Most Popular Mastercard Credit Cards in Canada

After conducting in-depth research, we’ve brought you all there is to know about Mastercard and the Canadian credit cards they offer.  Use this page to compare a list of preferred Mastercard credit cards and to learn more about the company in general. 

    About Mastercard

    Well-known for its “Priceless” advertisements, Mastercard is used in over 210 countries. 

    Today, Mastercard has 231 million cardholders globally. Second only to Visa with 336 million cardholders. 

    Mastercard is headquartered in New York.  

    History

    In 1966 Interbank Card Association (ICA) was created. Later, in 1969 ICA became Master Charge. Finally, in 1979 Master Charge became what it’s known as today - Mastercard. 

    Mastercard has achieved many world records and set several milestones in its time, including:

    • First payment card - issued in the 1980s in the People’s Republic of China. 
    • First global online debit program - introduced in the 1990s.

    Mastercard has continued to evolve throughout the past 50+ years.

    In 2006, Mastercard made a change in its organizational structure. As a result, it was  introduced to the New York Stock Exchange. 

    Acquisitions

    To remain successful, Mastercard has also made several acquisitions and formed various partnerships. This includes acquisitions of:

    • Orbiscom
    • DataCash
    • Trevica
    • Truaxis
    • Provus
    • C-SAM
    • Pinpoint
    • 5One
    • Vocalink
    • NuData

    Partnerships

    Mastercard has established several partnerships over the years. Partnerships allow Mastercard to increase their capital and reach new markets. 

    In the past, Mastercard has partnered with:

    • eNett - provides the ability for companies in the travel industry to send international business-to-business payments safely.
    • Baseware Pay - offers trustworthy and efficient global payment between buyers and suppliers.
    • Syniverse - a global telecommunications company that offers technology and services to global corporations.

    These partnerships have allowed Mastercard to participate in the international payment market. They have also enabled Mastercard to expand their services beyond consumer-to-business payments.

    Mastercard in Canada

    In the early 1970s, the only major credit card available to Canadians was Chargex. Chargex was a charge card provided by the Bank of America. 

    The Bank of Montreal (BMO) saw the interest in Chargex (which had 3.2 million cardholders) and decided to offer their own charge card system. 

    BMO, in partnership with the National Bank, introduced Mastercard (known as Master Charge at the time) as their credit card network in 1973.

    Soon after Master Charge’s introduction into Canada, the number of credit card holders grew significantly. By 1977, over 8 million credit cards were used by Canadians and more than 27 thousand businesses accepted credit cards as a form of payment. 

    Types of Credit Cards Offered by Mastercard

    Mastercard credit cards are very popular in Canada. Credit cards offer increased purchasing power compared to debit cards. They also provide benefits such as points and cardholder solutions. 

    Mastercard offers the following categories of credit cards to Canadians:

    • Standard Credit Cards
    • World Mastercard 
    • World Elite Mastercard

    Standard Credit Cards

    Mastercard’s standard credit cards offer the following perks:

    • Zero cardholder liability
    • Price protection 
    • Customer service
    • Extended warranty 

    World Mastercard 

    World Mastercard credit cards offer everything included with a standard credit card plus:

    • Boingo Wi-Fi
    • Daily online offers
    • Travel benefits
    • Transaction tracking and alerts
    • Rental car insurance

    World Elite Mastercard

    World Elite Mastercard credit cards include all the features of World Mastercard credit cards. However, they provide additional travel perks including:

    • Greater access to airport lounges
    • Upgrades while travelling
    • Priceless Cities

    Priceless Cities

    Priceless Cities is a program that Mastercard launched in 2011. It allows cardholders to experience exclusive travel destinations and excursions. 

    The Priceless Cities program is meant to offer cardholders an experience that “money can’t buy”. 

    Other Mastercard Products

    Mastercard is well-known for its credit cards. However, the company also offers other types of cards. These include:

    • Debit Cards
    • Prepaid Cards

    Debit Cards

    Mastercard debit cards let cardholders enjoy the benefit of Mastercard’s network. These debit cards can be used at online and in-person stores throughout Canada.

    Mastercard Prepaid Cards

    For many people, Mastercard prepaid cards are an attractive alternative to a credit card.

    Prepaid cards can be used wherever Mastercard credit cards are used. These cards can be loaded with credit and then used as an alternative to cash. 

    Unlike with a typical credit card, cardholders are not borrowing money when they make a purchase with a prepaid card. Instead, the card only allows the cardholder to spend funds that have already been paid towards the card.

    Additional advantages of a prepaid card include:

    • Safer than cash
    • No application process necessary
    • No personal bank account needed
    • Can be used for online shopping without having to provide sensitive information

    Issuer or Network?

    Mastercard, unlike American Express, does not issue credit cards. Mastercard is strictly a credit card network. 

    This is why Mastercard credit cards are always paired with an issuer’s symbol on the physical credit card. 

