RBC Cash Back Mastercard Review

Annual Fee
$0
Max Earnings Rate
2%
Base Rewards Earning Rate
1%
Recommended Credit Score
740 850 670 739 580 669 0 579
Fair-Good
Min Personal Income Required
$15,000
Purchase APR
19.99%
2% cash back on groceries*

Heading out to Loblaws again? Make sure to pick up some cash back. If you’re thinking about adding a cash back credit card to your financial arsenal, the RBC Cash Back Mastercard’s 2% cash back on groceries, and up to 1% cash back on everything else might be worth considering.

Pros and cons of the RBC Cash Back Mastercard

Pros

  • No annual fee, no fee for additional cardholders
  • Up to 2% cash back on groceries, up to 1% cash back on everything else
  • No limit on cash back earned
  • Save money on gas at Petro-Canada
  • Easy approval requirements

Cons

  • Cash back rewards drop to 1% after you accumulate $6,000 in grocery charges and 0.5% cash back on everything else up to $6,000 but what is impressive is that for all non-grocery spend the cash back rate actually goes up from the 0.5% to 1.0% on spend over $6,000.
  • No travel insurance or other perks
  • No welcome bonus

Yes to Cash Back, No to Annual Fees

While RBC offers several cash back credit cards with more significant earning potential, they all come with annual fees. The RBC Cash Back Mastercard lets you earn a solid cash back rate with no annual fee. If you have family members, you can request additional cards, again with no yearly fee, to help maximize your cash back rewards.

Click Here to Apply for the RBC Cash Back Mastercard

Other Fees and Rates

Since the RBC Cash Back Mastercard is a credit card, any purchases you made will be subject to interest. This credit card charges 19.99% interest on purchases and 22.99% interest on cash advances, there is also a $3.50 fee for cash advances from an ATM. You can transfer a balance to this credit card, but you’ll pay a $3.50 fee and be charged 22.99%.

How to Earn Cash Back

When you use the RBC Cash Back Mastercard, you’ll earn 2% cash back on grocery spending. Qualifying retailers include Atlantic Wholesalers, Foodland, Fortino’s, IGA, Loblaw’s, No Frills, Sobeys, Superstore, and dozens of others. For all other purchases, you’ll earn up to 1% cash back. There is no limit on the amount of cash back you can make per calendar year so no worries about having your earnings curbed.

How to Redeem Points

You don’t have to lift a finger to redeem your cash back. Your cash back is credited to your account and is applied on your January statement. You can also request cash back to be redeemed any time during the year if your cash back balance has reached $25.00 or more. You can choose to spend the cash back, or if you are carrying a credit card balance, use them to pay down your credit card balance.

Other Notable Features

Fuel Savings at Petro-Can

All RBC credit cards, including the RBC Cash Back Mastercard, save their users 3₵ per litre at Petro-Canada, when you connect your RBC credit card to your Petro-Points account, you’ll earn 20% more Petro-Points.

Purchase Security and Extended Warranty

All purchases that you make with the RBC Cash Back Mastercard are automatically protected from theft or loss for the first 90 days after purchase. Also, purchases will have their eligible warranty doubled, up to a maximum of one year.

Security Features

Shopping with the RBC Cash Back Mastercard is incredibly secure, as your credit card comes with both chip and PIN technology to ensure the security of your account. If you misplace your credit card or think it may have been stolen, you can lock your credit card instantly from the RBC mobile app. Locking your credit card is a temporary measure, so if you find your credit card later, you can always unlock it.

Zero Liability

Unfortunately, credit card theft is a fact of life. Hopefully, it’ll never happen to you. Still, if it does, your RBC Cash Back Mastercard has zero liability coverage, meaning you won’t be liable for any fraudulent purchases made by a third party.

Eligibility Requirements

This credit card is very accessible for most Canadians. There is no minimum personal or household income to qualify, and you’ll need a good credit score, which, as long as you haven’t had any credit problems, shouldn’t be hard to attain.

