If you frequently shop at Walmart, you may think that the store-branded credit card is your best bet for reaping rewards—but is it? Read on to determine which card is best for your spending habits and lifestyle.
Food photo created by freepik
The mega-retailer Walmart has grown considerably over the years, from its humble origins as a small store in 1960s Arkansas to the worldwide chain it is today. The company’s Canadian history started in 1994, beginning with the acquisition of 122 Woolco stores. A lot has changed in the past 25 years. These days, Walmart Canada operates more than 400 stores nationally, including their discount locations and Supercentres (massive stores offering everything from apparel to home decor to groceries). Additionally, more than 600,000 Canadians visit walmart.ca, the retailer’s online store, every day.
It should come as no surprise that a company with this kind of reach has a financial services arm. Alongside insurance and money transfers, the brand offers a no-annual-fee Walmart Rewards Mastercard. This card is tailored for the brand’s shoppers, who reap rewards when they use it at Walmart. But is it the best option when it comes to collecting rewards? The answer depends on your spending habits and goals. For example, if earning top rewards for grocery purchases is important to you, keep in mind that Walmart Supercentres may not be considered grocery stores for points-collection purposes by certain credit card providers—so it’s important to read the fine print. (For the record, only Mastercard counts Walmart Supercentre purchases as “groceries.”) Read on for more about the Walmart Rewards Mastercard and nine strong alternatives.
Walmart Rewards Mastercard
By allowing you to earn Walmart Rewards Dollars, redeemable at a 1:1 ratio, the Walmart Rewards Mastercard has one of the most straightforward programs around. Purchases made at Walmart (both in-store and online) earn 1.25% back, while spending everywhere else is rewarded at a perfectly respectable 1% in Walmart Rewards Dollars. These Dollars, which are valued at $1 each, can be redeemed in lieu of cash at Walmart. You only need to rack up 5 Rewards Dollars before you can redeem, which means cashing in your points is fast and easy. The card commands no annual fee, and additional cards for family are free, so collectors can rack up their rewards quickly. The company also offers an attractive welcome bonus of up to 25 Rewards Dollars.
The simple earn ratio and redemption process make this feel a bit like a cash back card, but it’s important to understand that Dollars are not dollars. These rewards can only be spent at Walmart stores or at walmart.ca, and therein lies the card’s main weakness. Although Walmart offers a truly broad range of products, some consumers may not like the lack of flexibility.
Annual fee: $0
Earn rate at Walmart: 1.25% back in Walmart Rewards Dollars
General earn rate: 1% back everywhere else
Welcome bonus: Up to 25 Dollars (15 when you make one purchase at Walmart and another anywhere else within 5 days; plus, 10 when you sign up for electronic statements)
This card’s higher cash-back rates can really add up. For $99 annually, the American Express SimplyCash Preferred card will get you 2% back on all purchases, including at Walmart. This means your annual fee will pay for itself after you spend $5,000—and that’s not even taking into account the six-month introductory rate of 5% back (up to $300). This card’s insurance coverage is valuable for those who travel, with included medical, accident, car rental, baggage and burglary protection. Up to nine free supplementary cardholders means that you and your family can really rake in the cash.
Annual fee: $99
Earn rate at Walmart: 2% cash back
General earn rate: 2% cash back on everything else
Welcome bonus: 5% for the first 3 months (up to $300 back); 1.99% interest on balance transfers for the first 6 months
Additional perks: Emergency medical insurance of $5 million for 15 days, lost or stolen baggage protection; car rental theft and damage coverage; American Express Invites membership; up to 9 free supplementary cards.
If you’re looking for a no-annual-fee cash back card, it’s hard to beat this Tangerine product. It allows you to select up to three spending categories where you can earn a very generous 2% back—and groceries is one of them. Purchases at Walmart Supercentres fall into the “groceries” category for Mastercard credit cards, so with that category activated, this product beats out Walmart’s card by 0.75% on every dollar. However, not all Walmart stores are classified as Supercentres, so you may not earn rewards at your local store. All cardholders can choose two categories, but open a Tangerine Savings Account and you’ll earn in a third. All other purchases get 0.5% back, so this card is best for strategic spenders.
Annual fee: $0
Earn rate at Walmart Supercentres: 2% if you chose groceries as a bonus category
General earn rate: 2% cash back on up to 3 categories and 0.5% back on everything else
Welcome bonus: Promotional 1.95% balance transfer interest rate for six months (you’ll be charged a fee of 1% of the value of your balance transfer).
