You’d think businesses would think twice before dropping support for the open web, but MBNA seems to not have learned the lesson that South Korea learned the hard way.
I first saw reports on Twitter that MBNA was planning to discontinue support for Firefox on its website. I didn’t pay much attention to it, but the complaint soon reached reddit, and I realized that it needed to be called out.
A banner appears on the MBNA online banking site after customers log into their accounts using Firefox, cheerily saying:
Firefox user alert – After August 1, you must use Chrome, Edge or Safari to access MBNA online banking. Sorry!
jamesphw (who submitted the post to reddit) commented that “what’s really baffling is that their site is so simple” and that it works just fine in Firefox today – the site is a basic portal to view statements, balances and update account details. That sounds like the kind of CRUD app that would work fine in Netscape 3.0 (if the HTTPS worked for browsers that old today).
I agree with the commenters who point out that this is a pretty clear indication that MBNA is either too incompetent or too miserly to develop a site that works with open standards - and that if they are cutting corners in client-facing applications, who knows what is happening on the back office systems internally.
For what it is worth, MBNA’s (lack of) effort here may turn out to be for naught, as Mozilla webcompat developer wisniewskit seems happy to add a user-agent spoof to Firefox to masquerade itself as Chrome. That seems like a real waste of time for Mozilla, and a potential distruption for end users.
Thankfully, there is still competition in the credit card space, and I figured that we could do a little research to find what options Canadians have to move away from MBNA - why get mad when you can get even?
At this point, you may be wondering why I am bothering to do this research - I am not an MBNA customer (although I used to be, back when it still existed in the US), and I’m not Canadian, so this doesn’t affect me directly. A couple of reasons:
- Personal finance can be fun (okay, not really)
- I think the open web is important
- I am hopeful that MBNA will see this kind of commentary and decide to do the right thing
- I think we owe it to ourselves to be the change we want to see in the world
- I believe that helping people with a glide path to moving to another credit card company will be more effective than more general PSAs or feedback suggestions
Before you go off and cancel all your MBNA cards, the banking lore says that canceling your oldest credit card (the one with the most history) may affect your credit history. If your MBNA card is your oldest card, and you are paying an annual fee on it, you may be better off holding onto it, and asking MBNA to switch you to a no-fee product instead. If you hold onto the card, be sure not to use it, as interchange fees are one of the ways that credit card companies make money.
If you do cancel your cards, I favor the approach suggested by tempMonero123 on reddit - let MBNA know that you have lost trust in their product development teams since they seem to be unable to ensure that their website works with industry standard tech that their competitors have no issue with.
You may also want to contact the Senior Customer Complaints Office via:
- Mail: Senior Customer Complaints Office, PO Box 1, Toronto-Dominion Centre, Toronto, ON MK5 1A2
- Phone: 416-982-4884 or toll-free at 1-888-361-0319
- Fax: 1-866-891-2410
- E-mail: [email protected]
MBNA Credit Cards and Their Best Alternatives
The rest of this post deals with credit cards and credit card features. If you aren’t a current Canadian MBNA credit card customer, it may not be very interesting for you, and you can safely skip the rest of the post.
Based on my research (I encourage you to continue on your own), I found that MBNA has two credit cards that get good recommendations: their Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard and the Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard.
I don’t personally have any credit cards with an annual fee, and I’m sticking with that preference in my listing of alternatives here - if you are willing to pay annual fees, I encourage you to do your own research.
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard
The Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is often recommended as one of the best credit cards for travel rewards. Rewards are based on points that never expire and can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, charitable donations and travel. The card offers 10% off of Avis and Budget rental car base rates in Canada and the US, and 5% off of base rates internationally. Beyond that, it offers extended warranty, mobile device insurance and purchase assurance.
The best value in rewards for this card is in travel, which awards ~1.40% back (in cash value) for travel. Redeeming rewards for cash instead results in 0.7% cash back.
MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard
The Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard is recommended as a good cash back rewards card. It features:
- 2% cash back on gas and groceries, up to a $500 monthly spending cap
- 0.5% cash back on other purchases
Like the Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard, this card offers the same discounts on Avis and Budget rentals, along with purchase assurance and extended warranties.
There are some decent alternatives available, even if you are unwilling to pay an annual fee.
The Tangerine cards are interesting, as they offer 2% cash back in whatever two categories you choose. Changes to your chosen categories take effect after 3 billing statements.
The categories include:
- recurring bill payments
- home improvement
- public transportation and parking
Remaining purchases garner 0.5% cash back.
Like both of the MBNA cards referenced above, the Tangerine cards also offer purchase assurance and extended warranties.
The World Mastercard offers some additional benefits, like:
- Rental Car Collision/Loss Damage Insurance
- Mobile Device Insurance (like MBNA’s Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard)
- Boingo Wi-Fi
- Mastercard Travel Rewards
The BMO CashBack Mastercard has a focus on providing cash back for everyday purchases. People using the card get 3% cash back on groceries (up to $500 spent monthly), and 1% cash back on recurring bill payments (up to $500 spent monthly). All other purchases net 0.5% cash back.
Like every card mentioned in this post, BMO offers purchase assurance and extended warranties.
The other big benefit is savings of up to 25% off of rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car locations.
Feel free to give me feedback on this post on reddit.