Meridian Visa US Dollar Card Review

Annual Fee
First year free
$65
Max Earnings Rate
1%
Foreign Transaction Fees
1.5%
Recommended Credit Score
740 850 670 739 580 669 0 579
Good-Excellent
Eliminate conversion rates by receiving and paying your bill with a Meridian US chequing or savings account. Earn 1 reward point for every $1 spent on ALL card purchases with no restrictions.¹
  • An appealing alternative for Canadians who want to eliminate foreign transaction fees on their US-bound travels, the Meridian Visa US Dollar Card helps cardholders collect cash rewards points on every USD purchase and protect themselves with an array of insurance features. Compared to some alternative cards that circumvent foreign transaction fees, the Meridian Visa US Dollar Card is a bit more expensive—at $65 annually—but offers added value over the competition. Furthermore, the first year’s fee exemption makes it an easier choice.

    The Meridian Visa US Dollar Card comes with some solid insurance that helps it gain a leg up over its USD credit cards peers. Cardholders will appreciate trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, but also coverage for their baggage and rental car, and other peripheral benefits like 24/7 travel assistance and common carrier accident insurance. With the ability to earn flexible rewards, save on foreign transaction fees for US dollar purchases, and gain insurance coverage, this Meridian Visa US Dollar Card has a suitable place in the wallet of any regular border hopper, snowbird or online bargain hunter.

    Meridian Visa US Dollar Card Cashback Structure

    The cashback model used by the Meridian Visa US Dollar Card is simple: cardholders will earn 1 cash rewards point for every $1 they spend in USD purchases, and there is no limit on the number of cash back rewards cardholders can collect. The card does not collect cash back on purchases made in any other currency, however (remember that this could include purchases denominated in US dollars). For this reason, it’s useful for those individuals who frequently cross the border, but also those who shop online at US-based stores.

    Most competing Canadian US Dollar cards don’t offer rewards or cash back of any kind. But those eyeing the card for its exemption from foreign transaction fees should know that there are some other options to consider: Both the Rogers Platinum and World Elite Mastercard earn enough cash back on USD purchases (3%) to make up for their 2.5% foreign transaction fee; other cards, like the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card, waive foreign transaction fees completely *and* earn rewards points on foreign currency purchases to boot.

    Travel Insurance

    A big highlight of the Meridian Visa US Dollar Card is its great insurance suite, which is nonexistent among peers in the same category, such as the BMO US Dollar Mastercard or the Scotiabank ® U.S. Dollar VISA* Card. Meridian Visa US Dollar Cardholders will enjoy trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage insurance, and common carrier accident protection along with auto rental collision and damage protection as well.

    Feature Breakdown

    • $65 annual fee (no fee the first year)
    • Earn 1 cash reward point for every $1 spent in USD
    • Redeem cash back whenever you like
    • Insurance: lost or delayed baggage, trip interruption, trip cancellation, common carrier accidents, rental vehicle damage and collisions
    • 24/7 travel assistance
    • Purchase protection and extended warranties

    Always-available travel assistance is great for those individuals that find themselves facing challenges while traveling, while Visa’s zero liability policy helps protect cardholders against fraud. Additionally, though extended warranties (up to another year) and purchase protection (90 days’ damage and theft coverage on new items) are expected, they’re still very appreciated.

    Drawbacks

    One of the biggest drawbacks that handicaps the Meridian Visa US Dollar Card is simply that points cannot accumulate on non-USD purchases. In Canada, this makes the card much less useful than it would otherwise be, so if you don’t frequently go the US then the card might be a detriment rather than a boon. After the first year, for instance, it might be difficult to pay $65 for a card that grants no rewards in your home country.

    Who’s the Card For?

    People who frequently find themselves in the United States, whether for business, vacation or for a shopping trip, will enjoy the Meridian Visa US Dollar Card. It circumvents 2.50% foreign transaction fees and even adds extra earnings on top which can be used against one’s statement or on merchandise, gift cards, travel, events, and more. Add in a nice set of insurance benefits and a first-year annual fee exemption, and the card becomes even more worthwhile.

    Interested applicants should know before applying that a credit score of over 780 is recommended, although there is no annual income requirement (unusual given the high credit score demanded). And the product, like all Meridian cards, is not currently offered in Quebec.

Author Bio

GreedyRates is Canada’s go-to resource for all things personal finance. Our expert articles and videos cover every topic under the financial sun, including credit cards, credit scores, loans, bank accounts, budgeting, investing, RSPs, TFSAs, GICs, taxes, and more. Want our advice on a personal finance issue? Send us an email at info@greedyrates.ca and we’ll gladly give you some free tips.