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Top Cash Back Credit Cards in Canada for 2015

After you guys gave me your favorite credit cards, I did a little research and came up with what I think are the best free cash back cards in Canada.  With rewards points constantly depreciating in value, sometimes it’s best to get cold hard cash back.

Here are the contestants for the coveted title of The Top Cash Back Credit Card in Canada (all with no annual fee – updated January 2015):

MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard® (editors top pick)

  • 5% cash back on all of your gas and grocery purchases for the first 6 months;
  • 2% cash back on gas and grocery purchases thereafter (up to $400/month spending);
  • And, you’ll always earn 1% cash back on all of your other qualifying net retail purchases (up to $1,250/month spending**);
  • Enjoy free online access to your credit card account;
  • And, with no annual fee and free additional cards you’ll start to see the benefits right away;
  • Once your cash back totals at least $50 at the end of a monthly billing cycle, they’ll automatically mail you a cheque – it’s that simple;
  • Car Rental Insurance;
  • Purchase Protection – 90 days insurance in case of theft or damage; and,
  • Extended Warranty – doubles warranty up to 1 yr.

**I recommend that once you obtain the Smart Cash card to upgrade to the free Smart Cash World card by calling or upgrading within your MBNA online login (Account Services).  This will eliminate the $1,250 spending cap on the 1% and add Price Protection insurance. The insurance will pay you back the difference if you find a lower price on a purchase within 60 days.

Big gas/grocery spender? If you spend more than $470/month in gas groceries, then the Scotia Momentum Infinite Visa which returns 4% on gas/groceries will return more than the Smart Cash even after the $129 annual fee (for two cards). The Scotia card also offers 2% return on drug store purchases and recurring payments and 1% on everything else. More info here in my Scotia Momentum Infinite Visa review.  Limited time promo – annual fee waived for the first year.

Capital One Aspire Cash Platinum Mastercard (editors pick) (get $75 cash back when signing up for this card)

  • Earn 25% extra cash rewards every year and pay no annual fee (cap one recently removed this bonus);
  • Earn 1% cash rewards on all purchases;
  • No limit to the amount you can earn;
  • Add an authorized user for $0, and earn even more cash;
  • Car rental insurance;
  • Purchase assurance – 120 days insurance in case of theft or damage;
  • Extended warranty – doubles warranty up to 2 yrs;
  • Price Protection – find a lower price within 60 days of purchase and they will cover the difference; and,
  • Baggage delay insurance.

Royal Bank Cash Back MasterCard (editors pick)

  • 2% cash back on grocery store purchases (up to $6k spending per year, after that, reverts back to 1%);
  • 0.50% cash back on regular purchases up to $6k spending;
  • 1% cash back on regular purchases after $6k spending in a year;
  • Purchase assurance – 90 days insurance in case of theft or damage; and,
  • Extended warranty – doubles warranty up to 1 yr.

Capital One Platinum MasterCard Exclusively for Costco Members 

  • 0.50% cash back on first $3,000 in purchases;
  • 1.00% cash back on any amount over $3,000;
  • 2.00% cash back on gasoline;
  • 3.00% cash back at restaurants.
  • Car rental insurance;
  • Purchase assurance – 120 days insurance in case of theft or damage;
  • Extended warranty – doubles warranty up to 2 yrs;
  • Price Protection – find a lower price within 60 days of purchase and they will cover the difference; and,
  • Baggage delay insurance.
  • Notes: Need a Costco Membership ($55/yr), rebate is collected every January @ Costco as a gift card or cash.

Canadian Tire Cash Advantage Mastercard

  • 0.25% cash back on the first $1,500 in purchases.
  • 0.50% cash back on the next $1,500 in purchases.
  • 1.00% cash back on any amount over $3,000.
  • 1.5% cash back on purchases over $24,000.
  • Double the cash back (depending on current tier basically up to 3%) at Canadian tire stores, gas stations and Mark’s Work Wearhouse.
  • No maximum rebate.
  • Pays out rebate quarterly which is applied against your balance.

CIBC 1% Dividend Visa

  • 0.25% cash back on annual purchases up to $1,500.
  • 0.50% cash back on annual purchases from $1,500.01 to $3,000.
  • 1% cash back for net annual purchases over $3,000.
  • No maximum rebate.
  • Purchase Protection – 90 days insurance in case of theft or damage.
  • Extended Warranty – doubles warranty up to 1 yr.

Based on my Scenario, I spend around $25k / year on my credit card.  This would equate to a cash back rebate of:

  • MBNA Smart Cash (World): $298 (assuming I max out gas/groceries of $400/month)
  • Capital One: $250 (lower but best insurance package)
  • Royal Bank Cash Back: $280 (assuming max out $6k/year grocery spending)
  • Capital One Costco Mastercard: $259 – costco membership ($55) =  $204 (assuming $200/month in gas)
  • Cash Advantage: $236.25 (more if I make purchases @ CT store/gas station)
  • CIBC Dividend: $231.25


If I was looking for a widely accepted free cash back credit card with a good return, there are three contenders, the MBNA, Capital One and Royal Bank card.  They all have their own advantages.  Since Capital One recently removed their 25% bonus, it really pushed the MBNA and Royal Bank card ahead.  However, cap one still offers a stronger insurance package.

The Capital One card has a no-tier 1% return and a better insurance package (extended warranty/purchase protection, car rental insurance, price protection and baggage delay insurance).  The RBC card, which is new to the list, offers 2% return on up to $6k in grocery spending, but tiered spending on everything else (0.5% up to $6k, 1% after).  If RBC removes the tier on the 1% spending (it acts like a hidden $30 annual fee), then it could potentially float to the top of the list.

Overall though, I think the  MBNA Smart Cash Mastercard is the best cash back credit card in Canada right now and is a card that I carry in my own wallet.  It has a high return on gas/grocery spending (2% up to $400/month), offers 1% otherwise and with a decent insurance offering (purchase protection, extended warranty, and car rental insurance).  Just make sure to upgrade to the Smart Cash World (free) after obtaining the card  as it will remove the 1% spending cap and add Price Protection insurance.  Also note that as a bonus, new cardholders receive 5% return on gas/grocery spending for 6 months.  Then again, you can get $75 cash back on the Capital One card (not offered on the MBNA card), which has to be considered as well.

Any thoughts?

353 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. I have the Costco Amex card and I get about $300 back every year. Like you say, the only problem is Amex is not accepted everywhere, so it is necessary to have backup card.

  2. What a unique post! I never really thought a lot about how Canada might differ from the types of credit cards you could get. I’m going to send this to my cousin in Alberta. Good work, eh. :)

  3. PC Financial Mastercard, $25 incentive for signing up, about 1% cashback, but could be greater if you redeem PC points for movie tickets for example, which would give you about 1.25% – 1.4% cashback. Also rental vehicle insurance coverage, and free warranty doubling on product purchases, as well as the other typical types of incentives like it. No cap on reward points that I’m aware of.

  4. SavingsJourney, the PCF M/C is a great card. But the reason I didn’t include it in my list is b/c it doesn’t pay back cold hard cash. If it was just based on points, then I would pick the SPG card to be the winner.

  5. CC, looks like you made a decent choice! When you get your rebate at the end of the year, do you simply go to the service desk and get cash?

  6. 6. Ross

    there is actually a pretty good comparison of other no-fee cards at redflagdeals under the article section. I love my amex costco – especially when you pair if up with their executive membership which gives you an additional 2% rebate.

  7. That’s interesting Ross, so working out the numbers, the exec membership is $45 more than the regular which means that you would have to spend $45/2% = $2250 @ costco/yr to justify the higher cost.

  8. 8. Neil

    I don’t see the Capital One 1% Cash Back Platinum Mastercard offered on their website. The link takes me to the Capital One No Hassle Rewards Platinum MasterCard which is a miles card, not a cash rebate card. Is this card available to the general public?

  9. Neil, I think it’s in their “faq” or terms and conditions where it states that with this card you can choose the “1% cash back option” instead of points. I would call their CS before applying.

  10. 10. Investoid

    Thanks for the information! It’s sad to see how much higher US cash back cards can be (like Amex Blue).

  11. Investoid, yes, it’s unfortunate that we don’t have the competition like our US neighbors have. The Amex blue website has a pretty nifty calculator too. :)

  12. 12. nobleea


    I assume you would have to spend $2250 extra a year at Costco to make the exec membership worthwhile? But that must be hard since one would think your current purchases at Costco are already included in the 30K you charge.

  13. not precisely cash back, but for ‘feel good’, Citizens Bank of Canada visa cards donate 10¢ to your choice of Amnesty international or Oxfam Canada each time you use it. In addition, you can redeem your rewards points for RRSP contributions or term deposits.

  14. 14. just called

    Yes, you can redeem miles for cash back and get either a cheque or a credit to your account. To initiate cash back, you need a minimum of 10,000 miles, which equals $75.00.

    Sounds like it only works out to 0.75% cash back on the capital one platinum card :(

  15. 15. Sue

    I use PCF M/C. I use the points to pay for groceries at Loblaws stores. Here in Alberta, that would be The Real Canadian Superstore. I earn 1% in points. I can apply points in $10 increments ($1,000 worth of card expenditures) off my groceries as right at the checkout. Not cold, hard cash — but works like cash. Since I shop there every week or so, it works out fine. I have never redeemed points for anything else.

  16. Hi FT, thanks for the info about the SPG card. I read your review of it as well. I’m using the American Express Aeroplan Plus Gold card,,1641,19913,00.asp. I’ve been a long time Aeroplan reward miles member. Do you think that the SPG rewards system would be more beneficial, considering I typically book flights on Star Alliance airlines?

    Also off the top of your head, do you think that the Aeroplan card is less beneficial than the CIBC Aerogold, The reason I ask about this is because we’re actually in the process of switching to this car, because of the 15,000 Aeroplan reward miles incentive they offer for sign up. Strangely enough I submitted an application several weeks ago online and still haven’t heard from them. Anyway, the 15,000 miles incentive is enough for one flight to the closer U.S. states and Canadian provinces, which we do often enough.

  17. The SPG might not be your best option if you fly with the star alliance often b/c star alliance requires 30k points for the same flight that 25k would get you on aeroplan. SPG, in my opinion, is best for their hotel redemptions b/c of the no blackouts and diverse selections.

    There are good sides and bad sides to both the amex and the cibc aerogold. What’s great about the amex is the comprehensive insurance package, free supplemntary card, and extra points once you reach $10k in spending. The downside to the amex is lower acceptance than Visa in Canada. The CIBC aerogold on the other hand costs extra for the supplementary card ($50 i believe) and lacks insurance for purchases. However, Visa is widely accepted by merchants, and the aerogold offers 1.5 points for spending @ gas stations, grocery and drug stores.

  18. Yes, acceptance is a biggie for us and something I’ve definitely noticed! We have Amex and PC Financial Mastercard, so the Mastercard has been acting as our backup card for that reason mostly.

    Amex also has fantastic customer service and their security systems setup seem to be more robust, at least compared to my experience with it versus PC Financial Mastercard.

    I try to fly Air Canada first with my reward miles, then Star Alliance second if that’s not possible. Re the SPG card, hotel redemptions are nice but are they only for Starwood properties?

  19. 21. westcoaster

    I have the Canadian Tire cash back Mastercard along with other credit cards. I am now shying away from using them as it seems every one of them want your business and offer cash back, points or miles. For people who want the cash back and pay their bill on time, its a good way to get a few percent back but for those who run a balance, you really are not getting anything back. The card companies hope you always run a balance.

  20. 22. Jackboot

    I just phoned capital one – they do NOT currently offer the cashback card!

    If you google for “capital one cash back” the first result is for their cashback card – but when you click the link it brings you to their miles reward card. I was confused about wtf was going on so I just phoned and the rep confirmed that they are not offering a cashback card in Canada right now. I even took the rep through the links where it makes reference to the cashback program and she stated that was left up for customers that currently have the card and not for new signups. She said that she couldn’t even see the same info on her end because the offer wasn’t available for reps to see. Too bad – the reward is just slightly less than the CDN Tire cashback card but the Captial One offers other perks like purchase protection, extended warranty and car insurance which the CTFS card does not. Actually, the CTFS card offers a $5 / mo service which gives you purchase protection and warranty doubling up to 7 years. But that makes it a $60/year card so no deal.

  21. Jackboot, perhaps they just haven’t updated their FAQ in a while. I’m going to modify the post to indicate that this card may not be available anymore.

  22. 25. nicholas sean haydon

    I,too, had the canadian tire mastercard.If one owns a house or a condo,this card is very good indeed.My reason for cancelling it concerned the
    $5.00 monthly fee for the purchase protection and
    extended warranty.For the moment,I am using the
    rbc starbucks visa and the bmo mosaik with the .5%
    cashback option.

  23. 26. Bob Orchard

    Seems to me that the best card is the Citi Bank Driver’s Edge card. It isn’t a cash back card per say but gives a full 2% on all purchases (up to $1000 back per year). If you buy cars and most of us do then it’s just like a cash back card and it can be used for new or used car purchases. It also has other featres included like purchase protection and has no fees at all.

  24. 28. lance t

    with canadian cash back cards. do we have to declare the cash back as revenue on our income tax return.

    thx lt

  25. 29. Dimitrios P

    Hello All,

    I have a different solution.

    I use the RBC Classic II card. It has a RBC points system similar to Aeroplan to buy merchandise and plane tickets. You get 1 point for every dollar spent. It does not sound fantastic until you realize you can convert up the RBC points for Esso Xtra points to get gas. Basically,3000 RBC points converts to 5000 Esso Xtra points the is values at $30.00 free gas. If you do the math, it is 1% cash back for gas without the wait. Also, if the have the Affinity savings account, the credit card annual fee is covered.

    With gas getting more expensice, every little bit helps.

    Regards, jim

  26. 30. Martin

    I have the Citi Enrich Platinum MasterCard which is the best card for me. Here are the features. Note that this card is not available to everyone and is not on the website.

    Citi Platinum Enrich Mastercard
    *need to make $35,000 a year to get it or have a $5000 credit card limit already through Citibank*


    – no annual fee

    – ZERO LIABILITY: “should your card fall into the wrong hands, you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized purchases made in store, over the phone, or on the web. Feel safer now? That’s the idea.”

    – extra security: free photocard (your photo and signature are digitally imprinted on the front of the card; this is a free service)

    – free supplementary card(s) (by the way, supplementary card numbers are exactly the same as the number for the primary cardholder’s Mastercard; I think Citibank is the only company I know of that does it like this, and I personally think it’s nuts)

    – 1% cash back from the first dollar you spend (in other words–there’s no minimum you have to spend first) up to a max of $500 cash back (or $50,000 spent on your card per year).

    – price protection for 60 days (if you find the exact same item advertised for cheaper elsewhere, you’ll get the difference back) up to $100 difference per item (and up to a max of $500 per year). Computer hardware and software, food, cars, and pets are excluded from price protection (and you can only submit up to 3 duplicate items at once, I think; for example, if you purchase 5 duplicate shirts, you can only claim 3 for price protection on the same insurance form). You have to submit an insurance claim form each time

    – (notice it’s $500,000) travel accident and baggage delay insurance: “You receive up to $500,000 Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance coverage whenever you travel by plane, train, bus, or boat–at no extra cost–when you purchase your tickets in full on Citi Enrich Platinum Mastercard. You’re covered for up to a maximum of $500,000 for losses resulting from injuries while traveling.” If your baggage is delayed for more than 24hrs Chubb Insurance Company of Canada will reimburse the cardholder up to $300 ($100 per day your baggage is delayed for up to 3 days).

    – Car Rental Collision/Loss damage waiver : “When you charge the full cost of the car rental to your Citi Bank Enrich Platinum Mastercard, you’ll be insured up to the actual cash value of the car if it is damaged or stolen.”
    This usually saves anywhere from $10-$20 on car rentals, since you don’t
    have to pay extra for insurance.

    – Insurance from loss, damage, or theft on items purchased for up to 90 days

    – Extended Warranty (doubles manufacturer’s warranty for up to a full year)

  27. 31. kasm

    Here is a great site comparing CAsh Back credit Cards:

    American Express Gold Credit Card with Cash Back give up to 2% with no annual fee.

  28. 32. molly

    Use TD Canada trust’s rebate credit card if you spend over 3k per year you get 1 % rebate with no annual fee, and it’s a visa card which is accepted nearly everywhere.

  29. 33. zeromoney

    thanks for this post! I read your blog, but I guess I hadn’t started when you made this one.. a quick google search for “credit cards canada cash back” gave me your post right at the top of non sponsored links.

  30. 34. Detractor

    I have never experienced such extremely awful customer service until I encountered President Choice Financial. I would strongly recommend that you consider any other option in Canada before signing up with President’s Choice. It would be hard for me to imagine that any company could have customer service that is more awful than this firm.

    Their policy is that they will only give new customers a $3,000 dollar credit limit regardless of credit history, income, etc.. When I told them they were forcing me to get another card and take my business elsewhere by imposing such a low limit, their response was to ask me if they should cancel my card.

    After 5 years of paying my bill in full each month, I was late on a payment as I was out of the country. They put a block on my card and it stopped working. No one notified me, no one called me to explain what they had done and when I called them it was made very clear to me that it was my problem not theirs and they really didn’t care if it was an inconvenience for me nor were they apologetic. I immediately paid the bill in full but they continued to charge me interest for two additional months after this. They had a very complicated explanation about charging interest on the average monthly balance of a bill regardless if you paid it in full during the month. The interest charges were excessive and no where could one calculate these numbers using any common way of applying the advertised interest rate. It doesn’t take being late more than once to offset any of the free points you think you’re earning here.

    During the same time frame that they blocked my card, I received a letter from the SVP of the company telling me what I great customer I was and how I was going to be recognized with double points. I then wrote a letter to this SVP expressing my concerns and he never bothered to even reply to my letter. I tried speaking with a number of customer service reps and the common theme was they are told to be very aggressive and not to apologize for anything and they really could care less if you take your business elsewhere. That was made very clear when they were unwilling to reverse an interest charge for $1.69.

