Best Cash Back Credit Card Rankings in Canada For 2016

January 7, 2016 1836 38

In the last few years, cash back credit cards have been the most popular rewards card in Canada. Many Canadians prefer a cash back credit card because it’s simple to understand, offers great value and redemption is hassle free.

For those tired of dealing with rewards catalogues, flight redemption charts, booking fees, and seat availabilities, a cash back credit card offers a great alternative. For every dollar you spend on the card, you get a percentage back in the form of cash – nothing more, nothing less.

Cash back credit cards now offer as much value as premium travel cards. As a result, Canadians are flocking to cash back more than ever, because they offer the simplicity and transparency lacking in many points programs, with enough value to become outstanding primary rewards cards in your wallet.

Here’s the summary of the top ranked Canadian cash back credit cards:

Best Cash Back Credit Card Rankings for Canada 2016

  1. Best No Fee Cash Back Credit Card Winner:
    Winner: The SimplyCash Card from American Express (1.25% flat cash back, 5% cash back promo, no fee)
    Runner Up: BMO CashBack MasterCard 
  2. Best Flat-Rate Cash Back Credit Card Winner:
    Winner: BMO No-Fee CashBack MasterCard (2% flat cash back promo, no fee)
    Runner Up: CapitalOne Aspire Cash Platinum MasterCard
  3. Best Gas & Grocery Cash Back Credit Card Winner:
    Winner: Scotia Momentum Visa Inifinite Card (up to 4% flat cash back, $100 bonus)
    Runner Up: MBNA SmartCash World MasterCard
  4. Best Versatile Cash Back Credit Card Winner:
    Winner: MBNA Rewards World Elite® MasterCard® credit card (2% flat cash back, $100 bonus)

A full review of each of the top ranked Canadian cash back credit cards are as follows:

Best No Fee Cash Back Credit Card in Canada:

The SimplyCash card from American Express

The NEW SimplyCash Card from American ExpressA No Fee Cash Back card offers cash back without charging an annual fee. It’s a great option for low spenders, people who want a second card (back-up) in their wallet, and for those who want to stack rewards with multiple cards to maximize their earn rate.

Why It’s A Winner: This card has no annual fee, Canada’s market leading cash back rate of 1.25% on all spend with no limits & a promo of 5% cash back on gas, grocery & restaurants for the first 6 months!

What makes this card stand out from the rest is the highest no annual fee cash back rate of 1.25% in Canada with absolutely no restrictions. There are no caps, tiers or categories – no tricks, fine print or shenanigans.

Making the offer even more attractive, during the first 6 months, the SimplyCash card has a special promo offering 5% cash back on gas, grocery and restaurants (up to $5,000 in spend in those categories) & you can transfer balances from your existing credit cards at 0% for 6 months!

Also get free car rental insurance, travel accident insurance, extended warranty coverage and purchase insurance from theft or damage of purchased goods – very strong for a no fee card.

The card has a low minimum income requirement of $15,000, making it accessible to most.

Best Flat Rate Cash Back Credit Card in Canada:

BMO No-Fee CashBack MasterCard

A flat rate cash back credit card offers one cash back rate for all purchases, with no caps, tiers, or categories. Flat rate cash back cards are the ultimate rewards card for people who are looking for simplicity and transparency without sacrificing a rich premium rewards rate.

Why It’s A Winner: The BMO CashBack MasterCard has no annual fee, a limited time 2% cash back on all spend, no limits, for the first 6 months and a simple and compelling 1% cash back rate on all spend thereafter, with no restrictions, categories, spending tiers or caps to worry about. Sometimes, simple is powerful.

In addition to a market leading cash back rate, for a limited time, the BMO CashBack MasterCard comes with a 2% cash back promo for the first 6 months on ALL spend – with no limits on how much you can earn or spend, it’s a risk-free opportunity to earn some serious rewards!

