Your regular trips to the grocery store could be doing more than filling up your fridge and pantry again; with the CIBC Dividend Visa, they could be getting you some great cash back rewards. With slightly above average benefits and a rewards scheme that allows you to access the best incentives first, this card could have a place in any family’s credit repertoire.
Some Card Details To Start
The CIBC Dividend Visa is CIBC entry-level cash back card option. It carries the standard 19.99% interest you see all over the Canadian market, though that rate jumps to 22.99% when you’re talking about cash advances and balance transfers. It’s a free card with no annual fee for you to pay, and any extra cards you request are also completely free.
As we said, previously, this card offers cash back rewards: 2% cash back on all your grocery purchases for the first $6,000 of yearly spending, 0.5% cash back on all purchases after that until you hit $6,000 again, then 1% cash back for all purchases after. This reward scheme is a little complicated, but it averages out to a little over 1% back overall, and that rate is comparable to what you’ll get with most cards like this.
It also actually does a little better than most basic cards when it comes to giving you some valuable benefits. Instead of offering you just the barebones basics of purchase protection and extended warranties, this card also bundles in $100,000 of Common Carrier Accident insurance to help you out if you’re a victim of an accident on a public vehicle like a bus or a plane. It’s nothing extravagant, but it’s an extra inclusion that CIBC didn’t need to add, and that’s nice to see. If you want to add to this package, you’ll also have the option of purchasing some emergency travel medical insurance and balance protection insurance (payments you will receive to cover your credit card debts if you lose your job or become too sick or injured to work).
The final thing you need to know about this card is that you’ll have the option of paying an incredibly low 0% interest on all balance transfer amounts for 10 months – basically, your balance transfers are free during that time. That’s a generous welcome bonus that leaves you with more than enough in savings to pay down a lot of your debt if you work at it. Don’t waste that chance!
Get Extra Cash Back Where It Matters Most
The first thing that probably stood out to most people upon reading that breakdown is how the bonus reward rates are limited to a single category of speding: groceries. This is rather unusual in the grand scheme of things. Groceries are a common bonus purchase category, but they are almost never seen on their own. Gas is virtually always paired with them, and sometimes other high-value necessary purchases like bills or drug store purchases are thrown in too. Cutting that bevy of bonus categories down to one might seem like a rip-off on the surface, or at least like a shame. The potential reward yield shrinks considerably that way, at least hypothetically.
However, if you have to cut things down to a single spending category, groceries is without a doubt the best category to keep. Not all Canadians drive, pay many bills or buy a lot from the drug store, but everyone needs to eat and few people are doing that at restaurants all the time. Rewarding people who buy a lot of groceries is rewarding basically everyone. You’ll still get a lot out of this card with just that reward option available to you, especially since the spending tiers limit how much you can make use of that offer anyway (more on that below). Even if all 4 things mentioned above were to be eligible for the accelerated rate, you would still hit the end of the 2% category cap very quickly, so you wouldn’t be able to take full advantage of the wider spread of bonus items. Leaving just one in place makes things simpler on you and shouldn’t decrease your reward total overall.
Enjoy Rewards Up-Front With Little Spending
One of the most distinctive features of this card, for good or for ill, is the tiered reward rates that fluctuate with your spending levels. There are other cards that do this, but most stick to just one direction – either increasing or decreasing as your spending increases – rather than going for the zig-zagged approach you see here. With this card, it’s the first bit of money you spend that will get you the most cash back, but the next large chunk will be subject to a dramatic decrease in cash back.
That might not sound like a great deal, but it’s actually very much in your favour to structure things this way. It’s better to get the bonus rate on the first chunk of your purchases than to have a threshold that you have to pass in order to get access to the boosted rate; if you do it the latter way, many people will never spend enough to make it to the good rates, whereas the opposite is true the other way around. As it is, even light spenders will probably manage to come close to maxing out the $6,000 a year limit in the grocery section, leaving them feeling fulfilled and like they didn’t miss out on anything in spite of having limited means.