    I would rarely ever take time to post my concerns about a business but after what I experienced I think it’s really important to prevent others from having to find this out on there own. I have taken my business elsewhere and I advise you to do the same.

  31. I’m using CIBC Dividend Visa and I’m satisfied, but I’m also thinking for having also a Mastercard …

  32. You might also find this Canadian rewards credit card calculator useful. You enter your categorical spending profile and it calculates your reward with various Canadian cards. It also find the best combinations of cards for you:

  33. 37. Pinkmel

    President Choice didn’t offer cash back but redeem for free groceries. I find it the best among all credit cards.

  34. 38. Moose

    I did not see the unadvertised, but available American Express Gold card. It offers a 2% rebate on purchases, no maximum. the first 5000 spent in the year is prorated at a lower rate, but once you are over the 5k, all of your purchases will yield 2% back. They send you a cheque in January. No annual fee.
    Information about this can be obtained at
    Great card.

  35. Moose, I wrote about the AMEX 2% cash back card here as my fav cash back credit card here. However, I’ve heard that this card isn’t available anymore. Do you know any different?

  36. 40. mcmatterson

    MBNA Canada now offers a 1% non-tiered cashback with platinum benefits (purchase protection, warranty extension, rental car damage waiver, etc.) called PremierRewards. This is comparable to the Citi Platinum Enrich. There are two links for the card on their website, but only one leads to the no annual fee version. Go to “Popular Cards”.
    I have the SPG card for the signup bonuses, but I don’t travel a lot so I’ll be switching to PremierRewards.

  37. 41. mcmatterson

    Haha…didn’t see that you’d already listed that one above…sorry.

  38. mcmatterson, I actually added it yesterday after reading your comment. So thanks. :)

  39. 43. elman

    I am surprised nobody mentioned
    VISA Desjardins Elegance GOLD.
    aside from the card benefits below, its the only card I know that only charges 1.8% foreign currency conversion rate instead of the standard 2.5%
    for every card mentioned here. btw Capital One cards in Canada charges the standard 2.5% as well.

    Card features
    A rewards program that allows you to accumulate BONUSDOLLARS and exchange them against travel, gifts, tickets to shows and Desjardins products and services.
    Travel and accident insurance.
    Insurance in case of loss, theft, damage or fire for most goods purchased with your card.
    An extended warranty of up to one year on goods purchased.
    Accord D Desjardins financing, a second, separate credit limit.
    Cash advances up to $5,000 a day, anywhere in the world.
    ZERO liability in the event of unauthorized use of your card.
    Better security through chip technology.
    Other advantages

    discounts up to 20% at Hertz worldwide
    access to AccèsD to manage your VISA account online
    free access to our Travel Assistance Service
    low-cost additional card
    register for the Overdraft Transfer service to cover a cheque, bill payment, or any other transaction that exceeds the balance in your Personal Chequing Account (PCA) or any other eligible account.

  40. 44. Frank

    WARNING: Most of these cards accrue interest “on the later of: (1) the transaction date of the Purchase, or (2) the first day of the billing cycle in which the Purchase occurred. Interest Rate Finance Charges accrue daily”, and the rates are in the range of 19.99%!!

    This means a $100 purchase would cost .33 a day, and increase daily (paying interest on the interest).
    If you don’t pay the credit card company within 3 days, it is already costing you more than the 1% you get back. Lets say you wait until you get your bill, and then wait another 10 days or so (until the payment is due) for a total of about 30 days. This will cost $9.86. Instead of saving $1, you pay $8!

    If you have debts, for example a line of credit at 6%, it would be better to get a card with a grace period and pay one or two days before the due date. With a grace period, you can make a large purchase (lets say $2000) and avoid the interest you pay on that purchase for about 30 days. (save nearly $6.00)

  41. Frank, do you have paper work to support your theory? Credit cards do not work that way. You get a grace period where it is completely interest free. After that point, you will owe interest if you only pay the minimum balance. IF you carry a balance, THEN you will be charged interested from the day any new purchases.

  42. 46. Craig

    The one thing left out is with most bank credit cards, payment with online banking is easy and FREE. Thats one of the main reasons I have stuck with the CIBC dividend. Takes seconds to pay it off and no charge for transfers within my CIBC accounts.

  43. 47. peter wong

    I have the citibank enrich platinum master card and it pays 1% of any amount spent up to 50K

  44. 48. L505

    “The one thing left out is with most bank credit cards, payment with online banking is easy and FREE. Thats one of the main reasons I have stuck with the CIBC dividend. Takes seconds to pay it off and no charge for transfers within my CIBC accounts.”

    You can pay any card off for “free” if you have a ICICI HiSave Chequing account (can transfer money from your HiSave Savings Account). Alternatively you can use PC Financial Chequing account. Bill payments are free.

    Only real downside with these free chequing accounts is that you pretty much have to keep a bank account open at your other big 5 financial institution too (for emergency customer service situations where you need to talk to a real bank), which complicates your paper work a bit by having so many accounts open. But oh well, having a credit card complicates things too and it seems no way to get around complexity when it comes to saving dimes

  45. 49. cannon_fodder

    I was looking for a comparison for all cards, free and with annual fee. The calculator mentioned in post 42 does take into account a way to compare cahs back and rewards cards. Unfortunately I’m not sure it has all of the available CC in Canada since I didn’t see any of the cards I actually use.

  46. 50. newbie

    @Detractor post#40 –

    I got a $5,000 credit limit upon applying in 2005 (I actually asked for a lower limit). I didn’t even apply at a PC pavilion, just filled out an application form and mailed it in.

    My experience with them thus far has been good, can’t complain about the free cheques and no-fee banking.

    Frankly, I’ve seen clients with $10K- $20K credit limit who max out all the time and refinance their mortgages every 2-3 years to pay off those balances.

  47. 51. Ramy Y

    Regarding post 33, you do have to include such income on your tax return.
    I know it was mentioned on the Capital One website.

  48. 52. Narajin

    Capitolone Cashback also has the option of cash advancing with your cheques as if you were just using your card.

    I think thats pretty handy.

  49. 53. Narajin

    PLus MBNA premier has a $29 annual fee.

  50. 54. Jim

    Hi guys,

    Can someone comment on annual fees for high end point cards? I have a RBC Visa Infinite Avion. You can read up on it here:

    Lately, I have been second guessing whether or not the annual $120 fee is worth it. You get all these points that u can use for travel, merchandise, etc… But I am also paying $120/yr. So whatever I end up purchasing with the points I can add $120 to it! For that matter, I have had the Avion card for like 10 years ($1,200 to date in fees). Am I wasting money here???

    PS: Please read the fine print on any credit card that mentions Vehicle Rental Collision Insurance. You’ll be suprise on how many vehicles are excluded (e.g.: trucks, cargo vans, etc… Caveat emptor!).

    Thank you,


  51. 55. khai

    How about Ultramar card? It seems that you can earn up to 1.25% back.,6326,divId-2_langId-1_navCode-15959,00.html

    Does anybody have it?

  52. 56. naz

    how about the CIBC DIVIDENd credit card 2% cash back.(after $3000.00).
    no fee.
    doubles your warrenty.

  53. 57. khai

    2naz: it seems that 2% is the past. CIBC web says 1%.

  54. 58. moneytech

    Found this on RFD forum
    MBNA Smart Cash mastercard.

    It is a Platinum card. No annual fee FOREVER (not just waived in the 1st year).
    5% for gas/groceries 6 months
    afterwards 3%.

    1% cashback no cap on other purchases.

    No annual fee


    10 months for 1.99% B/T promo

    can request rebate once cashback hits $50.

    otherwise same as premier rewards platinum plus aka prp+.

    Grocery/gas vendors that gets 3% cashback.

  55. 59. drew

    Wow – what a great post – I wish it was current though.

  56. 60. Pierre

    In my opinion the best card is CITI Bank Drivers Edge Master Card, 2% dividend accumulate for upto 5 years. You can redeem for buying a car or any vehicle. No fee, and has all other coverages such as insurance, rental collision coverage etc.

  57. 61. Mr. Bubba

    Don’t waste your time with anything mentioned here for other cards.
    Simple even a dummy can figure this out:

    Get the MBNA Smart Cash Card (Canada) 1-888-876-6262 – please call them directly to obtain this card as it is not online yet for some reason.

    No annual fee – Yes exactly and no catches
    3% standard cashback on Gas and Groceries (Promo – 5% for the first 6 months) on first $600 spent per month. All major/smaller grocery chains and gas stations – no issues.
    1% Cashback on everything else no exceptions (no maximum limits).
    ex. other cards require you to spend 1st $1,000 to achieve 1% cash back but prior to 1K spend it is at 0.5% cash back or have maximum limits on 1% . Not with MBNA smart cash

    13.99% – (Promo – 1.99% on Balance Transfers for the first 10 months).
    Note: Do not transfer any amounts to this card as it not accounted for the cash back mechanism.
    If you do not pay the full balance on all your spends then this card is not for you as the monthly interest payments would then eventually outweigh your cash back stimula.

    Ex. Say you spend on groceries and gas in a month at the max of $600 then at the six month promo offer of 5% you get $30.00 per month back simple as that.
    Then if you spend $1000 that same month on any other misc charges at 1% = $10.00. Total = $40.00 cash back for one month
    You pay off the full balance when you receive the statement and your up 40 bones.
    $40 x 6 months (promo) if this is your trend then:
    Total during six month promo = $240 is collected.

    Then if the trend remains the same the remainder six months (non promo) is $18.00 per month @ 3% cashback x 6 months = $108.00.
    1% on all other purchases at 1K per month = $60.00 for remaining 6 months.
    Total after promo = $168.00

    Grand Total potential in 1st annual year ($240.00 + $168.00) = $408.00.

    Can you say book a cheap trip to Vegas just by do nothing. heh
    Say $170 per six months or $340 (annually) after promo at the same spend rate.
    By the fifth year of having this card you could potentially of obtained close to $1,700 cashback for normal spending habits.
    You know your savings rate currently is @ 0.50 or 0.75% per dollar saved.
    MBNA are actually providing a better return then your scamming banks for things you spend on everyday.

    What is also great about this card it is a MC / Paypass and accepted almost everywhere.
    You can request MBNA to send out a cheque once accumulated to each $50.00 cashback period. They pay promptly and just received the cheque two weeks ago instead of waiting for end of the fiscal year or somehow it is applied to the statement, red tape such with other cash back cards etc..

    Trust me this is best cash back card out there and if you weigh it out it is far superior then having cards for travel rewards / airmiles, other points card (PC points is ok but only good for groceries – boring). 1 airmile for $10 or $20 spent or other point systems requires you to spend like 50 to 80K before you can get a trip or high electronic merchandise out of them.

    If you make everyday required purchases at $1,600 per month (all bills that can be applied to card, gas, groceries, trips, restaurants / bars, clothing, necessities = high yield of cashback in the end.
    Thank you and show me the money.

  58. 62. Tony

    is there any US dollar credit cards with the reward issued in Canada? the BMO US air miles is one. what’s else

  59. 63. knightmastery

    Capital One’s “Cash Back Plus Platinum Mastercard with No Hassle Rewards” is the best cash card out there if you spend lots on your credit card ($30k or more). Rewards are 1% on first 10k, 1.5% on next 10k, and 2% on everything after 20k in a given year. CIBC Dividend Platinum also offers 2% cash back, but the levels are not as good and it caps rewards at $735 in a given year. Rewards for CIBC are 0.5% on first 3k, 1% on next 12k, 1.5% on next 20k, and 2% on next 15k, and no rewards after 50k of spending in a year. So for $30k spent, Capital Ones card would yeild $450 in rewards, and CIBC would yeild $360. Annual fee is better with Capital One ($59) versus CIBC ($79). With 50k spending, Capital One would yield $850, CIBC would yield $735.

  60. 64. Elbyron

    Just to add to knightmastery’s analysis:
    The MBNA Smart Cash card would pay you $444 on $30k spending (assuming $600 or more is spent each month on gas/groceries, and not counting the sign-up bonus). However, this card has no annual fee. The 2% Capital One card costs $59/year, so when you factor that in then the net yield is only $391. But at 50k the Smart Cash would yield $644, which underperforms both Capital One and CIBC even when the annual fees are included.

    Those spending less than $35,300 on their credit cards would actually find the MBNA Smart Cash to pay better, provided that they always spend $600/month on gas/groceries. Over that amount, and the Capital One card pays better.

  61. 65. Mr. Bubba

    Elbryon is right and follow our wise words and you will get better returns with MBNA smart card period unless something new comes out to top this. Thank you.

  62. 66. Jonathan

    Has anyone heard of the scotiabank cash back visa, and how does it compare to the capital one and mnba cards

  63. 67. Mitchell

    Has anyone looked into the MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus®?

    Get 5% cash back†† with no annual fee

    Exceptional cash back rewards
    Get 5% on net gas and grocery purchases for the first 6 months††
    Get 3% on net gas and grocery purchases thereafter‡
    Get 1% on all other net retail purchases‡
    Receive a cheque from us automatically once your cash back totals at least $50 per month

    Card features
    Around-the-clock fraud protection
    Purchase protection against damage or theft for up to 90 days**
    Up to $1,000,000 in common carrier travel accident insurance**
    Immediate cash access at 430,000 ABMs worldwide
    Unparalleled 24/7 customer service

  64. 68. Mr. Bubba

    Jonathan and Mitchel get the MBNA smart cash card. Since I got it in late June. I have had three $50.00 cheques sent to me as of last week over that span.
    By far the best value. No annual fee, simple cashback system, and good returns.
    Nothing surpasses this for cash back or any other point system trust me.
    Don’t waste your time on any other card and cut them all up and never use them again.
    Please ensure you pay the full balance every month otherwise you got to be a moron to use this card if you rather pay a higher interest then the cash back mechanism outlined.
    Thank you and have free money come in for everyday purchases that is deemed necessity or planned trips, etc..

  65. 69. Jeff

    Thanks for the in-depth look at those credit cards. It’s always nice to see which credit card people should be using and base it on an example!

  66. 70. Andre

    FYI – I have the Citibank Enrich *Platinum* Mastercard – the platinum doesn’t seem to be advertized on the web site. The max cash back for this is $500/year.

    We spend between $35k to $45k per year, so now I’m reassessing. The choice seems between, ” MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus” and Capital One’s “Cash Back Plus Platinum Mastercard”.

    I’m not averse to paying a annual fee as long as it evens out in the end. From my quick calculation, Capital One seems to win out (even with the annual fee).

    Have I got it right?

    Thanks for the article and all the good comments, very insightful…

  67. 71. immaus

    Since I received the letter from MBNA telling me that the best card in the Canadian rewards CC market today — MBNA SPG MC — is being discontinued in Q1-2010, I researched this a lot, and the best — although not as good as SPG MC — replacement for “general purposes” currently is the Smart Cash Platinum Plus.

  68. 72. AMC

    I have had the Costco AMEX now for 4 years. We are a family of 5 + a dog and a cat and we live with our credit cards and ALWAYS pay full balance each month.

    For the past 3 years I have received $500 back from Amex and $200 from Costco for the same card. Since the max reward for non-Costco purchases is $500, I’ve found that I reach that once I’ve spent $25K on my card. I th continue using the Amex for my Costco purchases but from that moment on I switch to my backup card which is a Sears Mastercard for everything else, this gives me Sears points. This is convenient for me since I shop at Sears regularly.

    So far this year, based on our spending, we will be receiving $500 + $200 from Amex/Costco and $250 in Sears gift cards. If anyone knows how I can beet this, please let me know.

    Keep in mind that we use our credit cards for everything we can which is close to $45,000 each year.

  69. 73. Topa

    I’m surprised that no one mentioned about TD Cash Rebate card. It gives 1% cash bonus @ $0 annual fee.

  70. 74. sunny

    When I checked for top cash back cards, no card was available.

    It was all old junk websites and offer-withdrawn cards from several banks.

    Today’s saving account interest is 1% or less, what to talk of cash back.

  71. 75. Dan V.

    I have checked this out very carefully and if you spend more the 25000.00 on
    the CanadianTire Mastercard you get an additional bonus, I am quite sure it is the best bang for the buck as far as cash back. Now it is canadian tire money but surely you can use it up on car repairs Xmas gifts……
    OR you can donate it to the humane society and get a tax receipt for donation
    Win Win

  72. 76. Leendert

    Where does the money for this “cash back” come from? The retailers pay the transaction/interchange costs charged by the card issuers. The customer eventually pays for these fees anyways, since the retailers will price their goods to be profitable. I suppose everyone should join the cash back credit card game, because using debit or cash ends up subsidizing those with credit cards with lucrative rewards.

    These credit card fees are ending up like a tax applied to all retail purchases, except it is levied by the credit card issuers and processors and does not add anything productive to the economy (unless one considers crappy sign up gifts and credit card sign-up flyers mailed out as a productive use of this money)

  73. 77. Alicia

    Does the retailer get charged more per transaction for offering cash back or other rewards to the consumer or does the bank eat those costs?

  74. Alicia, my understanding is that premium credit cards ding the retailer a slightly higher transaction fee. I was looking at the Costco magazine last night, and their POS system offering charges 1.67% to the retailer for a regular credit card and around 2% for a premium credit card (I assume cash back, points etc).

  75. 79. Barry

    I have to admit I am not a big believer in the cash back awards. There are a few banks that offer very low enterest rates on credit cards that are more of benefit than cash back awards. My wife and I have a scotiabank visa and the interest rate is 4.5%. The line of credit we have is 5.5%. If you analyze the cards offering cash back awards the credit card rates are probably more than double the rate I am paying on my visa card.

  76. Barry, as I’ve mentioned before, rewards credit cards are not for those who carry a balance. For the credit card users who pay off their credit cards every month, why not run their expenses through a credit card and collect points for spending that they’re going to do anyways.

