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How to Use WhatBank’s Credit Card Finder

WhatBank’s Credit Card Finder asks for your typical spending and then shows you the top five credit cards that bring you the most value. The information is broken down into four parts:
  1. A graph showing the growing (or declining) value that the top five cards deliver each month
  2. The names of the cards, the total value that they deliver, and a legend for the line graph
  3. A summary of the insurance included with the card
  4. A selected list of perks included with the card

WhatBank requires a lot of spending information because cards differ greatly in how they reward spending. One card may reward five points per dollar for grocery spending while another may award one. One card may award three points for local transit and another two, and on it goes. The good news is that WhatBank has ground through the fine print so you don’t have to.

Just remember, the more detailed information it has, the more closely it models your real world spending and the more likely it will show you cards that deliver the most value. Read more about which cards we cover.

What’s Wrong with Choosing, “The Best Card for X?”

If you spend a ton on gas, shouldn’t you just get the card that won the best card for “gas” award? Maybe. But you probably use your card to buy more than gas. WhatBank will look at your overall spending on other things like groceries, drugstores, movies, and flights and select the best card for your total spending pattern.

When it comes to flights WhatBank needs to know what region of the world you’re going to more accurately value your reward points. You can read more about how WhatBank values reward points for flights here.

The Form

Some credit cards help you save on gas. To better estimate this saving, WhatBank uses your province to estimate your price for gas and thus your gas savings.

WhatBank also uses your province to fill in some of the fields below using median household information from Statistics Canada.

Monthly vs Yearly Spending
Note the first part of the form asks for monthly spending while the second half asks about yearly spending for travel and big ticket items.

It’s important to check WhatBank’s spending assumptions to see if the suggested cards match your spending. For example, if a PC Financial card is suggested and you do all of your grocery shopping at Metro and drugstore shopping at Rexall then you will not receive WhatBank’s calculated value because the assumptions for PC Financial cards are that the majority of your grocery spending is done at PC Point grocery stores and drugstore spending at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Some cards have income restrictions. These cards are not shown based on the numbers entered here. If you want to see every card regardless of income restrictions, ensure that Household Income is greater than $250,000.

If you don’t pay off your balance in full every month you will pay interest. WhatBank shows you the impact of this. Select either, The minimum, or enter an amount that you do pay in the, I pay field.

How Often Do You Change Cards?
Most people keep the same credit card for a few years. That is why WhatBank defaults to showing you two years of value — after the effect of the welcome bonuses has faded away. However some people, let’s call them maximizers, switch cards annually to get the welcome bonuses that a new card offers and cancel before the second year annual fee.

I Want to Maximize
Once you’ve entered your spending you can see the cards that deliver the most value in a number of areas including: cash back, statement credit, gift cards, catalog purchases, rewards, and Me!

Cash Back – If you care most about cash back you should select this. You may also want to check out, Statement Credit. These are reward cards where you use your accumulated points to reduce your credit card balance.

Me! – Select Me! if you just want the card that delivers you the most value and aren’t particular about whether the card is a cash back card or a points card. This covers flight cards, rewards cards, cash back cards, low interest and student cards.

Rewards – WhatBank considers reward cards to be those that offer value that can only be used in a very limited number of places. Currently, these include:
  • CIBC’s Costco card
  • PC Financial cards

The Graph

The highest line on the right most part of the graph represents the card the delivers you the most value. That’s always coloured WhatBank Gold. You can see the actual value in the table below the graph. Below the table is the insurance coverage and selected perks for the card selected in the drop-down. To see the insurance and perks for any of the top five cards, change the current card using the drop-down selector. Read more about understanding the graph