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The President’s Choice Financial MasterCard has taken top spot in the inaugural credit card customer satisfaction rankings from J.D. Power.

American Express credit cards took second spot, followed by Canadian Tire. If there’s a lesson here for points collectors, it’s that practicality rules when picking a suitable reward card. PCF MasterCard is linked to the PC Optimum program, where you earn points redeemable toward purchases at Loblaw supermarkets and Shoppers Drug Mart stores. Canadian Tire rewards can be redeemed on purchases at the ubiquitous chain’s stores across the country.

Credit cards from the major banks scored at average levels or worse on customer satisfaction. Banks all offer a variety of rewards on their credit cards, but the highest profile programs generally involve travel. J.D. Power says customer satisfaction with a card is driven not just by the amount of points you can earn, but also on how well cardholders understand the process for converting points to rewards. The frequency of redemption also drives satisfaction – the more you redeem, the happier you are with a card.

The two most popular rewards among the more than 6,000 people surveyed by J.D. Power were cash-back and airline tickets. But the ascendancy of the PCF and Canadian Tire cards suggests people are more satisfied when they get a break on everyday purchases.

Some other points of interest on credit cards from J.D. Power:

  • Canadians, on average, used two credit cards for purchases over the three months preceding the survey work that went into the rankings. Just over 80 per cent of spending was done on a primary card.
  • The average length of time people keep a card is 10 years.
  • The median monthly amount spent on a primary credit card is $600.

Here are the full card rankings from the J.D. Power credit card satisfaction survey:

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

10 money goals to reach by age 30

Get rid of student debt and car debt, start retirement saving, know your credit score and more. This is a U.S. list, so some of the lingo is different than ours. But the general thrust is totally relevant – you ideally make financial progress in a wide number of areas by the time you turn 30.

Create a “hill and valley fund”

That’s a term for an emergency fund that people working temporary contracts can use to cover costs between jobs. It’s one of several budgeting tips for people with an irregular income.

How to get negative items off your credit report

A credit counselling agency offers a few suggestions on how to clean up blemishes like late payments, overdue bills and repossessions.

Why you should plan for old age before you’re old

A physician/financial planner writes about why people procrastinate more as they age, and why this can be a problem for their families.

Today’s financial tool

Estimate your tax bill and tax rate for this year and the two previous years using the income tax calculator from PwC Canada.

Featured Video

A discussion of the latest economic data on economic growth and the job market by Statistics Canada.

Ask Rob

Q: “We recently received notice that our house insurance company will no longer be our insurer because our home is over 4,600 square feet. We are confused. Our home has been about 5,500 square feet since we did a major renovation in 2000. We have been paying a pretty hefty monthly fee for home insurance since then. Is this size limitation something new?”

A: I asked Anne Marie Thomas of for her thoughts on this one. “Some insurance companies have rules where they will only insure homes up to a certain replacement cost limit,” she wrote in an e-mail. “Those rules vary by company and can change if the company’s underwriting strategy changes.” This situation sounds like an opportunity for your broker to demonstrate his or her value by finding you a new insurance company.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

What I’ve been writing about

  • Our most irrational financial habit? Cheaping out on retirement saving
  • Despite a strong economy, debt-related stress is on the rise in Canada
  • Low-cost investing smackdown: Balanced ETFs vs. robo-advisers (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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