Best Mastercard credit cards in Canada

🗓️

Updated: June 12, 2024

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Of the three major credit card processors in Canada, Mastercard is particularly popular due to its near universal acceptance rate among merchants. Some stores even have exclusive Mastercard partnerships—a Mastercard is a necessity for those who often shop at Costco in Canada, where Visa and Amex are not accepted. Fortunately there are a wide variety of Canadian Mastercards to suit nearly every income level, habitual purchase category, and reward type preference.

Summary of picks

Summary of the best Mastercard credit cards in Canada

Best Canadian Mastercards Best for Get started
BMO CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®* High earn rates on everyday spending categories Apply now
BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®* Value for travel Apply now
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard No annual fee and flexible point redemption Apply now
Tangerine World Mastercard® Cash back, no annual fee Apply now
MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard Costco purchases Apply now
BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* Air Miles Apply now
PC® World Elite Mastercard® Groceries and drugstore purchases (Loblaws, No Frills, Shoppers) Apply now
MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® Low interest Apply now
BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students Students Apply now
Best overall

Best Mastercard in Canada

BMO CashBack® World Elite® Mastercard

Apply now

up to 10%

Excellent

Get up to 10% cash back in your first 3 months and the $120 annual fee waived in the first anniversary*.

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

Groceries: 5% cash back up to $500 spent per month ($25 in cash back)*

5%

Transit: 4% cash back up to $300 spent per month ($12 in cash back)*

4%

Gas: 3% cash back up to $300 spent per month ($9 in cash back)*

3%

Recurring Bills: 2% cash back up to $500 spent per month ($10 in cash back)*

2%

Everything Else: 1% cash back, unlimited*

1%

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

23.99%

Cash Advance APR

23.99%

Annual Fee

$120

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.90%

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Required Annual Household Income

$150,000

Pros

  • Valuable sign-up bonus

  • High 5% cash back rate on groceries

  • Free roadside assistance

  • Excellent extended warranty and purchase protection terms

Cons

  • Restrictive spending limits for most cash back categories

  • Sign-up bonus structure is head-scratchingly complicated

  • High minimum income requirements

  • Why the CashBack World Elite wins best Canadian Mastercard

    +

    Selecting a premium cash back card as the best Mastercard credit card in Canada might seem strange, but the value provided by the BMO CashBack® World Elite® Mastercard is simply impossible to ignore.

    That’s because of its rewards rate. It’s the highest cash-back offer on groceries in Canada at 5%. Everyone buys groceries. It's 4% cash back on transit (rideshare, taxis, public transit) ain't bad either. Another 3% cash back on gas, and 2% on recurring bills and 1% on everything else—that's a top Mastercard.

    And just because it's a cash back card, doesn't mean BMO skimps on travel with $2 million in emergency medical insurance and a complimentary membership to Mastercard Travel Pass by DragonPass (you'll still have to pay per use to access the airport lounges). Plus cardholders enjoy free membership in the Dominion Automobile Association (DAA) and the benefits of their BMO Roadside Assistance Program’s basic coverage.

    That unique combination of everyday rewards and premium travel perks and protections makes the BMO CashBack® World Elite® Mastercard an extremely versatile card offer, with that value further increased thanks to the $120 annual fee waived in the first year.

    No fee option: For those looking to avoid an annual fee BMO provides a no annual fee option, the BMO CashBack® Mastercard. This card earns 3% cash back on groceries, 1% cash back on recurring bills*, and 0.5% cash back per $1 spent in every other category*, plus offers basic insurance coverage and discounts on fuel at Shell gas stations.

    *Terms and conditions apply

    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.

Best travel

Best travel Mastercard in Canada

BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®

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up to 90K pts

Excellent

Get up to 90,000 points and the annual fee waived in your first anniversary for both the primary cardholder and authorized users.*

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

5x the points for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases*

5x

3x the points for every $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases and recurring bill payments*

3x

1 point for every $1 spent everywhere else*

1x

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

23.99%

Cash Advance APR

23.99%

Annual Fee

$150

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Required Annual Household Income

$150,000

Pros

  • High-value welcome offer

  • Flexible airport lounge access

  • BMO Rewards points can be used to cover flight taxes and fees

  • Great for those who frequently rent cars

  • Good for Costco and No Frills shoppers

Cons

  • So-so earn rates relative to its annual fee

  • Points have low redemption value compared to other travel rewards programs

  • Charges foreign transaction fees

  • Relatively high minimum income requirements

  • Why the Ascend World Elite wins best travel Mastercard in Canada

    +

    Honestly, it's a tough fought battle between the Ascend Mastercard and the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard.

