There are so many credit cards available right now that they often start to blend together in people’s minds. Other than having different rates and reward types, what makes a credit card unique? Sometimes, it’s the way it can serve a certain purpose better than any of its alternatives. There are two Home Trust Visa cards for people to apply for, each with a special function that you won’t find on a typical credit card. There’s little else out there in terms of credit products that does what these cards can do.
Home Trust’s Mission
For the sake of context, it’s important to know that Home Trust is a credit card provider with a particular ethos behind what they do. They aren’t just in the business to serve the general Canadian public, but rather to help provide a helping hand to those in need of credit recovery services. Their credit card division in general is a secondary part of their operations; their primary focus is on providing mortgages at fair rates. The cards they do provide, however, are explicitly meant to be accessible to people who don’t necessarily have the best credit or the highest income. None of them are meant for top-grade customers who are able to demand the best of everything. They are products that are meant to be helpful, not luxurious.
Home Trust is also a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, which means that they deal in products requiring deposits all the time and have a vested legal interest in making sure that you get your deposit money back when you close your relevant accounts you have with them. This is pertinent information to remember for later when we discuss the first of their two main credit cards.
The Details on the Home Trust Secured Visa
The first of these two cards that we’re going to cover is the Home Trust Secured Visa, a credit card that works a little differently than the ones you’re probably used to. It’s a secured card, meaning that a deposit is required in order to get it. This is because providers are willing to extend these cards to people who they would not necessarily entrust with a standard card; with a security deposit to back up your insistence that you will use your credit responsibly, it’s a much safer prospect to give you the freedom to borrow like this. Your credit activity on these cards counts the same as it would with any other card, too. Home Trust will give one of these cards to just about anyone who applies for one as long as they can put down that deposit, and from there you can use the card to build your credit up.
This deposit amount can range from $500 to $10,000 depending on what you’re willing and able to put down, but it can’t be any more or any less than the amounts that fall within that range. Whatever amount you choose to hand over will be the same as the credit limit on the credit card that you receive. Try not to worry about putting down as much as you can; if you’re only intending to rebuild your credit, $500 should be more than enough for that purpose.
One interesting thing about this particular Home Trust Visa card is that it actually comes in both a free and a premium version. Both require you to put down a deposit before you can get them, but if you choose the premium version, you’ll pay a $59 annual fee in exchange for the chance to pay a discounted interest rate. If you go for that one, your interest rate on your normal balance will be 14.90% instead of the usual 19.99% that would apply otherwise. Even that modest reduction will be more than enough to make that a good choice for some people. It’s not uncommon for people with poor credit to have difficulty getting used to positive credit behaviours such as not charging too much to their card all at once, leading to difficulties with the resulting interest fees. If you suspect that you will have this problem, it could be worth your while to choose the premium version just to make sure that the negative impact won’t be too great.
This card doesn’t come with any rewards or benefits, something that makes it much less attractive as an option for most people. That said, those who really need to resort to secured credit cards are not usually able to get cards that offer either of these things to begin with, so it’s not really a loss. This isn’t a card you want to have over the long run, but rather one you want to use as a tool to get you where you need to be with your credit.
What Does the Home Trust Preferred Visa Look Like?
The Home Trust Preferred Visa is the other card that this provider offers, and it’s one of the more unique credit cards you can get in Canada. It’s technically a no-fee cash back card, awarding you 1% back on all your purchases with no limits or stipulations. That’s a decent incentive to get it on its own, but on top of that, this Home Trust Visa card also carries no foreign transaction fees. Most cards charge these fees whenever you buy something in a currency other than Canadian dollars, which can happen fairly frequently if you’re spending time outside of the country or even if you just like to shop online a lot. The usual charge is 2.5% of the final purchase price, but it can go up to 3% in some cases. This is on top of any taxes you have to pay, too, so you can see how prices that looked perfectly reasonable at first can quickly balloon when these fees come into play.
You won’t have to worry about any of that with the Home Trust Preferred Visa. Not only will you not be charged those fees to begin with, but you’ll also still get your 1% cash back on any of those foreign currency purchases, making shopping in other currencies a much more attractive prospect. Many people will find it worth their while to get this card for that feature alone, since it’s extremely unusual to see it on low-level cards like this. You would usually have to choose high-level exclusive options for that perk instead, and most people won’t qualify easily for those. Instead, they can use this free alternative to achieve the same results.
The last important thing to know about this Home Trust Visa card is that it comes with both rental car insurance and complimentary roadside assistance coverage. The rental car insurance isn’t that strange to see on a card like this, but the roadside assistance coverage is both remarkable and extremely useful. It’s the kind of thing that few people bother to sign up for on their own if they don’t get coverage through a benefit like this, even though it can come in handy surprisingly often. With this particular policy, you’ll have the chance to make up to 4 service calls each year from anywhere in North America, meaning that you can also use it on any trips you make to the United States. If you ever have a problem with a flat tire, some lost keys or any other small car emergency, you’ll be happy to know you’ll have someone to call to come help you at any time.
The Home Trust Preferred Visa Review Consensus
Because the Home Trust Secured Visa is a specialized product that most general consumers would not be applying for, it isn’t necessarily very helpful to gauge its usefulness based on reviews. The Home Trust Preferred Visa, however, is a different story. There’s a lot you can learn from a Home Trust Preferred Visa review or two. We read many and have summed up our findings below.
The main thing that people focus on when they talk about this card is the way it waives all foreign transaction fees. This card is frequently called out as being a great solution for those looking to avoid these costs, even in major publications like The Star. It is especially popular among budget travellers for being one of the few no-fee Canadian credit cards to waive the foreign transaction fees that would otherwise eat up a significant portion of their limited funds while on their trips.
While many note that it isn’t a perfect option for those who travel frequently due to the lack of any actual travel insurance included, the fact that it is accessible to people who make more modest livings sets it apart from all the luxury options that technically seem more appealing on paper. It doesn’t matter how good those other cards are if you know you have no chance of ever getting one of them. For those in that predicament, the Home Trust card is a more than suitable replacement. It will serve that function well without requiring its holder to give up all the other things that it can also bring to the table (cash back rewards and roadside assistance being among the most noteworthy). Holders recognize that fact and give this card the praise it deserves for breaking with irritating industry trends.
When to Consider Getting a Home Trust Visa Card
Either one of the Home Trust Visa cards is a solid choice, even if one is only useful in a very specific credit situation. The Home Trust Preferred Visa comes with plenty of glowing reviews to recommend it and has a defined niche in Canadian credit card culture already; it’s been tested by the masses and come out with its reputation intact. It only becomes more attractive when you consider the additional features it includes and how eclectic yet near-universally useful they are. It’s probably not the first credit card candidate that anyone would think of if they had to name one on the spot, but it deserves to be held up among the better cards in the low-level market.
The Home Trust Preferred Visa is of far less general interest, being a specialized product with some significant drawbacks that many won’t want to put up with. However, if your credit is poor enough that you have no choice but to settle for a card that requires a deposit, this is among your best options. It charges you no annual fee and is almost impossible to fail to get accepted for, on top of being backed by a trustworthy company that you can count on getting your deposit funds back from. The flexible interest rate option even gives you a way to reduce the fees you will pay if you are not quite used to paying down your entire balance each month just yet. Even though this Home Trust Visa may not make sense for everyone, you can count on it to fulfill the credit-building function that some people need it to at minimal cost to them.