what if your credit card provider goes bankrupt?

It's not your problem.

  • ​Unlike a bank which holds your money as deposits, a credit card provider does not have any of your money.
  • However, if the provider does go out of business, you still have to make any outstanding payments. 

If a provider went bankrupt, its credit card business would likely be taken over by another company, with no interruption of your service.

  • You may realize you don't like the new provider and decide to switch. 
  • You might be inconvenienced if you had to apply for another card (even more so if you were caught between jobs when applying or if your credit history deteriorated since you got your old card). 

Login online regularly to monitor your transactions. Check for unexpected charges from your bank. If you see any, call your bank and inquire.

If you card is stolen or you notice transactions that are not yours, call your provider immediately. They require you call within 24 hours if your card has been stolen or if you suspect it has been misused.

  • The number to call is on the back of your card – it's a good idea to have a photo of the back of your card in your phone, just in case. 

  • If you don’t have your card, find a general customer service number online, call it, and ask to be redirected to 'lost / stolen cards'.

  • The bank will likely investigate and will want to ask you a few questions. If you did nothing wrong and did not share you card or its number, you should not be held responsible for transactions that are not yours (some banks may still hold you responsible for the first $50 lost).​

  • What can you do to reduce your risk of fraud on your credit card?

What are your options if you accumulate credit card debt you can't repay?

keep up with

your credit card

​​​​​​​​​set up your credit card

When your card arrives, unglue it and read the back of the paper to which it was attached. Read everything in the envelope as well.

  • Confirm your card has the features you expect.

  • Check your monthly purchase limit. 

  • Activate the card online or by phone - follow the instructions on the paper.

Set up your PIN 
(personal identification number). If your card is from the same bank as your chequing account, it's PIN may be the same as your debit card's. If it's not, or your card is from another bank, you’ll have to go to the bank / one of its ATMs and set a different PIN. 

Sign your credit card.
You'll still be able to use it if you don't, but it's easier for a thief to use your unsigned card if they can put their signature on it.

Register online to monitor your credit card account.

  • If your credit card is from the same bank as your chequing account, you should be able to see both on the same online banking page where you monitor your chequing account. If it's not there automatically, follow the instructions to link them so you can see both.

  • If your credit card is from a different bank / provider, you'll need to register your card on the provider's website to set-up your online access. You'll have to provide your card's number, expiry date, the three-digit code on the back of the card, and some personal information.  You'll choose a password and may be asked to set up security questions in case you forget it (like the name of your first pet, favourite teacher, or your mom’s maiden name).

Login online and set up email / text alerts. It's good to have alerts that notify you when you're getting close to your credit card limit and when large transactions go through successfully.

While you're online, automate your credit card's monthly payment. You'll be paying your credit card balance from your chequing account.

  • Automating the monthly payment in full is really important as it helps you make payments on time and use your credit card to build, rather than destroy, your credit history.

  • Follow the instructions to set up pre-authorized monthly payments. Make sure to choose ‘full balance’ to be paid.

  • If your credit card is with a different provider than your chequing account, you'll need to share your chequing account's banking/account information with your credit card provider first, to set up payments correctly. 

  • Make sure your pre-authorized debit instructions have been saved.

Protect yourself from going over your credit card limit.

  • Call the toll free number on the back of the card and ask for an ‘over-limit pad’. It stops any purchase you make that would exceed your card’s limit - this prevents unexpected over-limit fees and interest charges.

  • Not all banks / providers offer this feature, but you won’t find out unless you call and ask​.

when your credit card is set up

Don’t share your PIN,don’t write it down, and don’t allow anybody to use your card.

Unless you have to, don’t use your Canadian dollar credit card abroad. The provider will likely not give you a favourable exchange rate and there may be additional charges.

  • Instead, exchange Canadian dollars for the foreign currency at a better rate (check the rate offered by your bank and a few others) and, if possible, load the money onto a prepaid credit card before you go abroad.

You can ask for a limit increase after a few months of making timely payments, if you find your limit insufficient for larger purchases - like text books. 

  • If you're confident you can manage two cards, apply for a second card and deliberately keep a low limit on it.  Use it for transactions where the risk of fraud may be higher (online, tap, or a lesser known seller).