BMO has introduced the BMO CashBack MasterCard as part of their line of some of the best cash back cards designed specifically for Canadian residents. The difference between this card and other credit cards where you earn rewards for purchasing specific services, is that the BMO card rewards you with straight cash. The BMO CashBack Mastercard has won multiple awards for best no-fee cash back card in 2021. It’s hard to argue with that when you get aggressive cash back in a major spend category and the ability to cash out your rewards balance for a credit to your Mastercard account, cold hard cash to your BMO bank account, or a deposit to your InvestorLine account to grow your wealth.
- BMO CashBack Mastercard sign-up offer
- Who is eligible for this card?
- Earning BMO CashBack rewards
- Redeeming your BMO CashBack rewards
- BMO CashBack Mastercard additional perks
- Optional BMO Mastercard add-ons
- Built-in security features
- Who is the BMO CashBack Mastercard for?
- BMO CashBack Mastercard Rating
- Perks & Features
Annual Fee: $0
Welcome offer: 5% cash back on qualified purchases in the first 3 months, 1.99% on balance transfers for the first 9 months + 1% transfer fee
Interest Rates: 19.99%, cash advances 22.99% (21.99% for Quebec residents)
BMO CashBack Mastercard sign-up offer
When you sign up for the no-fee BMO CashBack Mastercard, you’ll get a welcome bonus of 5% cash back on the first $2,500 in qualified purchases within the first 3 months. But there’s a catch; there is a $500 max spend on qualified grocery purchases, a $500 max spend on qualifying recurring bill payments, and a maximum spend of $1,500 on all other purchases within the welcome offer 3 month period. To get the most of that 5% cash back, you’ll need to be strategic and track your purchase amounts in each of those categories. You’ll also get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 9 months, subject to a 1% transfer fee on the balance.
Who is eligible for this card?
This card is a good option for those new to credit like immigrants to Canada or those who have lower incomes. While there is no clear minimum income indicated on the BMO website, customer reviews put it around $15,000 of individual income per year. It is noteworthy that customer reviews also indicate that lower than average credit scores have been approved for this card. However, approval is never guaranteed and you will be required to consent to a hard credit check when you apply. Otherwise, all the same qualification requirements apply such as age of majority in your province, proof of Canadian residency, employment and income disclosure, and no bankruptcies in the past 7 years.
Earning BMO CashBack rewards
The BMO CashBack Mastercard offers one of the best cash-back rates for a no-fee credit card in Canada. You’ll earn 3% cash back on qualified grocery purchases, 1% cash back on qualified recurring bill payments, and 0.5% cash back on all other card purchases. Unfortunately, there are spending caps for the higher cash-back rates. Here’s how it works:
- 3% back on groceries to a maximum spend of $500 per month, then it drops to 0.5% until the new billing cycle
- 1% cash back on recurring bill payments to a maximum spend of $500 per month, then it drops to 0.5% until the new billing cycle
- 0.5% on all other purchases, including grocery purchases and recurring bill payments over the $500 monthly spend limit
On the upside, despite a spending cap on the higher cash-back rates, there is no limit on the amount of actual cash back you can earn. Even though the higher cash-back rates drop after you cross the maximum spending threshold, they don’t disappear. You still earn the minimum 0.5% rate on those purchases until a new billing cycle starts, resets your monthly spending cap, and your earn rate increases again. So it’s not all bad.
You can earn even more cash back rewards when you add an additional cardholder to your account at no extra cost. The other win is that the BMO CashBack Mastercard offers incredibly flexible redemption options that let you call the shots on how and when you redeem your cash back balance.
Redeeming your BMO CashBack rewards
Alright, here’s where the cash back redemption gets super awesome. You can redeem your BMO CashBack Mastercard rewards whenever you want. The minimum redemption amount is $1, and you even can set up an automatic recurring redemption starting at a $25 minimum.
Then, you choose how you want to use them. You can redeem your cash back as either a credit on your BMO CashBack Mastercard account, a cash deposit to your BMO chequing or savings account, or a deposit to your BMO InvestorLine account for do-it-yourself investing. That last option is especially great because you can invest your free money to grow and earn more free money. What a fantastic way to extract even more value from your cash back rewards and increase your net worth over time. As long as your BMO CashBack Mastercard is open and the account is in good standing, your cash back balance never expires.