Click Here to Apply for the RBC Cash Back Mastercard

How to Apply

You can apply for the RBC Cash Back Mastercard online, by phone, or at your local branch. The online application process takes about 15 minutes with a response in 60 seconds. You’ll need some essential documentation, including:

  • Your name, address, email address, phone number, and SIN number
  • Details about your expenses, including rent or mortgage payments
  • Employment information including where you work, how much you earn, and your length of employment

During the application process, you’ll have the opportunity to sign up for credit card extras like balance protection, which will cover your minimum payments if you become ill or can’t work. Once your application is submitted, RBC will have information about your approval in minutes. After you’ve been approved, your credit card will be sent to you in the mail and you can activate it online or over the phone, and start spending.

How It Compares

 RBC Cash Back MastercardTangerine Money-Back Credit Card
Annual fee$0$0
Cash back rewardsUp to 2% on groceries, up to 1% on everything else2% in 3 categories of your choice, 0.5% on everything else
Other benefitsZero liability, 3₵ per litre discount at Petro-Canada, extended warranty, purchase securityBalance transfer offer
Redeem rewards asStatement creditStatement credit or savings account deposit
Income requirement$0$12,000

The RBC Cash Back Mastercard isn’t the only annual fee-free Mastercard available in Canada. Here’s how this credit card compares to some of the top competitors in the field.

Although the Tangerine Money-Back card offers a higher earn rate, you’re limited to 2-3 spending categories. You can change your categories every three months so that you won’t be stuck with your choices, but you’ll only earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases, so unless the majority of your spending is within the categories you’ve chosen, you may end up earning less than with the RBC Cash Back.

It is worth noting, however, that the Tangerine Money Back card currently has some hefty welcome offers: Special 10% cash back rate on the first $1,000 spent with the card ($100 cash back) in the first two months*, apply by July 31, 2022. The card also has a balance transfer promo, which is great for those who have outstanding debts they would like to consolidate and pay off at a low rate. If you do a balance transfer within the first 30 days of being a new Tangerine Money-Back cardholder, your interest rate on the transferred balance will be 1.95% for the first 6 months (it will go back to 19.95% after this promotional period). A 1% transfer fee applies.

*Terms and Conditions apply

Final Word

If you’re an avid grocery shopper looking for a no-fee cash back credit card with accessible qualification requirements, the RBC Cash Back Mastercard is an excellent starting point. This credit card is widely accepted and lets you earn 2% cash back on groceries and up to 1% cash back on everything else. For a no-fee credit card, this is an excellent cash back rate.

Refer to RBC Page for up to date offer terms and conditions.

Author Bio

Jordann Brown
Jordann Brown is a freelance personal finance writer whose areas of expertise include debt management, homeownership and budgeting. She is based in Halifax and has written for publications including The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and CBC.

Article comments

18 comments
Dian Khan says:

I haven’t got it yet but can anyone tell me how much cents get on pre-authorized payments? Thank You

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Dian,
Pre-authorized payments would qualify for 0.5% cash back ($0.50 for every $100) on purchases up to $6,000 per annual period. Once you exceed the annual $6,000 threshold, your pre-authorized payments would earn 1% cashback ($1 for every $100). Hope this helps with your selection.

Martin Lockinger says:

Applied for the credit card balance transfer offer, when card recievied, the offer wasmt ther. Called Rbc and they said the bt offer wasnt there and could not be added to my profile because of policy. I Asked to talk to a superviser and RBC said there was no human I could to talk to about a formal complaint. She said she would put in a formal coplaint. I ask the rep if there were any bt on any of their cards and she said none that i could apply for. Terrible customer servive.

Aaron Broverman says:

Wow Martin,
There’s a remote chance that the offer expired between applying for the card and your application being approved. Maybe you were technically too late by the time your application was processed, but that seems very remote. I find it hard to believe that you happened to apply so close to the end of the offer, but it does happen. In any case, they should’ve acted more sympathetic to your plight and done something for you in good faith.

James says:

Before you can apply to this kind of Credit Card, you should be at least a permanent resident?

Many of us want to apply but we’re not yet PR.

Thank you very much..

Aaron Broverman says:

True. If you apply without being a permanent resident, you will certainly be denied. It’s best to be patient

Naomi says:

Hi,
What is the criteria to be eligible for this card? I am unemployed at the moment and can’t find any information about eligibility relevant to my sitiation. I do have one another credit card whose balance I always pay off in full every month. Does that change the situation? Is there anything else I should know? Please share.
Regards.

