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The 15 Best Credit Cards In Canada: Earn Top Rewards

Learn about the best credit cards in Canada, including those ideal for travel and students and the best credit cards in Canada with no fee options.

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Credit Cards in Canada
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Choosing a credit card in Canada should be a well-thought-out process. Depending on various factors, including your reasons for getting a card, budget, and priorities, the credit card that’s best for you may differ from what's best for someone else.

To help simplify the credit card selection for Canadians, this article shortlisted the best credit cards in Canada.

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Credit Cards in Canada

Whether your interest lies in no-fee cards, travel rewards, cash back incentives, or student-friendly options, this list encompasses cards perfectly tailored to meet your specific financial requirements.

Best Credit Cards in Canada With No Fee

Get started with these no-annual-fee credit cards and earn rewards that include cash back, insurance coverages, and more.

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1. Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

If you want to maximize cash back opportunities without paying an annual credit card fee, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is a great option.

With this card, you can earn an unlimited 2% cash back on your preferred 2 spending categories and a 0.50% cash back on other eligible purchases. Your rewards are paid monthly and are automatically redeemed into your Tangerine Savings Account or applied to your credit card balance.

The APR for both purchases and cash advances is at a competitive rate of 19.95%. Just note that over-limits and dishonoured payments are charged with $25.

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2. Neo Credit Card

Neo Financial, a Canadian financial technology company, also offers one of Canada's top no-fee credit cards.

The Neo Credit Card provides unlimited cash back, averaging about 5%, when you purchase from one of its 10,000+ partners. Plus, it allows you to customize your subscription-based credit card rewards, ranging from travel perks and fitness-related rewards to dining-related offers.

Your interest rates on the Neo Credit card will vary depending on your credit profile. The APR for purchase transactions ranges from 19.99% to 29.99%, while cash advance transactions are charged between 22.99% and 31.99%.

3. Tangerine World Mastercard

Similar to the Money-Back credit card from the same company, Tangerine World Mastercard offers an unlimited 2% cash back in 2 spending categories of your choice and a 0.50% cash back rate in other eligible purchases.

However, this card stands out in providing more travel-related rewards, including a rental car collision/loss insurance coverage and an exclusive travel pass that gives you access to exclusive retail, spa and dining offers in over 650 airports worldwide.

Heads up, though, you must have a gross annual income of at least $60,000 or a household income of at least $100,000 to be eligible for this card.

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4. Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card

If you want to avoid annual fees while maximizing cash back rewards, the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card might just be the credit card for you.

With this card, you can earn 4% cash back on your restaurant spending, 1.5% cash back on eligible pre-authorized payments, groceries, gas and drugstore purchases, and 0.50% cash back on all other purchases.

It’s worth noting, however, that the 4% cash back is capped at $5,000 a year, and you can only enjoy a 1.5% cash back of up to $15,000 worth of eligible purchases per year.

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You can also open a new Simplii Financial no-fee chequing account and earn a $400 welcome bonus .

5. SimplyCash Card from American Express

Another excellent no-fee American Express credit card is the SimplyCash Card from American Express. This credit card offers 2% cash back on gas, a limited 2% cash back on groceries, and an additional 1.25% cash back on all other eligible everyday purchases.

On top of receiving cash back rewards, you can also enjoy exclusive access to live performances, virtual events, and other American Express experiences.

Plus, you’ll be covered with up to $100,000 of dismemberment and accidental death insurance when booking road trips and flights using your card.

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Best Credit Cards in Canada for Travel

Check out these travel credit cards for VIP perks, comprehensive travel insurance, hotel rewards, and more.

6. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card is undoubtedly one of the best credit cards in Canada for your travel adventures.

In exchange for a $150 annual fee, this card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, allowing you to transact and shop internationally with no additional expenses.

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Credit Cards in Canada

Plus, with this card, you and your travel companions can enjoy 6 complimentary airport lounge access visits annually to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide.

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Up to 3X Scene+ points can be earned for every eligible dollar you spend using this Scotiabank credit card, and, of course, points can be used to further maximize your travel savings!

7. Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is an excellent choice for young adults in Canada who love to travel.

