RIP Stack Mastercard: Here Are The Best Alternatives

Stack prepaid mastercard

What happened to Stack? Having unanswered financial questions can give you a headache. Which institution offers the best benefits? Which bank account is ideal for your needs? How do you save money? Which credit card should you choose? And most importantly, what to do now that your beloved prepaid card has been put to bed. The market is constantly evolving and new options emerge and present themselves to consumers all the time – which can be even more confusing! Fortunately, the Hardbacon team is here to help you find the best Stack prepaid MasterCard alternatives for your needs.

What Happened to Stack?

The prepaid credit card market in Canada is witnessing a shake-up. Notably, the Stack Prepaid Mastercard ceased to function as of September 11, 2023. Cardholders were given the heads-up a month in advance and urged to either hurry up and spend their remaining balance or request a withdrawal. Any unclaimed funds will be sent back to users via eTransfer within 45 days of the card’s deactivation.

But why is the previously loved product leaving the party so soon? Aimed at the Gen-Z and millennial demographic, it promised to upend the traditional fee structure ubiquitous in Canadian banking. However, as competition intensified, Stack’s growth stalled, and, in a twist of irony, they reintroduced the very fees they once criticized. Eventually, they were acquired by CreditSesame, a U.S. financial firm, and lost the unique edge they once had, leading to their eventual demise.

What Made Stack So Special?

Initially, the Stack Prepaid Mastercard was a big deal, championing features like zero foreign transaction fees, minimal ATM charges, and a user-friendly app. Launched in 2017, the Stack prepaid card quickly distinguished itself from everything else on the Canadian market.

Unlike traditional credit cards, the Stack Prepaid Mastercard allowed you to spend only what you had deposited onto your card, eliminating the risk of accumulating debt. This simple yet innovative feature made it a popular choice among those wanting to control their spending without taking the hit of a credit check.

Based in Toronto, Stack partnered with People’s Trust, which held over $6.9 billion in assets. But what made Stack truly exceptional were its unique features:

  • No annual fees
  • Zero conversion fees for foreign transactions
  • No ATM withdrawal fees globally
  • Exclusive member rewards and promotions
  • Access to Stack Travel with up to 20% discounts
  • Outstanding customer support through their mobile app
  • Generous referral programs

Although prepaid cards don’t contribute anything to your credit score, Stack bridged the gap between credit and debit cards, making it ideal for those without credit histories, like students and newcomers, while also appealing to travellers and savers.

The Stack Legacy On Prepaid Cards in Canada

Stack’s warm reception opened the door for other innovators to jump into the fray. Now, among all the products and services offered on the market, you’ll find more prepaid credit cards than ever before. These present new, creative and attractive options for Canadians – especially those who are underserved by traditional banks and snubbed by credit card providers. But these cards need to be understood in order to reap their full benefits.

Prepaid cards are not traditional credit cards. In fact, the money available in the account is money the consumer already had and has deposited onto their card. This means that spending doesn’t require any money to be provided by credit, but rather by using funds that already belong to the cardholder. For this reason, applying for a prepaid credit card doesn’t trigger a credit check, so everyone is likely to be able to get one. 

Prepaid credit cards have grown in popularity in Canada in recent years. This is not surprising, since they have many advantages. They work like a debit card, but with the advantages of a credit card. You can only spend the available funds (unlike a credit card), but you can shop online, rent a car, book travel, and more.

In fact, prepaid credit cards are a great option when you want to control your spending. Since the funds are yours, you have full control over how much is spent. In addition, the risk of theft is greatly reduced. In fact, once the balance is zero, the card can no longer be used and must be reloaded. Although prepaid credit cards are not new to the market, the product offering continues to increase, and so do their out-of-the-box features!

The discontinuation of the Stack prepaid card marks the end of an era in the Canadian financial landscape. Its pioneering features and benefits set a high standard for new prepaid card providers. Luckily, several have stepped up to fill the void.

The 4 Best Alternatives to The Stack Prepaid Mastercard

With Stack’s exit, many are searching for a comparable financial solution. Thankfully, there are other worthy options in Canada. These prepaid cards do not require a credit check, can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted, and can even act as your main bank account with free and unlimited daily transactions:

KOHO Prepaid Mastercard: Best alternative banking platform

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KOHO is hands down the best Stack alternative on the market right now. Everything you loved about Stack can be found here. Depending on your budget and goals, you can choose from four different account plans that range from completely free up to $19 a month. You can earn up to 4.5% interest on your balance until the moment you spend it, and get up to 6% cash back on eligible purchases with your KOHO Prepaid Mastercard.

You can open an account in 5 minutes or less and it offers other great features to boost and automate savings, build credit, control your budget, and more. If you love to travel, you’ll benefit from bonus cash back from partners like and Contiki. Looking to streamline finances with your partner? KOHO has you covered with joint accounts too.

Neo Money: best cash back program

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The Neo Money account comes with the best cash back program in Canada, but is a little more limited with its account features. Instead of tiered paid plans with progressive benefits, everyone enjoys the same great features free of charge. You’ll earn 1% interest on your balance, but you’ll rake in up to 15% cash back when you shop among 10,000 Neo partner merchants with your Neo prepaid Mastercard, with most users earning an average of 5% cash back.

Neo Money comes with an easy app you can use to manage your budget, automate savings, and stay on top of bills. Unfortunately, Neo does not offer joint accounts at this time. On the upside, you can open an account in as little as 3 minutes to start earning one of the highest cash back rates on your daily spending. Just open the app and search for Neo partners near you.

If you need to boost your credit score, Neo also offers the best secured credit card in Canada. Approval is guaranteed, there’s no credit check required, and the minimum security deposit is just $50. Plus, it comes with the same great cash back program.

Wealthsimple: best savings rate on a no-fee account

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Wealthsimple is already one of the best online investing platforms. But it also offers a cash account with a savings interest rate of up to 5% and a prepaid Mastercard that earns 1% back in cash, crypto, or stocks – your choice. Plus, this card offers no foreign transaction fees as a standard feature. This makes it a great alternative for travel lovers looking for a Stack alternative.

From the Wealthsimple app, you can enjoy all the same core benefits as a traditional chequing account with free and unlimited daily banking transactions. While you can’t open a joint account right now, this feature will be available soon.

If you want to extract even more value, consider investing with Wealthsimple, either self-direct through their trading platform or with their beloved robo-advisor. As your wealth grows, you can unlock higher interest on your savings as well as discounted management fees.

EQ Bank

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When you open an EQ Savings Plus Account, you can request a free prepaid Mastercard. The EQ Bank card is new to the scene offering 0.5% cash back on all eligible purchases and no foreign transaction fees. Your balance earns at least 2.5% interest, but you can earn 3% if you set up a direct deposit or recurring bill payment. Plus, not only are ATM transactions free, but EQ will actually reimburse you for any network fees charged by Canadian ATM providers.

With EQ bank, you can enjoy full-service banking on one platform. Open multiple accounts, including joint accounts, invest in GICs, shop for a mortgage, send money abroad, and more. If you loved the all-in-one money management features offered by Stack, you’ll love what EQ bank has in store.

A veteran of traditional media, Katherine has many years of experience in the field of communications and marketing. Her passion for words led her to take a more content-oriented path. She is the co-founder of AKCENT Agency, which specializes in digital marketing and advertising campaigns.