    You're picking between the BMO Rewards program and the AIR MILES program.

    The welcome bonus: 90,000 Rewards points vs. 2,000 AIR MILES—though it all depends on how you're redeeming your points.

    Where the Ascend comes out on top is their four annual complimentary airport lounge passes (not just the DragonPass Membership) and the 21-days of total travel and medical protection (as opposed to the AIR MILES 15 days).

    Yes, the annual fee is $30 more, but you walk away with more than that in value. Plus, the annual fee is waived in the first year.

    Credit cards with high annual fees and steeper income requirements also give cardholders a greater array of perks. There are few travel Mastercards that can rival the BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®*, which offers a massive welcome bonus of up to 90,000 BMO Rewards points, plus a waiver of the first year’s $150 fee* (on your first anniversary) for both the primary cardholder and authorized users.* That’s approximately $550 in value but other bonuses, like the waiver on the $50 annual fee for the first authorized cardholder*, boost this number to an impressive value in your first year.

    The card also accrues 5x the points for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases,* 3x the points for every $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases and recurring bill payments,* 1 point for every $1 spent everywhere else.* Points can be redeemed on all travel arrangements, including luxury 4-star hotels and airfare. If you can meet the income requirement of $80,000 per year, you’ll also likely spend more per month on the card. For $5,000 per month, at the end of your first year you’ll have accrued enough points to spend 7 nights in an all-inclusive 5-star resort in Mexico, or a flight all the way from Canada to Dubai. During the layover, enjoy one of your four yearly complimentary VIP lounge passes. Last but not least, travellers and their families are protected with World Elite Total Travel and Medical protection package from BMO, which represents the cherry on top for this Mastercard.

    *Terms and conditions apply

    †Statement based on a comparison of the redeemable value of the non-promotional travel rewards points earned on premium flexible Canadian credit cards as of May 3, 2022. “Flexible” is defined as points earned when you purchase travel anywhere and “premium” refers to cards with an annual fee of ≤ $150 or has an income requirement of ≤ $150,000 annual individual income.

    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.

Best no fee

Best no fee Mastercard in Canada

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

Apply now

up to 10K pts

Good

Earn 4 points per $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases until $10,000 is spent annually. You could also receive up to 10,000 bonus points.

Get up to 10,000 MBNA Rewards points†† as an introductory bonus (see details below)

10,000

Purchase APR

19.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

22.99%

Cash Advance APR

24.99%

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Accelerated rewards on groceries, restaurants, and more

  • Simple point structure with flexible redemption options

  • Generous introductory bonus of up to 10,000 points

  • No cap on total points earned

Cons

  • Lower cash back redemption rate compared to designated cash back cards

  • Limited benefits beyond rewards

  • Points system may not appeal to cash back enthusiasts

  • Higher earning categories have a spending cap of $10,000 annually

  • Better suited for travel rewards than cash back

  • Why MBNA takes home the best no annual fee Mastercard in Canada

    +

    No annual fee is great standalone feature in a credit card, wo when you combine no fee and solid rewards you have a pretty impressive credit card indeed. The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® shines thanks to the $0 annual fee and the flexibility of point redemption from cash back to travel, gift cards, charitably donations and merch is awesome, too. There's no rush to decide because your points never expire.

    As a bonus, every year you'll receive a Birthday Bonus‡ equal to 10% of the total number of points you earned the year leading up to your big day (max 10,000 points, roughly $50 in value, talk about a Happy Birthday).

    You'll earn 4 points†† for every $1 you spend on eligible restaurants, buying groceries, digital media, memberships, and household utilities, but only for the first 90 days. After that, it's 2 points‡ per dollar.

    They also give you $1,000 in mobile device insurance in the event of loss, theft, damage or mechanical breakdown. Getting insurance coverage for your eligible mobile device (including tablets and cell phones) is standout feature of the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® and something not typically found in no annual fee credit cards.

    ‡, ††, ✪, ***, Terms and Conditions apply.

    This offer is not available for residents of Quebec.

    Sponsored advertising. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) and TD is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information on this MBNA credit card, please click on the “Apply Now” button.

