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A Diamond in The Rough: The No-Fee 5% Smart Cash Credit Card

Cash back credit card canadaThe new MBNA Smart Cash credit card, from TD, just got better. With its new Smart Cash World card, it offers the highest cash rewards on ALL purchases in Canada with no annual fee: earn 5% cash back on gas & groceries for the first 6 months, 2% thereafter and 1% everywhere else!

We compared the cash back savings of the Smart Cash card to the no fee cash back cards offered by RBC, CIBC, Scotia, BMO, and TD. The Smart Cash credit card earned $100 per year more than its closest MasterCard or Visa competitor. Below is an overview of the card and a few tips to help you milk it for all it’s worth.

Top 5 No Fee Cash Back Credit Cards:

Our competitive analysis reveals that the MBNA Smart Cash card offers the richest rewards amongst all no fee cashback MasterCard or Visa credit cards in Canada today. The Amex No-Fee Simply Cash Card actually does a little better, with no caps and a 1.25% earn rate on all spend, with a 5% earn rate on gas, groceries & restaurants for the first 6 months. But, valid or not, we found lots of our users are hesitant to go with Amex due to acceptance issues, and some prefer shopping at retailers like Costco and Loblaw’s who don’t accept Amex.

The cash back earnings were based on $900 of credit card spend per month, comprised of $300 in gas, $400 in grocery and $200 in other spend. Here are the results:

  Cash Back Credit Card Cash Back Rebate Representative Annual Cash Rebate
#1 MBNA Smart Cash Up to 5% $228
#2 RBC Cash Back Up to 2% $126
#3 Scotia No Fee Momentum Up to 1% $96
#4 CIBC Dividend Cash Back Up to 1% $89
#5 TD Cash Back Mastercard .75% $81

Why It’s A Winner:

1. Up to 5% Cash Back on Gas & Groceries: During the first 6 months, earn 5% cash back on all gas & grocery spending, up to $400/month and 1% thereafter. After the first 6 months, earn 2% cash back on all gas & grocery spending, up to $400/month and 1% thereafter.

2. 1% Cash Back on All Other Spend: Earn 1% cash back on all other spend (not gas or grocery), better than any other no annual fee cash back credit card in Canada. Compare it to TD’s no fee cash back card which offers .75% or BMO’s no fee cash back card which offers .5%.

3. No Annual Fees: With no annual fee you’ll start to see the benefits right away. Compare it to other cards that try to match Smart Cash’s value, and you’ll see TD’s Gold Elite Visa charge a $99 annual fee, BMO’s CashBack World charge a $79 annual fee and CIBC’s Dividend card charge a $79 annual fee. With a $99 annual fee earning 1% cash back, your first $9,990 in credit card spend pays back the annual fee! The MBNA Smart Cash card is free.

4. Free Supplemental Cards: Add additional authorized users to the account for free, which should help you accumulate even more cash back.

5. Platinum & World Benefits: The Smart Cash card automatically comes with Platinum benefits such as car rental insurance, travel interruption insurance, extended warranty protection and purchase protection (90 days insurance in case of theft or damage). You may also get upgraded to the World card which gives you price protection (pays you back the difference if you find a lower price on a purchase within 60 days) and concierge benefits. Not bad for a card with no annual fee!

6. Easy Cash Back Process. Once your Smart Cash earnings total $50 at the end of a monthly billing period, MBNA will send you a check in the mail automatically. There are no forms to fill out, no phone calls to make and no hassles to qualify for your cash back. It’s clean and transparent.

So whether taking advantage of the 5% cash back offer for the first 6 months on gas and groceries and 1% everywhere else, or the ongoing value of 2% for gas & groceries and 1% everywhere else, the MBNA Smart Cash Credit Card remains the best value in the marketplace today. The 1% earnings on all non gas and grocery spend alone beat out TD, BMO, CIBC & Scotia. With no annual fee it makes for a great cash back credit card or extra line of credit in your wallet. It’s an easy decision.

 

6 comments

  1. Hello. Just want to confirm that for the MBNA Smart Cash card the $400.00 monthly limit for the 5% in the first six months refers to the amount of cash back you can earn not the amount of spend for which you will get 5% back. Thank you.

    • Hi David,

      Unfortunately, the $400 monthly cap is on spend on groceries and gas, not cash back! That means, you’re effectively capped at $20 cashback per month, $120 over 6 months. With no fee, it’s still a great deal on your first $400 of spend on gas and groceries per month. After that, you’ll want a different option to maximize your cashback earnings.

      Perhaps a better option for you is the Tangerine MoneyBack MasterCard, which gives 4% cashback with no limits for the first 90 days in 2-3 categories of your choice, 2% thereafter with no limits.

      Hope that helps.

      GreedyRates Staff

  2. Hello Greedyrates! Just to be sure, does this card give 2% on groceries and gas even at Costco, or only 1% ? Thank you very much!

  3. My husband would like to apply for mbna MasterCard He would like to apply for the one year interest free rate

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