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Updated: November 02, 2023

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware that some (or all) products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware this post may contain links to products from our partners. We may receive a commission for products or services you sign up for through partner links.

Quick overview

The BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* is a low-interest credit card designed to help you build your credit score and pay off any credit card debt. It’s all thanks to its 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for nine months with a 2% transfer fee. While it does charge a $29 annual fee, it’s waived in the first year. 

Who is the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* best suited for?

You need a fair to good credit score (575+) to qualify for this card. Once you’re a card holder, you can build your credit score quickly with a balance transfer, low interest rates and quality credit card protections without a high annual fee. 

Pros and cons of the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®*



  • Low-interest rate: Offers a competitive purchase interest rate of 13.99%.
  • Balance transfer offer: Introductory interest rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for the first nine months.
  • First-year annual fee waiver: The $29 annual fee is waived for the first year.
  • BMO PaySmart™ Installment plans: Turn new credit card purchases into small, interest-free monthly payments with a small fee.
  • Additional cardholder: You can add an additional cardholder for free


  • No rewards: Your focus is paying down debt, not collecting miles.
  • Foreign transaction fee: Charges a 2.5% fee on foreign transactions.
  • Balance transfer fee: While normal, it’s a bit painful to have to fork over a 2% fee on balance transfers.

Welcome bonus

  • Introductory offer: 0.99% interest rate on balance transfers for the first nine months with a 2% transfer fee.
  • Annual fee waiver: The $29 annual fee is waived for the first year. (If you open a BMO performance chequing account, this annual fee is always waived). 

Key benefits

  • Low-interest rate: Competitive purchase interest rate of 13.99%.
  • Balance transfer: 0.99% interest rate for nine months helps you pay down debt faster. 
  • Zero Dollar Liability: Protection against unauthorized use of the card.

Insurance coverage

  • Purchase Protection: Provides coverage for eligible items in case of theft or damage.
  • Extended Warranty: Extends the manufacturer's warranty on eligible purchases.


  • For an extra fee, you can access services like Credit Card Balance Protection and BMO Roadside Assistance. 

How the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* compares

The BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* falls into the low-interest credit card category. When comparing it to other cards in this category, it's essential to consider the interest rate, annual fee and any additional perks or benefits.

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* vs. MBNA True Line Mastercard

If you’re looking for a balance transfer credit card, it’s hard to beat the MBNA True Line Mastercard. This is because of its 0% promotional annual interest rate (with a 3% transfer fee) for the first 12 months, instead of 0.99% for only nine months with BMO. MBNA may require a few more credit score points (~650+), but it also charges no annual fee. This makes it a strong contender for those looking for the best balance transfer card with a lower APR. If you can afford a $39 annual fee, check out the MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard that charges a mere 8.99% on interest. 

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* vs. Scotiabank American Express Platinum Card

Charging only 9.99% interest on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers, the Scotia Amex Platinum card is a fantastic low interest rate credit card that also earns rewards (and until October 31, 2024, gives you a welcome bonus of 60,000 Scene+ points). It can’t all be great news—the card’s annual fee is $399. So if you’re looking at the Amex for travel and low interest rates, consider if you like the Scene+ program, as you’ll have to transfer points to another card if the annual fee becomes too much. 

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard vs. BMO Prepaid Mastercard®*

Why not avoid interest rates altogether? With a BMO Prepaid Mastercard®*, there’s no interest rate on purchases or cash advances, and all for a small annual fee. However, it’s because you’re loading up the card with your money so you can use a credit card to spend, no one is loaning you any money. 

Prepaid credit cards don’t help build your credit score, but it certainly keeps your spending in check because you can only spend the money you load onto the card. 

Is the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* worth it?

Given its low-interest rate, balance transfer offer and the first-year annual fee waiver, the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* is a solid choice if you’re looking to save on interest. However, if you’re looking for extensive rewards or benefits, there are better options available.


  • How does the balance transfer offer work?


    For the first nine months, cardholders can benefit from a 0.99% interest rate on balance transfers. There's a 2% transfer fee, but this can result in significant savings compared to high-interest credit cards.

  • What credit score is needed for the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®*?


    While the card is accessible to those with fair credit scores (ranging from 575-749), having a good credit score can increase the chances of approval.

  • Are there any foreign transaction fees?


    Yes, the card charges a 2.5% foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside of Canada.

About our author

Tyler Wade
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 He was the host and producer of the Real Money Talk podcast. He's the father of two, husband to one, and loves all things tiny.


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