    The Toronto-Dominion Bank is the issuer of this credit card. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank. ®MBNA and other-trademarks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Best cash back

Best cash back Mastercard in Canada

Tangerine World Mastercard®

Apply now

max 10% back

Fair

about new welcome offers by email

Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (e.g. groceries, restaurants, gas, entertainment, recurring bill payments and more)

2%

Get a Tangerine Savings account and get a 3rd 2% cash back category.

3

Boingo Hotspot membership for Wi-Fi at airports and on planes

1

A DragonPass membership to airport lounges (no passes)

1

Mobile device insurance up to $1,0000

$1000

Purchase assurance and extended warranty protection up to $60,000 lifetime

$60,000

Purchase APR

19.95%

Balance Transfer Rate

1.95%

Cash Advance APR

19.95%

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

Recommended Credit Score

Fair

Required Annual Personal Income

$50,000

Required Annual Household Income

$80,000

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Unlimited money-back rewards

  • High 2% earn rate

  • Exclusive experiences through MasterCard

Cons

  • $50,000 minimum income requirement

  • Travel insurance would be a welcome addition to the travel-related benefits

  • Why the Tangerine World is better than the Tangerine Money-back for cash back

    +

    Don't get me wrong. There are all kinds of reasons to love the Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard.

    Side by side, neither card charges an annual fee, they have the exact same welcome offer, unlimited money-back rewards on categories of your choosing, too.

    The Tangerine World Mastercards also includes Boingo Wi-Fi access, credit card car rental insurance, mobile device insurance, and a Mastercard Travel Pass by DragonPass (though you'll need to pay per visit, at least your membership fees are covered)*.

    So, why wouldn't everyone go for the card with more perks? Two words: Income requirements. The Money-Back card doesn't need much in the way of credit score and a minimum income requirement of $12,000 whereas the World Mastercard requires a good credit score and at least $60k personal or $100k household income per year.

    *Terms and Conditions apply

Best Costco

Best Mastercard for Costco

MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard

Apply now

30,000 pts

Good

Earn up to 30,000 bonus MBNA Rewards Points†† for cash back, gift cards and more.

MBNA offers up to a 30,000-point welcome bonus

30,000

You get five points‡ per dollar spent on groceries, restaurants, digital media, memberships, and household utilities

5

All other purchases outside those categories earn one point per $1 spent.

1

Purchase APR

19.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

22.99%

Cash Advance APR

24.99%

Annual Fee

$120

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Required Annual Household Income

$150,000

Pros

  • High earn rates: Up to 5 points per $1 on groceries, restaurants, digital media, memberships, utilities

  • Generous welcome bonus of up to 30,000 points, covering first-year annual fee

  • Points never expire, flexible redemption options including travel and statement credit

  • Birthday bonus: Up to 15,000 points annually, 10% of points earned in the previous year

  • Comprehensive benefits: Price protection, purchase assurance, extended warranty, travel insurance

Cons

  • High income requirements: $80,000 personal or $150,000 household income

  • Annual fee of $120 after the first year

  • Travel insurance package not as robust as other cards at similar price points

  • Why MBNA beats out the CIBC Costco Mastercard

    +

    The average rate of return on the MBNA card is better. The CIBC Costco card gives you 3% cash back on Costco gas and restaurants and 2% cash back on gas elsewhere. But no big rewards for your impulse buys at Costco?

    You'll also need a Costco membership to apply, which in all honesty, you'll still need if you plan on shopping at Costco anyway. Oh, the CIBC card is not a true cash back card. Your "rewards" are paid out once per year in the form of a rebate coupon to be used when you checkout.

    So, we recommend the MBNA Rewards World Elite where you can earn 5 points for every $1 on restaurants, groceries, and recurring bills. Plus, you'll get the MBNA Birthday points up to a max of 15,000 points (roughly $75) every year.

Best AIR MILES

Best AIR MILES Mastercard

BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®*

Apply now

2,000 miles

Excellent

Get 2,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles and BMO will waive the $120 annual fee for the first anniversary*.

