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How to maximize cashback credit card rewards


Earn maximum cashback rewards with these six spending tips.

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Sponsored by Tangerine. Unlock credit card rewards with Tangerine credit cards. Earn unlimited Money-Back Rewards with either the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card or the Tangerine World Mastercard. T&Cs apply.

Cashback credit cards let you earn money back on your everyday spending. Whenever you make an eligible purchase, a percentage of the purchase price gets paid back to you as a reward.

These reward credit cards are great tools to help save money on essential purchases, but there’s plenty you can do to take your cashback earning power to the next level.

6 tips to maximize credit card rewards

In this guide, we’ll share six simple tips to help you get maximum cashback, plus show you how to find the best cashback credit card for your needs.

Tip 1: Charge it all on your rewards credit card

There are some purchases in life that are simply essential. We’re talking about things like gas for your car, your weekly grocery shop and utility bills — regular expenses you have to pay for no matter what. So if you’re going to be spending the money anyway, why not pay for all your essential purchases with your rewards credit card?

For instance, charge your gas, groceries and utility bills to your Tangerine World Credit Card — approximately $2,000 each month — and after a year you would have $480 in cashback rewards.(1) It’s like earning money for living costs already in the budget. Better still, it’s easy and convenient to use a rewards card to pay for all your regular expenses, and when you add up all your essential spending, you might be surprised just how quickly your cashback earnings can grow.

Tip 2: Choose a card with unlimited cashback and rewards

Some cashback credit cards cap the amount of rewards you can earn per month or per year. This can really hold you back from getting the most out of your card, and even the best cashback rate in Canada is pointless if you can’t maximize your earning potential.

That’s why it’s important to look for a credit card with unlimited cashback and rewards. With no limits, you can get maximum bang for your buck and ensure that your cashback credit card earns its keep.

Let’s look at essential weekly purchases like groceries and gas. If you spend $400 a week on groceries and $100 a week on gas, that’s $2,000 a month you can charge to your credit card — and get cashback. If your card offers 2% cashback, like the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, you’ll earn $480 cashback over the course of a year.(✧)

No matter who you are, saving almost $500 a year is a pretty sweet deal.

Tip 3: Choose a cashback card with low or no fees

Some rewards credit cards have high annual fees — with some charging $100 or more, each year. If you’re paying a hefty fee every 12 months, this will obviously have a big impact on your cashback earnings.

So a key factor to keep in mind when searching for the best credit card rewards is to look for a card that charges a low annual fee or eliminates this cost entirely. Omit this cost and that’s one less fee you have to pay — and more money in your pocket to spend on what you need and want.

Tip 4: Focus on a card that lets you maximize rewards on YOUR spending

Credit card providers offer a dazzling array of welcome bonuses and perks to try and entice new customers. It’s easy to get sucked in by these deals, but don’t be fooled into choosing a card that isn’t right for you.

Instead, look for a card that matches your spending needs and rewards you based on how you shop. Both the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card and World Mastercard allow you to choose two spending categories where you can earn 2% cashback — add a third category if you open and connect the card to a no-fee Tangerine savings account.

With this flexibility you can swap out spending categories based on your plans. For instance, select the travel category and you could earn $20 in cashback for every $1,000 you spend when booking flights and accommodation. Use this strategy with the Tangerine World Mastercard and you can cash-in on the travel perks, including access to more than one million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world using Boingo Wi-Fi, access to more than 650 airports lounges worldwide through DragonPass, plus special cashback offers on select international spending.(2)

Tip 5: Tap into hidden perks

Getting the most out of your credit card isn’t just about earning maximum cashback. You also need to look for those little extras that can help turn a good credit card into something special.

For example, think about how you’ll manage your card payments, check your balance and keep track of your spending. A user-friendly mobile app is a must, as is an easy-to-navigate online banking platform.

Budgeting tools are another bonus to help you keep your finances on track and when you use free tools, such as Tangerine’s Left to Spend feature, you can easily track where and how you’re spending your money. Better yet, add in a few details, such as regular income and monthly bills and this budgeting tool calculates how much you have left to spend each month.

Tip 6: Redeem based on your needs

The final tip to maximizing your money-back rewards is to look for a card that offers flexibility when you want to redeem. Some cards will automatically use any cashback rewards to pay down an account balance, while others limit when and how to access money-back rewards. Ideally, you want a rewards card that gives you easy, instant access to your cashback rewards.

For example, you can choose to deposit your cashback rewards earned on a Tangerine Mastercard into a Tangerine Savings Account — or link your card to another bank account. Not only will this help you reach your savings goals faster, it means you have access to your cashback rewards whenever you need them.

Bonus tip: Use cashback to build up an emergency fund

Sometimes life throws you a curveball. So when your car breaks down or your dog ends up at the emergency vet clinic, it’s handy to know you have an emergency fund to fall back on.

The good news is that the best cashback credit cards in Canada can help you save for a rainy day. To explain, let’s assume that Maddy earns $800 per week. As a Tangerine client, she selects groceries, restaurants and gas as her primary spending categories on her credit card.

Worried that her mischievous puppy, Ruby, will wind up at the vet, Maddy sets up a Tangerine Savings Account as an emergency fund and makes an initial deposit of $500. She then uses her Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card to pay for $2,200 worth of essential purchases, giving her cashback each month. She deposits these money-back rewards into her Tangerine High-Interest Savings Account, where the funds earn interest. Thanks to her regular cashback deposits and the power of compound interest, Maddy could turn her initial $500 deposit into an emergency fund that’s just under $2,500 in just five years.(3)

Bottom line

There are plenty of simple things you can do to earn maximum cashback on your rewards credit card. If you can find a card that provides big rewards on the type of purchases you make on a regular basis, you’ll get more out of your everyday spending. And if you can find a card with unlimited cashback and low or no annual fee, you can quickly accumulate a healthy cashback balance.

Explore Tangerine’s Money-Back Credit Cards

1 - 2 of 2
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
Tangerine World Mastercard
10% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 10% cash back (up to $100) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months. Valid until October 31, 2024. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
10% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 10% cash back (up to $100) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months. Valid until October 31, 2024. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months.

Compare other credit cards here

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