Approximately 10% of electric vehicle (EV) charging occurs outside the home. What’s the best credit card for earning rewards points at public electric charging stations?
Public electric charging stations
*** This post from December 23, 2021 was updated on March 24, 2023.
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).
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.
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 Circuit Electrique 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.
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:
- Public services/electricity (Utilities)
- Car dealer
Yes, it is an inexact science!
The best credit cards for electric charging stations
Cards that stand out for earning rewards at electric charging stations are:
|Earning per dollar|
|American Express Business Edge™ Card||3 Membership Rewards points|
|RBC ION+ Visa Card||3 Avion points|
|National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard®||2 NBC points|
|National Bank Platinum Mastercard||1.5 point NBC|
|CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card (effective April 23, 2023)||4% cash back|
|BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*||3% cash back|
|CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa* Card (effective April 23, 2023)||3% cash back|
|Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* Card||2% cash back|
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 3% cash back at electric charging stations with the BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*.
Please note that care must be taken with the BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*. When I tried it, my Circuit Electrique recharges did not code as “electric charge”. Instead, they fell into the “Other” category with a 1% return in 2022. Perhaps this has changed since then. However, Circuit Électrique is perfectly coded at 2 points per dollar with the National Bank’s 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
CIBC credit cards code electrical recharges as “Other”. They therefore have a lower accumulation. However, as of April 23, 2023, many CIBC cards will have the same accumulation rate as gasoline and will therefore be higher! These are:
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Privilege
CIBC Aventura Visa Card for Business
CIBC Aventura Visa Card for Business Plus
CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card
CIBC Dividend Visa Card for Students
CIBC Dividend Visa Card
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card
CIBC Aeroplan Preferred Visa Infinite Card
|CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students|
I have had an electric vehicle since 2014. We even drive it to go to Florida! The travel time was the same as a gasoline vehicle.
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 $161.55. The breakdown is as follows:
|Circuit Electrique||$ 119.63|
|Electrify Canada||$ 14.09|
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 National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard® would have received 323 points or a maximum value of $3.23 (2 points * $161.55).
With the American Express Business Edge™ Card, $120 worth of charging with the Circuit Electrique earns 360 points. This equates to a return of $3.60 (or 3%).
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!
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 the American Express Business Edge™ Card and the RBC ION+ card.
As of April 23, 2023, it will be extremely interesting to hold the CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card. She’ll be the one giving the most with 4% cash back!
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