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

Cardholders earn an accelerated 3x the Miles per $12 spent at participating AIR MILES partners*,

3x

2x the Miles for every $12 spent at any eligible grocery store*

2x

reward mile for every $12 in credit card purchases, everywhere you spend*

1x

discount on one worldwide AIR MILES flight redemption during the calendar year.*

25%

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

23.99%

Cash Advance APR

23.99%

Annual Fee

$120

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Required Annual Household Income

$150,000

Pros

  • Offers the largest Air Miles sign-up bonus on the market with a waived annual fee for the first anniversary*

  • High earn rates of up to 3x the Miles on eligible purchases

  • Exclusive travel discounts like 25% off one worldwide AIR MILES flight redemption annually

  • Airport lounge access through complimentary Mastercard Travel Pass membership

  • Comprehensive insurance package which covers medical, trip, flight delay, lost luggage and more

  • Additional Perks include Boingo Wi-Fi, BMO Concierge, digital subscriptions, and cash back promotions

Cons

  • An $80,000 personal/$150,000 household income is needed to qualify

  • Ideal for AIR MILES loyalists, may not suit those with a casual approach

  • The fixed redemption value for flights may not appeal to everyone

  • Optimal value only when frequently shopping at AIR MILES partners

  • Why we like the AIR MILES World Elite over the no-fee AIR MILES card

    +

    To start, It's the best AIR MILES credit card in Canada. It has this incredible ability to rack up the reward miles—1 mile for every $12 you spend on all your purchases*, double the miles with groceries, and if you happen to shop with Air Miles partners you can get 3x the miles. BMO also gives you an added bonus when redeeming your miles—a 25% discount on required miles once per year*..

    Additionally, the card is loaded with all the insurance. There's travel emergency medical coverage, lost or delayed baggage protection, flight delay insurance, common carrier travel accident insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver for renting cars while travelling, purchase protection, extended warranty and more with the card. Even better, BMO waives the $120 annual fee for the first year*.

    However, there are income requirements: $80,000 personal or $150,000 household. If you don't qualify, consider the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard.

    *Terms and conditions apply

    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.

Best drugstores

Best Mastercard for drugstores

PC® World Elite Mastercard

Apply now

30 pts per $1

Fair

Earn 30 points per $1 spent at PC grocery stores

* 45 points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix

45 points

At least 30 points per litre of gas purchased at Esso™ or Mobil™ stations

30 points

At least 30 points per $1 spent on PC Travel services

30 points

30 points per $1 spent at Loblaw Banner Grocery Stores (includes Loblaws, No Frills, Valu-Mart, Independent Grocers, Zehrs, Real Canadian Superstore, Fortinos, etc.)

30 points

Purchase APR

21.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

21.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.97%

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit Score

Fair

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • High earn rates in certain stores

  • Easy, straightforward redemptions

  • Points don’t expire provided your account stays active and in good standing

  • Special events allow you to earn extra points

Cons

  • High income requirement to qualify

  • Accelerated earn rates are limited to certain partner stores, and points can be redeemed only for purchases within Loblaw banner stores

  • Points can’t be transferred to other loyalty programs

  • The included travel insurance is very limited

  • Why PC wins for the best pharmacy and drugstore rewards Mastercard

    +

    While pharmacy and drugstore rewards aren't as common in Canada as they are in the US, that doesn't mean there aren't great offers available north of the border. While pharmacy and drugstore rewards are not as common in Canada as in the US, there are still great offers available. Whether you're buying over-the-counter medications, filling prescriptions, or frequently purchasing wellness supplies, the right credit card can help you maximize your earnings and maybe even get a little closer to your next dream getaway.

    The PC® World Elite Mastercard® is one of Canada’s best credit cards for earning back on drugstore, and is a particularly good option for those who are allergic to annual fees and who shop regularly at Loblaw banner stores, like Loblaws, No Frills, and Real Canadian Superstore.

    The card earns an impressive * 45 points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix locations, plus30 PC Optimum™ points per $1 spent at Loblaw banner grocery stores (a 3% return rate); 30 points per litre of gas purchased at Canadian Esso™ and Mobil™ stations; 45 points per $1 at Shoppers Drug Mart or Pharmaprix; 30 points per $1 on PC travel services; and 10 points per $1 on everything else.

    Sponsored advertising. President’s Choice Financial® Mastercard® is provided by President’s Choice Bank. The PC Optimum™ program is provided by President's Choice Services Inc. President’s Choice Bank is not responsible for the contents of this site, including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information regarding the PC® Mastercard®, PC® World Mastercard®, or PC® World Elite Mastercard®, please click on the “Apply Now” or other applicable button.