Additional perks: Free cards for authorized users on account; purchase assurance and extended warranty
With no annual fee and a regular cash back rate of 1.5% cash back, Rogers World Elite Mastercard beats the Walmart-branded card by 0.25%. For frequent U.S. travellers and online shoppers, the additional value comes with the 3% cash back on spends made in U.S. dollars. Even taking into account the typical 2.5% foreign transaction fee, this rate gives you back 0.5%. And, making travel even better, it includes travel and rental car insurance. Cash back can be redeemed as a statement credit once yearly or on demand via the Mastercard Pay with Rewards app.
Annual fee: $0
Earn rate at Walmart: 1.5% cash back
General earn rate: 3% on purchases made in U.S. currency; 1.5% on everything else
Welcome bonus: $25 cash back on first purchase within 3 months
Additional perks: Trip interruption and cancellation, out-of-province or -country emergency medical coverage; rental car collision/damage insurance; extended warranty and purchase protection
Income requirement: $80,000 individual, $150,000 household
The MBNA Rewards World Elite gives you equal opportunities to earn points at Walmart as everywhere else—you get 2 points per $1 on all your purchases. Globetrotters will like that points go farthest when redeemed for travel, at $1 per 100 points (compared with $1 per 200 points for cash back). Points can go towards flights of any distance on any airline, anytime; or choose to use them to book accommodations or travel packages via the MBNA online rewards catalogue.
And because it’s a member of the Mastercard family, you can use it to earn points when you shop at arch-rival Costco (it even made our list of the best Costco credit cards.) Sign up by April 30, 2020, to take advantage of a sweet welcome bonus: You’ll bank 20,000 points by spending $2,000 or more with your card within the first 90 days, and an extra 10,000 points by opting for e-statements in the same time frame. There is a $120 annual fee, but because you can add up to 9 more cardholders for free, you can join forces with your partner and family members to rack up points faster. Plus, your points will never expire. In addition to travel and cash back, you can redeem points towards charitable donations, gift cards and merchandise.
Annual fee: $120
Earn rate at Walmart: 2 MBNA Rewards Points per $1
General earn rate: 2 MBNA Rewards Points per $1
Welcome bonus: Receive 20,000 bonus points by purchasing $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of becoming a new cardholder; sign up to receive electronic statements instead of paper during the same time frame and you’ll receive an additional 10,000 bonus points
Additional perks: free to add up to 9 additional card users; purchase assurance; savings on auto rentals through Avis Rent a Car and Budget Rent a Car
This card gets the nod for its strong offer of 3 TD Points per $1 on everyday purchases—including at Walmart. What does that mean in terms of getting you to your next destination faster? When you redeem points for travel on the ExpediaforTD.com online platform, those 3 TD Points get you $0.015 worth of flights, accommodation and more, with no blackout periods. That’s the equivalent of 1.5% per $1 on all your purchases at Walmart and elsewhere. And when you use your card for purchases on the ExpediaforTD.com portal, you’ll earn a whopping 9 TD Points per $1.
Annual fee: $120 (waived for the first year if you apply online by March 2, 2020)
Earn rate at Walmart: 3 TD points per $1
General earn rate: 3 TD points per $1
Welcome bonus: Receive 20,000 TD points when you make your first card purchase
Additional perks: Up to $1-million worth of travel medical insurance; trip cancellation/interruption and delayed/lost baggage insurance; savings on auto rentals from Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car; access emergency cash advances up to $5,000
Cardholders earn points at a rate of 2 Points per $1 spent on gas, restaurant and grocery purchases (up to $5,000 per year per category), including at Walmart Supercentres. Other purchases made at Walmart Supercentres is also at a 2 Points/$1 earn rate, and 1 Point per $1 spent everywhere else—and with each Point worth up to $0.01 when redeemed for travel rewards, you’re seeing a return of up to 2% on spends at Walmart. The welcome bonus of up to 10,000 Points gets you off to a great start.
When it comes to redemption, flexibility is the name of the game: MBNA Rewards Points can be redeemed for cash back, travel merchandise and gift cards. They can even be used towards charitable donations.
Unlike other no-annual-fee cards, this product includes an almost unheard-of suite of insurance products. In addition to the usual extended warranty and purchase protection, card holders for the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus have up to $1-million in travel accident coverage, $2,000 in trip interruption insurance, $200,00 in rental car accident coverage and rental car theft and damage coverage.
