again), I highly expected to be approved.

The Result: I was approved with a high credit limit. Still I intend to keep a utilization rate of 20% of the credit limit.

A week after I’ve been approved, I received the card and activated it immediately.

The next thing to do is to create an online account. This is when the interesting part began and might convince you or not to apply for Home Trust Preferred Visa card.

What I Don’t Like

This is the part that I wish I would have known before I apply for a Home Trust credit card. I was annoyed and somehow amazed that these advantages still exist on the age of Internet and online banking.

  • You cannot change the address online.
  • You cannot opt out of statement send through mail.
  • You cannot change the PIN (for real?).
  • You cannot download an APP.
  • No PayPass (sorry no tapping).
  • No sign up bonus.

The huge disadvantage is not being able to change the PIN. Maybe you could if you forget it and have to call the customer service.

Similarly, you have to call to update your address. It is like Amazon Visa because I amassed a lot of paper statements. There are more coming from Home Trust. Not looking forward to it.

What I Like

These pros are more like a bonus in having the Visa credit card. In situations that I can avail any of these services, I’ll gladly do so and hope that it wouldn’t be as tedious process as applying for the card.

  • Change the PIN.
  • You can opt out of statement send through mail: Log in > Statement > Statement Delivery Options > Electronic.
  • Guaranteed hotel reservations.
  • Visa Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance program.
  • Extra online security through Verified by Visa (pops up when shopping online).
  • With every purchase, you get 1% cash back. The total balance will be credited to you in January.
  • Emergency roadside assistance: 4 times a year, 24/7 in North America. Included service: free 5L gas delivery, tire service, winching, battery boost, and lost key lockout assistance.

More features  can be learned by reading the bunch of papers that came with the card. But I guess, with what you find out so far, you can decide whether it is the right card or not. No need to read the fine print but why not if you fancy to do so.

How to Change the PIN

I’ve been waiting for this. It’s a long wait but; finally, I received an email on how to change the PIN of Home Trust Preferred Visa.

Step 1: Call at 1-833-263-2828. Follow the steps to select a new four-digit PIN.
Step 2: At your next purchase, use the original PIN mailed to you.

The new PIN will activate after the first transaction.

How to Use HomeTrust in Travelling Abroad

I learned all these tips when I used HomeTrust for the first time in the Philippines.

  1. Call to notify HomeTrust before leaving Canada. Tell all the countries you are visiting (even the stopover or in transit) in case you use the card at the airport.
  2. Don’t enter the wrong PIN twice. If you do, you have to wait for midnight to be able to use the card again. This time, use the right PIN to avoid the card being block.
  3. Call HomeTrust if you lose the card. It will be replaced within 48 hours.
  4. Use the international collect number when calling from overseas. Don’t use your Canadian phone number to avoid any call charges. Instead, use the local number.
  5. Bring a backup credit card if you plan to frequently use your credit card. HomeTrust Visa has a limit of 10 transactions per day when using overseas. Beyond that, you wouldn’t be able to use the card until the following day.

During my vacation, I didn’t encounter any problem in using the card. Although no. 5 tip is a deal breaker, I never had the urge to use my card more than five times a day.

I stick with cash as much as possible.

It’s only in Canada that I would use credit card in any transaction if possible (except in paying car and life insurance).

Should You Apply for a New Card

If you are willing to put up with the long process and some drawbacks for a card that offers no foreign conversion fee and no annual fee, then go ahead.

Otherwise, consider Rogers Platinum or Fido Mastercard.

As for me, I’ll use it for now and take advantage of the benefits as much as I can while waiting for a better credit card. With the increase number of applicants the service could improve over time.

Do you have Home Trust Preferred Visa card? What other credit card with no foreign transaction fee can you recommend?

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About Pwede Padala Gal

Pwede Padala Gal loves to share tips on how to save in Canada and the Philippines. Someday she'll finally teach her Aspin at least one dog trick and keep a cactus alive. Chat with her on Facebook and reddit.


  1. When I called Home Trust to share my upcoming travel plans, Home Trust shared that the limit of 10 transactions per day is in general for all of their cards, not just when overseas.

  2. What is the latest ETA on this card? They say on their website that “Should your application be approved, you will be notified by email within 2-4 weeks”. But I haven’t received any communication from them yet.

  3. I got a Home Trust Preferred Visa card last year to use primarily travel but, during two trips to the US, had some bad experiences with it.

    It worked in some places (e.g. Costco gas station) but it was declined at restaurants and grocery stores in Maui before Christmas, and in the last few days at a grocery store in Palm Springs.

    Speaking to Home Trust customer support (multiple times), they confirmed that the card was flagged for travel, and they weren’t seeing any transaction denied messages on the account.

