If you shop at Shoppers Drug Mart and at stores where President’s Choice products are sold, then you’ve probably heard of PC Optimum. In case you haven’t, PC Optimum is the brand’s loyalty program and it’s arguably the best retail loyalty program out there.

What people don’t realize is that without a credit card, you only earn PC Optimum points via in-store promotions or targeted offers. Applying for one of the three PC Financial Mastercards will help you earn points on every purchase which is an easy way to earn free groceries. In this PC Financial Mastercard review, I look at the pros and cons of PC Financial’s most basic credit card and why it’s still an excellent card.

PC Financial Mastercard Review

PC Financial Mastercard benefits

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 25 PC Optimum Points per $1 dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Earn 20 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent at PC Travel
  • Earn 10 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Earn 30 PC Optimum Points per litre at Esso/Mobil locations
  • Purchase assurance
  • Extended warranty

First off, the PC Financial Mastercard is the bank’s most basic offering. Although you’ll earn the least amount of points, the card has no minimum income requirement which is perfect for some people. Of course, you still need to have a good credit score to be approved. PC Financial doesn’t disclose what your credit score needs to be approved, but I would imagine you need to be in the 650+ range. In case you’re curious, you can get your free credit score with Borrowell.

The PC Financial Mastercard offers a decent return. You’ll earn 25 PC Optimum Points per $1 dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart, 20 points per $1 spent at PC Travel, and 10 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

When you use your PC Optimum card, you’ll earn at least 3 cents per litre in PC Optimum points at Esso/Mobil locations.

The only other benefits are purchase assurance which protects your purchases from loss, theft, and damage for 90 days as well as extended warranty which doubles your warranty up to an additional year.

Truth be told, this credit card is not as impressive as the other PC Mastercards, but you may not have a choice. The PC World Mastercard has a minimum income requirement of $60,000 while the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard has an $80,000 minimum income requirement. Assuming your credit score is in good standing, the card you get will be determined on what your household income is.

The good thing is, all three of the cards have no annual fee, plus you’ll be earning extra points no matter what so you really can’t lose.

How PC Optimum works

PC Optimum is the loyalty program of Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws owned stores which includes No Frills, Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Zehrs, Independent, Valu-mart, Fortinos, Loblaws City Market, Provigo, Joe Fresh, Beauty Boutique, and Dominion.

As you can see, that are a lot of grocery stores so there are a lot of places to earn points.

PC Optimum is free to join. Once you’re a member, you earn points through in-store promotions and targeted offers. You’ll earn additional points on all your purchases when you pay with your PC Mastercard. If you want to earn more points, you could join PC Insiders which is a membership club where you get additional perks. Although it has an annual fee of $99, I think it’s worth it depending on your shopping patterns. Plus, you can get 25% off that fee when you check out my PC Insiders review.

What makes PC Optimum appealing is how simple it is to understand. 10,000 PC Optimum points = $10 in free groceries or merchandise. That means the PC Financial Mastercard gives you a return between 1-2.5% on all your purchases.

It only takes 10,000 points to make a redemption and there isn’t usually a real benefit to keeping your points for a rainy day. On occasion, Shoppers Drug Mart and other stores will have special promotions where you can earn even more points. For example, Shoppers Drug Mart often has earn 20X the points when you spend $75 or get $400 in credit when you claim 250,000 points (the normal value is $250).

How the PC Financial Mastercard compares to others

Since the PC Financial Mastercard is similar to a cash back card, I’ll compare it to other cash back cards. 

Right away the American Express SimplyCash card comes to mind since it earns you 1.25% on all your purchases. This is appealing, but American Express isn’t accepted at most Loblaw’s owned stores, so you’re better off getting the PC Financial Mastercard since it’ll be accepted and you’ll earn more points.

Obviously, the other PC Mastercards are also comparable. The PC Financial World Mastercard earns you double the points compared to the PC Mastercard at Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws owned stores while the PC Finacial World Elite Mastercard earns you triple the points. As mentioned, those cards have a higher income requirement. That said, PC Financial will sometimes allow customers to upgrade their card to a higher tier if they meet certain minimum spend requirements.

If the PC Financial Mastercard was a true cash back card, it would easily be on my list of the best cash back credit cards in Canada

Final thoughts

My PC Financial Mastercard review is positive. If you shop at Shoppers Drug Mart or Loblaws owned stores, then getting a PC Mastercard is a must since it’ll allow you to earn more PC Optimum points. Which card you get depends on your income, but you’ll be earning extra points regardless of what card you get.

PC Financial Mastercard Review

22 Comments

  1. Leonides Cusi on July 16, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    Don’t know why PC Financial Mastercard keeps on changing its transaction and payment details? It is July 16, 2019 today and I can only see transactions up to July 9. Getting worse huh… Try it yourself PC Financial people.

    • Barry Choi on July 17, 2019 at 7:57 am

      Leonides,

      They just updated their website, not sure if that’s a temporary change or not.

  2. Leonides Cusi on July 17, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Barry, I’m expecting a reply/explanation from PC Financial.

  3. J Ng on August 14, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    I was scammed by an online merchant that made fraudulent deductions from my PC MC and did a horrible bait-and-switch on the item ordered. First, customer service refused to proceed with investigations untill after 30 days after the fraud was reported. Then they asked for onerous documentation, which I complied with. Now they want an independent merchant to certify that the chalk that arrived isn’t cheese I ordered.
    Despite claims of purchase protection, PC MasterCard’s is not the same as TD Visa’s or Scotiabank’s.

