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What Credit Card(s) do you use?
September 28, 2015
10:08 am
djino
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Its been awhile since I posted on this forum and in the years of being active here, there have been several credit cards I have used day to day. Since the early summer, I have a set of 3 credit cards that I use and each of their own purpose.

1) Scotiabank American Express Gold
- Provides 4% back in Travel credit on Gas/Grocery/Restaurants/Entertainment
- Provides 1% back in Travel credit on everything else
- $99 Annual fee
- Tons of Travel Benefits
- 20,000 Welcome Bonus (worth $200 in Travel)

I applied for this card last October as they had offered (for a limited time) 30,000 points (worth $300 in Travel) and waived the first year annual fee.

This card has been my go to credit card for all Gas/Grocery/Restaurant/Fast Food/Entertainment spending. I also like the fact that I have up to a year from purchasing Travel to apply my points to it.

Note: I spend roughly $1000 / month on this card which translate's to $40 Credit for Travel (approx $500 in Travel Credit annually).

2) Amazon Rewards Visa Card (Provided by Chase)
- Provides 2% cashback from Amazon.ca purchases
- Provides 1% cashback from everywhere else
- No Foreign Exchange Fee
- No Annual Fee
- $20 Amazon Welcome Credit

This card has been my go to credit card for all Foreign Currency Travel and Online purchases since I applied for it earlier this summer as they do not charge the usual 2.5% Currency Exchange Fee on top of the exchange rate that most credit cards incur. I on occasion make online USD and Euro purchases, so its great to save 2.5% by using this card. I also take it with me during my travels to the U.S. to save 2.5% on all transactions.

Note: I will spend probably $2000 annually on this card which will end up saving me about $50 / year in exchange rate fees + $20 in Cashback.

3) MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard
- Provides 2% Cashback on all transactions
- $89 Annual Fee (First Year Waived)
- $100 Welcome Bonus

I picked up this card years ago (2011 I believe) for the short time period where MBNA wasn't charging any annual fee. I have been grandfathered on that ever since so its great not having to pay the $89 Annual fee. But even so, It would still be worth it. As soon as you have accumulated 5000 points (worth $50) you can redeem for Statement Credit or Bank Transfer. I do not believe any other credit card out there can compare. This is my most used card outside of the Categories mentioned above. If its not a Gas/Grocery/Restaurant/Fast Food/Entertainment/Foreign Currency transaction, then this Mastercard is used to complete the purchase.

Note: I spend roughly $25K / year on this card which translates to $500 in annual Cashback.

---

I'm now most interested to see what this new Tangerine Cashback Mastercard will offer. I am skeptical that I myself will find room for it in my daily spending. The card would need to offer a better return in at least one of the categories above or offer a high welcome bonus in order for me to apply. I highly doubt Tangerine will be able to do so.

Thoughts? and what are your go to credit cards?

djino

September 28, 2015
11:52 am
2of3aintbad
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The new PC world elite MC, if you want a no fee card and do a lot of shopping at SDM and No Frills/Loblaws/Valumart family. 3% at those stores, in PC points added within a few days. There are also car rental, extended warranty, and some travel insurance benefits.

September 28, 2015
11:58 am
Loonie
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I think you are the master of the credit card world!

I like some store cards, e.g. HBC, Sears, for the extended return period and better discounts. These cards are normally free. With HBC, for example, there is often a better discount with their card, which could be seen as equivalent to a competitive reward.

One has to be careful about keeping a fee-based card beyond the first free year. It really depends on your purchasing habits as to whether this is worth your while. I wouldn't pay for more than one of them, myself.

The Amex card you cite wouldn't be worth it for us as we are retired and don't buy a lot of gas, do most grocery shopping at Costco which doesn't accept it, etc. For us, the Costco MC is a better deal, as it is free and pays 3% for restaurants, which we do patronize.

We recently bought some Sobey's gifts cards (valid at all Sobey conglomerate stores such as Freshco) because of an Airmiles bonus offer. The value of the bonus amounts to a 13% discount in the cost of the groceries. This is better than paying with any credit card. We are stocked with enough gift cards for the next year of non-Costco shopping. They may not have that offer again though. Freshco also offers price matching, although not all products available.

