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.
Stack is a Canadian fintech company that offers a reloadable, prepaid Mastercard you can use alongside its app. It’s one of several Canadian companies disrupting the bank-dominated world of finance. But how does it – wait for it – stack up against its competitors? Is it worth getting Stack?
In this review, we’ll talk you through. You’ll also learn about Wise and how its card can help you, especially when you want to spend in different currencies - buying online or traveling.
Most important to note, the Stack card is a prepaid card – it isn’t a credit card.
Prepaid cards like Stack have to be topped up or reloaded in advance of being used: that means you can only spend your own money on such a card, and you can’t get into debt like you can with a credit card. Of course, that also means that using a prepaid card doesn’t help you build up a good credit rating.
But the thing about Stack is that it does offer a few features that are a little bit credit card-like: you can earn cash back and some special deals with Stack’s partner brands. It also has a few extra features that might appeal, as we’ll explore below.
Stack’s first benefit is that it doesn’t charge an annual fee – in fact, it says that it has “zero fees” at all.¹
And the second is that it offers cash back, just like many credit cards do. It’s a little different with Stack, though: the rewards scheme features a range of offers with specific partner brands.
But you’ll have to be careful to check if the particular offers are still active: at the time of writing, the Stack website lists offers that have already expired.²
One benefit of Stack is the lack of both ATM withdrawal fees and foreign exchange fees. Although the ATM provider may still charge you, Stack itself doesn’t charge for cash withdrawal from ATMs all around the world. And if you’re travelling, Stack’s current lack of foreign exchange fees will make all your card purchases cheaper too.¹
Here are a few other features offered by Stack:¹
- If you set up your pay cheque to be paid into your Stack account, you can get your money up to 2 days early.
- Stack also has some features in its app that’ll help you track your spending, making it easier to take control of your budget.
- You can also get Stack to round up your spending on small purchases and put the extra money into your savings, to help you keep a little more cash in reserve.
- There’s also a “Split the Bill” function in the app so you can send requests for transfers to friends easily, making group meals simpler to sort out.
Yes, Stack is a legitimate company. The cards are issued by the Peoples Trust Company, which is a CDIC member, so your funds are insured up to $100,000.¹
Stack says that it is “totally fee-free,” so this could have been kind of a short section.³
There are still some numbers to watch out for, though, as you can see here. Prepaid cards tend to have maximum amounts that you can hold on the card, and spending and withdrawal limits too.
Note that these apply to the physical card. Before that’s activated, you can use a virtual card with lower limits. Also, the below is only a selection of the most notable limits – the Stack website has the full list.⁴
|ATM withdrawals||$0 (ATM provider may charge fee)|
|Foreign transactions fee||$0|
|Maximum card balance||$20,000|
|Maximum load amount (direct deposit)||$8,000|
|Maximum loads per day / month||4 / 20|
|Maximum ATM withdrawal per transaction / daily / monthly||$500 / $1,000 / $2,000|
|Maximum ATM transactions per day||2|
|Maximum POS transaction amount per transaction / daily / monthly||$2,500 / $5,000 / $20,000|
|Maximum POS transactions per day||15|
|Maximum daily spend and withdrawals combined||$5,000|
It’s worth looking through those numbers. If you’re planning to withdraw a lot of cash using this card the ATM limits might be worth bearing in mind.
Until February 1, 2022, Stack doesn't charge foreign exchange fees. However, from that date on, those fees are 2.5%. If you spend at least $350 on your card monthly, you’ll still get FX fees reimbursed, up to $1,000 monthly.⁵
It’s easy to get the Stack Mastercard working. You can sign up online – you’ll need to confirm your identity but you won’t need to do anything that affects your credit score.⁵
Then it’s a matter of using the app. You can start off with a virtual card but you’ll get a physical one too. As it’s a Mastercard, you can use it very widely, including online.
The lack of fees is Stack’s main plus point – it could be a good option if you just want to minimize the fees you accrue when spending money. Free ATM withdrawals in particular is very useful if you do use a lot of cash. Plus, the extra app features could help with saving and budgeting.
The free foreign transactions deal, ending in February 2022, is great too, but from then on you’ll need to be spending $350 each month on the card if you want to claim that back. If that fits with your plans then great; if not then Stack loses a little bit of value as a prepaid travel card.
What about Stack’s rewards scheme – is that a pro or a con? Of course, any reward is potentially a pro. But it’ll be important to check to see what deals are currently valid with Stack – it’s not as simple as knowing you’re always going to get, say, 1x points every time you go to a restaurant. And unless you use the brands that Stack has its deals with, you may not end up gathering many rewards after all.
Being a prepaid card is also either a pro or a con, depending on how you look at it. If you don’t qualify for credit cards, it’s a huge pro, because you’ll still likely be eligible for it. But the downside is that you don’t build up a positive credit rating through repaying your bill each month. So ultimately it depends on your own financial situation.
Who are Stack’s competitors? There are at least two more Canadian fintech companies in that category: Koho and Mogo. Both are prepaid Visas with few fees, although Koho also offers a Premium version. Koho gives you points on all your spending, so has arguably a more extensive rewards scheme. Mogo, meanwhile, gives you rewards in the form of tiny amounts of bitcoin, and also plants a tree every time you use the card.
The best prepaid cards in Canada also include cards from CIBC and BMO. If credit history is an issue, don’t forget about secured credit cards too – if you can afford an initial deposit, the Home Trust Secured Visa or Refresh Financial Secured Visa could help you build up a good credit score.
Alternatively, there are plenty of no-fee credit cards out there too, including the Green Card and SimplyCash from American Express, MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus, and Tangerine Money-Back.
Want to spend in different currencies? Meet Wise and save your money.
If you’re planning to spend in different currencies, have a look on what Wise has to offer. The Wise card is 4x cheaper than banks for spending abroad..
You won’t have any hidden 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 many other cards, there are no monthly or annual charges, nor any minimum balance requirements.
- Stack Rewards
- Stack Support: Fees… What fees?
- Stack Support: Card Limits and STACK Cardholder Agreement
- Stack Sign Up – Note
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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