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:
- Pay for international online shopping.
- Pay for Pag-IBIG contribution online.
- Collect cash back.
- Use as main credit card in travelling.
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.
- Canadian Kilometers
- Money We Have – has lots of feedback from readers
- Prince of Travel
- Travel with Kevin and Ruth
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Call HomeTrust if you lose the card. It will be replaced within 48 hours.
- 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.
- 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?