One tip for Costco shoppers, it might be the richest no-fee Costco credit card available – especially with the 2% promo. While the Costco MasterCard from CapitalOne offers “up to” 1% cash back for Costco purchases (0.5% on the first $3,000 you spend annually, and 1% after that), the BMO CashBack MasterCard gives you 1% right from the start, without any tiers or caps – 2% in the first 6 months. With no-fee, you should get both cards – use your Costco card for restaurant (3%) & gas (2%) purchases, and your BMO MasterCard (1%) for Costco and all other purchases.

Whether you’re looking for a primary credit card, a back-up credit card or an alternative to AMEX, there’s no reason why this card shouldn’t be in your wallet, it’s free and earns you a market leading 1% on ALL spend, without limits – after the 2% promo period. It offers great value and simplicity.

This card only requires a minimum income of $15,000, and also offers extended warranty and purchase protection.

Best Gas & Grocery Cash Back Credit Card in Canada:

Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite Card

Scotia Momentum Visa InfiniteAn every day spend cash back credit card allows you to maximize cash back earned in every day spending categories such as gas, groceries, restaurants, pharmacies and recurring bills.

Why It’s A Winner: The standout Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite card has been a favourite among GreedyRates readers, writers and editors alike. It has the highest ongoing cash back rate available in Canada for every day spend categories – perfect for families looking to maximize savings at the pump, supermarket, pharmacy and on monthly recurring bills (telephone, internet, utilities, etc). It also has a no annual fee waiver if you apply by May 31, 2016 making it free to try.

The card offers 4% cash back on gas and grocery store purchases, 2% cash back on recurring payments and drugstore purchases, and 1% everywhere else. Each category is capped at $25,000 annual spend, which is extremely generous and just meant to keep the gamers away.

To measure the potential value of the cash back earnings, we calculated the average earn based on $300 of gas, $400 of grocery, and $200 everywhere else for a total of $900 in monthly credit card spend. We came out to $360 cash back every year, or a cash back rate of 3.33%! That’s a ridiculous earn rate just begging to be exploited.

With a first year annual fee waiver worth $99, you can get one of Canada’s richest rewards credit cards virtually free – a steal of a deal. Even with the annual fee, we’ve found that the high cash back rate in gas and groceries, plus the premium insurances (travel medical, trip interruption, trip delay, car rental, etc…)  justifies the low annual fee of $99 in year two and beyond.

Note this card requires a minimum $60,000 (individual) or $100,000 (household) annual income.

Best Versatile Cash Back Credit Card in Canada:

MBNA Rewards World Elite® MasterCard® credit card 

MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®A versatile cash back card allows you to earn your rewards in points, but then have the flexibility to redeem your points for either cash back, travel, merchandise or gift cards.

Why It’s A Winner: While advertised as a travel rewards card, the MBNA Rewards World Elite MasterCard actually offers the highest effective cashback rate in Canada of 2% on all spend, with no limits, a hefty $100 sign-up bonus!

You’ll get 2 points per dollar spent on the card, and then you’ll be able to convert each point to cash, travel, merchandise or gift card. Points never expire. When converting your points to cash you’ll get a rate of $.01 per point, and at 2 points per dollar spent, you’ll get the equivalent of 2% cash back on all spend, which is HUGE!

What’s also nice and unique about this card is that you can have your cash back redeemed either as a statement credit, have MBNA send you a check or have MBNA deposit your cash back earned directly into your checking account at $50 increments – the choice is yours!

This card also comes with a nifty feature called Price Protection. If you make a qualifying purchase with your card and find the same product advertised in Canada at a lower price within 60 days after purchase, the difference will be refunded, up to $500, subject to a calendar year maximum of $1,000 per account. That’s in addition to extended warranty, purchase protection, car rental, travel accident and trip interruption insurance.

Cash (Back) is King

The best cash back credit card for you will depend on your rewards preferences and spending habits. You’ll get the most from your cash back credit card if you get a card with a high cash back rate in merchant categories you spend a lot in, like the convenience and transparency of cash back rewards, pay your balance in full each month and take advantage of your perks.

