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Pre-Paid Credit Cards in Canada
March 3, 2023
4:49 pm
Save2Retire@55
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This might be interesting. https://vibrantdreamer.com/best-prepaid-credit-cards-can/

It would be even more amazing if the card doesn’t charge ATM and foreign transaction fees. The only two cards that match these conditions are Wealthsimple Cash Mastercard and EQ Bank Mastercard.

A backup card can be the CIBC Air Canada Conversion Visa Prepaid Card which conditionally matches all the conditions if preloaded and used in one of the 10 supported currencies.

All other cards come with different fees which I won’t apply for myself and recommend you to avoid them as well. Those tiny fees will add up.

March 3, 2023
5:04 pm
Save2Retire@55
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moveyourmoney said
Does anyone have experience with the Wise prepaid debit card?

You will lose money! Get either Wealthsimple or EQ cards. Both are better. No FX. No ATM withdrawal fees. Conversion is based on Mastercard.

Wise has fees and limitation on its free tier.

https://vibrantdreamer.com/best-prepaid-credit-cards-can/

March 4, 2023
2:28 am
RetirEd
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This looks like another time to point folks directly to CBC's MARKETPLACE stories about secret fees and lies about pricing:

http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/.....1301443539

RetirEd

I couldn't find a direct link last time I looked. Bad web design, CBC!

RetirEd

March 4, 2023
6:39 am
moveyourmoney
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Kinda got that feeling about Wise early on. Glad I reached out and appreciate the great info. It looks like EQ will be the back up card that makes better sense for me. One of the features that got me interested in Wise was that you could convert CDN to other currencies at any time before your travels, try to take advantage of a better exchange rate. Of course, that is an unknown and the fees would reduce the gains, even if you were fortunate to exchange at a higher rate.

March 4, 2023
8:08 am
hwyc
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The term "Prepaid credit card" is a misnomer! There is no "credit" whatsoever in its working, is there?

March 4, 2023
9:16 am
Save2Retire@55
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RetirEd said
This looks like another time to point folks directly to CBC's MARKETPLACE stories about secret fees and lies about pricing:

http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/.....1301443539

RetirEd

I couldn't find a direct link last time I looked. Bad web design, CBC!  

Indeed but EQ and WS Prepaid cards are transparent. No hidden fees. I don't work for neither just saying they are not Wise, or any other crap with a table full of fees. EQ even reimburse ATM fees charged by other banks in Canada. They don't charge ATM fees or FX fees themselves.

March 11, 2023
8:39 am
hwyc
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hwyc said
The term "Prepaid credit card" is a misnomer! There is no "credit" whatsoever in its working, is there?  

There is afterall. Tried at a local grocery self-checkout with my EQ Bank Card, the transaction was rejected if I pick "debit card" network. It went thru when I selected the "credit card" network, ... no PIN asked.

December 21, 2023
1:23 pm
countysaver
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An update on my EQ Bank card. I was quite a fan and used it extensively in Europe this spring enjoying the absence of foreign exchange charges and near universal acceptance.

Problem began in early November when my account somehow got compromised. I have no idea where the verification details got stolen or leaked but I suspect they got published on the "dark net". Within 30 minutes my account was drained of nearly $1000 [since it was earning 2.5% interest plus a rebate on purchases, it was convenient to load it once a month]. All was fine at 9am when I made an online purchase. I was on the subway, got off and my phone lit up like a Vegas casino with notifications with purchases coming in from every continent except AUS; mostly for games, betting and young women's fashion merchants.
I was able to get EQ on the phone within less than 5 minutes and suspend the card which was good. The bad part is that, because it was a prepaid, rather than credit, card the investigation was in the hands of Mastercard and would take 90 days or more. I was assured my money was protected against fraud, and the EQ customer service rep acknowledged immediately it was obvious the card was compromised. BUT, 45 days in, only about $140 of the $1000 has been refunded and I'm not completely confident it will be resolved easily. I was told refunds are much faster with credit cards.
Meanwhile, I receive notifications every few days that someone has tried to use the cancelled card and was denied. To date, attempted and fraudulent charges add up to double the amount I had stored on the prepaid card. I'm cautious that if the investigation gets dropped or goes badly, there might be an attempt to draw funds from my EQ Bank savings to cover the unauthorised charges. It's not a priority for Mastercard which already has $1000 of my money. Accordingly, I transferred all my savings out of EQ Bank [CDN and US accounts; $2.00 each left to keep the accounts alive] and have no intention of using the prepaid card again.
Just a word of caution; credit and prepaid cards may [are?] not treated equally.

