BMO® CashBack® Mastercard® Review

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Our Bottom Line:

The BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®* offers a lucrative welcome bonus of 5% cash back in your first 3 months on all purchases. Then get 3% cash back on grocery purchases, 1% cash back on recurring bill payments and 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases!* Redeem cash back any way you like: deposit into your BMO chequing or savings account, put it into your InvestorLine account, or apply the credit to your monthly statement. Other perks include up to 25% off rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent-A-Car locations, shopping protection, and a 1.99% introductory interest rate on Balance Transfers for 9 months (with a 1% transfer fee).

Intro APR Purchases N/A
Intro Term Purchases N/A
Intro APR Balance Transfers 1.99%
Intro Term Balance Transfers 9 months
Balance Transfer APR N/A
Purchase APR 19.99%
Cash Advance APR 22.99%
Annual Fee N/A
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Minimum Income Eligibility Requirement: $15,000
  • Credit Score Required: Good to Excellent
  • Welcome Offer: 5% cash back bonus for first 3 months on all purchases and 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months (with a 1% transfer fee)
  • Rewards: Get 3% cash back on grocery purchases, 1% cash back on recurring bill payments and 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases!*
  • Additional Benefits: Flexible redemption, car rental discounts, purchase protection and extended warranty, entertainment discounts
  • Interest on Purchases: 19.99% | Interest on Cash Advances: 22.99%
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About the BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®* Card

The no annual fee BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®* card is BMO’s entry-level cash back offering. The card features 3% cash back on groceries, 1% cash back on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other purchases. The 3% cash back on groceries (an area in which consumers tend to spend significantly) is the most generous cash back offer on groceries in Canada for a card without an annual fee. The generosity is dampened somewhat by the card’s $500 earning cap on groceries per statement period.

The BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®* card’s current welcome offer ups its appeal. Until October 31, 2020, new cardholders will enjoy 5% cash back (capped at $100) on all spending. Even sweeter for new cardholders carrying credit card debt on other cards is BMO’s offer of a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for nine months. Attractive, standard extras include purchase protection, warranty extensions and rental car discounts.

Card Features & Benefits

Hands-down, the standout feature of the BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®* card is its 3% cash back (up to $500 spend per statement period) on groceries. That 3% makes it the top earning, no-fee card for groceries in Canada.

  • Earn 3% cash back on eligible groceries (up to a max of $500 in spending per statement period)
  • Earn 1% cash back on recurring bill payments (up to a max of $500 in spending per statement period)
  • Earn 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other card purchases
  • $0 annual fee

The bonuses for new cardmembers are also among the card’s most enticing features. New cardholders get 5% cash back in their first three months and 1.99% interest on balance transfers for the first 9 months with a modest 1% transfer fee.

Learn more about the BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®*.

Other Perks

Perks for no-fee cards in Canada tend to be slim, but the BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®* card has a few notable extras.

  • 25% off eligible National and Alamo car rentals
  • Items charged to your card get purchase protection (90 days of damage and theft insurance) and warranty extension (one year of additional warranty protection).
  • Enjoy 15% off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows touring within Canada and 20% off Las Vegas shows. (Note: Since the coronavirus has put a stop to Cirque du Soleil shows for now, this benefit loses  its value.)
  • Free supplementary cards for qualifying family members
  • A nice perk that doesn’t get enough attention is the incredibly flexible way cardholders can redeem their cash back. Cardholders can request cash back at any time for as little as $1. You can also set up automatic recurring deposits (with a minimum amount of $25) into your BMO chequing or savings account, or have it deposited to your BMO InvestorLine account. These options are impressive when you consider that many cash back credit cards only let you redeem cash once a month or just once a year.

Pros and Cons

The BMO® CashBack® Mastercard® card’s earn rate of 3% for groceries is unparalleled in Canada for a no-fee card. Other features like rental car discounts, extended warranties and purchase protection are useful perks. The generous welcome offer—which includes boosted cash back earnings and a good balance transfer option—make this card hard to beat in the no-annual-fee credit card category.

The card loses some of its allure, however, due to cash-back caps on groceries and the ho-hum .5% cash back rate given on all other types of purchases.

 

*American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Generous welcome offer of 5% bonus cash back and 1.99% interest on balance transfers for 9 months with 1% transfer fee
  • Incredible 3% cash back on groceries and an acceptable 1% earn rate for recurring payments
  • Most flexible redemption options for any credit card in Canada (even compared to premium cash back cards)
  • Extra perks like discounts on rentals and Cirque du Soleil tickets, as well as purchase protection and extended warranty

Cons

  • Standard earn rate for purchases outside of boosted categories is only 0.5%
  • Monthly cap of $500 each in grocery purchases and recurring bill payments
  • Cap of $100 (equal to $2,000 in spending) for the 5% cash back welcome offer

How Does the BMO® CashBack® Mastercard® Compare?

There are only a handful of other no annual fee credit cards in Canada that offer cash back, but the biggest rival to the BMO® CashBack® Mastercard® card is the SimplyCash™ Card from American Express. It also has no annual fee and gives a flat earn rate of 1.25% cash back on all card purchases. There are no categories and no limit as to how much cash back you can earn. You’ll also a welcome rate of 2.50% cash back on all card purchases for the first three months (up to $150 cash back)*; however, this isn’t as lucrative as the 5% cash back for the first 3 offered by the BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®.

Our recommendation would be to carry both credit cards in your wallet and use them strategically to maximize your cash back rewards. For instance, use the BMO® CashBack® Mastercard® exclusively on all purchases for the first 3 months to reap the reward of the 5% cash back welcome offer. After that, use this card for grocery purchases (3% cash back) and recurring bills (1% cash back). Once you reach the maximum $500 category spending limits, switch to the SimplyCash™ Card from American Express to get 1.25% cash back on all generic purchases*. That way, you’re covering all your bases and getting an excellent earn rate without shelling out a dime for annual fees.

BrandAnnual FeeWelcome OfferEarn RateUnlimited Cash Back?Learn More
BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®$0Get 5% cash back for first 3 months3% cash back on groceries, 1% cash back on recurring bill payments and 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other card purchases

 
Unlimited cash back on 0.5% category onlyVisit Site
SimplyCash™ Card from American Express$02.50% cash back on all purchases charged to your card for the first three months (up to $150 cashback)Earn 1.25% unlimited cash back on all card purchasesYesVisit Site

The Verdict

It’s hard to go wrong with a no-fee cash-back card, especially one with an outstanding 3% cash-back on grocery purchases. And you’ll undoubtedly appreciate the flexibility in redeeming your cash back. Yes, the caps for the grocery and recurring payment categories are annoying, but they’re not dealbreakers. Given that the total household food expenditure is expected to hit $12,667 annually, you can earn back quite a bit of cash if you use your credit card. To get the most out of the BMO® CashBack® Mastercard® card, a smart option is to switch to another no-fee, cash-back card with a grocery and/or recurring bills category once you reach that maximum $500 category spending limit.

 

*American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link.

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