BMO Cash Back Mastercard: How to Apply in 4 Simple Steps

Are you looking to earn lucrative rewards on your everyday purchases? The BMO Cash Back Mastercard should be on your radar. With no annual fee and the ability to earn up to 1.5% cash back, this card can put money back in your wallet.

BMO Cash Back Mastercard
BMO Cash Back Mastercard: How to Apply in 4 Simple Steps

In this post, we’ll cover what you need to know about the BMO Cash Back Mastercard, including:

  • Cash back earning rates and redemption options
  • Benefits and perks
  • Fees
  • Eligibility and approval odds
  • Alternatives to consider

Cash Back Earning Rates

Earn Up to 1.5% Cash Back on Purchases

The BMO Cash Back Mastercard earns cash back in three categories:

1% Base Cash Back

You’ll earn 1% base cash back on all eligible purchases. This includes groceries, gas, dining, entertainment, travel, and everything in between. If you spend $2,000 per month on the card, you’d earn $20 back.

2% Cash Back at Eligible Recurring Bill Payments

You’ll earn 2% cash back on eligible recurring bill payments. This includes things like:

  • Cable and streaming services
  • Membership fees
  • Cell phone bills
  • Home security services

Recurring bills must be set up directly with the merchant and charged automatically each billing period to qualify.

0.5% Additional Cash Back

For the first 12 months, new BMO Cash Back Mastercard cardholders will also earn an additional 0.5% cash back on all purchases. This essentially doubles the regular earning rate during the first year.

Based on $2,000 in monthly spending, you’d earn $30 cash back instead of just $20.

Redeem Cash Back for Credits or Gift Cards

BMO offers a lot of redemption flexibility with the cash back you earn:

  • Account credits – Get a statement credit to offset your balance
  • Cheques – Receive a cheque in the mail
  • Gift cards – Select from top retailers, restaurants, travel providers, and more

You can redeem once you hit $50 in cash back earned. But if you want to redeem for an account credit, you’ll need to wait until your balance is $100.

Valuable Benefits and Perks

Beyond cash back earning potential, the BMO Cash Back Mastercard comes with other useful benefits:

  1. Purchase Assurance and Extended Warranty

Your purchases are protected against damage or theft for 90 days. Plus, you’ll receive a 1 year extended warranty when you use the card to buy eligible items like TVs or appliances.

  1. Zero Liability Protection

You won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges when you report them promptly. This protects you from fraud or if your card gets stolen.

  1. Emergency Travel Medical Insurance

When you use the card to purchase your trip, you’ll receive included emergency medical coverage for when you travel outside your province. This protects against unexpected injuries or illnesses abroad.

  1. No Annual Fee

Unlike some premium travel and rewards cards, the BMO Cash Back Mastercard has no annual fee.

You don’t have to worry about paying every year just to keep the card open. The cash back you earn goes further and faster as a result.

That said, there are still some costs to be aware of:

  • Foreign transaction fees – 2.5% on international purchases
  • Cash advances – $3.50 (plus interest)
  • Balance transfers – 1% fee

While not excessive, these fees can still add up. So it’s best to avoid situations where they come into play if possible.

Who Should Apply?

Because of its solid cash back earning rates and lack of an annual fee, the BMO Cash Back Mastercard makes sense for a few types of cardholders:

Light Travelers

If you don’t travel often, transferring points to frequent flyer programs won’t benefit you much. Straight cash back provides reliable value instead.

Everyday Spend Maximizers

The BMO Cash Back Mastercard is a dependable option for maximizing rewards on all purchases. The 1.5% earning rate during the first year stretches your spending power.

Existing BMO Customers

Already bank with BMO? Applying for the BMO Cash Back Mastercard helps consolidate your finances with one provider.

What Are the Approval Odds?

BMO generally has middle-of-the-road acceptance rates for new applicants. As long as you have decent credit (660+ score), your approval chances are good.

Having an existing relationship with BMO bolsters your chances. But even if the BMO Cash Back card is your first card with them, approval is definitely possible.

Other factors that improve approval odds include:

  • Good or excellent credit scores
  • Manageable existing debts
  • Consistent income
  • Not having recent missed payments or bankruptcies

Meeting most of these criteria likely leads to getting approved. Those new to credit or rebuilding credit may need to wait before applying.

How to Apply in 4 Simple Steps

Applying for the BMO Cash Back Mastercard is straightforward and can be completed online in just a few minutes.

Follow these steps:

  1. Visit the BMO website – Go to and select the credit cards page. From there, you can find the application page for the Cash Back card.
  2. Provide personal details – Fill in some basic personal information like your name, date of birth, address, and Social Insurance Number. This helps verify your identity.
  3. Input financial details – Enter your annual income, employment information, housing payment, and existing debts. Giving full and accurate details gets your application off to the right start.
  4. Submit application – Review the terms and conditions, then agree to them by checking the box. Hit submit when you’re ready.

It typically takes BMO 1-2 weeks to provide a decision on a credit card application after it is submitted. Check your email and mailbox closely during that time for their response. Sometimes a phone call is made to inform you as well.

Pros of the Card

Here are the most notable pros of the BMO Cash Back Mastercard:

  • Lucrative 1.5% cash back earning rate for the first year
  • No annual fee helps rewards go further
  • Purchase protection and extended warranties provide coverage
  • Flexible redemptions for statement credits, cheques, or gift cards

Cons to Consider

A couple of drawbacks to keep in mind include:

  • Minimal signup bonus – Only 0.5% extra earning for 12 months
  • Foreign transaction fees make the card costly for international trips and purchases

For the most part though, the BMO Cash Back card offers a compelling overall cash back value with the pros outweighing the cons. Unless you seek luxury travel perks, it hits all the core rewards marks.

Alternatives to Consider

The BMO Cash Back Mastercard definitely deserves consideration. Before you apply, have a look at these two alternatives as well:

Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard

Tangerine’s no fee cash back card offers new applicants a signup bonus worth $150 in value. It also has money back categories that rotate every few months for bonus earning potential.

Scotiabank Value Visa Card

Scotiabank’s option earns higher base cash back at 2% on groceries and 1% everywhere else. It also gives movie lovers Scene+ points that can be redeemed for Cineplex entertainment rewards.

Either of these cards makes for good competition to the BMO Cash Back Mastercard. Compare features closely to decide which aligns best with your lifestyle and spending habits.


There’s no shortage of cash back to earn at a competitive 1.5% return during the first year. Redeeming rewards is flexible based on statement credits, cheques, or gift card options.

With no annual fee either, this is a card built to maximize rewards and cash flow over the long run. If simplicity and lucrative rates sound enticing, visit the BMO website to submit your application today.

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