best cash back credit card in Canada

This post was originally written in 2007 but has been updated annually since. The reason why I’m posting it again now is because there have been changes to the best free credit card in Canada.  More below.

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.

Getting paid to use a credit card combined with no annual fee is a combination that I look for when choosing a credit card. Funneling our spending through a free cash back credit card (or a combination of a couple) gives us a significant cash back bonus at the end of the year. In fact, we’ve used our cash back rebate over the past couple of years to offset large “nice to have” expenses like travel.

What do I look for in a cash back card?  If I’m looking for a single “do it all” credit card, then the most important feature is high cash back on everyday spending.  What’s great about high cash back on everyday spending is that it can be paired with a credit card that offers higher cash back on particular categories.  To me, secondary features are insurance coverage for purchases and travel.

A couple years ago, I named the Tangerine money-back credit card as the best free cash back credit card in Canada. At the time, they offered 2% cash back on two spending categories (up to three categories if you opened a savings account with Tangerine), 1% on all other spending, and a 1.5% surcharge for foreign exchange transactions (typically 2.5%). A real winning combination of features.  Unfortunately, Tangerine reduced their “all other spending” to 0.5% cash back and jacked up their foreign exchange transactions to match the market at 2.5%. 

This year, we have a new winner for the best free cash back credit card in Canada, and it wins by quite a margin in my opinion.

Let’s take a look at how the best free cash back credit cards compare.

Top Cash Back Credit Cards in Canada (all with no annual fee – updated August 2019):

Rogers World Elite Mastercard (editors top pick)

  • 4% unlimited cash back rewards on all eligible purchases made in a foreign currency
  • 2% unlimited cash back rewards on Rogers™ products and services charged to your card
  • 1.75% cash back rewards on all other eligible purchases
  • Instantly redeem your cash back rewards towards any eligible purchase in the last 90 days via Mastercard® Pay with Rewards™ app.
  • Insurance coverage: Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection; Rental Car Collision/Damage; Out-of-Province/Out-of-Country Emergency Medical; Trip Interruption and Trip Cancellation.

Big gas/grocery spender? Check out the Scotia Momentum Infinite Visa which returns 4% on groceries and recurring payments. The Scotia card also offers a 2% return on gas and daily transit purchases and 1% on everything else. Limited time promo – annual fee waived for the first year ($120/year after the first year).  More details here.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card (editors pick)

  • Earn 2% Money-Back Rewards on purchases in up to three 2% Money-Back Categories of your choice, and 0.5% Money-Back Rewards on all other purchases;
  • No annual fee;
  • No limit on the amount of Money-Back Rewards you can earn;
  • Three 2% Money-Back Categories if you choose to have your Rewards deposited into your Tangerine Savings Account, or two 2% Money-Back Categories if your Rewards are deposited back onto your Credit Card (categories include: drug stores, restaurants, entertainment, furniture, gas, grocery, home improvements, hotels, public transportation and parking, recurring bill payments);
  • Free Cards for Authorized Users on your Account; and,
  • Purchase Assurance and Extended Warranty.
  • Full review here.

Capital One Platinum MasterCard Exclusively for Costco Members (editors pick)

  • 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 manufacturer warranty (maximum extension of 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.

The Simply Cash Card from American Express

It’s not very often I recommend an American Express credit card due to lack of retail acceptance, but this one is worth mentioning since it offers 1.25% cash back on all purchases regardless of the type of spending.

  • 5% cash back on all of your gas, grocery and restaurant purchases for the first 6 months;
  • 1.25% cash back on all purchases;
  • Car Rental Insurance;
  • Purchase Protection – 90 days insurance in case of theft or damage; and,
  • Extended Warranty – doubles manufacturer warranty (maximum extension of up to 1 yr).

Capital One Aspire Cash Platinum Mastercard 

  • 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 manufacturer warranty (maximum extension of 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.

RBC Cash Back MasterCard

  • 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 manufacturer warranty (maximum extension up to 1 yr).

CIBC Dividend Visa

  • 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 manufacturer warranty (maximum extension of up to 1 yr).

Canadian Tire Cash Advantage Mastercard
Although there are better free cash back credit cards out there, I included it on the list for spenders who put much more than $24k on their credit card. From $24k onward, the cash back reward is boosted to 1.5%.

  • 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; and,
  • Pays out rebate quarterly which is applied against your balance.

Based on my Scenario, since we funnel what we can through a credit card for the cash back and/or points, we typically spend about $30k / year on a credit card. In that, about $11k in groceries and about $2.5k in gas. This would equate to a cash back rebate of:

  1. Rogers World Elite Mastercard: $525
  2. AMEX: $375 (assuming that I can use this card everywhere I shop – big assumption since AMEX acceptance is not great from my experience)
  3. Tangerine Money-Back Card Credit Card: $352 (no limit on two categories @ 2% – I picked gas and groceries. Return would be higher if I had a savings account with Tangerine which gives three categories for 2%)
  4. Costco M/C: $340 (strong insurance package)
  5. RBC: $330
  6. CIBC: $330
  7. Canadian Tire: $303
  8. Capital One: $300 (lower but strong insurance package)


Finally, a free cash back card in Canada that gives premium credit cards a run for its money!  The Rogers World Elite Mastercard is a breath of fresh air in offering a generous 1.75% cash back on general spending, and 4% cash back on foreign purchases (net 1.5% cash back after 2.5% FX fee)! 

While the Rogers Mastercard is pretty strong, it gets even better if you stack the card with other free cards like the Tangerine card and the PC Financial World Elite MasterCard.  Combining these cards would likely bring your cash back to over 2% per year.  Not bad for not paying any annual fees! 

Although AMEX ranked fairly high for cash back (1.25% on all spending), the issue as previously mentioned is that the acceptance is spotty.  From my previous experience of using an AMEX, I would say that it was accepted about 50% of the time based on my own shopping habits.  The $375 in cash back is likely closer to $190, however, your shopping habits may have better luck with AMEX.

If you are a big spender, then you may get better returns with a premium card even after the annual fee. Check out my post on the best premium cash back credit cards in Canada.

Any thoughts?

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  1. Canadian Capitalist on August 9, 2007 at 10:31 am

    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. on August 9, 2007 at 10:42 am

    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. SavingsJourney on August 9, 2007 at 11:47 am

    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. FrugalTrader on August 9, 2007 at 11:53 am

    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.

    • Leonie on June 16, 2018 at 2:11 am

      The Costco mastercard is not strictly cash wither. You have to pay a 55$ Costco membership, and then you get sent a cheque once a year. if you want that check in Cold hard cash, I think you have to go intop Costco and get cash at the membership desk. Oh and while you are in Costco, you might as well go inand spend another $200 on groceries. The PC is just as much a cash back card, if you shop at Shoppers, and Loblaw grocery stores. 3% back on the elite card at Loblaws and Shoppers. 7 cents a litre back at gas bars. 2-4 cents off at Esso. and 1% back on everything else in the world.

      if you are including the Costco card, which you have to pay $55 a year and you have to go into the store to cash your cheque., its only fair to include the AMAZING PC mastercard

      • smayer97 on June 16, 2018 at 2:28 am

        BTW, money back on gas bars for PC card varies by Province. In Ontario, it is only 4 cents. I still like the card very much.

  5. FrugalTrader on August 9, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    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. Ross on August 9, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    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. FrugalTrader on August 9, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    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.

    • Bonnie on November 23, 2019 at 10:56 am

      How does the TD Visa cash back card compare? I would like to see your top least fave cards!

  8. Neil on August 9, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    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. FrugalTrader on August 9, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    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. Investoid on August 9, 2007 at 4:28 pm

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

  11. FrugalTrader on August 9, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    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. nobleea on August 9, 2007 at 6:27 pm


    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. nancy (aka money coach) on August 10, 2007 at 2:21 am

    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. just called on August 10, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    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. Sue on August 10, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    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. SavingsJourney on August 12, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    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. FrugalTrader on August 12, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    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. SavingsJourney on August 13, 2007 at 9:25 am

    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. […] Top Cash Back Credit Cards in Canada […]

  20. […] Top Cash Back Credit Cards in Canada. […]

  21. westcoaster on August 23, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    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.

  22. Jackboot on August 24, 2007 at 6:25 am

    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.

  23. FrugalTrader on August 24, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    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.

  24. […] FrugalTrader05:00 amAdd comment The last time I posted about top cash back credit cards in Canada, I picked the American Express Costco credit card that returns 1.5% on purchases above $5000 during […]

  25. nicholas sean haydon on September 19, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    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.

  26. Bob Orchard on September 21, 2007 at 11:32 am

    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.

  27. […] written quite a bit about worthy credit cards in Canada.  In part 1, I picked the Costco AMEX that returns 1.5% of your money, in part 2, I picked the new AMEX Gold with their new 2% cash back […]

  28. lance t on March 10, 2008 at 8:06 pm

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

    thx lt

  29. Dimitrios P on March 23, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    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

  30. Martin on March 28, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    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)

  31. kasm on April 4, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    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.

  32. molly on April 30, 2008 at 3:16 am

    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.

  33. zeromoney on May 28, 2008 at 10:18 am

    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.

  34. Detractor on August 26, 2008 at 10:51 am

    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.

  35. MultifolDream$ on September 11, 2008 at 12:22 am

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

  36. Credit Card Rewards Geek on November 10, 2008 at 12:13 am

    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:

  37. Pinkmel on November 20, 2008 at 7:47 pm

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

  38. Moose on November 23, 2008 at 5:23 am

    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.

  39. FrugalTrader on November 23, 2008 at 7:11 am

    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?

  40. mcmatterson on November 26, 2008 at 12:07 am

    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.

  41. mcmatterson on November 26, 2008 at 12:44 pm

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

  42. FrugalTrader on November 26, 2008 at 1:26 pm

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

  43. elman on December 4, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    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.

  44. Frank on December 7, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    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)

  45. FrugalTrader on December 8, 2008 at 8:43 am

    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.

  46. Craig on December 22, 2008 at 3:20 am

    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.

  47. peter wong on December 27, 2008 at 9:49 pm

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

  48. L505 on December 28, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    “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

  49. cannon_fodder on January 6, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    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.

  50. newbie on January 12, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    @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.

  51. Ramy Y on January 15, 2009 at 3:50 am

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

  52. Narajin on February 10, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    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.

  53. Narajin on February 10, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    PLus MBNA premier has a $29 annual fee.

  54. Jim on March 1, 2009 at 11:43 am

    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,


  55. khai on March 7, 2009 at 2:46 am

    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?

  56. naz on April 8, 2009 at 6:17 am

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

  57. khai on April 8, 2009 at 1:08 pm

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

  58. moneytech on April 23, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    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.

  59. drew on July 8, 2009 at 9:52 pm

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

  60. Pierre on August 13, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    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.

  61. Mr. Bubba on August 17, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    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.

  62. Tony on August 28, 2009 at 6:16 pm

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

  63. knightmastery on September 1, 2009 at 11:52 am

    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.

  64. Elbyron on September 1, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    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.