Nate Siegel says:

Hey Naomi,

Simply put, there’s no way to tell if you’re eligible for a credit card until you apply. We’ve seen it happen too many times that someone with a great income and credit score will be denied for a new card based on the intangibles in their credit report. These include how many debts they have open, how old they are, how timely their payments have been, credit utilization ratio and more. Ultimately, the RBC Cash Back No-Fee card is considered entry level, so if you have a good income and good credit, we feel confident in suggesting you apply. A great idea is to order a credit report and see firsthand the lens through which potential lenders see you, then make a decision from there. Best of luck!

GreedyRates

Janet says:

How is the reward applied. Is it applied as a credit once a year or can you receive the cash (deposit to bank)…please explain. Thanks

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Janet,

Great question—thanks for bringing it to us at GreedyRates! If you’re wondering exactly how your cash back is applied to your account, then here’s what the fine print says about it: “Provided your New Cash Back Balance is $25.00 or more, Cash Back Credits earned during the year will automatically be credited to your January Account balance and appear on your February monthly statement, or be credited to your account at any other time, upon request.”

Essentially, that means you can use your cash back credits whenever you want, as long as you’ve earned more than $25 worth. Just call up RBC, or alternatively just let it run and have RBC automatically apply your credits in February. Either way works, so enjoy and let us know if you have any other inquiries we can help with. Best of luck!

GreedyRates

Ruth says:

There is an item on my Dec 2018 statement, transaction date Dec 9, posting date Dec 10 and I don’t know what this is for. The “virtual assistant” doesn’t know what I’m asking about and transferred me and then I immediately got a busy signal. Can I go into my branch with this question? I hate this virtual assistant thing.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Ruth!

Good to hear from you. We’re sorry you’ve encountered an entry on your statement that doesn’t make sense, but we’re even sorrier that we can’t help! Our relationship with banks is simply that we review the cards they release onto the Canadian market, sometimes not so positively by the way, and so your better option is to go to the bank itself or call. GreedyRates has no access to your personal or financial details whatsoever. We’ve also encountered the limitations of the Virtual Assistant—they can’t help with everything—so a good old-fashioned customer service representative is the best option in this case.

GreedyRates

Arn says:

There is an annual limit of $6000 to the cashback you can earn.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Greetings Arn,

We appreciate your feedback on the RBC Cash Back Mastercard. Regarding that $6,000 number you keep seeing in the review and in the card’s fine print, that number concerns the spending milestone that you’ll reach every year to increase the rate of cash back that you earn. For example, you’ll get 0.50% on your spending until you reach $6,000 total spent during the year, at which point your rate increases to 1.00%. Therefore the $6,000 isn’t a limit or restriction on the amount of cash back you can earn, but an opportunity to boost the rate at which you earn cash back. There are no limits on how much cash back you’ll collect—great news! Thanks again.

GreedyRates

Al Boeck says:

the list of participating grocery merchants is dated 2011. Can you please update it. Is Foody Mart on it now. It is on the rewards list updated 2016.

GreedyRates says:

Hey Al, we appreciate that you came to the trusty GreedyRates comment section to glean more info about this card. We think you’re talking about the list below, which was likely linked in other comments to those who had a similar question:

http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/credit-cards/documentation/pdf/grocery-popular-merchant-mc1-english.pdf

You’re correct, the list was compiled in 2011, but the card hasn’t changed much since then. We see that there are some new names on the list, including Foody Mart, but all the same major retailers still have a presence. You can find the one updated in August 2016 below:

http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/credit-cards/rewards-credit-cards/_assets-custom/pdf/RVC_popular_merchant_list_EN.pdf

Hope that helps!

GreedyRates Staff

Jason says:

Would you happen to know if Walmart is no longer part of MCC 5411 classification? It is in the 2011 list but not the 2016 list. Thanks.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Jason, thanks for your question. Merchant classification codes help cardholders understand which stores they will earn rewards in, but Walmart can fall under several categories depending on what kind of branch it is. Most fall under the MCC 5310 or MCC 5311 category (department stores), though some that have full grocery sections might be MCC 5411. Again, this depends entirely on the individual branch itself. We’d suggest checking with Walmart customer service, either on the phone or in person at the store itself. If Walmart is represented in the 2011 list as MCC 5411 but not in the 2016 list, it’s not likely to be a mistake, meaning that the bank quietly removed Walmart from eligibility for increased cash back.

GreedyRates Staff