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RBC and Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum…Debit Card?

This is a guest post by Clare.

When one conjures up the images of points programs and banking, usually you think of credit cards (especially Master Cards, since Visas never seem to have no-fee credit cards that are decent). It’s not very common that you see generous reward bonuses being attached to debit card programs. Shoppers Drug Mart credits this generosity (if you call it that) to their 50th year celebration.

Shoppers used to have a credit card associated with CIBC and those were the days of easy redemptions! Sadly it got cancelled but Shoppers Drug Mart is foraying into the banking industry again!

Earlier this year (January 2012 to be exact), Shoppers Drug Mart and Royal Bank of Canada teamed up to provide a debit card that gives you points. To lure you to sign up, they are giving away 50,000 Shoppers Optimum points to sign up for this debit card.

50,000 Shoppers Optimum Point is about the equivalent of $85 worth of goods at Shoppers Drug Mart or Murale (if you’re into make up). Maybe $100 if you use your points during their extra points days.  It’s nothing to sneeze at, especially for a debit card.

How to get the Cookie

In order to acquire the 50,000 points, you need to:

  • Complete two online bill payments;
  • Arrange for one payroll deposit (or another pre-authorized deposit) or pension deposit into your account; and,
  • You have to do this before November 2012.

You also get an extra 5000 bonus points (which isn’t very much, really) if you switch from another bank to Royal Bank online via their custom switch service.

What does this Chequing Account Give You?

With this card you get:

  • Unlimited debit transactions
  • It’s similar to the RBC “No Limit Banking” chequing account
  • The downside is that it is $10.95 a month
  • 1 Shoppers Drug mart Optimum point for each $1 you spend on your debit card (bill payments, mortgage payments etc. don’t count unfortunately)
  • 10 Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points for each $1 you spend on your debit card at Shoppers (which is just 2x the usual you would get paying for your goods by other means)

How to Waive the Monthly Fee

If you already have a multi-product rebate with Royal Bank, you are able to get this $10.95 waived on a monthly basis.

To qualify for a multi-product rebate, you need to have:

  • RBC credit card;
  • RBC chequing account;
  • RBC Line or Credit or Mortgage; and,
  • And an RBC investment (it could be $100 sitting around somewhere in a TFSA even).

If you already are with Royal Bank and you do have the multi-product rebate (like me), you are able to get a new card (though it would also be a new account and the old account becomes dormant) with the Shoppers Drug Mart logo on it. The card number on your debit card will stay the same.

If you really love Shoppers…

If you really love shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart, you could get an extra 15,000 points by signing up for their credit card (funny how more points are allocated to the chequing account rather than the credit card?).

With the RBC Shoppers Optimum Mastercard you get:

  • 15,000 points for signing up for this credit card;
  • 25 points for every $1 you spend at Shoppers; and,
  • 5 points for every $1 you spend elsewhere.

My thoughts

If you already have a waived multi-product rebate chequing account with Royal Bank this is a good card, especially if you want 50,000 Shoppers Drug Mart points. You just have to work a little bit to get the $85 worth of Shoppers Optimum points. To do this, you’ll have to arrange for a pre-authorized deposit (ongoing) to your account and changing your payroll deposit can be annoying. Online bill payments are easy though.

However, if you’re not inclined to pay $10.95 a month (really, who is these days in the era of no-fee chequing accounts everywhere?) for a one-time 50,000 bonus points offer and a palsy 1 optimum point for $1 spend afterwards, this might be a lot of effort for just $85 to spend at Shoppers Drug Mart. In that case, it might be better to just stick with PC Financial for free groceries and your MBNA Smart Cash card for cash back.

About the Author: Clare is a 20-something who lives in beautiful (but expensive) British Columbia and has been working on her frugal living skills and fighting lifestyle inflation. She works to expand her DIY investment knowledge and hopes to enjoy financial independence one day. She enjoys reading personal finance books, freelance writing, but not so much arithmetic.

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About the author: This is a guest post. You can read more about the author in the biography above.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Matthew Gip October 11, 2012, 12:17 pm

    It should also be noted that Sobeys has partnered with BMO Bank of Montreal to offer a no-fee chequing account. Unlimited transactions and no requirement for multi-products.

    It may not be a highly advertised at this point but has been a very good product that I use regularly.

  • Andrew F October 11, 2012, 1:23 pm

    I almost never shop at Shoppers. The markups vs. big box and grocery stores are astounding. I don’t care about the points, you pay for every last one of them (and then some) with the higher markups.

  • Steve Zussino - Canadian Coupons October 11, 2012, 3:14 pm

    The markup that you pay at Shoppers is not worth this card. Better off with a cash-back credit card with no-annual fee and take advantage of their bonus Optimum points.

    I posted on our blog how we earned over 80,000 Optimum Points by simply purchasing 40 Cadbury chocolate bars (http://www.groceryalerts.ca/shoppers-drug-mart-50th-anniversary-optimum-points-blowout/).

    In November, they usually have a gift card bonus where if you purchase a popular gift card you will earn Bonus Points (we re-did our kitchen last year and earned over 200,000 points).

  • Clare October 17, 2012, 1:30 pm

    @Matthew- Thanks for the tip! There aren’t many Sobey’s where I’m from (I think there are some from Vancouver Island). I have a feeling we will be seeing more intersectoral partnerships more and more.

    @Andrew F- That’s why I only shop on 20x the points days and only buy things that are on sale and with coupons. I agree- I wouldn’t just stroll in there willy nilly to buy things at Shoppers. I would definitely not pay for this bank card either- but it’s a good option if you already have the banking package for free. Just takes some work to set it up.

    @Steve- Wow that’s amazing!

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