MBNA Smart Cash® World Mastercard® Review
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With a tiered system for earning cash back at a competitive base rate, an accelerated rate on gas and groceries, and a boosted rate for the first 6 months, the Smart Cash® World Mastercard® makes it easy to get cash back when you shop—though like the Platinum Plus it does have limitations.
MBNA Smart Cash® World Mastercard® Cashback Structure
The foundation of the Smart Cash® World Mastercard® is its 1.00% cashback rate on all purchases.
When specifically charging gas and groceries to the card, cardholders earn 2.00% on the first $500 spent between these two categories each month—the rate is then reduced to 1.00% until the month is over.
A lucrative welcome bonus works in the same way, with 5.00% cash back earned between gas and groceries for a new cardholder’s first 6 months. But the same $500 limit applies to this promotion—after spending $500 on gas and groceries in one of the first 6 months, the promo rate is reduced to the normal 1.00% base rate until the next month.
- $39 annual fee
- 5.00% introductory cash back†† bonus for the first 6 months on gas and groceries (up to $500 monthly)
- 2.00% cash back‡ on gas and groceries afterwards (up to $500 monthly)
- 1.00% cash back‡ on all other purchases
- Insurance benefits
It’s important to note that MBNA requires applicants to show $60,000 in personal annual income, or $100,000 in combined household annual income to be eligible for the card. A card like the Rogers World Elite Mastercard, which has a comparable income requirement, comes out ahead of the Smart Cash® World Mastercard® in some respects. The Rogers World Elite has no annual fee and a flat cashback rate of 1.75% on everything. This is more than the Smart Cash® World Mastercard®’s 1% flat cashback rate on all purchases, and only slightly less than its 2.00% rate on just gas and groceries.
Scotia’s Momentum Visa might also give the Smart Cash® World Mastercard® a run for its money, with the same $39 annual fee and a 2.00% on gas, groceries, drug stores, and recurring bills as well. This is a greater number of categories where cardholders earn 2% cash back, and with fewer limits. Scotia’s model reduces your cash back to 1.00%, like the Smart Cash® World Mastercard®, but only after spending $25,000 yearly and in each category. With the Smart Cash® World Mastercard®, you’re earning at 2.00% between gas and groceries combined, and with a limit of $6,000 in annual spending ($500 monthly x 12 months).
Who’s the Card For?
The Smart Cash® World Mastercard® is primarily aimed at people who enjoy earning cash back at an accelerated rate on their gas and grocery purchases, and who are game to spend $39 annually to earn 1% rather than 0.5% cash back on all purchases—the primary difference between the Smart Cash® World Mastercard® and the Platinum Plus.
To make up that $39 in terms of cash back, cardholders will need to spend $7,800 (0.50% x $39) more across all their purchases each year. This means that it takes $650 more in monthly spending (in excess of the $500 cap) to break even with a $39 annual fee, if you’re comparing the Smart Cash Platinum Plus® Mastercard® and Smart Cash® World Mastercard®.