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 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.
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.