Back in 2018, Chase pulled out of Canada. This was significant as at the time, Chase had some of the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards in Canada. The Home Trust Preferred Visa quickly became the preferred choice for Canadians who were looking to minimize their fees when making purchases in a foreign currency as it had no annual fee.
In case you didn’t know, most credit cards in Canada charge a fee of 2.5% when you make any purchase that’s not in Canadian dollars. The Home Trust Preferred Visa does not charge that fee at all so you’re always getting the lowest rate possible for your purchase. Plus, you earn 1% cash back on all your Home Trust Preferred Visa so you’re coming out ahead.
Of course, since 2008, there have been more than a dozen no foreign transaction credit cards that have come to the market, so many people wonder if the Home Trust Visa is any good. In my Home Trust Preferred Visa review, I’ll go over the pros and cons of the card, and why it may be the right fit for you.
Home Trust Preferred Visa benefits
- No annual fee
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1% cash back with no limits
- Roadside assist membership
- Visa Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance
- Purchase protection
That’s right, this card has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and it comes with a cash back earn of 1%. Some people may think that’s not very generous, but this is a no fee card, what more do you want? Since there’s no annual fee, you can leave it in your desk and only take out when you’re travelling or making an online purchase in a foreign currency.
The free roadside assist membership is also well worth it since it comes with four free service calls per year within North America. You also get free tows up to five kilometers, 5-litre gas delivery, tire change service, battery boost assistance, and vehicle lock-out service. All of this is available 24/7 so you can feel safe while driving as long as you have the Home Trust Preferred Visa. For reference, this kind of service would probably cost you about $80 a year.
If you rent a car and pay with your Home Trust Visa, you’re covered by the included Visa auto rental collision/loss damage insurance. You’ll be covered up to 48 days of consecutive travel for vehicles that have a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of no more than $65,000. Note that the entire cost of the rental car must be charged to your Home Trust Preferred Visa for the insurance to be valid. You must also decline any insurance that the car rental agency offers you.
When the card was first introduced, you could not go paperless or change your assigned PIN but that has now been changed. Going paperless is just a setting in your account, but if you want to change your PIN, you need to call 1-833-217-8090. Once it’s changed and you go use your card, you’ll still need to use your old PIN the first time, but all subsequent transactions will use your new PIN.
If you want a no foreign transaction credit card with no annual fee, the Home Trust Preferred Visa is an excellent choice
Home Trust Preferred Visa cons
- 10 transactions per day limit
- Not available to residents of Quebec
- Limited customer service hours
- $12 fee for accounts with no activity in a 12-month period
Although it’s likely not a big deal, the Home Trust Preferred Visa has a daily transaction limit of 10. I think this is a bit low as if you’re travelling, you could easily exceed that limit on any given day just from regular spending. Home Trust says this limit is in place for security reasons, but I don’t think any other credit card providers have this limit in place so I’m not sure why Home Trust does.
Customer service hours are Monday – Friday from 8am – 8pm EST which I find ridiculous. This card is popular with travellers so imagine someone trying to call in when they need immediate assistance while abroad in a different time zone; this would be a nightmare. What if your card was compromised or it wasn’t working? You’re supposed to wait until customer service opens? Those hours waiting can be pure chaos for people on the road.
When CHASE closed their accounts, many people instantly applied for the Home Trust Preferred Visa and approved applications have been an absolute crawl. That said, it seems clear now that Home Trust is now able to handle the application process in a timely manner. They’ve also staffed up their customer service so it shouldn’t be too hard to reach someone as long as you do it within their open hours.
While it may be tempting to apply for this card just to have it as a back up, they will charge you a $12 fee if there’s no account activity in a 12 month period. You can get around this by making a single purchase, but if you’re using a different no fee card regularly, you may want to drop this card.
Finally, the Home Trust Preferred Visa is not available to residents of Quebec which will definitely disappoint many people.
How the Home Trust Preferred Visa compares to others
Comparing the Home Trust Preferred Visa to the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards in Canada really depends on what you’re looking for. The Rogers World Elite Mastercard is the closest comparison as it has no annual fee and gives you 3% cash back on purchases made in U.S. dollars. This effectively gives you a 0.5% return but it only applies to U.S. dollar purchases The Home Trust Preferred Visa has no foreign transaction fees at all.
The Rogers World Elite Mastercard now requires you to spend $15,000 annually or your card will be downgraded. I used to favour the Rogers card, but with its recent changes, I recommend the Home Trust Preferred Visa instead.
One card I like that has no forex fees and no annual fee is the STACK Mastercard. STACK is a prepaid credit card where you don’t earn any cash back, but their no forex fees also apply to ATM withdrawals which is handy if you need cash. I should mention that the ATM you use may still charge a one time fee, but STACK won’t charge you anything extra. Of course, the downside is that you need to preload this card with funds for you to be able to access it.
Another credit card I like that has no foreign transaction fees is the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card. Although it has an annual fee of $139, you get a Priority Pass membership with six free annual passes and a pretty comprehensive travel insurance package. In my opinion, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card is perfect for people who want an all-in-one travel credit card. There is a minimum income requirement of $60,000 for you to get the card, but it also comes with 25,000 Scotia Rewards points as a sign up bonus which has a value of $250.
Although it’s not one of the best travel credit cards in Canada, my Home Trust Preferred Visa review is positive. Some people will say that this card is not as good compared to other credit cards without foreign transaction fees, but if you want something with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, then this is a perfectly fine card to get.