PC Financial Mastercards reviewed: Everything you need to know

Hyder Owainati
by Hyder Owainati December 11, 2019 / No Comments

  • All three PC Financial Mastercards have no annual fees.
  • With a PC Financial Mastercard, you’ll earn PC Optimum Points everywhere you shop – not just at Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, or where PC products are sold.
  • You can earn PC Points up to 3X faster with a PC Financial Mastercard versus a basic PC Optimum Card.
  • 10,000 PC Optimum Points = $10 off purchases at stores affiliated with the program before taxes and fees. Think of 10 PC Points as the equivalent of 1% cash back.

Do you regularly shop at Shoppers Drug Mart or grocery stores where President’s Choice products are sold, like Loblaws and No Frills? 

If you answered yes, then you should consider getting one of three Mastercard credit cards offered by PC Bank. 

Ranked among the best no fee credit cards for groceries and gas in Canada, all three PC Financial Mastercards will earn you PC Optimum Points on your everyday purchases (with bonuses at affiliated stores). PC Points can be redeemed for free stuff at retailers including Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, No Frills, Superstore, and Joe Fresh that have a combined total of nearly 2,500 locations across the country.

Let’s look at the various PC Financial Mastercard types and see how they compare.

PC Financial Mastercards overview

Credit card Details 
PC Financial World Elite (APPLY)
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Shoppers Drug Mart: 45 PC Points per $1
  • Groceries: 30 PC Points per $1 at Loblaws banner stores
  • Gas: 30 PC Points per litre at Esso and Mobil
  • All other purchases: 10 PC Points per $1
  • Eligibility: $80,000 annual income
  • Read in-depth review
PC Financial World (APPLY)
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Shoppers Drug Mart: 35 PC Points per $1
  • Groceries: 20 PC Points per $1 at Loblaws banner stores
  • Gas: 30 PC Points per litre at Esso and Mobil
  • All other purchases: 10 PC Points per $1
  • Eligibility: $60,000 annual income
  • Read in-depth review
PC Financial Mastercard (APPLY)
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Shoppers Drug Mart: 25 PC Points per $1
  • Groceries: 10 PC Points per $1
  • Gas: 30 PC Points per $1 at Esso and Mobil
  • All other purchases: 10 PC Points per $1
  • Eligibility: No specific income required
  • Read in-depth review

PC Financial World Elite Mastercard review

  • 45 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart
  • 30 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent where President’s Choice products are sold
  • 10 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent on all other purchases

The Pros


45 points per dollar at Shoppers

One of the biggest advantages of the PC Financial World Elite is it lets you earn 45 PC Points for every dollar you spend at Shoppers Drug Mart. That works out to about a 4.5% return at the retail pharmacy chain – when considering the fact that 10,000 PC Points equals $10. 

That earn rate is impressive for two reasons. First, few rewards credit cards in Canada offer 4.5% in a spending category, much less a card with no annual fee. Second, 45 points per dollar is triple the number of points you’d collect at Shoppers Drug Mart if you were just a basic PC Optimum loyalty member.

30 points per dollar at PC Grocery stores

Ranked among the best credit cards for groceries in Canada, the PC Financial World Elite is geared towards anyone who regularly crosses off their shopping list at Loblaws banner stores. That’s because it offers 30 PC points (3%) per dollar spent at:

  • Loblaws
  • Zehrs
  • Fortinos
  • No Frills
  • Real Canadian Superstore
  • ValueMart
  • Independent Grocers
  • Wholesale Club

It’s hard to find another no fee card that can match a 3% return on groceries, with one of the few exceptions being another store credit card: The Triangle World Elite Mastercard from Canadian Tire.

If you regularly shop at No Frills, the PC Financial World Elite is particularly valuable since few other credit cards (including those with an annual fee) let you pocket 3% at the discount grocery chain.

Note though, you’ll only get 3% at Loblaws banner stores since they’re associated with the PC Optimum program. All other grocery chains outside of PC’s network will earn you just 10 points per dollar (or 1%).

Rewards on gas

Need to fill up on gas between grocery runs? Whenever you use a PC Financial Mastercard at any of the over 2,000 eligible Esso or Mobil stations located across Canada, you’ll earn 30 points per litre – or roughly 3%. 

Earn PC Points everywhere

You’ll get 10 PC Points (1%) per dollar on all your other everyday purchases, so you’ll earn points everywhere you shop not just where PC products are sold. 

Insurance benefits

With the PC Financial World Elite, you’ll get complimentary travel emergency medical insurance for trips of ten days or less. 

While ten days isn’t the lengthiest coverage period, it’s still impressive considering many no fee cards from the big banks don’t come with any travel emergency insurance at all.

The World Elite also comes with credit card rental car insurance for a period of 31 days.

The Cons


High income requirement

A major drawback of the PC Financial World Elite is its steep income requirement. You’ll need to earn at least $80,000 individually (or $150,000 as a household) to qualify. 

There’s a silver lining, though: You can technically get upgraded to the World Elite from one of PC’s more entry-level Mastercards when you spend $25,000 on your card over the course of a year (which is about $2,083 in monthly spending). 

