Not all credit cards focus all their value on the places where you would usually look, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t worth looking at. This Desjardins Elegance Gold Visa Card review is here to shed some light on what this atypical card really has to offer.
Enjoy a great package of extras with one of the most benefits-heavy entry-level credit cards available in Canada.
|You Are Interested If||You want a credit card primarily for the benefits but don’t have the credit score or income to get the premium cards out there.|
|Brief Description||The Desjardins Elegance Gold Visa Card is a basic card that provides middling rewards but surprisingly high-quality extras.|
|Main Requirements||You don’t need to worry about whether or not you can get this card – if you have any income at all and average credit, you probably can.|
|Card Type||This is a flexible rewards card.|
Fees and Interest
|Purchase Interest Rate||Purchasing items with this card will cost you 19.99% in interest if you don’t pay off your balance right away.|
|Cash Advance||Somewhat unusually, cash advances are also charged 19.99% interest per year.|
|Balance Transfer||As above, 19.99% interest applies to balance transfers too.|
|Income Requirements||No income requirements are applied to this card.|
|Household Income Requirements||No household income requirements apply to it either.|
|Annual Fee||There is a $30 annual fee that you’ll be charged for having this card.|
|Welcome Bonus||There is no welcome bonus available for this card at this time.|
|How To Earn Points||This card can get you 1% back in reward points for every dollar spent on any purchase whatsoever.|
|Benefits||Like most cards, this one offers purchase protection and extended warranty coverage; in addition, you’ll get $1,000 in mobile device coverage in case of loss, theft or damage, up to $5,000,0000 in emergency medical coverage for the first 3 days of travels, trip cancellation insurance, baggage insurance, and a potential $1,000,000 in life insurance for accidental death.|
About Desjardins Elegance Gold Visa Card
Laying the groundwork for this Desjardins Elegance Gold Visa Card review requires checking on the interest rates, so let’s start with that now. Desjardins offers flat rates across all categories on most of their credit cards, and this one is no different. No matter if you’re talking about simple purchases, balance transfers or cash advances, it will all be charged 19.99% in yearly interest after your grace period is up.
Part of what we want to do in this Desjardins Elegance Gold Visa Card review is cover how this card defies expectations, and that starts with the rewards. This card works on a flat reward rate system that gives you 1% of all purchases back in rewards points (called BONUSDOLLARS). These points can be redeemed for gift cards, event tickets, donations, financial products and more. This is already a fairly low rate for this kind of card, but it looks even worse when juxtaposed with the annual fee. In the context of these reward rates, $30 is a significant expense that may feel a bit hard to justify given the relative lack of value in effect. Compounding this value problem is a lack of any bonus categories that might help to mitigate the effects of the low rate. While the more generous rewards cards offer bonuses for purchases of staples like groceries and gas and others relegate them to lesser-used categories like restaurants and entertainment, virtually all cards have at least one. Not including any bonuses at all puts this card below even the ones with the most difficult-to-use bonuses out there, and that’s not a good place to be.
You might have a better understanding of why this is a bit of an issue if you look at this mock budget breakdown we’ve prepared as part of this Desjardins Elegance Gold Visa Card review. For the sake of illustration, we’ll go with a simple budget of $1,000 a month, not too far from what many Canadians might actually spend. With that budget at the 1% reward rate, you’ll get just $10 a month in rewards, or $120 for the year. That’s about on par with what many cards would get you, but don’t forget to subtract the annual fee – once you’ve done that, you’re down to just $90 in rewards. This still leaves you with a net profit, of course, but it’s a shame to have to settle for such a small one when you could get something a little more substantial.
While you could of course get more reward points if you spent more, that possibility applies to other cards as well, so it isn’t a point to be made exclusively in this card’s favour. The best that can be said in that regard is that spending at higher levels will reduce the toll the fee takes on your earnings in terms of percentages; instead of taking up one-fourth of the total, as it does in our example, spending more might make it take up one-sixth, one-eighth, or even less. The higher you go, the more likely it is that a cardholder will be able to qualify for superior options, though, so this isn’t a helpful point to make for most people. The only time in which it may play a role in a decision is when the person really wants to take advantage of this card’s robust benefits.
