Although many people are on the lookout for a simple cash back credit card, they may not think to consider options from slightly lesser-known providers like Meridian. That’s why we’ve crafted this Meridian Visa Cash Back Card review to help you learn everything you need to know about how this card works and why you might want one for yourself.
Apply now for this unique cash back card that gets you good rewards, great perks and low interest fees, all in one.
|You Are Interested If||You want a basic cash back card that also includes some attractive insurance bonuses and even offers slightly lowered interest rates.|
|Brief Description||The Meridian Visa Cash Back card is a simple cash back card that also sprinkles in a few other nice benefits just for you.|
|Main Requirements||To get this card, all you’ll need is to be a Canadian resident who is at least 18 (19 in some provinces) and who has fair credit. You also need to be a Meridian credit union member in order to be approved for this card, but you are not required to own or apply for any other Meridian products.|
|Card Type||This card offers cash back rewards with a very slightly reduced set of interest rates on top of that.|
Fees and Interest
|Purchase Interest Rate||You’ll pay 19.50% in yearly interest on most charges you make on this card.|
|Cash Advance||You can get cash advances for 21.99% in interest, just a little bit lower than what most other cards charge.|
|Balance Transfer||If you move a balance over to this card, it will be charged 21.99% in annual interest.|
|Income Requirements||This card is available to virtually anyone, even people with very low incomes. There are no standardized guidelines.|
|Household Income Requirements||Incomes are only assessed on an individual basis for this card.|
|Annual Fee||Meridian does not charge customers anything for this card.|
|Welcome Bonus||This card does not carry a welcome bonus at this time, but it does run periodic promotions that function near-identically to this type of bonus (we’ll cover those later in this Meridian Visa Cash Back Card review).|
|How To Earn Points||All purchases made with this card earn 0.5% cash back, but any groceries, gas, or pharmacy items you buy or utility bills you pay will get you a boosted 1% cash back instead.|
|Benefits||This card adds to the usual purchase protection and extended warranty coverage with additional Common Carrier Accident protection, mobile device insurance, and price protection benefits.|
About Meridian Visa Cash Back Card
The first order of business in this Meridian Visa Cash Back Card review is a quick look at the card’s interest rates. This card follows the general trend of interest rates on cards that aren’t specifically aiming for the low-interest market: 19.50% interest on whatever standard spending you do with this card and 21.99% interest on both cash advances and any balance transfers you might make. While for the most part these rates are comparable to what you’ll find with just about any other Canadian credit card, it should be noted that they are just a little bit cheaper than most. This difference is extremely small and is unlikely to add up to much in savings for most consumers, but it’s a nice gesture on Meridian’s part that adds a little more value to this card right from the start. Be careful, though – Meridian’s policy calls for an increase to 24.90% in interest after a card’s account remains delinquent for over 30 days. In contrast to their usual fees, this is well above what their competitors charge, so good behaviour is an absolute must with this card.
Since this is a free card, the reward rates are not astronomical, but they are more than fair in comparison to what you’ll get from similar cards elsewhere. The standard earn rate is 0.5% cash back, and this applies to everything you purchase with this card. When you’re shopping specifically for gas, groceries, anything from a pharmacy, or are paying recurring utility bills, you can get an additional 0.5% on top of that for a total of 1% cash back on those line items. Considering that the bonus categories here apply to items that most Canadians purchase with extreme regularity, these small amounts can add up to a fairly large sum of money over time. Spending just $500 a month in the bonus categories will get you $5 a month, or $60 a year, just for buying things you would purchase anyway. If you were to spend another $200 on things like entertainment or eating out, you’d add another $1 a month on top of that for a final total of $72 at the end of the year. This is nothing astronomical, but most people wouldn’t turn down that extra little chunk of cash.
