One of the hidden gems in the Canadian rewards card space is now closed to new applicants. A statement posted on Amazon.ca says the application for its Amazon.ca Rewards Visa card is no longer available:
As of April 3, 2017, we are no longer accepting applications for the Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card and there is no other way to get the card at this time.
For customers who applied before April 3 and your Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card application was approved, Amazon.ca will send you a welcome email and will automatically add your Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card as the default payment card for any purchases on Amazon.ca. You will receive your paper Cardmember Agreement and physical card in the mail within two weeks of being approved. After that, you can use your card to make purchases wherever your Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card is accepted.
If your application wan’t approved, you may be advised that you need to call Chase Cardmember Services to provide some additional information for your application. Otherwise, you will be informed of your application status after Chase has completed its review process, usually within 2 to 4 weeks after applying.
Amazon.ca Rewards Visa by Chase
The Amazon.ca Rewards Visa by Chase was unique in that it did not charge a fee when converting foreign currency purchases back to Canadian dollars. Nearly all Canadian credit card issuers charge 2.5 percent foreign currency transaction fees. This feature made the Amazon.ca Rewards Visa a popular choice for those who travel to the U.S. and abroad or shop online and deal in foreign currency.
While this news is sad for anyone that may have been interested in signing up for the Amazon.ca Rewards Visa, it’s also troubling for existing cardholders who are left wondering about the fate of their go-to card for foreign transactions and Amazon.ca spending.
Curious as a cardholder myself I logged-in to the Chase website and was surprised to see Scotiabank notifications on the home page.
Back in late 2015 Scotiabank bought from Chase what (at the time) was believed to be just its Sears MasterCard portfolio. Some recent activity from those 2 million cardholders suggest they will be transitioned to a new card called the Scotia Momentum MasterCard as of June 1st, 2017.
Could it be that Scotiabank also bought the Amazon.ca Visa portfolio from Chase? I called the number listed on the back of my Amazon.ca Rewards Visa, as well as a different number I found online under ‘Account Services’. Both numbers led to a Scotiabank call centre, but it was after hours and no representative was available.
The Chase.ca website didn’t provide any additional information. Indeed, the Amazon.ca Rewards Visa application seems to be closed. No word on whether its only other rewards card offering – the Marriott Rewards Premier Visa card – is also closed to new applicants.
In any case, at first blush this looks like Chase will be exiting the Canadian credit card market and handing over the reigns to Scotiabank. And that doesn’t bode well for existing Chase cardholders.
*Update from Scotiabank*
After another phone call to the call centre, where I asked whether I was calling Chase or Scotiabank, the agent admitted that it used to be a Chase call centre but it was purchased by Scotia in 2015, along with a number of other credit card assets.
I reached out to the Scotia credit card team and this is what they had to say:
Scotiabank acquired the MasterCard and private label credit card portfolio and the related credit card operations from JPMorgan Chase, formerly associated with Sears Canada Inc. The acquisition did not include the Amazon portfolio from Chase or the Marriott Visa portfolio.
Our acquisition also included the acquisition of JPMorgan Chase’s credit card operations in Canada, including a highly-skilled bilingual call centre in Ottawa with fraud, collections, recovery and customer service expertise. Through that call centre, we are now servicing the customer base of JPMorgan Chase’s other cards in Canada.
Operators are trained to recognize Scotiabank customers and other JPMorgan card holders by the incoming call and to answer the phone with a greeting tailored to that call. In this instance, the operator made a mistake with his or her greeting to you.