  65. Mr. Bubba on September 15, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    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.

  66. Jonathan on October 20, 2009 at 1:41 am

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

  67. Mitchell on October 29, 2009 at 10:41 am

    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

  68. Mr. Bubba on November 1, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    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..

  69. Jeff on November 15, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    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!

  70. Andre on November 27, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    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…

  71. immaus on December 7, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    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.

  72. AMC on December 23, 2009 at 10:58 am

    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.

  73. Topa on January 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm

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

  74. sunny on January 21, 2010 at 3:53 am

    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.

  75. Dan V. on January 21, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    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

  76. Leendert on January 22, 2010 at 1:41 am

    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)

  77. Alicia on March 10, 2010 at 10:58 am

    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?

    • FrugalTrader on March 10, 2010 at 11:11 am

      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).

  78. Barry on March 28, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    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.

    • FrugalTrader on March 28, 2010 at 7:41 pm

      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.

  79. Mr. Bubba on April 4, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    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.

  80. Johnny Ancich on May 23, 2010 at 12:47 am

    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.

  81. FrugalTrader on May 23, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    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.

  82. Mr. Bubba on May 26, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    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.

  83. Mr. Bubba on May 26, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    *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.

  84. Frederic Sanchez on June 3, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    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!!!

  85. Tom on June 8, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    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…


  86. FrugalTrader on June 8, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    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.

  87. Pankaj on June 9, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Hello FT

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

  88. RichelleM on June 10, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    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.

  89. Mr. Bubba on June 11, 2010 at 12:39 am

    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!

  90. jared on June 18, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    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.

  91. FrugalTrader on June 18, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    @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.

  92. Canadian Student on July 6, 2010 at 1:38 pm


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

    Thank you.

  93. billy on July 12, 2010 at 10:51 am

    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.

    • FrugalTrader on July 12, 2010 at 11:11 am

      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. billy on July 12, 2010 at 11:18 am

    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. billy on July 12, 2010 at 11:47 am

    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. Stuart Thomas on July 29, 2010 at 4:43 am

    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. Peter on August 6, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    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.


    • FrugalTrader on August 6, 2010 at 7:03 pm

      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)

  98. Cathie Shortt on August 8, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Do you have to declare the cash back as income?

    • FrugalTrader on August 8, 2010 at 7:26 pm

      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.

  99. Cathie Shortt on August 8, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Thank you Frugal Trader.

  100. sunny on August 9, 2010 at 1:01 am


    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.

  101. Cathie on August 10, 2010 at 2:36 pm

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

    • FrugalTrader on August 10, 2010 at 4:18 pm

      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.

  102. Mr. Bubba on August 14, 2010 at 9:38 am

    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.

  103. sunny on August 14, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    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 ..

  104. Stephen on August 30, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    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.

  105. Randy on October 28, 2010 at 3:11 am

    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.

    • FrugalTrader on October 28, 2010 at 6:42 am

      @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.

  106. Randy on October 28, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @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.

  107. FrugalTrader on October 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm

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

  108. PuddleJumper on November 15, 2010 at 3:35 am

    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?

  109. FrugalTrader on November 15, 2010 at 10:05 am

    @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.

  110. Amit on November 15, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    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.

  111. FrugalTrader on November 15, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    @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.

  112. PuddleJumer on November 17, 2010 at 8:47 pm

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

  113. Chris on December 2, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    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.

  114. Dave on December 6, 2010 at 2:31 am

    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?

  115. Brad on December 12, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    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.


  116. Freddysaver on December 13, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    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.

  117. smayer97 on January 22, 2011 at 7:50 am

    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.


  118. smayer97 on January 22, 2011 at 8:00 am


    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.

  119. Fayaz on March 17, 2011 at 11:28 am

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

  120. Amit on March 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    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.

  121. Hotdeal on April 3, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    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.

  122. Payncarry on April 14, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    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.

  123. on April 15, 2011 at 12:57 am

    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.

  124. smayer97 on April 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm 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.

  125. Payncarry on April 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    @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.

  126. Amit on April 19, 2011 at 7:46 am

    @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.

  127. FrugalTrader on April 19, 2011 at 8:59 am

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

  128. Milind on April 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    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.

  129. Kevin on May 20, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    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).


  130. FrugalTrader on May 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    @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.

  131. Kevin on May 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks FT

    just applied

  132. Marc on May 27, 2011 at 12:37 am

    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…

  133. FrugalTrader on May 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    @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.

  134. on May 28, 2011 at 1:16 am

    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?

  135. Minstrum on May 29, 2011 at 3:39 am

    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?

  136. FrugalTrader on May 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    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.

  137. smayer97 on May 29, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    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.

  138. Mrs. T on June 11, 2011 at 3:51 am

    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.

  139. Mrs. T on June 11, 2011 at 3:57 am

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

  140. FrugalTrader on June 11, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    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).

  141. absurd dealer on June 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    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.

  142. Mr. Bubba on June 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    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!

  143. Upset Capital One Customer on July 14, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    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.

  144. lsrezai on July 16, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    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!

  145. FrugalTrader on July 17, 2011 at 6:04 am

    @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)

  146. acrobat1 on July 17, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    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%.

  147. FrugalTrader on July 17, 2011 at 6:37 pm

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

  148. JKB on July 17, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    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?

  149. FrugalTrader on July 17, 2011 at 11:41 pm

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

  150. Amit on July 18, 2011 at 1:43 am

    @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.

  151. Amit on July 18, 2011 at 1:47 am

    @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.

  152. lsrezai on July 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    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?


  153. Love Costco on July 27, 2011 at 1:26 am

    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!

  154. vancouvercheap on August 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm

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

  155. FrugalTrader on August 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Here is my review: Not as good as the mbna SC card IMO.

  156. vancouvercheap on August 8, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    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 :)

  157. Corey on August 8, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    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.

  158. Jack on August 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    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.

  159. LSO on September 8, 2011 at 11:52 am

    @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.

  160. sunny on September 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    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.

  161. Elbyron on September 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    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.

  162. DA on October 18, 2011 at 11:00 pm

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

    Stick with a real financial institue, Watch out for fraud

  163. asdasd on November 3, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    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

  164. smayer97 on November 4, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    I do something similar using MBNA MC and SCotiabank Visa

    see my complete post earlier (#125)

  165. Troy W on November 23, 2011 at 10:00 am

    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!

  166. FrugalTrader on November 23, 2011 at 11:45 am

    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!

  167. Abhi on December 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    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

  168. bcomstock on January 14, 2012 at 1:08 am

    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?

  169. bcomstock on January 14, 2012 at 1:25 am

    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!

  170. smayer97 on January 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    @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.

  171. smayer97 on January 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    @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.

  172. Lee on February 21, 2012 at 12:04 am

    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.

  173. Troy W. on February 22, 2012 at 1:23 am

    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!

  174. Rayan on May 11, 2012 at 12:14 am

    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.

  175. FrugalTrader on May 11, 2012 at 9:47 am

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

  176. M on May 11, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    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.

  177. Harry on June 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    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

  178. Goldberg on June 28, 2012 at 10:55 am

    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.

  179. william campbell on July 4, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    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.;

  180. Sarah on July 12, 2012 at 10:23 am

    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?

  181. Troy W on July 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm

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

  182. Stef on July 13, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    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!

  183. sunny on July 14, 2012 at 3:22 am

    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.

  184. smayer97 on August 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    @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.

  185. smayer97 on August 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Nevermind. I found it at instead, here:

    Says no foreign exchange fees right on their site.

  186. chad on September 26, 2012 at 2:09 am

    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????

  187. smayer97 on October 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    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:

  188. Stef on October 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Interesting, thank you smayer97

  189. Roger on October 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    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?

  190. Troy W. on October 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    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?

  191. SST on October 28, 2012 at 2:43 am

    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.

  192. JKB on October 28, 2012 at 8:15 am

    @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.

  193. Stefan on October 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    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.

  194. SST on October 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    @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?

  195. Stefan on October 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    @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.

  196. Troy W. on October 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    @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.

  197. Troy W. on October 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    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.

  198. SST on October 28, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    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.

  199. Troy W. on October 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    @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

  200. Troy W. on October 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    p.s. they have a great cashback calculator:

  201. SST on October 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    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.

  202. John on October 28, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    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.

  203. threecedars on November 1, 2012 at 12:16 am

    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?

  204. threecedars on November 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

    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.

  205. Traveller on November 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm

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

  206. Fabiana on November 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    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!!!

  207. vingo on November 16, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    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.

  208. Steve on November 19, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    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?

  209. SST on November 20, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    So much effort for an extra $4 a year.

  210. Elise on November 26, 2012 at 3:41 am

    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.

  211. Anthony on November 26, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    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!!!

  212. FrugalTrader on November 26, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    @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.

  213. Elise on November 26, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    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.

  214. FrugalTrader on November 26, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    @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!).

  215. Elise on November 26, 2012 at 6:42 pm

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

    • FrugalTrader on November 26, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      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.

  216. Michael on November 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    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.

  217. Michael on November 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    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

  218. tarheel on December 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    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.

  219. NameLess on December 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    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.

  220. Ned Girb on December 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    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.

  221. Kristi on December 12, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    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?

  222. Ken on December 18, 2012 at 1:08 am

    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.

  223. Mels on January 8, 2013 at 4:48 am

    @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.

  224. Mary O'Reilly on January 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm

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

  225. Debster on January 25, 2013 at 10:02 am

    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?

  226. FrugalTrader on January 25, 2013 at 10:20 am

    @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.

  227. sneeker on January 25, 2013 at 11:47 am

    @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!

  228. Debster on January 25, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    @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

  229. smayer97 on January 26, 2013 at 3:21 am

    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.

  230. Brandon on January 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    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.


  231. Goldberg on January 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm


    I don’t get it.

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

  232. Brandon on January 30, 2013 at 6:08 pm

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

  233. smayer97 on January 30, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    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.

  234. smayer97 on January 30, 2013 at 6:39 pm

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

  235. Debster on February 2, 2013 at 8:19 pm


    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

  236. Michael on May 29, 2013 at 4:36 pm

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

  237. Robb on May 31, 2013 at 11:32 am

    @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.

  238. smihaila on May 31, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    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?

  239. Oxygentax on June 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm

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

  240. threecedars on June 27, 2013 at 11:21 am

    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?

  241. FT on June 27, 2013 at 11:49 am

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

  242. threecedars on June 27, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    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?

  243. FT on June 27, 2013 at 1:32 pm

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

  244. Robb on June 27, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    @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.

  245. Robb on June 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm

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

  246. John on July 1, 2013 at 9:35 am

    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.

  247. Danielle on July 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    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!

    • FrugalTrader on July 3, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      @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.

  248. Dan Gagnon on August 15, 2013 at 7:51 am

    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.

  249. Jimmy on August 23, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    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.


  250. FT on August 26, 2013 at 9:49 am

    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.

  251. smayer97 on August 26, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    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.