You won’t earn bonus points at all grocery stores

While 30 PC Points per dollar (or 3%) on gas and groceries is objectively one of the richest rewards rates for a no fee credit card, it’s important to remember that you’ll only earn those rewards at eligible stores that are part of PC Optimum’s network. 

If you happen to do a lot of grocery shopping at stores not affiliated with PC – like Sobey’s, Metro, or Longo’s – you won’t earn any bonus points and will walk away with just the standard 10 points per dollar (1%). The same goes for non-Esso or Mobil gas stations.

PC Points can’t be redeemed everywhere

While the PC Optimum program is more flexible than most retail loyalty programs (after all, you can redeem PC Points at over 2,500 locations), collecting PC Points is only really worth it if you do a lot of your shopping where PC products are sold and if groceries account for a big chunk of your budget. Otherwise, a more conventional rewards credit card may be a better match for you.


PC Financial World Mastercard review

  • 30 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug / Pharmaprix stores Mart
  • 20 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent where President’s Choice products are sold
  • 10 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent on all other purchases

The Pros


35 points per dollar at Shoppers

As you’d expect from a co-branded PC Optimum credit card, the PC Financial World doles out a ton of points at Shoppers Drug Mart – earning you 35 PC Points per dollar spent or about a 3.5% return.

Considering how many products Shoppers Drug Mart stocks on its shelves – from healthcare products to household essentials and even some food items – that can add up to considerable savings on your everyday spending.

35 PC Points per dollar is also over double the points you get at Shoppers Drug Mart as just a basic PC Optimum loyalty member.

20 points per dollar at Loblaws

Odds are, what drew you most to PC Financial is the opportunity to earn major rewards on your grocery bill.

The PC Financial World Mastercard will net you 20 PC Points per dollar (2%) at Loblaws banner stores, including: Loblaws, Zehrs, Fortinos, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, ValueMart, Independent Grocers, and Wholesale Club.

2% on your grocery spending at Loblaws stores is impressive for a no fee card – especially when considering there are no caps, so you’ll earn 2% throughout the year without limits.

Rewards on gas

The PC Financial World Mastercard will earn you 30 PC Points (3%) per litre at over 2,000 Esso and Mobil gas stations located across Canada – which is the same earn rate as the higher-tier PC Financial World Elite.

Earn PC Points everywhere

Like all of PC Financial’s Mastercards, you’ll get 10 PC Points (1%) per dollar on all your other everyday purchases – so you’ll pocket PC Points no matter where you shop.

The Cons


Lack of travel insurance

While the PC Financial World Mastercard does come with some benefits, like concierge services and free extended warranties, it does lack insurance perks found on the higher-tier Elite version – namely travel emergency and rental car insurance. 

That said, it’s not the biggest drawback considering the PC Financial World Mastercard is mainly designed to help you save on everyday bills and less for travel. Additionally, most no fee cards from the big banks don’t offer such coverage either.

Grocery rewards are great but not a standout

While the PC Financial World’s earn rate of 2% at Loblaws banner stores is strong, there are a handful of no fee credit cards that do offer comparable rewards. For instance, the Tangerine Money-Back Card is a no fee cash back card that earns you 2% at all grocery stores while the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus is a no fee travel card that offers 2% in travel points per dollar spent on groceries up to a $5,000 annual spend.

You’ll need to earn $60,000

As PC Financial’s mid-tier credit card, you’ll need to earn $60,000 a year (or $100,000 as a household) to get approved. While that’s more accessible than the higher-tier World Elite’s $80,000 income requirement, it’s still out of reach for many.

The good news is that if you only qualify for the entry-level PC Financial Mastercard (covered below), you could potentially get upgraded to the PC Financial World provided you spend at least $15,000 on your card over the course of a year.

PC Points can’t be redeemed everywhere

Like with all of PC Financial’s credit cards, you’ll have to operate within the PC Optimum ecosystem. That means you can only redeem points at eligible retailers where PC products are sold like Shoppers Drug Mart, Joe Fresh, and Loblaws banner stores. That can be a great way to save on your everyday grocery bills, but it’s worth calling out PC Financial Mastercards aren’t as flexible as full-fledged cash back credit cards and are only a good fit for those who frequent stores where PC products are sold.


PC Financial Mastercard review

  • 25 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart / Pharmaprix
  • 10 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent on all other purchases

The Pros

25 points per dollar at Shoppers

This card is geared towards PC Optimum loyalists, and nowhere is that more apparent than its earn rate of 25 points per dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart. That means you can earn points over 50% faster by using the PC Financial Mastercard versus just a basic PC Optimum loyalty card.

25 PC Optimum points per dollar also equals to about a 2.5% return (when considering 10,000 PC Points equals $10), which is an impressive earn rate for a no fee card with minimal application requirements. 

Rewards on groceries

This card will earn you 10 PC Optimum Points per dollar on all your grocery purchases at Loblaws banner stores. As an added plus, the points you earn with a PC Financial Mastercard will stack with any personalized offers made available to you through the PC Optimum app – so you can “double-dip” and rack up points even faster.