With a low minimum income requirement of $12,000 and a moderate annual fee of $120, this card allows you to earn up to 6X Scene+ points for each eligible dollar you spend. Plus, it lets you waive the typical 2.5% foreign transaction fee that many other travel credit cards still charge.

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This card doesn’t have travel-related insurance coverages, but you’ll have access to over 1200 VIP airport lounges worldwide, and you can enjoy other AMEX-exclusive offers.

8. American Express Cobalt Card

For an annual fee of $155.88, the American Express Cobalt Card offers not only extensive travel rewards and insurance coverage but also the opportunity to earn up to 5X points for every eligible dollar you spend.

When booking tickets with this card, you’ll be financially protected against medical expenses, flight delays, baggage delays, hotel burglary and travel accidents, which many other travel credit cards do not cover.

As an AMEX card, it also provides access to American Express Experiences, which include exclusive events, food festivals, retail deals and presale tickets.

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9. CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card

If you’re interested in getting a CIBC travel credit card in Canada, the CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card may be for you.

For only a $139 annual fee, this card offers travel points, lounge visits, and more. It covers you and your purchases with an extended purchase warranty, auto rental collision/loss insurance, and up to $500,000 common carrier accident insurance.

Best Credit Cards in Canada for Students

These are the best credit cards for students. They are easy to qualify for, and don’t have annual fees.

10. KOHO Prepaid Mastercard

You’ll never miss the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard when reading lists of the best credit cards in Canada with instant approval.

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Despite not actually being a credit card but, rather, a prepaid card that you’d have to load with money before use, this Mastercard has plenty of features that mimic those of an actual credit card.

To name some, the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard offers up to 5% cash back on eligible purchases, provides a budgeting application, and helps you build your credit score with an optional credit-building program.

On top of those benefits, you can also earn 0.50% interest on your entire balance and automate your savings plan.

11. Scotiabank SCENE+ Visa Card for Students

The Scotiabank SCENE+ Visa Card is ideal for students who want to have their first credit card. You can easily apply for this no-fee credit card online or in person if you’re enrolled at a Canadian post-secondary school and earn at least $12,000 a year.

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The interest rates are competitive, with the APR for purchases at 19.99% and cash advance transactions at 22.99% APR.

Since this is a SCENE+ card, you can also earn up to 2X Scene+ points for every dollar you spend on eligible spending categories.

12. BMO CashBack Mastercard for Students

Skip the annual fees, earn cash back, and cash out your earnings anytime with the BMO CashBack Mastercard.

Through this student-friendly credit card, you can earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% cash back on recurring bill payments, and 0.5% on all other purchases, ensuring you always earn back a little every time you spend.

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Best Cash Back Credit Cards in Canada

Easily earn cash back on all purchases you make online and in-person with the best cash back credit cards in Canada.

13. SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

In exchange for an annual fee of $119.88, this credit offers unlimited 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases, a generous 4% cash back on groceries, and 2% cash back on all other purchases.

On top of the incredibly high cash back rates, this card also provides comprehensive insurance coverage for your travel, mobile device, and shopping expenditures. And it gives you access to exclusive offers from American Express Experiences.

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14. CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card

The CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card also offers a competitive 4% cash back on eligible gas, electric vehicle charging, and grocery expenses. 2% cash back is offered on transportation, dining and recurring payments, and you can earn 1% cash back on everything else.

Luckily, this CIBC credit card has no annual limit on the cash back you can earn; you may redeem your rewards anytime you want.

15. American Express Green Card

One of the top no-fee credit cards in Canada is the American Express Green Card. It offers 20.99% APR on purchases and 21.99% on cash advance transactions while providing reward points for eligible spending categories.

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For every dollar you spend on eligible everyday purchases, you can earn 1X points, along with an additional point for selected hotel and car rental bookings.

Points can be redeemed for a wide array of goods and services, including groceries and travel. And your purchases will be protected by a standard extended warranty and a 90-day purchase protection plan.

Summary of the Best Credit Cards in Canada

Credit Card 

Card Type  

Top Features 

Annual Fee 

Neo Credit Card 

No-Fee 

An average cash back of 5% and customizable credit card rewards. 