  252. smayer97 on August 26, 2013 at 11:13 pm

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

  253. smayer97 on August 26, 2013 at 11:15 pm

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

  254. DL on September 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    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

  255. akatsiya on September 30, 2013 at 1:25 pm


    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?

    • FrugalTrader on September 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      @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.

  256. akatsiya on September 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    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 ?

  257. akatsiya on September 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    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

  258. FrugalTrader on September 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    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.

  259. smayer97 on September 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    @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.

  260. akatsiya on September 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    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

  261. FrugalTrader on September 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    @akatsiya, yes.

  262. akatsiya on September 30, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    thank you

  263. MikeJaneksi on October 7, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    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.

  264. MikeJaneksi on October 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm

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

    Which card would you recommend?

  265. FrugalTrader on October 8, 2013 at 8:51 am

    @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.

  266. MikeJaneksi on October 8, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    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

    • FrugalTrader on October 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm

      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.

  267. smayer97 on October 9, 2013 at 3:55 am

    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.

  268. sammy on October 9, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    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.

    • FrugalTrader on October 9, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      @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.

  269. sammy on October 9, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    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).

  270. FrugalTrader on October 9, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    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.

  271. sammy on October 10, 2013 at 12:15 am

    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!

  272. smayer97 on October 10, 2013 at 12:26 am

    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.

  273. sammy on October 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    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.

  274. Travnik on October 25, 2013 at 5:55 am

    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!

  275. sammy on November 28, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    @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!

  276. mrfrugal on December 27, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    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. :)

  277. FrugalTrader on December 29, 2013 at 10:01 am

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

  278. barwelle on January 7, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    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.

    • FrugalTrader on January 7, 2014 at 9:14 pm

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

  279. threecedars on January 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    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?

  280. sneeker on January 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    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).

    • FrugalTrader on January 23, 2014 at 8:31 pm

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

  281. Canuck on January 25, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    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.

  282. Sukun Paul on January 27, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    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%.

  283. Kristi on January 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    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”.

  284. Paul N on March 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    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.

  285. FrugalTrader on March 17, 2014 at 9:08 pm

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

  286. smayer97 on March 18, 2014 at 1:12 am

    @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).

  287. smayer97 on March 18, 2014 at 1:40 am

    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.

  288. John on March 18, 2014 at 8:56 am

    @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.

  289. Paul Unosawa on March 18, 2014 at 11:36 am

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

  290. smayer97 on March 18, 2014 at 11:59 am

    @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.

  291. Paul N on March 18, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    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….

  292. John on March 18, 2014 at 3:25 pm


    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!

  293. Mr. Cheap on March 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    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

  294. smayer97 on March 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    @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

  295. smayer97 on March 27, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    — also using Amazon Visa for 2% on Amazon purchases

  296. Mr. Cheap on March 29, 2014 at 1:37 am

    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.

  297. smayer97 on March 29, 2014 at 2:14 am

    @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 :-(

  298. smayer97 on March 29, 2014 at 2:21 am

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

  299. smayer97 on March 29, 2014 at 2:46 am

    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

  300. JP on April 12, 2014 at 1:06 pm

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

  301. Meaghan on April 24, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    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!

  302. Evelyn on June 10, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    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,


  303. Paul N on June 10, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    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.

  304. Corey on August 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    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.

  305. Rich on August 15, 2014 at 11:37 am

    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:

  306. Moti on September 12, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    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.

  307. Paul on September 19, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    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

  308. smayer97 on September 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm


    note that the $50 cash bonus is a promo only available until Oct 31, 2014. See all details about the card here:

  309. smayer97 on September 21, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    @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

  310. Jakynyne on September 27, 2014 at 10:11 am

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

  311. MG on October 6, 2014 at 10:12 am

    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

  312. Joe on October 8, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    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.

  313. smayer97 on October 8, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    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

    • smayer97 on April 28, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      FYI, Sears Mastercard no longer available as of Nov 2015.

  314. 5inatrailer on October 14, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    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.

  315. Mr. Frugal on October 16, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    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

  316. 5inatrailer on October 20, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Merci Monsieur Frugal!

  317. smayer97 on December 26, 2014 at 11:31 am

    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.

  318. smayer97 on December 26, 2014 at 11:31 am

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

  319. Ravi on January 18, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    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.

  320. Paul N on January 19, 2015 at 11:23 am

    @ 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.

  321. Ravi on January 19, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    @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.

  322. Paul N on January 19, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    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?

  323. smayer97 on January 19, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    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.

  324. on January 19, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    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.

  325. smayer97 on January 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    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

  326. smayer97 on January 19, 2015 at 3:22 pm

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

  327. SST on January 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    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.

  328. Paul N on January 20, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    @ 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.

  329. SST on January 20, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    @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.

  330. smayer97 on January 20, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    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.

  331. Paul N on January 20, 2015 at 9:57 pm


    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?

  332. SST on January 21, 2015 at 11:03 am

    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…”

  333. john on January 21, 2015 at 11:21 am

    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.

  334. Adam on February 2, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    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.

  335. Leonie on February 2, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    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,

  336. john on February 2, 2015 at 4:31 pm


    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 :)

  337. Leonie on February 3, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    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.

  338. Kristi on April 21, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Gotta say, I was a little ticked to get a $50 cheque from my Smart Cash card after spending close to $5000 last month alone. I miss the 3% and 5% bonus!! I was expected a $100 cheque (have had them before). I actually went into my rewards program to make sure it wasn’t an error, then here to make sure that was correct – 2% on gas/groceries for first $400, then 1%, plus 1% on everything else.

    Looking at your info updated Jan 2015, I might go get an RBC M/C and start using it instead. Or maybe in addition to on the months like March/April this year where we have a bigger spend.

    Does anyone have any tips for tracking the purchases without putting a lot of effort into it? Some way of loosely tracking when you are maxing out on the rewards on one card and need to switch to the next best card?

    About our spending: Generally speaking we budget $600/mo for groceries… we have a commercial cardlock card for fuel so credit card fuel purchases are under $100/mo in the winter and about $200/mo in the summer unless we are travelling (then it goes up). Then whenever other stuff comes up – like the home renovations and the like – that all goes on the card too.

    Or am I better off to cancel the Smart Cash and get another one with the 6 months bonus period? Or get one solely in one of our names instead of joint? Does that even work?

    Thanks for any suggestions! :-)

  339. Kristi on April 21, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    I did look at that one on the list here, but $129!! I am all about $0 fee cards :-) I guess I can look into it and see if the first year is still being waived… do you know off the top if you can cancel the card just before the first year is up, or how they work that?

    • smayer97 on April 21, 2015 at 3:12 pm


      if you really want to avoid annual fees then your best card is still the MBNA card, if you do the following:
      – you will need to have 2 accounts, one for your wife and a separate one for you
      – every 6 months, you re-apply for the MBNA Smart Cash Card. As long as your financial circumstances do not change, they usually will qualify you again for the 5% promo. Though they may not give you additional credit, they will require/allow you to cancel the old card and transfer the available credit limit to the new card
      – when the 6 month promo expires, you re-apply.
      The catch is that you have to repeat this process every 6 months, you have to strategically plan you expenses every month across both accounts to not exceed the $400 cap for the 5% discount, and you have to keep track of your spending to not exceed the cap, either by login online to check or track expenses manually or in financial software liek Quicken.

      Given your total spend on gas & groceries is under $800/mo, you can do this effectively, except during those months your total spending exceeds the cap; then you will only get 1%. I did it for many years but because of my family’s spending levels I had to go to 4 cards between my wife and I to not go ver the $400 cap per card. I grew tired of the process every 6 months I gave up about 2 yrs ago. But if your willing to do the extra work, that is still your best value.

      That said, I too HATE the fact that more and more cards are charging for their rebate cards BUT I realize you miss the BIG picture if you only look at annual fees.

      In your case, given your gas & grocery spend, getting the Scotiabank Infinite Momentum card you would earn $176 more than the MBNA card (based on the regular 2%). Plus you can earn 2% on recurring charges, such as utilities, phone, cable, etc. These alone can easily offset the added cost of $129/yr fee and you would still be ahead. NOTE: This only works if your grocery store accepts Visa; NO Frills does not, so would not work if you shop there. It does not apply to you but this card does have a $25,000/yr annual spend cap for each of the 4% and 2% eligible charges.

      The next best alternatives depend on your total annual charges and their make-up. One is the MBNA Elite card. It costs $89/yr (no cost for extra cards) but it pays 2% on EVERYTHING and with NO caps (hence no tracking needed) and you get $100 in points the first year (offsetting the cost in the first yr). The other is the Laurentian Visa Dollars card with an annual fee of $49 (no cost for extra cards), also with a one-time $50 credit after your first $500 spend. The best part of this card is that you can get 3% on all recurring charges. For me, this works out better than the Scotia Infinite Momentum card because I have large recurring charges. You will have to do the math to figure out which one of these best fits your spending patterns.

      Bottom line–do not overlook cards just because of the annual fee. Look at the NET benefit to see if it is worth it.

      BTW, the best combo that works for me now is the Laurentian Visa Dollars card and the PC Financial World MC because most of our groceries are done at No Frills and it pays the cash equivalent of 2%.

      P.S. A HIDDEN feature of PC Financial MC is the PC Plus Points plan (which applies to ANY LOBLAWS related stores). They often have promos where I earn 10% on my total grocery bill (presented as 25000 bonus points= $25 for $250 grocery bill), plus bonus points on select items that WE PURCHASE INCLUDING PRODUCE (they track what you buy and give discounts on items you are likely to buy based on what you actually buy), often about 10% off. This really adds up. So my actual reward on groceries is much greater than 2%. You will not see this advertised anywhere.

  340. FrugalTrader on April 21, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Usually, if you cancel before the renewal date, they will not charge you.

    • smayer97 on April 28, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      In many cases, even if you renew, they will cancel the renewal fee if you cancel the card within 60 days (some even up to 90 days, though that is more risky).

  341. Kristi on April 21, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Great info, thank you! I do understand the concept of the net benefit, just hard to wrap around the initial fee :-)

    I’m not sure I am for re-applying every six months but a loose tracking might work – there is no reason we couldn’t apply for individual cards – I do virtually all of the grocery shopping and the gas purchases on the card, and we track our spending on a weekly basis anyway. (truth, I do most of all the credit card spending, haha!) There would be nothing stopping me from using one card until the $400 mark was reached then switching cards.

    I will also look at the Loblaws card – one of our grocery stores is a Wholesale Club… as you mentioned, they don’t take Visa (actually, I think they do now, but they didn’t use to). Although I shop more often at the Overwaitea, it’s probably close to 50/50 dollar wise.

    Thanks again for all the info – we use the cash back as part of our travel fund, and the lower earn rates are really making a dint in the savings :-)

    • smayer97 on April 21, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      Re: MBNA, we did the multiple cards for many years, tracking expenses to avoid caps, Have 4 smart cash cards, and total of 8 MBNA cards (5 for me, 3 for my spouse). Just got tired of it and found the other card combo works out better in the whole picture.

