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|Winning card||First-year value||Get this card|
|Best Overall Rewards Card||American Express Cobalt® Credit Card||$1,524||Apply now|
Best No-Fee Cash Back Card
|Tangerine World Mastercard®||$409||Apply now|
|Best No-Fee Travel Card||MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®||$545||Apply now|
|Best Overall Travel Card||CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card||$1,525||Apply now|
|Best Overall Cash Back Card||BMO CashBack World Elite* Mastercard*||$745||Apply now|
|Best Low-Interest Card||True Line® Gold Mastercard®||$181||Apply now|
|Best Balance Transfer Card||CIBC Select Visa* Card||$353||Apply now|
|Best Secured Card for Building Credit||No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa* Card||$0||Apply now|
|Best Card for Young Professionals||American Express Cobalt® Credit Card||$1,524||Apply now|
|Best Card for Students||BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students||$364||Apply now|
|Best Card for Earning Travel Points||American Express Cobalt® Credit Card||$1,524||Apply now|
|Best Travel Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees||Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card||$1,194||Apply now|
|Best Family Card for Gas and Groceries||President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard®||$476||Apply now|
|Best Card for Staying at Home and Ordering In||Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card||$1,194||Apply now|
|Best Prepaid Card||KOHO Prepaid Mastercard||$126||Apply now|
|Best Overall Mastercard||MBNA Rewards Elite ® Mastercard®||$924||Apply now|
|Best Overall Visa||CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card||$1,525||Apply now|
*The RATESDOTCA Best of Finance methodology assumes the cardholder spends an average of $2,000 a month on their card to determine the first-year value. The calculation includes all welcome bonuses and promotional offers at the time of publishing.
Most credit cards offer cardholders travel points, cash back or low interest rates for making day-to-day purchases. However, some rewards programs stand out in the crowd with countless redemption options and more ways for cardholders to save money.
Our top picks feature flexible reward programs available to help cardholders maximize the value of their daily spending. Additionally, extra perks and benefits provide users access to comprehensive travel insurance coverage, exclusive deals and, most importantly, high earn rates for everyday purchases like gas and groceries.
We compared the leading rewards credit cards using our methodology and ranked the cards with the highest first-year value, the most flexible rewards and robust benefits.
Winner: American Express Cobalt® Credit Card
The American Express Cobalt® Credit Card is one of the most rewarding cards on the market, and it has a unique feature: a monthly fee. Cardholders pay a budget-friendly $12.99 monthly to access top-tier rewards and exclusive offers.
Earn five points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, and food delivery purchases in Canada. Get three points for every $1 spent on eligible streaming subscriptions. Earn two points for every $1 spent on eligible travel and transit purchases and get one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Cardholders should notice their reward balance growing steadily from their usual everyday purchases.
According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn a staggering $1,524 in rewards in the first year.
Travel is back, and people are making up for the lost time by experiencing great food and culture once again.
If you're eager to join in, now's the time to start building rewards and travel points for your next trip. Earn rewards for everyday purchases and redeem them for flights, hotel stays and vacation packages.
These cards also feature great additional perks, like shopping coverage, mobile device insurance and exclusive offers.
We compared the top travel credit cards using our methodology and ranked the cards that provided the highest first-year value.
Winner: CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card
Cardholders of the CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card can access loads of travel perks, from four free annual airport lounge passes to a NEXUS application fee rebate every four years. This card also features travel insurance and Visa Infinite benefits, such as complimentary breakfast at over 900 properties worldwide and exclusive tours of Wine Country.
Pay no booking fees through the Aventura Travel Assistant and use points to cover airfare costs, including taxes and fees.
According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $1,525 in rewards in the first year.
Travellers can forgo the foreign currency exchange line and pack a much smaller wallet for their next trip. These credit cards offer no foreign transaction fees on purchases, sparing cardholders the extra 1.5% to 3% providers typically charge. Only the exchange rate applies.
Cardholders also get the added convenience of tracking all their transactions from little trips to the grocery store, tours and excursions all in one place. Plus, travellers won’t get stuck with extra foreign coins and bills at the end of their trip.
These credit cards also feature various benefits and travel insurance to help make trips more comfortable and carefree. Spend points on flights, rental cars, hotel stays or merchandise and get the most out of your next adventure.
