Best Credit Card

Saving strategies, maximizing interest rates, budgeting.

Re: Best Credit Card

Postby pmj » 28 Jun 2012 20:16

The usually-quoted 2.5% vig is the CCco's own charge on top of the ~0.5% vig at MC or Visa - so the total vig is about 3% vs about 0.5% at Amazon / Chase VISA.

So although SC's 3% cashback does approximately cancel out the total 3% vig, it's still about about 0.5% behind Amazon / Chase VISA's 1% cashback - 0.5% vig = +0.5% net.

The 3% SC cashback applies at merchants with category codes 5411 & 5541 (MCC). These codes seem to be universal across the MC empire - and there's no mention in the SC T&C of any geographic restrictions on the 3% or 1% cashback rebates.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby queerasmoi » 01 Jul 2012 20:11

pmj wrote:The usually-quoted 2.5% vig is the CCco's own charge on top of the ~0.5% vig at MC or Visa - so the total vig is about 3% vs about 0.5% at Amazon / Chase VISA.

So although SC's 3% cashback does approximately cancel out the total 3% vig, it's still about about 0.5% behind Amazon / Chase VISA's 1% cashback - 0.5% vig = +0.5% net.

The 3% SC cashback applies at merchants with category codes 5411 & 5541 (MCC). These codes seem to be universal across the MC empire - and there's no mention in the SC T&C of any geographic restrictions on the 3% or 1% cashback rebates.


I haven't checked lately but in the past I have calculated versus the interbank rate and I always arrive close to 2.5%, not 3. Let's see... on May 18th, I spent $64.46 at a Rite Aid (most of it on a gift card), and the total came out to $67.52. Exchange rate 1.0475. Yahoo says the rate was 1.0215 that day. 1.0475/1.0215= 1.0255. Although if you go with the May 17th rate of 1.0170 then you arrive at 3%.

On April 9th, I spent $82.50 US and the total was $84.44. Official rate was 0.9970. Rate I got was 1.0235, divide and that's 1.0266. The previous business day the rate was 0.9969 so about the same.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby queerasmoi » 01 Jul 2012 20:14

gsp_ wrote:
queerasmoi wrote:For big purchases like electronics, the extra .3% can be justified in terms of the extended warranty and purchase protection.


Do those benefits apply to foreign purchases?


It applied to my Google Nexus One that I bought in the US. Granted that warranty was explicitly a worldwide warranty. I don't know if it only applies when the warranty is valid in Canada.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby pmj » 02 Jul 2012 17:04

queerasmoi wrote:I haven't checked lately but in the past I have calculated versus the interbank rate and I always arrive close to 2.5%, not 3. Let's see... on May 18th, I spent $64.46 at a Rite Aid (most of it on a gift card), and the total came out to $67.52. Exchange rate 1.0475. Yahoo says the rate was 1.0215 that day. 1.0475/1.0215= 1.0255. Although if you go with the May 17th rate of 1.0170 then you arrive at 3%.

I don't often spend US$ - but from a road trip where I made several purchases during a single day I noticed that the net rate was different for each transaction - possibly reflecting the spot rate (+vig, etc). Movements of 0.5¢ to 1¢ (~0.55 to 1%) are not unusual - as can be seen on Yahoo for the 1-day and 5-day windows. Unfortunately Yahoo is no longer displaying minute-by-minute rates for May 18th - and I can't find the download link that would give the min & max rates ....

I've also seen different £ or € rates when making several transactions during the course of a day.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby queerasmoi » 04 Jul 2012 10:36

Fair enough. It's just that over the course of many transactions the total take has come out to around 2.5%, not 3%.

Of note, the 1%/3% reward is calculated before the exchange rate gets inflated.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby gsp_ » 04 Jul 2012 17:31

queerasmoi wrote:
gsp_ wrote:
queerasmoi wrote:For big purchases like electronics, the extra .3% can be justified in terms of the extended warranty and purchase protection.


Do those benefits apply to foreign purchases?


It applied to my Google Nexus One that I bought in the US. Granted that warranty was explicitly a worldwide warranty. I don't know if it only applies when the warranty is valid in Canada.


Are you saying you made an extended warranty claim to MBNA for your phone purchased in the US with your SC?


On the exchange rate issue pmj has already posted the Visa exchange rate lookup website, there's also one for MC. It's a pretty simple calculation to check their spread on any currency, divide it by 2 and then add 2.5%. Not much point in debating this stuff. AFAIK only Desjardins cards charged less than 2.5% surcharge(1.8%) until this Chase Amazon came out with no foreign currency surcharge.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby queerasmoi » 04 Jul 2012 23:26

gsp_ wrote:Are you saying you made an extended warranty claim to MBNA for your phone purchased in the US with your SC?