  77. 81. Mr. Bubba

    1st for anyone who pays interest you need to get your head checked as you should not be posting on this page whatsoever as you never budgeted properly to begin with. If you continue this method of paying interest please do not review any web sites relating to any rewards cards and just bend over.
    2nd stop immediately paying any interest and does not matter what rate as it outweighs your current high interest savings accounts, mutual funds, GIC’s, or any other investments you may have. If you are achieving high yields in some of your investments then pay down the debt immediately. You will never retire at this rate by paying into even 4.5% interest rates or more each month and why the heck for.
    3rd if you cannot clear the debt then quickly move the whole balance you owe from all those bastard banks and transfer it to MBNA for a 1.9% special promotional rate for 9 months (lowest offered by anyone) and work it with them on the phone for that time frame. I never did because I make sure it is paid every month for decades but I heard from others who did this process who are in debt. You budget over the 9 months on how to pay it all off before the maturity month or be ready to transfer to another low interest rate with another bank on balance transfers until it is finally cleared or you will be penalized.
    4th once debt is cleared and have control of spending habits then get a rewards card that gives you the best option of cashback or rewards (MBNA smart cash card, Capital One Platinum Rewards, etc) for everyday purchases and like frugal trader mentions pay it off every month on what you required to buy regardless (food, gas, bills, and essential items) and get a return for it by each year to use for other things. Make sure you pay it off each month.
    5th if you cannot follow this system that I have outlined then do not get any type of credit cards and become a hermit and go into hybernation. heh
    I hope this was helpful and remember once paid never pay interest, or banking fees (ie: find no fee chequeing accounts with PC or other institutions). Make the banks work for you and get money back in return.
    That is all if you want to be on a beach everyday if you chose that lifestyle with no worries of financial burdens imposed by these card companies and not being hostage to the epidemic they expect the masses to follow.

  78. I’d stay away from MBNA cards. I got one through them, and ever since then they have been calling me every 2 months trying to sell me “card protection” and other scams.

  79. I’ve gotten a couple calls from MBNA before, but that stopped as soon as I told them to take my number off their list.

  80. 84. Mr. Bubba

    Johnny your right about the calls in the beginning but like frugal mentions you or anyone can be removed off their list when they call you or when you tell them or call customer service to have MBNA never bother you again.
    The main reason they are calling is to simply recover losses of payouts with cash back programs and other rewards they offer on clients who never pay interest like me and others. lol

    They are not in the business to provide you with money back or reward points and not to collect from you especially if it is a card with no annual fee and if majority of clients do not pay interest. lol
    If you are an existing customer with MBNA and have no debts accumulated and have a clear balance please demand for the MBNA smart cash card to replace any card you may have with them but make sure once again to pay off full balance every month and it will only make good returns every year then any other card I know.

  81. 85. Mr. Bubba

    *Read this three times and you will figure the system out*

    Since I started last year I received to present date 8 cheques of $50.00 cash back intervals ($400.00 total) Just received one recently again.
    One thing I did wrong is I did not max out the 6 month promo start bonus each month (5% + 1% for gas and groceries up to $600.00 per month including gift cards) and after the regular issue of 3%+1% cash back for gas and groceries including normal issue 1% (total 4% is what it works out to).

    All other non gas or grocery purchases is 1% and no annual fee with no maximum.

    Big Tip of the century:
    Purchase gift cards from Canadian Tire gas bars for only gas purchases with multiplier in hand as you know they do not accept other credit cards for direct purchase to obtain canadian tire money reimbursement as they accept only cash, debit or CT gift cards.
    The CT gift card (gas bars remember only) however allows you to be purchased with any credit card but get 3% +1% juice right off the bat with MBNA Smart Cash Card.
    Factor what it would be at 5%+1% promo of six months ($6.00 per $100 gift card x 3 gift cards per month x 6 months) = $108 cash back

    (after promo – 3% +1%) Right away you get $4,00 back on a $100.00 gift card from the gas bar which you should be able to use up from gas bar or store in a week or two weeks.
    Then use a 6 to 10X multiplier slip with gift card at gas bar and get back $1.50 to $2.50 CT money each fill up when empty on 60 litres.

    Let’s do the math now:
    If you spend $300 on canadian tire gift cards a month from gas bar only and make sure never from from the store as it only gives you 1%.
    Your up $12.00 on cash back (3%+1%) to use gift card for gas or store usage.
    Factor the four gas fill ups that month at $65.00 or $260 with 60 litres each time.
    Say it averages out that the multiplier is 8X for the month = $2.00 CT pay out money per fill up (more or less depends if it is 6X, 7X, 8X, 9X or 10X multiplier)
    Total then with CT money potential a month is $8.00

    Grand total with Smart Cash card factor is then ($12.00 cash back + $8.00 CT money) = $20.00 per month in your pocket each month after promo.

    Average that the trend is $20.00 per month x 12 months = $240.00 a year back to you with cash back and CT money combined .

    $600.00 per month allowance for (3%+1%) – $300.00 already used on (CT gift cards) each month = $300.00 left to use

    Now use this now for groceries or gift cards from petro canada and factoring in collecting petro points or grocery chain gift cards to get the rest of the 3%+1% cash back that equates to $12.00 per month or $140.00 per year cash back.

    Total Cash Back and CT money potential grand total = ($240.00 + 140.00) = $380.00 (CT money and $600 spend per month for whole year)
    If you factor 5% bonus then it is $12.00 extra x 6 months = $72.00

    Grand total could be $452.00 based on 5% promo and 3% and 1%

    If you spend even $10,000 or 20K each year on general spend at 1% cash back that is non gas or grocery then it is $100 or $200 a year.

    Total potential 1st year payout could be $552 or $652 with cash back and CT money.

    Ex.Petro canada offers gift cards that you can use to buy from (ie: home depot, best buy, future shop, movies, other retailers, subway, boston pizza, harveys, swiss chalet, canyon creek, the keg, jack astors, east side marios, XBOX live, etc and more.
    If gift cards you are looking are not there then get them from grocery stores that offer more of a variety while getting 3%+1% =4% cash back.

    If you did not follow this system then you would pay $7,200 regardless on things you need everyday for gas, groceries, retailers, and food chains.

    I hope this helps finally close what is the best rewards credit card by far and hope you can get the card still unless your a current MBNA customer and hint you will change to another card company and they will jump to provide it to you.

    Good luck.

  82. 86. Frederic Sanchez

    Yes RETRACTOR…..Amen to all of your experience…. I took the time to notify them I was going to Panama and the dates…. when i presented my [naked] President Choice MC it was declained,when i contacted Head Ofice they say it was not there fault ????and offer me 5000 point =5.00 for the inconvinience…hoever the 4 monthly bills that were suppose to be paid every month did not and on my return 3 months latter my phone was cut off,cell too and 2 other bill that have not been paid..
    they were RUDE X5 and i am saying good bye to them…so going to Momentum Visa,Scotiabank,cash back 1% and 2% on grocceris gas and regular monthly paiments…..they only give you the money at the end of the year….they are missing the good feeling that client would experience every month when we get the cash back….they are good attentive,acommodating and much more suitable for”wellmanner” canadian citizens…i say….”make your money talk and settle only for the best” Life is good and we can make it better!!!

  83. 87. Tom

    RBC just started offering a cash back card. Once you factor in the annual fee of $19 and the fact that it pays 1% cash back from your 1st dollar spent it’s pretty similar to the CIBC Dividend Card (which is what I have and is tiered until you spend $3000).

    But between now and Dec 31st they’re offering 5% cash back on grocery purchases and they waive the annual fee for the 1st year.

    Pretty solid deal I reckon…


  84. Guys, i’m in the process of updating this article but the MBNA Smart cash card is now available online. This card has no annual fee, 3% towards groceries/gas (up to $600 spending/mo), 1% everything else along with a bonus of 5% gas/groceries for the first 6 months.

  85. 89. Pankaj

    Hello FT

    You are right. I got an offer for the same last week.

  86. 90. RichelleM

    The best master credit card Canada for me? Capital One Cash Back Gold MasterCard®. I can earn cash back swiftly and pay no annual fee with the best Capital One Cash Back Gold MasterCard®. Plus, you can also bring in up to 1% cash back on your purchase and no limit to the amount of cash you can earn. You can as well cash at whatever time your cash rewards balance of $15 or more.

  87. 91. Mr. Bubba

    I noticed no annual fee for the Capital One Cash Back card but this does not compare to MBNA smart cash card.

    Say your spend annually is $15,000 on everything you need (gas, grocery, household items, trips, clothes, etc…

    Capital gives you only 0.5% tier for the first $3,000 spent in the year and it equates to $15 cash back
    Then after after $3,000 spent is 1% tier – remaining now is $12,000 @ 1% = $120.
    Grand total cash back is $135 in the year and this card is a waste of time.

    MBNA Smart Cash Card scenario:
    no annual fee / 5% cash back promo for six months on gas and grocery then turns to standard 3% for gas and groceries up to $600 spent each month / 1% on all other purchases no tier and starts from first dollar and no limits.

    $15,000 spend annual same as above.
    Say you spend $600 per month on gas and groceries each month combined.
    6 months x $600 x = $3,600 and based on 5% bonus promo
    = $180.00 cash back
    6 months x $600 x = $3,600 and based on 3% standard offer
    = $108.00 cash back

    ($15,000 – $3,600 – $3,600) = $7,800 remaining at 1% no catches / no limit

    $7,800 left x 1% = $78 cash back

    Total annual cash back with MBNA card with no annual fee = $366

    Basically the 6 month promo ($180) would yield more money back then the whole year using the Capital one card ($135).
    Do the math and good luck!

  88. 92. jared

    I am considering an ATB (alberta) platinum cashback Card.
    Now at first the $120/year seems pretty steep, but this card offers a 3% cashback at an amazing array of stores including grocery, gas, and home improvement (home depot, rona, etc).
    I dont carry a balance, but should a payment actually be missed, it’s also an M1 card rather than an M2.
    I currently have a BMO 1% card, and received $550 back last year, and am already to 35,000 annual spend on the first half of this year.
    I figure on grocery budget alone, i will make an additional $182 per year, which offsets the yearly fee.

  89. @jared, for $0 annual fee, you could have the Smart Cash card which offers 3% return on your gas/groceries. The atb card may work if you spend a large amount @ hardware/drug stores (at least $4k/year), but personally, I dont’ think the $120 annual fee is worth it.

  90. 94. Canadian Student


    Can you recommend me a cash back credit card with a 1% return on the first dollar, available for students.

    Thank you.

  91. I’ve read from other sites that students have applied and received the Smart Cash card. Worth a shot!

  92. 96. billy

    Hi FrugalTrader,
    I did some calculations and found I’d end up getting almost the same amount, and possibly more, of cashback with the ATB card (after the annual fee) as the MBNA card, but can use the ATB card at more places.

    Any reviews on ATB as a company and their payout policies for their cashback card? I’m just concerned because this thread is the first time I’ve heard of ATB while I’ve actually had an MBNA card before.

  93. billy, as the list only compares no fee cards, it’s not really fair to compare it to the paid counter parts. For example, the capital one aspire world card is perhaps one of the top cards out there with an annual fee after counting insurance coverage etc.

  94. 98. billy

    True, but my bigger concern is ATB as a company. MBNA I have experience with, but this is the first time I’ve heard of ATB and I just want to make sure they’re solid and have decent customer service.

  95. 99. billy

    The wikipedia article on ATB makes it sound good, but alas after clicking the “Apply” link on their MC’s page I saw the message “you must be a resident of Alberta” :(

  96. 100. Stuart Thomas

    More and more prepaid Visa cards and Mastercards are coming out on the Canadian Market. Bur I guess, necessary background information on the best master credit card Canada will serve as the best way to come up with the most appropriate one for you.

  97. 101. Peter

    Hi FT,

    MBNA Smart Cash Back looks great! However, when you do a search for MBNA, they have very bad reviews


    One person even said that it ruins his credit score and because of that, I didn’t bother to apply for that card even if it gives 5% cash back the first 6 months.

    What is your opinion with MBNA? Any experience/comments from anyone is appreciated.


  98. 102. FrugalTrader

    Peter, I’ve been with MBNA since 2004. Initially with the SPG card, now the Smart Cash. The issue I have with MBNA is that they keep sending me credit card cheques but I just throw them out. What I like is that they have competitive rewards programs with a great online system where purchases show up instantaneously (unlike CIBC Visa or AMEX)

  99. 103. Cathie Shortt

    Do you have to declare the cash back as income?

  100. 104. FrugalTrader

    Cathie, if it’s for personal use, my understanding is that the cash back is considered the same as a coupon, so no tax is payable. However, I believe the rules are different in the case if your employer reimburses you for the expenses, but you keep the points.

  101. 105. Cathie Shortt

    Thank you Frugal Trader.

  102. 106. sunny


    We already have enough of those.

    Cash back is not an income. It is discount we receive on the fee-based-services offered by the bank to the retailers.
    Retailers have already recovered that money from you without your consciousness.

    I O W (in Other Words):
    Retailers charge extra money for that financial service to its customers.
    Eventually it is the mercy of the bankers who want their customer to be alive to pay more interest. Seriously I feel it like a reverse economy.
    A economy eating consumers on both the ends.
    Now there is a competition which banks offer how much more.
    thank you for posting your question.

  103. 107. Cathie

    So what’s the bottom line? Is the MBNA Smart Cash Card the best of the bunch?

  104. 108. FrugalTrader

    Cathie, for the free cash back credit card market (in Canada), I haven’t found any other card that’s quite as good. The Capital One card is attractive as well.

  105. 109. Mr. Bubba

    I agree that the MBNA no fee smart cash card is the best.
    I have received since I started last Spring up to nine issued $50.00 cheques to present date.

  106. 110. sunny

    There is no one card good for all.
    That is the reason why there are so many cards floating in today’s financial bazaar.
    How to know what card is good for you?
    First you have to know what is the expenditure level you want to use it for and at what retailers etc. I mean certain card will reap more points or benefit at their retailer’s (parent) company. e.g. Canadian Tires Card will give more benefit at Canadian Tires, and somewhat lower benefit at other stores. Similarly Chase Card and Sear; Optimum card & Shoppers; the Brick also has its own card, which gives extended payment options. I do not know about Future Stores, Bestbuys.
    Amex has higher annual fees, but gives huge return on travel package. So it depends ..

  107. 111. Stephen

    I actually used this article to help me find out which credit card(s) would work best for me. Given that I do a fair bit of driving for my commute to work everyday, I found that with the MBNA Smart Cash card only had a limited benefit for me as I would easily surpass the $600/month limit on the 3% cash back feature (My fiancee and I typically spend about $900/month on groceries and gas). After playing with some of the numbers, I found the best combination was to use the MBNA card for groceries only, and then pay for as much as I could on the Canadian Tire Gas Advantage card. This would maximize my “cash back” on all the gasoline I buy. And depending on what the month’s expenses are like, I would limit my purchases on the CT card just over the $1000 or $2000 mark. If I knew I couldn’t reach $2000 in one month, or if I had already spent $2000, I simply switch back to using the MBNA card which at least gives me 1% back.

  108. 112. Randy

    I don’t understand the fine print on the MBNA dollar points? As I interpret it I need to earn at least 5000 points per month in order to get cash back cheque. Otherwise, if I have less than 5000 points in a month do I loose them or do they accumulate to the next month?

    Fine print only states that if I have >5000 and <10,000 points the unused points above will move forward to next month.

  109. 113. FrugalTrader

    @Randy, it means that you need to accumulate $50 worth before they cut a cheque. No, you do not lose the points, they simply accumulate until you reach $50.

  110. 114. Randy

    @FrugalTrader, thanks I had applied for the card based on your review, received my new card in the mail the other day but have not activated it as it seemed unclear to me. I tried to phone MBNA, but all numbers I had required that I enter my card details. I didn’t want to end up committing to a card that didn’t look like it gave the rewards unless I purchased a minimum amount on it every month.

  111. 115. FrugalTrader

    @Randy, it really is a great card – I use it as my primary card and I’ve already received 4 cheques from them!

  112. 116. PuddleJumper

    New AMEX card from Costco seems lot better than my American Express Costco Platinum Cash Rebate Card. I missed out on the AMEX 2%ers so heres and alternative.Its the American Express and Costco – TrueEarnings™ Card. A little different rebate structure… Good for restaurant and gas after you have used up you $600 3% limit on your Smart Cash Card.
    •0.25% up to $1,000
    •0.50% on the next $2,000
    •1% on any amount over $3,000
    •**2% cash back on eligible gas purchases (2% up to $3,000 annually, 1% on any amount over $3,000)
    •**3% cash back on eligible restaurant purchases
    •No maximum on your annual rebate
    Free Supplementary Card, Front Of The Line® – Preferred ticket access to some of the most sought after theatre shows, concerts and special events across Canada, Purchase Protection® Plan – Insure your eligible purchases automatically against accidental physical damage and theft, Buyer’s Assurance® Protection Plan – Doubles the manufacturer’s original warranty on eligible purchases charged to your Card, $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance, American Express has over 2,2006 Travel Service locations around the world to offer you assistance while you’re travelling,Emergency Card Replacement

    Sound good?

  113. 117. FrugalTrader

    @puddlejumper, the only thing I don’t like about the new costco amex is the tiered system for the 1%. Otherwise, it is decent for AMEX.

  114. 118. Amit

    Any updates on this article after the introduction of the Walmart Mastercard that gives 1.25% cashback on all purchases at Walmart, and 1% cashback on all non-Walmart purchases? Walmart Mastercard allows redemption in $5 multiples anytime one purchases anything at Walmart, so you don’t have to wait for the whole year to redeem your cashback.

    Since we as a family purchase most of our groceries at Walmart, we are really excited about the Walmart mastercard. The MBNA card does look impressive but I am not sure if we shall be able to get any cashback from our Walmart purchases from the MBNA card.

    I also have a Costco Executive membership and hence the Amex 2% CostCo card but we were so surprised to find a $18 coupon in the mail after spending over $15,000 on the Amex card. That’s just around 0.015% – a far cry from the 2% promised. So, we are not happy with it, and are looking around for better cashback card options out there. Would love to hear from someone who has already applied for the Walmart mastercard about their experience, and how it compares to the MBNA card. Thanks.

