MBNA True Line Mastercard review: The best 0% balance transfer card in Canada

Craig Sebastiano
by Craig Sebastiano January 20, 2020 / No Comments

While collecting points or cash back on a rewards card has its appeal, it’s not necessarily the right financial move for everyone.

Rewards credit cards have high annual interest rates (typically 19.99%), and if you’re strapped for cash or can’t quite manage to pay off your balance in full every month, they can actually cost you more in interest than they’d earn you in rewards.

Enter the MBNA True Line Mastercard – the complete package for anyone looking to save on credit card interest and fees.

The card has no annual fee, one of the lowest fixed interest rates on purchases in the country, and offers an unbeatable 0% promotional interest rate on balance transfers – a big plus if you’re looking to consolidate and pay off your old credit card debts for less.

MBNA True Line Mastercard – At a glance

  • $0 annual fee
  • Standard annual interest rate of 12.99% on purchases and balance transfers
  • You could get a 0% promotional annual interest rate for 10 months on balances transferred within the first 90 days (plus a 3% fee or a minimum of $7.50)
  • Interest rate of 24.99% on cash advances
  • Around the clock protection against fraudulent charges
  • Note: Balance transfer offer and fixed interest rate varies for residents of Quebec

MBNA’s 0% balance transfer offer

In our eyes, the MBNA True Line Mastercard takes the crown as the best balance transfer credit card in Canada for four key reasons:

  • 1. The card has an unbeatably low 0% promotional interest rate on balance transfers.
  • 2. Unlike most other balance transfer offers that only give you six or nine months of no or low interest, the MBNA True Line’s promotional interest rate lasts for ten months.
  • 3. You can take advantage of the balance transfer offer up to 90 days from when you’re approved for the card, giving you some extra time to set up your plan to consolidate your debt and determine what balances you should transfer.
  • 4. Finally, even after the 10-month promotional period ends, the interest rate on any remaining balance transfers will increase from 0% to just 12.99%. That’s still low considering most other cards charge a standard interest rate of 19.99% to 22.99% on balance transfers.

The only real drawback to the MBNA True Line’s balance transfer offer is you’ll need to pay a flat 3% transfer fee (which all things considered, is a small price to pay to get 0% interest for 10 months).

To show just how much the MBNA’s balance transfer offer can save you, let’s walk through an example.

Let’s assume you’re carrying a $3,000 balance on a rewards credit card that charges a typical annual interest rate of 19.99%.

If you transferred that balance to the MBNA True Line Mastercard and put $300 towards the card each month, you would owe $0 in interest and clear your debt in just 10 months. All you would have to pay is a transfer fee of 3% or $90.

But if you kept that balance on the rewards card and made the same $300 payment every month, you would end up owing roughly $309 extra in interest and it would take you around 12 months to pay off your balance in full. That’s a total difference of $219 and two months.

Rewards credit card MBNA True Line
Balance $3,000 $3,000
Interest rate 19.99% 0% for 10 months
Your monthly payments $300 $300
Total interest owed $309 $0
Balance transfer fee None $90
Months until your balance is paid 12 10
Total cost $309 $90

Low standard interest rate

The MBNA True Line Mastercard’s regular annual interest rate on new card purchases (and balance transfers after 10 months) is just 12.99%, about a third lower than the 19.99% rate that regular credit cards charge. Over time, that makes a huge difference in how much interest you have to pay.

For instance, here’s how the numbers would play out on a typical credit card versus the MBNA True Line Mastercard if you:

  • Racked up a $4,000 balance
  • Gradually pay it off in monthly instalments of $250
 Typical credit card  MBNA True Line
Interest rate 19.99% 12.99%
Balance $4,000 $4,000
Your monthly payments $250 $250
Months until your balance is paid 19 18
Total interest owed $690 $416

Annual fees and income requirements

One of the best things about the MBNA True Line Mastercard is that there’s no annual fee. Zero. Zilch. Nada. That means you can come out ahead by not having to pay a fee every year. For comparison’s sake, most low interest credit cards from the big banks with comparable rates do charge an annual fee (typically between $20 to $39).

You also won’t need to meet specific income requirements to qualify for the MBNA True Line Mastercard. The main eligibility requirements for this card are that you’re a resident of Canada and you’ve reached the age of majority in your province or territory.


Additional perks

Besides a lower interest rate and no annual fee, there are some other perks that come with the card. For example, if you use your card to rent a car at participating Avis and Budget locations, you can save a minimum of 10% off the base rental rates in Canada and the United States. And you can save a minimum of 5% internationally at participating locations.

Another great perk this card comes with is Mastercard Zero Liability. Because you hold a Mastercard, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized purchases made with your card online, over the phone, in store, via a mobile device, or automated teller machine transaction. Note that some conditions do apply.


Drawbacks

While the MBNA True Line is arguably the best low interest credit card in Canada with no annual fee, it does have some minor drawbacks.

For one, while the card’s annual interest rate on purchases and balance transfers is low, the rate on cash advances is 24.99%. When it comes to balance transfers, you’ll have to factor for a flat 3% fee based on the amount you transfer. Finally, as you would expect from a no fee, low interest card, the MBNA True Line doesn’t offer much in the way of frills or rewards – which, truth be told, aren’t things you should be chasing if your primary goals are to save on interest and get out of the red.

The bottom line

The MBNA True Line Mastercard has everything you need in a low interest card: a 0% balance transfer offer for 10 months, a low 12.99% standard interest rate on purchases, and no annual fee.

  • No annual fee
  • Standard annual interest rate of 12.99% on purchases and balance transfers
  • You could get a 0% promotional annual interest rate for 10 months on balances transferred within the first 90 days (plus a 3% fee or a minimum of $7.50)
  • Interest rate of 24.99% on cash advances
  • Around the clock protection against fraudulent charges
  • Note: Balance transfer offer and fixed interest rate varies for residents of Quebec

MBNA True Line Mastercard – Quick review

The Pros

  • There’s no annual fee
  • The standard annual interest rate is only 12.99% (which is the lowest fixed rate for a no fee card and seven percentage points less than the typical interest credit card interest rate of 19.99%)
  • The balance transfer offer of 0% is the best in Canada, allowing you to consolidate your debts and pay them off more quickly for less
  • The balance transfer offer lasts for 10 months, not the typical six months like many other balance transfer offers
  • You can add up to nine authorized card users with no additional fee

The Cons 

  • There’s a balance transfer fee of 3%
  • While the annual interest rate on purchases and balance transfers is low, the rate on cash advances is 24.99%

* Interest rate examples and calculations are for illustrative purposes only and assume no changes in daily spending activity.


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