Mastercard is the only other credit card network that can make Visa shudder with its forceful competition. It’s the second largest credit card company in Canada, but it doesn’t personally issue credit cards directly to Canadians. Instead, they are partnered with hundreds of financial institutions throughout Canada and beyond, who issue Mastercard to their consumers through their organizations.
Because there are hundreds of credit cards vendors offering Mastercards. It can be difficult to pick one. But, what’s perfect for you depends on your spending patterns and your financial expectations from a credit card. Mastercards provides its credit card solutions in three categories- Standard Mastercard (basic from no-fee to rewards credit card), World Mastercard (rewards credit card) and World Elite Mastercard (top-tier rewards credit card).
In this article we will look at 7 best Mastercards available in Canada today. There is something to suit everyone’s preferences in this list.
Best Overall Mastercard: BMO World Elite Mastercard
Best for Travel Rewards: BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard
Best for Cashback: Tangerine Money Back Mastercard
Best for Low-Interest: MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard
Best for Flexible Rewards: MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus
Best for Rewards on Groceries: PC Financial Mastercard
Best Overall Mastercard in Canada
BMO World Elite™* Mastercard®*
on BMO's website
Welcome Offer: Up to 30,000 Points + First year fee waived
Earn Rate: 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible travel, dining and entertainment. 2x points for everything else.
Annual Fee: $150
Min. Income Required: $80,000 personal or $150,000 household
The BMO World Elite Mastercard is the best all-around Mastercard in Canada today. It offers a generous welcome bonus of 40,000 point– an amount that’s significantly higher than the promotional rewards offered on any competing rewards cards. What’s more? Get $150 annual fee waived for your first year, and get a lounge access package worth $140.
You will also receive 3 BMO rewards points for every $1 spent on travel, dining and entertainment purchases; and earn 2 points for every $1 spent on all the other purchases you make through your mastercard. The accumulated reward points can be used on travel, merchandise (from providers like Rayban, Dell and Le Creuset), gift cards, investments and statement credit. When it comes to using your rewards for travel, you are not just isolated to flights, you can use those points for cruises, vacation packages too.
The BMO World Elite Mastercard offers one of the best insurance packages out there. It provides total travel and medical protection up to $2 million for 21 days. It also offers extended warranty and purchase protection that covers items purchased through your credit card against theft or damage for 90 days. You will also receive $2000 in trip interruption coverage and $750 in personal effects coverage that protects all your belongings throughout the duration of the trip, not just while in a rental vehicle.
Best for cash back
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
on Tangerine’s website
Welcome Offer: choose up to 3 categories and receive a 4% cash back on those for the first 3 months.
Earn Rate: 2% cash back on your selected categories, and 0.5% on everything else.
Annual Fee: $0
Min. Income Required: Personal $15,000
The Tangerine Money Back Mastercard is unique when it comes to every other cash-back cards available in Canada today. It gives power to the users and enables them to ascertain their spending habits to decide on what they want to incentivize. Cardholders can pick and choose the categories in which they want to receive the most rewards. Every purchase you make through this credit card earns you a certain percentage of cash back. You will earn 2% cash back on two categories of your choice. Purchases belonging to all other categories will yield you 0.5% cash back. You can unlock a third category to receive 2% cash back by depositing your rewards into a Tangerine Savings account.
There are 10 categories to choose from–groceries, furniture, restaurants, hotels/motels, gas, drugstore, house improvement, recurring bill payments, entertainment, public transportation and parking.
You can switch categories to reflect your change in spending needs. So if you have a home renovation coming up, you can go into your account and switch up your 2% categories to Home Improvement and Furniture. An important point to note is that by applying by October 31, 2019, for your first 3 months from account opening, you can earn a 4% money back rewards in 3 categories of your choice. All of this with no annual fee.
This credit card comes armed with Purchase Assurance that protects your new items from the loss, theft or damage for 90 days from purchase, and Extended Warranty that doubles the period of repair services to one additional year.
Best for travel rewards
BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®*
on BMO's website
Earn Rate: 1 Mile for every $10 in credit card purchases. Earn twice on purchases at AIR MILES partners. Get topped up to 5x the AIR MILES Reward Miles on groceries until May 31, 2021. Use any BMO AIR MILES credit card with your AIR MILES Card when you shop at Sobeys, Safeway, Foodland & Participating Co-op’s, Urban Fresh, Thrifty Foods, IGA, Les Marchés Traditions and Rachelle Béry.*
Annual Fee: $120
Min. Income Required $80,000 personal or $150,000 household
If you are someone who loves to travel, and does so frequently, then there is no Credit Card better than BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard.
Get benefits and special offers to popular apps and digital subscription services. Get access to over 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world – all at no added cost, and no added fees or roaming charges.