We have just discontinued the supplementary card on our one fee-based card. We felt it was better for just one person to make most of the purchases that suited this card. The Supplementary wasn't worth the extra cost once we did that. We have an old grandfathered card from another bank for this.

Clever of MBNA not to charge you the fee. Seems like they have figured out that early adopters make good advertising.

I expect that the Tangerine card will be free, or will have a free option at least. For that reason, it will be worth a look. They know it's a competitive market, so they have to offer some angle that the others don't. I suspect it will be related to other products that they offer. That's the easiest and most obvious niche. They have a history of offering enticements for adding more types of accounts. The Big Banks do offer bundles of services, but their charges are unacceptable, so this is an area where Tang could make some inroads.
However, they are not the bank they used to be under ING, so I am wary.

September 28, 2015
12:18 pm
Yatti420
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I've only ever had 3 credit cards in my lifetime..

The most recent addition being an Amex SimplyCash (fee-free) Card.

- Earn 5% cash back on all eligible purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants in Canada (up to $250 cash back) for the first 6 months of Cardmembership
-Earn 1.25% cash back on all other purchases and when your Welcome Rate ends
-No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn
-No annual fee for Supplementary Cards

The Capital One Aspire Travel Mastercard

•1 reward mile for every $1 – on everything you buy
•5,000 bonus miles on your first purchase
•25% extra miles every year (mine is 1000pts/year)
•No limit to the amount of miles you can earn

In terms of fee-free cards at Capital One if you want cashback it's a better rate taking the cash back card at 1% versus the travel card at 0.75% back..

I also have a TD Rebate Rewards Visa Card.. This is a backup card just keeping it open for credit history.. Will most likely never use this card again..

•Earn a 0.5% cash reward on the first $3,000 in net annual purchases charged to your Card
•Earn a 1% cash reward on your net annual purchases over $3,000 (to a maximum annual purchase limit of $25,000)

I will probably get the Amazon(Chase) Card next to avoid those foreign fees..

September 28, 2015
12:43 pm
djino
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2of3aintbad said

The new PC world elite MC, if you want a no fee card and do a lot of shopping at SDM and No Frills/Loblaws/Valumart family. 3% at those stores, in PC points added within a few days. There are also car rental, extended warranty, and some travel insurance benefits.

I have looked at this card, but I rarely shop at Loblaws stores. I shop mostly at Costco, Super C, Food Basics, and Metro. All of these except Costco take American Express which gives me 4%. I use the MBNA RWE Mastercard for Costco purchases that gives me 2% back.

But I see that card being of good value to those who do shop regularly at Loblaws stores.

djino

September 28, 2015
12:51 pm
djino
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Loonie said

I think you are the master of the credit card world!

I like some store cards, e.g. HBC, Sears, for the extended return period and better discounts. These cards are normally free. With HBC, for example, there is often a better discount with their card, which could be seen as equivalent to a competitive reward.

One has to be careful about keeping a fee-based card beyond the first free year. It really depends on your purchasing habits as to whether this is worth your while. I wouldn't pay for more than one of them, myself.

Absolutely. I'm coming up to my Scotiabank American Express anniversary which means my first $99 Charge. I had been back and forth on deciding if its worth it for me to keep it. I have run the numbers, and even with the $99 annual fee, I still come out ahead than strictly using my MBNA RWE Mastercard for all Gas/Grocery/Restaurant spending.

I have read though that many have been successful with calling in to Scotia and threatening to cancel each year and getting a partial rebate of their annual fee and/or 5000 Travel points (worth $50 in Travel). I'd be content with that and will be calling Scotia early October to see what they will offer me.

The Amex card you cite wouldn't be worth it for us as we are retired and don't buy a lot of gas, do most grocery shopping at Costco which doesn't accept it, etc. For us, the Costco MC is a better deal, as it is free and pays 3% for restaurants, which we do patronize.

Yeah you definitely have to know before hand on how much you spend a year in certain categories before you commit to paying an annual fee to a credit card.

But I find that many simply avoid credit cards with annual fees just because they have an annual fee when they could likely would come out ahead if they run the numbers for themselves.

djino

September 28, 2015
12:56 pm
djino
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Yatti420 said

I've only ever had 3 credit cards in my lifetime..

The most recent addition being an Amex SimplyCash (fee-free) Card.