      If you get PC MC, try to get PC World MC which gives you 2% cash equivalent vs 1% for regular card (which is not worth it since you can get that elsewhere). Requires min $60K personal annual income or $100K household income.

  342. Christine Fong on June 18, 2015 at 12:28 am

    “MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard® (editors top pick)”

    EDITORS TOP PICK?!?!?!? Are you kidding me? This is the WORST card. I listened to milliondollarjourney to pick the card a few years before getting engaged. Only found out after spending about CAD $50,000 on our wedding that there is maximum cash back of $50 per period no matter what you spend. So we missed out on almost $800 of free cash. It’s easy to overlook the details while wedding planning, and this max cap was one of them. We should have had another card that gave us SOMETHING for the $50,000 we spent. We have excellent credit too!

    Also, to rub salt on wounds, after we cancelled the stupid card, realized we couldn’t get our $31 balance left in our cash back account. Great….

    Don’t get this credit card. Get one with at least NO cap on cash back. Also don’t be naive like we were to not realize caps were important when choosing credit cards and spending on a wedding. We now use the Costco Capital One MC; at least there is no cap.

    • FrugalTrader on June 18, 2015 at 8:44 am

      @Christine, thanks for the feedback. Can you clarify the $50 maximum per period? How much total cash back did you receive on your $50,000 spent?

      • smayer97 on June 18, 2015 at 6:09 pm

        I’m curious too. Which version of the card do you have? The basic MBNA Smart Cash card has a cap of $1250/mo to earn 1% and $400/mo cap to earn the 2% as outlined above. If you have the World card, there is no cap on the 1% spend (except a possible $100K/yr overall).

        I have never heard of a cap of $50 per month payout. It is supposed to chq issued in $50 increments, one reached, either as a single chq, though most likely multiple chqs (I have received more than one in a month).

        That said, maybe there is a limitation they have not accounted for in their new system they implemented last year. I would simply take it up with management because I do not believe that is intentional. I’d like to know more. Please confirm.

        • Christine Fong on June 19, 2015 at 4:08 pm

          Hi all,
          I had the MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus® MasterCard®. I have never received more than 1 cheque per month during the duration of our wedding spending. I was waiting and thinking our multiple cheques would come soon, but after the wedding, when things settled down, I realize we weren’t getting those multiple cheques.

          So what you’re saying is, that we should have received more than $50 per period?

          We were so angry so we closed our account in Dec 2014. I don’t think we can do anything about it now that we closed the account. They won’t even give me the $31 left in the cash back balance after closing.

          • Paul U on June 19, 2015 at 4:20 pm

            Hey Christine, yes this card has a limit for cash back per month. You would have been better off using the scotiabank visa infinite. When I had the SmartCash I used to alternate using the smart cash first and when I hit the monthly limit using the scotiabank as the smart cash still had 5% instead of the scotiabanks 4%. Now I’m passed the 12 months, (smart cash and smart cash world), I used the amex 5% cash back for another 6 months and now I just use the scotiabank. I believe the scotia bank card has no limit on the 1%.

          • smayer97 on June 19, 2015 at 7:10 pm

            Christine, I think you might be mixing up cards. There has only every been the Smart Cash and the Smart Cash World cards. The Platinum Plus is a different product. You may have switched form the Platinum Plus to the Smart Cash card and it sounds like you did not have the World version, so you had a cap of $1250/mo spend. And yes, if you close your account, you lose any balance left. This is the same with ANY credit card company.

            With ANY card, you have to read and learn the conditions for earning AND redeeming their rewards/cash, etc. They were outlined on this site at the top.

          • smayer97 on June 19, 2015 at 7:20 pm

            @Paul, I too have done the multiple cards and switching back and forth for several years but because of the $400 cap/mo I was up to 4 cards between my wife and I that it became too much of a hassle, as I have stated before.
            Note too that the Scotiabank card you mention is the Momentum card and the 4% cash back version applies to gas and groceries only (also 2% for recurring charges and 1% for all else) but it has a $99 annual fee that needs to be justified vs no fee for MBNA Smart Cash card. Also Scotiabank does have a cap of $25,000 spend for the 4% and another $25,000 for the 2%. No limit for the 1%.

    • SST on June 19, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      This post is hilarious!

      So much wrong…from spending $50,000 on a wedding to paying for it with a CC to being distraught over $31…after spending $50,000!

      I might just have to steal this one for my blog’s first post.

  343. Paul N on June 18, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    I find this odd too. I was just on the phone with them a week ago – decided to cash in my points. My only issue with this card is you have to call in to do this and you can’t just set it as a “cash back” automatically. According to the op. I got – the World Elite is still their top card. I got $350… cash back from about late fall last year. My monthly avg is probably about $1000 to $1500.00. When i first got the card I put on two large purchases. A hot tub, and a used car. I paid the balance off at the end of the month on auto pay. Why not take the cash back if they let me? Both those times I got the full return on them in short period of time – no cap???. I think this testimony needs to be qualified before someone makes the wrong choice based on this girls story.

    • smayer97 on June 18, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      To be fair and to clarify, the World Elite card works a little differently. You do have to call in to get your rewards with that card, unlike the Smart Cash card where chqs are issued in $50 increments automatically. That said, not all the details she submitted add up and need confirmation.

      • Paul N on June 18, 2015 at 8:05 pm

        Ah yes I missed that one….
        I’ve had both cards – don’t remember a cap on the Smart cash either…

      • Jeremy on July 9, 2015 at 1:56 pm

        Smart Cash just changed that. They’re stopping the automatic cheque mailing and making you go online or phone in to redeem, and it still needs to be a minimum $50 before you can do so. 2% gas & groceries is the only reason to use that card now.

  344. Chuck on August 30, 2015 at 8:26 am

    You might also want to consider that you caan always ask that the bank waive the annual fee. A lot of the guys I work with do this. Mine was waived on the basis that my business travel alone is 2-10k a month. You just have to be willing to spend an hour on the phone and remind them exactly how much you spent through them.

    Also some employers will allow you to expense a portion of your annual fee if travel is a regular part of your job.

  345. smayer97 on September 3, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    There is a NEW MC product from PC Financial. Just came out today. It is the World Elite Mastercard. It is the only NO FEE Elite card on the market.

    It offers 30 pts/$1 spent (cash equivalent to 3%) at Loblaws related stores and Shopper’s Drug mart/Pharmaprix and 3¢/l of supreme or supreme+ gas at Esso or 2¢/l for other grades, with no caps. There are many other perks, such as 10-day travel medical, Car Rental Collision waiver, Concierge service, etc.

    Check it out here:

    Qualifications are either min $70K personal income or $120K household income.

    NOTE: You can apply now but the card will not be available until the end of the month.

    • FrugalTrader on September 5, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks for leaving the comment! I saw a thread on RFD mentioning this deal. As we are Loblaws shoppers, we will be looking into this card.

  346. Leonie on September 19, 2015 at 3:00 am

    Thanks for the tip on the new PC world elite Card. Applied online. Got it a week later.
    You get $20 in PC point vouchers with the card.
    3% back at all the Loblaw owned supermarkets ( and I assume gas bars). 3% back at Shoppers Drugmart . 3% back at Esso gas stations on regular and extra gas. 4% back on Supreme.
    3% back on PC travel service

    Plus 31 day emergency travel insurance if you are under 65. The usual rental car insurance, double warranty and 90 day loss/ theft etc.

    If you shop at any of these places as part of your regular routine its a no brainer. You get back PC points ( not cash), but hey everyone buys groceries.

  347. Leonie on September 19, 2015 at 3:01 am

    Thanks for the tip on the new PC world elite Card. Applied online. Got it a week later.
    You get $20 in PC point vouchers with the card.
    3% back at all the Loblaw owned supermarkets ( and I assume gas bars). 3% back at Shoppers Drugmart . 3% back at Esso gas stations on regular and extra gas. 4% back on Supreme.
    3% back on PC travel service.
    Plus 1% back on everything else

    Plus 31 day emergency travel insurance if you are under 65. The usual rental car insurance, double warranty and 90 day loss/ theft etc.

    If you shop at any of these places as part of your regular routine its a no brainer. You get back PC points ( not cash), but hey everyone buys groceries.

  348. smayer97 on September 19, 2015 at 9:58 am

    @ Leonie

    A few corrections on the PC World Elite card –
    – At PC gas bars you get 4¢/L of gas, not a %
    – At ESSO, you get 3¢/L for Supreme & Supreme+ gas and only 2¢/L for all other gas, not a %
    – You only get 10 days medical travel for free

    Otherwise, it is a great card for no fee.

    • leonie on September 19, 2015 at 11:58 am

      Quite right smayer. Got a bit over excited
      Up to 31 consecutive days of auto rental insurance.
      up to 10 consecutive days travel medical insurance if under 65.

      ” In addition to the 1% back earned on all purchases”, you get 2c\litre on standard gas 3c/litre fancy gas at Esso.

      These card people are expert in the art of intentional comfusion. I think that means you get 1% back on the gas purchases, PLUS 2c/3c per litre off at Esso.

      Not sure if it is the 1% back PLUS c/litre off at Gas bars.

      Its still a great free card combined with the Costco MC for restaurants and ? gas (if you are a costco member), and compliments the Amex simply cash. for non lowlaw/shoppers/restarant /gas purchases, and where Amex isnot accepted.

      My brain hurts. I am sure this is great for brain elasticity….

  349. Al on November 1, 2015 at 10:51 am

    I still can’t get anything above even close to my now grandfathered CIBC driver’s edge . 2% towards any car purchase on all spending. There is a $59 fee now but I earn that back in a month. There is a limit of $500 per year but I spend hefty to get there. Still looking for a cash rewards cards that doesn’t have limits in categories. Everyone buys cars. I’ve used the rebates several times. The cheque comes quickly.

    • john on November 1, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      the MBNA word elite, 2% back on everything, its a $89 fee so slightly higher, but you are not restricted to buying cars with it, Its my goto card for everything. Plus the new PC card for loblaws shopping 3% back (its practically right beside us) and the visa for US dollar purchases.

    • smayer97 on November 2, 2015 at 2:59 am

      Another to consider is the Laurentian Visa – 3% for all recurring transactions, 2% gas/groceres, 1% all other with NO limits and only $49/yr\

      Good combo with PC Financial Mastercard offering 3% on groceries at their associated stores.

      See my complete reviews above.

  350. Bob on December 2, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    For seniors spending approx. $1000/mo. and looking for a no fee card:
    2% – RBC MasterCard for food stores ( including WalMart Superstores but excluding Costco – CIBC Visa Dividend card offers the same but also excludes WalMart Superstores from their list of grocers, hence the preference of RBC MasterCard); and
    1 % – WalMart MasterCard for everything else.
    For us, this works out to about $170 cash back per year. Not bad for just using a credit card.

  351. Peter on March 29, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Rogers Platinum MasterCard. 1.75% on all purchases. Claimed 0% FX fee (hard to check this ‘cos the timing of the charge to the card is not tightly defined). $35 opening reward. $35 annual fee, waived if used to pay a Rogers / Fido / whatever account – which you might as well ‘cos that’s the only way you can redeem the rewards. A no-brainer if you have to pay Rogers bills.

