Life in Canada is expensive. The cost of living is always rising, and there are some expenses that you just can’t cut out no matter what you do. Instead of trying to trim your costs in these categories in order to achieve some overall savings, why not try getting money back on those purchases instead? The CIBC Dividend Visa line of credit cards offers money back on groceries and gas, two of the hardest things to cut down on for your average Canadian.
Getting Money Back on Necessities Is Great
Whether you like it or not, there’s almost no way to get out of paying for food, and almost everyone who lives in this large and spread-out country drives a car to get around efficiently within it; over two-thirds of the population holds a driver’s license. Gas and groceries are part of almost every Canadian’s budget, and they often make up a very large part of it. That’s why many credit cards give you extra rewards for buying these things on your card. In the CIBC Dividend Visa cards’ cases, those rewards come in the form of cash, helping you to defray a small portion of those costs indirectly. It may not seem like much at first, but you would be surprised at how much 2-4% of all those transactions adds up over time. You can put that money back into your budget to give you a little more breathing room when shopping for other necessities, or you can use it on fun things that will enhance your life. However you choose to use it, you know you’ll be happy to have it.
First Up: the CIBC Dividend Visa
The CIBC Dividend Visa is the most accessible of the two cards in this line; somewhat unusually, they both have very similar requirements in terms of income and credit standing, but the fact that this one is free and the other is not automatically makes it a more likely choice for many.
The cash rewards on this card are broken down a bit strangely, fluctuating according to how much you have spent on certain things within the year. You’ll get 2% cash back on groceries for your first $6,000 in annual spending in this category (or $500 a month), then 0.5% back after that for another $6,000 in spending. Finally, you’ll get 1% back on the rest of the things you buy and on all groceries that you purchase after hitting $12,000 in spending on them in one year (in other words, exceeding both of the previous thresholds). This basic card will unfortunately not let you earn anything on gas spending – you’ll have to upgrade to the Platinum card for that – but it will help you to feed yourself for slightly less.
The basic CIBC Dividend Visa comes with $100,000 of common carrier accident insurance in case you are injured or killed while travelling on a mass transit vehicle like a bus or a plane. While that probably won’t cover all of your expenses in such a scenario (especially if you needed medical care outside of Canada), it never hurts to have more insurance behind you when it’s free. You also have the option of purchasing some emergency travel medical insurance to add to your card’s coverage, but this will of course cost you extra. Given the high value of this perk, it might still be worth your while to take CIBC up on that offer. The final call on that decision is up to you.
Want More? Check Out the CIBC Dividend Platinum Visa
The CIBC Dividend Platinum Visa is here for people who like the idea of the entry-level CIBC Dividend Visa card but wish it was just a little less limiting. It’s a direct upgrade of that original card that still follows largely the same structure. Another nice aspect of it is that it has pretty much the same application requirements as well. As long as you’re willing to pay the $99 annual fee (plus $30 for any additional cards you want), you can get the Platinum card with as little as $15,000 a year in income and just middling credit. That’s excellent news for those who have never been able to qualify for a premium card, since this one nearly reaches the level of those ones without being locked away behind a set of insurmountable barriers.
Using it gets you 4% back on groceries and now on gas as well, greatly extending the amount of spending most people do that will be eligible for that bonus rate. The higher rate combined with that one small change should more than double the reward yield of this card as compared to the basic version, but that’s not even the end of the bonus categories. You can also get 2% back on Telus products and services and Tim Hortons food and drink, double the 1% you’ll get back on everything else. There is a $20,000 spending limit on each of the bonus categories over the course of each calendar year – if you spend more than that amount on either type of purchase, buying any more of that particular thing will only get you 1% cash back instead of the usual rate. This is a generous limit, though, and hardly anyone will ever have to worry about it unless they are feeding a very large amount of people or driving very long distances on a regular basis.
The Platinum card also comes with slightly better benefits. It includes rental car insurance for collision and loss damage and $500,000 of common carrier accident insurance instead of just $100,000. Again, you can buy emergency travel medical coverage through this card if that’s something you’re interested in, but it does not come bundled with this card. This is not uncommon for mid- to high-level cards that do not restrict themselves by income or credit score. If you can meet some fairly demanding requirements in both of those categories, you can get many comparable cards to this one that do include that perk as part of their package. In fact, the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite is another card from this provider that is identical to this one except for the heightened requirements (good credit and at least $60,000 in personal annual income) and the inclusion of that medical insurance.
Don’t Forget the Welcome Bonuses
If either of the CIBC Dividend Visa cards sounds appealing to you but you aren’t sure if you want to pick up another credit card right now, you may want to look at the welcome bonuses that each card is offering to help you finalize your decision.
In the basic CIBC Dividend Visa’s case, that’s 5% cash back on everything for the first 4 months (or on up to $2,000 in spending) if you add at least one recurring bill payment to your card. Since many people find it beneficial to set their bills on auto-pay this way anyway as they no longer have to rely on their own memory being good enough to pay them, that one little condition is not a big deal, especially for such a generous bump in rewards. You could get $100 out of this deal if you hit the spending limit, a large enough sum to buy you something fairly substantial.
For the Platinum card, you’re looking at 10% cash back instead (so you can earn up to $200), plus a rebate on the first year’s annual fee. It also includes no stipulations about recurring bills, so you won’t have to bother doing that with the upgraded card unless you want to. That’s a total value of up to $299 all together and unquestionably more generous than the first offer, but it isn’t so good as to make it worth it for you to sign up for this card if you weren’t already planning to do so. Remember, it will cost you $99 a year after the first year if you do choose it, and that’s no small amount of cash.
Who Should Get a CIBC Dividend Visa Card?
Due to how universally useful their bonus categories are, either of the CIBC Dividend Visa cards could serve most consumers well. The regular CIBC Dividend Visa is a good card, but its performance will degrade quickly at higher spending levels. You’ll get the most out of it if you know you will only be spending small amounts on it. The Platinum Visa is much more flexible and better suited for the majority of users, but in order to get it, you’ll have to be okay with paying that rather high annual fee. If that scares you off, the basic Dividend card should still work okay for you, although you might consider using it only for the $500 monthly grocery spending and using another card for everything else you do.