I also have this card as I auto converted from having the Costco American Express Card and used it since Costco didn't accept Mastercard before a year ago.

But receiving 1.25% back simply doesn't work for me since I have the MBNA RWE Mastercard that provides 2% on all spending and Mastercard is accepted at more places.

djino

September 28, 2015
3:37 pm
Loonie
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I run the numbers annually to see if we would benefit from a different combination of cards. I break down all the credit card expenditures in the previous year according to the categories which various card issuers use to offer various rewards. I am only interested in acquiring cashback, not travel rewards cards, at this point. With cashback, I am not so locked in to that card to get my rewards, and in retirement you never know whether you will may have a health problem and not be able to use travel rewards. (Note: Aeroplan is currently devaluing its points.)
The biggest surprise, when I first did this, was that a very significant portion of credit card spending (I think the majority) was not in any of these specialized categories, so in most cases only warrants 1% cashback. That brings the average rate of return down quite quickly. No doubt the issuers all know this! The most important rate may be the one that applies to all purchases, and that is why we have kept our old grandfathered card - for now. I think that ultimately it will go, as it's a travel cost refund, much like the Amex above. We haven't been travelling much, so between it and old Aeroplan points, our travel has been almost free for a while now.

It's surprising, when I do this, how rarely there is a benefit to be had from making a change - almost never! The most recent exception are the Amazon card (although we spend very little in foreign currency, so not a big deal) and the new Costco MC (for its 3% on restaurants), as both of these are free so I don't have to worry about whether the card is justified by the expenditures or about when I will get my rewards.

With cashback, it's also important to look at how and when you will get your money back. Some do it regularly and unprompted; with some you must make a request; most have minimum threshholds before you can get anything; and with others (Scotia Momentum Visa series in particular) it's annual at a date of their choosing, which means you could get stuck with another year of annual fee in order to get your cashback.

I do think it's wise not to have too many of these cards in use at one time, as it's easy to get caught on some snag or other. Amazon-Chase, for instance, is often late in sending the bill, so you must go online and make sure you pay it on time even if the bill has not yet arrived - I feel this tardiness is deliberate and designed to make them more money, as there is no good reason for such delays in this electronic world. Some CCs charge a fee if you go over your credit limit. Some even charge if you don't use the card for a while. I wouldn't want to have more than 4 of them at one time, as it can be too difficult to manage.
Some of the insurance policies don't apply to people over 65yrs. Some insurance policies are secondary, meaning you must first claim on your own insurance, giving you a black mark there. etc etc. There is more to it than just the reward programme.

Always read all the fine print.

September 28, 2015
4:32 pm
djino
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Loonie said

I run the numbers annually to see if we would benefit from a different combination of cards. I break down all the credit card expenditures in the previous year according to the categories which various card issuers use to offer various rewards. I am only interested in acquiring cashback, not travel rewards cards, at this point. With cashback, I am not so locked in to that card to get my rewards, and in retirement you never know whether you will may have a health problem and not be able to use travel rewards. (Note: Aeroplan is currently devaluing its points.)

I can appreciate that fact. But even in your case, I'm sure you have kids/other family that you could simply pay a hotel for or rent a car for, etc. And then you have up to a year (with the Scotia Amex) to redeem your purchase towards.

I'd actually think people in retirement would benefit more from such a card since they'd likely have the free time to travel more than the working class.

The biggest surprise, when I first did this, was that a very significant portion of credit card spending (I think the majority) was not in any of these specialized categories, so in most cases only warrants 1% cashback.

I can agree with this. But when deciding if such a card with an annual fee would be better for you IS NOT to compare the categories of high rewards against the categories of lower rewards. You'd simply calculate the expected return minus the annual fee on Card A and compare it to the expected return on Card B (if Card B does not have an annual fee).

Id say its a given that everyone would have a higher spending on non Gas/Groceries/Restaurants compared to spending ON Gas/Groceries/Restaurants.

Also note that you can further maximize your Gas/Groceries spending by buying Gift Cards at these locations for the places you'd normally get a lower reward if purchased directly with the credit card. I often do this for Best Buy/Subway/Canadian Tire/etc.