  115. 119. FrugalTrader

    @Amit, the Walmart card looks decent for those who do the majority of their shopping @ walmart, but note that it does not have any insurance coverage. In my opinion, there are better cards out there.

  116. 120. PuddleJumer

    On the Capital One website Card Applicaiton it asks about referral Program ID anyone have any insite or thoughts on this?

  117. 121. Chris

    Capital One now says ‘up to 2% on all purchases’. Is this just the usual gas, groceries or really all purchases’. if so, it’s nice feature.

  118. 122. Dave

    On the point of purchasing gift cards at the gas bar, I just got off the phone with MBNA (planning to apply for the Smart Cash card) and was told gas purchases have to be through the “Automated Pump” in order to get the 5%. So, can anyone confirm that they are getting the 5% when buying gift cards through the attendant?

    Also, I believe I read somewhere in this blog, might be wrong though, that by a couple using separate MBNA cards you would both get the $600 limit or $1200 combined. In our case the cards are part of the same account and would be limited to $600 combined — are you applying for cards separately?

  119. 123. Brad

    RBC (Canada) has a great deal on a cash back card (well at least for 9 months).

    5% cash back on grocery store purchases. Now until March 31, 2011, you can earn 5% cash back when you make grocery store purchases at participating merchants2 using your Cash Back card.

    1% cash back on other purchases.You’ll earn 1% cash back on all other qualifying purchases and pre-authorized payments made with your Cash Back card.


  120. 124. Freddysaver

    Try the Citibank driver’s edge Platinum card. Pays 2% on all purchases. You cash it in when you buy any licensable vehicle. They’ll actually let you just cash it in when you want to. Havn’t found a card that pays as much.

  121. 125. smayer97

    My strategy:
    1. MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus card
    – no fee
    – use it to get 3% on gas and groceries, up to first $600 spent per month (5% during first 6 months).
    – Got one for my wife too effectively giving us double the limit (SEPARATE Accounts)
    – also get 1% on everything else

    2. Scotiabank Scotia Momentum™ VISA* card,,CID13391_LIDen,00.html
    – modest $39/yr fee (pays for itself with first $1950 per year)
    – 2% on gas, groceries (not paid on MBNA card), drug stores
    – 2% on all recurring charges (I put ALL my regular services that accept credit card payment)
    – still get 1% on everything else

    Based on our $50000 expenses per year via our credit card, I estimate we will get about $ 1145 net the first year and $ 970 per year thereafter.


  122. 126. smayer97


    be aware that there were 2 versions of this card. The no annual fee version and the current $59/yr version.

    The first one has been discontinued in Nov 2011. I had it for 9 years. Great card but Citibank has sold their Canadian business to CIBC in Sep 2010 and this card was not taken over by CIBC, so I got a fat check with the closure of my account.
    Only sad thing is that I had a $24K credit limit. Hard to match elsewhere right now.

    Eventually all Citi products will be transitioned over to CIBC (at least the products CIBC has chosen to take over), so do your homework to determine if the current $59 version will continue or not.

    BTW, it would take your first $2950 spent to break even.

    Be aware also that this is not TRUE cash back. YOu have to purchase a vehicle, though it can be a used or new, or even leased.

  123. 127. Fayaz

    Thank you very much for posting this. This was the only place where I could find all the information I needed.

  124. 128. Amit

    Today I received my first cheque of $50 from the MBNA SmartCash credit card, and we are very happy. Thanks FT for this article and informing us about the MBNA card. The bonus 5% cashback that we are receiving at the the various grocery and gas places is such a sweet bonus for the 1st 6 months. Thanks once again.

  125. 129. Hotdeal

    I still think that my setup is best for us. I have AMEX 2% cash back card – I can not find it on the website anymore. Originally it was no annual fee but it is now $100 / Yr.. This no limit cash back is .5% on first $2,500, 1% on the next $2,500 and 2% on the rest. In January we got our annual credit on AMEX $1,200. Since Amex is not taken everywhere we use CITI Drivers Edge Master Card 2% toward any new/use/lease of a vehicle max $500 per Year in rewards and max 5 Years accumulation). I just purchased a car and got a cheque for $1,200 (4 Years to accumulate). This is not bad since the AMEX is a primary card we use and less then 15K in annual spending is on Driver’s Edge.
    If anyone know a better reward cards available I would like to hear it. Too bad old Canadian Tire 5% credit card is no longer available.

  126. 130. Payncarry

    Don’t trust to any of the citibank Master Card they are not loyal and will try to cheat you when you spend more. I am with them since 4 years (Citibank Master Enrich Card its a cashback card) and never late in any payment. Worse customer services I believe most of them has “Chinese Accent” and said you have bought so many Iphone 4 may I ask you why you need so many phone?

    I told them I gave to my friends or sold them. If you have any problem with my purchases just cancelled it because I never used half of my credit limit ever but lady was harrasing me. he looks more like from Apple Store. I told if Apple store has no problem with me whats your problem. She said your account is under review.

    Terrible just like a horror story. Will never have any card from citibank and will cancel it as soon as I paid them off.

  127. 131.

    Hi Payncarry, Your experience is not one of the unheard kind.
    You can call them, find the balance and close at anytime.

    I also heard that, the City Bank has harassed and threatened people for their lives in India who failed failed to pay their mortgage monthly installment.

  128. 132. smayer97 re: “I also heard that, the City Bank has harassed and threatened people for their lives in India who failed failed to pay their mortgage monthly installment.”

    This is hearsay and should not be promoted unless you have firsthand account.

    @Payncarry Citi Bank flagged your account because purchasin 4 iphones is an unusual series of purchases and “appears” fraudulent. All credit cards monitor spending patterns to try to identify fraud/theft of YOUR credit and identity. Would you rather they not investigate and inform you? Think of the consequences of that.

    That said, I have to say that I was with Citi Bank for 9 years before they cancelled my card becaue CIBC bought out some of the portfolio and my card, a FREE Drivers Edge card was discontinued. They did not even offer me a new card, even though I had a $24,000 limit that I had qualified for.

    In those 9 years, I had to have my account # changed 7 or more times because of fraud charges It certainly has not made me feel confident in the security that my card should be targetted that often.

    Well, I have moved on from them (forced to actually). I hope my my experience is better with Scotiabank & MBNA.

  129. 133. Payncarry

    @smayer97 I have Citibank Enrich Platinum MasterCard and I already told them its me who are buying these Iphone 4 but there question is not about Fraud but why you are buying more than 2.

    Its just like why you are buying so many eggs or eating. Its none of their business if I m legally buying things from Apple store. The should be concerned if its not me who is buying it. Actually they are concerned they have to pay me more cash back. Also Citibank Diners Club is already bought by BMO Bank Canada may be a reason to exploit before hand over all credit card to BMO bank in July this year.

  130. 134. Amit

    @FrugalTrader: Do you have any information on the best credit cards for Small Business owners? I couldn’t find a nice comparison of such cards. I am planning to start a furniture business and will need to spend close to $20K every month and was wondering which Business Credit card to apply for and am confused.

    Thanks in advance for any inputs.

  131. 135. FrugalTrader

    @Amit, thanks for the suggestion. Another reader requested the same thing so I’m going to put something together.

  132. 136. Milind

    I use a canadian tire gas advantage card which gives 8 cents off gas if you spend $1000 a month.( I use the same card to fill gas which itself comes to $500 a month now with the gas prices. So assuming I fill in 500 litres (60 litres, 4 times a month for 2 cars) of gas in 2 cars, thats a saving of 500 x 0.08 = $40 saving per month on gas which turns out to be $480 saving per year just by spending about $12000 a year. I stop using the card as soon as i reach $1000 every month and use other cash back cards.

  133. 137. Kevin

    Is there an updated version of this comparison? Its quite helpful but I am wondering if there are any better cards that have been released since
    June 09,2010 (almost 1 year ago).


  134. 138. FrugalTrader

    @Kevin, yes I keep up to date with free credit card offerings and the MBNA card is still the best free card out there (IMO). It’s my primary credit card.

  135. 139. Kevin

    Thanks FT

    just applied

  136. 140. Marc

    What exactly is the definition of CIBC’s net annual purchases? I mean, who doesn’t spend at least $3000/year on their visa? Is this comething based on your monthly bill or something based on purchases? lets face it, I don’t purchase things that cost $3000 or more…

    If it’s just based on total annual spending, then how did you get $281.25 for a reward? 1% of 30,000 should be 300…

  137. 141. FrugalTrader

    @Marc, cibc’s card is tiered which means the first $1500 in spending (in a year) gets 0.25%, $1501 to $3000 gets 0.50% and everything above $3000 gets 1%. It then gets reset again at the card anniversary date.

  138. 142.

    two tiered CIBC cash back card appears to be less than a peanut.

    I have another question/ concern though.
    There was a drive to lower the fee banks charge their retailers, and in turn what retailers charge their customers. There was some outcry in political circles for lowering those fees. This drive can reduce $ for groceries and other stuff. Ultimately they are people who pay such exorbitant fees.
    And banks pay their CEOs. Is there anything people can do about it?
    Is the fee structure higher in Canada than other progressive countries?

  139. 143. Minstrum

    Does buying CT gift cards at Canadian Tire gas bar using Smart Cash MC give 3% cash back or can they differenciate and give only 1% cash back if not paid at the pump?

  140. 144. FrugalTrader

    I believe that buying anything at the gas station will qualify as a gas purchase, but that is what I’ve read around the forums. You’ll need to give it a try and see if you get the “bonus” symbol next to the line item on your online billing interface.

  141. 145. smayer97

    That is quite clever if it works. Report back here so we may know the outcome.

    Of course, keep in mind that on the MBNA Cash Back card this purchase goes towards your $600 limit per month but if you have the room, that’s potentially a good strategy.

  142. 146. Mrs. T

    Costco actually has a newer Amex called true earnings. It’s a greeny blue colour. All elligible restaurant purchases are 3% cashback and gas is 2% cashback. There is a max amount for gas purchases. I cannot remember if it is $1000 or $2000/yr.

  143. 147. Mrs. T

    Forgot to mention true earnings also has up to 1% cashback on all other purchases. With a similar earning tier Cashback as the platinum.

  144. 148. FrugalTrader

    Mrs. T, the issue I have with the Costco card is the tier for the everyday spending, and that it’s an AMEX (not as widely accepted as others). For an everyday spending card to build up cash back dollars, I would personally go with a Mastercard (Smart Cash).

  145. 149. absurd dealer

    About Costco Amex (true earnings):
    It could be offering 2% cash back on gas purchases with max cap of 2000/ yr and that would mean an earning of 40/ yr. But it would come with annual fee.
    And if you consider anything about 3% on restaurants; it is compelling to go to those specific restaurants. It may work out for some people who have a natural choice of the those restaurants, coupled with 2% at gas and certain something with Costco groceries.

  146. 150. Mr. Bubba

    I am unsure why your even looking into an AMEX card with the imposed annual fee including the tier system they outline.

    You can get the majority of various restaurant gift cards at grocery stores and gas stations and collect 3% cash back regardless when the gift card is purchased there. You get 3% for all gas purchased with smart cash card and is accepted almost everywhere accept Costca.

    Actually I have done my unit price calculations in the past for Costca and your better off shopping at discounter supermarket chains and stock up on specials or price match any competitor flyer at Wallmart and it ends up working out much more cheaper in the end factoring in you have to pay the Costca membership fee annually and the unit price of products they offer on most things is comparable to high end supermarkets when you work the math out.
    This is how subliminally they get the consumer to think they are saving by the shear volume and size of the product and that is how they get you.

    24 bottle pack of nestla spring water was advertised at a local discounter recently for $1.88. So the unit price is $1.88 / 24 bottles = $0.078 cents per bottle. Then it would make sense to buy 15 cases (360 bottles) as it will never go bad for past 3 years and it would be consumed in the 1st year.
    It would equate to $28.20 grand total and last you for a long period of time.

    Scenario of Costca:
    30 bottle pack of nestla spring water (same 500ML bottle) only difference they give you 6 more bottles due to volume gimmick.
    They would charge my guess is between $4.00 to $4.99 a case.
    This works out $4.00 / 30 bottles = $0.133 cents per bottle or $4.99 / 30 bottles = $0.166 cents per bottle compared to the 7 cents with 24 pack on special.
    Based on 360 bottles for apples to apples scenario you would have to only buy 12 cases at Costca to be equivalent.
    This is the kicker as 12 cases at 4 or 5 dollars each case would grand total to $48.00 to $60 compared to the $28 when on special for a 24 pack.
    You end up paying close to double for the same water and applies to alot of different consumable accept maybe on some meats or limited specials.

    If you compared (Litres,MillLitres, Kilogram, LB, Grams, ounces, etc) by category on what is on special each week by others you can easily avoid this membership grabbing program and end up paying higher at Costca unless you like the special things they offer (furniture, home stuff, etc) which you can get online anyways with no membership fee I believe.

    I hope this helps you make a decision to get the smart cash card and don’t waste the time at that place as you would retire by 90 by not capturing those avoided costs all these years and going forward.

    Good luck!

  147. 151. Upset Capital One Customer

    I recently applied the Capital One Master Card after looking at many reviews. I have to say, I would never recommend Capital One to anyone. Based on all the credit card companies I have encounter, this one has the worst customer service. Not only I wasted hours waiting on the phone, they could not help me with my simple requests and unwilling to receive my suggestion on service improvement.

  148. 152. lsrezai

    Hi FrugalTrader,

    Thanks for your awesome article!

    However, I am just a bit confused comparing PC mastercard and MBNA smart card and their cash back rates:

    MBNA smart cash: 3% cash back on grocery/gas purchases which (if I not be wrong…) means $3 for each $100 spent.

    But PC cash back is $120/$1000 = 0.12 (12%)

    Of course 12% way bigger than 3%….So why people say that PC’s cashback is 1%?

    Is there any miscalculation that I am doing here…?

    Many thanks for your help!

  149. 153. FrugalTrader

    @Isrezai, for the PC points program, it’s $120 for 120,000 points. With a 10 pt for $1 spent, that’s 1% return.(click on #2 within the page of the link you sent)

  150. 154. acrobat1

    Hello Frugaltrader,
    I have gone through the couples of paragraphs about cash-back rewards programs of credit cards. but I am faced with problem of comparison between 3% MBNA and Shopper Optimum (which is also MBNA card). Shopper Optimum does not say anything in percentage but they talk in terms of Optimum Points.
    My question is how would that card shine in comparison with MBNA 3%.

  151. 155. FrugalTrader

    @acrobat1, the shoppers card is actually pretty good if you shop at Shoppers Drug Mart often, here is more info:

  152. 156. JKB

    Can anyone tell me whether or not the MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus MC works for groceries bought at Walmart or other non-traditional grocery stores?

  153. 157. FrugalTrader

    @JKB, I do not believe that Walmart qualifies as Grocery. Check out this thread for qualifying grocery/gas stations:

  154. 158. Amit

    @JKB, FT, I have been getting 5% cashback (still in my 1st 6 months) on my MBNA card on all purchases (including non-grocery ones) at all Walmarts here in Calgary for last 5 months.

  155. 159. Amit

    @JKB, FT: the Walmarts that I have used here in Calgary are all supercentres and that’s why all purchases get the 5% (or 3% after the 1st 6 months) discount. If the Walmart is not a supercentre, then I would assume that it would not give the 5 or 3% discount.

  156. 160. lsrezai

    Hi again,

    A bank guy told me that I better go for a Canadian credit card (like Canadian Tire or CIBC) instead of Americans because of the US economical situation. Is that true? How can I be affected by the crises, if I get an American (e.g. MBNA) credit card?


  157. 161. Love Costco

    I use the new TrueEarnings Costco AMEX Card which offers 3% at restaurants, 2% for Gas (up to 3k and 1% thereafter), and up to 1% at Costco and everywhere else Amex is accepted.

    I’m also a Costco Exec Member and the benefit of paying the extra $45 is that you receive 2% cash back from Costco on all your Costco spend. With the Exec Membership and the Amex card you will get ~3% back. This is a great deal if you love Costco!

  158. 162. vancouvercheap

    Anybody spent time comparing the new $99/year Scotia Momentum Infinite 4% cashback card against MBNA and AMEX Costco?,,CID14526_LIDen,00.html

  159. 164. vancouvercheap

    Thank you for the link. I should have posted my comment on that review. I was wondering if the 4% cashback (gas, groceries) now offered on the $99/year card made it worth it (plus it’s an “Infinite” card so there are other non-reward benefits like car rental insurance not included on lower Momentum cards). I will have to build a spreadsheet based on my spending patterns I suppose :)

  160. 165. Corey

    This is one of my fav. articles you post. Comparison articles.

    Just an update: Went to make a claim on my PCF Mastercard re: a laptop bought at Staples. It doesn’t cover any kind of computer equipment.

    MOTHER F***!!

    Still like the points for groceries… Keep up the great financial posts.

  161. 166. Jack

    I have a Capital One platinum master card with 2% cash back. Great deal but I hate Capital One. Terrible customer service and typical American attitude. Also card will not work when I swipe for gas. Has something to do with being an American company. When I travel out of town have to have another card because inevitably the card will not work or will be refused, have had this experience number of times. Lastly, never ask for a cheque for the cash back because they have lost my money 3x doing that, just apply rebate to your account. I spend over 120K per yr on the card, so I am sticking with it for now but would switch in a heartbeat.

  162. 167. LSO

    @Jack This is Laurel from Capital One. Sorry to hear you’ve been having some trouble. Please send us an email at and I’ll try to help you. In you email, please don’t include any confidential information, like your credit card number or SIN.

  163. 168. sunny

    I am appalled at how credit card companies make up an online application process.
    They do not decline your application up front.
    But they have three security question – as they describe it, and each needs to be answered just choosing one of the three possible answers.
    In my case, when I apply online, they give me a choice of three possible addresses where I lived in the past. But none of them is correct, and so I have no choice to select “None of them”. So the application remains incomplete.
    The name of the bank here is MBNA. I have optimum card, but wanted to apply for another.

