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.
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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.
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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.
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 four-month introductory rate of 10% back (up to $400). 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.
General earn rate: 2% cash back on everything else
Welcome bonus: 10% for the first 4 months (up to $400 cash back)
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.
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.
The MBNA Rewards World Elite gives you equal opportunities to earn points at Walmart as everywhere else—you get 5 points per $1 (up to $50,000, combined with other categories, then the earn rate is 1 point per $1 spent). 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 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 nine 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.
Earn rate at Walmart: 5 points per $1 spent (up to $50,000, combined with categories, seen below), then it becomes 1 point per $1.
General earn rate: Earn 5 points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership and household utility purchases until $50,000 is spent annually in the applicable category, and 1 point for every $1 on all other eligible purchases.
Welcome bonus: For the first 90 days, you can get up to 30,000 points (approx. $245 in cash back): 10,000 for registering for paperless e-statements, 20,000 for spending $2,000 in purchases with the card. Plus, earn earn 5 points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership and household utility purchases. (Not available for residents of Quebec.) (Not available for residents of Quebec, instead click here.)
Additional perks: free to add up to 9 additional card users; purchase assurance; savings on auto rentals through Avis and Budget
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.
Welcome bonus: You can earn up to 100,000 TD points (up to $500 value) within the first 3 months of having the card. You’ll earn 20,000 TD points with your first card purchase, then another 80,000 when you spend $1,500 within the first 90 days, for a combined total of 100,000 points. Must apply before October 29, 2022. For Quebec residents, please click here.
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
Income requirement: $60,000 (or $100,000 household)
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 per $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.
Earn rate at Walmart: 2 points for every $1 spent at Walmart Supercentres
General earn rate: 2 points for every $1 spent on groceries and restaurant purchases (up to $5,000 per year per category), and 1 Point per $1 spent everywhere else
Welcome bonus: For the first 90 days, you can get up to 10,000 points (approx. $50 in cash back): 5,000 for registering for paperless e-statements, 5,000 for spending $500 in purchases with the card. Plus, earn 4 points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership and household utility purchases. (Not available for residents of Quebec, instead click here.)
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 12 months on balance transfers, to help you reduce your debt even more quickly.
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 $1, 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 30,000 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.
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.
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.
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