  352. Vincent on April 19, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    MBNA world elite master card 2% on any purchase. First two years are free then $89 per year

    • FrugalTrader on April 19, 2016 at 7:36 pm

      I see first year free, is that a typo?

      • vincent on April 19, 2016 at 7:49 pm

        Not a typo. It was free first two year

        • FrugalTrader on April 19, 2016 at 8:00 pm

          Vincent, when did you sign up? Was that a recent promotion?

  353. Vincent on April 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    It is not promotion. They always have it. Do you check the MBNA site? It is not a cash master card but you can redeem the point to cash. Vey nice

    • FrugalTrader on April 19, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks for the info. This is what I see for the MBNA 2% card, first year free and $100 cash back on first purchase.

  354. Tyler on April 28, 2016 at 9:23 am

    With the arrival of ApplePay in Canada, I chose American Express Simply Cash. For the first six months it’s offering 5% cash back, no limit. After that it will be 1.25% but I hope by then some of the other Canadian banks will open-up to ApplePay for Visa and Mastercard. We will have to wait and see if/what cards are included. Meanwhile Amex Simply Cash is free and includes the usual benefits associated with free American Express cards. Better, IMO, than the AirMiles/travel rewards cards; cash can be used by anyone, anytime, unlike travel points.

    • smayer97 on April 28, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      Nice to know about ApplePay.

      Actually, the SimplyCash card from Amex does not have a limit for the 1.25% rate BUT DOES have a limit on the 5% to a mac of $250 cash back within first 6 months, which equals a total of $5000 spend MAX. After that, you fall back to the 1.25% rate.

      I agree with you about cash vs points. Even my Air Miles I take as cash since it became available. FAR better in IMHO.

    • FrugalTrader on April 28, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Great comments here guys and good to see you back smayer97! I do infact like the PC Mastercard (3% return at loblaws and affiliated stores), however, it does not belong on this list as it’s not a true cash back card due to redemption requirements. Other contenders would be the Rogers mastercard (1.75% return, no fx fee), but forces you to redeem against Rogers products. As mentioned through, perhaps the amazon card belongs on this list (1% cash back, no FX fee) as a secondary card for travel purposes.

      Thanks for the heads up about the Smart Cash card, I did not know that they stopped accepting new applicants.

      • smayer97 on April 28, 2016 at 10:05 pm

        Yes, it’s been a while….Good site to follow…nice work.
        If we want to be pure about it though, then there should be no mention in the article of the Scotia Momentum Infinite Visa, a premium card with annual fees ;-)

      • christopher on September 13, 2017 at 3:02 am

        The rogers card does not rewards do not have to be redeemed against rogers products necessarily. You can call customer service once a year and have your cash back balance applied to your statement. However if you do not have your card linked to a rogers account, you pay a $35 yr annual fee (which I know then makes it not a free cash back card, but to essentially double your reward compared to the payout from most other cards works for me).

        • FT on September 16, 2017 at 1:59 pm

          Thanks for this Christopher. I wonder if they could automatically credit the rewards once a year instead of the phone call. I find making those phone calls as a drawback to the card.

  355. smayer97 on April 28, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    @frugaltrader I see you updated the review to include the new Tangerine Mastercard.
    You note that “1.5% Foreign Conversion Fee – one of the lowest in market (most cards charge 2.5%)”.
    In fact the lowest on the market is 0% fee by cards offered via These include Amazon Mastercard and Sears Mastercard (though these last ones have been switched over to Scotibank…they still honour the 0% fee BUT you cannot get this card anymore); Also Rogers Mastercard (though I do not know by whom they are backed).

    • smayer97 on April 28, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      Why not include the PC World Elite Mastercard too? I saw your comment about it NOT being a true cash card BUT this is one of the very few cards where points = cash…straight and simple…There are no points programs etc. The only restriction is that points are spent as cash at their grocery chains…but 1000pts = $1, plain and simple.

      One great benefit is not only the 2% on all groceries brought at PC affiliated stores + 1% everywhere else, but they also have 2 unadvertised features…often 10% offers on specific grocery items, weekly + 10% on TOTAL bill, typically about 2-3 times per year.

      Either that or consider creating another article with Points cards. This one tops the charts in my books in this category. What do you say?

      • Leonie Knaus on April 28, 2016 at 6:57 pm

        Agree with thesmayer97. why is the PC World Elite card not on the updated best of 2016 review.

        I get $30-40 back on groceries per month, and I am no big spender.
        3% points/ money off at any Lowlaws / Superstore/ No Frills etc. This includes their pharmacies.
        3% off at Shoppers Drugmart. including Lotto. ( I buy my work lotto there)

        7 cents off per litre off gas at the “gas bar” when combined with your PC points card.
        2-3 cents a litre off gas at Esso stations.
        Plus 1% off everything else in the world

        Online offers for the stuff you ( personally) regularly buy. Often 20%

        And their is a travel service as well

        I was given $20 in grocery vouchers with the new card, and then another $20 to try their click and collect service.

        If you use the Loblaw owned grocery stores, fill a presciption, get flu shots/ immunizations or buy gas ( especially if you are near a gas bar), this card just throws money at you, to keep you within the brand.

        No waiting a year for your money back. No going online to process your rebate. No getting around to cashing that rebate cheque. It’s just all automatic.

        Some people use it as a rainy day fund for groceries at the end of the month,or Christmas food fund instead of taking the money every month.

        The monthly auto pay is easily set up.

        It is not so attractive, if you are not a regular shopper at the Loblaws family,but I think it should be on you “best of” list, with caveats. Like you have recommended big gas and grocery spenders to one card.

        I also have the Tangerine mastercard which is great for the 2% back on 3 selections. There has been a 3 month promo doubling it to 4% on the selected catagories.
        Automatic payment easily set up

        I selected outside of the supermarket and gas catagories to compliment the PC card.. Plus you can change the catagories. eg. Planned renovations/ appliance purchase? switch to hardware.

        Plus if you are an occasional overseas purchaser or traveller, than the 1.5% conversion fee is less than the regular 2.5%. ( if you do not make enough foreign purchases to warrant a dedicated 0% card)

        The PC and Tangerine card como give you 2-3% back and 7c a litre back on fuel on up to 5 catagories. Fuel , supermarket, and 2-3 catagories of your choice.

        You do not have to have a PC or Tangerine bank account to get these cards or use the auto pay feature. But you will need a Tangerine savings account to get 3 (and not 2) selected catagories on the Tangerine card.

        Both these bank do have great free chequing accounts, with free cheques (PC) and free email transfers ( Tangerine) if you are looking

        There is no annual CC fee. No flipping from card to card, with military timing, to get the 6 month promo deal and avoid the annual fee.

        Realize that these are both Mastercards, but the only time have found that Mastercard was not accepted was a sporting event sponsored by Visa ( eg. the Olympics), so I see this as a problem that you might encounter once in the bluest of moons.

        If you are not close to or dislike shopping at Loblaws/ Shoppers, the PC card may not be for you. Tangerine Mastercard is a great stand alone card.

        Also I would like to ask if anyone has experience with card flipping and using the attached insurance. eg. You want to claim on the extended warranty insurance on a purchase 13 months ago, but you cancelled the card 1 month ago to avoid the annual fee of to get a promo on another card. Do you have to be a current card holder to claim the insurance.

        • smayer97 on April 28, 2016 at 9:56 pm

          Oops…of course…the regular PC Mastercard is 2% earn rate, 3% for World Mastercard

  356. smayer97 on April 28, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    WOW! Just found out today that the MBNA Smart Cash card and World version card were discontinued 3 weeks ago. They still show up online BUT are no longer available to new customers, as confirmed by MBNA agent.

    What remains is the MBNA Rewards card and Rewards World Elite . Can convert points to Cash at rate of 5000pts=$50 (can only redeem in $50 increments).

    Earn rate is 1% and 2% respectively (no change) with World card having $89/yr fee (10,000 bonus = $100 1st yr).

  357. Paul N on April 28, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    I still use the world elite. You can redeem the points whenever you want, they don’t ever limit me to $50.00. I reently forgot about redeeming my points, called in and they credited me $180.00 in one shot. If you use this card to do most of your purchasing, which I do, it still is a pretty decent value card. It has a few other features as well in being an elite member. The car insurance waiver, purchase protection, and some kind of discount club that gets you discounts at various places. (I’m too lazy to check).
    This is a great thread, I have used it for many years now to help review what the best card is. I have to admit rewards seem to be getting thinner and thinner since my first Smart cash card and Dividend One cards so long ago. It kind of sucks, I have to assume the C card companies count on people not reviewing their rewards regularly and noticing the subtle rewards wash out…

  358. nobleea on May 9, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Question on these cash back cards. Say I’ve been given a limit of $10K on the Tangerine card, but I want to maximize my cash back and I have an upcoming purchase of 15K, one shot, or at least during one billing period. Can I prepay the card by 5K to get a credit balance and then charge 15K? And still get the cash back on the full 15K?

  359. smayer97 on May 9, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    There are 2 parts to consider. Regarding the cash back, credit cards typically will give you the cash back on whatever your purchase is.
    The second part is where it gets complicated, that is regarding your credit limit. This varies from card to card. Some will automatically add any credit amount on your account to your credit limit temporarily so you can use it up (which then goes back to the original once used up) . Others still limit your purchases to your original credit limit and no more by not authorizing the amount. Others will allow an over the max credit limit purchase IF you call in and get a one time authorization.
    So the bigger issue is how your credit card company handles your credit limit. You would have to call and inquire because they also change the rules every so often.

  360. valuetradeblog on May 12, 2016 at 5:21 am


    Its nice to see that someone who hit the 1 mio. is still searching for 75$ cashback from a new CreditCard – and I really mean that possitive.

    wish you best luck

    kind regards,

    • FrugalTrader on May 12, 2016 at 9:06 am

      We may have the net worth, but our income right now is more on the average side for a family of 4. Every bit counts!

      • smayer97 on May 12, 2016 at 9:22 am

        Or as I often think of it, asset rich but cash poor.

      • FrugalTrader on May 12, 2016 at 9:28 am

        To add to that, my thoughts on saving money hasn’t changed since the beginning of my journey. My net worth could be $10M, and I’m pretty sure that I would still look for ways to save money. However, I might have a premium credit card by that point. :)

        • smayer97 on May 12, 2016 at 10:32 am

          Yes, many multi-millionnaires are quite frugal. I know a few. Even Buffett (the BILLIONnaire) is VERY frugal. He shares a story about how when Gates first came over to visit him at his home, he had the seat covers of his dining room on off the chairs, as a work in progress he was doing himself. He even lives in the same relatively modest home for around 40yrs+. Money does not have to change you.

