Give Me Back My Five Bucks

The MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard

Now that I have broken up with American Express, I have been on the hunt for a new #1 credit card. While it doesn’t necessarily have to be a travel rewards card, it does have to do more than my American Express card did – and with no annual fee.

Enter … the MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus MasterCard. It was love at first sight.

This credit card is amazing. Seriously. Incredible. It’s not a travel rewards card like my Amex was, but the benefits it offers far surpasses the 1.25% in travel rewards points that I was receiving.

Here is the rundown of this cash back card:

  • 5% cash back on gas and grocery purchases for the first 6 months
  • 3% cash back on gas and grocery purchases thereafter
  • 1% cash back for all other retail purchases
  • Around-the-clock fraud protection
  • Cash back cheques will be issued in $50 increments
  • No annual fee

P.S. I’m actually really surprised that, after tweeting to @AmericanExpress at least 8-10 times about my dissatisfaction, I didn’t receive a single response from them. Not even an apology, or a “please contact Customer Service” courtesy response. Nothing. That’s a social media fail, if I’ve ever seen one.

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. Vanessa says:

    Perhaps Amex is overwhelmed with bad complaints and they haven't reached yours yet :P
    My recent post Spending Recap: August 29-September 4

  2. This is an AWESOME card. We have one – but we only use it for gas and groceries now. The Capital One Aspire World MC is neat too. You get 2 air miles for every $1 spent (you like to travel right?) and then those airmiles can be redeemed for cash if you so desire … @ 1.5% – beats the base 1% you get from MBNA on non grocery/gas store purchases.

    The Cap One does have a $120 annual fee but they give you the equivalent of $100 in air miles annually so that becomes a $20 fee, which is about $1000 in purchases to break even. Then you laugh, or fly, your way to the bank.

    Something to consider :)
    My recent post What is Passive Dividend Income?

    • Krystal Yee says:

      I did look at the Capital One Aspire World MC, but I don't qualify for it because I don't make at least $70,000/year. :( Otherwise, I would have chosen that one for sure, despite the annual fee.

      • Ah, I forgot about that minimum. As a dual income household we surpassed that number. I'm sure you'll be there soon enough with the day job + all the side income! It seems like the perfect card for you. But I'd still use the MBNA for gas stations and grocery stores (you sure can buy a lot of random non-food stuff @ Loblaws!).
        My recent post Cross Border Shopping

  3. Paul N says:

    I just posted about this card on another website.
    Michael James on money did a post on all the best cards in Canada in 2010.

    This was his number one card then as well. I use the card for business as well as personal personal purchases. This is a great card and the cash comes fast. Like any card use the credit to your advantage and pay it off 100% every month! I have it set to do that automatically every month so I don't forget. I also like the Pay-pass chip on it so you can make small purchases and they add up over a months time.

    Their customer support was very good as well. I had trouble at first setting up the auto pay every month. Problem with my bank account being very old and the number of digits in the account number. They worked with me to solve this, even calling me back several times. I was very impressed.

  4. @applecsmith says:

    I manage a company's finances/books and they use the MBNA Business Smart Cash Platinum Plus Credit Card which is just like this one. It gives cash back also, and it's amazing! I've dealt with customer service, and all kinds of issues (like fraudulent charges) and they are very helpful. In the past 8 years I've worked with them, we haven't had any complaints. I think you will love your new card!
    My recent post My Under $20 Secret to Eating and Cooking Healthy Food

  5. SavingMentor says:

    This truly is an awesome card for SO many reasons! It is mentioned as the best cash back credit card in Canada all over my site and it is ranked at the top of my best credit cards list. I encourage people to sign up for it whenever possible! Most of my family members have this card due to my heckling :)

    Unfortunately, with TD bank recently agreeing to purchase MBNA from Bank of America, this card will mostly likely disappear or significantly change within 2-3 years. The card is too good compared to most of their no annual fee offering to stay as-is after the deal closes and they start integrating their credit products. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't still get it and enjoy the rewards until those changes come because in two years there will hopefully be something bigger and better around to replace it with.

    They've also recently completely redesigned the card in the past few days (it is now blue and looks very different). You can see the card design on my site or by clicking through to the MBNA site as they've now updated all the graphics. Not sure if I like the new look better than the old look or not.

    Another thing that really stands out about the Smart Cash is the high level of insurance perks that come with it. It's rare to see a no annual fee credit card that has "Platinum" status and a slew of free insurance coverage like this one.

  6. Yup! I love MBNA! I have been using that since last October and I already received $200 cash back already! This credit card became the joint credit card for BF and I and we use it strictly for gas, groceries and eating out. I love how quickly the cash back points add up and I get a $50 cheque almost every 3 months or so. :D
    My recent post Is a Pair of Free Show Ticket Really FREE?