BMO CashBack Mastercard additional perks
Unlike other no-fee cards with limited or no additional features, the BMO CashBack Mastercard still comes with several built-in perks like protection insurance and special discounts. Again, making the BMO CashBack Mastercard one of the best no-fee cash back cards on the market. Here’s what else you get:
- Purchase protection on items purchased in full with the card
- Extended manufacturer’s warranty on items purchased in full with the card
- Up to 25% off car rentals through participating Alamo Rent a Car and National Car rental locations
- 15% off Canadian Cirque du Soleil shows, and 20% of resident Las Vegas shows
Optional BMO Mastercard add-ons
The no-fee BMO CashBack Mastercard also offers optional add-ons for an additional cost. You can further customize your card features to fit your needs, such as:
- Credit Alert: for $19.99 per month, the Credit Alert add-on will send you an updated credit score every month, and a credit file summary every 3 months. You’ll also get push notifications alerting you whenever there’s been a change to your credit file, a request to verify your ID, or when a new credit application or account is registered on your credit file.
- Info Protector 360: for $9.99 per month, you can back up and secure all your important cards, documents, and devices from one place. For example, if your wallet or iPad is stolen, you can cancel any cards or devices that you registered with this service. It also includes credit monitoring, identity theft assistance, document backup and tracking its use in the public domain, and important travel alerts.
- BMO Credit Card Balance Protection: for $1 per $100 of your balance owing per month, you’ll get creditor protection insurance in the event the unexpected happens. If you are unable to work from a qualified injury or illness, job loss, or death, your credit card balance is protected up to a maximum of $20,000.
- BMO Roadside Assistance: for up to $98 per year depending on the package you choose, you’ll get emergency roadside assistance anywhere in continental North America, up to 250km towing, and other benefits.
Built-in security features
Download the BMO banking app to stay on top of activity on your BMO CashBack Mastercard account, and other BMO accounts too. Through the app you can lock your card, report it lost or stolen, and even change your personal identification number (PIN). Your Mastercard also includes Mastercard Zero Liability to protect you from financial loss if your card is used fraudulently, as well the Mastercard Identity Check feature to protect you while shopping online.
Who is the BMO CashBack Mastercard for?
Pretty much any Canadian who is sick of high prices, especially for your everyday essentials. And also if you’re sick of fees too, because enough with the fees already! The BMO CashBack MasterCard offers some of the highest cash back earn rates for a card with no annual fee. You’ll get the most cash back on the things you can’t do without like groceries and paying your monthly recurring bills.
Unlike other no-fee cards, you still get the advantage of purchase protection and extended warranties on your card purchases. The no-fee BMO CashBack Mastercard is a solid choice for earning cash back rewards on everyday and recurring purchases, while also protecting qualified purchases too.
You can redeem your cash back rewards via direct deposit into a BMO chequing or savings account, or it can be applied back to your Mastercard to help pay down your balance. Our favourite feature is the ability to use your cash-back rewards to invest and grow your wealth even faster. All of that from a card that’s comparatively easier to get than similar cards on the market. The BMO CashBack Mastercards’s lenient eligibility requirements make this credit card a good choice for those who want a no annual fee credit card without sacrificing rewards, or younger consumers looking to build up their credit profile.
BMO CashBack Mastercard Rating
|Rates & Fees||5/5|
|Perks & Features||3/5|
Perks & Features
- 5% cash back on qualified purchases for the first 3 months
- 1.99% introductory rate on balance transfers
- Unlimited cash back rewards amount
- Extended warranty coverage
- Free purchase protection against theft or damage on most merchandise
- Up to 25% off rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations
- Easy and flexible cash back redemption process with the option of to have earnings automatically added to your statement each month, or your BMO bank account
- Ability to invest your cash-back rewards
- Earn additional cash back on purchases charged to additional cardholders
- Self-serve security features in the app
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About The Author: Heidi Unrau
Heidi Unrau is the senior Finance Journalist at Hardbacon. She studied Economics at the University of Winnipeg, where she fell in love with all-things-finance. At 25, she got her first bank job as an entry-level teller. She moved up the ranks to Credit Analyst, Loans Officer, and now a Personal Finance Writer. In her spare time, you'll find her hiding in the car listening to Freakonomics podcasts, or binge-watching financial crime documentaries with a pint of Häagen-Dazs. When she's not chasing after her two little boys, she's in the hot tub or arguing with her husband over which cash back card to use for date night. She’s addicted to coffee, crypto, and obsessively checking her credit score on Borrowell.
Fun Fact: Heidi has lived in five different provinces across Canada, loves her free Tangerine bank account, and will never cut back on Starbucks. Like ever.
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