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RRSP: Maximize your tax refund with Reward Points

To the point See how to get a tax refund (and more) with credit card reward points!

It is often said that the best use of Reward Points is in travel. However, if you play your cards right, an RRSP contribution can easily beat travel reward redemptions.

RRSP: Registered Retirement Savings Plan

First of all, the RRSP is defined as a savings vehicle for retirement or to finance the purchase of a first property.

The main advantages are

  • returns grow tax-free
  • RRSP contributions can reduce taxable income (therefore generating a tax refund, family allowances, various credits, etc.)

When we talk about a tax refund, we are talking about a tax savings. In fact, when RRSP contribution deductions are used, the tax payable is recalculated at a lower rate since the income is lower.

Since the tax deducted from each paycheck does not take these deductions into account, we get a tax return (refund).

An RRSP is a type of account. You can put whatever product you want within it, whether it’s a standard savings account, GIC, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, stocks, etc.

The return on your account will be the fruit of what you have sown. Make sure you are sowing what you want to get and what you can sustain: it’s about risk management and risk tolerance!


Investing in an RRSP with credit card points

Many institutions offer the possibility of using your rewards points to invest directly in your RRSP.

Using Reward Points to Maximize Tax Returns

Getting a tax refund with credit card points

Let’s take the example of the National Bank of Canada rate to calculate the real return when we use our points to contribute to the RRSP and invest.

You can redeem 60,000 NBC Rewards points for a $500 contribution to an RRSP account.

Employment income $30,000
Marginal tax rate 27,53 %
Tax savings $137,65
Investir REER BNC

So with 60,000 points, you can get $637.65, which is a better value than 60,000 points for $600 in travel credit!

The higher your income, the higher your marginal tax rate and the higher your return.

Then, by putting the $137.65 tax savings into a child’s RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan), you can take advantage of an additional 30% grant or $41.30.

That means your 60,000 Reward Points can equal $678.95 in value if you contribute to an RESP!

Get a return with points

Your new $500 RRSP contribution will start to grow depending on the product you choose.

For example, I bought $500 worth of Air Canada shares on February 9, 2021, and have had a 15.30% gain since purchase. My RRSP account shows $576.50 on February 9, 2022.

Actions Air Canada

So, with 60,000 NBC Rewards points, I was able to get $714.15 ($500 contribution + $137.65 tax return + $76.50 return) on top of the grants in the RESP.

And in the meantime, my child’s RESP has also grown!

Get more disposable income with points

Another magical aspect of RRSP deductions is using them for tax optimization purposes.

Many tax credits and government assistance are determined by taxable income. So, if you take RRSPs to reduce your taxable income, you will be “poorer” in the eyes of the government (even though you have increased your savings), and the financial aid will be increased!

There are different tax optimization strategies or sweetspots, depending on the situation.

Again, I advise you to consult a professional to determine the best tax optimization for you and your family .

Contribute to an RRSP on low taxed income

We often hear that you should not contribute to an RRSP if you have a low income. This is not entirely true. While it’s best to maximize the TFSA before adding to the RRSP in these situations, it may be worthwhile to turn to the RRSPwhen purchasing a home.


Also, it is possible to defer the deduction of the RRSP contribution. You won’t get the tax refund right away, but you can earn tax-sheltered returns right away.

For example, an 18-year-old student has saved $7,500 with his summer jobs since 15. Depending on his contribution room, he can maximize his TFSA to $6,000 and use the excess to contribute to his RRSPs. Then he can wait until he returns to work to maximize his tax refund.

How can I easily get points for investing in my RRSP?

The various institutions listed at the beginning of this article offer reward points as a welcome bonus. So, it is possible to get points for an RRSP contribution almost for free with these credit cards!

To follow up on the examples in this article, let’s look at what National Bank is currently offering as a welcome bonus.

All three of National Bank’s flagship products earn NBC Rewards points. That’s money for an RRSP contribution!

These cards also give you between 1 and 5 points per dollar on all your purchases, depending on the card and the purchase category, even at Costco! This can add up to 5% back to your next RRSP contribution.

Students or low-income individuals can earn these points with the National Bank Platinum Mastercard.

Then, for those who qualify for the National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard® you can enjoy many other benefits such as access to the NBC lounge and up to $150 in travel credit!

Bottom Line

Credit card rewards points are incredibly flexible. They allow us to save money on everyday life, travel better, travel more and get richer!

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
I'm Aline, an experienced traveller, a foodie at heart, an Avgeek, a photography enthusiast and an expert on credit card programs. I use Reward Points to travel on a budget and to save money on everyday life; writing about these topics allows me to share my passion and help you. ~ 7 continents and 75 countries ~

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