Other than the introductory bonus of 2,000 miles, with every purchase you make through your card, you will earn 1 Air Mile for every $10 spent. You will earn Air Miles with every single purchase you make as long as you use your card to do so. You will also get a 15% discount on flights throughout North America booked with Air Miles reward Miles.
If there is a big trip you want to use Air Miles for, then applying that 15% discount can win you significant savings. This card is also packed with all the major types of insurance that can be a priority for any traveler. This includes emergency travel medical insurance, trip cancellation, trip interruption/trip delay, flight delay insurance, lost, delayed, or stolen luggage insurance, rental car collision/loss damage insurance, and travel accident insurance.
Best for low-interest
MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard
on MBNA’s website
Welcome Offer: 1.99% annual interest rate on balance transfers for the first 10 months, for transfers completed within 90 days of account opening.
Interest Rate: 8.99%
Annual Fee: $39
Min. Income Required: $0
Everyone’s financial situation is different. Some are more likely to carry a balance month-to-month than others. If you are tackling a huge credit debt, consider applying for the MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard which comes with a low purchase interest rate of 8.99%.
As a welcome bonus, new applicants can enjoy a balance transfer rate of 0% for their first 6 months. After that, the interest on balance transfer jumps to 8.99%, which is still much lower than its competition. The annual fee of $39 is also quite low compared to the other master cards of this caliber. You can add up to 9 authorized users with no additional annual fee requirement.
On top of that, this Mastercard is loaded with several insurance policies such as Purchase Assurance, Extended Warranty Benefits, Car Rental Damage, Trip Cancellation and Travel Accident Insurance.
This Mastercard’s low-interest feature makes it best suited for people who want to prioritize reducing paying off their principal amount with accruing interest for late payments.
Best for flexible rewards
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard
on MBNA’s website
Welcome Offer: 10,000 bonus points + Earn 4X points per $1 on eligible gas, groceries & restaurants purchases for the first 90 days.
Earn Rate: 1 point for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
Annual Fee: $0
Min. Income Required: $0
There’s a lot of positives stacked in the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus which makes it one of the strongest rewards Mastercard in Canada today. First, it has no annual fee making it perfect for those who want to get their hands on a powerful card without paying a recurring charge every year.
Then, there is the decent welcome offer which gives new cardholders 10,000 bonus reward points ($100 in travel value). All you have to do is make a purchase within 90 days of account opening, to unlock the first 5000 points. Then, enroll in eStatements to release the remaining 5000 points.
There are other ways to earn rewards too. Get 2 points for every $1 spent on gas, groceries and restaurant purchases for a yearly maximum of $5000 per category. You will also earn 1 point for each $1 spent on every other eligible purchases made through your Mastercard. You can redeem your accumulated points for travel, cashback, gift cards and merchandise.
The reward value changes based on your chosen redemption path– redeeming for travel purchases brings 100 points for every dollar spent, while for cashback and charity donations the redemption value is 200 points per dollar spent. That said, the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus gives you complete control of how you want to redeem your rewards.
That’s not all—to wrap this Mastercard in a bow you will receive 7 types of travel and purchase insurance including Purchase Insurance/Extended Warranty benefits which is always nice to have for the peace of mind while on the road or buying new items.
Best for rewards on groceries
PC Financial Mastercard
on PC Financial’s website
Welcome Offer: No welcome offer on this card.
Earn Rate: 25 points at Shoppers Drug Mart. 30 points per litre at Esso. 20 points for PC Travel. All other stores 10 points.
Annual Fee: $0
Min. Income Required: $0
If you have a family to feed, you will find that the biggest source of expense is groceries. Here’s the good news— PC Financial Mastercard can make your daily/weekly Grocery shopping significantly cost-efficient if you shop at stores within the President’s Choice network. They already have quite a famous loyalty program called PC Optimum, and if you’re already its member, you should think about getting a PC Financial Mastercard because it will help you stack up on points twice as fast.
President’s Choice offers 3 Mastercards, and the PC Financial Mastercard is its basic offer. This card has no annual fee and has a competitive point-value structure.
For every $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart, you will earn 25 points. When you fuel up at Esso Mobil, you will earn at least 30 PC Optimum Points/litre. When you book travel through PC travel.ca, you will earn 20 points per $1. All other purchases will earn you 10 points per dollar.
This credit card does not have a specific income requirement but is subjected to credit approval. Which Mastercard you get approved for will depend on your income and credit score. But know that none of the credit cards in this line have an annual fee.
The points you earn from the purchases is very straightforward. Every $100 will give you 1000 points in rewards which is equal to $1. For example, 120,000 points in total will give you $120 in redemption value.
You will also get free Purchase Assurance and Free Extended Warranty to protect your new purchases against theft, loss and damage.
Methodology: How We Choose The Cards In This List
The credit cards mentioned this list were compared and analyzed based on features such as interest rates, annual fee, eligibility requirements, rewards structure and other factors that are important to have in a Top Canadian Mastercard.