Don’t be afraid to get multiple cash back cards to take advantage of juicy 5% cash back offers – especially when there’s no annual fee. If you get the Amex SimplyCash card and the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard successively, you’ll get 12 months of gas & groceries with 5% cash back – and no annual fee!

Canadians are in an excellent position to take advantage of new cash back cards that offer more value and provide more benefits than any other card in their wallet today. Take advantage and get more bang for your back starting now!


MBNA or TD is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the application link above for the most up to date information.

*Terms and conditions apply Rate and product information are subject to change at any time and does not constitute financial advice. Please contact supplier for complete details.

Article comments

NYK says:

Hello Everyone,
I have been looking for Cash Back Credit Card and doing comparisons like a crazy freak.
So i have come to conclusion with my point of view.

If you are a huge spender then SCOTIA MOMENTUM & MBNA REWARDS WORLD ELITE is for you coz its gonna give huge payback…. Annual Fee wont hurt you……

But beware if you spend more on Grocery then u need to watch out stores like Walmart, Costco, No frills
coz no frills does not accept Visa and Walmart, Costco are departmental stores not Grocery Stores. So you wont earn 4% instead you end up earning only 1%.

Now we come down to No Fee Cash Back Card.
My recommendation please always go for Master Card instead Visa coz like i mentioned above for stores like No Frills. Some stores does not accept Visa and American Express but Master Card has priority over it.

I m comparing Tangerine, PC World Elite and Rogers Master Card
Only these cards give maximum cash back so i did not mention others.

Tangerine gives 2% from multiple categories, you have to pick 2 choices like Grocery, Gas etc…. and 1% on others….
So if u are spending average $500 monthly, you end up earning = $ 102 Annually

PC World Elite gives 30points per dollar spent on PC products, PC Travel, PC phone, Esso Gas only and Shopper Drug Mart
10 points on other purchases per dollar spent.

So if u are spending average $500 monthly, you end up earning = $ 180 Annually only on PC Brands
500 * 30 = 15,000 points that is $15 per month. 15 * 12months = $180
If not using all PC Brand just few PC Brand and Others = $ 115 Annually

Rogers Master Card is one of its kind. If you are rogers, fido or chatr customer you can offset annual fee $29 by paying your bills.
Rogers give 1.75% flat rate cash back on any purchase with no restrictions…

So if u are spending average $500 monthly, (500* .0175 = 8.75) (8.75 * 12months) = $ 105 Annually
Best thing about this card is you don’t have to think about particular store just go and use it.

Now i have mentioned everything in detail hope it will make it easier for you to choose your card.
I m Personally with PC coz i shop in PC stores like No Frills, Loblaws and Fortinos, Esso Gas and Shopper Drug Mart so i collect points faster than any other card and redeem them at PC Stores.

End of the day its your call which Cash Back you need for your purchases….

Good Luck….

Stan says:

Top job guys. Very neutral & informative.

GreedyRates says:

Thanks Stan! Much appreciated.

Jen says:

Hi there,

Do you know if the MBNA Rewards World Elite card offers free supplementary cards or is there a fee for those? Thanks!

GreedyRates says:

Hi Jen,

Thanks for the question. There is no annual fee for the supplemetary cardholder for the MBNA Rewards World Elite card.

GreedyRates Staff

Mark says:


I recently came across a new credit card company (Collabria Credit Cards). So far I determined (from internet searches) that they are offering their credit cards thru DUCA (VISA) and Kawartha Credit Union (MasterCard). Their no-fee cash back credit cards (MasterCard and VISA) offer a straight 1% cash back and 2% on gasoline purchases which is quite decent (especially for a no fee VISA…MasterCard tend to have better rates). What I really like is that you can redeem the cash back towards your statement at anytime with no minimums. That’s very flexible. From their webpage……”Use your points right away or build them up. 1 point equals 1% cash back!”

GreedyRates says:

Hi Mark,

Nice find. Collabria is a joint venture, Desjardins being one of the partners. It’s looking to compete with CUETS as the credit card issuer behind many of the credit unions. They just launched last year. The cash back card is competitive for a no fee card, we like the 1% and the 2% kicker on gas. We expect there to be a few changes to no fee cash back offerings in 2016 – all for the better.

