MBNA recently discontinued new applications for their popular MBNA platinum plus card. The card was hailed as one of the best balance transfer credit cards in the market with its 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers among other exciting benefits. The card has been available in Canada for more than two decades now and it is unfortunate that MBNA stopped accepting new applications after June 30th 2019. Moving forward, the bank has introduced the True Line transfer card with some carry-over of some benefits. The bank also reports that current holders of the MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard will continue using these cards and enjoying its benefits.
Let us take a brief look back at how the MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard grabbed the attention of the Canadian market as we look forward to new possibilities.
Who Did the MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard Target?
The MBNA Platinum Plus and other similar cards are designed for borrowers with high or multiple interest cards and who can only afford to pay the minimum because of their high rates burden. These borrowers often carry a lot of debt due to the high-interest charges. An accommodative balance transfer card such as this one offers them a better and cheaper way out of their debt. In essence, this card offers a unique opportunity to people looking to clear out their debt quickly. You only need to pay more than the minimum or if possible, pay the balance in full.
The card has the following key features;
- No annual fee
- 19.99 percent for purchases
- 24.99 percent for balance transfers
- Default rate: standard rate + 5 percent
- 24.99 percent for cash advance
Balance Transfer Feature
The introductory balance transfer rate offered by the MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard made it one of the most popular options in the Canadian market. This refers to the interest rate charged to any outstanding debts that were moved from another card to this card. The bank charged a 0% interest rate on such transfers for the first 12 months (an entire year) after the cardholder opened an account. This allowed Canadians to pay off their balance with zero balance for a whole year. Upon the expiry of the promo period, the rate would change to 21.99% which is pretty standard.
If a cardholder was late in making the minimum payment, the rate would increase. The remaining balances would also be subject to the standard interest rate of 19.99% applicable. If a customer was late on his minimum payment more than once within a year, the standard rate applicable to their account would increase by 5%. The reverse is true for customers who make the monthly minimum payment on time.
Ease of Application
As with most products offered by MBNA, you could apply either by phone or online. By phone, you have to mention the priority code in addition to the account number and payee name if you plan on transferring a high-interest credit card. If you apply online, you’ll give information about your employment status, monthly payment income, years at your current address, housing status, mobile and home telephone number and personal information such as your date of birth and whether you reside in Canada.
Pros of the MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard
- Zero annual fees
- A low-interest rate on balance transfers
- Immediate cash access at over 1 million ATMs around the world
- Long promotional period
- 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers
- Purchase assurance for 90 days
- It includes travel insurance
- 24/7 customer service
- One year extended warranty benefits
- Round the clock fraud protection
Cons of the MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard
- The travel insurance doesn’t include medical and delayed luggage travel insurance hence not fully comprehensive. This is frankly a tiny speck on a beautiful portrait.
From general customer feedback, it is evident that the MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard was one of the best balance transfer cards to ever hit the Canadian market. In comparison to its closest competition, it is a clear favorite. Although some of the alternatives such as Scotiabank Value Visa, American Express Air Miles Credit card and Essential credit card offer low balance transfer rates for new customers for 6 months, they do not eliminate them as the Platinum Plus MasterCard did. Additionally, this card had a longer promotional period and was an excellent option for people with high interest or multiple cards and can only afford to pay the minimum due to high rates.
In January, the Bank of Canada hiked interest rates. On top of that, experts predicted that another hike was eminent during the Bank’s July rate announcement. With this in mind, it is plausible that they are the circumstances that have forced MBNA to withdraw its most popular card from the market. Offering a 0% introductory rate on transfers in the tight economic conditions would not be feasible or sustainable. Although the bank is no longer accepting new applications, current holders will continue using their existing cards. Additionally, its new card, the True Line Credit Card might just be the next best alternative.