Editors note: Capital One has discontinued its Aspire Cash World MasterCard as of August 20th, 2013.

We now recommend the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite for groceries and gas purchases, as well as drug store spending and recurring bill payments.  For all other spending we recommend the Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard, which offers 35,000 bonus points on your first purchase (worth up to $350 in travel, or $262.50 in cash back) and gives you two points for every dollar spent.

  • Apply now for the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite and get 4% cash back on groceries and gas purchases.
  • Apply now for the Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard and get a 35,000 point welcome bonus on your first purchase

Capital One Aspire Cash

The Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard entered the Canadian market in August, 2011 and quickly took the rewards cards market by storm, offering a large sign-up bonus, anniversary cash bonus and a juicy redemption rate on every purchase.

Depending on your spending patterns, the Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard rivals the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard as one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada.

The new Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard is now available with no annual fee.  Cardholders will still receive the same World MasterCard benefits as before, including travel medical insurance.

Cash back rewards cards have grown in popularity as people become more frustrated with travel rewards programs like Aeroplan and Air Miles offering less value for their points.

The Aspire Cash World MasterCard takes a straight-forward approach to delivering rewards to cardholders.  Simply request a cheque or statement credit at any time.  There is no minimum, your cash rewards never expire, and you can easily redeem online or over the phone.

Here are the benefits for using the Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard:

  • 1% cash rewards on all net purchases (used to be 1.5%)
  • 50% extra cash rewards every year (used to be 20%)
  • $100 bonus cash reward on your first purchase
  • No limit to the amount of cash you can earn
  • Free additional card
  • World benefits including Travel Medical Insurance

The 50% anniversary cash bonus is based on the amount of cash rewards earned that year on total net purchases.  If you earned $400 in cash rewards, you will receive an additional $200 on your membership anniversary date.

How Much Cash Back Can I Earn?

The Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard is a good choice for someone with an annual income over $70,000 who spends at least $2,000 per month on their credit card and pays off their balance in full each month.

I looked back at my personal budget last year and determined that I spend approximately $2,600 per month on my credit card.  Here’s what my potential cash rebate will be from the Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard in the first year:

  • First purchase bonus – $100
  • 1% cash rewards on all net purchases – $312
  • 50% anniversary bonus – $156

Total cash rebate in the first year = $568

After the first year, the cash back rewards drop to $468 per year.

Compare that to the cash rewards earned from the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard in the first year and beyond:

  • 5% rebate on gas and grocery purchases for the first 6 months – $120
  • 2% rebate on gas and grocery purchases thereafter – $48
  • 1% rebate on all additional purchases – $264

Total cash rebate in first year = $432 (no annual fee)

After the first year, the cash back rewards drop to $360 per year.

Final Thoughts

I like that you can earn 1% cash back in every spending category rather than having different tiers.  Also, with Capital One Aspire Cash, you can redeem your cash rewards by cheque or statement credit, with no minimum.  With MBNA, you need to reach a minimum of $50 in cash rewards and they will only send cheques.

After TD purchased MBNA’s credit card division in December 2011, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Sure enough, they cut their Smart Cash rewards program by up to 50%.

Now there’s a new cash back king in Canada.  The Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard comes out ahead of Smart Cash and can now be considered the best no-fee cash back card in Canada.

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