We did call DUCA, and confirmed that only DUCA members can apply for their credit cards.

Great comment. Thanks again Mark.

GreedyRates Staff

Mark says:


Thank you for the kind words! Much appreciated! I believe whoever you spoke to at DUCA must be mistaken. I am not a member of DUCA and never was. I’ve never even heard of them prior to discovering this credit card (I live in Alberta and DUCA is an Ontario credit union), but I was able to apply for the VISA no-fee cash back this past weekend and was approved early this week. The application form did not state any restrictions regarding this. The link to the application (from DUCA’s website) takes you to Collabria’s site. I believe it is because Collabria is the one who is actually issuing the card and not DUCA. Collabria sent me an email for verification of my identity (in which case I faxed a copy of my drivers license to them). The following day, I received an email from Collabria that I had been approved and to expect the card in 7-10 business days.

I also want to thank you for the great job you are doing in providing great information on these credit cards. It is because of your website that I was able to research and apply on certain credit cards based on your recommendations and there have been no regrets. Thanks again!


GreedyRates says:

Hi Mark,

That very well may be the case! That said, given the $75 welcome bonus for the BMO no-fee cash back MasterCard, that comes with 1% cash back on everything, we’d still go with that offer right now. Even with the extra 1% on gas offered by the DUCA card, you’d have to spend $7,500 on gas to get $75 in rewards. With the no-fee BMO card you can get the $75 up front. Then again you could always apply for both cards!

We’ll keep you posted, if we hear of any new information ont he card.

Thanks again Mark,

GreedyRates Staff

Mark says:


You are correct. The BMO is a better deal for sure. The DUCA card will be my only VISA and I will go ahead and apply for the BMO to replace my PC MasterCard. I’d rather have cash back than PC points. Thanks for the information. Much appreciated.


Annie says:

First off I want to say I really love this blog!

I’ve been looking for a long time for a cash back and no foriegn fee credit card

I don’t want the Rogers one though .

If you might know if one, would really help me


GreedyRates says:

Thanks for the kind words Annie!

The only other no foreign transaction fee cards in Canada are the Chase Marriott card (redemptions at Chase) and the Amazon Canada card (redemptions at Amazon). At least with the Rogers MasterCard you’re getting a very rich 1.75% cash back on all spend (Rogers and non-Rogers spend) and you can redeem against any balance on your credit card statement once per year (you can redeem against Rogers purchases at any time), truly making it a universal cash back card. There’s no fee in the first year, and the $35 welcome bonus covers the $29 fee of the second year (no annual fee if you set-up your Rogers bill as a pre-authroized payment).

Hope that helps,

GreedyRates Staff

Dave says:

Guys, you might want to note that the MBNA World Elite MC requires a household income of $120,000 or greater, or an individual income of $70,000 or greater. That puts it out of reach of most people. And if you meet the minimums of the card, why would you worry about making $300 cashback per year as opposed to $200 or whatever with other cards? Poor choice.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Dave,

You’re right. The MBNA Rewards World Elite MC does require a min income of $70K or household income of $120K. However, whether you’re making $90K or $65K, or have a family earning $120K everyone wants to feel like they’re getting more bang for their buck. Why leave more money with your bank than you have to? If you choose a 1% cash back card instead of a 2% cash back card, on $18,000 of annual credit card spend its the difference between $180 or $360 in annual cash back earned. A nice difference no matter your income.

GreedyRates Staff

Jon says:

How about the PC World Elite Mastercard? It is essentially a cash back card, only difference being that you redeem your cash back in store and not on a statement. With 3% cash back at any Loblaws branded store, Esso & Shoppers as well as 1% anywhere else, it’s my favorite card for gas, grocery and pharmacy (assuming you shop at these retailers as I do).