Best low APR

Best low interest Mastercard in Canada

MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard

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about new welcome offers by email

8.99% interest rate on purchases and 8.99%✪ on balance transfers

8.99

Purchase APR

8.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

8.99%

Cash Advance APR

24.99%

Annual Fee

$39

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Pros

  • Low interest rate on purchases and balance transfers

  • 24/7 customer service

  • Proactive fraud protection

Cons

  • $39 annual fee

  • Penalty interest rate if minimum payments are missed

  • Why we like MBNA for the Mastercard with lowest interest rate

    +

    If you’re committed to eliminating your credit card debt and are willing to pay a small annual fee in exchange for lower interest, the MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® is a top choice. The card offers competitively low rates on balance transfers, 8.99%✪, and purchases, 8.99%, which could save you hundreds if not thousands over those other high 20%+ interest rates you’re probably paying. These rates afford the cardholder with some ease when it comes to paying down their credit card debt, a feature well worth the card’s $39 annual fee. Just avoid cash advances with this card, as they’re subject to a crushing 24.99% interest rate, which is rather out of step with its low purchase and balance transfer rates.

    Interest rates aside, other notable features for the MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® are relatively scant, though cardholders do benefit from purchase assurance and extended warranty protection.

    ✪, Terms and Conditions apply.

    This offer is not available for residents of Quebec.

    Sponsored advertising. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) and TD is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information on this MBNA credit card, please click on the “Apply Now” button

    The Toronto-Dominion Bank is the issuer of this credit card. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank. ®MBNA and other-trademarks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Best student

Best Mastercard for students in Canada

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for students

Apply now

5% cash back

Good

Get 5% cash back in your first 3 months.*

Earn 3% cash back on groceries

3%

Earn 1% cash back on recurring bill payments like your mobile phone, streaming and subscription services

1%

Earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases

0.5%

Purchase APR

20.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Required Annual Household Income

$0

Pros

  • No annual fee: this makes it cost-effective for students looking to build credit without incurring additional expenses.

  • Earn cash back on everyday purchases, including up to 5% cash back on every purchase in your first three months.

  • Credit building: If you’re responsible, you can build a positive credit history, which helps you get better credit cards and more

Cons

  • Higher interest rates: If you can’t pay off your balance in full, opt for a low interest credit card

  • Limited additional benefits: While there are some benefits, it’s not the full suite of perks, but then again, there’s no annual fee.

  • Why BMO wins the best Mastercard for students

    +

    The BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students offers great cash back rates on groceries but doesn’t charge an annual fee, the perfect combination for students with meagre budgets.

    New cardholders start off earning at a special 5% cash back rate for the first three months, on up to $2,500 in purchases (max $125 in cash back)*. After that you’ll earn 3% cash back on groceries (up to $500 spent on groceries per month); 1% back on recurring bills (up to $500 spent per month); and 0.5% back on everything else*. The card also offers purchase protection* and extended warranty coverage*, rental car discounts*, as well as discounts on Cirque du Soleil shows touring Canada and in Las Vegas*.

    *Terms and conditions apply

    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.

How we chose

How we chose the best Mastercard credit cards in Canada

Here’s a quick breakdown of the features we considered in our selection process:

  • Overall value: We assess a card's annual fee based on its overall value to cardholders, considering average consumer spending and debt levels. Some high-fee cards offer a valuable package that outweighs the fee, but a high fee doesn't always mean useful benefits. We also consider less obvious costs like foreign transaction and balance transfer fees.
  • APR: Cash back and rewards cards usually have APRs between 19.99% and 24.99%. Lower rates are expected from cards in the low interest and balance transfer categories. Certain cards may offer low interest rates for various transaction types, such as purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Rewards: We consider things like the speed and ease of accumulating rewards, as well as the real-world value of rewards points. Evaluations also include the ease of redeeming and transferring rewards.
  • Welcome bonuses: We prioritize a card's long-term value over a sign-up bonus that includes rewards points, enhanced cash back rates, and an annual fee rebate. From this information we can calculate the first-year value of a particular card.
  • Unique features: Cards with added benefits like mobile device or travel insurance, discounts at popular merchants, and airport lounge access have an advantage. These soft values are often overlooked but can make all the difference in whether or not a card is worth it for particular Canadians.
What is Mastercard?

What is Mastercard?

Mastercard is a global payments and technology company that operates a payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments, and businesses in many countries around the world, including Canada.

In Canada, Mastercard is one of the major credit card networks, alongside Visa and American Express. They offer a range of credit card products through various Canadian banks and financial institutions, with different levels of rewards, benefits, and credit requirements. Mastercard credit cards are widely accepted in Canada, both in physical stores and online.

Mastercard in Canada also actively participates in digital payment solutions and innovations. For instance, they have been involved in the development and implementation of contactless payments and mobile payment platforms, like Apple Pay and Google Pay, where Mastercard holders can add their cards to these services for easy and secure payments.

