I’ve written about credit cards many times before listing my favorite cash back credit cards to my favorite rewards or points based credit cards.  Some people may consider credit cards to be “evil” but really, credit cards don’t have a bias.  They are a simply tool and they are only as “useful” as the person holding the card.  I try to use a credit card for every purchase possible for the free points, but I make sure to pay off the full balance every month.

To get back to the topic at hand, I’m a big fan of cash back credit cards with my former favorite being the MBNA 1% PremierRewards Platinum Plus card (discontinued).  It offers 1% cash back from the first dollar spent with no maximum rebate along with a comprehensive insurance package.  Of course, as I’m frugal, there is no annual fee.  However, there is a new cash back star in town, and it’s another card from MBNA.

The credit card is called the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard, and it offers all the perks of the PremierRewards platinum card but offers more cash back!  To put the icing on the cake, this card also has no annual fee.

How Smart Cash Works

Updated Feb 2015

• Get up to 5% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases for the first 6 months‡
• Get up to 2% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases thereafter‡
• Get up to 1% cash back for all other eligible purchases‡
• 1.99% promotional annual interest rate† (AIR) on balance transfers* for the first 10 full months
• If eligible, you will be considered for an upgrade to a Smart Cash World MasterCard® credit card††††
• No annual fee

Comprehensive Insurance Package

  • Travel Accident Insurance – $1,000,000 common carrier travel accident insurance.
  • Car Rental Insurance – Collision damage waiver.
  • Purchase Protection – 90 days insurance in case of theft or damage (up to $4,500).
  • Extended Warranty – Doubles warranty up to 1 yr.

How to Apply

Update: – They now allow online applications!  You can apply here.

For non MBNA card holders:

  1. Apply for an existing MBNA credit card like the 1% cash back PremierRewards (another favorite of mine).
  2. After receiving the new MasterCard, activate the credit card.
  3. After activating, call 1.800.404.1319 and ask to transfer your existing account to the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard.  If they ask for a promotion code, try CGLE.

Existing MBNA card holders:

  • Simply call 1.800.404.1319 and ask to transfer your existing account to the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard.  If they ask for a promotion code, try CGLE.

Final Thoughts

With 2% cash back on groceries and/or gasoline (up to $400 in spending /month), this card can benefit those who are light-medium gas/grocery spenders.  If you spend up to the maximum on gasoline/groceries (like we would), it would be $96 cash back per year in addition to 1% cash back on other regular expenses (up to $1,250 in spending).

To avoid the $1,250 monthly spending cap for the 1% cash back, give them a call to upgrade your regular Smart Cash into the free Smart Cash World card.  The Smart Cash World will give you unlimited cash back on your 1% along with additional Price Protection insurance.  Price protection will pay you back the difference if you find a better price on something you purchased within 60 days.  Note that the Smart Cash World is only available as an upgrade to the regular Smart Cash Card.

With the generous cash back along with comprehensive insurance benefits, the Smart Cash MasterCard (World) may still be among the best no fee cash back credit card out there in Canada.  What do you think?

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I was able to get Smart Cash card directly by calling, without having a MBNA card in the first place.

It seems it is easier now to get this card, after the first few weeks being difficult because of the number of people getting the card.

The advantage to apply for PremierPlus or SPG card first is to get a $40 bonus from GreatCanadianRebates. There is no such rebate for SmartCash, so it is “smart” to apply to another card first and then switch.

For people who care, Smart Cash card also has PayPass.

3% is a great cashback rate! and the 5% cashback for the first fix months definitely is a big win…….over the long term I think the scotia momentum may still come out a little better….
2% cashback on all grocery, gas and recurring bill payments up to $25,000/yr and 1% after….
1% cashback on everything else…
it also has the extended warranty, no auto coverage……..
the only downside is $39 annual fee….although we get it waived because spouse is an employee

depending on your spending habits over the long term I think the momentum can come out on top again the downside is the annual fee

I have applied for and received the Amex and got the points. I will cancel it before the year’s end and avoid the fee. I have the MBNA World points and I am going to switch. Is there a danger to your credit rating if you are constantly changing cards and chasing rewards?

You will get constant hits on your credit which can hurt your score but if everything else is good (no missed payments, no excessive debt load etc) it shouldnt be much of a pain……….

I was also able to apply for the card as a new MBNA client, just call the MBNA customer care #, ignore the prompt for your card number, after a few seconds it will give you a menu option, select new card application and proceed.

Looks like an interesting card, might be worth signing up!

These must be the type of cards that independent grocery stores are complaining about because they charge the retailer such high fees and eat into their profit margins.

I don’t blame consumers for making the rational choice of opting for a high-benefits card (and I would myself), but at the same time I would like to see better regulations on merchant fees in order to even the field. As long as these stores are forced to accept credit cards at a steep discount to cash and debit, it effectively becomes a tax on people with bad credit who don’t qualify for these cards – they pay the same price tag at the same store and get zero benefits.

I currently have the MBNA 1% PremierRewards Platinum Plus card and have been holding back on the Smart Cash card because I’m not sure if I would lose all the points I’ve earned on the 1% card so far, if I make the swtich.

