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Question about credit card reward "categories"
March 25, 2024
9:00 pm
Norman1
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Perhaps, the other bakery was something else, like a quick serve restaurant, before when they established their merchant credit card account. The restaurant pivoted to a bakery and didn't update their acquirer to get an updated MCC!

Shoppers Drug Mart stores are likely a drug store which happens to also sell groceries. That would be MCC 5912 (Drug Stores, Pharmacies). I have seen reports that some of their card terminals are MCC 9402 (Postal Services) presumably for their embedded Canada Post outlet.

Bulk Barn seems to vary depending on location. People have reported one of these three MCC's for different Bulk Barn locations:

MCC 5300 Wholesale Clubs
MCC 5441 Candy, Nut, Confectionery Stores
MCC 5499 Miscellaneous Food Stores

Yes, there's lots of quirks using MCC's for rewards when the MCC's were intended for something else. It would be less mysterious if Tangerine showed the MCC for each credit card charge like PC Financial used to do.

March 25, 2024
11:03 pm
Loonie
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I'm sure most people have no idea there is such a vast array of codes which can be used for what are in fact groceries but won't count for grocery rewards. I imagine there are even more disqualifying codes that you haven't mentioned yet.

A simple solution would be for merchants to be required to have a sticker on their door or something on their website to indicate their category, so that people would know BEFORE they make their purchase and can choose which card to use accordingly. The info could also be stuck onto cash registers, where patrons could see it; and cashiers could learn about this in their training. All of this is easy and customer-friendly. I have yet to meet any retail employee who has even heard of these codes, let alone know which one applies in their store.

Assigning 3 or more codes to Bulk Barn is absurd. They all sell the same kind of stuff. The only difference I've seen is that some have a small refrigerator section. And Bulk Barn should definitely be included in "groceries". At Loblaws, you can buy small appliances, TVs, clothes, home decor items, kitchen and dining ware, fry pans and plants - as well as groceries. I assume it all counts as grocery, but I rarely buy these non-grocery items. there, so can't say for sure.

No, the disqualified bakery had not previously been a restaurant. It's a brand new business which opened in the last couple of years.

March 26, 2024
4:41 am
savemoresaveoften
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A simple solution is just don’t use a card that has different rebate based on category. Lots of card choices out there and why waste time navigating thru a maze that only benefits the card issuer in reality.

March 26, 2024
7:02 am
gicjunkie
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savemoresaveoften said
A simple solution is just don’t use a card that has different rebate based on category. Lots of card choices out there and why waste time navigating thru a maze that only benefits the card issuer in reality.  

I totally agree! For some people, especially in our inflationary times, saving money wherever and whenever one can is a case of survival. For those of us fortunate enough to not be in that situation, the aggravation of juggling five pieces of plastic daily, just to save a few cents here and there, just isn't worth it. It's good to be cost aware. Throwing money away is not good. But, there are limits. This is why I am happy to use the no fee Rogers MC, especially since they raised their rewards for Rogers customers. As they say, "one stop shopping."

March 26, 2024
7:20 am
savemoresaveoften
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gicjunkie said

I totally agree! For some people, especially in our inflationary times, saving money wherever and whenever one can is a case of survival. For those of us fortunate enough to not be in that situation, the aggravation of juggling five pieces of plastic daily, just to save a few cents here and there, just isn't worth it. It's good to be cost aware. Throwing money away is not good. But, there are limits. This is why I am happy to use the no fee Rogers MC, especially since they raised their rewards for Rogers customers. As they say, "one stop shopping."  

yeah the Rogers Red card becomes my card of choice too for now, until it isnt 🙂

March 26, 2024
7:37 am
tc
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savemoresaveoften said

yeah the Rogers Red card becomes my card of choice too for now, until it isnt 🙂  

Are they replacing all black world elite cards with red ones?
Mine doesn't expire until 11/25.