That brings the average rate of return down quite quickly. No doubt the issuers all know this! The most important rate may be the one that applies to all purchases, and that is why we have kept our old grandfathered card - for now. I think that ultimately it will go, as it's a travel cost refund, much like the Amex above. We haven't been travelling much, so between it and old Aeroplan points, our travel has been almost free for a while now.

It's surprising, when I do this, how rarely there is a benefit to be had from making a change - almost never! The most recent exception are the Amazon card (although we spend very little in foreign currency, so not a big deal) and the new Costco MC (for its 3% on restaurants), as both of these are free so I don't have to worry about whether the card is justified by the expenditures or about when I will get my rewards.

Agreed.

With cashback, it's also important to look at how and when you will get your money back. Some do it regularly and unprompted; with some you must make a request; most have minimum threshholds before you can get anything; and with others (Scotia Momentum Visa series in particular) it's annual at a date of their choosing, which means you could get stuck with another year of annual fee in order to get your cashback.

I can agree with that. But its of no issue for the credit cards I've chosen. Both the Scotia Amex and MBNA cards I use allow redemption once you have accumulated $50 worth in rewards.

I do think it's wise not to have too many of these cards in use at one time, as it's easy to get caught on some snag or other. Amazon-Chase, for instance, is often late in sending the bill, so you must go online and make sure you pay it on time even if the bill has not yet arrived - I feel this tardiness is deliberate and designed to make them more money, as there is no good reason for such delays in this electronic world. Some CCs charge a fee if you go over your credit limit. Some even charge if you don't use the card for a while. I wouldn't want to have more than 4 of them at one time, as it can be too difficult to manage.

I don't really agree with this point. I mean, I lump all that in the same category as being financially responsible with credit. If you are of the type that would find it difficult to be financially responsible, then you should stay away from credit cards period.

djino

September 28, 2015
9:57 pm
Loonie
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We actually don't fit your picture of retired people. However, I'm sure many do.
Don't assume everyone wants to travel, is healthy enough, or wants to do so in retirement. Similarly, not everyone has family.

I don't think it's very easy to make the comparisons among cards. If you're going to use more than one card, then you have to break down how much you would spend in each category on each card in order to get a combination of cards that works, taking into account any fees. If there's an easy way to do this, I haven't found it.

Gift cards are a good idea to get the better credit card rewards, but I don't like to have too many of those either as I often forget to use them and they take up a lot of room in my wallet! I think they work best when you buy them with a particular purchase in mind, then they don't hang around and you don't have to worry about a store going out of business before using up your card. They are good for Christmas purchases.

Not wanting a lot of credit cards does not mean one shouldn't have any. Quite the contrary. Being financially responsible means making a wise decision for oneself about how many cards one needs, wants, can manage, and fit with maintaining one's credit rating; and being aware of the pitfalls in having them. Being responsible can dictate the number of cards one should have. I don't want to have more than I have the time and energy to manage, considering all the things one has to remember about them and all the other financial issues one must make decisions about. I have all I can manage, and more, already.

In addition, the further you get into retirement, the more likely you are to start thinking about simplifying and consolidating your financial life. Spending and travel typically taper off around one's mid-70s, sometimes earlier depending on health status.

September 29, 2015
6:01 am
djino
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I completely agree and understand that not everyone in retirement has the ability (health-wise or financially) to travel. Just as not everyone pre-retirement has the ability to travel under the same circumstances. I don't speak for all and certainly not for yourself, but I would assume percentage wise, those in retirement are likely to travel much more than those NOT in retirement.

As for Gift cards, of course you'd only get gift cards when there is a plan to make a purchase at such store. It would not make sense to just buy a bunch of gift cards for random places if one does not plan to shop there within the recent future.

For myself, if its something I plan to buy within a weeks time and I plan to be at a Grocery/Gas station prior, then I'll pick up a gift card to cover the cost. One I do every month is pick up Wind Mobile Top Up cards for my cellular service since that is something I pay for monthy and now I can earn 4% back in Travel from it (instead of 2% with the MBNA RWE).

All other points you made, I'm in agreement with.

djino

September 30, 2015
11:32 am
Peter
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My long-held cards are the MBNA Smart Cash (in some ways the "little brother" to the MBNA Rewards World Elite) for cash back and the Amazon Visa for foreign purchases.

