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.

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

Rogers World Elite Mastercard 

 

  • 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.

 

Rogers World Elite Mastercard Review

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.

 

Tangarine Mastercard Review

Capital One Platinum MasterCard Exclusively for Costco Members

 

  • 0.50% cash back on first $3,000 in purchases;
  • 1.00% cash back on any amount over $3,000;
  • 2.00% cash back on gasoline;
  • 3.00% cash back at restaurants;
  • Car rental insurance;
  • Purchase assurance – 120 days insurance in case of theft or damage;
  • Extended warranty – doubles 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
  • Baggage delay insurance.
  • Notes: Need a Costco Membership ($55/yr), rebate is collected every January @ Costco as a gift card or cash.

 

Learn More Here

American Express SimplyCash Card

 
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).

 

Learn More Here

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.

 

Capital One Aspire Cash Platinum Mastercard Review

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).

 

Learn More Here

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).

 

Learn More Here

Canadian Tire Cash Advantage Mastercard

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

 

Learn More Here

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)

Conclusions

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?

502 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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?



  3. 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.

  4. 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.



  5. 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 ChaseCanada.ca. 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



  6. 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).

  7. 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…

  8. 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?

  9. 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.
    HTH.

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

    Hi,

    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,
    valuetradeblog

    • 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.



  11. 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.

  12. 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
    https://www.choicerewards.ca/cards/overview/rewards/

    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.

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

    Great info! Thanks!

  14. 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.

  15. 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”



  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    You may want to update the features for the CIBC dividend card:
    https://www.cibc.com/ca/visa/dividend-card.html

    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

  19. 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.

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

    The Tangerine Mastercard is going to be downgraded quite a bit next month:
    https://www.tangerine.ca/en/landing-page/creditcardnotification/index.html

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

  21. 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!

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

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

    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.

      HTH.

  23. 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!

  24. Leo T. Ly @ isaved5k.com 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 @ isaved5k.com 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 @ isaved5K.com 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.



  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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 @ isaved5k.com 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.

        YMMV



      • 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 @ isaved5k.com 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 @ isaved5K.com 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.

  28. 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 amazon.ca 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:
        https://www.chase.com/online/canada/canada-home-en.htm
        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.



  29. 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?

  30. 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.

  31. 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: https://www.cibc.com/ca/visa/dividend-platinum-card.html

      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: https://www.cibc.com/en/personal-banking/credit-cards/all-credit-cards/dividend-visa-infinite-card.html

      • 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



  32. 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:
      https://www.laurentianbank.ca/en/personal_banking_services/my_ideas/ideas_visa_dollars.html?utm_source=banquelaurentienne&utm_medium=banner&utm_content=dollarsCard&utm_campaign=visa

      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.



  33. 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).
        https://awardwallet.com/blog/best-credit-cards-extended-warranty-coverage/

        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:
        https://awardwallet.com/blog/best-credit-cards-extended-warranty-coverage/
        (it is not the original chart I found but it is good enough)



  34. 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 ??

  35. 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 :)

  36. 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.

  37. 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

        @smayer97
        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.

  38. 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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