Review: National Bank ECHO Cashback MasterCard

Jane Switzer
by Jane Switzer February 15, 2017 / No Comments

A cash-back credit card is a great way to maximize your everyday spending. This type of rewards card is popular for its straightforward, tangible value: the best cash-back credit cards in Canada refund a percentage of every dollar spent on the card, either as a credit on your statement, a cheque in the mail, or a deposit in your bank account.

National Bank’s ECHO Cashback MasterCard is a respectable contender in the cash-back stable, offering 1.5% back on gas, groceries, and certain online purchases (see below), and 1% back on everything else. For a limited time, new cardholders can earn 3% cash back in the aforementioned categories for the first three months (up to $6,000).

ECHO Cashback MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 3% cash back on gas, groceries, and certain online purchases for the first 3 months (up to $6,000); 1.5% cash back thereafter (up to $25,000 annually)
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on everything else
  • Apply for your cash back as soon as you accumulate $25

This card stands out amongst its competitors in two ways. First, it’s really easy to redeem your cash back. Some cash-back credit cards refund rewards once a year, but the ECHO Cashback MasterCard lets you redeem whenever you want, for any amount, as soon as you hit $25. Note that with this card, rewards can only be applied to your credit card balance and cannot be claimed for cash.

Second, this cash-back card is currently the only one in Canada that offers “online purchases” as a bonus category. However, there’s a catch: it excludes purchases related to travel (airfare, hotels, car rentals), transportation (buses, subways, trains), and recurring bills (Netflix or newspaper subscriptions, automatic bill payments).

But if you’re a big online shopper, this card still gives you the chance to earn a higher cash back rate on items that fall outside traditional bonus categories — clothing, books, electronics, toys, athletic gear, etc. — especially at the 3% welcome rate. You’ll also appreciate the 90-day purchase protection and the extended warranty, which doubles the original manufacturers warranty period up to a year.

With no minimum income requirement and no annual fee, this is an attractive starter card for students and new graduates and an accessible card for the budget-conscious. If you make a lot of online purchases, the competitive cash back rate and strong insurance features also make it a great secondary card to keep in your wallet.

To find the best credit card for your spending needs, compare multiple credit cards side-by-side with RateHub’s rewards calculator

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