Once they get a slew of new customers the 3% will become 1..not worth the effort in my opinion.

Just switched over; been waiting for something more appealing, as an existing MBNA customer. Process took less than 10 mins on the phone, no hassles/promo code, etc. Thanks alot for the tip!!

never pay a fee to own a credit card. if there’s fee, there’s a scam.


Not necessarily a scam but I agree with you, I don’t like the idea of paying a fee to own a credit card.

Paying a fee for a credit card can be worth it. For example, I signed up for the $120 annual fee TD Travel card and received $100 worth of points automatically. Then, I receive the equivalent of 1.5% cash back through normal purchases and 4.5% cash back for purchasing flights through TD travel center. I’ve used the TD travel center and you can find the same deals with their travel center that you’d find elsewhere EXCEPT you can’t use promo codes. Very easy to redeem points as well.

Before the next annual fee is due, I plan to switch to the lower fee option, $19/year, and will receive equivalent to 3% cash back for flights. Doing the math, if you spend more than $967 on flights in a year, you’ll be gaining >1% from this card overall.

So I plan to get the TD travel card and this MBNA Smart Cash card for 3% off groceries, gas, and flights. Then both cards give equivalent to 1% cash back on other purchases.

I have just been looking for a good cash back credit card. I was thinking about the CIBC one. But I believe this one is a better deal. Thanks for the post. Nothing is better than extra money going into our pockets. A big thumb’s up!

I’m thinking about going to this credit card, but my current credit card just charged me the annual fee on April 1, 2009. Should I ignore this ‘sunk cost’ and just move over to this MBNA one? I figure I will qualify pretty easily and don’t have a problem moving my credit around. what do you guys think? (my current card doesn’t even give 1% back, it’s a little less) Thanks.

I have HSBC master card and it gies back 2% (until Dec. 09) towards my mortgage principle. All my banking is thru HSBC and I don’t pay annual fees. Until I have paid off my mortgage completly (3-4 years) no other cards for me.

Please note that “1% on everything else” is not entirely correct. If you look at the Welcome Letter, it says “1% on net retail purchase”. I received my first statement in mail last week and noticed some items (dentist charge, Rogers bill) did not receive any cashback. I called the MBNA rep, and I was told Rogers bill and dentists are not retail purchases. Examples of retails are Walmart, Canadian Tires, etc.

However, some people on other forums have called the rep. Some reps confirmed it’s “NET purchase”, not necessarily retails. I guess this card is so brand new that it’s the policy is unclear. Keep this in mind and don’t transfer everything onto this card yet.

Is superstore or save-on-foods included in the grocery stores that can get 3% ?
What if I buy some gift cards from these grocery stores ? would that get the 3% back ?

Merchant code 5411 (Grocery Stores) and 5541/5542 (Gas station) qualify for 3% (or 5% in first 6 month)



You can get back most of your annual fee. By law (at least in Ontario) the credit card company has to refund a pro-rata share of the annual fee when you cancel the card, so if you cancel now you would get back approx. 10/12’s of the fee. Just make sure that when you call to cancel, you tell them that you want the annual fee refunded, as I don’t know if the reps on the phone will know enough to do it automatically.

We’re switching ASAP…I spoke with Clair and she said that the WorldPoints are a product of MBNA and will transfer over to Smart Cash Dollars at a rate of 100 WorldPoints = 1 Smart Cash Dollar. 1 Smart Cash Dollar = 1 CDN Dollar. (Keep in mind that 100 WorldPoints = 1 CD Dollar). Yes, this card is soo new that not all the details are well known by all reps as the first rep I spoke with said that the WorldPoints would not transfer over. But not the case. Also I like that the interest free grace period to pay back the balance every month stays the same as our current MBNA Platinum Mastercard at 28 days. This is better than ScotiaBank’s Momentum card where I believe is 21 days interest free…the longer the pay back period interest free the better for Manulife One customers like we are. The only downside is to inform any businesses of our new account number if we have automatic monthly payments (WorldVision for example). We are switching ASAP.

THANKS MDJ and Frugaltrader!


So long as the credit card company’s policy is transparent to the consumer, even if they do charge fees it wouldn’t be a scam. But nevertheless, it’s not cool to pay any type of fees. :)

I think these schemes are kind of sleazy. The cost of goods should be the real costs. End of story. They’re basically bribing you to force more stores to support their credit cards. I’m hoping this becomes illegal soon, in the meantime it’s a personal, ethical question.

I have a Discover card that offers 5% back on gas/auto purchases. Being a huge car guy, this helps a lot. There are all kinds of cards for a number of interests, you just have to know where to look. And yes, I agree that credit cards are not evil. If you borrow money, pay it back period.

But isnt that Discover card only for US and not available for Canada?

Just applied and “hopefully” approved. I am not a current card holder. Used the promo code and then had no problem with application.
Although the 1-800-404-1319 number gave me the run around and switched me to 4 different account managers. I got this number from someone else and got through after waiting through the prompts 1-888-876-6262.

Cheers, Spudman

Just a note, if you switch an old MBNA card over to this new card, you’ll only be able to get 3% cashback on groceries and/or gasoline for the first 6 months, not 5%. The 5% cashback offer is only for new applications.