  164. 169. Elbyron

    I know what you mean, but I suspect it’s the same from all banks. Some of the questions had possible answers that were so far off that I wondered if I had put in the wrong SIN or something! In fact, some of the questions couldn’t be answered based on the information on my credit file, so maybe they just make up all incorrect answers when it can’t find a correct one! When I applied for the Aspire Travel World card, I had to try it about 5 times before the set of questions it gave me could be answered. The Capital One support person was being nice, and stayed on the line the whole time, but was unable to do anything about the bad security questions.

    In the past when I’ve tried to buy gas in the U.S., the pay-at-the-pump system doesn’t always work with my Canadian credit cards (even though the issuing bank is American). I’ve never had trouble at any gas station in Canada though. I’m assuming the 2% card you’re referring to is the old (2009) Cashback Plus Mastercard, which is actually tiered (first 10K at 1%, next 10K at 1.5%, and 2% for amount over 20K) and has a $59 annual fee. Given how much you spend per year, you should definitely stick with that one – it’s better than the current cash-back cards being offered.

  165. 170. DA

    Dont use Canadian Tire credit card (Crappy Tire), very unsecure and crappy customer service…

    Stick with a real financial institue, Watch out for fraud

  166. 171. asdasd

    Couldn’t you get the MBNA smart cash and use that for gas and groceries and then use the capital one aspire cash for anything else? Since u get 1.2 back technically from the aspire one

  167. 172. smayer97

    I do something similar using MBNA MC and SCotiabank Visa

    see my complete post earlier (#125)

  168. 173. Troy W

    On the advice of this blog, a couple of years ago, we changed over to the MBNA Smart Cash Mastercard. We use this card for everything and pay our balance off in full every month. We’ve never incurred a single fee and we continue to receive cheques for $50 every 4-6 weeks. Thanks for the advice!

  169. 174. FrugalTrader

    Good stuff Troy. MBNA Smart cash is still our #1 credit card. I’ve lost count of how many cash back cheques we’ve received!

  170. 175. Abhi

    Very Good Article!
    I read through your blog and applied for my MBNA Smart Cash Master Card!
    The reviews and comments here really helped me compare all the cash back cards.
    Keep it up!

    From Montreal

  171. 176. bcomstock

    Hey, just wondering what you guys think here. I work for a company where i pay for all materials, then expense them every week. This equates to about $5000 in gas, and $3700 in materials ($8700). I was looking at the MBNA card, but it has a $600 max/moth on the fuel 3% cash back.. (otherwise it would be the obvious choice)

    Which do you think the best cash back card might be for me here?

    TD has an interesting points card, $1 spent=3 pts= $0.015 in points. Its a travel thing, you spend $500 on a hotel/air/car rent, you receive $500 credit (if you have 1500 pts.) To me, this equates to 1.5% cash back right? (only to be spent on travel). I don’t see any cards that offer more than 1% here.. so is this the best?

  172. 177. bcomstock

    Is there any cards that offer 1.5%+ on fuel purchases, with NO limits? that would probably be the best for this scenario with the high fuel purchases… Thanks!

  173. 178. smayer97

    @bcomstock not clear if your total spend is per month or per week. Assuming it is per month, you have 2 options. With this kind of spend either way, you will hit limits of some kind, especially if you only want to stick to 1 card.

    Option 1. Scotiabank Visa Infinite Momentum Cash Back card (find it here:,,86,00.html ) Annual fee $99. Benefits:
    – 4% on fuel & groceries on first $25K. After that 1%
    – 2% on recurring & drug store charges on first $25K. After that 1%
    – 1% on all other charges

    Quick math means that you will make $1350/yr on your fuel charges, $444 on others, for total of $1794/yr, or net $1695/y after annual fee. You will make more if you can add recurring & drug store purchases.

    They have a nice calculator so you can see how it works:

    BTW, this works out to an average 1.7% cash back based on the above spending (1.6% after your annual fee).

    Option 2: ALSO get the MBNA Cash Back card. No Annual Fee. Use it strictly for Fuel charges
    – 3% on fuel on first $600/mo

    Use this on first $600 spent on fuel each month (read alternative below).

    This gives you an extra $144/yr for free. Also, remember that they have a promo to give 5% for first 6 months. This means an extra $216 the first yr.

    This increases your average return to 1.85%.

    An alternative is to use the Scotia Visa the first 5 months (to use up the $25K first) then sign-up and use the MBNA the rest of the year, since both give you 1% past their limits (if you sign up for MBNA now, you may want to max out first to get the 5%).

    Also, if you are married, get your wife her own MBNA account and charge gas on it to potentially double your MBNA cash back. Add groceries and get even more.

    As I have posted before (#125), I use this exact scenario (except I have the 2% Scotiabank Visa for $39/yr since I do not spend as much as you).

    One more thing…this is CASH, not points, rewards, etc. I am always leery of rewards/points because they can change the value at any time.

  174. 179. smayer97

    @bcomstock The only other card that comes close is the Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard

    It gives 1.5% cash reward on ALL purchases, NO LIMITS, plus an annual bonus of 20%, effectively making it 1.8% BUT it was an annual fee of $120, so cuts into the effective rate, down to 1.69%.

    Note that they give a $100 credit on first use so effectively making the 1st year fee equivalent to $20.

    This may work better, especially if your annual spending is greater than $95K/yr.

  175. 180. Lee

    Interesting site and good info. Regarding the credit card rebates. Don’t you have to take into consideration any fees or charges before you really get a true value % of return back? In other words, is it truley ‘free money’, or have you paid for it in some fashion beforehand? Also, think about how much you are required to spend to get large rebate returns. Perhaps if you’re a large family it could be okay but to spend more to just recieve more back may not be a good idea as well. Regarding Suszie Orman’s new cash card, you only get charged 3% which may sound good but apparently you must stick to the rules of the card or you can incurr a range of additional charges. One has to be really careful and read all the FINE print and deadline etc.

  176. 181. Troy W.

    The MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard has ever cost me so much as a penny in fees or interest as I spend only what I can afford and pay it off monthly. Every monthly billable I have gets billed to it automatically and all groceries and gas get charged to it. We are a family of four (with a 2.5 year-old and and a 7-month old. We receive a cheque for $50 every 4-6 weeks. It’s the only credit card I have ever had that actually made me money!

  177. 182. Rayan

    There is one more advantage of using “MBNA Smart Cash Mastercard” that was not mentioned in this article: you get a $50 check in the mail when you accumulate 5000 points.

  178. 183. FrugalTrader

    @Rayan, funny that you mention that, I just received another $50 cheque from MBNA yesterday.

  179. 184. M

    How on Earth do you deal with Capital One’s customer service line? That had to be the most frustrating process I have been through with an application. I just got off of the phone and it was all I could do not to cancel my application mid-call.

    Anyway, just frustrated right now, but looking forward to the cash back card. Thanks for the indepth look.

  180. 185. Harry

    One contender I would add to this list is the Chase Rewards Visa although it does not have many features.

    A) No Foreign Exchange fees on Non-CAD purchases meaning an automatic 2.5% savings which users on RFD have confirmed
    B) 2% Cashback on purchases, 1% Cashback on everything else
    C) It gives you a backup Visa as typically the best rewards cards are MasterCard
    D) $20 rewards tier before they mail your cheque
    E) No annual fee

  181. 186. Goldberg

    To Harry: That’s Awesome! I travel outside Canada a few times a year. Mostly to asia. This amazon card could be very nice even if I don’t shop at amazon. I hope it doesn’t apply only to US-based transaction.

  182. I have the CIBC Drivers Edge master card. –and have had it for many years. It now has a modest fee but was free for a long timel. Basically you earn 2 percent on all purchases up to $1000 per year.($50,000). The dollars accumulate and can be claimed when you change cars or lease a car. –for many of us, with two cars in the family it is every two to three years.;

  183. 188. Sarah

    If my limit credit is say $5000… but I’m building a house and have $20,000 in expenses that i want to put on my credit card, can I pay say $15000 on the card BEFORE i make the purchase so my limit “increases” to $20000?
    Will i still get 1% cash back on the total?

  184. 189. Troy W

    Absolutely @Sarah. Your credit limit has nothing to do with your ability to earn cash back.

  185. 190. Stef

    I had followed the tip about the Chase/ no-forex Visa card and I got one. Tested it with some euro transaction and it’s actually good.

    Thank you for the tip!

  186. 191. sunny

    Credit limit may be – have nothing to do with cash back, but this can be true just today. If that is something people take advantage of, and affect the bottom line of the bank, then they change rules. I have an example – some two yrs ago, I transferred money from one credit card to another credit card, and back again to first card. Finally I purchased RRSP GIC paying from credit card directly. I did not have time to go through cheque trasanctions to beat the deadline date.
    What next? In about two months I received a letter from Scotia saying change of fee structures that included fee based transfer to another credit card. there is certain minimum fee payable or 1% of transfer amount whichever is higher.
    If this is something hitting their bottom-line, then they will say – your credit limit is $ 5000 per month, and you are eligible for $ 50 per month maximum. I notice that certain banks are generous increasing credit limits, but still they will find a way out.

  187. 192. smayer97

    @Harry and @Stef, where do you find the Chase/Amazon card? I went looking for it today on Amazon here:

    But could not find it. Please advise.

  188. 193. smayer97

    Nevermind. I found it at instead, here:

    Says no foreign exchange fees right on their site.

  189. 194. chad

    where would you rank walmart m.c I believe it’s better than p.c. It pays out 1.25% when you shop at walmartand 1% everywhere else.Also can cash out with as little as 5000 pts where as p.c raised there’s to 25,000 pts.Any thoughts????

  190. 195. smayer97

    Effective this month (Oct 2012), Sears Canada Mastercard now has very similar features as the Amazon Visa card, with NO foreign exchange fees. It is offered by here:

  191. 196. Stef

    Interesting, thank you smayer97

  192. 197. Roger

    MBNA Smart Cash is just (Nov 1, 2012) reducing their cash back to 2% on first $400. Anyone have experience of cancelling card, then applying for new card with 5% cashback for 6 months?

  193. 198. Troy W.

    Roger, I too am a little disappointed in the change. So I guess the question for me is, does anyone know of a different card that is offering a better cashback deal?

  194. 199. SST

    I find it very strange, but definitely a marker of current societal conditioning, that people would complain about getting PAID to use credit/leverage.

    The usual way it works is that you get CHARGED interest by the lender.

    More, more, more — 25 years since Mr. Gecko and the mantra hasn’t changed.

    Would be interesting to hear from anyone who was of age in the credit cardless pre-1970’s, to tell us tales of when you had to have the actual cash in hand (or cheque) to make purchases.

  195. 200. JKB

    @SST – I don’t think anyone’s complaining about getting cash back, but I also don’t think anyone’s so stupid as to think they’re getting paid to use credit either. If you think you or I or anyone are actually getting paid to use credit, you’re sadly mistaken. You can be certain that any costs related to cash back or other rewards these credit cards provide are passed on to the retailer in terms of transaction fees, and then subsequently passed on to the consumer in terms of increased prices for goods and services.

    So while I’m not going to complain about getting cash back, I am going to complain that a credit card company that makes money hand-over-fist as it is, duped a whole bunch of people, including myself, into switching credit cards by using what was at best apparently an unsustainable, temporary, promotional offer, or at worst, a deceitful ploy to steal market share.

  196. 201. Stefan

    I guess the MBNA smartcash cashback rate getting reduced is the first effect that we see part of the TD absorption.

    Who knows how the things will evolve, but let’s be glad that we can still get some good short-term loans thru MBNA, in the form of promo balance transfer. Even that may start being discontinued.

  197. 202. SST

    @JKB: “I don’t think anyone’s complaining about getting cash back…”

    From Troy W: “I too am a little disappointed in the change [drop in cash-back rate]. So I guess the question for me is, does anyone know of a different card that is offering a better cashback deal?”

    There’s a complaint right there.
    AKA, I’m getting cash-back but I want MORE cash-back!

    As far as being paid to use credit and the costs being transfered onto the consumer….get real. Are you saying that Big Banks are now in cahoots with Big Oil and Loblaws to fix gas and food prices in order that they won’t have to pay me 2% outright when I fill up my car and buggy? LOL!

    It’s a business model — the credit card companies know very well that the vast majority of users carry a balance and pay interest on their purchases. So they net 17% instead of 19%, big whoop.

    I use my MBNA card as a form of income. I control exactly how much I filter through it and NEVER carry a balance. At 2% it pays better than most 1-2 yr GICs. It is TAX FREE income and I don’t have to have any capital tied up long-term; it’s a return on consumables(!). Learn to use the tool.

    As stated in #201, you can blame TD for the change. MBNA didn’t “duped” anyone, it was TD going after more profit. Capitalism, right?

  198. 203. Stefan

    @SST, you are implying that CC cash back is something that you get for free (and sometimes better than a GIC or “hi-interest” savings account rate.

    Well let’s not fool ourselves. It’s not something “free” but something done at the expense of the merchants or/and the other consumer, which will get that rate addition factored into the price of the retailed product.

    It’s just a matter of who tries to be “smarter” than the other, or to fool it better. This is a DISTORTED, pathological form of capitalism IMHO.

    But why should we wonder – it’s the same for the stock market…They say that long-term it’s not a casino machine but a asset/profit generating machine, but IMHO with the stock plunge control team and all the insiders and speculators and Wallstreet crooks hired amongst the board members in the publicly listed companies, it’s just a rigged games – thieves with white sleeves, that’s all.

  199. 204. Troy W.

    @JKB – To set the record straight, my comment was an expression of disappointment about having something taken away that I already had. If you want to interpret that as a complaint, I guess that’s your prerogative. Though I’m really not sure what point you are trying to make. You seem to be expressing that you feel this type of credit card is wrong, yet you have one yourself. The topic of this thread is “Top Cash Back Credit Cards in Canada”. If you have something of value to add to the topic, by all means share. But if you’re just here to criticize others who are seeking information on the best financial products available, then perhaps you can find another thread that suits your purpose. This thread has been around awhile and I’ve enjoyed it up until now and hope I can continue to do the same.

  200. 205. Troy W.

    My sincere apology @JKB as my post # 203 was intended to be directed towards @SST for post #199 and post # 202. I mistakenly posted your handle @JKB. Sorry.

  201. 206. SST

    I have one, and use it as it should be used.
    If it is used properly, the gain is FREE MONEY.

    In no way is this credit card “wrong”, whatever that means.

    The original company, MBNA, offered you one thing, you took it.
    A second company bought your offer and changed it.
    Currently, the TD/MBNA cc is still the “Top Cash Back Credit Card in Canada” (yes?).
    You now have the choice to take it or leave it. That’s how markets operate.

    Besides that, if a couple hundred dollars over the course of a year makes that big of a dent in your life, you have much more serious concerns than credit card choices.

  202. 207. Troy W.

    @SST So then that’s a big “NO”, correct? No you don’t have anything of value to add to the conversation. I don’t recall anyone they depend on this card as an income. And I think many who have it, do exactly the same as you and pay it off ever month.

    And is it still the best card available? Well, that depends. For anyone still watching this thread to keep up-to-date on other cards in the Canadian marketplace, depending upon your annual expenditures The Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite card may be better for you. Though you have to factor in the $99 annual fee when doing the math, this one pays 4% on groceries and gas, 2% on drugstore purchases, and 1% on everything else. I’m considering it, but I’m curious about whether or not anyone knows of anything else more favourable…,,86,00.html?cid=keyCCA_GOO_INFEN_ALL_047

  203. 208. Troy W.

    p.s. they have a great cashback calculator:

  204. 209. SST

    Obviously you did not read the Scotia fine print, as so many don’t.

    Requirement #1:
    Have a minimum gross individual annual income of $60,000 or a minimum $100,000 household income.

    Seeing as how the median Canadian HOUSEHOLD income is $77,000 (2010), this would render half of all Canadian households ineligible to hold this card. According to StatsCan, only 35% of Canadian households are eligible to hold this card.

    With the TD/MBNA card, household income requirement is $35,000; an 85% household eligibility rate.

    Individual eligibility rates are ~15% for Scotiabank and ~43% for MBNA.

    Rate of return is not the ONLY parameter for determining “topness”.
    Looks as though Scotia panders to the well-off, as well as coving their own butt in terms of defaults.

    Again, if your household is earning $100,000 a year and you are in need/want of an extra $500 a year, something is seriously awry in your financial life. Whereas $300 in a $35,000 a year household has a much greater impact.

  205. 210. John

    Very disappointed in the MBNA smart cash card.

    Signed up for it 2 months ago, at least partly on the basis of the recommendation from this website.

    Now, within 2 months of signing up, the cash back has decreased from 3% of $600 gas and groceries to 2% of $400.

    I will definitely be looking at switching to the Scotia card once my 6 month promo with MBNA is up.

  206. 211. threecedars

    I just received notice that our MBNA card is changing too… very disappointing! We were also receiving $50 cheques every 4-6 weeks. Added it to our travel fund – way better than our Airmiles Amex and Airmiles BMO MC, as Airmiles has gotten retarded! (hmmm, kind of like the MBNA card, get a zillion rewards IF you buy from our special e-stores, like no thanks!)

    We spend around $3000 a month on the card based on the last three months. More if doing big stuff like travelling in the summer, etc. Approx $500-600 per month in groceries. Not so much in fuel as we have a commercial cardlock account.

    The new MBNA will only pay rewards on the first $1250 in purchases. This is NOT cool in my book!

    So, my question is this: with the new changes, what is the best card to use now? I was looking a year or so ago at the Capital One Aspire card but the SmartCash card was superior at the time. I am not into an annual fee card so the Visa is out. We are in a very very small town – no Cdn Tire, no Walmart, no Starbucks, no Tim Hortons, you get the picture…

    Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

    ps – we are headed stateside in November – perhaps I should also look at a short term card with no foreign currency conversion fees?