In addition to consumer-focused services, Mastercard provides various business solutions in Canada, including payment processing, data analytics, and cybersecurity services. These are designed to help businesses manage their financial transactions more efficiently and securely.

Visa vs. Mastercard

What is the difference between Visa and Mastercard?

Visa and Mastercard are both major global payment networks, but they differ mainly in the specific benefits and partnerships they offer, rather than in their fundamental function. Both networks provide the infrastructure for processing transactions and are accepted worldwide, but they do not issue cards themselves. Instead, banks and financial institutions issue cards branded with Visa or Mastercard, and these issuers may offer different interest rates, rewards, fees, and benefits.

The differences for consumers often come down to:

  1. 1.

    Rewards and benefits: Each network may have exclusive deals or rewards programs. For example, Visa might offer special access to sporting events, while Mastercard might have different travel benefits.

  2. 2.

    International acceptance: While both are widely accepted globally, in some regions, one might be more prevalent than the other.

  3. 3.

    Security features: Both networks offer fraud protection, but the specifics can vary.

  4. 4.

    Card tiers: Both offer different card tiers (like standard, gold, platinum) with varying benefits.

For most consumers, the differences are minimal in everyday use. The choice between Visa and Mastercard often depends more on the specific card issuer's offer, like the interest rate, annual fee, and rewards, rather than the payment network itself.

FAQs

Frequently asked questions about Mastercard

  • Does Costco accept Mastercard?

    +

    Costco Canada accepts Mastercard credit cards for in-store purchases, reflecting a shift from their earlier exclusive partnership with American Express. Online, Costco.ca may accept a wider range of payment methods.

    How do I activate a prepaid Mastercard?

    To activate a prepaid Mastercard, call the phone number or visit the website provided on the card's packaging. Follow the instructions, usually requiring the card's number and security details. Activation might also involve setting a PIN.

  • How do you pay a Mastercard bill online?

    +

    To pay a Mastercard bill online, log into your card issuer's online banking or mobile app. Navigate to the payments section, select the Mastercard account, enter the payment amount, and choose a funding source (usually a bank account). Confirm the details and submit the payment. Payment processing times vary by issuer.

  • Is Mastercard accepted everywhere?

    +

    Mastercard is widely accepted globally but not everywhere. Acceptance depends on the merchant and location. Some businesses, especially in remote or smaller regions, may prefer other payment methods or specific card networks.

  • Who owns Mastercard?

    +

    Mastercard is a publicly traded company, owned by its shareholders. It is not owned by any single entity, but rather by the collective group of individuals and institutional investors who hold its stock—MA on NYSE.

  • Does Mastercard offer airport lounge access?

    +

    Some Mastercard credit cards may provide airport lounge access through Mastercard. This program is called Mastercard Travel Pass.

    Mastercard Travel Pass is a suite of travel-related benefits and services available to eligible Mastercard cardholders in Canada. The program, provided by DragonPass, aims to enhance your travel experience by offering a range of perks and conveniences. From discounted transportation and accommodation to exclusive access to dining and entertainment options, Mastercard Travel Pass has you covered.

    To check your eligibly, contact your card issuer or review your credit card's terms and conditions.

  • What are the tiers of Mastercard in Canada?

    +

    Mastercard currently offers 3 distinct tiers: Mastercard (basic tier, sometimes with no annual fee or a low annual fee), World Mastercard (mid-range, often with an annual fee) and World Elite Mastercard (premium tier, best perks, highest annual fees).

  • Can you use a Mastercard to get cash with your purchase?

    +

    According to Mastercard, cash with purchase is a service offered by select retailers. This service allows cardholders to that allows consumers to get cash back from their debit card when making a purchase. However, this service is not allowed with credit cards.

  • What is Mastercard contactless?

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    Mastercard contactless is a tap & go payment option that lets you pay for your purchases without contact - a popular option in the post pandemic world. Contactless payment adds an additional layer of security as you don't have to hand over your card to the merchant.

Nathan Siegel has a professional and educational passion for finance, and is a long-time writer for GreedyRates. He follows trends in the Canadian banking sector, compares competing products, and pours over fine print to make personal finance choices easier for Canadian consumers. In his spare time he loves running, swimming, and dogs of all kinds.

Tyler Wade Content strategist & writer

Tyler Wade has worked in personal finance for over 5 years writing for brands like Ratehub, Forbes, KOHO, and now Money.ca.

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