We compared the top credit cards with no foreign transaction fees using our Best of Finance methodology and ranked the cards that provided the highest first-year value.
Winner: Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card
The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card offers a great return on spending. Earn five Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on groceries, restaurant, food delivery and entertainment purchases. Get three Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on gas, daily transit purchases and select streaming services and earn one Scotia Scene+ point for every $1 spent everywhere else.
Cardholders pay no foreign transaction fees on foreign currency purchases, typically around 2.5%. Only the exchange rate applies. Plus, access discounts through the Scotia Rewards Travel Service and get a wide range of travel insurance through the card.
According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $1,194 in rewards in the first year.
Travel programs typically offer the best redemption value of all the rewards credit cards. Whether they offer rewards, points or miles, these cards will always provide more value than cash back cards. However, cardholders get the best value for their rewards when redeeming for travel rather than gift cards or statement credits — though the flexibility is nice to have.
Most programs allow members to redeem rewards for flights, vacation packages, upgrades and other travel savings. Some programs also allow point conversions to other popular travel programs. Additionally, many of our top picks feature insurance coverage and exclusive offers like lounge access or benefits at hotels and resorts.
We compared the best credit cards with travel points using our Best of Finance methodology and ranked the cards that provided the highest first-year value.
Winner: American Express Cobalt® Credit Card
The American Express Cobalt® Credit Card is one of the best cards for amassing rewards, offering cardholders five points for every $1 spent on restaurants and food deliveries, three points for every $1 spent on eligible streaming subscriptions, two points for every $1 spent on eligible travel and transit and one point for every $1 spent anywhere else.
Not only that, but the Membership Rewards® program is incredibly flexible, allowing members to redeem points for almost anything — travel, merchandise and more. Eligible cards, including the American Express Cobalt® Credit Card, can access the Fixed Points Travel Program and American Express Travel Online for travel offers and special rates. Cardholders can even use Membership Rewards® to pay for taxes, fees and carrier surcharges.
According to our methodology, the average Canadian could earn around $1,524 in rewards in the first year.
Carrying a balance costs money; it's time to pay off your high-interest credit card debt.
Cardholders with outstanding debt can transfer their existing balance to another card with a balance transfer promotion to take advantage of lower interest rates.
Some introductory rates can be as low as 0% for a set time, anywhere from a few months to a year. Conditions apply, however. New purchases typically incur standard interest rates, and misuse, like missing payments, may forfeit the offer.
Cardholders must typically pay a balance transfer fee of around 1% for the service. However, the cost is generally less than the interest charges on a standard credit card with a 20.99% interest rate. If used responsibly, cardholders can focus on payments and reduce debt faster.
Using our methodology, we compared balance transfer rates in Canada and ranked the cards that provided the most savings.
Winner: CIBC Select Visa* Card
The CIBC Select Visa* Card offers one of the best promotional balance transfer rates. New cardholders can get a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for up to 10 months with a 1% transfer fee. This special offer can help cardholders pay down their balance quicker and avoid spending as much on interest charges.
Based on our methodology, the average Canadian would spend around $353 less on interest charges on a $2,000 balance compared to a standard credit card with a 20.99% interest rate.
The best way to avoid paying costly interest charges is to pay off your credit card balance in full each statement period. However, that is not always possible; sometimes, you may carry a balance month-over-month. In that case, interest would start to accrue on the unpaid balance at a set rate, compounded daily.
Most credit cards charge a standard annual interest rate of around 20.99% on purchases, which can add up quickly.
Although the welcome offers and perks of some credit cards can be enticing, the mounting interest charges can outweigh any advantages if you carry a balance. Switching to a low-interest credit card allows cardholders to tackle their debt faster and pay less interest. This decision can put cardholders in a healthier financial position for the future.
Using our methodology, we compared low-interest credit cards in Canada and ranked the cards that provided the most potential savings.
Winner: True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card
The True Line® Gold Mastercard® offers cardholders an 8.99% standard annual interest rate on balance transfers and purchases for an annual fee of $39.
According to our methodology, this low-interest credit card would save the average Canadian around $181 in interest in the first year.
Cash back credit cards are straightforward: cardholders earn a small percentage of each purchase back in rewards. Still, there are differences between the two types of cash back cards:
Cash back is usually applied as a statement credit every month or once per year on a specific date. It can also be deposited directly into a savings account.
