The right credit card can help protect you from online fraud, shoddy deals, and, of course, save you cash. It feels like fall has only started, yet department stores are already reminding you that the holidays are right around the corner. And deal-happy Canadians are already setting their sights on Black Friday and Cyber Monday door-buster sales.
Though the Black Friday and Cyber Monday “holidays” have origins in the U.S., they have steadily grown in popularity in Canada and are now usurping Boxing Day – with some shoppers even claiming Black Friday offers better deals.
For the savvy shopper, spending holidays can be a great time to save a few bucks on gifts and toys for the kids, maybe pick up the smartphone you’ve been eyeing, or grab that patio set you’ll need come spring. But getting caught up in these sales has a downside – particularly, online and in-store fraud, travel costs and steep exchange rates/fees.
The good news? Your method of payment can go a long way in protecting you from shopping pitfalls. Here are our top three reasons for getting a better credit card for your 2018 Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases.
Reason #1: You need to protect yourself in case you buy a dud
Imagine: You manage to snag a TV during a fantastic door-buster deal only to find out that the TV is also busted when you take it out of the box. The store has a Black Friday no-return policy, and you can’t find a warranty policy within the packaging. You could be out of luck unless you bought it on plastic with Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection features.
Extended Warranty typically adds up to two additional years on a manufacturer’s warranty. In addition, Purchase Protection usually insures your purchases from theft or damage for up to 180 days from the day you buy it. This means you’ll be covered in the event of unpreventable circumstances, from a broken screen to your goods being stolen from your car trunk or doorstep.
The top credit cards that offers purchase protection and extended warranty
Not only are they great cash-back options, but the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card and the BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard give you extra peace of mind on hastily-made purchases if they are stolen or turn out to be duds.
Reason #2: You’re going on a road trip
You may be planning on doing Black Friday the old school way by heading to the U.S. to score deals. If so, ensure you’re earning cash-back or rewards on every mile logged – a gas rewards credit card or cash-back card that earns on fuel purchases can help offset those road trip costs. You should also have the proper travel medical, accident and collision insurance for your south-of-the-border jaunt. This kind of coverage can be found with most premium travel credit cards.
Also check if your card is partnered with any auto rental companies; you could be eligible for a discount on your rental car with collision insurance to boot.
The top credit card that offers gas rewards
Once again, the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card is our card of choice, as it's nominated for Best Gas Rewards with No Fee at this year's Best of Finance awards. Earn 10% cash back on all everyday purchases for the first three months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, your first-year annual fee is waived. Limited time only. Subject to credit approval and conditions. You can take advantage of this special offer now. But if not, the card usually gives you four per cent cash-back on eligible gas station purchases.
Another good option with no-fee? The Shell CashBack Mastercard® from BMO offers you 1.5% cash-back on purchases made at all Shell locations in Canada, as well as $50 cash-back after your first purchase with the card.
The top credit card that offers travel insurance and other travel perks
The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card offers everything from travel medical and travel accident insurance to baggage insurance, flight delay insurance, rental vehicle insurance, and trip interruption or cancellation insurance. This is partially why this card won the Best Card with Travel Perks award, last year at the 2017 Best of Finance awards.
You can also earn 15,000 bonus points with your first $1,000 in everyday purchases in the first three months, and these points can be redeemed for a few flights. But note that there is a $99 annual fee. Great offer available until November 30, 2018. Apply for a Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card and you’ll receive $100 in cash via Interac e-Transfer.
Reason #3: You need to be rewarded for spending all of this money
If you’re the type to always pay off your credit card balance promptly and without fail, why not be rewarded for making your purchases? Black Friday presents a great opportunity to amp up your earnings and cash in on purchases you were going to make anyway.
You may also want to do your Black Friday shopping abroad and use your card to earn rewards. But be warned – today’s loonie only measures up to about 77 cents on the U.S. dollar, so expect your wallet to take a hit south of the border, even on the most basement of bargains.
In addition, you’ll pay what’s known as a Foreign Exchange Fee on each transaction to your credit card provider. This fee is generally around 2.5% – meaning for every $1,000 you spend on your card internationally, you’ll be charged $25 in forex fees.
While many American banks have waived this fee on credit cards, most Canadian lenders charge their cardholders for currency conversion. A good rewards card will help you offset the cost of your purchases and forex fees through cash-back or points. The trick is to use a credit card that earns rewards on any type of purchase and has no cap on the amount of rewards you can earn.
While there are many fantastic rewards credit card options on the Canadian market, they’re often limited to eligible gas, grocery or drugstore purchases. It’s important to understand what type of transactions are eligible for rewards on your card. This makes the difference between being rewarded for purchases you planned on making anyway, or being forced to make purchases at places where you wouldn’t usually shop, simply for the rewards.
The top credit card that offers rewards
The Tangerine Money-Back credit card has no fee, and it has been praised for its flexibility, giving you 10 categories for you to choose from in terms of earning cash-back (restaurants, furniture, drug store, entertainment, and more).
Two selected categories will earn you 2% cash-back or “Money-Back Rewards” right away. And if you set up your cash-back to automatically deposited into a Tangerine savings account, you can also select a third category that will give you 2% cash-back. All other purchases in other categories earn you 0.50% cash-back.
Another good thing about this card is that there is no limit on the amount of Money-Back Rewards you can earn, and you can change your Money-Back categories to suit your spending at any point in time. This means that if you realize you’re spending more in entertainment, or you know that you have to buy a lot of furniture next month, you can easily switch your categories to capitalize on your planned purchases. The cash-back possibilities are endless.
Of course, if you want to skip out on those forex fees as mentioned earlier, the popular Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card offers no foreign exchange fees on international purchases. The card has a $139 annual fee, but cardholders get a bonus 25,000 Scotia Rewards points once they spend at least $1,000 in net purchases (purchases less returns, refunds or other similar credits) in the first three months from the date the account was opened. That's worth $250!
But the card that will get you the most bang for your buck is, once again, the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card. This card offers 4% cash-back on groceries and gas station purchases, 2% cash-back on drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, in addition to 1% on everything else. But if you apply now, you could get a hold of an even more special deal.
This Black Friday, get cash back on top of all the savings. Earn 10% cash back on all everyday purchases for the first three months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, your first-year annual fee is waived. Limited time only. Subject to credit approval and conditions.
The ability to earn cash-back on recurring bill payments is definitely a special feature. Basically, you get rewarded for paying your bills on time. It's a nice touch not typically offered by many other card vendors. Only after 12 months, a $99 annual fee will apply, but the cash-back you earn will likely surpass that.
This card won Best Rewards Card at our 2017 Best of Finance awards too. Don’t wait. Apply for the credit card you need so you have enough time to receive your card in the mail, and can truly enjoy the fruits of your purchases throughout this holiday shopping season.