Thanks for the tip MDJ! I switched over today. Love your blog!

So is this card better than the MBNA Starwood Preferred Guest Mastercard?

is the 3% on gas apply for any gas station?

Has anyone heard of paying for your mortgage, utilities, and taxes using a credit card. That would be great if you got rewards.


Tried it over and over and over. Never been able to make it happen (except for my cable bill and cellphone bill).

I thought it was great when grocery stores started to allow you to pay with credit cards.

But, car payments, mortgage payments, property taxes – not in my experience.

Okay…so I called MBNA last night (we currently carry an MBNA Manulife One Platinum Mastercard) and the third rep said that they will not transfer my world points. So I did not immediately switch. I first redeemed my worldpoints online for cash (super easy…now just wait for the cheque) and will do the transfer tonight. All three reps stated that I will get the 5% cash back on groceries and gas up to $600 per month for the first six months. So there are conflicting reports here…but this card is soo new that all the reps don’t even know the latest. So a bit of a runaround but hopefully worth it in the long run…

Just found this website yesterday! and it made my day!
I’ve been always mad with my current card since it does not give me anything not even candies.. but I guess it was my fault.. since I haven’t done anything to get a better card!
So trying to help any other readers here… this is the way I got connected with an MBNA representative and applied for my first MBNA cc ever. Hope it will work :)
Called: 1-888-876-6262
Press French (it does not matter if u don’t speak french, I don’t, but if u press english u will end up in india and god knows what might happen…)
Then wait for the options, even though you press french the next menu is in english and press 1. When the canadian agent answered (in english) I asked to apply for a new cc – So the agent transferred me to someone in Canada
who spoke english. I applied.. hopefully it will work.. if not I’ll keep looking! :)

Even though I selected French I never talked in french, neither the agent and avoided talking to Indians that don’t care, don’t know and really are not of help at all. Hope it helps someone else. The process was very easy and straight forward, just remember to select french in the first option.
Hope it helps.
Thanks for all the info / commentaries on this website, it’s helping me a lot and I’m sure it will keep doing it in the future as well!! :)

If you are an existing MBNA card holder, you don’t need to transfer your existing MBNA MC to this Smart Cash card. You can just apply for this card.

I called in and applied for this Smart Cash MC and kept my existing MBNA SPG MC as well back in early May, 2009.

I like the 3% cash back on gas. Do you know if that credit card has any annual fees?

My AMEX Gold 2% Cash Back card, may just get bumped to the #2 Position for most of my purchases!

I can’t wait for my new card.


Google who is MBNA and there’s an epinion saying MBNA is evil and treats customers terribly etc

Interesting. I just called the 1.800.404.1319 number and asked to sign up for the new card and got transferred twice…the last time I was sent to India..asked to sign up for the “MBNA Smart Cash Credit Card” and was told that they don’t know anything about this card.

Some folks have been able to sign up for the card directly…others are not able to. These 800 numbers are always a pain. So much inconsistancy.

It’s simple… you need to avoid as much as possible to be transferred to India.
As I said, select french menu and you will see you will end up talking to someone in Canada in English and who won’t give u any trouble at all with the card. If you get transferred to India just hang up, don’t waste your time.
It was the first time I was applying for the card, and hopefully I should get it.. in about 20 days. That’s what I had to do, select French in order to talk to someone in English in Canada… funny a? check post 34.
Good Luck.

Hi again,
Just got my smart cash card.. today.
Will start using right away! :)
Have a good one!

Hi can someone provide some feedback about the 1% cashback on everything else? I’m reading my Terms and Conditions paper that I’ve received with the card and it says “d) Every one hundred dollars ($100) in Net Purchase other than Gas and Groceries Purchases shall earn one (1) MBNA dollar.”
Then on the welcome letter it says:
“Purchase means the use of your card or Account number to buy or lease good or services”
If I understand correctly telephone and internet charges should be considered services and therefore MBNA should honor the 1% cashback.
Can anyone provide any information regarding this?
Thanks a lot.

agaver: There seems to be some confusing about the 1% cashback on other purchases. Some people on redflagdeals said that they did not get 1% cashback on dentist visit, online purchase, recurring charges, etc. CSRs at MNBA tell you different things.

At this moment, you might consider not using Smart Cash Mastercard on items that may be interpreted as non-retail purchases. If there has been charges made already on Smart Cash Mastercard, try to argue for 1% cash back.

Got my card! Yay!

thanks so much to the peeps here at milliondollarjourney. i would have never known this card existed. love the site and hope to share a successful retirement story in the future.

I had a deactivated MBNA account since I had a univ credit card a long time ago, so I was able to use that to get a Smart Cash card, but before that I tried to contact the french CSRs and when I tried the Smart Cash priority code or subsequently I spoke english I got immediately disconnected.

Is it possible they’re onto us? It was the evening so its possible it was a skeleton crew? Not trying to discourage but wanted to mention! GL!

I called the #, got english menu and pressed 1 – to apply for a new card,
the csr was very nice and was speaking from Ottawa. my application
‘auto approved’ on the spot.

This card is no longer available.