I have definitely signed up for a lot of credit cards with travel rewards over the past year in order to get the sign-up bonus. Usually I only hold the card for 1 year. This is not for everybody -- because you don't travel much, you are worried about its effect on credit score, you don't like the administrative hassle, or you consider it "gaming the system" -- but it works for me.

October 2, 2015
10:36 pm
em
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Wow, djino and Loonie never cease to amaze me on their wealth of financial knowledge. Here are the cards I currently possess:
1. CIBC Dividen VISA
This offers 1% cash back on all purchases, which is paid annually and no annual fee. Actually, the cash back is broken down as:
- 0.25% cash back on your first $1,500 in net annual card purchases
- 0.5% cash back on your next $1,500 in net annual card purchases (between $1,500 and $3,000)
- 1% cash back on any net annual card purchases exceeding $3,000
This is my second ever credit card and is kept for credit history.

2. MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard
Picked this up last year based on djino raving review and I don't regret it. All my purchases are done with this card. My only disappointment was not getting the annual free waived indefinitely. I loathe banking/credit fees so this will be hard to tolerate. MBNA tried to skimp on waiving the first year's fee and only offered the 10,000 welcome points (equivalent to $100). They ponied up the $89 fee after pressing their customer service. I will be calling yearly in hopes of getting the annual fee waived.

These are my US based cards. These are cards established in the US and NOT US dollar cards offered in Canada.
1. RBC Visa Signature Black
This card was purely to establish a credit profile in the US and will never be used (again). While this card offers no annual fee, some pretty decent insurance coverage (even cell phone protection) and 1 point/$1, it's practically useless to me being a points card. RBC's credit card offering in the US is pretty pathetic, but this is a great avenue for Canadians to establish a credit profile in the US. I pay this card from the RBC US savings account (based in Georgia), which allows immediate cross border transfer from RBC account in Canada at no cost.

2. Capital One Quicksilver Rewards VISA
Used for all my non-Canadian purchases. It offers:
- unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, plus a one-time $100 bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months. Cash back can be redeemed at anytime with no minimum.
- 0% intro APR for the first year. APR can be as high a 22.9% for purchases and 24.9% for cash advances. Not good if you use these features.
- No annual fee
- No FTF (the best value for me)
This card is paid from my TD chequing account in the US. I skipped the RBC chequing account because of their $3.95 monthly fee that cannot be waived. Funds are sent to my TD chequing account from the RBC savings at no cost.

October 3, 2015
9:04 am
JustMe
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All card below are: no fee, not promotional offer, not 'earn up to' and similar bs. I do not care of cc interest as I Always pay full amount. Absolutely not interest in 'points' cc as that is the biggest scam ever invented. You have to spend zillion $ to get a chocolate bar. Do not use store cc either.

- Walmart MC - 1.25% cash back for purchases at Walmart, 1% elsewhere (accumulated 'cash' can be spend at Walmart Only in $5 increments). Works for me as from time to time we do shop at Walmart.

- RBC Cash Back MC - 2% cash back on purchases at grocery stores and some other percentage cash back for spending elsewhere which I do not care as I never use it 'elsewhere'. Store has to have MCC 5411 to be considered 'grocery store' for RBC. Accumulated cash is available at the end of every year OR you can requested it in increments of $25. Do not know Where it will be deposited (your chequing acct. where you pay your MC or as a credit to MC. Will find in a few days when new statement becomes available as then I will have >$50 and will request $$$ back).
- CIBC Petro-Canada MC - used to buy gas Only as it provides 2c/L discount at the pump. No matter how much I calculate, no cash back card currently I have can beat 2c/L discount.

I do not do promotional, limited time, new customer, etc. offers. I do not do cc jump. It is not that it is a hassle but your credit score might not look good (if you care for that).

As you can see, my wallet is pretty thin, having only 2 cc, one Petro-Canada card for additional 5c/L discount, driving licence, health card, public library card and one bank card. No cash, ever. Haven't use cash in ages unless it is a quarter for grocery cart. Haven't used interac in last 10+ years. I might pay cash if it is 'no HST' and similar 'offers'. Oh, yes. And IKEA paper measuring tape is in there, too.

October 3, 2015
9:41 am
djino
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JustMe said

All card below are: no fee, not promotional offer, not 'earn up to' and similar bs. I do not care of cc interest as I Always pay full amount.

