Overview of the BMO CashBack® MasterCard®*
On other purchases
BMO CashBack® MasterCard®* details
- Annual fee
- Earn 3% on groceries, 1% on bills, 0.5% on other purchases
- Average point value
- Balance transfer offer
- 1.99% per month for the first 9 months
- Purchase interest rate
- Cash advance interest rate
- Balance transfer interest rate
- Minimum income
- Household income
- Any amount
- Recommended credit score
- Bank of Montreal
- Card type
- Cash back
Detailed card summary
Benefits & features
- Welcome offer: Get 5% cash back in your first 3 months*.
- Then get 3% cash back on grocery purchases, 1% cash back on recurring bill payments and 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases!*
- Now earn the highest cash back on groceries in Canada without paying an annual fee!†
- Get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on Balance Transfers for 9 months, 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred*.
- No Annual fee*
- Want to get your cash back ASAP? Now you can redeem your cash back anytime through direct deposit, as a credit on your statement or into your BMO InvestorLine account*
- Receive a discount on car rentals*
- Extended Warranty*
- Purchase Protection*
- BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the Apply now link for the most up to date information
- *Terms and conditions apply
- Cash Advance Interest 22.99% (21.99% for Quebec residents)
How to redeem
Credit to statement balance whenever $1 min. cashback is accumulated
How to get approved
- Minimum income $15K/yr
- Household income Any
- Recommended credit score 660+
- You are a permanent Canadian resident and have reached the age of majority in the province in which you live.
Average user score for BMO CashBack® MasterCard®*
4.3 | 8 reviews
I liked the customer service when dealing with any issues. I found that this card was convenient to use at most retailers. The interest rate was a bit high considering that I got a substantiality better rate with my Visa, but altogether, it was more than satisfactory. Got me through the Christmas Season.
Took really long time to get it then had to call the number on the card because it didnt work
The entire approval process was very fast and easy. I appreciated that I was approved quickly and received the card in a timely manner.
So this was my first credit card, so I had a huge decision to take. There are so many companies and so many choices that have similar benefits but I went with this one, all due to this website. I applied after seeing that it was one of the top cards that the benefits I wanted, and I literally got accepted right away. Which was surprising considering it was my first card. But I began using it right away, and it is honestly a great choice since I love seeing the cash back stack up.
The charge for spending over the limit is too high plus they decline the authorization.
Overall the process went well
The BMO CashBack Mastercard is an entry-level, free to carry credit card from one of Canada’s big banks. It stands out for its impressive rewards on groceries, flexible redemption process that makes it extremely easy to access your rewards, and its enticing welcome offer. Plus, the BMO CashBack Mastercard is a great option for students looking to build their credit history with their first-ever credit card.
BMO CashBack Mastercard review
- At 3% cash back, the BMO CashBack Mastercard earns the most rewards on groceries of any no fee cash back credit card in the country.
- As a Mastercard, the BMO CashBack is accepted at virtually all stores and grocery chains including No Frills. You’ll even earn an accelerated 3% cash back when grocery shopping at several Walmart Supercentre locations (in comparison, Visa and American Express don’t categorize Walmart Supercentres as groceries).
- Extremely flexible redemption process. Access your cash back rewards at any of the year from as little as $1 (in contrast, other credit card companies only issue your rewards once every calendar year or once you’ve earned a certain threshold).
- The BMO CashBack comes with a strong welcome offer worth up to $100 for new cardholders – an impressive bonus for a no annual fee card.
- The BMO CashBack is extremely accessible and comes with a low $15,000 annual income requirement. Students are also eligible to pick up the BMO CashBack Mastercard without meeting any specific income requirements.
- You can take advantage of a low introductory balance transfer offer of 1.99% for your first nine months, meaning you can consolidate and pay off old credit card debt on the BMO CashBack Mastercard and save on interest charges.
- BMO is one of Canada’s big banks and a reputable financial institution that offers a myriad of banking products. If you prefer to keep all your bank accounts (i.e. chequing, savings, and credit cards) with a single provider, the BMO CashBack Mastercards is a great option.
- Gain access to basic credit card benefits including purchase protection and automatic extended warranties.
- Earn up to 25% in discounts on rental cars from National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations.
- While you’ll earn an impressive 3% cash back on groceries, there is a monthly cap. You’ll earn 3% on your first $500 spent on groceries every month and 0.5% on any groceries purchases beyond $500. Note: this cap is reset every month.