This is the part of this Desjardins Elegance Gold Visa Card review where things will get noticeably more positive – this card is very good in terms of the benefits it offers. Possibly the most exceptional of them is the mobile device insurance it offers, which covers your cell phone, tablet or smartphone in cases of damage or theft. This may cover the cost of a new device or of repairs (up to $1,000 in value) if you lose or damage your current one in any way while you’re still covered. This is great, because many devices are notoriously fragile and their purchase represents a huge expense for many people that can’t easily be afforded twice. For the most part, it does not matter if the damage was your fault or could have been avoided; if something goes wrong with your device, it’s probably covered. Almost everyone can make use of this benefit, and even better, it can easily make up for the $30 annual fee all on its own if a cardholder uses it over the course of a year. Some people will find that this benefit alone makes it worthwhile to have this card, regardless of any other benefits and the entire reward system it also offers. However, if you generally find that you do not easily break, damage or lose your devices, you may not think this is a worthwhile perk to base decisions off of. You know yourself best, so you’re in the best position to decide if this is something worth pursuing for you.
Another great benefit to highlight in this Desjardins Elegance Gold Visa Card review is the emergency medical insurance you and your family will get – up to $5,000,000 in emergency medical coverage when you’re travelling around Canada or even internationally. This policy extends to everyone in your immediate family under the age of 75 (most insurers place that cut-off at 65, so the extra decade of coverage is of note), and it can be used to cover everything from living expenses to transportation to dental care, as long as it has to do with an emergency health claim you are making while away from home. There are some problems with relying solely on this benefit insurance during your travels, though. It only covers the first 3 days of your trip, though, and you must be covered by extended insurance from the same insurer in order to qualify if you plan to be away longer than that. This means that unless your trips are short or you would regularly pay for this kind of coverage anyway, this benefit may not be so useful to you. Still, it’s nice to have. That’s not all you’ll get, though. There’s also some baggage insurance, trip cancellation insurance, accident insurance and even a life insurance policy potentially worth up to $1,000,000 in case of accidental death.
There’s one more thing to note before we reach the end of this segment of our Desjardins Elegance Gold Visa Card review. Because Desjardins is a credit union federation and not an actual bank, it may be more appealing for some people who have ethical problems with the way that traditional banks are run. There has been some news coverage about some shady practices going on at traditional banks, and this naturally has some people feeling a bit afraid or nervous. If it helps you to feel more confident in your ideals or makes you feel more at ease to know the staff has absolutely no vested interest in misleading you when you’re dealing with them, dealing with Desjardins for your credit needs is a practical choice that doesn’t force you to sacrifice too much.
If there’s one thing to take away from this Desjardins Elegance Gold Visa Card review, it’s that appearances can be somewhat deceiving. Even if you looked at this card and expected a premium product, that isn’t what it actually is. It’s a mid-tier card at best, and even when looking at it from that standpoint, it isn’t that impressive. It isn’t a shameful offering or anything, but it’s about average at best. The one standout feature of this card is the mobile device insurance coverage, as this is a benefit that is of use to almost all consumers and is not so readily available on competing cards. It also offers slightly lower interest rates than most comparable cards, which is at least conceptually nice even if it isn’t likely to make much of a difference to most consumers. However, neither of these assets is quite enough to set this card apart from the pack. This is a card for people who want benefits more than anything else, but who are okay with forgoing some rewards to get them – it’s an admittedly stellar offering in that regard.
Desjardins is an important part of Canada’s financial landscape as the largest federation of credit unions in the country. With almost 300 branches scattered across the provinces, it has a definite presence in the personal banking, insurance, wealth management, and of course, the credit market. They pride themselves on being highly responsive and available to their customers at all times if needed, a focus which promises excellent customer service for you if you choose to go with this card.
What We Think
Although we might wish differently, we can’t wholeheartedly endorse this credit card at this point in our Desjardins Elegance Gold Visa Card review. For having such a lofty name, it’s less immediately impressive than you might expect. Its reward rates are extremely similar to most low-tier credit card options you can get these days, but unlike most of those, it charges an annual fee – and a somewhat high one at that. The total lack of bonus categories also hurts this card’s appeal tremendously. The fact that’s a credit union option helps it out and its benefits are far better than most on the market, but that may not be enough to make up for its lack of everyday utility. It isn’t terrible and it’s certainly better than nothing if that’s your alternative, but most people who can qualify for this card will have no trouble getting a different, extremely comparable one that will probably offer at least a little more in rewards. The choice is yours, but for the most part, we would suggest you consider other options.