    Just a word of warning.

    • Pwede Padala Gal says

      Thanks for the heads-up Geoff. I’ll use it when I travel to Asia just to test how reliable it is. But I’ll also bring a backup credit card and cash in case I experience the same issues. I’ll call Home Trust before the trip to make sure I’ll have no problem. I checked online if I could inform them that I’ll be travelling but this feature isn’t available unlike on my Rogers Platinum Mastercard account.

  4. “You cannot change the PIN (for real?)” Now you can (for real!!!) Call 1-833-217-8090. Once PIN is changed you have to insert card at an ATM/terminal. Enter OLD PIN at first prompt then use NEW PIN on subsequent transactions.

  5. Some misinformation above. Yes you save the usual 2.5% bank markup on foreign currency conversion and yes you get 1% cash back on those purchases as well. So you are really gaining 3.5% over most credit cards.

  6. You can now opt for electronic delivery!

  7. Elio Cozzi says

    I use my Home Trust Preferred VISA card for foreign transactions primarily. It saves me some money but the claim of no foreign transaction fee is misleading. They charge no foreign transaction fee above the ‘Visa exchange rate’ which includes a hidden fee of almost 1% over the true exchange rate. So the savings is closer to 1.5%, not the assumed 2.5% indicated in some posts.

    • Pwede Padala Gal says

      Hi Elio. Could you share to us how to find out the transaction fee and the discrepancy?

      • Elio Cozzi says

        The Home Trust Preferred Visa Disclosure Statement indicates that ‘purchases or cash advances in a foreign currency will be converted into Canadian dollars at the exchange rate set by Visa International in effect on the day the transaction is posted to your account, plus a 0% currency conversion charge’. You can google the Visa International exchange rate to find out more about it. The following web site indicates that the Visa International rate has averaged 0.87% above the posted spot exchange rate that you see in the Globe and Mail financial section or other business paper. So this means the true foreign exchange premium for most Visa credit cards is closer to 3.5%.


        Still a better deal to use the Home Trust Visa but it’s somewhat misleading to indicate there is no fee.

      • Pwede Padala Gal says

        Elio thanks for giving more information. In the article of GreedyRates.com the Rogers Mastercard is recommended which I also have. I might use that as a backup and HT as my go-to credit card for travelling outside Canada. I’m keeping these two cards for now because of the cashback and no annual fee features. But I’ll be on the look out if better options come across my radar. 🙂

      • I agree that the saving is closer to 1.5% but still a pretty darn good rate compared to other CC.
        My primary CC is the Capital One Aspire Travel which I’m dreading when they announce its cancellation but the moment I travel overseas or do some online shopping, then my go to card is the HT (still prefer the Amazon card more though, RIP 🙁 )
        Not 100% accurate anymore but top of my head, when I bought something for 45 US$, a quick google rate check would give it an equivalent of ~58 CAD$ and usually the HT rate is on-par to it and sometimes even lower.
        My C1 rate and even paypal would then be 60 CAD$+

      • Pwede Padala Gal says

        Same here Earl. I’ll use HT for overseas transactions. What I don’t like about it is that it takes ages for the transaction to reflect on my online account. Even if it has no tap feature for quick payment which can also be a good thing, I’ll keep it for now. PayPal has increased its charge when I transfer money to a person that’s why I hardly use it. It’s my habit now to almost always responsibly pay with credit card.

      • Elio, to avoid this, simply have currency converted to CAD at time of purchase. Look up the Home Trust Visa Preferred forum on redflagdeals for a detailed explanation.

    • The two big credit card companies charge the 1% fee over the “Globe & Mail posted rates” on ALL of their cards, then the banks in Canada usually tack on 2.5% on top of this. Home Trust does not. So, yes, the HT card is accurately described as a no foreign currency conversion fee card.

  8. Pwede Padala Gal says

    Arrogance and obscenity are not tolerated in this blog. We all have opinions. Some worth sharing; others better left unsaid.

  9. I ended up going to Rogers because they removed the yearly fee but decreased the overall cash back. The foreign cash back is 4% still but washes out to 0’probably…
    At any rate, I think they’re fine. Not amazing but good enough. I’m also doing a trial of MBNA platinum because they charge a fee but give 2%.

    • Pwede Padala Gal says

      Rogers is also a great deal although the rates will change (lower) on May 23, 2018. (Already updated the post about Rogers Mastercard.) So the 4% cash back will become 3% but it has no annual fee since March 13. Still not a bad choice. Interestingly, I just found out that the MBNA cards are products of TD. Would love to know how MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus will fair compare to other reward cards.

Reminder: For clarity, don't use shortened words similar to text messages. Let's have a better communication. (And oh, comments will be edited or deleted.)

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