GreedyRates says:

Hi Jon,

The PC World Elite MasterCard is a great card, that has a lot to offer Loblaw shoppers. It ranks very well in our no-fee rankings. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t meet our definition of a true cash back card. In our minds you have to be able to redeem your cash rewards either as a cash rebate (check or checking account deposit) , or as a statement credit against any purchases on your credit card bill.

GreedyRates Staff

Andrew says:

The Rogers Mastercard is flat 1.75% cash back no annual fee bUT needs to be used with Rogers fido

GreedyRates says:

The other nice feature of the Rogers MasterCard is that it does not charge foreign transaction fees. Great no fee card for Rogers customers.

GreedyRates Staff

Jerry Chrapko says:

haveanew nofeescotiabankmomentum mastercard good for 2 percent cash for the first t months, most of yr comments are fr the visa version of this card any comment

GreedyRates says:

Hi Jerry,

There is a Scotia Momentum Visa card that offers 2% on gas, groceries, pharmacy and recurring bill spend, but it comes with a $39 annual fee. It offers 1% on all other spend. It’s a competitive cash back card, but if you’re looking for 2% cash back on all spend, the MBNA Rewards World Elite card is the only way to go. It offers 2% on all spend, no caps or limits, cash back check mailed to you, deposited in your account, or a statement credit – your choice. There’s no annual fee in the first year, comes with a $100 signing bonus and then $89 annual fee in the second year and beyond.

Hope that helps,

GreedyRates Staff

Robert says:

Jerry was referring to the Scotia Momentum MasterCard (previously known as the Sears Financial MasterCard)…these cards were sold by Chase to Scotia as of Nov 2015…

GreedyRates says:

Thanks Robert!

Jerry, actually we’re not fans of the Scotia Momentum MasterCard at all. There are plenty of no fee cash back cards that can earn you more than 1% on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases and the .5% cashback on all other purchases is especially poor. The BMO MasterCard no fee cashback card (listed above) will get you 1% on ALL spend, the Amex SimplyCash no fee card (listed above) will get you 1.25% cash back on ALL spend (plus you’ll get the 5% promo for 6 months on gas, groceries, restaurants) or you can get the Rogers Platinum MasterCard which will get you 1.75% cash back on All spend (and yes you can redeem for a statement credit, not just for Rogers services), and the annual fee is waived in the first 1 year for everyone, free thereafter if you pre-authrorize payments from your Rogers bill, or you can apply your $35 welcome bonus to your second year annual fee of $29, making the card essentially free for 2 years for everyone.

The only redeeming feature of the Scotia Momentum MasterCard is that it has no foreign transaction fees (Sears MasterCard legacy). But you can get that from the Rogers MasterCard too, while earning 1.75% on foreign purchases instead of .5%!

Hope that helps and thanks for the clarification Robert,

GreedyRates Staff

You will earn a full 1% cash back on eligible gas station, grocery store, and drug store purchases and on recurring bill payments, and 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases made with your Card. The cash back is awarded annually as a credit on your November account statement.

Libby says:

Instead of paying an 89$ yr fee why not direct more towards the no annual fee ever Costco MasterCard. It offers price protections, travel accident benefits, car rental, luggage protection, doubles most manufacturing warranties up to two yrs everywhere you shop. Also .5 percent on first 3000 spending everywhere and 1 percent after, everywhere with no restrictions of caps 2 percent everywhere you fill gas and 3 percent back on all dining including places like Tim Hortons, McDonald’s or any dining. It has your coloured photo on the back/Costco membership which is a definite plus. You do not need to make a high income for approval. They mail you a rebate cheque once a ur and no matter how large it is, Coatco pays you in cold cash so go spend it anywhere you like!!! Never an annual fee, best credit card of its kind!!!

GreedyRates says:

Hi Libby,

For Costco purchases, the .5% on the first $3,000 of spending and 1% thereafter in our opinion is an inferior value proposition – by far. For your Costco spend, you’d be better off using a flat 1% cash back card like the BMO no-fee cash back card. Or, as we suggest, use the MBNA Rewards World Elite card which comes with 2% cash back, no annual fee in the first year and a $100 welcome bonus (giving you the card fee free for effectively 2 years)- and even more insurance protection than the Costco card!