It’s easy to get

Unlike PC Financial’s other credit cards, you won’t need to meet a specific income requirement to qualify for the entry-level PC Financial Mastercard. In fact, it’s so easy to get even those who are looking to pick up their first ever card or a student credit card can be approved.

Once you receive the PC Financial Mastercard, you could also get upgraded to the more premium PC Financial World provided you spend a minimum of $15,000 on your card over the course of a year. 

Rewards on gas

With the entry-level PC Financial Mastercard, you’ll earn the same 30 PC Points per litre when paying at the pump at Esso and Mobil gas stations as PC Financial’s more elite cards. It’s great to see there are no compromises on gas rewards between PC’s three Mastercards, and with over 2,000 eligible Esso and Mobil stations across the country, finding a participating gas station near you won’t be too hard.

Earn PC Points everywhere

Like all of PC Financial’s Mastercards, you’ll get 10 PC Points (1%) per dollar on all your other everyday purchases – so you’ll collect PC Points everywhere you use your PC credit card and not just at participating stores.

It’s great to see that this card offers a minimum 1% return. In comparison, many other entry-level cards from the big banks offer just 0.5% on most purchases.

The Cons

Points on groceries aren’t too impressive

By earning 10 PC Optimum Points per dollar, you’ll effectively pocket just 1% on your grocery spending. While you can technically earn more by also taking advantage of personalized PC Optimum offers and in-store promotions, there are a number of other entry-level no fee cards in Canada that do offer 2% on groceries. Some cards worth mentioning include the Tangerine Money-Back Card, MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus, and the CIBC Dividend Visa.

PC Points can’t be redeemed everywhere

We’ve said it before, but it’s worth reiterating: While it’s easy to collect points with a PC Mastercard on all your purchases, the PC Points you earn are redeemable exclusively at eligible retailers where PC products are sold. Some of those retailers include Loblaws banner stores, Joe Fresh, and No Frills. As such, this card can be a great option if regularly shop from those stores but not so much if you don’t.

Lack of travel insurance

Like many other entry-level no fee cards, the PC Financial Mastercard offers just the basic frills (purchase assurance and free extended warranty) but doesn’t come with any travel insurance benefits whatsoever.


How PC Optimum works – at a glance

How much is a PC Optimum Point worth?

Luckily, the PC Optimum program makes answering this question easy: 10,000 PC Optimum Points equals $10 off your purchases at stores affiliated with the PC Optimum program, minus taxes and fees. To simplify things further, it’s helpful to think of 10 PC Points as the equivalent of 1% cash back.

You must redeem PC Optimum Points in increments of at least 10,000.

Where can you redeem PC Optimum Points?

You can redeem your points at eligible retailers where PC Products are sold, including:

  • No Frills
  • Loblaws
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Real Canadian Superstore
  • Zehrs
  • Independent Grocer
  • Valu-mart
  • Fortinos
  • Wholesale Club
  • JoeFresh
  • maxi

Between all those stores, that adds up to over 2,500 locations across Canada where you can put your points to good use. The majority of these retailers are grocery stores, which makes sense considering the PC Optimum program is primarily geared towards those who’re looking to save on their grocery bills. Points can be redeemed at participating stores straight from the counter, and in some cases, online.

There are a few caveats you’ll want to be aware of though: While Esso and Mobil are part of the PC Optimum program, you can only earn points (not redeem) at participating gas stations. You also can’t earn and redeem PC Optimum Points on certain purchases like gift cards, passport photos, post office transactions, or transit tickets.

Personalized offers

We can’t talk about PC Optimum without mentioning personalized offers. 

PC regularly sends out promotions to your PC Optimum app that let you rack up serious bonus points on select purchases. These promotions are targeted to your personal spending habits, so if you happen to spend a ton on diapers, expect points offers on Pampers. PC stores also regularly run in-store promotions that let you earn 20X the points on certain items.

Best of all, the bonus points you earn on personalized and in-store offers will stack on top of the points you regularly earn on your PC Financial Mastercard. 

PC Optimum Loyalty Card vs PC Financial Mastercards

PC Points PC loyalty member PC credit card holder
Shoppers Drug Mart 15 points per $1 25-45 points per $1
Loblaws Banner Stores Only on personalized offers / in-store promotions 10-30 points per $1
Esso / Mobil stations 10 points per litre 30 points per litre
All other purchases 0 10 points per dollar
Annual fee $0 $0

You can earn PC Optimum Points in two ways: Either as a loyalty member of the PC Optimum program or as a PC Financial credit card holder.

With the former, you can only collect PC Optimum Points when shopping at participating stores where PC products are sold (no different than any other retail loyalty program, like Starbucks Rewards). Signing up as a member is simple and as easy as downloading an app.

In the case of the latter, you’re getting a full-fledged rewards credit card that’ll earn you PC Optimum Points on every dollar you spend wherever you shop – not just select stores – maximizing your rewards. Like any credit card, you’ll have to go through a credit check to receive a PC Financial Mastercard. You’ll also build up a balance based on your spending and will owe interest if you don’t pay off your balance in full at the end of each monthly billing cycle.