MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard Review

I finally took the plunge and signed-up for the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard.  I always knew this credit card offered the best no-fee cash back rewards in Canada.  The only reason that I stuck with my go-to rewards card, the PC MasterCard, was because I felt the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard advantage was not significant enough to make the change.

Well, this is no longer the case.  In a promotion with Great Canadian Rebates, a resource for Canadians to save money shopping online, MBNA Canada is offering a $60 rebate for approved applications if you sign-up through Great Canadian Rebates.

This was just the incentive I needed to make the switch to one of the best rewards credit cards in Canada.

MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard credit card

With most rewards cards you can earn travel points or retail rewards, but it doesn’t get much better than receiving cold-hard cash back just for using a credit card for your every day spending.  Here are the benefits for using the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard:

  • No annual fee
  • Up to 5% cash back on qualifying net retail gas and grocery purchases for the first 6 months, up to $400 spending a month
  • Up to 2% cash back on qualifying net retail gas and grocery purchases thereafter, up to $400 spending a month
  • Up to 1% cash back for all other qualifying net retail purchases, up to $1,250 spending a month
  • Around-the-clock fraud protection
  • Free online access to your credit card account
  • 1.99% annual interest rate on balance transfers, access cheques and deposits for the first 10 full months

It’s important to note that the 2% cash back rebate paid on gas and grocery purchases is only eligible for the first $400 spent each month.  In other words, if you spend $400 on gas and groceries in a month, the maximum rebate you can earn in a month on that qualifying portion of the program is $8.  All other purchases thereafter are eligible for 1% cash back, up to $1,250 a month.

Related: Changes To MBNA Smart Cash Rewards Explained

Once your cash back total reaches at least $50 at the end of any monthly billing cycle, MBNA will send you a cheque in the mail.

How Much Cash Back Will I Earn?

In order to maximize your rewards, you should try and make all of your purchases with your credit card (as long as you pay it off each month).  Groceries and gas are simple, but you can also set-up automatic bill payments with your MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard so that your cable, cell phone and utility bills are all helping you earn cash rebates.

I spend approximately $2,500 per month on my Smart Cash credit card, including $400 on gas and groceries.  Let’s take a look at how much cash back I can earn from the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard in the 1st year:

  • Initial sign-up bonus through Great Canadian Rebates – $60
  • 5% rebate on gas and grocery purchases for the first 6 months – $120
  • 2% rebate on gas and grocery purchases thereafter – $48
  • 1% rebate on all additional purchases – $102

Total cash rebate in first year = $330

Final thoughts

Now that I’ve done the math, I should have switched to the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard a long time ago.  With the PC Mastercard I was only receiving $312 back in PC Points annually based on my spending habits.  I made good use of my PC Points, but getting cash back in the form of a cheque gives me much more flexibility in how I spend my rewards.

I’ll have no problem maximizing the 2% rebate since I consistently spend $400 a month on gas and groceries.  The $60 bonus rebate is just the icing on the cake.  I’m very happy to nearly be doubling my rewards this year, and going forward I should receive an extra $200 in rebates by switching to the MBNA Smart Cash credit card.

Sign up for the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard here – (link).


  1. My Own Advisor on October 2, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Great review. I can’t wait to get my card!

    • Mike on October 2, 2011 at 9:03 am

      Thanks My Own Advisor! It’s a great card, I just had to share 🙂

  2. Telanis on March 14, 2012 at 11:09 am

    I can’t find any information on the “qualifying” gas and grocery purchases. Is it limited to particular gas stations and grocery stores? Which ones?

  3. Mathy on May 4, 2012 at 10:42 am

    That is great news. I like how you try to maximize the returns for what we spend. I also use similar technique while doing my household purchases. Ever since I joined as a member to buy certified organic household, and personal care products, I have been getting a cheque everymonth for what I purchased for my regular use, the month before.

    We should always be on the lookout for whatever we can save and make. 🙂

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