If you have a Royal Bank or National Bank of Canada credit card that accumulates points, you can redeem those points for much more than a new desk lamp.
While certain TD, Scotia, BMO and CIBC cards give “cash back” credit of 0.25% – 2% of your yearly spending, RBC and National Bank of Canada encourage saving and lowering debt with their point system by allowing those points to be redeemed for “financial rewards” coupons.
At RBC points can be redeemed for vouchers that can then be deposited into your Royal Bank RRSP, TFSA, or RESP account. If you hold your mortgage or line of credit with the bank, you could also apply your points to the principal of those loans.
Redemptions start at 12,000 points for a $100 voucher, and move in increments of $25 per 3000 points. At these numbers, and assuming 1 point per dollar charged, it works out to a bonus of 0.83% of your credit card spending.
National Bank of Canada cards work out to a little higher (0.91%) but have slightly different options. Like at RBC, points can be redeemed toward your National Bank RRSP or TFSA account, but they do not seem to have an RESP option.
Points can also be used to pay down your mortgage or other loans held at National Bank, and if you are a Quebec resident, they can even be used for a rebate on your car or home insurance.
Redemption starts at 11,000 points for $100, and can only be redeemed in amounts of $100 (ie. 11,000 points, 22,000 points etc.)
Though it’s too late to use your points for the 2009 tax year, you can redeem anytime and get a good start on this year’s contributions.
After a few years of compound interest, I’m sure that the tax sheltered cash will be worth a lot more than the frying pan you could have had.