You might want to go fishing if you ever visit British Columbia. We shall take a look at the important things to do and the places to go to, in this article.
Prepaid cards in Canada aren’t actually credit cards at all. With a credit card you borrow money and pay it back later on, but with a prepaid card you load money onto the card first, and can only spend up to that amount.
This article looks at where to get prepaid cards in Canada by comparing some of the top providers. It also shows how Wise can help you to save money, if you’re planning to use your card in different currencies.
|Prepaid card||Fee||Maximum balance||Cash back||Daily spending limit||Notes|
|CIBC Smart Prepaid Visa¹||$0||$10,000||n/a||$3,000||There’s also a travel version|
|Koho Visa ²||$0 or $84 annually for Premium||$40,000³ ⁴||0.5%; 2% on transportation, groceries, restaurants with Premium||$4,000³ ⁴||Credit building for $7/month5|
|Stack Prepaid Mastercard||$0||$20,000¹⁰||Points with partner brands||$5,000¹⁰||No foreign transaction fees|
|Titanium+ Prepaid Mastercard¹¹||$9.99 + tax activation fee; $6.50 monthly fee¹²||$15,000¹²||n/a||$10,000||On sale in various stores|
|Mogo Visa ⁶||$0||$10,000⁷||n/a||$5,000⁷||Plants a tree with every card use|
|CIBC Air Canada AC Conversion Visa⁸||$0||$20,000 (or foreign currency equivalent)⁹||1% (limited-time)||$29,999.99 (or foreign currency equivalent)⁹||Up to 10 currencies available|
|BMO Prepaid Mastercard¹⁴||$6.95 annually||$10,000¹⁵||n/a||Can be used as a travel card|
|Home Trust Secured Visa¹⁶||$0 or $59, depending on interest rate||$500 to $10,000, depending on initial deposit||n/a||n/a||Secured credit card|
|Refresh Financial Secured Visa¹⁷||$12.95 yearly plus $3 monthly||$200 to $10,000, depending on initial deposit||n/a||n/a||Secured credit card|
Wise card: save your money when you spend in different currencies
If you’re travelling internationally or just buying online, you might want to know that using Wise is 4x cheaper than banks for spending abroad..
You won’t have the high foreign transaction fees - your money gets converted with the real mid-market rate, no matter if you spend in-person or online in over 200 countries.
The only cost you’ll have is a very low and transparent conversion fee, in case you need to convert your Canadian dollars. Unlike other accounts, there are no monthly or annual charges, nor any minimum balance requirements.
The Wise card is part of the Wise account, which means that you can add, hold, and convert over 40 currencies instantly. You can get your own bank details for 10 different currencies (including CAD, USD, GBP, EUR, and more) to receive money from those places.
Some of the best prepaid cards in Canada are made by challenger banks and fintech companies, but a few are from the established big hitters. One of the latter category is CIBC’s Smart Prepaid Visa. You can get it online or at CIBC banking centres around the country.¹
You can load between $20 and $10,000 onto the card, and use it wherever you can use any Visa.¹ It’s a straightforward way to make easy card payments without worrying about mounting debt.
If you’re planning on travelling abroad, though, do check out another CIBC prepaid Visa, which we’ll talk you through in a moment.
Fintech company Koho also offers a Visa card to its customers, and goes a step further in imitating a credit card without exposing you to financial risk. There are both regular and premium cards on offer, the latter for a fee of $84 per year or $9 per month, and they’ll give you cash back of 0.5% on all purchases and – if you’re premium – 2% on transport, grocery shopping, and restaurants.
The premium card also offers no foreign exchange fees, which is a seriously useful perk if you’re planning on travelling abroad.²
A further credit card-like feature is available as an add-on: for $7 a month you can start to improve your credit rating.⁵
Prepaid credit cards in canada aren’t all on the Visa network. Stack, for instance, is a Mastercard. Like Koho, this is another prepaid card that’s also an app-based tool designed to help you with money management.
The main reward it offers to members is similar to what you might get with a credit card: cash back and offers at a selection of different retailers.
There’s also a feature with which you can get your employer to pay money into your Stack account directly: another feature that could prove useful if you’re planning on using a prepaid card for regular spending.
It also offers no foreign exchange fees, and also no fees for ATM withdrawal, so the savings could indeed, ahem, stack up.⁹
Another prepaid Mastercard is especially easy to get hold of: the Titanium+ Card is on sale in Money Mart and Insta Cheques stores, so there’s no application process at all that you need to go through.¹¹
You can reload this card with cash, or via Vanilla Reload top-up cards, again available in various stores (including 7 Eleven).¹² But you can also set it up so your paycheque or benefits go directly onto the card, in full or in part.
