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Fact Checked: Amy Tokic

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Updated: December 27, 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 MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard might be the card for you if you frequently spend on gas and groceries  – and, really, who doesn’t spend a lot on gas and groceries these days? It offers a decent welcome bonus: 5% cash back in those categories for the first six months (capped at $500 monthly), transitioning to 2% thereafter, and 1% on all other purchases. And with a modest annual fee of $39 and no extra charge for up to nine additional cardholders, it's an affordable way to build up some cash back.

Key perks include the Rental Vehicle Collision Damage Waiver Benefits, providing valuable car rental insurance, and the MBNA Payment Plan, which helps manage larger purchases by breaking them into monthly payments. The Price Protection Service is another unique feature, offering refunds on price differences for eligible items.

However, this card isn’t perfect – but what card is? The high income requirement means it’s only accessible to those who make $60,000 a year personally or $100,000 as a household. The interest rates are less-than-stellar and the $500 monthly cap on higher cash back rates for gas and groceries might restrict benefits for heavy spenders in these categories.

Who is this card for?

You'll find the MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard particularly beneficial if you frequently spend on gas and groceries – these categories are where you’ll get the most bang for your buck in terms of cash back rewards. You’ll also need to meet the income requirements ($60,000 personal or $100,000 household) to qualify for this card. It might be ideal if you're budget-conscious, typically pay off your balance each month to avoid high-interest rates, and appreciate perks like rental car insurance and the option to add multiple authorized users without additional fees.

MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard pros and cons

Pros

Pros

  • Welcome Bonus: Accelerated cash back rate during the initial six months of account opening

  • Above-average cash back rates after the initial six months bonus offer - up to 2% cash back on eligible purchases

  • The first additional card comes with no extra fee, making it a good option for families.

  • Rental Vehicle Collision Damage Waiver - beneficial for those who frequently rent cars.

  • Price Protection Service

  • Low annual fee

Cons

Cons

  • High income requirement

  • High-interest rates mean carrying a balance can be expensive – and quickly negate the benefits of earning cash back.

  • Monthly spend cap on higher cash back rate

  • Limited insurance benefits

  • Welcome Bonus cap

  • Regional variations in interest rates

Welcome bonus

  • Earn 5% cash back on gas and groceries for the first six months (up to $150 cash back).
  • The bonus is capped at a total spend of $500 per month in these categories.
  • After reaching the $500 monthly cap, purchases revert to the base earn rate.
  • The welcome bonus is applicable only in the first year.
  • Bonus MBNA Dollars are posted 8 to 10 weeks from the transaction date.

How to earn points

  • Earn 2% cash back on gas and groceries after the initial six-month period.
  • $500 monthly spend cap on the 2% cash back rate for gas and groceries.
  • Once the cap is reached, gas and groceries earn at the base rate.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases without a cap.

Key benefits

  • Attractive welcome bonus of 5% cash back on gas and groceries for the first six months.
  • Competitive cash back rates on everyday spending categories like gas and groceries.
  • No fee for adding up to nine authorized users, ideal for families.
  • Includes rental vehicle collision damage waiver benefits, adding value for travelers.

Insurance coverage

  • Rental Vehicle Collision Damage Waiver: Coverage for damage or theft of rental cars, with certain conditions and exclusions.
  • Price Protection Service: If you make a purchase with your card, and find it somewhere else in Canada for cheaper within 60 days of purchase, you may qualify for a refund. Up to a maximum of $500 per year and $1,000 per account.

Extras

  • MBNA Payment Plan: This allows you to manage large purchases by breaking them down into monthly payments. You can choose from three Payment Plan terms: 6, 12, or 18 months. This can be a great tool for budgeting and managing large expenses without the annoyance and expense of high interest rates.
  • Save with Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car: Up to 10% of base rates in North America and 5% internationally. 

How this card compares

MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard vs. Tangerine World Mastercard

When choosing between the MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard and the Tangerine World Mastercard, consider your spending habits. The MBNA card offers 2% cash back on gas and groceries for the first $500 spent monthly, and 0.5% on other purchases. In contrast, the Tangerine card allows you to choose two categories for 2% cash back and 0.5% on all other purchases. If your major expenses align with the Tangerine card's customizable categories, it might be more beneficial – though having to choose your categories may be annoying. The Tangerine card gets a leg up on the MBNA card because it has no yearly fee. It also has more flexibility with its rewards. 

MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard vs. BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard

We won’t beat around the bush here: the BMO card is the winner in terms of cash back rewards. Where MBNA offers 2% on gas and groceries, BMO offers 5% on groceries, 3% on gas, 4% on transit, and 2% on recurring bills. However, the BMO card has a significant annual fee of $120 (though it is waived for the first year). The high fee of the BMO card is only worth it if you spend enough to offset the cost with earned rewards. The MBNA card, with its lower fee, might be more appealing for those who prefer a simpler, cost-effective option. 

MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard vs. Neo Credit Card

The Neo Credit Card offers 5% cash back when you shop with their partners and 1% on gas and groceries. The fact that Neo’s rewards vary by partner might limit its effectiveness depending on where you shop. The MBNA card offers more predictability with its fixed categories. The Neo card does have an advantage in that it has no annual fee.

Is the card worth it?

If you frequently spend on gas and groceries, the MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard could be a smart choice for you. With this card, you earn 2% cash back on these categories for up to $500 in monthly spending, and 1% on all other purchases. The welcome offer is particularly appealing: you get 5% cash back on gas and groceries for the first 6 months, up to the same monthly cap, which can significantly boost your initial rewards.

The card's annual fee is $39, relatively low and potentially offset by the cash back you earn, especially if your spending aligns with the card's bonus categories. You also benefit from perks like rental car insurance and the MBNA Payment Plan, which adds value to your everyday spending.

However, consider the $500 monthly cap on higher cash back rates. If your monthly spending in gas and groceries exceeds this, your additional spending earns at a lower rate. Also, the 1% return on other purchases is modest compared to some other cash back cards.

In essence, if your spending habits match the card's reward structure and you can make the most of its additional benefits, the MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard stands out as a worthwhile option for you.

FAQs

  • How does the MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard work?

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    The MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard rewards you with cash back on your everyday purchases. You earn 2% cash back on gas and grocery purchases up to a monthly spend of $500, and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases. In the first six months, you enjoy a welcome bonus of 5% cash back on gas and groceries, capped at the same monthly limit. The cash back you earn is credited to your account, which you can use to offset your card balance or redeem in other ways as per the card's terms.

  • Is the MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard switching to Visa?

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    As of the latest information available, there are no public announcements or indications that the MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard is switching to a Visa card. It remains a Mastercard product, offering the benefits and features associated with Mastercard.

  • What is the annual fee for the MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard, and is it worth it?

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    The MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard has an annual fee of $39. Whether this fee is worth it depends on your spending habits. If you spend regularly on gas and groceries, the cash back you earn, especially with the 5% welcome bonus in the first 6 months, can easily offset the annual fee.

About our author

Justin da Rosa
Justin da Rosa, Freelance Writer

Justin is a writer and editor who has been covering personal finance for over 10 years. He's written for companies such as KOHO, Ratehub, BMO, Zoocasa, and Questrade, among others. Justin also created a course in Content Creation, which he taught at York University for four years. When not writing, Justin can be found at a live concert, on the golf course, riding a motorcycle, or sailing.

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