Agreed. Credit Cards are products that you should ALWAYS pay in full every month. If one cannot, they should use a Line of Credit to pay off the credit card so that a lower interest is used to pay off that debt.

Absolutely not interest in 'points' cc as that is the biggest scam ever invented.

I disagree with this. There are plenty of credit cards (I mentioned 2 of them in my original post) that provide points that translate into Statement Credits once you have accumulated $50 worth.

You have to spend zillion $ to get a chocolate bar. Do not use store cc either.

MBNA RWE is a 2% cashback card (that I mention in my post above). Although they position it as 2 points per $1, that actually translates to 2% since it only requires you to obtain 5000 points to get a $50 credit. In other words, after you have spent $2500, you can get a $50 Statement Credit = 2%.

Same goes for the Scotiabank American Express card except in that case, you can only redeem for statement credit towards a past Travel Purchase (Airline, Hotel, Car Rental, or travel booking agency like Expedia/Hotels.com/etc.).

- Walmart MC - 1.25% cash back for purchases at Walmart, 1% elsewhere (accumulated 'cash' can be spend at Walmart Only in $5 increments). Works for me as from time to time we do shop at Walmart.

I'd say the Wal-Mart card is one of the worst cards out there for a number of reasons.
- No purchase protection insurance that most credit cards have
- you only get 1.25% BEFORE TAX at WalMart and 1% back everywhere else

You'd simply be better off getting the American Express Simply Cash card. This provides 1.25% back EVERYWHERE (not just Walmart) and 1.25% back on the total (not the before tax crap). The card also offers 5% cashback on Gas/Groceries during the first 6 months. (No Annual fee).

- RBC Cash Back MC - 2% cash back on purchases at grocery stores and some other percentage cash back for spending elsewhere which I do not care as I never use it 'elsewhere'. Store has to have MCC 5411 to be considered 'grocery store' for RBC. Accumulated cash is available at the end of every year OR you can requested it in increments of $25. Do not know Where it will be deposited (your chequing acct. where you pay your MC or as a credit to MC. Will find in a few days when new statement becomes available as then I will have >$50 and will request $$$ back).

At the very least I don't understand why you are not using the RBC Cash Back MC at Wal-Mart as Wal-Mart does qualify as a grocery store merchant as per Mastercard.

But I'd go better and get the MBNA Smart Cash Card that provides 2% back from both Gas/Groceries (which includes Wal-Mart since its a Mastercard). It is likely better to use both this card and the RBC Card since each card comes with a cap on the 2%.

- CIBC Petro-Canada MC - used to buy gas Only as it provides 2c/L discount at the pump. No matter how much I calculate, no cash back card currently I have can beat 2c/L discount.

You do know that saving 2c / litre is only decent when Gas prices are under $1 / L. Anything over $1 means you are saving less than 2%. There are plenty of cards out there that give much more than 2% back from Gas and are NOT restricted to Petro Canada as the CIBC card is. Example: MBNA Smart Cash (when Gas prices are above $1 / L in comparison to the CIBC Petro Points). CapitalOne Costco Mastercard gives 2% back on Gas (4% during the first 3 months). Scotiabank Momentum Infinite Visa/American Express Gold cards provide 4% back on Gas/Groceries. I believe in President's Choice's new World elite Mastercard gives 3% Back at Esso. There are likely a bunch of others, but those are the ones I know about.

I do not do promotional, limited time, new customer, etc. offers. I do not do cc jump. It is not that it is a hassle but your credit score might not look good (if you care for that).

As you can see, my wallet is pretty thin, having only 2 cc, one Petro-Canada card for additional 5c/L discount, driving licence, health card, public library card and one bank card. No cash, ever. Haven't use cash in ages unless it is a quarter for grocery cart. Haven't used interac in last 10+ years. I might pay cash if it is 'no HST' and similar 'offers'. Oh, yes. And IKEA paper measuring tape is in there, too.

I can see that you are likely happy with your credit card choices and will likely not change them, but do note that you could be obtaining better rewards/cashback by using other cards. Even the cards you do have, you are not using affectively to provide better cashback. Perhaps the above is something you can think about. Good luck!

djino

October 5, 2015
12:36 am
Loonie
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Does anyone know what "category" Costco fits into for credit card billing purposes? I don't have any of the cards that use categories so this is not easy to find out.
Previous research by Norman1 suggested it might be "Wholesale Clubs", which would be 'Other", but I don't think this has been confirmed since they made the switch from Amex to MC.
Can anyone speak from experience?

