Written by:  HOME TRUST

One of the dilemmas many people face when applying for credit for the first time is that lenders want to see that you have a good track record handling credit. The problem is, how you can you demonstrate that you can effectively manage credit if you’ve never had credit extended to you before?

In a similar manner, those with past credit issues but who have been working hard to resolve previous difficulties, also find being approved for credit to be a challenge. Even though these past issues may have resulted from things out of the borrower’s control such as a prolonged illness or job loss, past credit problems can prevent many individuals from being approved.

In fact, even a less-than-stellar credit history can have a tremendous impact on your financial well-being. Common credit situations such as car loans or mortgages that many take for granted, can be out of reach if your credit history is a bit rocky. Even if your credit score is just average, you may be approved for additional credit, but you could very well be forced to pay a higher interest rate to account for the perceived increase in risk. Over the life of a mortgage, for instance, this could result in tens of thousands of dollars in extra costs.

Clearly, having a good credit history has tremendous advantages but how do you go about mending past credit issues when you no longer qualify for credit? One of the most common ways is to use a secured credit card. Here’s how it works.

Unsecured Versus Secured Credit Cards

Before we get into the mechanics of how a secured credit card can help repair your credit history, let’s first explain what we mean by a “secured” credit card. While there are a multitude of credit cards out there all offering various incentives and benefits, all credit cards fall into one of two major categories – secured and unsecured. Unsecured credit cards are the most common type of credit card and this is what most people tend to think of when referring to a credit card.

An unsecured credit card is not tied to any form of collateral and by charging goods or services to the credit card, you are essentially borrowing money from the card issuer. Amounts charged to the credit card must be paid back based on the terms you agreed to when you accepted the credit card.

However, a secured credit card is backed by collateral – typically in the form of a cash deposit – that you provide to the secured credit card issuer. If you fail to make the required payments, the card issuer will deduct from these funds to recover their costs.

The Home Trust Secured Visa

The Home Trust Secured Visa credit card is available with credit limits equivalent to the amounts of the security deposit provided; from a minimum of $500 up to a maximum of $10,000. Applicants can select from two interest rate options – the Low-Rate Option carries an interest rate of 14.9% on all unpaid balances and has a $5 monthly ($59 annual) fee. The No Annual Fee Option, as the name suggests, does not have an annual fee but it carries a higher interest rate of 19.99% on unpaid balances.*

Not only can you make purchases with your Home Trust Secured Visa card anywhere Visa is accepted, you can also access cash from over one million ATMs around the world. Simply look for the Visa or Visa Plus logo and you can quickly and easily withdraw cash from your account. Note that additional fees apply for these services – please refer to the Home Trust Secured Visa webpage for full details.

Rebuilding Your Credit History

The Home Trust Secured Visa credit card is a highly effective way to repair past credit history. Because it is secured by a deposit, virtually all applications can be approved, so even if you’re recovering from a bankruptcy or a consumer proposal, you can still enjoy the convenience and benefits of a Visa credit card.

Home Trust reports the monthly status of your account to both Equifax and TransUnion, and providing these credit bureaus with updated credit activity is key to repairing your credit. With a Home Trust Secured Visa card, and by paying monthly balances in full and on time, you will accelerate the process of rehabilitating your credit score.


* Fees are subject to change at any time. All fees quoted are accurate as of the time of writing.


Bank of Canada Announces Rate


By Andy Blatchford


OTTAWA – The Bank of Canada is holding its trend-setting interest rate at 0.5 per cent but it’s keeping a watchful eye on “significant uncertainties” that it warns could alter the economy’s improving trajectory.

The central bank’s scheduled rate announcement Wednesday arrived as Canada tries to assess the direction of U.S. economic policy under President Donald Trump and the potential fallout from any changes he may bring.

The bank has said some U.S. proposals, which include tax cuts, a border tax and protectionist policies, would have “material consequences” for Canadian investment and exports.

In an unusually short statement Wednesday, the Bank of Canada used slightly stronger language when referring to U.S. uncertainties than it did in the news release that accompanied its last rate announcement on Jan. 18.

At that time, two days before Trump’s inauguration, the bank indicated that “uncertainty about the global outlook is undiminished, particularly with respect to policies in the United States.”

On Wednesday, the statement did not specifically mention the U.S. uncertainty.

“The bank’s governing council remains attentive to the impact of significant uncertainties weighing on the outlook,” the release said.

In explaining the decision by governor Stephen Poloz’s council to stick with the current interest rate, the bank said that improvements seen in recent data releases have been consistent with its projections.

The central bank also expects growth in the fourth quarter of 2016 _ as measured by real gross domestic product _ might come in slightly stronger than predicted because of recent consumption and housing data releases. Statistics Canada is scheduled to release those GDP figures Thursday.

On the downside, however, the bank said Canadian exports continue to face competitiveness challenges while the job market has seen weaker growth in wages and hours worked.

For inflation, the bank said it’s looking past January’s surprisingly robust headline figure of 2.1 per cent. It said the number was a result of a temporary jump caused by higher energy prices that were largely tied to the implementation of carbon-pricing policies in Ontario and Alberta.

The Bank of Canada was widely expected to leave its benchmark interest rate untouched Wednesday, particularly with so much uncertainty surrounding the policy direction of the country’s largest trading partner.

Analysts were hoping to learn more about the bank’s thinking when it comes to potential U.S. policy changes, but the brief statement offered few details.

The Bank of Canada has yet to factor in the full range of economic policies expected under Trump.

In January, the bank cautioned that its outlook only accounted for the possible effects of the expected U.S. fiscal boost.

On the positive side, it said at the time that fiscal expansion in the U.S. would be a positive for Canada through increased foreign demand. But it added that Trump’s vow to cut corporate taxes would threaten Canadian competitiveness.

Trump has also pushed for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, though he has said the changes to the deal would only involve “tweaking.”

The U.S. proposals have created significant concerns within Corporate Canada and for the federal government.

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau will meet his new U.S. counterpart, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, for the first time. Morneau and the federal government have been trying to figure out Trump’s plans and how they may affect Canada.

Bacon-Wrapped Parmesan-Stuffed Dates



Only 3 simple ingredients create this very delicious dish. Sticky, rich dates are stuffed with quality Parmesan cheese, wrapped with smokey bacon and baked to perfection. Amazing!

Recipe courtesy of Chef Wolfgang Puck.

 What You’ll Need

  • 18 large dates, preferably Medjool, slit lengthwise and pitted
  • 18 pieces good-quality Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, each about 1 by 1/4 inch
  • 6 slices good-quality smoked bacon, cut crosswise into thirds

How to Make It

  1. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Insert a piece of Parmesan into each date. Then, wrap each date with 1 piece of bacon, securing it with a wooden toothpick. Arrange the dates 1 inch apart in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Then, using tongs, turn the dates over. Continue baking until the bacon is crisp, 5 to 6 minutes longer.
  3. With the tongs, transfer the dates to paper towels to drain, carefully patting them dry with more paper towels. Serve immediately.