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Bank Vs Bank – Credit Card Edition

Our banks will either issue us credit cards or we will look into acquiring credit cards for ourselves at some time. When it comes to picking a credit card, the most important thing to remember is to understand the card you’re applying for. Since not all banks are user-friendly, we’ve collected a list of cards offered by some of our banks, along with key information to consider. We’ll focus on entry-level cards for our comparisons because most banks provide a selection of cards with various interest rates and spending restrictions. In this post, we’ll delve deeper into four different banks: Scotiabank, Royal Bank of Canada, Republic Bank and First Citizens Bank are some of the most well-known banks in Trinidad & Tobago.

  • Scotiabank (Trinidad & Tobago)

In their Credit Card Rates & Fees section, Scotiabank provides seven (7) different Mastercards and two (2) different Visa cards. The Scotiabank Mastercard and Scotiabank Visa Classic are their basic Mastercard and Visa credit cards. Their stated Annual Interest Rates (AIR) range from 26.79 percent to 27.99 percent, implying monthly payments of 2.23 percent to 2.33 percent. They do, however, provide their Effective Annual Interest Rate (EAIR), which is more accurate because it indicates how much you would owe or pay after compounding. The EAIR for both their Scotiabank Mastercard and Scotiabank Visa Classic is between 30.34 percent and 31.88 percent, which means you’ll be paying more like 2.53 percent to 2.66 percent per month if you use them. 

The yearly membership cost for each of these cards is $165, which is the lowest of all card type membership fees throughout Scotia’s cards, which range from $165 to $625. It’s worth mentioning that most banks, including Bank Of America in the United States, do not charge such fees for similar card kinds.

Both cards come with a $100 late payment fee and a $100 Over Limit Charge fee (for each time you exceed your card limit). There are also Cash Advance Fees, which can be paid at an ATM or at a bank branch. Both cards have the same charge structure, which is 3% of the Advance Minimum ($50). This equates to a $4.50 minimum cost per cash advance, with the fee increasing in proportion to the size of the cash advance.

Both cards have a minimum payback requirement of 3% of the outstanding debt, or a flat fee of $25.

Then there are costs that most people aren’t aware of, which are as follows:

  • NSF Cheque Charge (Non-Sufficient Funds) – $50.00
  • Retrieval of Items – $60.00 
  • Replacement of additional Statement – $30
  • Replacement of Sales Draft – $60
  • Replacement of Damaged/Lost/Stolen Card – $100 for Mastercard and $75 for VISA
  • Royal Bank

Royal Bank gives us an array of RBC Caribbean – Credit Cards , let’s look at their VISA Classic International. Their Annual Membership fee for the VISA Classic Card is $165.00.

Their stated annual interest rate is 25.2% which brings their monthly interest rate to approximately 2.1%, which is lower than either of Scotia’s Card offers. What they don’t state however, are all the associated fees to go along with their card. Exact information such as:

  • Late Payment Fee
  • Overlimit Charge Fee
  • Cash Advance Fee
  • Minimum Repayment Value

Are all unavailable on their site and it must be noted, these are critical pieces of information for us to paint a good picture.

Let’s take a look at one of Royal Bank’s RBC Caribbean – Credit Cards, the VISA Classic International. The VISA Classic Card has an annual membership fee of $165.00.

Their claimed annual interest rate is 25.2 percent, which translates to a monthly rate of about 2.1 percent, which is lower than either of Scotia’s Card offers. What they don’t mention are all of the additional costs that come with their card. Information that is precise, such as:

* Late Fees 

* Overlimit Fees 

* Cash Advance Fees 

* Minimum Repayment Values

Are all inaccessible on their website, and it should be emphasized that they are crucial details for us to build a complete picture. 

  • Republic Bank

Republic Bank’s credit card rates and fees are laid out in an easy-to-understand manner. The Republic Bank International Visa Classic and Republic Bank International Mastercard Class credit cards will be the center of our attention. The yearly membership costs for both organizations are $25.75 USD ($172.00 TTD). It will cost you $5.75 USD ($38.5 TTD) to replace your card. In addition, they have a monthly interest rate of 2%. (24 percent Annually). Other significant fees to be aware of are:

* Over Limit Fee: 5% of the excess amount, with a minimum of $12 USD ($80.4 TTD).

* Late fees are 3.2 percent of the minimum payment, with a minimum of $10 USD ($68 TTD).

* Cash advance fee: 3.2 percent of the advance amount, with a $5 minimum charge.

* Cash advance fee: 3.2 percent of the advance amount, with a $5 USD ($25 TTD) minimum charge.

To obtain a list of additional costs associated with their cards, you must contact the bank directly.

  • First Citizens Bank

Approximately ten (10) different VISA credit cards are available from First Citizens Bank. Our focus is on their VISA Classic credit card, which is marketed as a basic credit card for establishing credit. It is the cheapest credit card to just own, with an annual fee of $145. They have a 2% interest rate published on a monthly basis (24 percent Annually). They haven’t provided any more information on their related costs, therefore we don’t have much to go on when evaluating their credit card quality.

Remember, when you look at which bank gives you financial goods and services that work best for you it is vital to take all the facts into account.


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