Anyone who often buys from the US can appreciate the value of saving on foreign exchange fees, but the idea of giving up access to a rewards program for this perk sometimes stings. We’ll be talking about a card that doesn’t force you to make this choice in this Meridian Visa US Dollar Card review.
Get the convenience of paying in USD without sacrificing your chance at rewards.
|You Are Interested If||You often buy things with American currency and want to make that process easier and cheaper for yourself.|
|Brief Description||The Meridian Visa US Dollar card gives Canadians access to credit in US dollar funds.|
|Main Requirements||You’ll need fairly good credit to successfully get this card, but income is not a big factor here.|
|Card Type||This is a ‘US dollar’ card that prevents you from incurring costly foreign exchange fees on purchases, although it also bundles in a small rewards program as well.|
Fees and Interest
|Purchase Interest Rate||This card charges a very slightly reduced interest rate of 19.50% on all standard purchases.|
|Cash Advance||For those who choose to take out a cash advance, 21.99% interest will be charged.|
|Balance Transfer||Moving an old balance of yours to this new card will result in 21.99% in interest charges on that sum each year.|
|Income Requirements||You can potentially qualify for this card with any amount of monthly income.|
|Household Income Requirements||Only a single person’s income may be evaluated for approval purposes.|
|Annual Fee||Owning this card will cost you $65 USD each year, but the fee will be waived for your first year.|
|Welcome Bonus||As with all Meridian products, there is no welcome bonus to be aware of here.|
|How To Earn Points||This card allows you to earn a single reward point for each dollar spent on any product and at any retailer, but only if that purchase was made in USD.|
|Benefits||The card also comes with a slew of extra benefits, such as purchase protection and extended warranty coverage, auto rental collision and loss insurance, trip interruption and cancellation insurance, lost or delayed baggage insurance, and $100,000 of Common Carrier Accident Protection insurance.|
About Meridian Visa US Dollar Card
The most important thing to cover in this Meridian Visa US Dollar Card review is the fact that this is a US dollar card, and what that means. Every time you buy something in USD on this card, you’ll be able to skip the foreign transaction fees that you would normally be incurring. Even though this is usually only about 2.5% of the purchase amount each time, that can add up fast! Since you’re paying your balance directly in USD, you can also try to take advantage of more favourable exchange rates. You do need to use a Meridian USD chequing account to pay back your balance each month, but that’s a small concession since the fees charged are minimal (nothing monthly and only 75 cents per transaction) and any money you store in the account will even earn interest over time. Other than that, it’s extremely easy to get this card as long as you have even somewhat good credit, further increasing its appeal.
In addition to its foreign currency capacity, this card also lets you earn rewards for your spending. Most cards only let you do one or the other, so the fact that you can get both functions in one here is impressive in and of itself. The reward rate itself is quite fair too – 1 point for every dollar spent. The only catch is that only USD spending counts. Still, when you can buy literally anything from anywhere and still have it count for reward purposes as long as it’s in USD, that’s not such a bad deal. $500 a month in spending, for example, could get you 600 points over one year (about a $60 value which can be used on merchandise, travel, or even cash back rewards). This doesn’t quite cover the $65 annual fee, but a lot of that cost will probably be recouped by your FX fee savings anyway.
One last big thing to mention in this Meridian Visa US Dollar Card review are the benefits, which are especially suited for all the travelling you’re likely to be doing if you’re interested in a US dollar card. With this card in hand, you’ll have most of your trip insurance needs covered – nothing, from flight cancellations to lost baggage to stolen rental cars, will get in your way. The only additional thing that many travellers would want is medical insurance, but it’s easy enough to get that elsewhere. Very few credit cards that are this easy to get come with so many side benefits, a fact which helps to justify the relatively high annual fee.
While it’s clear from this Meridian Visa US Dollar card review that this is a card only for frequent US shoppers, it can be of immense benefit to you if you’re one of those people. It will make it easier for you to make your purchases, save you money on foreign exchange fees, bring you some modest rewards, and even make sure you have the insurance you need to keep your trip easy and enjoyable. It isn’t free, but that’s about the only negative thing about it.
Meridian is a credit union that first began in Ontario in 2005 and now operates everywhere in Canada except Quebec. Their blue-and-yellow logo, reminiscent of a smile, demonstrates their exceptional customer-first attitude. They have a knowledgeable team ready to answer your questions about your Meridian products at any time, including evenings and weekends.
What We Think
The Meridian Visa US Dollar card is without a doubt one of the better cards available in its niche outside of the very most exclusive options. It provides cross-border functionality, rewards, and even some nice insurance coverage that will almost certainly be useful to anyone interested in this card in the first place – what more could you ask for? The only downside is the annual fee, and that’s honestly a minor issue.