Take note, however: unlike some other options in this list, there are various fees with the Titanium+ card that you’ll need to keep in mind. Activation of a new card costs $9.99 + tax, and there’s a recurring monthly fee of $6.50. Loading funds onto the card will likely cost between $2.99 and $3.95 as well, and there’s a $0.50 spend fee as well. Some of the load and spend fees are waived with what they call their Bundle Fee Plan.¹³
All in all, Titanium+ is a super convenient way of setting yourself up with a reloadable prepaid card as quickly as possible, but options with fewer fees may save you money in the longer term.
Mogo isn’t just a prepaid card provider, but alongside things like loans and credit scores it offers the MogoCard, also called the Mogo Visa Platinum Prepaid Card.
It’s positioned as a card that’s good for the environment, as Mogo plants a tree for every use of the card. But on the other hand, you might not end up planting as many trees as you might have done, because Mogo also claims that its users end up saving money each month as this prepaid card helps them limit their spending.⁶
Prepaid cards aren’t just for domestic use. In fact, prepaid travel cards are big business. They can be a great way to keep an eye on your spending on those trips away from home when costs really can mount up.
CIBC offers the AC Conversion Visa, which you can load with up to 10 currencies:
- Canadian dollars
- US dollars
- Mexican pesos
- British pounds
- Swiss francs
- Turkish lira
- Japanese yen
- Hong Kong dollars
- Australian dollars
Although CIBC doesn’t charge a conversion fee to switch between these currencies, it does set its own exchange rate, so do keep an eye on that to make sure you’re happy with the deal.
It’s also offering 1% cash back on all purchases, for a limited period.⁸
A prepaid Mastercard option from a familiar banking name is the BMO Prepaid Mastercard. If you already bank with BMO, it’s especially easy to transfer funds onto your card.
And, being a Mastercard, it’s possible to use this card all around the world. It’s not exclusively a travel card, and it only lets you load Canadian dollars, but simply by being a prepaid card rather than a credit card it could help you to manage spending when travelling abroad.
Here’s a different sort of option for you. The Home Trust Secured Visa isn’t technically a prepaid card: it’s a credit card. But, as its name suggests, it’s secured, which means that you have to pay a deposit which is also your spending limit.
So, while it’s not technically a prepaid card, you can certainly think of it as a sort of prepaid credit card, in that you can only spend up to a limit that you’ve already paid Home Trust.
The advantage this has over a prepaid card is that, if you make repayments on time, it can help to build up your credit rating.
Home Trust’s secured card has no annual fee if you can tolerate a 19.99% interest rate, or $59 annually for a 14.9% interest rate. The limit – and hence the deposit you’ll have to pay – is between $500 and $10,000.¹⁶
If you’re confident about making the repayments on time, this could be an ideal way back into credit cards.
A second secured credit card is the Refresh Financial Secured Visa. The benefit of this card is much like the Home Trust card, but the details are different: this costs an annual fee of $12.95 plus a maintenance fee of $3 each month, and the interest rate is 17.99%.
The credit limit on the Refresh Financial Secured Visa can be as low as $200, or as high as $10,000. You’re guaranteed approval if you can pay the deposit.¹⁷
It’s also worth mentioning a second type of prepaid card: non-reloadable cards.
These are designed for one use only: you buy them from a store with a fixed amount of money loaded onto them, use them just like you would a standard card, and then, once the funds are used up, that’s the end.
Visa, Mastercard and American Express all offer prepaid cards, and they can make useful gifts. For a longer-term option, though, you’ll need to look into reloadable cards.
|If your main goal is to get a card option that lets you spend in different currencies while avoiding high conversion fees, then Wise might be just right for you. It's convenient, and saves your money. You can learn more and download the app here.|
- CIBC Smart Prepaid Visa Card
- Koho Accounts
- Koho Regular Account Velocity Limits
- Koho Premium Account Velocity Limits
- Koho Credit Building
- Mogo Prepaid Visa Card Canada
- Mogo: how much money can I add to my MogoCard?
- CIBC AC Conversion Visa Prepaid Card
- Stack Card Limits and STACK Cardholder Agreement
- About Titanium+
- Vanilla Reload
- Titanium+ Terms and conditions
- BMO Prepaid Mastercard
- BMO Prepaid Mastercard Benefits Guide
- Home Trust Secured Visa
- Refresh Financial Secured Card
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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