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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

New earning and redeeming structure coming to the no fee BMO CashBack Mastercard on May 1


BMO has revealed to us (and on to everyone on their website) that they are making changes to their no fee BMO CashBack Mastercard. Kicking in on May 1 there are changes both to the earning and burning side of the cash back program.


Earning changes
Currently the card provides 1% cash back on all purchases made with the card however as of May 1 that will change to the following:
    • 3% cash back on eligible grocery purchases, up to a maximum of $500 spent for each statement cycle
    • 1% cash back on eligible recurring bill payments, up to a maximum of $500 spent for each statement cycle
    • 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases
    As you can see they are boosting the earning rate for grocery purchases to 3% with a cap of $500 spent for each statement cycle. That means you can earn $15 cash back each month for groceries, well you can earn more but that's how much you'll get at 3%, the remainder will be 0.5%. So if you spend $1,500 a month on groceries you would receive $20 in total cash back ($15+$5) with the new earning structure. Under the old structure it would be $15. Outside of groceries the card has in fact become worse - well not for recurring bill payments but for everything else. So that will be the key with this card - you need to be mainly putting grocery purchases on it. If you make lots of purchases that do not count as grocery you might be better off with a different card albeit most no fee cash back cards in Canada have similar earn rates - 0.5% for non-category bonus purchases and higher rates in select other categories. So you can see that BMO has made these changes to actually bring the card in line with many of its competitors.

    Redeeming changes
    The changes for cash back redemption have made this card more liquid - that is, it will become easier to redeem for your cash back. The current redemption model for the card requires you to achieve $50 in cash back to redeem for a one-time or recurring redemption. The new model that comes on May 1 allows you to redeem as little as $1 for a one-time redemption or $25 for automatic recurring redemptions. This will move the card up our list in Guide to Credit Card Cash Back Liquidity to the top with the Brim Mastercards.


    Overall I would say the positive changes outweigh the negative changes with the card. Being able to redeem for $1 is great, the 3% return on groceries is great however the 0.5% on all other purchases gets a  👎

    Learn more about the card and the changes here.

    All images via BMO

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