Review Of The Canadian MBNA Smart Cash Mastercards

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Although MBNA has made some changes to their credit cards over the years, many Canadians still consider them to be some of the best cards available.

The revamped versions of the Smart Cash and the Smart Cash World Mastercards are definitely up there on the list for best cash back cards – especially if you're looking for a low or no fee card.

MBNA's revised Smart Cash cards

Both of these cards offer a pretty good sign up bonus – 5% cash back on gas and groceries for the first 6 months (capped at $500 spending monthly). That adds up to $90 in rewards above what you would normally earn. Not bad for a low and no fee card.

Then, when your first 6 months are over, you will get 2% cash back on gas and groceries (up to a $500 monthly combined spend).

One area where these cards differ is the base amount of cash you earn on all other purchases, as well as the amount you earn when you go over the $500 monthly spending cap on gas and groceries or on any other purchases – 1% for the Smart Cash World Mastercard and 0.5% for the Smart Cash Platinum Plus.

Additionally, both cards have pretty extensive insurance coverage.

The World Mastercard even has the very rare price protection insurance, which, in the event that an item you buy goes on sale, they will refund you the difference between the price you paid and the sale price.

When compared side by side, these cards are a good addition to MBNA’s well-rounded range of credit cards available to Canadians – there is a card for every consumer’s needs.

Let’s take a look at each card individually:

MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard

The Smart Cash World Mastercard is a low-fee card that gives you surprisingly good premium card perks, such as concierge service and 8 different types of insurance.

Although there is an annual fee of $39, if you factor in the sign-up bonus you could have the annual fee paid within the first 2 months of spending - allowing you to pocket even more rewards.

If you spend at least $500 on gas and groceries monthly in your first year, you could easily earn $171 in rewards - AFTER taking into account the annual fee. And this isn’t taking into account any other spending you might put on this card.

If we compare this card to the Scotia Momentum Visa, for example, both cards have the same annual fee, but the Scotia Momentum earns you 2% cash back on more categories, such as:

  • gas,
  • groceries,
  • drugstore purchases,
  • and recurring bills.

The Smart Cash World, on the other hand, has better insurance, and having a Mastercard in your wallet is definitely a convenient plus if you do much of your shopping at Costco. Plus if you like welcome bonuses, the Smart Cash World has one while the Scotiabank does not.

If good insurance coverage is important to you, this card could be an excellent addition to your wallet.

Positives

  • 5% cash back on gas and groceries in the first 6 months (up to $500$ monthly).
  • 2% cash back on gas and grocery purchases (up to 500$ monthly).
  • No maximum on the amount of cash back that can be earned at the 1% level.
  • Incredible insurance package for a low no annual fee credit card, including the very rare price protection insurance.
  • Concierge service.
  • Free supplementary cards.

Negatives

  • The $500 monthly maximum on the gas and grocery bonus is a bit disappointing.
  • 1% cash back is ok, but not extremely remarkable for a cash back card with an annual fee.
  • $60,000 personal/$100,000 household income requirement.

Insurance Package

  • Extended Warranty - up to 1 year.
  • Purchase Protection – 90 days.
  • Price Protection.
  • Travel Accident - $1,000,000.
  • Trip Interruption - $2,000.
  • Car Rental Theft & Damage (CDW & LDW).
  • Car Rental Accident - $200,000.
  • Car Rental Personal Effects - $1,000.

MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard

Much like it's big brother, the no fee Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard has a lot going for it.

If we compare this card to it’s closest competition, the Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard, the MBNA Smart Cash Mastercard comes pretty close second.

While both cards have approximately the same return on spending, the Tangerine allows you to choose your 2% spending categories (and even lets you change your categories as your spending changes)

However, when you factor in insurance, the MBNA credit card takes the lead, with 7 total different types of insurance pummelling Tangerine’s measly 2 types.

Take a look at some more pros and cons:

Positives

  • 5 % cash back on gas and groceries in the first 6 months (up to $500 monthly).
  • 2% cash back on gas and grocery purchases (up to 500$ monthly).
  • No maximum on the amount of cash back that can be earned at the 0.5% level.
  • Good insurance package for a no annual fee credit card.
  • Free supplementary cards.

Negatives

  • The $500 monthly maximum spend on the gas and grocery bonuses are a bit disappointing.
  • 0.5% cash back on other spend is a bit low compared to other cash back cards.

Insurance Package

  • Extended Warranty - up to 1 year.
  • Purchase Protection – 90 days.
  • Travel Accident - $1,000,000.
  • Trip Interruption - $2,000.
  • Car Rental Theft & Damage (CDW & LDW).
  • Car Rental Accident - $200,000.
  • Car Rental Personal Effects - $1,000.

The bottom line

Overall, the refurbished Smart Cash Mastercards from MBNA are well-rounded additions to MBNA’s portfolio of cards.

Are they the most impressive cards we’ve ever seen? No. But they can definitely stand up against their competition.