Travel rewards credit cards got all the attention in the big Aeroplan shake-up last summer.  But now the cash back segment is getting a much-needed shot in the arm with the introduction of the new SimplyCash and SimplyCash Preferred Cards from American Express.

New SimplyCash Card from American Express

The SimplyCash Card – simply put – is the best flat no annual fee cash back credit card in Canada, offering 1.25% cash back on everything you buy.  Cardholders don’t have to navigate through earnings caps and category tiers – there’s no limit to how much cash back you can earn..

As an added bonus, new cardholders will get 5% back on groceries, gas, and restaurant purchases in Canada for the first six months – up to $250 cash back, or $5,000 spending during that period.

Other card benefits include:

  • Free supplementary cards
  • Insurance coverage, including Buyers Assurance, Purchase Protection, Travel Accident. Car Rental & Theft Damage Insurance
  • Front of the Line access to the hottest entertainment
  • 24/7 customer service

With the SimplyCash Card, you can earn $150 per year on $12,000 annual spend.  In the first year you can earn up to $337.50 by maxing out the Welcome Rate bonus period.

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

For those who put a lot of purchases on their card every month, and don’t mind paying an annual fee, there’s the SimplyCash Preferred Card.

With a $79 annual fee, this card costs less than most other premium rewards credit cards on the market.  Applicants will need a minimum annual income of just $15,000 in order to qualify.

The SimplyCash Preferred Card gives you 1.5% back on everything you buy – up to $100,000 annual spend (earn 1.25% afterwards).

Like the no-fee version, SimplyCash Preferred offers a generous welcome rate of 5% back for the first six months (up to $400 cash back).  The difference is that with the Preferred Card, you’ll get 5% cash back on everything you buy, not just for grocery, gas, and restaurant purchases.

That means big-time earning potential.  Someone who spends $24,000 per year with the SimplyCash Preferred Card would get $360 cash back.  But in the first year you could earn up to $640 by maxing out the Welcome Rate bonus period.  That’s a 2.67% return on your spending!

The Value of Cash Back

While travel cards tend to offer richer rewards, the programs can often be complicated and the rewards difficult to attain.  A cash back card, on the other hand, is straightforward and easy to understand.

A recent survey conducted by American Express found that Canadians who own cash back credit cards know exactly what is important to them when evaluating one:

  • 90% value simplicity and ease of use
  • 87% feel it’s important to be able to earn cash back everywhere they spend
  • 79% look for additional benefits (i.e. fraud protection, insurance benefits etc.)
  • 77% value 24/7 customer service
  • 49% look for exclusive perks (i.e. ticket access, promotions, experiences, offers etc.)

Final thoughts

American Express hit all the right notes with the introduction of the new SimplyCash Cards.  The no-fee version offers a higher flat base rate than any other no-fee cash back credit card on the market, and the welcome rate of 5% cash back for the first six months is unheard of in the industry today.

For American Express Cardholders looking to replace the discontinued TrueEarnings Card, the no-fee SimplyCash Card is worth a look.  And if you’re a cash back rewards fan looking to get the most out of your spending, the SimplyCash Preferred Card will provide a significant boost to your earning potential.

Click here to learn more about the new SimplyCash and SimplyCash Preferred Cards.

This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada.  The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

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8 Comments

  1. debt debs on September 25, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Looks really good, Robb. I’m a big cash back fan, that’s they only type of credit card I carry. The annual income threshold is not too high as well.

  2. Todd Roberts on September 26, 2014 at 6:16 am

    Robb, I prefer cash back due to the simplicity and carry Scotia’s card…your previous favourite. If you ignore year 1, how does the Amex Preferred Card compare with Scotia Visa Infinite? Gas and groceries are big percentage of monthly spend and 4% is a lot higher than 1.5%. If you opt for Amex, is lack of ubiquitous acceptance of Amex not a reason to have to carry two cards? Sounds like time to update the comparison blog post.

    • Echo on September 26, 2014 at 7:06 am

      Hi Todd, I will update the comparison post because there are many factors to consider. For example, if you shop at Wal-Mart and use the Scotia card, those purchases would only earn you 1% back, not 4%.

      My quick analysis suggests the no-fee SimplyCash card is the market leader for no annual fee cards, even after the first year. The Preferred card requires further analysis based on your shopping preferences and monthly spend.

  3. Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet on September 26, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Hey Robb, I also prefer cash back and these cards look decent. I am curious about the details on the new Costco Capital One Mastercard as it may be worth a look. Another reason I prefer cash back to other rewards like Air Miles – they recently increased the number of Air Miles needed for most flights. A roundtrip flight (low season) Calgary – Vancouver used to require 1,000 Air Miles. Now it requires 1,300 – thats a huge increase while the number of Air Miles earned for each transaction has not increased. That, on top of the extra costs of travel (baggage fees), makes me prefer cash back since I can have the option to spend it elsewhere. Of course you can still redeem Air Miles for other stuff but the rates are even worse

    • Echo on September 26, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Hey Dan, I heard it will be similar to the TrueEarnings Card, 2% on gas, 3% on dining.

      I’m a big fan of cash back as well. Must be the dividend investor in us 🙂

  4. Gary on September 26, 2014 at 11:45 am

    will they be charging the 2.5% foreign transaction fee? other than that they sound pretty good.

    • Echo on September 26, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      Hi Gary, my understanding is that Chase is the only credit card issuer that doesn’t charge the 2.5% foreign currency conversion fee. Not sure why other card issuers don’t offer it, as it’s a completely optional fee.

      • Gary on September 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm

        also amazon. we use sears chase master card while in myrtle beach for 5 months! saves us a lot of cash.

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