Stack Prepaid Mastercard review
How to earn cash rewards, manage your spending and avoid common bank and credit card fees with this Stack Mastercard.
A Stack Prepaid Mastercard allows you to track and analyze your spending habits and dodge the fees, foreign exchange costs and charges per transactions commonly levied by banks and credit card companies.
What is Stack and how does it work?
Stack is a company based in Toronto that offers a prepaid credit card and an app to help you manage your spending. You load money onto your Stack Prepaid Mastercard and then use it to buy things in the same manner you would use a debit card or regular credit card. Bear in mind, you can only spend what you have loaded onto the card. In this sense, the Stack Prepaid Mastercard is more like a debit card than a credit card because you can’t spend money you don’t have.
When you use the Stack Mastercard, you are eligible to receive cash back rewards and discounts at various partner brands in Canada.
Here’s the step-by-step rundown:
How much does Stack cost?
Stack‘s big value proposition is the cost savings. You don’t pay fees in the same way you do for many travel reward or cash back credit cards. The annual fee is $0. Also, you’ll pay a $0 fee to withdraw money at an ATM (important note: you will still have to pay the fees the ATM company itself charges) and you won’t pay an extra fee to buy things in a foreign currency (your purchases are converted to Canadian dollars using the Mastercard exchange rate).
What are the benefits of using this Stack Mastercard?
- Save on common bank and credit card fees. With Stack you can avoid many fees common to banks and credit card companies. That said, you will likely need a bank account somewhere to store the money you use to fund your Stack Prepaid Mastercard, so you will still be on the hook for fees associated with that institution.
- Save on travel. A lot of banks and credit cards charge an extra fee to process foreign currency transactions. They may also charge extra fees to pull foreign currency out of an ATM. On the other hand, Stack charges a 0% foreign transaction fee and a $0 fee to use ATMs.
- Track and analyze spending. The Stack app tracks all your purchases and analyzes where and what you are spending your money on. This feature may not be as appealing to those experienced and disciplined in the art of budgeting.
- Digital wallet. Make purchases in-store from your mobile device. Stack supports digital wallets like Samsung Pay and Apple Wallet.
- Perks. Discounts at well-known brands. Cash credited back to your account when you make purchases at partner brands. You may also be able to earn a bonus (like $15.00) every time you refer a friend.
- Build savings. Stack offers a round-up feature that lets you tack on a predetermined amount to every purchase that goes straight to your savings.
What to watch out for
- Not a bank. You can’t visit a branch in person and Stack doesn’t provide all the services of a major bank.
- Doesn’t help your credit score. Using a prepaid card doesn’t help you build your credit and you have to keep re-loading funds in order to use the card. Check other credit cards that are designed to help you build credit here.
Stack‘s big pitch is that it doesn’t charge the fees that many other financial institutions do. The annual fee is $0. Besides that, it offers unlimited transactions, a 0% foreign transaction fee and a $0 ATM withdrawal fee. Stack also provides instant cash back rewards and discounts from several partner brands in Canada.
Stack‘s round-up feature can help you save money if you typically make a lot of transactions each month and you can cut down on foreign exchange fees if you travel extensively outside of Canada. Of course, there are ways to avoid some of the fees Stack purports to save – for example, maintaining a high balance in your bank chequing account or using a credit card that doesn’t charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees – without adding yet another card and app into your life. For this reason, some people may feel signing up for Stack is not worth the time it takes to use the app and load the card with money on a regular basis.