I’ve had my Home Trust Visa secured credit card for just over a year and a half. That’s been enough time to try it out and get a good feel for it, as well as how it compares to its competitor, the Peoples Trust secured MasterCard. At first, I thought they were fairly similar, but as time went on, I saw some differences.
Home Trust Secured Visa vs Peoples Trust Secured MasterCard
It seems Home Trust is a smaller company. If you phone them, that’s when you may notice there is a small staff. In some cases, there is one – and only one person within the company who handles certain tasks. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s good because you know one person is a specialist in something, and if you have to call back later to follow up, he or she might remember you and your situation. This can also be a bad thing if you like the anonymity of a large, faceless corporation. When I call their competitor, Peoples Trust (which is not often), I don’t think I ever get the same person more than once, and based on the Long Island and Chicago accents I’ve heard, you can be sure the call centre has been outsourced. But with Home Trust Visa, they still take their own phone calls right from their Toronto office. And they all seem really polite and friendly.
A Bit Behind The Times For Technology
One feature I wish Home Trust offered is paperless billing. I discovered this was lacking when I was planning on being away from home for an extended period of time and did not want my bills being mailed, but unlike with their competitor, Peoples Trust, I was not able to switch to paperless billing. So, I was forced to keep getting paper statements mailed to my home address. This is 2012, not 2002. Paperless billing should be available! Sure you can view some of your statements online – in theory, but I’ve never been able to. And they insist on mailing a paper invoice – there’s no way to stop it. As for the problems viewing past statements online, their website might not be Mac friendly (I use a Mac). On the Home Trust secured Visa website, I’m able to view my current balance, due date, etc, but not a list of transactions, due to that possible glitch.
And speaking of their website… it also looks like it’s from 2002. Sure, it’s got some modern security features like a pass phrase and picture, but the appearance and functionality is definitely dated. It’s not even on their own domain name, so they might have outsourced that part. And as mentioned, it does not seem to be 100% Mac friendly, as I cannot view my past statements online.
Chip Enabled Card
Ironically, the Home Trust Secured Visa card has a chip in it and their competitor, Peoples Trust secured MasterCard does not. For the last year to two years (or even three years), most other credit and debit cards have made the switch do chip cards. So, Home Trust is up to date in this respect – especially when you consider that Peoples Trust still does not offer a chip card! I’m sure it’s coming soon, but Home Trust definitely beat them with having a chip card first.
Home Trust Secured Visa Not Available In Quebec
When I was living in the suburbs of Montreal, I started rebuilding my credit after bankruptcy but could only get a Peoples Trust Secured MasterCard. I actually wanted to get the Home Trust Secured Visa card first. But, I quickly noticed that this card is not available to residents of Quebec. It’s available in every other province and territory in Canada. In early 2011, when I moved to Ontario, I got my application and deposit ready for my Home Trust Secured Visa Card. I wanted to have two different types of revolving credit reporting to my credit profiles, and now I could have that.
So, if you live in la belle province, désolé mes amis. You can’t get a Home Trust Secured Visa. Go ahead and get the Peoples Trust Secured MasterCard. And for people in the rest of Canada, I recommend getting both cards, with at least $1000 credit limit on each. But if you can only afford to start with the minimum $500 deposit, do it. Then when you can afford to send more, in $100 increments, raise your limit to a more realistic $1000, or more if your income can support it, and it won’t throw off your debt ratio.
Alternatives to the Home Trust Secured Visa
I know there’s a secured credit card from Capital One, but I’ve heard conflicting reports about them. So, I decided to stick with the ones I knew would work out. And most importantly, remember that prepaid cards, like the Titanium MasterCard from Money Mart (Insta-Chèque in Québec), and other prepaid Visas and MasterCards, do NOT report to the credit bureaus, and therefore will NOT help you rebuild your credit. I recommend getting a Home Trust Secured Visa and a Peoples Trust Secured MasterCard.
Extra Fees For US Dollar Purchases
If you shop online, or visit the United States, this is important. I noticed that I get charged a small fee for US dollar purchases (aside from the conversion rate, of course). It’s not a deal breaker, but since I have another credit that does not charge extra for US dollar purchases – my Peoples Trust MasterCard – that’s the one I use when I order things online or go in person to the United States.
A Hybrid Secured/Unsecured Credit Card?
One interesting observation… I just opened a letter from Home Trust that was sent to me a few months ago. I assumed it was a bill, and I always check my balance and pay my bills online. But when I finally opened it, I was pleasantly surprised… it was a letter stating that the credit limit on my Home Trust secured Visa will be increased by $400. I just need to reply by November 31. Time is running out, so I’d better fax it back or call them and give them my activation code. I never thought Canadian secured credit cards offered the option to convert or add a portion of the credit limit to unsecured. And that’s exactly what this appears to be.
Eighteen months ago, I opened my secured Home Trust Visa card with a $500 deposit, but soon sent in another $500 to make it a $1000 credit limit and kept it there, since I keep this is as my secondary credit card and keep a lower credit limit on it. But I might start using it more now – I’m starting to discover all of the good aspects of this card! I guess they liked my impeccable payment history. I’m never late. Sometimes I carry a balance so they make money off me for interest. I’ll post an update later, after I see how the unsecured credit limit increase turns out.
Today, while looking over my latest credit report, I noticed than in the comments section, my Home Trust Secured Visa reports as “Secured” whereas my People Trust Secured MasterCard does not make any mention that its secured. Interesting.
When I discovered that I needed to obtain and use secured credit cards to rebuild my credit after bankruptcy, I made it my goal to get a Home Trust Secured Visa, as soon as I was able to. Along with my mother secured credit card, and an excellent payment history, I truly believe it’s helped increase my credit score a number higher than I’ve ever had in my life – even before I filed for bankruptcy! And I’ve still got a bankruptcy reporting on my credit report.