  7. hithatsmybike says:

    I definitely do not want another credit card but.. wow this is tempting.
    My recent post The Dream Job Part 3: Interview so they hire you

  8. Laura says:

    Wow, this card seems to good to be true.

    I am looking for another credit card but not sure if I need another Mastercard.

    Thanks for the info. =)

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yeah I was hesitant to get it too because I already have a MasterCard (PC Financial). But I shelved the old one after much debate. The 3% back on groceries and gas is way too good to pass up!

  9. good2know says:

    latest moneysense magazine wrote a article about the best canadian credit cards depending on the useage.It's worth a read if your in the market for a new credit card.

  10. Christina says:

    That card sounds really good but after having worked at MNBA I won't use any of their cards.
    My recent post children's books #9

  11. I have a PC M/C now, very happy with it, but am considering a change.

    This one is at the top of my list. Sounds awesome.

    Will Tweet this! :)
    My recent post My favourite Canadian equity ETFs

    • Krystal Yee says:

      I have the PC MasterCard too, but it's so hard to justify using it when this MBNA card offers 3% back on groceries/gas (and 1% on everything else), instead of the flat 1% that the PC MC offers. And you don't even get that back in cash.

  12. You have both? Wow. You're really cooking with gas now eh? I think I'm going to apply for it this weekend. When I write about this card, how I intend to use it, on my blog, I'll definitely give you some props!
    My recent post My favourite Canadian equity ETFs

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yeah I think I'm going to cancel the PC MC. It serves no real purpose, and I don't think it will affect my credit score by closing it. Looking forward to reading your review of the card! :)

  13. supermomboots says:

    I have been trying to convince my husband to change reward cards now that we no longer fill up on gas at Petro Canada (our current card offers 4 cents off when you use it to buy gas but no other reward). I was thinking AM but now will look into this one!
    My recent post Best Meatloaf Ever!

  14. Howard Dubya says:

    Excellent post – thank you.

  15. Iva says:

    I was actually thinking about switching to this card as well from my PC Mastercard. Glad to see I am not the only one!
    My recent post The Pantry (freezer too) Challenge – Week 1

  16. Guest says:

    In light of TD taking over MBNA's canadian credit card business…

    Be sure to keep your MBNA credit card until ALL your credits have been processed. If you return a product back to the store AFTER you cut up your MBNA credit card, the store might say they cannot credit a credit card that no longer exist.

    I'd also start your hunt for another credit card now because you can bet TD bank won't keep this card around (they are in the business of making money)!

  17. Vicky says:

    What's the difference between this and the regular MBNA Smart Cash card? According to the website, all the same benefits.

  18. Leanne says:

    my experiences with MBNA were so awful that i cancelled my cards with them after almost 8 years, even though it did temporarily impact my credit scores. i got my first MBNA card in university, a $500 limit which was great, but after 4 years of regularly using and paying it off, i graduated and figured i should get my limit increased slightly (i had and still have a good paying government job) and when i called to have my limit raised they SENT ME A NEW CARD! as in, they went ahead and opened up a SECOND credit card for me. so i had TWO different MBNA cards! then trying to get one of them cancelled and the credit amount transfered to the original card, they refused. these are just some of the many difficult dealings with MBNA that i had that caused me to turf them. BMO airmiles mastercard has been phenomenal for me. I use my airmiles for free Shell gas $20 gift certificates. not that i use my card much these days.

  19. Heather says:

    I have tried applying for this card online 3 times with no success and they appear to have the worse customer service imaginable. I have been hung up, twice, when I have been polite and excited about receivign this card. I have GREAT credit and can’t understand why I am not eligible. Any tips from people who have experience the same?

    • gmbmfb says:

      That’s really weird! The only thing I can think of, about not being eligible, is not having the minimum salary requirement ($35,000)? I have heard from other people that their customer service is somewhat questionable, but they’ve been nothing but nice to me so far.

  20. ShoeGal says:

    I have the MBNA Shoppers Optimum card and love it. I generally earn enough points to get around $200-$400 a year off at Shoppers. It is super easy to earn points and they work on prescriptions as well. I use this as my secondary card and Amex as my main one…but I have not had any issues with Amex yet.

  21. Lizzy says:

    Thanks Krystal. My hubby and I applied for the credit card thanks to your advice and we have received the rebate.


  22. Ron says:

    This really is a good deal, as long as people are willing to make sure that their annual spending rate on the card will be high enough then the rewards can turn it into a quite profitable credit card [for the user, not for the bank :) ].

  23. amy says:

    Just got this cash back card and loving it so far. It’s lot better than my previous cards. I used it at Targets for iPad and got 5% back.. I applied mine through Great Canadian Rebate and got an additional $60 cash rebate.

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