Two Other Higher-Grade Options For You, Too
This may be a great card to start out with, but most people set their sights a little higher over time. This provider has foreseen this development and provided an obvious upgrade alternative. The CIBC Dividend Platinum Visa is also available, and it’s a step up from the simple CIBC Dividend Visa in every way. With this better card, you could get 4% cash back on groceries and gas, 2% back on Tim Hortons and Telus purchases, and 1% back on everything else. There are no caps on that You’ll get an even better deal as part of your welcome bonus, which offers you 5% back for all purchases for the first 4 months or until you hit $3,000 in spending over that time. Assuming you max that out, that will amount to an extra $150 to put toward other things in your life, a nice universally useful treat.
Aside from the clear value added by the rewards boosts, another thing that makes this better card so great is that it lifts the spending caps you would otherwise be subject to and You’ll easily be earning a lot more with it in hand than you would with the vanilla version of the CIBC Dividend Visa, but you’ll need to redirect some of that cash to pay for the $99 annual fee that comes with it. Even though that’s a steep increase up from free, the volume of extra cash you should get from the upgrade makes it hard to say it’s not justified here. There is every reason to try to make the up difference in fees with your rewards earnings, and it shouldn’t be that hard to so, either. This higher-tier card also bumps the Common Carrier insurance up to $500,000 and adds in some auto rental coverage too, just to add some extra goodies for users to enjoy. It’s a distinct upgrade from the basic version, and its requirements are largely the same or just slightly more strenuous. If you like the base card and do well with it, you could easily switch to this one in a year or two.
The Visa Infinite version is pretty much the same as the Platinum version in most respects, including the reward rates, the interest rates and the annual fee. Where it breaks away from that exisiting framework is in its benefits; this is a top-level card, and as a result of that high status, this one comes with emergency travel medical insurance, trip cancellation insurance, baggage insurance and flight delay insurance all added onto it for your pleasure. If you can meet the higher standards you’ll be asked to reach in order to qualify for it (a high income and better credit) and were interested in the Platinum upgrade anyway, it just makes sense for you to try out for this card first. The benefits alone make that extra effort more than worth it.
Planning To Step Up The Ladder
Knowing those other cards exist is one thing, but getting them is another. If that’s a goal you’re considering, one of the best things you can do to get yourself closer to it right now is to work on getting the basic CIBC Dividend Visa card. That’s because you might have more luck being approved for one of those cards in the future if you choose to get a CIBC Dividend Visa card now, even if you’re a long way from qualifying for top-tier stuff.
Not only will you be giving yourself a chance to grow your credit, but you’ll be doing so under CIBC’s watchful eye. Your credit score is just an approximation of how well you handle having credit; in this case, they will have direct access to your account records and be able to see exactly what you do with the credit you hold and how responsible you are with it. Approving existing customers for better cards takes all the guesswork out of this process for them, and starting low with the same provider can significantly improve your chances of getting a better card as a consumer. Since this particular low-level card is completely free, there’s even more reason not to hesitate to do this.
Some Real Users’ Feelings About This Card
As informative as it can be to read the promotional materials that a provider puts out about their own products, checking up on what real users think about a credit card is always a better way to judge its real worth. For those who have already taken the intiative to get this card, things seem to be shaping up pretty well in their favour. This card gets very good reviews from most users, with them citing the boosted rewards and ease of access as some of the highlights of what this card brings to the table. People really enjoy that it’s so easy to earn a substantial amount of rewards just by remembering to bring their card to the grocery store with them. It’s also often used in combination with another card as a way to cover more spending bases and maximize your ability to get high rates of cash back rewards even while sticking with basic cards. People have a lot of different uses for it, and that versatility makes it excellent as a card with mass appeal that most users can count on enjoying if they choose to get it.
The Last Word On the CIBC Dividend Visa
While it will never make the top of anybody’s list of dream credit cards they’d like to own, the CIBC Dividend Visa is a decent little card that shouldn’t be maligned. Getting double the cash back on groceries is a nice way to get yourself some extra value as a CIBC customer, even if you don’t usually spend much on a credit card. The way it’s structured is designed to be beneficial to even the most lowly of customers, which is great to see when it’s often the other way around now. The benefits are decent, and the potential to upgrade to noticeably better cards over time is great. The non-existent annual fee is what really sells the whole package, though, because it allows you to try it out with no real risk to you. If it sounds at all interesting to you, you may as well give it a go.