  361. VTECMAN on May 17, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    What about th PC world elite MasterCard?

    • smayer97 on May 19, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      Because it is NOT a PURE Cold Hard Cash reward card, FrugalTrader has stated it does not fit in this article.
      That said, if you shop at PC affiliate grocery stores, it is a GREAT card, especially offering 3% equivalent on all grocery purchases at PC affiliates AND what is NOT advertised, is when combining it with their free PC Plus program, I often see 10% and even 20% equivalent cash off on total grocery bills, several times a year (plus other smaller promotions on specific items, based on your purchasing patterns). This REALLY adds up.
      So if it fits your grocery purchasing pattern, it is a great card.
      My main complaint with it is that it is VERY hard to reconcile the pts they award, because they often combine posted points on their reports as single entries, so hard to know which purchase they came from. Other than that, it is one of our primary cards.

  362. Dimitri on June 10, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    I’ve used the credit union World Elite card for years.
    2% cash back on everything

    Between phone bills, internet, gas, renovations, health care costs, our family puts over 50,000/year.
    Over the last 12 months, 78,000 spent earned $1,550 of tax free money.
    Yes the card is 150, but you get tons of free services for that.

  363. Robert J Smith on June 14, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Great info! Thanks!

  364. nobleea on November 1, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Just a note, the MBNA Smartcash credit card is now a Visa instead of MC. They’ve sent out the replacement cards and the current MCs won’t work after Dec 1. The 1% cash back, no fee stays, but it wasn’t clear if the 2% for gas and groceries stayed as well.

    • smayer97 on November 3, 2016 at 1:47 am

      This is the first I heard of this, so I had to check it out. Turns out ALL MBNA cards are being changed to VISA, not just the Smart Cash cards. Apparently, all the features are staying unchanged (between my wife and I we have 8 MBNA accounts). Supposed to receive the details in the mail within the next few weeks. If there are any surprises, I’ll update the info here.

      Sort of makes sense. TD bought MBNA years ago which used Mastercard. TD’s primary credit cards are VISA.
      CIBC also bought Citi Mastercard accounts years ago. Its primary credit cards are VISA. They just switched all their MC accounts to VISA products this summer.
      Even RBC is still offering one MC product along with their original VISA products. We shall see how long that lasts.

      A few years ago I was hopeful that Canadian banks would offer multiple credit card companies in contrast to the historical loyalty to only promote one product. Seems they have done an about face and are returning to that status quo (not sure if that was planned from the very beginning).

      My main concerns are that the banks seem to be going in the opposite direction that major vendors are, .e.g No Frills a few years ago no longer accepting VISA and Wal-mart of late turning down VISA too, but there seem to be fewer major banks that offer MC products. I can only think of RBC with only one offering, BMO and PC Financial. The latter is interesting since strangely it is owned by CIBC…will then do an about face too or will CIBC keep the two product lines separate, one VISA, the other MC. To change to VISA, they would have to change NO Frills to also accept VISA or they would shoot themselves in the foot.

      Interesting change in the landscape.

  365. Anthony on November 3, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    I just received my MBNA Smart Cash Visa cards in the mail, and I’m pissed. I chose the card because the benefits, but mainly because Mastercard is more widely accepted then Visa, especially where I shop (mainly No Frills and Costco). So I guess I’ll have to find a new Mastercard!

    • smayer97 on November 4, 2016 at 12:34 am

      Not much to choose from for MC anymore. Only banks are RBC, BMO (not great cards), and PC Financial. There is Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart too, but not much rewards for broad spectrum spending.

      If you shop at No Frills then the perfect card for you is the PC Financial MC. Give 2% in pts = cash for ALL groceries + 1% on all else. If you qualify for WORLD version, (min $70K income or $120K family income) you get 3%. World version came out in Sep 2015. I upgraded from my original PC MC card. FANTASTIC! The savings are amazing…

      The best part is a “hidden” feature when you pair it with the PC PLUS Points program…OFTEN get 20% savings offers on the ENTIRE grocery bill, with many items often getting 10% off, including produce and meats. That REALLY adds up.

      Add to that, we also found a Superstore Gas Bar along our main travel routes (You can also use Refuel, Loblaws, and No Frills gas stations) and . This allows us to get 4¢ off per litre AND the price of gas is often about 4¢ cheaper than other gas stations in the area. So we fuel up for the week there most of the time now. So more savings of about $200-300/yr.

      Switched to PC MC in 2014 from MBNA because I got tired of their scaling back their program. SO glad I did. So these past 12 months my family earned $920 worth in pts, including from the gas above. That is on top of the use of my Laurentian VISA for 3% on recurring expenses (earned almost $480 too). So lots of earnings for us.

      The main gripe I have about the card is that it is hard, nay IMPOSSIBLE, to reconcile the pts earned, because they tend to group pts earned from multiple transactions into one entry on the PC PLUS statement, making near impossible to double check the pts. BUT after tracking them for about a year, it looked on the level. Not to say that some don’t get missed…but hard to track down.

      And customer service is very rigid. Not a lot of give when there is an issue.

      Otherwise, quite pleased.

      Just search my ID above for my story and you will see.

      • smayer97 on November 14, 2016 at 3:18 am

        Ok…so just received my replacement MBNA Smart Cash cards. It appears I have given incorrect information the first time (surprise? not).

        It seems that only the Smart Cash card has been changed from Mastercard to Visa. It is retaining all the features of the old card, except it is now a Visa. The old Mastercards will stop working as of Dec 1 for all Smart Cash card holders. They are also still taking applications for the old/new card.

        I have also been told that the other Mastercard products are not being changed over to Visa, as far as they currently know (then again, although the reps knew a change was coming, they did not know about the change to Visa until very recently…some even found out only from clients calling in AFTER receiving their new cards). It seems there was no forewarning both internally and externally.

        So take it for what it’s worth.

        • smayer97 on November 14, 2016 at 3:20 am

          correction… “I have *been* given incorrect information”

  366. constantin on November 4, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Tangerine MC seems to have decent cash back features which you will get two category 2% cash back reward at your own choice.

  367. Kevin on January 8, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    I recently got a MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard for the 2% cash back on everything feature. 10k bonus points for signing up. Here’s the problem: Customer Service is practically nonexistent. And every time we try to use these cards, the PIN is rejected. I bet I’ve called MBNA 10 times in two weeks. Same response every time. “We’re sorry, we’ll transfer you to the automated PIN system.” But other than that, they do absolutely nothing. The cards continue to get rejected.

    And therein lies the problem with these card-ranking websites. They don’t say boo about customer service. I’ll keep trying this system for a while longer, but my guess is in the long run I’ll go back to my TD First Class Visa Infinite card. Good customer service, so-so rewards. I might try the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite and see how they are. I’m guessing the big banks will be better on customer service than the others.

    Oh, and by the way, we have a Costco Capital One Mastercard as well. Absolutely horrid customer service from Capital One. I think they spend all their profits hiring celebrities to plug their cards. They certainly don’t spend it on hiring competent customer service agents.

  368. Adrian on January 16, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    You may want to update the features for the CIBC dividend card:

    2% cash back on your first $6,000 in net annual grocery purchases
    0.5% cash back on the first $6,000 in annual purchases
    1% cash back on all other annual purchases over $6,000

  369. Char on February 1, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    I was in the market for a new credit card, so I thought I would give the tangerine card a try. It was a very disappointing experience. You need to validate your identity through Canada Post, before you can activate it, which I did. There was a technical problem and tangerine never rec’d the information. I waited 5 days and still unable to use card. I called back Tangerine said there was nothing else they could do since I was only a credit card customer-they said I could go back to Canada Post to validate my identity again. Its difficult to believe they had no back-up plan when there are system issues and could not activate my card or advised when issue would be resolved. Hope everyone else has better luck.

  370. Francois Marier on March 29, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    The Tangerine Mastercard is going to be downgraded quite a bit next month:

    Down to 0.5% cashback for non-2% categories (instead of 1%) and 2.5% foreign transaction feeds (instead of 1.5%).

  371. Rob on March 30, 2017 at 11:38 am

    I have a Tangerine card and it WAS the best cash back credit card at the time. However, in April they will be lowering the pay-out on other categories from 1% to .5%. I am pissed off and feel like i’ve been set-up. The old “bait and switch” game!

  372. Ravi on April 8, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    300-400k spend on my card, personal or corporate. (its work

    I’m looking for the best value in terms of rewards, it doesn’t need to be Cash back, I’d actually prefer travel, and a usable travel card would be helpful. (Aeroplan doesn’t seem to have a lot of value/availability)

    Currently have a CIBC Dividend Unlimited World MasterCard, 2% CB to 50k, then 1% after. Pain is they put CB back on card, and I have to call them to issue a cheque.. if it stays on card.. the accounting side of things keeps it as a corporate benefit. Not mine.

    Would be nice to get travel points and be forced to use them.. but has to make sense and be usable. Again am after the best value in reward. I can’t open dozens of new cards to max the sign up bonuses either.. accounting would be nightmare.

    • smayer97 on April 9, 2017 at 12:28 am

      Most cash back issue credit back on card account nowadays. The last I know that issued cheques is MBNA but I believe the changed that too. So unless others chime in, I think your only option is to go for points rewards type cards. The top ones I have seen mentioned are Capital One Aspire World Elite card (no reward caps) and the MBNA World Elite Rewards card (last I checked they had no cap but double-check) (cannot vouch for either as they do not meet my needs so never used them). Both give 2% on all purchases.


  373. James on April 17, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Others have said it already but you really should change where Tangerine sits in this post as it went from one of the best to perhaps a distant runner-up with their recent bait-and-switch tactics reducing the 1.0% category down to 0.5%.

    • FT on April 23, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Thanks for the reminder James. I have an update to this post in the queue. Stay tuned!

  374. Leo T. Ly @ on July 10, 2017 at 8:42 am

    I also use a combination of a few credit cards to maximize my cash or point rewards. This is how I approach my reward with the cards:

    1) I start off with the rogers platinum MasterCard that gives me a base of 1.75% reward on any purchases. So I will use this card when I get no special offers from other cards. I pay no fees as i have a rogers phone.

    2) I use the president’s choice elite MasterCard to get 3% on gas at Esso gas stations and any loblaws grocery chains. Also no fees

    3) I use the tangerine MasterCard to get six categories of 2% rewards as I have a card and my wife also have a card. We give each other a supplementary card.

    4) I use to CanadianTire options MasterCard to pay bills like utilities and property taxes to get a 0.8% CanadianTire money. I only use this card to pay bills and 4% reward at CanadianTire.

    It’s great to get on average about 2% on any of my purchases and pay no fees. I always pay my bills on time every month.

    • FT on July 10, 2017 at 6:07 pm

      Leo, with your Rogers card, do you get a credit towards your Rogers account? Or can you get a statement credit?

      • Leo T. Ly @ on July 12, 2017 at 7:42 am

        You can use the credit toward your Rogers services or you can ask them to send you cash. For me, it doesn’t really matter as I have a rogers phone bill that I need to pay on a monthly basis.

        By the way, I applied for the PC world elite MasterCard at RateSupermarket using your link. Great freebies for a no fees card. I applied when the gift card offer was still at $150. Now it’s back down to $100.

