The MBNA Smart Cash line of credit cards consists of two cards that are both focused around helping Canadians get some money back when they buy food and gas. The MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard and the MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard are extremely similar, but they exist as different products for a reason. You should only apply for one, so which should you pick? You’ll know if you follow the criteria laid out for you below.
Why You’d Want These Cards
Think about the things you buy in a typical month. While you might have an unfortunate takeout coffee habit or sometimes even splurge on something like a new shirt or a piece of furniture, chances are that many of your purchases are things you need and could not go without. Groceries and gas are two of the most intrinsically necessary things for modern Canadians; a person who does not eat enough will get sick or potentially die, and a person who does not purchase gas to run their vehicle will be stuck using public transit or their own feet to get around.
Credit cards that give you extra cash for needed purchases like these are some of the best options for most Canadians since they don’t require you to be able to do a ton of discretionary spending in order to get a good amount of rewards together. You’ll get the cash back rewards you were after just by buying the things you need to live. As long as you can build up a decent amount of them without straining your budget, you’ll be free to enjoy the small financial lift they give you.
How the MBNA Smart Cash Line Can Help You
The MBNA Smart cash card duo is set up to reward these simple purchases we all make. The Platinum Plus version is the lowest-tier option of the two and gets you 2% cash back on gas and groceries for up to $500 in eligible purchases each month, followed by 0.5% back on all other purchases you make. The World card is almost exactly the same, but with one major difference: that base rate is bumped up to 1% cash back on all general purchases. That’s a notable increase considering how much of your spending is likely to fall under this bracket. However, it might be less helpful to lock in this boost than you would expect. The boost is large proportionally (double what was there originally), but that’s only because we started with such a low figure at 0.5%. Even doubling that number does not result in an extremely high reward rate, but rather one that just keeps up with the standards of other cards like this. You’ll get a healthy amount of cash from the purchases you make under the 2% rate, but everything else will just be supplemental.
Making the Final Choice
In order to find out if making the choice to upgrade your card is actually worth it in this scenario, you’ll need to examine the cost of the card vs. what you can expect to earn from the increase in rewards that it gets you. Getting the World version does cost a $39 annual fee, so you’ll need to be able to recoup that cost with your rewards in order to make the upgrade a sensible decision. If you’re aiming to get the full $39 back, you’ll need to charge at least $7,800 a year, or about $650 a month in spending that does not qualify for bonus rates, to your card. This could be generic spending or gas and grocery spending that surpasses the $500 monthly limit – either one will end being scored as a generic purchase item.
That doesn’t sound like that much, but keep in mind that you often won’t be able to include your rent spending in this amount, and that is an increasingly large portion of most Canadians’ monthly expenses nowadays. It’s easier to run your spending on shelter through your credit card if you have a mortgage to pay instead, but even then, many people prefer to do things in a more straightforward fashion to minimize the chances of some part of the transaction going awry. With this in mind, what you’re really looking at is spending $650 or more each month on things like utilities, restaurants, movie tickets, clothing purchases, and other miscellaneous items. Putting it in that perspective makes it much more obvious that this will be difficult to do without a middle-class income. Don’t assume that you do without checking up on that first.
Put In the Work to Get the Right MBNA Smart Cash Credit Card
The MBNA Smart Cash and its World counterpart both allow Canadians like you to scrape together a little extra cash just by spending on regular everyday items that you would buy anyway. They diverge only at the point where you start spending significant amounts of money on things that do not fall under the category of gas and groceries. You’ll primarily want to look at upgrading to the World Mastercard version if you want to take advantage of that higher base rate on most of your purchases.
The only other thing that distinguishes the World version from the Platinum version is the inclusion of rental vehicle collision damage waiver benefits, but those alone aren’t worth incurring the annual fee for. The only time you might consider including that as a factor in your decision-making is if you stand to just break even or come close to it with the increased 1% base reward rate; then at least the insurance is essentially free. What it comes down to is that there is no way to know which of the MBNA Smart Cash credit cards will work best for your budget without doing some calculations first, so sit down and get started so you can apply for one soon.