Annual fee: $0
Earn rate at Walmart: 2 Points for every $1 spent at Walmart Supercentres
General earn rate: 2 Points for every $1 spent on gas, groceries and restaurant purchases (up to $5,000 per year per category), and 1 Point per $1 spent everywhere else
Welcome bonus: 10,000 Points (5,000 after spending $500 within 90 days and another 5,000 when you enrol in electronic statements). Plus, earn 4x Points per $1 on the card’s bonus categories for the first 90 days
Additional perks: Travel accident, trip interruption, car rental theft and damage, accident and personal effects coverage; extended warranty and purchase protection
If you’re carrying a balance for any reason, the very first thing to do is take a look at your options before you’re charged interest at a high rate. You may decide to open up a line of credit or consolidate your debt, but if you decide to transfer your debt to a low-interest card, MBNA is a great option. The MBNA True Line Mastercard offers an interest rate of just 12.99% on purchases; compare this to the 19.89% charged by Walmart. And, to save you even more, this product has a 0% promotional rate for the first 10 months on balance transfers, to help you reduce your debt even more quickly.
Annual fee: $0
Earn rate at Walmart: N/A
General earn rate: N/A
Regular interest rate: 12.995
Balance transfer offer: 0% promotional interest rate on balance transfers for 10 months
Additional perks: Emergency services, including emergency card replacement; trip assistance; discounts at Budget Rent A Car and Avis Rent A Car
The BMO World Elite Mastercard is a rewards card that lets you accumulate rewards you can redeem for travel purchases (such as flights, hotels or cruises), or for merchandise, gift cards or even experiences. Travel, dining and entertainment purchases earn at three BMO Rewards Points per dollar, while everything else—including Walmart spends—gets two BMO Rewards Points per dollar. For Walmart shoppers this is a return of 1.4% on travel rewards, which exceeds the branded store card. With a very generous welcome bonus of 35,000 Points and the annual fee waived in the first year, this is an extremely tempting product, made more so by a comprehensive insurance package and lounge perks.
Annual fee: $150
Earn rate at Walmart: 2 BMO Points per $1 spend (1.4% when redeemed for travel)
General earn rate: 3 Points per $1 on eligible travel, dining entertainment; 2 Points per $1 everywhere else (including Walmart)
Welcome bonus: 35,000 Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months; first year’s annual fee waived
Additional perks: Airport lounge access with four free passes, World Elite Total Travel and Medical Protection which includes emergency medical, car rental, and trip cancellation coverage; and more.
Another contender in the no-fee cash back realm is the American Express SimplyCash. Though this card’s earn rate is slightly lower than the Tangerine card, it matches Walmart’s and is applied to purchases everywhere, with no cap. A three-month welcome rate of 2.5% sweetens the deal, along with a decent balance transfer offer of 1.99% interest for six months. Although this is a no-fee card, it does carry a few extras like $100,000 in travel accident insurance and free supplementary cards so you can get your family members earning cash back too.
Annual fee: $0
Earn rate at Walmart: 1.25% cash back
Earn rate: 1.25% cash back on all purchases
Welcome bonus: 2.5% for the first 3 months (up to $150 back); 1.99% interest on balance transfers for the first 3 months
Additional perks: $100,000 travel accident insurance; buyer’s assurance and purchase protection; Front-of-the-Line Entertainment Access; up to 9 free supplementary cards; refer-a-friend bonus of up to $100
Like the American Express SimplyCash card above, the Rogers Platinum Mastercard offers 1.25% back on all purchases with no annual fee. This card might outshine the Amex if you travel often or shop across the border, with 3% back on all purchases in foreign currencies. A 2% rebate on Rogers products and services is a welcome treat, and you can’t go wrong with a $25 cash back reward when you make your first purchase within three months.
Annual fee: $0
Earn rate at Walmart: 1.25% cash back
General earn rate: 3% cash back on foreign purchases; 1.25% cash back on all your spending in Canada
Welcome bonus: $25 cash on first purchase within 3 months
Additional perks: Free additional cards; save on foreign transaction fees
Income requirement: None specified
Overview: Best Credit Cards for Shopping at Walmart:
Rewards at Walmart
American Express SimplyCash Preferred
2% cash back
Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard
2% at Walmart Supercentre locations only
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus
2% in Travel Rewards at Walmart Supercentre locations only
If a link has an asterisk (*) at the end of it, that means it's an affiliate link and can sometimes result in a payment to MoneySense which helps our website stay free to our users. It's important to note that our editorial content will never be impacted by these links. We try our best to look at all available products in the market and where a product ranks in our article or whether or not it's included in the first place is never driven by compensation. For more details read our MoneySense Monetization policy.