Credit cards 101

All credit cards

Credit cards 101.

Whether you’re a new cardholder or trying to get a handle on your finances, it helps to know the basics. Here are our tips for using your credit card wisely.

Building your credit score.

A credit card is often how people start to build their credit score and history. Yet, our account managers often hear from members who had cards for years but learned the wrong habits. Get on track with these must-knows.

Building good credit history.

To build your credit history, you need to use your credit card and make payments on time. Sounds simple enough but spending up to your limit can also work against you too.

Just because you have a limit doesn’t mean you should use it all.

We know, it’s counter intuitive. We give you a maximum limit but you may not know it’s bad for your credit score if you use it all. This is how it works with all credit cards but there are ways to manage it.

The rule of thumb is to use up to 30% of your credit limit.

It’s ok to use more than that from time to time. If you find you’re exceeding 30% more often than not, you have some options:

  • Ask for an increase on your credit card limit
  • Pay off a portion before your statement cycle ends so your statement balance is around or less than 30% of your credit limit

Having a credit card that you don’t use could be good or bad.

You may have heard people tell you that it doesn’t hurt to just get a credit card anyway.

An unused credit card may affect your overall credit utilization positively. For example, if you had only one credit card with a limit of $1,000 and you use $500 every month, your utilization is 50%. If you get another card with a $1,000 limit but don’t use it, your utilization is now 25% (500/2000).

An example of how this come become a bad thing is if the issuer closes you card due to inactivity and your utilization may suddenly jump up.

You can get a credit card with no credit history or if you want to rebuild your credit.

A secured credit card is available to those with no credit history or a low credit score. You can choose any of our enviro Visa credit card options for your secured credit card. It will look and function like a regular card, with the same benefits such as no monthly fee options and Vancity Rewards points.

Know and manage your credit limit.

Your current credit limit can be found on your enviro™ Visa* statement and is also available when you log in at Manage my Visa card. Remember to manage your spending by staying below the credit limit. Consistently spending close to the credit limit has a negative impact on your credit score. If you spend above the credit limit, a $25 fee will be charged.

To set up alerts when you're approaching your credit limit:

Go to "Manage alerts" in Manage my Visa card you can turn on this alert.

To review or change your credit limit:

Call us at 604-877-4999 or 1-800-611-8472 (toll-free).

Pay your balance on time.

If you don't make at least the minimum payment on time, we may limit the use of your credit card. To make it easy for yourself, set up automatic payments on your enviro Visa account, so you’ll never have to worry about paying additional interest due to a late or missed bill payment.

Making your payments on time builds a good credit, which you may need to get a cell phone, cable, internet and in some cases, to rent a home or get a job.

Try to pay your balance in full. If you’re only able to pay a portion of your balance, pay as much as you can. Even a small amount more than the minimum payment can make a big difference.

Are you regularly only paying a portion of your balance?

Talk to us at 604-877-4999 or 1-800-611-8472 (toll-free) about a low-interest rate enviro Visa card or other possible options.

Understand when and how interest is charged.

For purchases that appear on your statement for the first time, you won’t be charged interest if you pay the entire balance in full by the payment due date, which is 21 days from your last statement period. If you don’t pay the balance in full, interest will be charged starting from the first transaction date of each purchase.

For cash advances, cash-like transactions, and balance transfers, you’ll be charged interest right away, starting from the date of the transaction.

Your interest rate appears on your enviro Visa statement. Interest rates on Vancity enviro Visa cards are the same for purchases, cash advances, balance transfers and Visa cheques.

Learn more about how interest works

Customize your card and set up alerts.

With card controls and alerts, you can set restrictions and receive automatic emails or text messages about activity on your credit card, so you can better manage your transactions.

Within Manage my Visa Card you can:

  • Lock or unlock your card
  • Set a maximum spend limit per transaction
  • Limit where your card can be used by shopping category or by country
  • Receive alerts for any of these controls

Learn about card controls

Within online banking, you can choose to receive any or all of these alerts:

  1. Outside Canada
    When a foreign transaction (including cash withdrawals) occurs, or when a purchase is attempted in a location you’ve blocked
  2. Purchase amount
    When a purchase over a set amount, which you can specify, is made on your account
  3. Online/phone transactions
    When your account is used for a transaction online or over the phone
  4. Cash withdrawal
    When a cash is taken out of your account from an ATM
  5. Transaction declined
    When a transaction on your account is denied, including those declined due to card controls
  6. Remaining credit limit
    When your avaiable credit is equal to or less than an amount you specify

Learn how to set up alerts

Give us a call

Card Services 24/7

Metro Vancouver: 604-877-4999

Toll-free: 1-800-611-8472

Apply now

Metro Vancouver: 604-877-7000

Greater Victoria: 250-519-7000

Toll-free: 1-888-826-2489

Report a lost or stolen card

Metro Vancouver: 604-708-7810

Toll-free: 1-888-990-9691

International toll-free: IAC-800-500-0707-0
(IAC = International Access Code, varies by country