    An issuer is a bank or credit union that issues the credit card. Issuers are responsible for the following:

    • Approving or denying credit card applications 
    • Determining interest fees
    • Determining annual fees
    • Managing points or reward systems, and more

    Credit card networks, on the other hand, are responsible for ensuring that the credit cards can be used at a large number of in-personal and online locations. They also provide:

    • Protection for cardholders
    • Customer support, when necessary 

    Mastercard Issuers

    Mastercard credit cards are available through 20 different issuers in Canada. These issuers include:

    1. ATB Financial 
    2. Bank of China (Canada)
    3. BMO Bank of Montreal
    4. Brim Financial 
    5. Canadian Tire Bank
    6. Capital One
    7. Collabria Financial Services Inc.
    8. Desjardins
    9. HSBC Bank Canada
    10. MBNA
    11. National Bank of Canada
    12. People’s Trust
    13. President’s Choice Financial 
    14. Rogers Bank
    15. RBC Royal Bank
    16. Scotiabank
    17. Servus Credit Union
    18. Tangerine
    19. Walmart Canada Bank 
    20. TD (World Cards and World Elite Cards only)

    Transaction Fees

    In addition to interest and other fees, Mastercard Canada makes money by charging a transaction fee. Each time a cardholder makes a purchase with their Mastercard, Mastercard collects this fee. 

    For cardholders, this is not typically a concern, as transaction fees are usually charged to the merchant or retailer. 

    Masterpass

    In 2013, Mastercard introduced Masterpass. Masterpass is a digital wallet that can be used to make purchases online. 

    Masterpass works by storing your payment and shipping information. This way, you don’t have to enter it each time you make an online purchase. 

    Additional Masterpass benefits include:

    • Fast
    • Safe
    • Convenient 
    • Can use with debit, credit or prepaid cards, including:

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    Safety and Security

    Mastercard Canada is dedicated to cardholder safety and security. They strive to protect their customers with the help of:  

    • Zero liability
    • Chip technology 

    Zero Liability

    Mastercard Canada does not hold users accountable for fraudulent activity on a credit card. 

    If a consumer suspects fraud or credit card theft, Mastercard will complete an investigation. They will cover any charges that were the result of fraudulent activity. 

    Chip Technology

    Mastercard also uses chip technology to curb credit card fraud. 

    Credit card chip technology uses encryption to protect sensitive data when transactions are made. Chip technology is also often paired with a pin, adding a further layer of security.

    Corporate Social Responsibility

    Mastercard has gone the distance to maintain a socially responsible company. 

    There are three areas in which Mastercard aims to fulfil its corporate responsibility. These areas include:

    1. Social 
    2. Ethical
    3. Environmental 

    Social Responsibility

    Mastercard aims to make banking more attainable. To do so, Mastercard strives to provide people around the world with access to banking and financial independence.

    Ethical Responsibility

    Mastercard ensures that its business practices are rooted in strong morals and values. These morals and values are upheld in its day-to-day business operations.

    Environmental Responsibility

    Mastercard works to limit and reduce its carbon footprint. To do this, the company makes it a priority to:

    • Conserve energy
    • Participate in recycling programs
    • Limit pollution 

    FAQs

    How do I apply for a Mastercard in Canada?

    To apply for a Mastercard in Canada, you must submit an application online or in-person with an issuer. Because Mastercard is only a credit card network and not an issuer, you cannot apply for a credit card directly through Mastercard. You can, however, use Mastercard’s website to find a list of banks and financial institutions that issue Mastercard credit cards. For your convenience, we have provided a list of Mastercard issuers in Canada above.

    Which is the best Mastercard credit card?

    With so many options, the best Mastercard credit card will be different for each person. To find the best Mastercard for you, compare the various cards and consider what’s important to you. Keep in mind factors such as card benefits, annual fees, and interest rates. Find out if your bank or financial institution issues Mastercard credit cards. If not, explore other issuers that do.  

    How do I cancel a Mastercard?

    To cancel a Mastercard, you must contact your credit card issuer. Mastercard is only a credit card network and, therefore, cannot cancel your credit card for you. Before cancelling your credit card, be sure to pay off any remaining balance and redeem your earned rewards. Once you’re ready to cancel, call your Mastercard issuer and finally shred your cancelled card. 

    Where is Mastercard Accepted?

    Mastercard is accepted almost anywhere that credit cards are accepted. In fact, Mastercard is one of the most widely accepted credit card networks in Canada. Most notably, Costco and No-Frills accept Mastercard credit cards as their only form of credit card payment.

    What is a Mastercard prepaid card?

    A prepaid Mastercard is a loadable charge card that you can use anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard prepaid cards can be used as a substitute for cash for online and in-person purchases. Prepaid Mastercards also work well as gifts, as no personal information is required to purchase one.

    Emma Tremblay
    emma@creditcards360.ca

    Emma is responsible for all content on Creditcards360.ca. She has a college degree in economics and a keen interest in personal finance. Get in touch with her by email.

    Last updated Feb 8, 2021