$0 

Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard 

Cash Back 

Up to 2% unlimited cash back, welcome bonus, purchase insurance coverage, low-interest balance transfer 

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$0 

Tangerine World Mastercard 

 

Up to 2% unlimited cash back, welcome bonus, purchase insurance coverage, low-interest balance transfer; airport lounge access membership, Boingo Wi-Fi 

$0 

American Express Cobalt Card 

Travel 

Earn up to 5X points for every eligible dollar you spend and get comprehensive insurance coverage for most travel-related accidents and delays.  

$155.88 

Scotiabank SCENE+ Visa Card for Students 

Student-focused 

No annual fees and up to 2X Scene+ points for every eligible dollar spent. 

$0 

KOHO Prepaid Mastercard 

 

Student-focused 

Get approved instantly and enjoy up to 5% cash back on eligible purchases for no annual fee.  

$0 

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express 

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Cash back 

Enjoy up to 4% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases and access to exclusive AMEX experiences. 

$119.88  

CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card 

Cash back 

Unlimited cash back rewards of 1% to  4% that you can redeem anytime. 

$120 

SimplyCash Card from American Express 

No-Fee 

Up to 2% cash back on eligible purchases and exclusive access to AMEX experiences. 

$0 

Types of Credit Cards in Canada

There are 10 types of credit cards in Canada, each with its own set of pros and cons. The names of these card types often provide clear hints about their intended purposes, making it quite straightforward to grasp which category suits your priorities most.

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For example, a travel credit card is often best for travellers, while a “poor credit” credit card is ideal for individuals with a poor credit history.

Just take note, though, that most credit cards can fall into more than one credit card category. A prepaid credit card, for example, may also qualify as both a no-fee card and a rewards credit card if it meets the criteria for these categories as well.

How to Choose the Best Credit Card for You

When picking out the best credit card for you, it’s always best to think about why you want a credit card in the first place. Some of the reasons you may need a credit card include:

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  • Financing your studies
  • Building your credit history
  • Saving money through cash back
  • Enjoying travel perks and rewards
  • Having an accessible source of extra funds

On top of your reasons for getting a card, you should also consider how much you’re willing to spend to have a new credit card.

Once you know exactly what your priorities are for getting a card, review the features of the credit cards listed above. Then, among them, choose the card that best serves your interests and budget.

Just take note that you may need to compromise either certain features or your budget. Finding a credit card that perfectly aligns with all your priorities at the exact price point you're comfortable with isn’t always possible.

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Pros and Cons of Credit Cards

Pros:

  • You’ll have an accessible source of extra funds.
  • Having a credit card is helpful in building your credit history.
  • You can benefit from insurance coverage policies, money-saving rewards, and other exclusive perks offered by the credit card.

Cons:

  • For some credit cards, you’ll have to pay an annual fee.
  • It may be tempting to spend more money with a credit card on hand, which may cause you to fall into debt.

How Many Credit Cards Should You Have?

There’s no one-size-fits-all limit to how many credit cards you should have. After all, having multiple credit cards and managing just one or two both have their pros and cons.

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If you have multiple credit cards, you’ll benefit from having more sources of extra funding, potentially building your credit history faster and enjoying diverse rewards and points offered by each card.

On the other hand, if you only have one or two credit cards, you can avoid significantly increasing your consumer debt and, of course, enjoy the ease of managing the payment dates of only one or two credit cards.

Visa vs. Mastercard: Which is Better?

Visa and Mastercard offer very similar benefits, so for most Canadians, it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. However, as the two payment networks still have some differences, you might prefer one over the other, depending on your priorities.

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In general, if you’re a big spender who loves to access the most exclusive VIP perks, Mastercard may be the better option for you. Its high-tier cards provide more luxurious access to hotels, resorts, and exclusive events, exceeding what Visa often provides on its higher-end credit cards.

However, if you plan on applying for low to mid-tier credit cards, Visa may be the superior choice. This is because when you directly compare its tiers to the ones Mastercard offers, Visa provides more advantages, including better insurance coverage, more hotel upgrades, and various travel benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • Some of the best no-fee credit cards in Canada include the American Express Green Card, Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card and the Neo Credit Card.
  • To choose the best credit for you, always consider the reasons you want one in the first place, then choose the credit card that best suits your current financial needs.

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Disclaimer: The above is a sponsored post, the views expressed are those of the sponsor/author and do not represent the stand and views of Outlook Editorial.

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