  4. Lynne on September 26, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    Hello All. So i was approved for a PC World financial card. It says something about a 15000.00 spend/year. Anyone know what that means? And just curious as to how much your initial credit limit was given. TIA

    • Barry Choi on September 26, 2019 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Lynne,

      I believe that if you spend that much in a year, they may automatically upgrade you to the world elite version. My limit is $3,000.

  5. Rob on November 1, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    I have had this card 3 months and in the first 2 weeks after spending $78 they froze my account .pc financial said they need more person info so I sent pic of driver’s license hydro bill. After sending my info to one department to another they said the picture was not clear . So I scan and email my info to the security department and after 2 months of waiting they said still under review . What a joke of a card and save yourself the hassle. Do your self a favour and have nothing to do with this company

  6. Aileen Lopez on November 4, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    We have pc mastercard but it stopped earning points since August and we are still actively using it. It has been over a month since we started the inquiry and so far nothing has been done. I’ve done numerous follow up inquiries and still being told to wait. This is so frustrating!

  7. shikyo on December 22, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    I started using PC Finance mastercard World about a month ago. I haven’t got the first statement.
    I am looking at receipts collected for the last one month, and noticed I am collecting only 15 points per one dollar I spent. I am wondering if I am going to get extra points when I receive my first statement from them. Could someone advise on this?

    • Barry Choi on December 22, 2019 at 5:33 pm

      Shiko,

      PC Financial has three Mastercards, which one do you have?

      https://www.pcfinancial.ca/en/credit-cards

      They respectively earn 10, 20 and 30 points per $1 spent at Loblaws stores or 25, 35, and 45 points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart.

  8. shikyo on December 22, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    we have “World” cards. We use them mostly shopping at Shoppers, however, our receipts show we have been getting only 15 points per every dollar ..

    • Barry Choi on December 22, 2019 at 5:46 pm

      Shyikyo,

      It’s just the way they calculate points (which is more complicated than it needs to be). See below.

      All PC Optimum members earn 15 points per dollar at Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix. When you use your Presidentís Choice Financial Mastercard® you will earn additional points per dollar: 10 points per dollar for Presidentís Choice Financial Mastercard® cardholders; 20 points per dollar for Presidentís Choice Financial World Mastercard® cardholders; and 30 points per dollar for Presidentís Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard® cardholders.

      **So basically, you’re getting the right amount of points.

  9. shikyo on December 22, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Thank you, Barry
    Do you mean when monthly statements are issued, I will get 20 more points added for each dollar I spent?

    • Barry Choi on December 23, 2019 at 11:29 am

      Shikyo,

      Yes the rest of the points would appear when your monthly statement posts.

  10. Mike S on January 11, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    Helpful info, Barry. Thank you!
    Got the card for a few months. The internet page design is awful. Opted for paperless statement, but I couldn’t figure out where to find the most recent statement, and missed paying on time for a couple of months, so charged for late interest, wondering why! Took a while to realize where the current statement is!

  11. Chrys on January 13, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    What is the lowest credit limit?

  12. Yong Foo on March 27, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    Trudeau has been asking banks to lower credit card interest rates and yet PC master card has just announced interest rates increase of one percent as of March 2020. Insane!

  13. Yong Foo on March 27, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    Because PC MasterCard has sent me notifications of their credit cards interest increase of 1 full percent as of March 2020. I called to cancel my PC MasterCard.

    • Barry Choi on March 28, 2020 at 7:23 am

      Yong,

      That change was announced back in January before the pandemic became global. I believe the banks are indeed considering lowering rates temporarily but that has not been confirmed.

  14. Sandy on April 1, 2020 at 6:13 am

    It’s very sad to see PC financial credit card services falling apart at this testing times.

    I am in isolation for past 10 days and last Sunday when I needed to get groceries I took my pc world elite MasterCard to nofrills and low and behold it was declined three times. I had to put back all the groceries and had to come back home empty handed.
    No frills don’t accept Visa card which was my other option to pay with.
    By the way my limit is 12K and I have used only 60 dollars on it.

    Called card services and after 55 minutes hold I was told I have to wait for 48 business hours and I ll get a call from them explaining that my card is restricted.

    Now 68 business hours has been gone and no one called me.

    I ll be cancelling this stupid card. Worst customer service.
    Now I have no MasterCard to buy from, no groceries and administrative services are declaring lockdown so no one can go out.

    Very angry

  15. Bob jonskn on April 6, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    Will dump this card this month for good. They increased the interest by a point, decreased the rewards, then would not allow wife a lower rate since she just lost her job. She tried nicely to negotiate but they would not even discuss it. Done. DO NOT waste your energy on this card. They are going to offer something but then back off later. Not a good deal. So sad since we used to always shop at PC. They really f-Ed up

  16. Matt S. on May 27, 2020 at 11:19 am

    This card’s only benefit is grocery points, especially if you shop at Loblaws and/or Shoppers Drug Mart frequently. In the past I used this card for everything, but as so many reviews have pointed out: their customer service is deplorable. So, I started using my RBC Visa card for all my purchases except Loblaws and SDM and have had very little issues with the card since. Also worth noting: their website needs a lot of work too. As other reviewers have noticed, their verification system can sometimes take 25-30min to get you logged in. Once logged in, authorized transactions frequently don’t show up until after they’re posted. Sometimes the posted balance accounts for transactions that do not appear in the transactions list. It can be very frustrating to reconcile a budget with a credit card transactions list with missing transactions. Bottom line: if you pay off your balance in full every month and you don’t need to call customer service, the free groceries are worth it. Otherwise, best to stay away.

    My best advice for getting the most out of this card:
    – Only use it at PC outlets where you can redeem the points
    – Pay it off every month to avoid shifting credit limits
    – Never buy anything with it that you may need to dispute later

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