October 5, 2015
8:45 am
jgclghrn
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Loonie said

Does anyone know what "category" Costco fits into for credit card billing purposes? I don't have any of the cards that use categories so this is not easy to find out.
Previous research by Norman1 suggested it might be "Wholesale Clubs", which would be 'Other", but I don't think this has been confirmed since they made the switch from Amex to MC.
Can anyone speak from experience?

My MasterCard gives a higher rate of return for grocery store purposes. When I use it at Costco, Mastercard does not consider Costco a grocery store so I don't get the higher return rate there. However my card offers a better regular rate of return than the Costco card on my initial $3000 annual spending. Hope this answers your question.

October 5, 2015
8:52 am
djino
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jgclghrn said

Loonie said

Does anyone know what "category" Costco fits into for credit card billing purposes? I don't have any of the cards that use categories so this is not easy to find out.
Previous research by Norman1 suggested it might be "Wholesale Clubs", which would be 'Other", but I don't think this has been confirmed since they made the switch from Amex to MC.
Can anyone speak from experience?

My MasterCard gives a higher rate of return for grocery store purposes. When I use it at Costco, Mastercard does not consider Costco a grocery store so I don't get the higher return rate there. However my card offers a better regular rate of return than the Costco card on my initial $3000 annual spending. Hope this answers your question.

I don't think it does.

I believe Loonie wants to know the exact merchant code or Category so that when he obtains the new Tangerine Cashback Mastercard which allows a client to specify which categories qualify for the 2%, he can select that category/merchant code . Knowing ahead of time What category Costco falls into would benefit someone who shops there and pays with this card as it has no annual fee and still can obtain 2% on their Costco purchases.

djino
"At least that is what I believe is the reason Loonie wants to know. *shrugs*"

October 5, 2015
10:28 am
jgclghrn
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This might not help either but on my MasterCard statement Costco is listed as a "Retail & Grocery" category (no number though). Although as I mentioned it wasn't considered a Grocery store for the purposes of getting a higher reward. On my old AMEX yearly summaries Costco is considered Merchandise - Retail.

I also found this list that looks like a list MasterCard uses. Look under "Retail Stores". However, I guess you may have to talk to Costco or Mastercard to see exactly what category is used.

Merchant Category Codes

October 5, 2015
3:15 pm
Loonie
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Actually, djino was one step ahead of me!

I was only looking to see what peoples' experience had been thus far, since Costco entered into agreement with MC.
But it is also true that one might speculate about whether it would be possible to get Costco to count as one of Tang's 2 or3 specified categories.

It sounds like Costco is still not counted as a grocery store. The categories that jgclghrn has identified on his statement are, I think, too general to be useful, and are intended more for people who must track expenses by categories for some reason.
The 4-digit categories identified on the link, however, are probably what is used to determine the rebate categories.

Norman1's previous research on another thread, based on an IRS site (these codes are international, it seems, and appear to be common to both MC and Visa), showed that Costco was a "Wholesale Club", merchant code category 5300. This corresponds to the link that jgclghrn has found. We also see from this list that "grocery" is 5411, which corresponds to what JustMe reported above in regards to RBC card.

So, in conclusion, it seems likely that only 5411 Grocery counts as "Grocery" and that 5300 Wholesale Club (Costco) would not count as "Grocery". This is annoying because, like a lot of people, I buy most of my groceries there and don't buy a lot of non-grocery items at Costco. Loblaw's will likely continue to count as 5411 even if all you buy is clothes, kitchenware and garden supplies!

And, while I'm complaining, what is the point of Costco sponsoring a card which gives such a poor rebate for Costco purchases? One is better off using any of a number of other MC's. They could have done a lot more for customer loyalty. However, I'll take the 3% on restaurants, which, as far as I know, are not owned by Costco.

So, the next question, following djino's line of thought, is how Tangerine will configure the categories. It seems likely that they will follow the pattern used by other cards - gas / grocery / recurring payments / drugstore etc. However, if they allowed us to choose our own codes instead, I know I would choose 5300.

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