RBC Cash Back Mastercard Review

Annual Fee
Purchase Interest Rate
Min Personal Income Required
Recommended Credit Score
740 850 670 739 580 669 0 579
A low introductory interest rate of 1.9% for 10 months on balance transfers and cash advances∆

At a Glance:

  • $0 annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash back on groceries, no limits
  • Earn up to 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
  • Purchase security and extended warranties
  • Added insurance protection
  • Zero liability for fraud

The RBC Cash Back Mastercard offers customers 2% cash back on something we all buy—groceries. The network of stores that participate in this rewards program is large, with Quality Foods, Loblaw, Walmart Superstores, Foodland and many more among the eligible retailers.

Cardholders gain access to this simple and convenient rewards system at no cost, and enjoy a variety of other benefits that RBC chose to attach to the card. These include purchase protection on new items, and extended warranties that increase the time an item is covered by up to a year. Identity theft monitoring, credit monitoring, RBC roadside assistance and more are also available through the card for an added cost.

While missing the super-high earning rates of premium credit cards, cardholders will enjoy regular cash back flowing into their account, and all for free.

Why We Like It:

  1. Freedom from Fees: There are cash back cards out there with similar benefit levels, but they usually impose an annual fee of up to $40 on cardholders.
  2. Earn Rewards Fast: Cash back is earned consistently when shopping for items at the Mastercard network of grocery stores and supermarkets – a group with well over 60 participants. Most Canadians will find their favorite place to shop on this list.
  3. Earn on Everything: When making non-grocery store purchases, the card earns up to 1.00% cash back, depending on how much was spent during the annual year. For those who have spent under $6,000 annually, non-grocery purchases earn cash back at 0.50%, and after this milestone, at 1.00%.
  4. Protecting Purchases: Purchases are covered with insurance against damage and theft for 90 days after purchase, and those products that already come with a manufacturer’s warranty can get the warranty period doubled (for up to a year).
  5. Zero Liability: No cardholder is liable for erroneous or fraudulent charges. This makes the card safe to use and carry everywhere, with no fear that identity theft will result in debts.
  6. Extra Features: Cardholders who want more protective features on their RBC Cash Back Mastercard can access them for an extra fee. Security packages for credit monitoring and identity theft deterrence, travel insurance, RBC roadside-assistance to help stranded drivers, and more are available at an additional cost.

Is It Worth It?

Given its 2% earnings level for grocery purchases, the RBC Cash Back Mastercard might be best-suited for families with large monthly food purchases. The lack of an annual fee and the inclusion of extra features, such as purchase protections and zero liability, give it added value.

Article comments

Janet says:

How is the reward applied. Is it applied as a credit once a year or can you receive the cash (deposit to bank)…please explain. Thanks

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Janet,

Great question—thanks for bringing it to us at GreedyRates! If you’re wondering exactly how your cash back is applied to your account, then here’s what the fine print says about it: “Provided your New Cash Back Balance is $25.00 or more, Cash Back Credits earned during the year will automatically be credited to your January Account balance and appear on your February monthly statement, or be credited to your account at any other time, upon request.”

Essentially, that means you can use your cash back credits whenever you want, as long as you’ve earned more than $25 worth. Just call up RBC or use the handy online portal to transfer the cash back to your account statement, or alternatively just let it run and have RBC automatically apply your credits in February. Either way works, so enjoy and let us know if you have any other inquiries we can help with. Best of luck!


Ruth says:

There is an item on my Dec 2018 statement, transaction date Dec 9, posting date Dec 10 and I don’t know what this is for. The “virtual assistant” doesn’t know what I’m asking about and transferred me and then I immediately got a busy signal. Can I go into my branch with this question? I hate this virtual assistant thing.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Ruth!

Good to hear from you. We’re sorry you’ve encountered an entry on your statement that doesn’t make sense, but we’re even sorrier that we can’t help! Our relationship with banks is simply that we review the cards they release onto the Canadian market, sometimes not so positively by the way, and so your better option is to go to the bank itself or call. GreedyRates has no access to your personal or financial details whatsoever. We’ve also encountered the limitations of the Virtual Assistant—they can’t help with everything—so a good old-fashioned customer service representative is the best option in this case.


Arn says:

There is an annual limit of $6000 to the cashback you can earn.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Greetings Arn,

We appreciate your feedback on the RBC Cash Back Mastercard. Regarding that $6,000 number you keep seeing in the review and in the card’s fine print, that number concerns the spending milestone that you’ll reach every year to increase the rate of cash back that you earn. For example, you’ll get 0.50% on your spending until you reach $6,000 total spent during the year, at which point your rate increases to 1.00%. Therefore the $6,000 isn’t a limit or restriction on the amount of cash back you can earn, but an opportunity to boost the rate at which you earn cash back. There are no limits on how much cash back you’ll collect—great news! Thanks again.


Al Boeck says:

the list of participating grocery merchants is dated 2011. Can you please update it. Is Foody Mart on it now. It is on the rewards list updated 2016.

GreedyRates says:

Hey Al, we appreciate that you came to the trusty GreedyRates comment section to glean more info about this card. We think you’re talking about the list below, which was likely linked in other comments to those who had a similar question:


You’re correct, the list was compiled in 2011, but the card hasn’t changed much since then. We see that there are some new names on the list, including Foody Mart, but all the same major retailers still have a presence. You can find the one updated in August 2016 below:


Hope that helps!

GreedyRates Staff

Jason says:

Would you happen to know if Walmart is no longer part of MCC 5411 classification? It is in the 2011 list but not the 2016 list. Thanks.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Jason, thanks for your question. Merchant classification codes help cardholders understand which stores they will earn rewards in, but Walmart can fall under several categories depending on what kind of branch it is. Most fall under the MCC 5310 or MCC 5311 category (department stores), though some that have full grocery sections might be MCC 5411. Again, this depends entirely on the individual branch itself. We’d suggest checking with Walmart customer service, either on the phone or in person at the store itself. If Walmart is represented in the 2011 list as MCC 5411 but not in the 2016 list, it’s not likely to be a mistake, meaning that the bank quietly removed Walmart from eligibility for increased cash back.

GreedyRates Staff