The STACK Mastercard is relatively new to Canadians, but let me assure you, it’s one of the best cards to enter the market in the last few years. First off, the STACK Mastercard is not a credit card, it’s actually a prepaid Mastercard. You load your funds via e-Transfer, or Visa Debit and then you can only spend what you have available.
What makes the STACK card really appealing is that it has no foreign transaction fees. To simply put it, there is no cheaper way to get cash in a foreign country. Sure, you can use a credit card without foreign transaction fees to pay for most of your purchases, but STACK would be a complement to your credit card since it allows you to withdraw cash from ATMs with no fees. Keep reading my STACK Mastercard review to find out why this card will appeal to people who love to travel and the general public.
STACK Mastercard benefits
- No annual fee
- $5 free when you sign up with my referral link
- No foreign transaction fees
- No ATM fees (ATM provider may charge a fee)
- Discounts at a variety of merchants
- Access to exclusive experiences
- Real-time notifications
- Spending analysis
- Automated savings plan
- CDIC insured
At first glance, the STACK Mastercard doesn’t come with a lot of benefits, but that’s because you’re probably comparing it to one of the best travel credit cards in Canada. As mentioned, the STACK card is not a credit card, it’s a prepaid option that lets you manage your money better. Keep in mind that prepaid credit cards don’t help you build your credit score. Don’t worry if you’re a resident of Quebec, STACK is available to you.
If you sign up to STACK with my referral link, you’ll get $5 when you activate your card. Note that you must click this link via your mobile device for it to work.
People choose the STACK card over a debit or credit card for the following reasons. With debit, many of the big banks will charge you a monthly fee for your bank account unless you keep a high minimum balance within that account and you don’t get any rewards. Credit cards offer some great rewards, but the best cards have a high annual fee and minimum income requirement. STACK charges you no fees at all and it gives you rewards so it’s like a hybrid option.
Since STACK is a Mastercard, you can use it anywhere Mastercard is accepted which obviously includes most online merchants.
What’s also interesting about the STACK Mastercard is how it encourages you to save. With every purchase, you can round up to the next $1, $2, $5 or $10 and put it towards your savings goals. Within the app, you’ll see your weekly spending habits so you’ll know where your money is going. STACK basically wants you to own your weekly spending, so you won’t have any issues mastering your monthly or annual budget.
As for the rewards, the STACK card doesn’t use a cash back system as many other credit cards do. Instead, they offer curated rewards which are often more valuable. For example, one of the early rewards was a yearly membership to Amazon Prime which has a value of $79. I also saw a promotion with Foodora where you would get $15 off your first purchase, that could be a 20%, 30%, or even 50% return depending on what you ordered.
Although STACK is partnered with Peoples Trust who is a Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) member, it should be noted that funds loaded onto your card are not insured by CDIC. To protect yourself, you may only want to load funds as you need them.
No foreign transaction fees
As an avid traveller, I’m always looking to save money. I usually use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, but obviously, there would be times where I needed cash. In the past, I would always just use a local ATM and just pay the 2.5% fee. This wasn’t a big deal, but in recent years, many banks have upped their fees to 3.5% and then I had to consider the fee my bank charged to use a foreign ATM as well what the ATM provider charged as a one-time fee. As you can imagine, these fees started to add up.
With the STACK Mastercard, you pay the Mastercard mid-market rate when you withdraw money, plus any fee that the ATM provider may charge. You obviously need to make sure you have money on your card before you can make a withdrawal, but there’s really no cheaper way to get the local currency when you’re travelling. Seriously, your bank at home and foreign exchange offices will always charge more which is why I think you need to get STACK before you travel.
With STACK, there’s a $500 limit per single ATM transaction and a daily limit of $1,ooo. You also need to consider the monthly cumulative ATM withdrawal amount o $2,000 if you plan on using this card for extensive travels.
STACK is the first Canadian FinTech to provide nationwide Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) insurance for all accounts. This is interesting because CDIC is usually associated with just bank accounts, not credit cards.
Technically speaking, STACK is a bank account since you’re depositing money and then spending it with your card. In case you’re not familiar with CDIC, it gives you $100,000 in deposit insurance per eligible account. In the rare event that STACK (or any CDIC member) fails, your eligible deposits would be returned to you within a few days.
How the STACK Mastercard compares to others
STACK is pretty unique so there aren’t many comparables. As mentioned, you could use your regular debit card, but you would be hit with that 2.5%-3.5% foreign ATM fee and possibly additional ATM fees.
You could compare the STACK card to say the CIBC AC Conversion Card. That card allows you to load funds in 10 different currencies. The rates are competitive, but CIBC still adds a bit of markup. With any non-supported currency, the usual 2.5% fee would apply. CIBC also charges $3.50 – $5 per withdrawal, so even this card adds a lot of fees over time.
There’s also KOHO which is another prepaid card who charges a reasonable 1.5% foreign transaction fee, but clearly, the STACK Mastercard is the better deal since it charges you no foreign transaction fees. In case you’re curious, here’s how STACK compares to KOHO.
My STACK Mastercard review is clearly positive. If you ever travel outside of Canada, you need to have this card. Since it’s a prepaid card, your credit score doesn’t take a hit when you apply. Use my referral link now and get $5 when you activate your card. Note that you must click this link via your mobile device for it to work.