MBNA True Line Mastercard Review - MoneySense

MBNA True Line Mastercard Review

A closer look at one of the best balance transfer offers and low-fee credit cards in Canada.


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Nobody wants to carry a credit card balance but large purchases, emergencies or unforeseen expenses can throw an ugly blotch onto even the most organized Canadian’s financial picture. At these times it’s crucial to act fast and have a plan to pay down your debt before it grows out of control. Moving your debt to a low interest card, preferably with a great balance transfer offer, is the first line of defence. With its low 12.99% purchase interest rate and 0% balance transfer for 12 months, could the MBNA True Line Mastercard be the best offer in Canada? We dig in to the details.

Quick Card Facts

MBNA True Line Mastercard

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Welcome offer: 0.00% interest on balance transfers for 12 months (a 3.00% transfer fee applies; minimum $7.50 fee, which is the equivalent of 3.00% on a $250 balance transfer)
  • Purchase interest rate: 12.99%
  • Income requirement: None
  • Best feature: The MBNA balance transfer offer is unusually long, offering a full year interest-free, after which time any remaining debt returns to the card’s low standard annual interest rate of 12.99%.
  • Who it’s good for: This card works well for people who tend to carry a month-to-month balance or who are looking for ways to pay down their past credit card debt.

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MBNA True Line Mastercard 

Four things you need to know about the MBNA True Line Mastercard 

1. This card has an excellent balance transfer offer

When you sign up as a new cardholder, you’re eligible for the card’s 0% balance transfer offer for a full 12 months. This means you can transfer debt from another, higher-interest card—and they will all have a higher interest!—and accumulate no interest charges for a full year. With most other cards, balance transfer offers last around six to nine months, but the MBNA True Line gives you a real chance to pay down your debt. To take advantage of the offer, you have to transfer your debt within 90 days of opening your account. Be aware that while there is no interest for a year, there is a balance transfer fee of 3.00% of what you move, with a minimum fee of $7.50, which is the equivalent of 3.00% on a $250 balance transfer. Note that for residents of Quebec, the balance transfer offer is 0.99% for 10 months.

2. The standard annual interest rate is very competitive

Most credit cards charge a regular interest rate of around 19.99%, while the MBNA True Line Mastercard charges 12.99%, translating to everyday savings to the tune of 7.00% on unpaid balances. This means that new purchases accumulate interest at a lower rate and, perhaps even more importantly, balance transfers that are not fully paid off in the allotted 12 months at 0% revert to a lower regular rate as well. Quebec residents should note that the card offer differs in la belle province: the purchase interest rate is 14.99%.

3. It has no annual fee

Most low interest cards carry a fee, so you’re paying for the privilege of a lower rate. Not so with the MBNA True Line Mastercard. With no annual fee, you can keep more money in your pocket (or use it to lower your debt). You can even carry this card as a no-cost back-up in case you need a low interest option.

4. As a no-fee, low-interest credit card, there aren’t any frills

The strength of the MBNA True Line Mastercard is in its ability to save you money, which it does with a low interest rate, no annual fee and a promotional balance transfer period at 0% interest. So don’t expect many frills with this card. Aside from the very standard purchase protection, there are no perks. 

What are the best ways to benefit from this card?

The best way to use the MBNA True Line Mastercard is by taking advantage of the extraordinary balance transfer offer to pay down existing credit card debt. With a full year interest-free, you’ll have the opportunity to make real progress. Although the standard purchase interest rate is also low—12.99%—it’s better to avoid making new purchases during the offer phase, because if you do, you’ll be accumulating interest. Of course, if you have no debt to reduce, the 12.99% rate is very attractive for everyday purchases. 

Are there any drawbacks to the MBNA True Line Mastercard?

This card is a terrific tool for reducing debt, but there are two things to be aware of. First, although the balance transfer promotion is 0% for 12 months, there is a 3.00% balance transfer fee. This is quite standard with this type of offer, but it does mean that you’ll be paying 3.00% of whatever amount you transfer to the card (with a minimum fee of $7.50 charged). As an example, if you transfer $1,000 in debt, you’ll pay $30. Don’t let that deter you, however. You would be paying much more in interest at a regular rate of 19.99%. You can keep your costs down by making your transfer in a lump sum, rather than smaller transfers at a fee of $7.50 each (which you would be charged for a $250 balance transfer). 

The second thing to be aware of is that while the standard purchase interest rate is 12.99%, cash advances accumulate interest at a whopping 24.99%. Do yourself a favour and avoid the cash advance service on this card altogether. 

If you’ve got a debt load you need to reduce, or if you’re after a no-fee, low interest credit card for everyday purchases, the MBNA True Line Mastercard has a lot on offer.

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