  207. 212. threecedars

    One more question – if I start switching cards left and right to match up with the various promos, how is this going to affect my credit rating? Or does that affect my credit score?

    Thanks for any insight.

  208. 213. Traveller

    I recommend Chase amazon visa credit card, there was no foreign transaction fee and the exchange rate was great.

  209. 214. Fabiana

    Hi there, Great job! I love your posts. I tried to find some comparison between cash back credit cards and travel rewards credit cards, or even something like “the top travel rewards credit cards”. Do you have something like that?
    Thank you for all tips you have here!!!

  210. 215. vingo

    Canadian Tire Cash Advantage Mastercard
    0.25% cash back on the first $1,500 in purchases.
    if you paydown your hydro,gas, tuition fees, cable or cell bills by going to their online banking serviece , you will get 1% cash back.

  211. 216. Steve

    As like most people, I too am displeased with the new MBNA cash back policy so I did a little number crunching to see what card will optimize my cash back best. Knowing that I spend roughly $15 000 a year I used this to calculate my total cash back from what I perceived as the top credit cards. And yes, I know I diverged a little bit away from the spirit of this article by including an annual fee credit card but I thought I would keep all of my options open:

    Below is the annual cash back I would receive from my top 3 picks of cash back credit cards

    MBNA Smart Card:

    $197 (if I am able to cap out the 2% cash back for purchasing $400 of gas and groceries every month. However, I find this to be unlikely) I don’t shop online so the extra cash back deals from online shopping that MBNA has is useless to me.

    Capital One Aspire Cash World Mastercard:

    $225 (assuming that -from what I understand- it offers cash back on everything purchased at 1.5%.)

    Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card:

    $320- $99 annual fee = $221

    So for me it seems to be a close toss up between Scotia Momentum and Capital One Visa. I think I’ll look into getting the fee reduced or waived (if possible) for the Scotia card as well as any extra benefits the two cards give. I also will probably do more shopping at my Walmart supermarket now as it is considered a grocery store for any purchase you make there now (from what I understand.) To look into: how fast does the cash come back from the Scotia card vs the Capital One card.

    NOTE: These calculations are only applicable to a rough estimate of my spending habits and therefore I would suggest that people do their own calculations. On the by and large though here would be my general rule. In order to justify spending money on an annual fee credit card you must be willing to use it enough to repay back the fee itself (therefore most likely in excess of $10000-15000, I’m too lazy to do the math.) Furthermore, you must incorporate the proportion of groceries, gas and recurring bill statements compared to what you spend on everything else in order to justify the Scotia Card as worthwhile.

    Any comments or suggestions before I go off and get a new card?

  212. 217. SST

    So much effort for an extra $4 a year.

  213. 218. Elise

    I’m a current MBNA PremierRewards Platinum Plus user, I didn’t realize they were getting discontinued. Do you know when the 1% back stopped (or is going to stop) and if they’ll transfer me to a new card or not? I remember getting a slip in the mail but I obviously didn’t read it over carefully enough. It would be helpful if you could write an article about its cancellation, with the policy change if you have it. I can’t find it online anywhere.

  214. 219. Anthony

    Not very happy with MBNA. Probably going to cancel. Has anyone tried speaking to them about it? Just looked at their website, and they’re still offering the 5% promo. WHAT A SCAM!!!

  215. 220. FrugalTrader

    @Elise, I didn’t know that they were getting rid of the PremierRewards. If you are a light spender, the Smart Cash is still a good bet.

  216. 221. Elise

    Just called this morning. As of today they’re still honouring the 1% on all transactions for the Premier Rewards card (if you have it). Not sure how long that will last.

    I have the Smart Cash MasterCard, but I only use it for gas and groceries to make sure that I actually get as much of the 3 (now 2)% back as possible, then I use the Premier Rewards for everything else since it’s the same as having used the Smart Cash card.

  217. 222. FrugalTrader

    @Elise, you can upgrade to the SC World which takes away the limit on the 1% spending and give you Price Protection insurance. That way, you can use the SC card for everything and reduce the number of bills that you need (and cards in your wallet!).

  218. 223. Elise

    The SC is a possible 2% on the first $400 spent in the month, isn’t it the same for the SC World?

  219. 224. FrugalTrader

    The thing about the regular SC is the limit on the 1% spending. The limit is now $1250 per month, but the World version does not have a limit on the 1% portion of the rewards.

  220. 225. Michael

    Tried upgrading to Smart Cash World (given the new $1,250 limit of regular Smart Cash).

    Only problem: It has the same requirements as Capital One Aspire Cash World Mastercard.
    – $60K personal income
    – $100K household income
    – $15K minimum spending (per year)

    At the very minimum, they want you to meet the first and third condition.

  221. 226. Michael

    I found an alternative to Smart Cash: Aspire Cash Platinum MasterCard.

    Get 1% cash back PLUS 0.25% anniversary bonus.

    It’s also more accessible: only special requirement is HOUSEHOLD income of $30K

  222. 227. tarheel

    I like the Capital One (1.5% cashback) card as my primary card. I use it for most things, except gas and groceries up to 400 per month, which I still buy on Smart Cash.

    FT, why have all the dates been removed from the site? I can’t see when an article was first published and in the comments below each write-up, i can’t tell if I’m reading something from 3 minutes ago or 3 years ago.

    I tried to contact you in the ‘contact’ section of MDJ, but that seems to be down right now.

  223. 228. NameLess

    Not sure why there is no place for Scotiabank Visa Momentum.
    4% gas and grocery
    2% drugstore purchases and recurring bill payments
    1% all other eligible purchases.

  224. 229. Ned Girb

    Have enjoyed using MBNA for some time but having trouble changing to Smart Cash World. I applied in October and still have not received a card. In two calls to MBNA they say they are backed up with applications.
    Trouble is that the cash back rates on MBNA reduced on Dec 1.
    Seems like MBNA or, TD as it now is, is holding back issuing Smart Cash World cards until after the Christmas spending rush. They obviously want to keep a lot of Smart Cash for themselves.

  225. 230. Kristi

    Ned – I applied late in November and got my card yesterday (Mon Dec 11). I noticed on my last bill, or maybe it was when I signed in to Online Access, that they had already switched my card to the new card (and new card number) prior to actually receiving the card. All of my points have transitioned with the card. So am hoping it is all ok – hopefully yours will be done soon too! Just keep an eye on your Online account – maybe it is already done?

  226. 231. Ken

    I upgraded to the MBNA World Smart Cash Mastercard and was surprised when the monthly Telus charges for my cell phone stopped working. When I called Telus I was told that the “third party international credit card” was not one they would accept. This is odd as Telus formerly accepted the non-World MBNA Smart Cash Mastercard. I was lucky enough to have an Amex card that Telus would accept. I guess the lesson here is to never rely on one credit card as they may make some change that could leave you without a method of paying.

  227. 232. Mels

    @tarheel I completely agree about the dates. I have no clue when comments were last made on this site. I only remember some of the comments from when I looked on here in the fall and knew that some were more recent. It’s actually really annoying. I hope they fix this problem so that I know when an article was written.

  228. 233. Mary O'Reilly

    We need dates to know how relevant the info. on these cards is.

  229. 234. Debster

    Was reading the comments on this article from the oldest first and it seems that many are quite old, as things have changed with MBNA Smart Cash, no 3% anymore, although they still have the introductory 6 month 5%.

    Any chance, FrugalTrader, you can get your website updated to show dates of comments?

    I’m looking at the Scotiabank Infinite Momentum… although there is a fee, it offers 4% on gas, groceries…. 2% recurring etc. Of course if they later reduce these rates, I’ll be really pissed. At $600/month groceries and $300/ month for gas I should still come out ahead. Any comment on this strategy?

  230. 235. FrugalTrader

    @Debster, working on an update. For your spending , looks like you’d get $432 back for gas/groceries. Minus $129 for two cards gives you: $303 total rebate. The SC card would give you: $96 (2% return on $4800) + $60 (1% on remaining) = $156 rebate.

    If you’re interested, here is our scotia momentum visa review.

  231. 236. sneeker

    @Debster, I just made the move to the Scotia Momentum Infinite Visa and I couldn’t be more happy. I am definitely making more money than I would have with the Smart Cash World. One item to note, though…. I couldn’t find any info out there as to how you get your ‘cash back’. Once I received my card I finally found that your cash rewards come back to you as the form of a credit on your November billing statement. This is a bit of an inconvenience and it’s going to be much more boring not receiving those $50 cheques every month, but my wife and I see it as additional savings for Christmas. We actually went over budget this year by about the amount that I’ve estimated as my annual rewards (after adjusting for the $129 in annual fees).

    @FT – Can’t wait for that update! This is one topic that needs it!

  232. 237. Debster

    @FrugalTrader @Sneeker

    Thanks! With the downgrade of MBNA SmartCash and with my recurring payments not mentioned above, I see the advantage of Scotia Infinite Momentum and went ahead with it today. In fact, I’m taking advantage of the 6 mth 1.99% introductory offer to pay off a car loan currently at 4.99% as well.

    Jan 2013

  233. 238. smayer97

    Regarding Scotiabank Momentum cards, keep in mind that some stores do not accept Visa. For example, No Frills, part of the Loblaws chain in Ontario, does notl; they only accept Mastercard.

  234. 239. Brandon

    Just wanted to pass my thoughts by about my CC choice to see if anyone disagrees:

    I have my personal CC used by myself and another coworker (2 cards) purchasing on avg. $2500/mth in fuel. theres rougly $800/mth in other misc charges in total.

    I’m leaning towards the Scotia infinite momentum for the 4%, would anyone else go another direction? i will incur a $130 annual fee for the two cards with this, but i think the amount of fuel will out weigh.

    Switching from the MBNA, 80% based on their crappy online banking platform, i can’t stand it, i was putting up with it for the benefits that it had last year, but now that they’ve dropped its not worth it.


  235. 240. Goldberg


    I don’t get it.

    Sharing a cc with a coworker? That’s asking for trouble.

  236. 241. Brandon

    More of a partner. I realize the risks already. Just wondering your opinion on the credit card itself?

  237. 242. smayer97

    Note that Scotia Infinite Momentum applies 4% cash back to max $25,000/yr for gas and groceries.

    That said, based on your spending, Scotia Infinite Momentum yields $1,017 for the yr. If you add recurring charges like phone, cable, internet, utilities, etc for 2% cash back, you do even better.

    BUT You are actually better off getting 2 separate Infinite Scotia accounts and paying 2 x $99/yr, and you would still be ahead $80/yr, rather than paying $129 for 2 cards on one account.

    Compare that to MBNA. Since they now cap at $400/mth, even with 5% promotional rate for 6 months and even if you each got your own accounts, you would only get $342 for first 6 months, and only $492/yr thereafter (@2%).

    One caution, Scotiabanks website is worse than MBNA in that it is more basic. You can only see one previous statement plus current month’s charges. You cannot save a statement but you can download transactions for the 2 months showing to financial software. No other history. If you want PDF statements online, you have to sign up with ePost. They send the PDF version of your statements there only (you can save them there for 7 yrs). Still worth it for the better cash benefits.

  238. 243. smayer97

    Oh forgot top point out that cash back gets applied to November statement only. No other way to get the cash back.

  239. 244. Debster


    Thanks a lot for adding the date of Apr 9, 2012 to your post!!

    Only problem is the comments show the same date, which is incorrect. ;-)


    Thanks for the heads up about nofrills not accepting Visa. Don’t shop there normally, but sometimes at a freshmart in the country.

    Got our infinite cards yesterday and switched our recurring payments over. :-)

    Feb 2, 2013

  240. 245. Michael

    Tried again to update to Smart Cash World. Looks like there is an annual fee now though!

  241. 246. Robb

    @Michael – where do you see that info? Can you post a screenshot or a link?

    My understanding is the World Card is still no-fee.

  242. 247. smihaila

    I’ve noticed that MBNA’s “Premier Rewards” program went through some changes recently (received a letter by mail).

    Haven’t looked into details, but what are the changes? I guess we can no longer redeem the cashback points (which are still 1%) for money any time we wish, but we have to do it in $50 increments?

  243. 248. Oxygentax

    Under your scenario, my no fee RBC Cashback Mastercard would yield $268 in cash back. Have you seen anyone else with this card?

  244. 249. threecedars

    Question re: using MBNA Smart Cash World in combination with Capital One Aspire…

    We have had our MBNA card past the 6 months introductory 5% cash back. If I understand correctly, we are earning 2% on gas and groceries up to $400 per month, then 1%.. and 1% on all other purchases.

    If I use the Capital One card, I would earn 1% on all purchases – PLUS the 50% annual bonus (so 0.5% on top of the 1%).

    Does anyone have suggestions as to how to track the $400 in qualifying spending on the MBNA card? Looking at my rewards file on the MBNA card is a little confusing… it kind of looks like my billing cycle is approx 24th to 23rd of the month but the gas/grocery spend might be based on the 1st-31st monthly cycle?

    If I could figure that out, once I hit $400 on the MBNA card (then earning only1%), I might as well switch to the Capital One card (and earn 1.5% overall). Any suggestions on how to track when I hit the $400 cap on gas/groceries?

  245. 250. FT

    @threecedars, the $400 spending is based on a monthly schedule, not your billing cycle.

  246. 251. threecedars

    Thought so – was trying to figure it out as I hadn’t paid much attention to it during the first 6 months promo. Thanks :-)

    We do about $150 a month in gas on that card (we also have a wholesale cardlock card) and about $120 per week in groceries… so if I switch to putting all the groceries on the card and move the gas to the Capital One card, that might be a better option.

    Remind me – is there a cap on the Capital One cash back?

  247. 252. FT

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that there is no maximum reward on the capital one card.

  248. 253. Robb

    @FT – there is no limit to the rewards earned on Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard.

    However, I have heard a rumour that Cap One is discontinuing the Aspire Cash World MasterCard and just going with the Platinum card (where you get 1%, plus 25% bonus instead of 50%).

    In fact, I just looked at the Cap One site and I don’t see mention of the Aspire Cash World card, just Platinum.

    No word on whether or not existing cardholders will be grandfathered and keep their benefits.

  249. 254. Robb

    Nevermind, the Aspire Cash World card is still on the website. I guess it’s just rumour at this point.

  250. 255. John

    surprised you dont have the mbna rewards world elite MC its 2% cash back on everything and only an $89 fee (with a $100 signup bonus so first year is more than free) based on 25K per year, on your chart you would get back $411 using this card. By far the best choice.

  251. 256. Danielle

    My husband and I applied for the capital one cash back card and were actually rejected. Not sure why – we both have excellent credit, annual household income of about $200k and only two other credit cards that we’ve had for 13 years. I called capital one for an explanation and they couldn’t even find our application on file. They said in theory we shouldve been accepted but it may have been a glitch. Then they disconneed midway thru the conversation (assuming thats a glitch too)? We had previously heard bad things about capital ones customer service but saw first hand how bad it is. We are gonna go with MBNA instead. If I could go back I definitely wouldn’t have applied as now it’s likely a hit on our credit score. Brutal service from capital one and a rejection for no reason!

  252. 257. FrugalTrader

    @Danielle, sorry to hear about your experience with cap one. That was the opposite of my experience, I applied online and received the new card very promptly. Although I haven’t had to call/email their customer service team for any reason.

  253. 258. Dan Gagnon

    I have the Visa Card (with Chase)

    No annual fee
    1% cashback on everything
    2% cashback on

    15$ gift certificate on when you receive the card.

    you get your reward everytime you reach 20$, you don’t have to wait the end of the year.

    I had the CIBC visa dividend before, switched to Chase Amazon Visa, much better.

  254. 259. Jimmy

    Guys, I am still using the MBNA SmartCash World and I am still receiving the $50 cheque every now and again. I understand the rewards are not as good as they used to be so I am looking in earnest for a better cash reward credit card.

    Is the Capital One Aspire Platinum the top dog right now? That seems to be a favorite with the RFD crowd. Is there a comparable MBNA one? just so that I can *upgrade* from the existing SmartCash without filling out another application and possibly avoid a credit check.


  255. 260. FT

    The popular card was the Capital One Aspire Cash World card, but it was recently discontinued. The platinum version is the next best bet for a free card. I will be updating this article shortly.

  256. 261. smayer97

    With recent changes of all the other programs, another contender that may rise to near the top would be the CapitalOne Aspire Travel World MasterCard, IF you qualify for it.

    Though it has a $120/yr fee, it pays 2% on ALL purchases, with NO limits. It has a 35,000 point bonus after 1st purchase and an ANNUAL bonus of 10,000 points. Extra authorized cards cost nothing.

    If you prefer ALL cash rewards, you can convert the points to cash at a rate of 75%. This means the one-time 35,000 point bonus works out to $262.50 and the 10,000 annual bonus works out to $75/yr. Between the two, plus the annual bonus, your annual fee is covered for the first 4.7+ years. After that in works out to no more than $45/yr.

    So this is equivalent to getting a cash reward card of 1.5% on ALL purchases (2% * .75 = 1.5%).

    And you can still do better than 1.5% equivalent by getting gift cards at 100% of the points value instead of “cash”, though at the moment the store selection is limited to iTunes, Best Buy, Home Depot, Toys “R” Us, Birks, Starbucks, The Keg, Petro-Canada (including gas) and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.

  257. 262. smayer97

    oops…I made a mistake. Gift cards are at 75% value, just like redeeming for cash.

  258. 263. smayer97

    and bonuses “only” cover just over 4+ yrs, not 4.7+

  259. 264. DL

    You should include the Capital One Aspire Travel Card. If you spend $25k, you’re essentially getting back $330 after the annual fee (and excluding the first purchase bonus).

    – Every $1 spent = 2 reward points.
    – Every year, you get a 10,000 anniversary reward points
    – Therefore: $25,000 x 2 = 50,000 points + 10,000 anniversary points = 60,000 points x 0.75% = $450 – $120 annual fee = $330

  260. 265. akatsiya


    if lets say i already spent this month 400$ lets say on telephone bill

    and then i gonna spend additional 400$ on gas and groceries, will i get my 2% on gas and groceries?

    this 2% is it just relates to the first 400$ spent? or you have 400$ room specifically designated for gas and groceries regardless of your total monthly purchases?