For non-Costco spend, oddly, the Costco card does ok. The 3% on dining for a no-fee card is tops. However, the 2% on gas can be matched by other 2% cards as well, however those card will have the added advantage that they get you 2% everywhere else.

Frankly if you only wanted no-fee cards, we’d recommend something like using the BMO MasterCard in Costco, so you get 1% on all spend, and then use the Costco card for restaurant and gas purchases, for 3% and 2% cashback respectively. You can then use another card to get your 2% cashback or more for other grocery stores, should you frequent any. That said, we think the most effective cash back card for Costco spend is still the MBNA World Elite MasterCard, since it gives 2% cash back on ALL SPEND, has no fee in the first year and the welcome bonus of $100 covers the second year annual fee of $89 – making the card free for 2 years.

GreedyRates Staff

Bernhard says:

Any thoughts on the Costco CapitalOne card?

GreedyRates says:

Hi Bernhard,

Oddly, if you’re looking for cash back on Costco purchases, the Costco MasterCard does quite poorly. It only offers .5% cash back on your first $3,000 of spend (not including gas & restaurants), and then 1% for spend above $3,000.

Frankly, you’d be better off shopping at Costco with the no annual fee cash back MasterCard from BMO, which offers 1% on all purchases, including Costco, without any tiers, and currently has a $50 sign-up bonus. Or, you could go the route of the MBNA Rewards World Elite MasterCard, which gives you 2% cash back on ALL purchases, including Costco, has no annual fee in the first year ($89 after), and has a $100 sign-up bonus. Both cards are featured above.

The Costco card does have a good cashback rate for restaurants (3%) and gas (2%), but it’s just odd that its cash back rate for Costco purchases is less than other categories, and perhaps worst of all, worse than other no fee or fee based cash back cards.

GreedyRates Staff

jake says:

I am so fed up with their tiny credit limits. Not very useful if you cant use it

Sam says:

Thanks for this, great stuff!!! If I spend about $500 ($100 in gas, $400 in groceries) a month on my credit card what’s the best cash back card for me?

GreedyRates says:

Hi Sam,

With all of your spend in gas & groceries, the Scotia Visa Infinite Momentum card is the best card for you, giving you 4% cash back in both categories (and there’s no annual fee in the first year) – it should net you $240 cash back in the first year.

The two next best cards are the Amex Simply Cash Card and the MBNA Smart Cash cards, offering $187 and $184 cash back per yar respectively. Both have no annual fee and offer 5% cash back on gas & groceries in the first 6 months. After the first 6 months, the MBNA Smart cash gives you 2% cash back in gas and groceries up to $400 in spend per month, while the Amex Simply Cash card gives you 1.25% on all spend with no caps. You can always use our calculator to help you out!

Hope that helps!

GreedyRates Staff

GreedyRates says:

Hi Steven,

Not sure where the bias is. Unfortunately, the old Aspire cashback card has been devalued to only earning 1% cashback for new cardholders. That said, the rankings do include a no fee category, in which Amex wins with a strong 1.25% flat cash back rate and a nice 6 month promo, of 5% cash back on restaurant, gas & groceries – clearly beating out Aspire’s 1% cash back rate.

Plus, even though some of the other cards have annual fees, depending on your spend volume, they can absolutely outperform a no-fee card, even when you deduct the annual fee from annual earnings. Just check out our cash back calculator which takes into account cash earned by category, and annual fees.

Hope that helps,

GreedyRates Staff

Mike says:

The reason I chose the MBNA World Elite was to look at my previous years spending. The $89 fee is covered by the first $4,500 spent and the rest gets 2%. For me the additional spending after the first $4500 at 2% would have totaled higher than the FULL year with old 1% no fee card. As it’s likely my spending habits will be be the same in the upcoming year, I should come out ahead. The fee being waived the first year and the $100 signup bonus was just too good to pass up.

Thanks for providing this great tip.

All the best for the 2016.

