Quick overview of the BMO Prepaid Mastercard

The BMO Prepaid Mastercard, also known as the BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard, is a popular choice among Canadians looking for an alternative to traditional credit cards. 

You get the convenience of a credit card without the need for credit checks, interest rates, or the risk of accumulating debt. Instead, you spend your own money wherever Mastercard is accepted (30 million locations in North America). 

This prepaid card does have an annual fee of $6.95, which is a bare bones cost for using the credit card network. There is no interest rate on purchases because you’re using your own money anyway. Unfortunately, this also means you’re not building your credit history and therefore not improving your credit score. 

Who is the BMO Prepaid Mastercard best suited for?

If you’re looking for a credit card’s convenience (e.g. international travel, dining at restaurants) without a credit check and you want to avoid overspending, this card is a great option. 

Pros and cons

Pros

Pros

  • No credit check or minimum income requirements for approval.

  • Accepted internationally at over 30 million locations.

  • Offers Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty coverage.

  • No interest rates since it's not a credit card.

  • Enhanced security features, including Mastercard’s Zero Liability insurance.

Cons

Cons

  • No rewards or cash back program.

  • Annual fee of $6.95.

  • Various fees, including foreign transaction fee and inactivity fee.

  • Maximum balance limit of $10,000.

BMO Prepaid Mastercard welcome bonus

There is currently no welcome bonus for the BMO Prepaid Mastercard. 

Earn rate

The BMO Prepaid Mastercard does not offer any points accumulation or cashback rewards.

Key benefits

  • Global acceptance: Accepted at over 30 million locations in Canada and abroad.
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty: Offers coverage against theft and damage for 90 days from the date of purchase and extends the original manufacturer’s warranty by up to one additional year.
  • No interest rates: No borrowing involved, so no interest rates to worry about.
  • Mobile app: Allows users to load funds, manage their card, view transaction history and more.

Insurance coverage

  • Purchase protection: Most card purchases are covered against theft and damage for 90 days from the date of purchase.
  • Extended warranty: Extends the original manufacturer’s warranty by up to one additional year, with a combined lifetime maximum of $60,000.

Extras

The BMO Prepaid Mastercard offers additional features such as free credit score monitoring, financial insights to help users understand their spending habits and security features like Mastercard’s Zero Liability insurance and Mastercard Identity Check protection.

How the BMO Prepaid Mastercard compares

The BMO Prepaid Mastercard is a prepaid card. Let’s look at some comparables and other factors to take into consideration when shopping for a credit card like fees, rewards, and additional benefits.

BMO Prepaid Mastercard vs. KOHO Easy Prepaid Mastercard

The KOHO Easy Prepaid Mastercard  is free and you can earn 0.5% interest on your balance, please earn 1% cash back on groceries and transportation. You can also use their Round-Up Savings option to start an automatic savings account. Koho has four plans—Easy is free, Essential is $4 per month but has a credit building feature and you earn more cashback. The Extra plan is $9/month but charges no foreign transaction fees and Everything is $19/month and allows for real-time e-transfers. KOHO is a neo bank and so the card comes with an app to manage all your money including saving up for bigger purchases and helping you budget. 

If you’re looking at the BMO card because you bank with BMO, it may be worthwhile looking at KOHO and shifting all your banking to them to access their full features. 

BMO Prepaid Mastercard vs. Neo Money Card

The Neo Money Card gives you a minimum of 0.5% cash back from 10,000+ partners, including Netflix, Sport Chek and LCBO. According to NEO, on average you’ll earn about 4% cash back every month and there is no limit or maximum you can earn. You also earn 2.25% interest on every dollar in your account. Just like the BMO Prepaid Mastercard, it’s a prepaid credit card, but it also gives you access to the funds in your savings account, similar to the KOHO card. For $4.99 per month, you get 3% cashback on gas and groceries, exclusive offers from Neo’s partners and credit score monitoring. Again, to benefit from the Neo Money Card, you’re better off switching banks entirely to unlock the full features of the card. 

BMO Prepaid Mastercard vs. EQ Bank Card

The EQ Bank Card offers a competitive 2.50% interest rate on savings and 0.5% cash back on all card purchases. It also provides no foreign transaction fees and reimburses all Canadian ATM fees. 

Again, to get the EQ Bank Card, you need to open a savings account first. Then, from your savings account, you can load up your card. BMO does offer a savings account with no monthly fee and a 1.9% interest rate. And as you now know, there is no cash back on their Prepaid Mastercard. For some, the brand name is everything. However,  keep in mind EQ is CDIC insured, they just don’t have brick and mortar branches you can walk into. 

Is the BMO Prepaid Mastercard worth it?

Considering its features, the BMO Prepaid Mastercard is a solid choice for those looking for a prepaid card option. It offers the convenience of a credit card and the assurance of a big bank. 

But its lack of rewards or cashback, and the annual fee and foreign exchange fee hurts a bit given its competitors. 

If you want security, global acceptance, and no interest rates, this card is worth considering (not that the competitors listed above don’t offer similar things).

FAQs

  • What is a prepaid card?

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    A prepaid card is like a gift card that you load with your own money. It allows you to spend up to the amount you've loaded onto the card. Once the balance is depleted, you need to reload it to continue using it.

  • What are the benefits of owning a prepaid card?

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    Prepaid cards offer ease of use, financial security, and protection against unauthorized use. They allow users to manage their spending and avoid the risks associated with credit checks and accumulating debt.

  • Is the BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard only for travellers?

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    No, the BMO prepaid card is good for travel because it’s a Mastercard and therefore accepted around the world. Any Mastercard, Visa and most Amex cards are accepted globally, just be mindful of foreign exchange fees.

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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