  261. 266. FrugalTrader

    @akatsiya, when you make a purchase at a grocery store or gas station, they have unique store codes which will count towards your $400/month limit.

  262. 267. akatsiya

    thank you for your answer
    but what if the 400$ limit is already filled by other purchases which do not qualify for the 2% reward ?

  263. 268. akatsiya

    thank you for your answer
    but what if the 400$ limit is already filled by other purchases which do not qualify for the 2% reward ?
    thank you

  264. 269. FrugalTrader

    If you make a purchase at Walmart (for example), it will only qualify for the 1% reward. If you purchase at Loblaws or other grocery/gas station, you will get up to $400 in spending on those purchases. After you reach the $400, then it will revert back to the 1%.

    To answer your question, if you spend $400 at Walmart, it will not count towards your $400 gas/grocery limit, that is calculated and tracked separately.

  265. 270. smayer97

    @akatsiya In other words, only gas & grocery purchases apply to the $400/mo cap. ALL other types of purchases are counted separately, and you only get 1% on those purchases.

    Of course, once you exceed $400/mo for gas & groceries, the rest of you gas & grocery purchases get 1% only.

  266. 271. akatsiya

    im not asking a question about me exceeding 400$ for gas & groceries

    lets say oct1st I spent 400$ on balloons in dollarama (did not buy yet no gas neither groceries )

    oct 2nd I gonna buy groceries and gas. will i get my 2% on oct 2nd?

    thank you

  267. 273. akatsiya

    thank you

  268. 274. MikeJaneksi

    So i need to get my first credit card. I am looking at spending around $700 including gas, groceries, entertainment, and recurring bills.

    Which card is the best option for me? MBNA/Capital One? I am currently with RBC but from what i have seen, their offers aren’t that great.

    Can you please assist me? Thank you.

  269. 275. MikeJaneksi

    To add to my previous question, how does the MBNA/Capital One compare the RBC Cash Back MasterCard?

    Which card would you recommend?

  270. 276. FrugalTrader

    @MikeJaneksi, you need to break down how much you spend on gas/groceries as a category, then everything else. I’m not a huge fan of the RBC card, first there is a $19 annual fee for simply getting 1% back (see free ones above) and limited insurance benefits. Both the MBNA SC and the Cap One cards are better.

  271. 277. MikeJaneksi

    Thanks for the quick reply!

    For gas about $200/month
    For groceries about $350-400/month
    For drugs/pharmacy about $20/month or so (mostly just advil)
    For recurring bills about $370/month
    Everything else/entertainment $200/month

  272. 278. FrugalTrader

    For the SC, you would get ($400 * 12 * 0.02) + ($790 * 12 * .01) = 190.8 cash back
    For the Cap one card, you would get: 1190 *12 *.0125= $178.50 cash back

    However, in this scenario, you may benefit from the Scotia Momentum card (even with the $99 annual fee).
    Scotia momentum: ($600 * 12 * .04) + (390 * 12 * .02) + (200 * 12 * .01) – 99 = $306.60 cash back.

  273. 279. smayer97

    f you go with Scotiabank, just make sure your merchants accept Visa, especially groceries.

    For example, No Frills does not, so would limit your benefit if you shop there.

  274. 280. sammy

    Hello FT,
    Based on my monthly expenses below, please tell me what combination would yield the best cash back, after any possible card fees.
    Gas $300/month,Groceries $800/month, Other $1,400/month = $2,500/month total. Note: I am thinking of getting the Costco American Express Card as 75% of our groceries are purchased here and 40% of our gas is purchased here. The other card I might use for purchases other than at Costco wold be the Capital One Aspire Platinum card that yields 1.25% cash back (after the 25% annual bonus). Your thoughts on this strategy vs. using the Scotia Momentum Infinite or the MBNA World Elite cards? Thanks.

  275. 281. FrugalTrader

    @Sammy, doing most of your shopping at Costco really changes your credit card rewards profile since they only take AMEX.
    Assuming that you spend $200/month on groceries and $180 on gas outside costco, you can’t really go wrong with the MBNA SC card as a secondary (to your Costco AMEX) as you will get 2% return (higher return than Scotia momentum at this spending level).

    If you are willing to carry more cards, the ideal scenario would be the Costco AMEX, MBNA SC card for the remainder of your gas/groceries, then the Capital One 1.25% card for your other spending. All cards have no annual fee.

  276. 282. sammy

    What about a scenario where I stopped shopping at Costco altogether and just got the MBNA World Elite card with a flat 2% cash back? …cash-flow wise, I’m wondering if this would offset the cost of shopping outside of Costco? (although probably not worth the hassle of not being able to shop at Costco for me).

  277. 283. FrugalTrader

    In your Other category of $1400, how much of that is “entertainment/restaurants/movies”? How much is recurring? I have a feeling that with your high spending on groceries combined with gasoline, the Scotia Momentum card would return the highest for you.

  278. 284. sammy

    Of the “Other” $1,400/month, only $200 or so is for recurring bills. The other $1,200/month is for discretionary spending/restaurants/telephone/internet/cell phones/insurance/hydro/gas/-etc. I did the math and as a secondary card the MBNA World Elite card with a flat 2% cash back provides me with the most cash back for everything I purchase outside of Costco. The Scotia Momentum card that you mentioned is really only better if you want one credit card, you’re a higher spender, and you buy all your groceries on the card (i.e. – outside of Costco, as they only accept American Express). Other people who primarily shop at Costco for groceries might wish to do the same as me!

  279. 285. smayer97

    All this discretionary spending you mention such as telephone/internet/cell phones/insurance/hydro/gas can be set up as recurring payments via your credit card and qualify for the 2% with Scotiabank.

  280. 286. sammy

    I just re-checked my YTD “Other” spending and most of it falls outside of recurring payments. Therefore, the MBNA World Elite 2% cash back card for $89 (waived in the first year) still works out best in my situation. I’ll re-check my spending habits again next year though to see if it’s worth it to pay the $89 fee or switch to the Scotia Momentum card with no fee. Thanks for your suggestions.

  281. 287. Travnik

    Hey Guys,
    I’m at a loss here. I currently hold Costco AMEX card which i’m satisfied with, CIBC Aerogold visa (not sure what to replace it with as this is what i want to do) and petro points mastercard.

    What do you guys recommend? I never carry a balance. The reason i want to dump it is because i dont see a reason keeping it since aeroplan is no longer associated with them with the recent changes.

    Please give me some recommendations….thanks!

  282. 288. FrugalTrader

    @Travnik, if you like the Aeroplan system, TD is now the bank offering aeroplan cards. If you want to leave the aeroplan system, then the capital one travel card is highly rated. Full review here:

  283. 289. sammy

    @Travnik and FrugalTrader, note that Amia Inc. (which operates the Aeroplan program) now offers Aeroplan cards through both CIBC bank and TD bank . See:
    Travis – if you’re like me and spend a lot of money through Costco, you may wish to consider the MBNA World Elite card with a flat 2% cash back, or the Scotia Momentum Infinite card as your secondary card instead of the CIBC Aerogold VISA (which I had until last month when I decided to switch to the MBNA World Elite card, as the amount of spending required to use your “points” was not that great and the travel points don’t cover your flight taxes – which can cost you another 1/4 to a 1/3 of the cost of a ticket, per person! You MAY be better off with a straight cash back card for the most money in your pocket and then look for travel deals elsewhere.) Anyways, you’ll need to have a good handle on your monthly expenses and read the fine print for both cards before doing the math on which one will ultimately be better for you. Of course, if you’re looking for a no-fee card the MBNA SC card is still good too. FYI – you can use you Aerolpan miles to buy Costco gift cards for your groceries, which is the same as cash in your pocket baby!

  284. 290. mrfrugal

    Just a note you can use the scotiabank infinite visa momentum card at loblaw’s, superstore, fortinos, zehrs, etc where they accept visa and simply buy their PC gift cards located by front checkouts and get 4% juice for cash back still with your scotia visa card.

    Then utilize PC gift card at no frills as they accept any loblaw’s type issued gift card and can capitalize even at these locations which don’t accept visa.
    Look at all the gas stations gift card options (retailers, entertainment, restaurants, fast food, itunes, and the list goes on) to still get 4% cash back including points (ie: petropoints, esso points, shell air miles on top of this) instead of getting 1% if you had gone to those other establishments using the visa card by itself that is non grocery or gas station oriented.

    It will yield more money back in your pocket and add points to get you free car washes or other promotional items depending on gas company you fill up frequently.

    I hope this helps you in 2014 and you realize the true benefits if executed properly. :)

  285. 291. FrugalTrader

    @mrfrugal, good tip on purchasing other gift cards at grocery stores to maximize the 4% return!

  286. 292. barwelle

    Hi FT, just to let you know, Capital One has removed the 25% annual cash back bonus on the card you suggest. At least for new applicants.

  287. 293. FrugalTrader

    @Barwelle, I did not know that, i’ll take a look and update the list if required. Thanks for the update!

  288. 294. threecedars

    The Smart Cash world is just dismal now… we went from a $50 cheque pretty much every month to one every two or three months. Any suggestions?

  289. 295. sneeker

    We went to the Scotia Momentum Infinite from the Smart Cash. We never made the switch to the World card. I wasn’t quite getting a $50 cheque every month (maybe 2 out of every 3 months) with the Smart Cash, but this year (November statement credit) we got $580 on spending from Dec 28/12 to Nov 12/13 (after $130 in annual fees).

  290. 296. FrugalTrader

    For a family with two cars and kids, it’s hard to beat the 4% Scotia Momentum card.

  291. 297. Canuck

    Not exactly on topic re cash back but in a way saves cash so in realty it is cash back.
    No one mentions this very often but we use CIBC Aerogold ($165/Annual) with the Aeroplan that gives us enough Aeropoints (25,000) to fly anywhere in North America) to fly our daughter to our Snowbird home in Florida every Christmas and another 15,000 to 25,000 to bank each year for our trips to BC every couple of years.(A trip from Victoria to Orlando, Florida will run $1400 around Christmas) so 25,000 Aeropoints equal +/- $1400 – the CIBC fee of $165 for the two CIBC cards.
    However we also have a “Select” account with TD which gives us a free Platinum Card which gives one $75 for each $5000 spent, we don’t use it only as a back up when travelling. But for no fee & the $ can be used for Motels, etc., it’s not a bad choice. So TD spending of $25,000 with no fee equals to $350 if you look at it that way.
    I know that the Aeroplan has drawbacks like hard to get the tickets you want but if you reserve early like our daughter does (11 Months in advance) it works pretty good.

  292. 298. Sukun Paul

    I would recommend instead of upgrading immediately from the regular to the smart cash world if you are eligible, just use the regular one, max it for 6 months and then upgrade it and get another 6 months, which is what I did, and get a year of 5% cash back on gas and groceries. I also use the infinite scotiabank card for gas and groceries above the $400 limit and recurring phone bills and insurance etc for 2%.

  293. 299. Kristi

    We have already used up our 6 months on the upgraded one. I am thinking I will open a new Scotia account, stop using the MBNA card, and after a few months perhaps open a new account on the MBNA in my husband’s name. Might work :-) It’s too bad – the old MBNA card was really solid for us, and we use the cheques for our “travel fund”.

  294. 300. Paul N

    I just wanted to do a follow up comment here about the MBNA World Elite card. Please note the cash back is NOT automatic as they were on the previous MBNA cards. They force you to call in and choose your reward, which means going on hold sometimes for quite some time to collect your “reward”. I find this annoying and really an unnecessary step. The cash is a credit applied to your following months statement so make sure you look for it in case it is missed…

    On another note when you sign up for any MBNA card make sure you opt out of all their various advertisement schemes or you will be bombarded with offers for all kinds of crap. You need to do this for your phone associated with the account and your e-mail. Do it right away or you will once again be on hold for 20 or 22 minutes making a second call to opt out later.

    I have to say I am disappointed with these two aspects of the card and will continue to monitor my rewards and after a full year decide if I wish to continue with this card.

  295. 301. FrugalTrader

    @Paul – agreed, having to call in is annoying. In terms of return, do you find the $90 worth the 2% reward?

  296. 302. smayer97

    @Paul, as far as I understand, the MBNA Elite card is now only available as a Rewards card for NEW clients and the cash rewards version is not available.

    Though you can convert to get cash equivalent trade (via store gift cards), it is at about a 14-25% discount, effectively making the cash equivalent of this card at best a 1.72% (depending on which gift cards are purchased).

  297. 303. smayer97

    Though not a TRUE cash rewards card, I consider the PC Financial Mastercard a TRUE EQUIVALENT to cash rewards card because any points earned can be converted to cash @ 100% (vs others reward cards that penalize you for getting cash equivalences) towards any grocery purchases at stores selling PC products, i.e. the entire Loblaws affiliate chain, right at the cash register!

    Why I consider this a GREAT card NOW is because as of early 2014, they now offer an upgrade to a World version which pays the equivalent of 2% on all groceries purchased where PC products are sold. This includes the NO FRILLS discount chain.

    For me, this finally solves my 2 biggest problems to date. I have been using up to 4 MBNA Smart Cash cards (2 for my wife and 2 for me) to get around this SILLY $400 monthly cap for groceries and gas (which was reduced from $600/mo not so long ago). We are a family of 5 and spend almost $1200/mo. The alternative card I use, the Scotia Momentum Visa, is not accepted at No Frills.

    Now I am switching to PC Mastercard to get the exact same 2% (for grocery purchases at least) with NO MONTHLY CAP ! This reduces my account needs from 4 down to 1! YAY!

    The only obvious trade off is that PC Financial though they have electronic statements, they do not have the ability to download transactions to financial software like Quicken. But that is a small price to pay for the simplification of my accounts.

  298. 304. John

    @Paul – actually you don’t have to call in, you can do it online, takes me about 2 minutes to do it. beats waiting about 3 months vs the smartcash which took for ever to mail out cheques. also i never got bombarded with advertising stuff but i dont recall opting out either but maybe i did and don’t remember.

    @FT just fyi I do about 3-5K a month on the MBNA world elite card and I briefly thought about switching to the scotia momentum but when i did the math it works out to be approx the same or slightly better than my mbna so the thought of switching didnt seem worth it.

    @smayer97 yea i have the PC card too its great for loblaws and you dont have to carry an extra pcplus card to get the extra points. but its only 1% at all other stores and its quite a bother to buy gift cards and use them, thats a real hassle also i still get a paper statement.

  299. 305. Paul Unosawa

    @Paul is this only for new card holders? I just got my cheque sent out last week for my mbna card?

  300. 306. smayer97

    @John, re: PC Mastercard, not sure what you mean re: gift cards….you do not need to buy them to use points…you can apply the points directly to your purchase.

  301. 307. Paul N

    I guess a lot of people are still subscribed to this… a lot of questions. I”l try to do my best here to give you my takes on this.

    @ John – I understand you can go on-line and choose, that was explained to me. In my case that would be the only time I go on line, I’m tired of all the passwords and log-ins and learning to navigate another website. Point is I asked if I could choose a default to always pay me cash (Simple no?) That is NOT an option, you must call or go on-line and choose every time. For me the wait time for an automatic check was never an issue. As for marketing…I did receive both calls and emails then found they were related to mbna. Particularly a string of calls to get their overdraft protection insurance after saying no several times. It was truly to the point of annoying.

    @ FT The first year the fee is waived. I use my card for everything. You might as well. Plus work purchases I get redeemed for. So I will have an advantage with this card. Again after my year is up – I will research again and maybe move on from this card…

    @ smayer97 – Funny story how I got this card. I heard about it here. I called in. I had to speak to 3 or 4 people – was put on hold as no one seemed to be able to bring up information on the card. One customer service rep talked to a second manger and finally they found the card. While I was talking to them I was e-mailing them info about the card. (cutting and pasting screens about their own card) They apologized to me several times regarding their lack of knowledge of this card. I felt they don’t really want to give people this card if they don’t have too after that experience.

    @ Paul Unosawa – Mbna has several different cards I have my old card “Smart Cash World” which I received cheques mailed automatically (but the cash reward had dwindled and was limited to lower rewards) My new card is The “World Elite”, and that is the card I an referring to here. You probably have the Smart Cash World card… two different rewards programs.

    For years I had the CIBC Dividend One card. Then they dropped the cash back percentage, then with the help of this site I found my first Mbna card to replace that card. Sadly Mbna also keeps playing games and this is now the 3rd card I have had with them. I will Google search twice a year “Best cash back cards 2014″ – usually that brings me back here. If i see a card that has a better cash reward then the one I am currently using then I will switch it. The trick for everyone here is also to pay your balance off every month. Put every coffee, and every bill you can on your card. I bought a used car and a Hot tub on my card. Be creative. Better you and me get a few hundred extra in our pocket every year. It all adds up!

    I want to thank MDJ once again for this great topic. It has literally put hundreds back in my pocket that I would not have had otherwise. Also several of my friends that took advantage of these cards after I passed on this great information. One guy – I may have mentioned him before got $600.00 back a few years back when the rewards were more liberal. He has huge work related expenses every month and used it to his gain… He would rub it to me in every other month when he got his $100.00 check….

  302. 308. John


    oh i was just saying some people (maybe it was on rfd) would buy gift cards at loblaws for other stores to take advantage of the 2% cash back from loblaws stores (say buy a homedepot card or gap etc..) i should have been more specific sometimes i assume everybody already knows all this stuff on the deal forums… i was just commenting that its too much work :)

    @Paul yea good point about that if you dont spend much time online then its not a good choice and waiting on hold for a long time does seem like a PIA, and i never actually answer the phone unless i know who it is so perhaps i just miss all the promo calls Lol!

