MBNA True Line vs CIBC Platinum Visa

MBNA True Line vs. CIBC Platinum Visa, Which Is Better for Balance Transfers?

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Last updated on November 26, 2019 Views: 547 Comments: 0

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Looking for a way to help manage your high-interest credit card debt? Then you might want to consider a balance transfer credit card. A balance transfer credit card is designed to help consumers pay off credit card debt without having to pay high interest levels. These types of credit cards have lower interest rates for a promotional period, but typically come with less benefits compared to traditional credit cards.

There are two stand-out, 0% interest balance transfer cards currently in the Canadian market: the MBNA True Line and the the CIBC Platinum Visa. Both offer 0% interest on balance transfers and we’ll compare them side by side in this article to determine which comes out ahead overall.

MBNA True Line Mastercard vs CIBC Platinum Visa Comparison Chart

 MBNA True Line MastercardCIBC Platinum Visa
Balance Transfer Promotions0% for 12 months0% for 10 months
Transfer Limit100%50%
Post-Promotional Interest Rate12.99%22.99%
Purchase Interest Rate12.99%19.99%
Cash Advance Rate24.99%22.99%
Additional BenefitsNo additional benefitsInsurance suite

Balance Transfer Promotions

The MBNA True Line Mastercard gives consumers a 0% promotional annual interest rate for 12 months on balance transfers completed within 90 days of the account opening. There is a fee of 3% of the amount advanced (minimum fee is $7.5).

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For residents of Quebec, please click here.

The CIBC Platinum Visa has a similar promotion in which cardholders will get a 0% annual interest rate for 10 months with a 1% transfer fee when you apply.

Transfer Limit

Consumers should note that with the CIBC card, cardholders are only able to do a balance transfer of up to 50% of the card’s approved credit limit. For example, say that you have $5000 in credit card debt accumulating 19.99% interest, so you apply for the CIBC Platinum Visa to transfer the balance and take advantage of the 0% interest deal. *But* you are only approved for a $6000 credit limit on the CIBC. This would mean that you can only transfer $3000 worth of your credit card debt over to this new card, which means that you still have $2000 remaining on the original credit card subject to the crushing interest rate.

The MBNA True Line Mastercard, on the other hand, does not have this limit. So if you have $5000 in credit card debt and are approved for a $6000 credit limit, you can transfer the entire sum over to your new card.

 MBNA True Line MastercardCIBC Platinum Visa
Approval Amount$6,000$6,000
Transferable Amount$6,000$3,000
Amount left on original credit card$0$2,000

In this situation, the MBNA True Line Mastercard is the smarter pick since the CIBC Platinum Visa does not allow you to balance transfer the entire amount of your current debt.

If you don’t anticipate the 50% limit maximum being an issue, then the CIBC card’s lower transfer fee may make it a better choice. However, this also hinges on your ability to pay down the balance before the 10-month promotion is over.

Post-Promotional Interest Rates

The 0% annual interest promotional rates offered by the MBNA True Line Mastercardis only valid for 12 months. If your transferred credit card debt has not been paid off within that promotional period, it will be subject to an increased interest rate once the 12 months are up. For the CIBC Platinum Visa (which currently offers only a 10 month 0% rate), this rate is an alarmingly high 22.99%. For the MBNA True Line Mastercard, the rate increases to a comparatively low 12.99%.

Let’s stick with the above example of having $5000 in credit card debt (though in this case we’ll pretend that you can transfer the $5000 to both the CIBC card and the MBNA card). If you can afford to pay $500 per month toward that debt, then no matter which card you choose, you will be able to pay off the entire sum within the 10 or 12 month promotional period and you will only incur $50 in fees on the CIBC card (the 1% transfer fee) and $150 in fees on the MBNA card (3% transfer fee).

However, what if you are unable to make as high a monthly payment as you anticipated, and can only afford a $250 payment per month? Over the 10 or 12 month promotional period you would only pay off $2,500 of your debt on the CIBC and $3,000 on your MBNA True Line credit card, leaving the remaining $2,500 or $2,000 subject to post-promotional interest rates: 12.99% for the MBNA card and 22.99% for the CIBC card.

Not only does the higher post-promotional annual interest rate of the CIBC card mean you will end up paying more in interest than you would with the MBNA card, but it also means that it will take you longer to pay off the credit card debt, thanks to that higher interest rate. You can see the final breakdown in the table below.

 Both cards if paid in the promotional periodMBNA True Line Mastercard after promotional periodCIBC Platinum Visa after promotional period
Monthly Payment Amount$500$250$250
Time to pay off BalanceCIBC - 10 Months
MBNA - 12 Months
21 months22 months
Annual Interest RateCIBC - 0% (for 10 months + 1% fee)
MBNA - 0% (for 12 months + 3% fee)
Total Fees and Interest PaidCIBC - $50
MBNA - $150

If you are unsure that you will be able to pay off the total of your credit card debt within the promotional period, then the MBNA True Line Mastercard stands out as the best choice when considering post-promotional interest rates.

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For residents of Quebec, please click here.

Purchase Interest Rate

Outside of balance transfers, please note that any additional purchases made on these credit cards will be charged at the cards’ respective purchase interest rates. For the MBNA True Line Mastercard, this is 12.99% (same as the card’s post-promotional balance transfer interest rate). For the CIBC Platinum Visa, the purchase interest rate is significantly higher at 19.99%.

While you may not want to purchase additional items on this credit card while you are paying back your credit card debt, the lower purchase rate of the MBNA True Line Mastercard is a good deal considering most other standard credit cards have a rate of 19.99%. This makes it a worthwhile low-interest credit card to have on hand, even after the promotional period expires.

Additional Benefits

When it comes down to comparing the MBNA True Line vs CIBC Platinum Visa in terms of benefits outside of interest rates, there’s a clear winner: CIBC Platinum Visa. Unfortunately, the MBNA True Line Mastercard doesn’t have any additional benefits to offer aside from its low interest rates. The CIBC Platinum Visa includes auto rental collision and loss damage insurance, $500,000 common carrier accident insurance for travel, as well as purchase security and extended warranty insurance.

MBNA True Line or CIBC Platinum?

So, between the MBNA True Line Mastercard vs. the CIBC Platinum Visa card, which one stands out as the winner?

If the amount you’d like to transfer is on the larger side, the MBNA True Line card comes out on top, since you’ll be allowed to transfer up to your entire approved credit limit and you’ll pay a much lower interest rate after the promotional period ends. This is the card to go for if you’re not 100% confident that you’ll pay off your entire card balance within the 10-month promo period.

On the other hand, the CIBC Platinum Visa card could be the better choice if you definitely plan on paying off your entire balance transfer within 10-months, since you get additional benefits and a lower transfer fee. Remember, with the CIBC card you can only transfer up to 50% of your approved card balance, so it would only be a smarter pick if the amount you’re going to balance transfer is relatively low.

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