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The best credit cards for electric charging stations

To the point Here's a look at the best credit cards for electric charging stations and what it means for electromobilists.

Approximately 10% of electric vehicle (EV) charging occurs outside the home. What’s the best credit card for earn rewards points at electric charging stations?

Public electric charging stations

In Quebec and Eastern Ontario, the most widely used public electric charging stations are those of Circuit Électrique and Flo. There is also the Petro-Canada network of rapid electric charging stations along the Trans-Canada Highway.

My colleague Frédéric explains that certain types of purchases in stores earn extra points or cash back. This depends on the Merchant Category Code (C C C) or the Merchant Category Code (M C C).

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For electric charging stations, the CCC created by Visa and Mastercard is 5552 – Electric Vehicle Charging.

Therefore, to determine the category of your recharge transaction, you must contact your financial institution. Or, go to the Developer Tool in your browser to find out.

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For example, I used the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card at a Petro-Canada electric charging station in Ontario. The CCC code for this transaction is Class 5552 – Electric Vehicle Charging.

This is despite the fact that Petro-Canada’s primary business is selling gasoline(code 5541).

Confusion among issuers and businesses

This merchant category code 5552 is very recent. This causes great differences in its application at businesses connected to Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

With the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card, you earn 1.5 points per dollar on all eligible gas purchases. However, this Petro-Canada 5552 refill is classified as “Other”. As a result, I only got 1 point per dollar for this charge.

Also, with the American Express Business Edge™ Card, you earn 3 times the points per dollar of purchases on transportation and gas.

A $10 charge at Circuit Électrique gave me 30 points with this card. Therefore, American Express considers the Electric Circuit as an eligible transportation and gas purchase.

As a side note, I even got a $5 promotional credit for any purchase (reloading my Circuit Électrique account) of $10 or more during the last American Express Shop Small promotion! This is the equivalent of 31 kWh of free energy (or about 170 kilometres with my battery type), at a 100 kWh Circuit Électrique fast charging station.

Since points and rewards vary from card to card and issuer to issuer, the best way is to do your own testing at electric charging stations and with your credit card.

Laurentian Park Bollard

For Tesla drivers, the Supercharger detects the owner of the vehicle while charging and simply charges the credit card on file.

Depending on the credit card issuer, Tesla can be coded as either:

  • Transportation
  • Public services/electricity (Utilities)
  • Car dealer

Yes, I admit it can be confusing!

The best credit cards for electric charging stations

Cards that stand out for earning rewards at electric charging stations are:

Petro Canada St Nicholas Terminal

BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*

In its welcome offer terms and conditions, the BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®* states:

Take advantage of a 3% discount rate on the first $300 of auto and vehicle fuel purchases per statement period and a 1% discount rate at any time thereafter.(…) To qualify for the bonus discount rate, auto and vehicle fuel purchases must be made through merchants classified under Mastercard’s merchant category codes of “Gas Stations, Gas Stations” (CCC 5541), “Automated Fuel Dispensers” (CCC 5542), or ” Electric Vehicle Charging Stations” (CCC 5552).

That means you’ll earn up to 3% cash back at electric charging stations with the BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*.

Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* card

The Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* card clearly states that :

You will receive 2% cash back on the first $25,000 of purchases charged to the account each year at merchants registered in the Visa Inc. network. (Visa), as service stations (which includes service stations with or without ancillary services, automatic fuel dispensing stations and electric vehicle charging stations) (Merchant Category Codes 5541, 5542 and 5552)

You’ll earn 2% cash back at electric charging stations with the Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* card.

American Express Business Edge™ Card

With the American Express Business Edge™ Card, you earn 3x points per dollar at stand-alone automotive gas stations across Canada.

Our experience and that of the Milesopedia community members is that it also works for electric charging stations.

Multiple RBC credit cards

RBC and Petro-Canada are partners. Through a promotion, RBC is reimbursing the cost of all electric vehicle charging at Petro-Canada electric charging stations. This is valid until April 30, 2022.

People who have registered this offer before September 21, 2021 have an unlimited refund. If you have registered after that date, the maximum credit available is $100.

The eligible cards are:

You will need to save this offer, which can be found in your RBC profile. Your eligible credit card will be charged for your charging at the electric charging stations. Then, a few days later, the cost is reimbursed by RBC.

My experience

Since 2014, I have had 4 different electric vehicles.

Between January and May 2021, I stayed at home due to sanitary restrictions. But between June and November 2021, I made several road trips (travel revenge!) for a total of 7,200 kilometres in Quebec and Ontario, with my 100% electric vehicle.

In total, the cost of all my recharges at the various electric charging stations was $161.55. The breakdown is as follows:

Type Amount
Electric Circuit $ 119.63
Petro-Canada $ 27.83
Electrify Canada $ 14.09
Total $ 161.55
Neuville terminal

The hotels I stayed at had free electric charging stations, such as the Delta Sherbrooke, Le Navigateur Hotel in Rimouski and the Fairmont Tremblant.

For example, for those 6 months, a BMO World Elite CashBack MasterCard cardholder would have received a rebate of $4.85 (3% * $161.55).

With the American Express Business Edge™ Card, $120 worth of charging with the Electric Circuit earns 360 points. This equates to a return of $3.60 (or 3%).

Note that with an eligible RBC credit card , the savings are $27.83 for 6 months of use. All my refills at Petro-Canada would have been refunded. It remains to be seen whether this RBC promotion will be extended beyond April 2022.

In conclusion, is applying for a credit card specifically for electric charging stations advantageous for occasional needs? In my case: No.

But YES, if you have a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), a two car electric/gasoline car combo or if you regularly use public electric charging stations. The above credit cards are good allies as you will get discounts on both your gas and public electric recharges.

I would benefit much more from analyzing the best credit cards for groceries, as this is my biggest budget item.

Do your calculations!

Conclusion

In short, the CCC 5552 for electric vehicle charging is brand new. For now, you have to test your different credit cards at different electric charging stations.

I applaud all the initiatives taken by issuers and promotions on electric recharging. There were none when I bought my first EV. The industry has grown so much since then!

Right now, the best credit cards for electric charging stations are from RBC, the American Express Business Edge™ Card and the BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*.

Come and join us on the Milesopedia Facebook group to tell us your findings and help us update this article!

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