  303. 309. Mr. Cheap

    I’ve had the PC Mastercard for number of years but do not like it. Too many restrictions for a cash back. Your purchase has to be more than $20.00 and you can only cash out in denomination of $5.00. For those who travel, look at the Visa. They are the only ones who DO NOT charge the extra 2.5% for conversion plus they pay you the cash back of $20 for every $2000 spent, 1% . They credit your account the month the $2000 is reach. At lease I can spend the money where I want. Something to consider

  304. 310. smayer97

    @Mr. Cheap,

    I’m not so sure the PC Mastercard is SO restrictive…Do you not spend at least $20 in groceries when you shop? I also don’t see $5 increments as a big issue either for the same reason. AND if you get the PC Mastercard WORLD card, you get the equivalent of 2%, not just 1%. So all in all a better choice, at least for using the “cash” equivalent points for groceries.

    I too have the Amazon Visa. Good card to avoid the 2.5% exchange fee surcharge on foreign expenses. Good for when I travel.

    Having multiple cards allows me to use the most beneficial card for the usage, though I try to keep as many purchases to one card at a time. My current arrangement is as follows:
    – Scotiabank Momentum Visa for 2% on all my gas, pharmacy and recurring charges
    – PC Mastercard WORLD for 2% on all our groceries (replacing my MBNA, which forced my wife and I to have 4 accounts to get around their silly caps)
    – Amazon Visa for 1% on all purchases and to avoid the 2.5% exchange fee

  305. 311. smayer97

    — also using Amazon Visa for 2% on Amazon purchases

  306. 312. Mr. Cheap

    I use the RBC mastercard cash back which gives me my 2% on groceries instead of the PC Mastercard. At least I get to spend the money wherever I want and any amount I chose. I’m not forced to redeem the cash at a PC store. I do not shop much at Superstores (Loblaws) anyway and my bills there usually run in the $20 range, hence my view of it being restrictive. I use Amex cash back at Costco and gas and RBCMastercard for groceries. Amazon Visa is used for items other than gas and groceries cause it pays 1%. The Scotia Visa pays better but I do day trips to the States so the Amazon Visa is better for me. I do not want to end up with a wallet full of credit cards.
    This is an Interesting site, to see what other shoppers do.

  307. 313. smayer97

    @Mr Cheap, thanks for your input. I have a lot of business with RBC BUT the RBC Cash Back Mastercard has limits….
    – the 2% it pays on groceries caps out at $6000/yr spent. My family spends about double that. PC has no limits and 98% of our groceries are at No Frills, so it works for us. Since my wife does most of the shopping, she carries that card.
    – though I always prefer unrestrained cash, RBC still limits redemption to $25 minimum, more than PC’s limit.
    I do agree about trying to keep the # cards down to a minimum, hence one reason I am moving away from MBNA (ugh those silly $400 caps!).

    So in the end, 2 cards for my wife, MBNA for gas only (and occasional groceries other than No Frills) and PC for everything else, and mostly 2 cards for me, PC Mastercard for when I do the occasional groceries at No Frills, Scotiabank Visa for everything else (even groceries elsewhere), and Amazon Visa for travel.

    Used to love getting the 5% from MBNA for groceries and gas. You can reapply and they will continue to award you a new card by just transferring your available credit from your old account to a new one…but I grew tired of re-applying (I did it every 6 months for several years), since with the caps being reduced to only $400/mo for gas AND groceries, we would have to apply 4 times (2x wife, 2x me) to meet our needs. It does mean giving up about $400/yr in cash back though :-(

  308. 314. smayer97

    …oh and MBNA’s cash back cheques are just silly…vs putting the credit back on the card. Pretty antiquated and costly.

  309. 315. smayer97

    correction to my post 303…turns out that PC Mastercard DOES have the ability to download data to Quicken…Not sure how long that feature has been there (just started using this card again after not using it for almost 3 years).

    That said, a couple of nuances to consider with any card:
    – pre-approved payment of balances of monthly statements – PC Mastercard, Amazon Visa, still do not have this capability, which increases the chance of accidentally missing a payment due date, e.g. if you are away
    – PC and MBNA use the Posted Date in the date field for downloaded data vs the Transaction Date that most other companies use (RBC, Scotiabank, etc). Not a huge deal, but for me a small nuisance

  310. 316. JP

    Don’f forget about Canadian Tire Gas Advantage, up to 10 cents off per litre

  311. 317. Meaghan

    It seems the MBNA Smart Cash Credit Card has a new(?) gift card offer, $25 upon approval and $75 after your first purchase. Is there any risk or reason why I shouldn’t get in, grab $100 and get out? I’m happy with my current credit card but I don’t want to say no to $100. help!

  312. 318. Evelyn

    I have a MBNA new smart cash credit card. After reading your post, I login online to my account and try to upgrade the card into “world class” in the online “service account”. But I cannot find the option to upgrade the card over there.

    Could you please let me know with detailed steps on how to upgrade the MBNA card?

    Thank you,


  313. 319. Paul N

    Hi Evelyn,

    May I suggest you call in to MBNA and speak to an operator they can walk you through the steps. Sometimes it is not straightforward, you need to push them a little. Just call the number on the back of your card.

  314. 320. Corey

    Laurentian Bank has a new Visa card that offers up to 3%:

    3% on recurring payments
    Collect 3% cashback on each new bill registered for recurring payments (telephone, cable TV, internet, newspaper, etc.).

    2% on groceries and gas
    Collect 2 % cashback each time you go grocery shopping or fill up on gas.

    1% on all other purchases
    Collect 1 % cashback on whatever else you buy with your VISA DOLLARS card.

    Annual fee of $49 but if you spend $500 in first 50 days you get a $50 cash back credit. No caps. Even if there is an annual fee, considering no caps I think this is the best way to go considering the 3% on pre-authorized bills cash back.

    Just wanted to add my 2 cents as no one has mentionned this card.

  315. 321. Rich

    Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite Card is now a better card than MBNA card in my opinion. Even with the annual fee because 4% continues where as the 5% from MBNA is only for the first 6 months. Balance interest is also lower.

    Check it out:

  316. 322. Moti

    Hi Everyone,

    I recently was paying my property taxes and the site said that we can use this service to pay- its called Plastiq..-

    What it does is take your credit card, charge a 2% fee and lets you pay property taxes, tuition, utilities with your card. While the 2% fee is hefty, it may make sense if your cash back is 4% or so.

    Was just wondering if anyone has any experience with the site.

  317. 323. Paul

    Anyone know anything about the American express cash back 1.25% 5% for first 6 months and I believe on the preferred its 5% for everything not only gas and groceries

  318. 325. smayer97

    @Paul, re: Amex Cash Back card, all info can be found here:,CashBack-customer

    Yes, the 5% applies to all purchases in first 6 mo but it only applies to the first $8000 spent (cash back is capped at $400)

    Note that there is a $79/yr fee but supplementary cards are free

  319. 326. Jakynyne

    Just got an email notice from Costco. As of December 2014, they’re no longer offering the Amex True Earnings card.

  320. 327. MG

    New Costco card (they now accept MC):

    Capital One Platinum MasterCard
    0.5% on first $3000, 1% after
    2% on gas
    3% on restaurants
    No annual fee
    19.75% rate
    Double cash back for first 3 months

  321. 328. Joe

    Consider the Amazon Canada Visa, especially if you travel and/or make purchases in other than CDN dollars. One percent cash back on all purchases, two percent on all purchases at, no annual fee and, best of all, no 2.5% surcharge on foreign currency transactions. This can save “snowbirds” a considerable sum.

  322. 329. smayer97

    I concur regarding Amazon Canada Visa; they do not charge the 2.5% fee for foreign currency conversion.

    If you want a Mastercard, you may also consider Sears Canada Mastercard which has the same feature since 2012 (see my post #195. above).

    Both are backed by JP Morgan Chase. That is why both have this same feature.

    The main difference is that instead of cash back though, it gives 1% in Sears Club points, with a $30 welcome bonus in Sears Points.

    For those who care, JP Morgan Chase products still do not have electronic statements, ability to download transactions, nor the ability to set up pre-approved payments of monthly balances. They only offer the ability to VIEW your transactions online.

    One advantage that the Amazon Visa has is that every $20 worth of cash back accumulated is automatically credited as cash to the account; no waiting or action required.

    P.S. Best Buy & Future shop credit cards are also backed by JP Morgan Chase. See all their card products at

  323. 330. 5inatrailer

    ATB Platinum Mastercard.
    3% cashback on groceries/gas
    1% everything else.

    Max 3000$ cashback
    Annual fee 140$

    We got 1100$ back last year right after Christmas. Easy.

  324. 331. Mr. Frugal

    ATB platinum mastercard are you kidding me for $140 annual fee is not real smart compared to Scotia Infinite Momentum which gives you 4% cashback on groceries and gas at a $99 annual fee. No brainer! Tip: Go to the branch and apply they have the ability to waive off $50 off annual for first year but be persistent as they might give you small talk and say promotion is over. Cheers

  325. 332. 5inatrailer

    Merci Monsieur Frugal!

  326. 333. smayer97

    A follow-up on the Laurentian Bank Visa (#320 & 324 above):

    I signed up about 2 months ago. I like it. Found a few of very minor issues:
    – I immediately found that they had an error in their system that was not calculating the % refund correctly. They immediately fixed the problem and all appears good so far (2 months in…I’ll keep monitoring).
    – They do not identify what transactions generate which % refund, so you have to somewhat guess. That is a bit of a nuisance to be able to verify that transactions are identified correctly (made it tricky to identify the problem above).
    – For downloading transactions to financial software like Quicken, they send the Posted date instead of the Transaction date, which I prefer as I find it easier to reconcile with. Minor nuisance for me.

    Otherwise, the people there have been very pleasant to deal with. All are very accommodating and take the time to speak with you without feeling rushed or bothered.

    And of course the 3% on recurring transactions is great, and they do not charge for extra cards.

  327. 334. smayer97

    P.S. The 1st year free promotion is still running.

  328. 335. Ravi

    I’ve been given the opportunity to put my company purchases on my card. It can be a business card or personal. It should be at least 500k a year that’s put through. So quite significant. Are there any cards that pay more than 1.5% cash back? From what I’ve seen 7k~ appears to be the most cash back I can get.

    I tend to download statements, but worst case can scan paper ones. (Notice Chase still doesn’t have download options)

    I realize this is a bit of a different amount, but I’m certain there are other folks who have a similar situation and have figured out how to maximize the benefit.

    Thanks in advance.

  329. 336. Paul N

    @ Ravi

    I would get ALL the top cash back cards and max them out as you are in a unique situation. You can maximize all the allotted discounts available to you and take full advantage of them. Make a spreadsheet and plot your purchases monthly and put just enough on each card to get the maximum benefit from each. Then submit your expenses.

  330. 337. Ravi

    @Paul, thanks for your suggestion.

    Given I’ve noticed a couple cut offs in the 50k or 100k range. We’re talking quite a few cards, and for a net benefit of .5% rather.. 2k. That’s with perhaps my mistaken idea that 2% is max CB on purchases. The accounting dept would be grumpy, I’d have to have a spreadsheet constantly tracking available limits as well. It would have to be more than .5% to justify the juggling I think.

  331. 338. Paul N

    The idea here is to do what you can within reason. These teasers are meant to bring in new people signing up, not to make people rich. So grab the top 3 card You can get the Scotia, two MBNA cards Smart cash, and the Smart cash World Elite (You have to bitch to get that one a bit), and The American Express.

    Be creative maybe a travel card might be a good idea too. The point is there is no easy way for you to get handed money. Your going to have to get all the cards and track your spending on each. And set them all to auto pay so you don’t forget to pay one. Your benefit is you will get 1 or 2 grand in free cash Plus some travel rewards. Then you have to ask yourself is your time to do all this worth it to get this free money?

  332. 339. smayer97

    I have been keeping track of best cards out there. This is what I can tell you:

    Option 1: MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard
    – earns a straight 2% on ALL purchases. There is NO EARNING limit.
    Though it is a points system, converting to cash is straight forward, points for $. No strange conversion rates (compared with Capital One below).
    – a $89 annual fee. Extra cards are free.
    – They can give a max $100K credit limit, if you qualify.
    This is the simplest option.

    Option 2: Laurentian Bank Visa (with the MBNA card)
    – If you have monthly recurring payments, you can get 3% on those items (plus pharmacy purchases), 2% on gas and groceries, 1% on everything else. There is NO EARNING limit.
    So you could get this card for the 3% (items for 2% could go on either this or the MBNA card).
    – annual fee of $49. Extra cards are free.
    – I do not know what max credit limit they can give; you will need to ask.

    Option 3: Scotiabank Momentum Infinite Cash Back card (instead of Laurentian Bank Visa)
    – If your gas and grocery purchases are greater than $2500 per year, you can opt for the which pays 4% on those purchases, 2% on recurring and pharmacy, 1% on everything else.
    – There is a spending limit of $25,000/yr for gas/groceries for the 4% and $25,000/yr for recurring/pharmacy for the 2%. Above that you get 1%.
    – Make sure the merchant accepts VISA., e.g. No Frills does not, so you would not be able to earn 2% on groceries there.
    – The annual fee is $99 (the extra $50 compared with Laurentian is offset with >$2500 gas/groceries spending).
    – I do not know what max credit limit they can give; you will need to ask.

    Option 4: Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard
    – earns a straight 2% on ALL purchases. There is NO EARNING limit.
    – it is a TRUE points system. Max points best used for Travel purchases. There are many rules, and conversion to cash = 1.5% only. Too complicated for my taste.
    – Some like this card because of the travel insurance benefits not offered on other cards
    – a $120 annual fee. BUT get 10,000 points credit every year, equivalent to $75 (at 1.5% conversion rate). Extra cards are free.
    – Main complaint I have seen is that once you get a credit limit you cannot get an increase. PERIOD.
    – I do not know what max credit limit they can give; you will need to ask.

  333. 340.

    I may not know all of the benefits of all cards available but if I was given the same opportunity I would stick with one card. The card that comes to mind is the Chase Bank Visa. You earn 1% from the start on all purchases and every $2000 you spend they add a $20.00 cash payment to your Visa statement. There is no cap which is the beauty in your case. You could end up with $5k a year that is not taxable. The side benefit is that they are the only credit card that does not charge the extra 2.5% for USA conversion Wish I was working for your company.

  334. 341. smayer97

    Re: Chase Bank Visa (need to select from a variety of flavours such as Amazon Visa, Sears Visa, etc. )

    Greatest benefit
    – save 2.5% conversion fee on US$ purchases (as stated by
    Compared to MBNA card which give you 1% more, you save an additional 1.5% on conversion on US$ purchases.

    – only earns 1% on purchases.
    – No electronic statements
    – Cannot download transactions to financial software
    – Cannot set up pre-authorized payments of full monthly balance

  335. 342. smayer97

    Sorry, one error….it should say Sears Mastercard, not Visa

  336. 343. SST

    re: “Your benefit is you will get 1 or 2 grand in free cash…”

    Amazing that people still think in terms of “free” and “benefit” but never investigate actual detriment.

  337. 344. Paul N

    @ SST

    Maybe when you make a statement like that you should explain it so “people” can understand your point? I guess “higher prices” for all is the detriment your referring too? Is it a moral thing that credit is evil for you?

    If you use these cards responsibly, pay off your bill 100% and meet the requirements you can get usually some kind of refund of $300.00 to $600.00 in yes free money for your family per card. If you have work expenses and you can hand in an expense sheet every month, this is a benefit that all should take advantage of.

  338. 345. SST

    @Paul N — I’m still trying to figure out where “free” money comes from. Perhaps the credit card users on here could explain it, beyond a simple pair of connect-the-dots, that is. Thanks.

    p.s. — nothing to do with “morals” or “evil” (your words) — remember, math, just like Mr. Market, doesn’t care what you or I think or believe.

  339. 346. smayer97

    I think free is a relative term and in this context only, all things being equal, it would mean that you have done nothing to earn it.

    Whether there is a cost built into providing this money to you for free is another matter, just like when someone offers you candy for free, it cost someone something to provide it, but to you it is without cost.

  340. 347. Paul N


    Thanks for the support – a good analogy.

    It’s so clear I can’t see how to explain it better. I travel and buy goods for work. I buy gas, hotel rooms, goods, food put it all on my card. I submit an expense form to work. I’m reimbursed 100% by my work. I auto pay the card off every due date. Every few months I get a cheque in the mail for $100.00. from the card provider. I just churn over someone else’s money every month and I get $100. Can the math be simpler and clearer then that?

  341. 348. SST

    Free money…”to you it is without cost.”


    Try a few more dots. :)

    Perhaps a refresher of the MDJ Mission Statement:
    “The intention of this site is…to help and educate…”

  342. 349. john

    Can we please can the argument and get back to talking about the rewards cards. I don’t want this back and forth filling up my inbox.

  343. 350. Adam

    Great article. I have the AMEX SimplyCash card which is what AMEX offered me after Costco switched to MasterCard. I get 1.25% cash back on all purchases. I just applied for the Capital One MasterCard from Costco, so now I’ll have at least 0.5% cash back at places that don’t accept AMEX.

  344. 351. Leonie

    My free card combo is

    Amex Simply cash. 6 months bonus 5% cashback on groceries and gas.. 1.5 percent on everything else.

    Costco Mastercard. 3 months double cashback for 3 month after activation. Apply after the AMEX promo runs out after the Amex promo runs out. 2% cashback on all Gas. 3% on restaurants. Not used for general transactions due to stepped cashback. AMEX or Capital One gives better cashback

    Capital One Mastercard Cashback 1% on everything. Used for non gas, non resataurants, and where AMEX is not taken.. High limit not available

    The only time you are going to be in a bind is where Visa only is accepted,

  345. 352. john


    why not replace Capital One Mastercard with the visa, it gives 1% back as well plus you can use it for any foreign transactions with no txn fee and then you are covered for when hit a visa only merchant :)

  346. 353. Leonie

    The Amazon Visa is attractive with the foreign conversion benefits, but no auto payment… I cannot trust myself to pay a monthly bill manually every month. The penalties are too costly for being one day late.


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