- Like groceries, recurring bills is a bonus category that has a monthly cap. You’ll earn an accelerated 1% on your first $500 spent on recurring bills every month and 0.5% on any bill purchases beyond $500.
- The card earns only 0.5% on all other everyday purchases (outside of groceries and recurring bills).
- As is to be expected from an entry-level no fee card, the BMO CashBack Mastercard doesn’t offer much in the form of perks and completely lacks travel insurance benefits.
Rewards on groceries
As I touched on before, the BMO CashBack Mastercard really sets itself apart for its rewards on groceries.
While most no fee cash back cards in Canada earn between 1% to 2% on groceries, the BMO CashBack Mastercard is the only one to offer 3% cash back. That’s in line with some premium rewards cards like the TD CashBack Visa Infinite (which has a $120 annual fee).
Plus, since it’s a Mastercard, you’ll earn 3% with the BMO CashBack Card when shopping at discount grocers that may not otherwise accept Visa or American Express Cards (No Frills comes to mind). You’ll even earn 3% on groceries at several Walmart Supercentre locations (emphasis on the word “Supercentres”; regular Walmart department stores will earn you the standard 0.5% cash back). For context, neither Visa or American Express categorize Walmart Supercentres as grocery stores, which means you won’t rack up any extra rewards at Walmart Supercentres even if your Visa or Amex card has groceries as a bonus category.
The one slight drawback is the 3% earn rate is capped. You’ll earn 3% cash back on the first $500 in grocery purchases per month, but it’ll drop to 0.5% on any grocery purchases beyond $500. Even with this monthly cap, you’ll still rack up 3% on all or the huge majority of your grocery spending every month.
- The PC Financial World Elite Mastercard is another no fee credit card that also technically earns 3% on groceries (albeit, in the form of PC Points instead of straight cash back) but the card does require a personal annual incomes of at least $80,000, unlike the BMO CashBack Mastercard which requires an income of just $15,000. Additionally, the PC Financial World Elite only earns 3% at Loblaws banner grocery, while the BMO CashBack Mastercard earns 3% on all eligible groceries regardless of the franchise or brand.
- Costco is not a grocery store, which means you’ll earn the basic 0.5% cash back when shopping at the warehouse retailer with the BMO CashBack Mastercard. If you’re a regular Costco shopper, consider checking out our list of the best credit cards to use at Coscto here.
The BMO CashBack earns 1% cash back on bills that are set to automatically charge your credit card every month (think cell phone, internet bills, and subscriptions services). Objectively speaking, 1% on recurring bills isn’t a standout and can be matched or beaten by a handful of other no fee cash back credit cards including the Tangerine Money-Back Card and TD Cash Back Visa.
The other slight drawback is the 1% cash back will only apply to the first $500 in recurring bill payment each month, after which you’ll earn 0.5%. The silver lining is $500 every month is a pretty high cap to hit and will likely encompass all or most of your monthly recurring bill payments.
All other purchases
Outside of the BMO CashBack Card’s two bonus categories of groceries and recurring bills, all your other everyday purchases will earn 0.5% cash back for every dollar spent. The good news is there’s no limits or caps, so you’ll continue to earn 0.5% no matter how much you charge to the card. When compared to other no fee cash back cards, a base earn rate of 0.5% is pretty common.
There is a handful of other no fee cash back credit cards (like the Amex SimplyCash and Home Trust Preferred) that do earn more than 0.5% on most of your everyday purchases, but neither of these options earn as much on groceries as the BMO CashBack Mastercard. If groceries account for a huge bulk of your monthly budget, the BMO CashBack Mastercard is likely the better option for you even if it does earn 0.5% on most other everyday purchases.
Cash back redemption
Here’s another area where the BMO CashBack Mastercard sets itself apart from the competition.
You can redeem your cash back rewards at any time of the year as soon as you’ve accumulated just $1. You’ve even got the option to have your cash back rewards apply towards your credit card balance or deposited into a BMO account automatically anytime you accumulate at least $25 in rewards.
That’s extremely flexible when compared to some other cash back credit cards. For instance, American Express, Scotiabank, and CIBC only redeem your cash back once every calendar year, while TD gives you some added flexibility by letting you redeem at any time of the year but only once you’ve accumulated at least $25 in cash back. BMO manages to beat out all other card issuers when it comes to redemption frequency and amount.