December 21, 2023
4:46 pm
Briguy
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countysaver said
An update on my EQ Bank card. I was quite a fan and used it extensively in Europe this spring enjoying the absence of foreign exchange charges and near universal acceptance.

Problem began in early November when my account somehow got compromised. I have no idea where the verification details got stolen or leaked but I suspect they got published on the "dark net".
Just a word of caution; credit and prepaid cards may [are?] not treated equally.  

Sorry to hear about that. Wealthsimple card is very similar to EQ card, so I guess it's important to keep these prepaid credit cards locked when not using. EQ forces you to move the money from the savings account to the card to spend money, so it should be easier to keep safe than WS. WS card automatically pulls off the connected cash account. It would be nice if Wealthsimple allowed you to have more than 1 Cash account so you could connect the card to a cash account with very little money inside.

Another way of keeping your card safe is to use it through Google Wallet and Apple Pay, not directly

December 21, 2023
4:51 pm
althisa
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countysaver said
Sentence 1: I was quite a fan and used it extensively in Europe this spring enjoying the absence of foreign exchange charges and near universal acceptance.

Sentence 2: Problem began in early November when my account somehow got compromised.  

Thank you for sharing your experience.
IMHO there is a link here between the sentence 1 and sentence 2.
I am considering using a prepaid card for travel to limit the amount of spending.

Maybe the regular card will do, never had any issues previously with regular credit card while travelling .

Anyone know if you can temporarily reduce a credit card limit for travel, and then restore it later after travel?

December 21, 2023
4:52 pm
Alexandre
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countysaver said

I was able to get EQ on the phone within less than 5 minutes and suspend the card which was good.

Just FYI: with EQ app on smartphone it is possible to lock the card instantly, without calling bank. Also, makes sense to keep card locked when not used.

December 22, 2023
5:26 am
countysaver
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Briguy said
Sorry to hear about that. Wealthsimple card is very similar to EQ card, so I guess it's important to keep these prepaid credit cards locked when not using. EQ forces you to move the money from the savings account to the card to spend money, so it should be easier to keep safe than WS. WS card automatically pulls off the connected cash account. It would be nice if Wealthsimple allowed you to have more than 1 Cash account so you could connect the card to a cash account with very little money inside.

Another way of keeping your card safe is to use it through Google Wallet and Apple Pay, not directly  

Thanks. Things I didn't know about Wealthsimple's card. Automatic pulling of funds could be a lot more serious than my monthly transfer to cover anticipated 4-weeks of charges. Good advice to keep the card locked via the phone app when not being used. I will admit not thinking of that when I got off the subway train and my phone was binging like a slot machine. I'm a senior and some of these conveniences are not first of mind. I was just grateful when the EQ Bank rep answered on first-ring and locked the card immediately.

I have never carried the plastic card except when I headed to Europe, not knowing how accessible NFC payment would be [very good actually]. At home, I use Apple Pay almost exclusively with only one plastic card in my wallet as fall-back. Again, I have no idea of the possible source of the leak. I wonder if organised hackers have computers trying endless combinations of account numbers and dates until they get something that works?? It concerns me that despite the customer service rep cancelling the card and telling me "it's obvious your account has been compromised", Mastercard converted about 30 transactions from "pending" to "posted" over the following few days.

We all need to remain vigilant and keep transaction notifications activated so we can take action as quickly as possible.

December 22, 2023
5:38 am
countysaver
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althisa said

Thank you for sharing your experience.
IMHO there is a link here between the sentence 1 and sentence 2.
I am considering using a prepaid card for travel to limit the amount of spending.

Maybe the regular card will do, never had any issues previously with regular credit card while travelling .

Anyone know if you can temporarily reduce a credit card limit for travel, and then restore it later after travel?  