March 26, 2024
7:42 am
savemoresaveoften
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tc said

Are they replacing all black world elite cards with red ones?
Mine doesn't expire until 11/25.  

They offer both. The black elite has better purchase protection and other perks that the red card doesnt.

March 26, 2024
10:16 pm
Loonie
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I appreciate that many of you wouldn't bother with a "category" style credit card.

I have actually never had one before, and I've been using credit cards for about 50 years.

We generally don't want to be bothered with figuring out which card to use, but we wanted to try the experiment, to see how it worked, and spouse wanted to try it. In addition, there is a link from the forum right now which gives cash reward of $150 for opening the account, so it was a good time to experiment. Also, there are higher rewards for the first 3 months from Tangerine. Perhaps most importantly, I have reason to believe that acquiring more Tangerine products leads to better promo offers. We are currently on a 6% offer which ends April 30. I want to trigger another good offer if possible as we need to keep that money in cash for a while. So, getting this card now made a lot of sense for various reasons beyond the 2% categories. Using the card for purchases may also help get a targeted offer.

I find it interesting to see how these things really work, and I share my experience so that somebody else might learn something too. It might help someone else to decide if they should apply for this card.

We do have a Rogers card but have not used it much and still don't fully understand how it works. Everything has a learning curve. Perhaps that will be the next experiment although I strongly suspect that, now that Rogers card has risen to the top of the heap, that they will drop the reward rate sometime in the next year, and the search will begin again, a prospect I'm not looking forward to We very rarely change cards, but our current primary one is no longer doing what we want it to do as we are old now and our lifestyle has changed.

March 26, 2024
10:55 pm
Loonie
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Here are my experiences with the Tangerine card from yesterday:

The bill came in the mail today. The print is greyed on the purchases and very hard for me to read as my eyes are failing. Other cards do much better.

On this bill, the butcher, fishmonger, and Bulk Barn did not qualify for "grocery". The bakery purchase that won't qualify will be on the next bill.
We didn't use the card for anything which we didn't think would qualify for
The overall average return was 1.86%. I anticipate that it wil always fall under 3% as there will always be one or more purchases that don't qualify, although we think they should.

We phoned to check on a few details. During this conversation, te CSR made it very clear that, according to him, the merchants choose whether they want to give 2% or 0.5%! - and their MCC number reflects this choice. He claimed that the reward comes directly out of the pocket of the merchant. I don't believe any of this is true, but it's probably what he's been trained to say as it fits with what Tangerine says in print.

There is no reason that I can think of why any merchant would volunteer to pay 2% when they can get away with .5%, especially when the customer doesn't know what their code is and may not know these codes exist. Further, the interchange fee is what they pay, not 2% or .5%, as I understand it.

We are going to try to find out what some of our local merchants say about this.

March 27, 2024
5:41 am
savemoresaveoften
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Loonie said
I have reason to believe that acquiring more Tangerine products leads to better promo offers.

FIs dont care for loyalty, as evident by the best rate is for new customers only.
The more products you have, it is just a confirmation that its more likely you will be a sticky customer. Why offer you anything decent if their AI says you are sticky already ?

March 27, 2024
9:04 am
MG
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Loonie said
I have reason to believe that acquiring more Tangerine products leads to better promo offers.  

Well, I have a savings and chequing account, a couple of GICs, a joint savings and the Mastercard. I do NOT receive the same promos others do. I agree with you Loonie regarding their difficult to read statements. The best option may be to view the pdf file on your computer and enlarge the size.

March 27, 2024
12:50 pm
Loonie
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I should modify what I said. I meant that when you add a new product, it is more likely you willl get an offer subsequent to that. I don't think this will endure, however. It's only temporary. Once they've sold you everything they offer, you will be of less interest to them. I may be wrong, but it's my best shot at getting another offer soon. It appeared to work last time.

March 27, 2024
5:48 pm
BlueSky
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Loonie said

We didn't use the card for anything which we didn't think would qualify for
The overall average return was 1.86%. I anticipate that it wil always fall under 3% as there will always be one or more purchases that don't qualify, although we think they should.