        • smayer97 on July 14, 2017 at 7:47 pm

          Note that for the Rogers MC, if you do not charge Rogers services to the card, there is an annual fee of $29/yr (waived 1st yr + $25 sign-up bonus).

          • Vito on July 19, 2017 at 3:20 am

            The FIDO MC has no annual fee, also great card for Fx fees (same as Rogers MC) but gives 1.5% vs Rogers 1.75%.

          • Leo Ly @ on August 17, 2017 at 7:09 pm

            You’re right Smayer97. Even if you don’t have Rogers services it’s still worth considering the card.

  375. Tom on July 10, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite is still king for me. 2% back on all transactions, in the form of credit against any travel expense on your card. $150 annual fee though if you’re grandfathered in you get $100 of anniversary bonus every year :)

    • smayer97 on July 10, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      For those that are not grandfathered, I would recommend the MBNA World Elite for the same 2% with no caps for only $89/yr + $100 back after first purchase.

    • Robert Paradis on July 10, 2017 at 11:44 pm

      I have this one too, never found a better one. Hope I will be grandfathered for life.

  376. Sarah. on July 10, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Our most used card is the Canadian Tire World Options Mastercard for a number of reasons.
    1. We like to support Canadian
    2. We have owned stocks since 1997.
    3. We get 4% back in store and spend at least $1,200 a year there.

    Since acquiring Shoppers Drug Mart and the introduction of their couponing app, we’ve started to shop at “Loblaws” stores more and in turn have been using our PC Financial credit card. I didn’t know that we got extra points at Esso (!).

    Since recently finding FI blogs, I’ve been wondering if the Canadian Tire card is the best one for us. I’m keeping better records and will review in the New Year.

    • smayer97 on July 10, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      Yes and if you qualify to update to the PC World version of the card, you get 3% on groceries. AND they have hidden benefits with 20% discounts on entire grocery bill a few times a year. My wife and I each have separate accounts to increase the chances of getting these offers. Combining that with Superstore Gas Bar purchases (includes all gas bar affiliates Refuel, Fortinos, Loblaws, No Frills, Superstore) we are up to $900 cash back (pts equivalent) in just 6 months on this card alone, feeding family of 5. FANTASTIC!

  377. smayer97 on July 10, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    BTW, just learned of another cash back card that may be interested to some…
    TD Cash Back Visa Infinite card.

    3% cash back on gas, groceries and recurring transactions, 1% on all else, with no caps. $120/yr annual fee, $50 for supplemental cards.

    Being a Visa, cannot use it at No Frills (our main grocery store), so does not work for us.

    • Leo T. Ly @ on July 12, 2017 at 7:50 am

      I tend to stay away from cards with fees as I can often find a comparable with no fees. A card that cost you $100 in annual fee with a 2% cash back, you will have to spend $5000 just to earn your money back.

      • smayer97 on July 12, 2017 at 7:04 pm

        I agree that you can probably achieve better returns with a single no fee card. And I have always strived to do that if I can. But what I find is you need to combine the best of at least 2 cards. In so doing, you can achieve better results with at least one fee based card.

        In my case, I have achieved close to 3% return over all my spending (I suspect it may be higher but I do not have all my records updated yet…I’ll report back when I do). You cannot achieve that with any one single card, either no fee and fee based.

        So I highly recommend that you examine on what and where you do your spending and match the best cards, regardless of the fee, but factoring in the cost. Don’t be so quick to exclude fee based cards. You might be surprised.

        I created a spreadsheet to help me work out the effective cash back rate on combination of cards to figure out the best combinations for us.


        • FT on July 14, 2017 at 3:46 pm

          I’d be really interested in seeing your spending data and which cards you used to achieve your high rate of return.

          • smayer97 on July 14, 2017 at 6:27 pm

            Sure…glad to share. Since my records are not up to date (I still have to update 2016 data onward, including for tax purposes), let me start by saying that my past spending in 2015 and earlier via credit cards averaged about $45,000+/yr (and I put as much as I can through my credit cards, wherever possible). Of course some spend is via cheques. I hardly have any expenses via cash or Interac, percentage-wise.

            About 30% of that was for groceries. We are also a big givers, so almost 30% was for recurring expenses, include a large portion of that for our giving expenses. About 7-8% was for gas expenses ($3600 or less). Then the rest, about 1/3 (about $15,000+) was for miscellaneous.

            Note that at the end of 2014 I switched from Scotiabank Momentum Visa card ($39/yr fee) which only paid 2% on gas, groceries and recurring expenses to the Laurentian Dollars Visa card, paying 3% on recurring (the rest being the same) (started as $49/yr, now $65/yr fee). Also switched to Superstore Gas Bars for most gas purchases (see below for more info). Then in late 2015, upgraded PC World MC (paying only 2% on groceries) to World Elite card (paying 3% on groceries) (no fees).

            So, we take advantage of the 3% cards for recurring and groceries, plus 4¢/L off on most gas purchases, which at recent prices works out to about 4% on average (on top of the fact that Loblaws affiliated gas bars typically charge 4-10¢/L less on gas…this savings does not show up anywhere, except my pocket book but I guesstimate amounts to a couple of hundred $ per yr), and as I mentioned before, the PC Plus Points program offers 10-20% on entire grocery bills a few times per year, on top of the 3% we already get (we have 2 separate PC Plus accounts to maximize the number of times we get these offers), on top of the 10-20% off select items we typically purchase, including produce, meat, etc that typically do not get coupons, etc. When these grocery bill offers come along, we try to increase our spend and stock up on stuff we need to maximize the rewards.

            Of course, on the rest of our credit card spend we only earn 1%. So in 2015, we only earned
            about $1,416 on $50,065 spend, or about 2.8% average. In 2016, we earned $1340 (unconfirmed total spend for reasons mentioned), and in 2017, so far we have already earned $1121, and it is only July.

            All this only requires 1 card for my wife (PC MC) for most of the groceries and gas, and 1 card for me (Laurentian Visa) for most all else. Really easy.

            And of course, this does not include other reward plans like Esso Extra and Air Miles. From Air Miles alone, in 2014, we were able to get $340 and 2016 about $290 worth. (In 2015, I got upset with them and stopped using the plan for a while, so only made about $20 worth).

            I know I can still increase our earnings more if I get a 2% card like MBNA World Elite card for all the expenses we only get 1%. Even at $89/yr, we would come out ahead. After I am caught up with my record keeping, I will re-examine this and see if I will make the move.

            I hope to report back when I have all my 2016 and 2017 records up to date. If you want any more info, let me know.

        • Leo T. Ly @ on July 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm

          I definitely agree that there is no one best credit card that will give you the best rewards. I have four cards (Canadian tire options MasterCard, tangerine MasterCard, Rogers platinum MasterCard, and scotiabank momentum visa). All of them are pretty much no fees.

          • Leo Ly @ on August 17, 2017 at 7:13 pm

            Did I mention the free sign up perks? They are awesome. I just received my $150 gift card for signing up for the PC master card.

          • smayer97 on September 4, 2017 at 1:21 am

            Unfortunately, already a PC Mastercard holder (World Elite with 3x points) so cannot qualify for currently sign-up gift card, though I think I received $100 at the time I signed up…not as good but nice nonetheless. ;-)

    • BadCaleb on July 15, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      I will probably switch to this card as it comes free with a TD All-Inclusive account. BTW, it also comes with TD Auto Club. The one thing missing is Trip Cancellation service.

  378. GYM on July 18, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Great post FrugalTrader, 400+ comments in over 10 years, amazing!

    I am also a big fan of the Mastercard MBNA World Elite card (I think it’s a 2% cash back)- I got grandfathered in and it’s free for me but otherwise I think it’s $89 a year, and the PC Financial World (Elite?) card (which is also free).

    • John on July 18, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      lol those are my cards too! but i am not grandfathered :( also add in the visa for US dollar transactions and that’s what you’ll find in my wallet.

      • Vito on July 19, 2017 at 3:30 am

        Unfortunately the Amazon visa is no longer available but a good substitute is the FIDO MC, also with no annual fee and will net 1.5% return on Fx purchases.

        • smayer97 on July 19, 2017 at 4:48 pm

          That is most unfortunate. It is still listed on their site here:

          but you cannot apply for it, only long into existing accounts.
          I have noticed that all the cards available from Chase bank have been disappearing. Not sure if Chase is closing down in Canada or if businesses have just been pulling back. Either way…seems like no more cards from Chase.

  379. Rob on July 31, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Into which category do purchases made at costco and wal-mart fall? For the Tangerine mastercard, would purchases at those retailers fall outside of any of their pre-defined categories?

    • smayer97 on July 31, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      Another question along those lines too is what do gas purchases at Costco get classified as?

  380. Vin on September 3, 2017 at 12:23 am

    Rogers master card gets you 1.75% anywhere annual fee of $29 waived if you have Rogers product with auto pay.

    • smayer97 on September 4, 2017 at 1:25 am

      Yes, nice option. Been mentioned above many times since 2016.

  381. Ken on September 24, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Hi Guys,
    CIBC offer me 4% cash back on gas spending, it is CIBC Dividend Visa Card which replaced the CIBC Petro Canada Master Card, I lost the detail package (anyone can provide the detail?), could anyone tell me is this a good credit card?

    • smayer97 on September 25, 2017 at 12:23 am

      Details can be found here:

      In summary:
      $99/y + $30/extra card (max 3) (1st yr free for all)
      4% on gas and groceries (good if you do not shop at No Frills; they only accept MC)
      2% for Telus and Tim Hortons purchases
      1% on all else
      Max $20K spend on first 2 rates or $80K total spend for all rates.
      Nice Insurance extras too (purchase, extended warranty, car rental).
      So depending on where you buy and what you buy you have to see if it is a good fit for you.
      I point out that to get the most of any of these cards, it is often best to use more than one at the same time to cover all bases and get the max return.
      For me that combination works out to be the Laurentian Dollars Visa and the PC World Elite MC (I may add the Rogers MC too) (see above for details).

    • smayer97 on September 25, 2017 at 12:32 am

      BTW, for the exact same cost you can get the CIBC Dividend Infinite Visa but it has MORE travel insurance coverages included at no extra cost. The only caveat is that you need a higher annual or household income ($60K or $100K respectively).

      See details here:

      • Ken on September 28, 2017 at 10:50 pm

        Thank you smayer97.
        Actually, CIBC won’t charge me the annual fee, and the 4%, gas only, not groceries.
        I used to be the CIBC Petro Canada MC holder, now CIBC and Petro Canada divorced. That’s the reason CIBC send me the VISA to replace the Petro Canada MC

  382. Ravi on October 6, 2017 at 12:18 am

    Any cards that have better returns than 2.5% and are unlimited? Like can take 500k plus in rewards?

    Many of you may have heard of Plastiq and Paytm. New services that for a fee basically let you use your credit card to pay just about any payee you can with online bill payments via your bank.

