Credit Cards

December 15th, 2007 by Potato

With their high interest rates, credit cards can become a maw of doom for people with credit issues. For everyone else though, they can be a great way to defer your payments by a week or two and earn rewards at the same time. I’ve been looking into my credit cards and figured that it’s time to upgrade my Mastercard. A few years ago I got my BMO no-fee Mozaik card, which gives me 1 air mile for every $40 I spend (an approximate return of about 0.35%), which was a pretty good offer at the time. Now, however, that rate of return is a little lacklustre. Part of the problem is that Air Miles have been devalued in the last year or two (they used to be worth about 16 cents each, and now are just above 14 cents each — based on the number of Air Miles required to get a gift certificate), and part is that other no-fee rewards cards have come out and become competitive. Right now I’m trying to decide between the PC Financial Mastercard, which essentially returns 1% good for groceries at any Loblaws/Supercenter/Valu-Mart/No Frills, and a Canadian Tire Mastercard, which won’t tell me its rate of return but which I believe is also 1%, good for stuff at Canadian Tire. I’m leaning towards the PC card for a number of reasons, mostly because I also have my chequing account there so things will just be easier.

While I’m not looking for a Visa card, TD has a cash back Visa that can return up to 1%. My RBC Gold Visa also gives a return of about 1% (though it is a fee-based card; of course, I have that card for other perks like free insurance on certain purchases).

So 1% looks to be the rewards level to shoot for these days. Does anyone know of any cards with even higher rewards? I’d really prefer a no-fee card, but might run the numbers for a card with an annual fee and higher rewards to see if it makes sense. Does anyone have any other recommendations? (I’m not really interested in getting an AmEx card — I haven’t found a single place that would take AmEx but not Visa/MC, and I’m not interested in a card from MBNA since their telemarketers drove me crazy).

3 Responses to “Credit Cards”

  1. Ben Says:

    They finally talked me into getting one of those HBC mastercards at the Bay when I was making a rather costly jewelry purchase (you save 10% on the purchase!) I’ve avoided it for a while, mostly b/c the first time I did it they rejected my application :S and I heard that that’s bad for your credit report, so since they I’ve been saying no. This time I was automatically approved. I think I get Airmiles with it too or something, I wasn’t paying too close attention since I don’t really intend on using it. I just made sure there was no annual fee. It comes with the low introductory interest rate of 28.8%. What a deal eh? I think I’ll stick with my PC Mastercard thank you. I’ve got all kinds of free stuff with that, including my espresso machine, steaks, ice cream, I almost got a BBQ at one point too. My dad has the Canadian Tire card, and he seems to benefit from it. I don’t personally shop at Canadian Tire as often as Loblaws/No Frills/Zerh’s so it’s not as great a benefit to me as the PC one.

  2. Potato Says:

    I hadn’t thought of that one. Let’s see:

    You can trade in your HBC points for Air Miles if you want to pool it all together into one reward program.
    2000 HBC points = 1 Air Mile ~ 0.007 cents/HBC point
    230,000 HBC points = $25 gift card ~ 0.011 cents/HBC point

    So you’re probably better off spending your HBC points directly rather than transferring to Air Miles (unless you need more Air Miles for a plane ticket or something, since they charge 30 cents/Air Mile to top up for a reward… about twice as much as an Air Mile is worth).

    You get 50 HBC points per $1 (double that at the Bay/Zellers/etc). That’s a return of a bit more than half a percent, which is better than I was expecting it to be, but still not as good as a TD cash rebate card or the PC points card. They do sometimes have other perks like discounts or coupons for the HBC stores, but Wayfare already has one to take advantage of that sort of thing, so I don’t think there’s any need for me to get one. Looks like PC Mastercard it is, so I’m applying for that!

    (Oh, and sorry about the comments getting caught up in moderation for a few hours, pretty much anything with “credit”, or “free” in it gets caught by the spam filter, which makes commenting on issues like this a little tough; I usually check it at least once a day though :)

  3. Netbug Says:

    Love my PC Mastercard.