  

While I can understand your reluctance to use too many cards, consider this: BMO no fee cashback CC. This one offers a 3% cashback on groceries, and 0.5% on most other categories. Their 3% rate combines a regular rate plus a bonus rate, this doesn't change or expire as long as it applies on grocery purchases. I do use this card for groceries only, and my Tang CC freed one more category for me. My three 2% categories I use, are: gas, pharmacy, and transportation/parking. BTW, prescription drugs are qualifying for the 2% cashback. These two CCs make sense, and money without paying a single cent in annual fee.

March 28, 2024
4:55 am
Saver-Mom
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BlueSky the 3% on groceries is only on spending up to $500 per month. After that you get 0.5%. We spend at least $1000 per month.

Loonie, agree Tang statement is hard to read, but BMo mastercard statement does not even show you where and what % you have earned, and I have failed to even find the info online.

One merchant I frequent which is a bakery/pastry/sandwich shop and resto gave me 0.5% on one outing and 2% on another. Go figure.

March 28, 2024
6:06 am
savemoresaveoften
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BlueSky said

While I can understand your reluctance to use too many cards, consider this: BMO no fee cashback CC. This one offers a 3% cashback on groceries, and 0.5% on most other categories. Their 3% rate combines a regular rate plus a bonus rate, this doesn't change or expire as long as it applies on grocery purchases. I do use this card for groceries only, and my Tang CC freed one more category for me. My three 2% categories I use, are: gas, pharmacy, and transportation/parking. BTW, prescription drugs are qualifying for the 2% cashback. These two CCs make sense, and money without paying a single cent in annual fee.  

Having multiple cards are the way to go, if the end goal is to maximize rebate based on "categories". No fee cards are designed so some purchases end a half decent rebate, other purchases not so much.
It is the same reason as having multiple bank accounts at various FIs if goal is to maximize interest earned, whether HISA or GICs.
Restricting oneself to one or two card / FI is for convenience, not for maximizing potential $earn.

March 28, 2024
6:45 pm
BlueSky
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savemoresaveoften said

Having multiple cards are the way to go, if the end goal is to maximize rebate based on "categories". No fee cards are designed so some purchases end a half decent rebate, other purchases not so much.
It is the same reason as having multiple bank accounts at various FIs if goal is to maximize interest earned, whether HISA or GICs.
Restricting oneself to one or two card / FI is for convenience, not for maximizing potential $earn.  

I agree with you. I guess, at the end of the day, consumers use CCs according to their purchasing habits, and what increases their chance of getting more cashback.

March 28, 2024
8:37 pm
Norman1
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Loonie said

We phoned to check on a few details. During this conversation, te CSR made it very clear that, according to him, the merchants choose whether they want to give 2% or 0.5%! - and their MCC number reflects this choice. He claimed that the reward comes directly out of the pocket of the merchant. I don't believe any of this is true, but it's probably what he's been trained to say as it fits with what Tangerine says in print.

The CSR was speaking from his poor understanding. Highly unlikely a card issuer like Tangerine Bank would be training their staff with such false information.

CSR is incorrectly deducing from the fact that the interchange is funding the rewards to a bogus conclusion that the merchant is somehow charged 2% or ½% depending on how the cardholder has set up the categories on the Tangerine MasterCard.

There is no reason that I can think of why any merchant would volunteer to pay 2% when they can get away with .5%, especially when the customer doesn't know what their code is and may not know these codes exist. Further, the interchange fee is what they pay, not 2% or .5%, as I understand it.

That's correct: Merchant is paying an interchange as part of what the merchant pays its acquirer for handling the MasterCard transaction. Under the current MasterCard Canada interchange schedule, the interchange is 0.92% for a tap or chip-and-PIN card-is-present charge on a regular MasterCard. It would be 1.56% on a World Elite MasterCard.

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