On the exchange rate issue pmj has already posted the Visa exchange rate lookup website, there's also one for MC. It's a pretty simple calculation to check their spread on any currency, divide it by 2 and then add 2.5%. Not much point in debating this stuff. AFAIK only Desjardins cards charged less than 2.5% surcharge(1.8%) until this Chase Amazon came out with no foreign currency surcharge.


I initiated the claim with MBNA's insurer, and they said it sounded like it should be covered, and I need to send them an itemized statement with the repair costs. However when I called HTC to request an itemized statement before I send in the phone for service, they put me on hold for 20 minutes and then said they decided to waive the charges anyway. So I didn't end up needing to make a claim, but MBNA was pretty sure it'd have been successful.

Based on the MC exchange lookup site, it seems that the spread on MC's own historical rates is only about 0.03%, or half of it 0.015%. So if we slap that onto 2.5% we get 2.515%, not 3%. So I am still not sure how you're arriving at the total of 3%, because I've never seen my purchases get billed more than about 2.6-2.65% above interbank rate.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby gsp_ » 05 Jul 2012 07:42

Thanks for the warranty claim info. Still not sure extended warranty claims apply to foreign purchases. I'd be shocked if price protection did. I don't have a SC card, I do know neither applies at Cap One.

queerasmoi wrote:
gsp_ wrote:Based on the MC exchange lookup site, it seems that the spread on MC's own historical rates is only about 0.03%, or half of it 0.015%. So if we slap that onto 2.5% we get 2.515%, not 3%. So I am still not sure how you're arriving at the total of 3%, because I've never seen my purchases get billed more than about 2.6-2.65% above interbank rate.


I never said it was 3%. I simply suggested a simple way for pmj and you to resolve your rate discussion. Earlier in this thread pmj mentioned Visa's vig as about .5% and I used his approximation as an upper bound on their vig.

Thanks for pointing out that MC's vig is considerably smaller than Visa's. For USD conversion it can pretty much be ignored it is so small. Visa rates are significantly more onerous. Today's spread is only .25% but just checking one previous date(June 29th) netted a 1.2% spread. In both cases spreads increase when dealing with less common currencies.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby pmj » 05 Jul 2012 13:52

gsp_ wrote:I never said it was 3%. I simply suggested a simple way for pmj and you to resolve your rate discussion. Earlier in this thread pmj mentioned Visa's vig as about .5% and I used his approximation as an upper bound on their vig.

Thanks for pointing out that MC's vig is considerably smaller than Visa's. For USD conversion it can pretty much be ignored it is so small. Visa rates are significantly more onerous. Today's spread is only .25% but just checking one previous date(June 29th) netted a 1.2% spread. In both cases spreads increase when dealing with less common currencies.

When I checked the VISA vigs a couple of months ago for my original post I looked at US$, £ and HRK - IIRC all the vigs were 0.3##% to 0.4##%, with variations over different dates - so I rounded-up to 0.5% - this is the source of the quoted 0.5% vig.

I checked this again - VISA's vig for US$/C$ for July 5th was 0.120%, and for July 2nd it was 0.132%. For May 1st - approx when I previously checked - the vig was 0.376%. It's true that the MC vig for the date just checked is lower - I didn't check the MC vig for any other dates. Maybe VISA is responding to competition / complaints :shock:.

It was hard to find the MC page - I eventually found it via a Bank of Ireland page which hinted that EU authorities have been involved in requiring that this info be published. FWIW, my UK VISA debit card has a declared charge of 3% - which seems to be the norm there.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby Bylo Selhi » 26 Jul 2012 14:52

A question for those of you who got the Amazon credit card: What was your initial credit limit?

My card arrived a few days ago with a $2,000 limit. My other VISA and MC cards each have limits an order of magnitude higher than that.

My credit rating is "R1-Paid as agreed" based on a report that arrived yesterday so I don't understand why only $2,000. I intend to use the card in Europe to pay for travelling expenses in € so I need a higher limit. (Yes, I know I can prepay before I leave so that my balance never exceeds $2,000.)

The only possible rub in my credit erwport is it lists about a dozen cards that I haven't used in years. Most of those cards show "cancelled" but one or two are still considered active like the Sears card that I last used (according to the report) in 1993. Should I try to get that stuff corrected?

Incidentally if you want to get current credit reports conveniently and for free, according to a comment in How to get access to your credit report:
With regards to credit reports sent in the mail, there is an easier way that I have personally used and advised my clients of.

You can call Equifax (1-800-465-7166) and TransUnion (1-800-663-9980) directly. They both have an automated system where you answer identifying questions. The process takes less than five minutes and they will send you a copy of the credit report in the mail.

You avoid having to send in identification at all.