The BMO CashBack Mastercard is what’s considered an entry-level credit card, so qualifying is relatively easy. You’ll need to earn an annual income of at least $15,000, should be the age of majority (either 18 or 19 years old, depending on your province), and have at least Canadian residency status. You also can’t have a record of bankruptcy within the previous 7 years, which is pretty standard as far credit cards go (if you do have a recent history of bankruptcy or a bad credit score, you may want to consider a secured credit card instead to help rebuild your financial standing).
If you’re studying at university or college, you can also qualify for the BMO CashBack Mastercard as a student provided you can supply proof you receive financial support or some form of allowance from your family, a grant, or scholarship; or if you’re employed and earn at least some income.
There are very few surprises when it comes to the BMO CashBack Mastercard in terms of rates. It has a typical 19.99% annual interest rate on purchases, which will only kick when you don’t pay off your balance in full every month. The BMO CashBack Mastercard also has a pretty typical annual interest rate of 22.99% on cash advances and balance transfer (though, this card does offer a limited-time balance promotion of 1.99% to new cardholders at the time of application).
Balance transfer promotion
The BMO CashBack Mastercard comes with one of the best balance transfer promotions available in Canada: 1.99% APR for your first nine months. What does this mean? Well, you can move any existing debt you owe on your current credit card over to the BMO CashBack Mastercard and get a head start on your debt repayment by owing a tiny fraction of the interest rate. There is an additional 1% transfer you’ll owe for moving balance (i.e. transferring a $1,000 balance will result in an additional $10 charge), but this fee is well worth it to access the rock-bottom 1.99% interest rate.
The balance transfer offer is particularly great if you want to make the full switch to the BMO CashBack Mastercard but still owe debt on your current credit card.
It’s worth noting that the low 1.99% balance transfer promotional rate only lasts for a limited period of nine months, after which, any remaining debt you transferred over will start accumulating interest at the standard rate of 22.99%. Therefore, the best strategy is to pay off as much of the transferred balance as possible within the nine-month promotional period. Also, the low interest rate will only apply to balances you carried over from another credit card. If you do carry a balance on the BMO CashBack Mastercard as a result of making new purchases on the card, you’ll still accrue interest at the regular rate of 19.99%.
The BMO CashBack Mastercard doesn’t exactly offer the most comprehensive side perks. Yes, it offers standard credit card benefits like purchase protection and extended warranties (doubling the manufacturer warranty up to two years). And it also comes with discounts worth up to 25% off car rentals at Alamo and National Car Rental locations. But it doesn’t offer mobile device insurance, rental car insurance, travel insurance, or foreign transaction fee waivers, like a handful of other no fee credit cards in Canada do.
|Perk||No Fee Credit Card|
|Mobile Device Insurance||Tangerine World Mastercard, National Bank MyCredit Mastercard|
|No Foreign Transaction Fees||Home Trust Preferred Visa|
|Medical emergency travel insurance||Scotiabank American Express, Rogers World Elite|
Credit card combination
If you’re really looking for ways to maximize your rewards, the BMO CashBack Mastercard is a great option to use in combination with another as part of a two-credit card strategy.
The biggest advantage of the BMO Cash Back Mastercard is the fact it earns an impressive 3% cash back on groceries and charges no annual fee, while it’s biggest drawbacks is the fact it earns just 0.5% on most everyday purchases and lacks serious perks. If you carry another credit card that manages to compensate for the weakness of the BMO CashBack Mastercard, you can earn considerably more value.
Below are three examples of great credit card combinations.
BMO Cash Back Mastercard
- Annual fee: $0
- Rewards: 1.25% cash back on everything
As part of this two-card strategy: you’d use the SimplyCash from American Express for all everyday purchases, except when you’re shopping for groceries or at merchants that don’t accept American Express, in which case you’d pay with the BMO CashBack Mastercard.
BMO Cash Back Mastercard
Amex SimplyCash Preferred
- Annual fee: $99
- Rewards: 2% cash back on everything
As part of this two-card strategy: you’d use the SimplyCash Preferred from American Express for all everyday purchases, except when you’re shopping for groceries or at merchants that don’t accept American Express, in which case you’d pay with the BMO CashBack Mastercard.
BMO Cash Back Mastercard
Home Trust Preferred Visa
- Annual fee: $0
- Rewards: 1% cash back on everything
As part of this two-card strategy: you’d use the Home Trust Preferred Visa for all everyday purchases as well as purchases in foreign currencies, except when you’re shopping for groceries or at merchants that don’t accept Visa.
*Terms and conditions apply
†Based on a comparison of the non-promotional grocery rewards earn rate on cash back credit cards with no annual fee as of Aug 20, 2020.