I used the EQ Bank card to avoid the usual 2.5% foreign transaction fee; not to limit spending. HomeTrust has a regular, no fee, Visa card that doesn't charge those fees but doesn't have an app to lock the card instantly. There are a few other options.
Banks once required clients to advise them when they would be travelling but now rely on algorithms to flag atypical transactions. It didn't work this time for a septuagenarian male apparently playing video games, gambling on-line and ordering fashion for 17yo girls. LOL

December 22, 2023
5:42 am
countysaver
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Alexandre said

countysaver said

I was able to get EQ on the phone within less than 5 minutes and suspend the card which was good.

Just FYI: with EQ app on smartphone it is possible to lock the card instantly, without calling bank. Also, makes sense to keep card locked when not used.  

Very good point. I admit [as an old guy] not thinking of that in the heat of the moment when my phone was pinging like a Vegas slot machine. Keeping the card locked is an option as long as one remembers to unlock it before getting to the Tim Horton's/Starbucks cashier with an impatient line-up behind. 🙂

December 23, 2023
4:45 am
RetirEd
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With computers in fraud centres all around the world, I would not yet be totally confident that one could lock a card before a vigilant bot dived in. At the very least, don't wait until after you've left the cash.

RetirEd

December 23, 2023
7:19 am
Alexandre
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RetirEd said
With computers in fraud centres all around the world, I would not yet be totally confident that one could lock a card before a vigilant bot dived in. At the very least, don't wait until after you've left the cash.  

Any good security is multi-layer.

Don't keep amount money on prepaid card you can not handle losing.
Dedicate one credit card for one specific activity such as travel, so that you can lock it between that activity without impacting, say, recurring payments.
Have an app on smartphone to lock/unlock card.
Set notifications for any transactions, no matter how small. Crooks could try a very tiny withdrawal first, to verify card is working.
Keep credit card locked when not in use.

I doubt that OP would have had an easier time chasing after tens of thousands dollars siphoned from regular CC with large credit limit. Zero liability policy that credit card issuers promote comes with quite a large asterisk.

December 23, 2023
9:00 am
seh
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Alexandre said

Any good security is multi-layer.

Don't keep amount money on prepaid card you can not handle losing.
Dedicate one credit card for one specific activity such as travel, so that you can lock it between that activity without impacting, say, recurring payments.
Have an app on smartphone to lock/unlock card.
Set notifications for any transactions, no matter how small. Crooks could try a very tiny withdrawal first, to verify card is working.
Keep credit card locked when not in use.

I doubt that OP would have had an easier time chasing after tens of thousands dollars siphoned from regular CC with large credit limit. Zero liability policy that credit card issuers promote comes with quite a large asterisk.  

Agree, though at least with a credit card dispute they don't yet have your money, and will usually credit your account pending resolution of the dispute.

December 23, 2023
1:46 pm
Alexandre
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In some instances, we may provide you with a temporary credit after your dispute is opened.

This kind of wording is not exactly reassuring.

Obviously, if credit is not issued, monthly credit card statement must be paid.

December 24, 2023
3:46 am
RetirEd
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In the two instances where I've disputed a card charge, I was warned not to deduct the dispute from my payments, and waited months (once 2 months, once 7 months) to get credited. The amounts were both under $100.

RetirEd

February 8, 2024
10:56 am
countysaver
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Final [?] update, see above. EQ Mastercard completed refunding the fraudulent charges on my card 85 days into the promised 90 day window. One wonders if it takes that long to confirm or they just want to pad their receivables for 90 days. 😉

It was a challenge to match all the charges to the credits. The charges were truly international in multiple currencies. The refunds seems to have been impacted by exchange rates so e.g. a $16.13 charge resulted in a $16.17 refund. As best I can tell, I was out <$2 at the end of the procedure and I won't be chasing it down spending hours on the telephone.

One other complaint/warning. EQ Bank Mastercard monthly statements never show a balance, starting to ending the month. All they show are credits and debits forcing users to go on-line, check the balance and then reconcile the statement adjusting for pending charges/credits. It's an unnecessary pain and a reason I haven't activated the replacement card sent to me after the fraud/hack. My EQ Bank balances have been reduced to $0.00 in all accounts and I'm done with this virtual bank.

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