Like most typical cash back cards, this card allows you to redeem your rewards for standard currency. In this case, you’ll have to do it in a bit of a roundabout way, though. Instead of being given cash in hand equal to your reward amounts, you will instead have to have the amount applied to your credit card balance after you’ve already bought the thing you would have spent the reward money on. This isn’t ideal, since it does not allow you to save the money in a savings account or other investment vehicle (although you can always choose to leave your reward credits unredeemed in order to use them at a later date). However, it still gets the job done, and considering the fact that you are unlikely to be dealing with more than perhaps a hundred dollars in rewards at any one time, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
There’s also something a little bit special about this card that we want to cover in this Meridian Visa Cash Back Card review, and that has to do with the slightly offbeat aspects of the reward system. Unlike other cash back programs, Meridian’s system tracks your rewards with points instead of in direct dollar amounts. This allows them to incorporate aspects of a points-based reward system into their cash back program and give their customers the best of both worlds. If you don’t choose to use your points as a credit, you can spend them on one of the many things in their extensive rewards catalogue instead. There are gift cards from popular stores available, as well as plenty of merchandise like electronics, luggage and camping equipment – you can even buy tickets to popular concerts and events this way. It’s a very unique system that we think many people are sure to enjoy.
One other important thing to mention as part of our Meridian Visa Cash Back card review is the promotions this provider frequently offers. At the time of writing this, there was a double points promotion running for the entire month, effectively doubling the already-fair cash back rates right in time for a critical spending season. These extra promotions more than make up for the lack of a welcome bonus, providing far more value over time than a short-term boost that never reoccurs again. This way of doing things also makes sure that loyal customers who have been doing business with Meridian for years can also benefit from the offers. You’ll never miss out on what they’re offering no matter when you choose to apply, so there’s never any reason to wait to get this card.
As if all this weren’t enough, this card also comes bundled with some rather impressive benefits for a free basic credit. In addition to the extended warranty and purchase protection you’d expect, you’ll also get a few less-common bonuses. One of them is Common Carrier Accident protection, which provides $100,000 in coverage in case you or your spouse or child are killed or dismembered on a train, bus or plane. This is clearly a very niche product, but since it’s free, it’s nice to have anyway. Two others that most people will get more use out of, though are the price protection coverage (get a price adjustment on any product you find a lower advertised price for within 60 days, up to $100 each time and $500 total per year) and especially the mobile device insurance ($1,000 in coverage in case your phone or tablet is broken, lost or stolen). We want to emphasize these little extras in this Meridian Visa Cash Back card review because they are uncommon at this low card tier, and their inclusion here is worthy of recognition.
As a card coming from a credit union, this card has some extra appeal for those who prefer not to mix with traditional financial institutions. Many people are opposed to modern banking practices and choose to avoid doing business with big banks if it is at all possible, but going without a credit card entirely is not a practical choice in the modern world. With this card, these people can still get the conveniences that a credit card brings (better cash flow, easier online purchases, etc.) without having to compromise their ideals. Since this is a niche demographic that does not have too many options in the wider Canadian credit card market, we thought it was worth taking a minute in our Meridian Visa Cash Back card review to point out that this is a great credit card for them.
It can also be a good gateway product for people who are thinking of joining a credit union but aren’t sure if that kind of financial institution is right for them. Because it’s an easy card to be approved for and carries little risk for you, there aren’t many downsides to just going ahead and getting one. If you do this and find that you like how Meridian treats you enough to want to bank with them more, you can then think about potentially moving your bank accounts over to them or signing up for a higher-commitment product like a mortgage. It’s a good way to ease into a different type of banking than you’re probably used to and have fun using a great cash back card option in the meantime.
We’re just about ready to end our Meridian Visa Cash Back card review with a quick wrap-up of what we’ve covered so far. Even though this is still very much a starter cash back card with its modest reward rates, it offers plenty of small extras and nice concessions to set itself apart from the crowd. It doesn’t particularly excel in terms of reward rates, low interest rates, or bonus features, but it incorporates enough of all of these things to make it an exceptionally appealing and well-rounded card.
Meridian is one of Canada’s many credit unions – Ontario’s largest, to be precise, and the fourth largest in all of Canada. They have only been around since 2005, but in that time, they have put down strong roots in Ontario’s communities. In 2017, they committed to investing at least 4% of their pre-tax earnings in sponsorships and other things that would benefit Ontarians. They also regularly sponsor the Alzheimer Society of Ontario.
What We Think
The last word in our Meridian Visa Cash Back card review is that this is an underrated card that might surprise you if you’ve never given it a look before. If you want a credit card that does one specific thing really well, there is probably a different card out there that you would prefer to have instead. If you just want a solid card that brings a little bit of everything to the table, take it from our Meridian Visa Cash Back card review: this card might just be the best overall basic cash back card you can get.