Shiraz says:

Amazing blog. The GreedyStaff has really played the math behind the fine printed cash back cards. Thanks to Rob Carrick of Globe & Mail for sharing this with large audience!!

Matt says:

Any thoughts on the MBNA Elite Rewards World card? flat 2%, no limit, first year fee waived and $100 cash back bonus on first purchase.

Jon says:

Have you considered the MBNA Rewards World Elite MC? This provides a flat-rate reward equal to 2% of the amount spent with no caps, and the reward can be redeemed as cash back. This is higher than the 1.75% offered by the BMO World Elite card. The annual fee is also lower at $89 with first year waived. It does not have emergency travel medical or roadside assistance, but the other benefits are there.

The card is not strictly a cash back card, but cash redemption is an option (which can be exercised at any time, I’ve done it) and I think it’s worth a look.

I also think it pairs well with the Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite card. The combined annual fees of nearly $200 can be scary, but people need to look at the net benefit, and it can work out for many people I’m sure.

dave says:

Where is MBNA Smart Cash? No annual fee, 2% on gas + groceries, 1% on everything else. Intro special of 5% for 6 months on gas + groceries. It rivals the Scotia Momentum when you factor in that it has no annual fee, and is much better than the AMEX cash back card you have here.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Dave,

We’ve done the math comparing the MBNA SmartCash card to both the Amex SimplyCash card and the Scotia Momentum Infinite card. Both the SimplyCash and the Momentum Infinite beat out the MBNA SmartCash card in earnings, for most spending levels (with high concentrations of gas & grocery spend). The first drawback of the MBNA SmartCash card are the caps. There is a cap of $400 spend on gas & grocery purchases each month, which means the maximum cash back you can earn on your 2% is actually $8 per month. Second, there is a cap of $1,250 (no cap for the World card) in spend per month on all other 1% categories, which translates into a max of $12.50 per month. The Amex Simply cash card has no limits and offers 1.25% on ALL spend with no caps. Our math shows that the average Canadian will earn more from the Amex card than MBNA’s.

In addition, during the 6 month promotional period, where both the MBNA SmartCash and the Amex SimplyCash cards offer 5% cash back on gas & groceries, the Amex Simply Cash card also offers 5% back at restaurants. Furthermore, while the MBNA SmartCash card has a cap of $400 in spend per month at 5% during the first 6 months, which is and effective cap of $20 per month, Amex has an effective cap of $41 per month during the promo period.

Separatly, if you want to max you cash back on gas & groceries over the long term, the Scotia Momentum Infinite Visa Card’s cash back rate of 4% is ongoing and has a cap of $25,000 in spend (that’s a lot of gas and groceries). While the annual fee isn’t ideal, it’s waived in the first year. But even with the annual fee, if you spend $500 a month on gas and groceries, you would earn $80 cashback from MBNA, while you would earn $240 cash back minus the $99 annual fee for a net of $150 from the Scotia Momentum Infinite Visa card. The Scotia Momentum card, even with the annual fee beats the MBNA SmartCash card in Gas & Groceries alone by $70 per year.

Hopefully that explains our reasoning a little more. We do like the MBNA SmartCash card. It does have its place. We just think the Amex SimplyCash and the Scotia Momentum Infinite Visa cards are better, espcially since the MBNA SmartCash card was devalued and the caps decreased. We’re also fans of more transaparent, simple to follow cash back structures, which we think Amex and Scotia have done a good job with. Is that fair?


Tash says:

Hi there,
I see how you could do the comparison with the MBNA Smart Cash to the Momentum, but what about the MBNA Rewards World Elite card? As mentioned by Matt & Jon, it’s 2% straight across, $89 annual fee and free supplementary cards. It definitely beats out the BMO card! And there are no earning caps on this card.

GreedyRates says:


You, Matt & Jon are right! We added the MBNA Rewards World Elite card to the rankings as the best hybrid cash back card, since points can be redeemed for cash back, travel, merchandise or gift cards. Thanks for making the push!

GreedyRates Staff