    It turns out I can pay my main payables via them, but wouldn’t want to unless there’s a significant benefit greater than the 2.5% fee. Like 3.5% or something.. Cash back or points or something. Any thoughts?

    • smayer97 on October 6, 2017 at 3:18 am

      For Cash Back, the only one I know is the Laurentian Visa Dollars here:

      The Laurentian Visa offers 3% and has NO CAP on earnings. It only costs $65/yr.

      All others I have come across pay less % or have low caps.

      • smayer97 on October 6, 2017 at 3:19 am

        P.S. Of course, this only works IF the Plastiq charges are considered recurring…also not sure if the charges are recorded as Plastiq or with the original vendor name.

        • Ravi on October 6, 2017 at 6:24 pm

          Yea, seems unlikely based on what I read in their rules the way the payment system is setup it doesn’t seem conducive, but you can schedule payments. Also the way CRA looks at it, apparently if you convert miles/points to cash, its a taxable benefit. Says some articles.

          It’s a huge number if I flow through multiples of the amount I mentioned, and to benefit only half a point, alot of risk .

          • smayer97 on October 6, 2017 at 7:10 pm

            For completeness, Laurentian Visa is not pts system; it is cash back.

            But yes, does seem dicey…you would have to be sure about the recurring status to qualify.

  383. smayer97 on June 16, 2018 at 1:43 am

    I have noticed what appears to be an error in the article…Any reference to
    “Extended warranty – doubles warranty up to 2 yrs”

    The correct wording for most of these is that they actually extend the warranty by doubling the existing warranty up to an additional year. What this also means is that if you have a warranty that is 3 yrs, it will actually add an extra year.

    Some plans typically have caps too or restrict some items, most commonly automotive parts, but also in some cases computer or certain electronics. Read the fine print.

    So the wording above does not accurately reflect what these extended warranties provide.

    Please update the article.

    • FT on June 16, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      I believe the capital one cards have “extra” extended warranty compared to others. My understanding is that if the manufacturer offers a 2-year warranty, they will offer an additional 2 years, instead of an additional 1 year by other credit cards.

      • smayer97 on June 16, 2018 at 2:20 pm

        Oh, that sounds nice. Even so, I believe the wording needs to be adjusted to better reflect what the extended warranties are, as is does not reflect the plans as I have shown.

        • smayer97 on June 29, 2019 at 4:49 pm

          BTW, I came across info that clarifies Capital One’s extended warranty. It turns out that the credit card warranty adds extra time to ANY warranty (IIRC up to one extra year), including if you purchase extended warranty. WOW!
          (All other cards, you have to choose between buying extended warranty OR be satisfied with the card extended warranty of 1 extra year).

          I wish I had kept the reference as it showed a chart that explains in clear visual detail. If I come across it again, I’ll try to update here.

          • smayer97 on June 29, 2019 at 5:16 pm

            Ok, I got it slightly wrong… Capital One only offers up to 24 months extra (which is still better than all other cards).

            Turns out it is CitiBank credit card that offers what I described…24 months (not UP TO 24 months extra…WOW) on top of even extended warranty purchased, DOUBLE WOW, up to a max of 7 years.

            Unfortunately, CitiBank is no longer available in Canada :-(

            But just for those interested, here is a link to a copy of the chart I mentioned (not the original place I say it but good enough).

            Would be nice if someone offered something like that in Canada.

          • smayer97 on June 29, 2019 at 6:53 pm

            (thought I already posted this…)

            Seems I made a small mistake. Turns out that Capital One only offers up to 24 months (though that is far better than most).

            Turns out it is CitiBank that offers 24 months (NOT just UP TO 24 months) extra, and this is ON TOP of any extended warranty purchased, up to a max of 7 yrs. Unfortunately, Citibank is no longer offered in Canada, so this is moot now (unless you travel to and purchase in the US). But for anyone interested, see the chart in the following article:
            (it is not the original chart I found but it is good enough)

  384. dave mackenzie on June 28, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite 1 Aug 2019 increase to $120+50 and gas lowering to 2% and drugs 1%
    What’s the best (free) card now ??

  385. GYM on August 12, 2019 at 11:47 am

    I love my Rogers world elite and my PC Financial World Elite- two of my favourite no fee cards!

    • FT on August 12, 2019 at 11:53 am

      Thanks for stopping by GYM! I agree, the Rogers card is suprisingly impressive, especially combining both the general cash back, and the FX cashback.

      • smayer97 on August 12, 2019 at 11:58 am

        Agreed. Good cards, especially since PC finally restored downloading data to Quicken. Though not a deal breaker, unfortunately, Rogers does not support this feature, as yet, though they do support downloading an OFX file… so maybe some day…

        • Dean on August 12, 2019 at 2:24 pm

          Interesting – I am able to access Rogers through Direct Access using Bantivity (Mac). Quicken must use different technology.

          • smayer97 on August 12, 2019 at 3:25 pm

            Quicken uses the same OFX standard except they require that FIs/Banks register with them. They control this by requiring additional info be added to the OFX standard format which Quicken then validates on import.

            So if would require Rogers to register with Quicken and make some modifications.

    • moneyhelp on August 13, 2019 at 12:50 am

      Only issue I have with Rogers WE CC is that it requires a personal income of $80K annually. A bit out of my reach :)

  386. Dean on August 12, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    Ah – credit card rewards – love this discussion as it always seems to change in Canada.

    I know your analysis is for free cards, but don’t negate the value of a paid card. For example, the Meridian Visa Infinite gives you 4% back on groceries. Based on your estimate of an $11k spend on groceries, and using 2% as a high for the cards you mentioned, you would be getting $220 back. If you used the Meridian Visa Infinite, you would get 4% back on groceries, which is $440 for a gain of $220. Subtract the annual fee of $129 (with supplementary card) and you would come out $91 ahead. In addition, 1st year fees are waived, so you would actually be ahead the full $220.

    My current credit card structure is as follows:

    1. My wife and I hold separate WestJet MasterCards for the additional 2 free flights a year and free checked baggage. The cost of these are covered by our bank plan with RBC.

    2. Meridian Infinite Visa for 4% back on gas and groceries and 2% back on pharmacy and reoccurring bill payments.

    3. Rogers World Elite Mastercard for all other purchases and foreign currency purchases.

    The other thing we do to maximize rewards is purchase gifts cards at our local grocery store. For example, I buy Apple iTunes gift cards for our monthly Apple fees (iCloud, music) and Amazon gift cards for our Amazon purchases. By doing this, I get the full 4% on these purchases, as opposed to the 1.75% I would get with Rogers.

    • FT on August 12, 2019 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks for the tips Dean. I will check out the Meridian Visa.

  387. smayer97 on August 12, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    Nice to know about Meridian Visa. I agree with you that you should always look at cost vs benefit. I too carry a fee based card as a result, in addition to fee-free cash-back cards.

    Now, if you shop at No Frills, any Visa product is a no go as it is not accepted there (several years now). But even if you shop at any other Loblaws affiliate, compared to the PC Mastercard which offers 3% on groceries (if you can qualify for the World Elite version), the Meridian Visa performs worse after the annual fee.

    So a full comparison is needed based on personal shopping patterns.

    • Dean on August 12, 2019 at 7:11 pm

      Interesting, we are in Calgary and are able to use our Visa at NoFrills down the street. I used to hold a PC MasterCard as we used NoFrills quite a bit. Once I found the Infinite series cards and the 4% back, I cancelled the PC MasterCard, as that is all we were using it for.

      Our NoFrills carries all the PC products, so I assume it is the same NoFrills. Interesting that they take Visa and yours does not.

      All that being said, totally agree on the full comparison – each person has to look at their own spending habits and make choices based on that.

      • smayer97 on August 12, 2019 at 7:35 pm

        Interesting comment. Maybe this issue is isolated to the GTA? Or Ontario? When they made the change everywhere around here, I assumed it was a company-wide move. Obviously not. Thx.

        So makes perfect sense to go with Visa with that spend.

        • Dean on August 12, 2019 at 7:41 pm

          I wonder if it depends on the owner. Ours is “Blair’s No Frills”…maybe Blair was okay with accepting Visa :-)

          • nobleea on August 13, 2019 at 12:24 pm

            All the no frills here in Edmonton do not accept Visa either. However, I think their merchant terminals will accept it, so if you say its a MC and just stick a Visa in, I don’t know if it would stop the transaction.

          • Kristi on August 14, 2019 at 3:11 pm

            Our Real Canadian Wholesale Club can take Visa but only on one till – if you are at a different till, the cashier can actually transfer your purchase to the till that has Visa set up and you just walk over there and pay with Visa. Weird but it works.

          • smayer97 on August 14, 2019 at 6:26 pm

            @Kristi Interesting…what city and/or location?

          • Kristi on August 14, 2019 at 8:16 pm

            Burns Lake, BC

        • smayer97 on August 14, 2019 at 10:22 pm

          Thx. So, so far it looks like an east vs west thing but clearly not a company wide decision.

    • Dean on August 12, 2019 at 7:24 pm

      By the way, the Meridian Visa (MV) only performs worse if you spend less than $12,901 on groceries in a year (1% gain on $12,901+ greater than the $129 annual fee on MV). We are a family of 5, and our annual grocery spend is more than this.

    • Martin on August 20, 2019 at 9:04 am

      If you have a Loblaws brand store close by(I.e. Superstore) that accepts Visa, then buy the Loblaws brand gift cards using your Visa. Then shop at Nofrills using the Loblaws gift cards.

  388. Bernie on August 12, 2019 at 9:13 pm

    How does the “Home Trust Preferred Visa” card compare? Its not mentioned above.

    • Dean on August 12, 2019 at 10:12 pm

      Here are the features of the Home Trust Preferred Visa:

      – 1% Cash back on all purchases with no limit
      – no foreign currency fee (2.5% waived)

      Using the 30k scenario above would return $300 cash back, which would be lower than any of the ones listed above. Also, the foreign currency return on the Rogers card (net 1.5% back on foreign currency transactions) is better. This card used to look attractive only for foreign currency transactions – until the Rogers Mastercard came along.

    • moneyhelp on August 13, 2019 at 12:55 am

      I have the HTPV card. Haven’t yet used it yet when travelling, but got it essentially for the no Fx fees. There are also other benefits, like road side assistance, although never used it, so I don’t know how good it is.

      The other good thing, is that the 1% is automatically credited to the account in January of the following year, whereas some other credit cards, you have to call in (I think Rogers and Fido are like this) and ask them on December. Not sure what happens if you forget to call, but I would imagine it would roll over to the following year, but that’s a pain.

      • smayer97 on August 13, 2019 at 1:08 am

        That was the old way but Rogers has an odd system; cash back can be applied to any at any past purchases any time you have more than $20 worth.

        • Dean on August 13, 2019 at 9:21 am

          I recently cashed in a large amount of rewards on Rogers and this worked quite well. It can be a pain to select multiple transactions, but I was lucky that I had one large transaction that covered everything. I do this more frequently now and “move” the money into HIS account (I use envelope budgeting in Banktivity which makes this possible).

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