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I called both last week. The phone systems were relatively easy to use and, of course, there was no need to send in copies of ID and statements. The TU report has already arrived. Presumably the other is on its way.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby pmj » 26 Jul 2012 18:34

Mine came with $7k - which was a little more than I'd expected for an instant-approval application. I have several cards related to low-interest balance-transfer offers that I use only when another such offer turns up - they all have $10k+ limits. I have no idea what my credit reports say.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby zinfit » 26 Jul 2012 18:45

My CIBC Drivers Edge has a 20k limit. They sent me a letter asking me if I wanted to increase the limit to 25k. I have never come close to approaching the limit so I ignored this letter.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby Arby » 27 Jul 2012 17:42

Last month I cashed out my CIBC Drivers Edge points, and then cancelled the Drivers Edge Mastercard (due to the new annual fee). I switched to the CapitalOne Aspire Cash World Mastercard, which was recomended in this article. Based on my spending patterns, the CapitalOne Aspire was the best cashback deal for a no-fee card. It also has all the typical extra features (e.g. extended product warranty, auto rental insurance, travel insurance, etc).

So far I've been happy with the CapitalOne card. I like the online user interface on the CapitalOne website. Some neat features, such as the ability to provide travel plans online, to alert the company when you're planning to use the card away from home. The website also provides the ability to set various online alerts which will alert me via an email.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby Shine » 27 Jul 2012 22:50

Arby wrote:

I switched to the CapitalOne Aspire Cash World Mastercard


Have you used this card out of the country - Europe in particular?

Thanks
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby Arby » 29 Jul 2012 11:59

Shine wrote:Arby wrote:

I switched to the CapitalOne Aspire Cash World Mastercard


Have you used this card out of the country - Europe in particular?

Thanks


So far I've only used the card in Canada.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby fundamental » 07 Aug 2012 09:03

Trying to confirm the better "no fee, cash back" credit card for someone who spends an average of $30,000/yr on his VISA

TD Rebate Rewards VISA
- Annual Cash Back: 0.50% on the first $3000, and 1.00% on anything above $3000

CIBC Dividend VISA
- Annual Cash Back: 0.25% on the first $1500, 0.50% from $1500-$3000, and 1.00% on anything above $3000

This appears to give TD a slight edge, however TD has a maximum annual purchase limit of $25,000 and CIBC's website does not reference any similar limit.

Can anyone confirm CIBC's annual purchase limit (if any)?
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby Shakespeare » 07 Aug 2012 09:32

Just applied for my CIBC Dividend online. Will cancel my Aerogold when application is accepted.
Bye-bye Aeroplan. I just went over 45000 (45005) and booked next year's Hawaii flight.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby fundamental » 07 Aug 2012 09:51

Shakespeare wrote:Just applied for my CIBC Dividend online. Will cancel my Aerogold when application is accepted.
Bye-bye Aeroplan. I just went over 45000 (45005) and booked next year's Hawaii flight.


I take it from your response that the basic CIBC Dividend VISA card has no annual purchase limit for rebates?
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby Shakespeare » 07 Aug 2012 09:56

“Never appeal to a man's better nature. He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.” -- R.A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby Descartes » 07 Aug 2012 13:51

Shakespeare wrote:Just applied for my CIBC Dividend online. Will cancel my Aerogold when application is accepted.
Bye-bye Aeroplan. I just went over 45000 (45005) and booked next year's Hawaii flight.

Why did you choose this card over the MBNA Smart Cash card?
Was it the uncertainty over what TD will do with it in the future?

There is a calculator here too:
https://mbna.ca/RWDapp/home?mc=SMCACN&locale=en_CA
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby Shakespeare » 07 Aug 2012 13:58

I already have a CIBC Aeroplan card so the application was easier.

I don't like sending away copies of my tax return.

My post-retirement income also isn't high enough for the higher-paying CIBC cash-back cards.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby IdOp » 07 Aug 2012 20:20

I didn't have to send in a tax return copy to get the MBNA SmartCash card. My sense was they were eager to give them to anyone with a good credit history. In hindsight, that may have been an attempt to get more customers so they would be more valuable to an acquirer ... which turned out to be TD.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby Descartes » 08 Aug 2012 08:45

IdOp wrote:I didn't have to send in a tax return copy to get the MBNA SmartCash card.

Me neither but I am not retired and I don't know how they may vet those who do not have a reference-able employer.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby IdOp » 08 Aug 2012 12:24

Well, I joined MBNA in 2011 and since then they've been taken over by TD, so their policies may have changed and we can't be sure what they'll ask for now. That said, I think it's worthwhile for someone interested enough, to apply. If they ask for something you don't want to share, you can just walk away.

I completely understand about not wanting to send a tax return. I once applied for a PC Financial line of credit and they asked for a return (or was it three years' returns?). I politely told them to drop the application.
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Re: Best Credit Card

Postby izzy » 10 Sep 2012 20:48

I would be interested on what you guys think of this offer
http://searsfinancial.ca/CreditCards/Sa ... anges.aspx
Seems too good to be true eh?
Any idea what the catch is?
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