We compared the top cash back credit cards using our methodology and ranked the cards that provided the highest first-year value.
Winner: BMO CashBack World Elite* Mastercard*
The BMO CashBack World Elite* Mastercard* offers you a whopping 5% cash back on food and essential purchases, along with 3% cash back on gas and 4% cash back on transit purchases. Best of all, you can earn 1% cash back on all other purchases with no cap at all and 2% cash back on all recurring bill payments. Your annual fee is also waived for the first year.
According to our methodology, you can earn $745 in rewards annually with the BMO CashBack World Elite* Mastercard*. This card also includes travel benefits such as airport lounge access provided by LoungeKey, an unusual feature for a cash back card. The year-over-year annual rewards, combined with the added benefits, make the BMO CashBack World Elite* Mastercard* our top pick.
Just because a card doesn't charge an annual fee doesn’t mean it offers no value. Many no-fee credit cards offer hundreds of dollars in cash back for everyday purchases and feature additional benefits like shopping coverage or exclusive offers.
We compared the top no-fee cash back credit cards using our methodology and ranked the cards with the highest first-year value.
Winner: Tangerine World Mastercard®
The Tangerine World Mastercard® is a no-fee cash-back card that offers you the rare ability to customize accelerated earning categories to maximize your rewards. You can earn 2% cash back in up to three “Money-Back Categories” of your choice, with great options including groceries, gas, parking, and more. The Tangerine World Mastercard® is the clear winner because of the rewards flexibility and the rich welcome bonus it gives cardholders.
Find the best top travel rewards programs with these no-fee cards. While they feature slightly lower earn rates than their counterparts with a fee, they still provide excellent value and great perks.
Plus, these cards can slide into your wallet as a primary or secondary credit card, and you don't have to worry about another annual expense. You can use the card as often or sparingly as you like without having to justify its worth.
We compared the top no-fee travel credit cards using our Best of Finance methodology and ranked the cards that provided the highest value while also considering additional complimentary travel perks and benefits.
Winner: MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®
The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® offers cardholders four points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, restaurant, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases for the first 90 days, up to the $10,000 annual spend cap in each category. After, earn two points for every $1 spent in these categories until the $10,000 cap is met annually and one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
This card also features $1,000,000 travel accident insurance, unexpected return home insurance and car rental accident insurance.
According to our methodology, the average Canadian could earn around $545 in rewards in the first year.
It can be challenging to get approved for credit, particularly if you have little or no credit history. But to build a credit history, you often need access to credit. So, what is a person to do?
A secured credit card is an excellent first step. This handy little product can benefit those new to credit and those who need to improve their credit.
It works much like a standard credit card. Cardholders can usually pay bills, purchase items in-store and online, and access a credit limit. However, the credit limit is determined by a deposit set by the cardholder and is secured on the card.
The cardholder is responsible for paying their statement monthly and will also owe interest if they carry a balance. With each payment made on time, the positive information is reported to the credit bureaus in Canada and should slowly build or increase the cardholder's credit score.
Over time, the cardholder may qualify for unsecured products and should be able to get their initial deposit back.
We compared secured credit cards in Canada using our Best of Finance methodology and ranked the cards that provided the highest value. In this case, we felt that annual rewards and savings were not the most important benefits. Cardholders would get the best value from a no-fee card focused strictly on building credit.
Winner: No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa* Card
The No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa Card* allows cardholders to build or rebuild their credit for no annual fee. Cardholders can set their credit limit based on a deposit ranging from as low as $500 to as high as $10,000. Shop online, pay bills and use the card anywhere Visa is accepted — just like an unsecured card.
If you keep up with the payments, your credit rating should improve, whether you are just starting to build your credit or your credit score needs some repair.
Home Trust also offers the Home Trust Secured Visa* Card with a lower interest rate for a $59 annual fee. However appealing as this may seem, cardholders looking to rebuild credit should aim to pay off their credit card balance in full each month. The No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa* Card is one of the safest and best options.
Students are often overloaded with expenses and costly fees throughout their post-secondary education — tuition, expensive; student housing, expensive; textbooks, expensive. Not to mention the mile-long list of program requirements like laptops and any newfangled technology that is all the rage that year.
The list only continues with cost-of-living expenses like groceries or transportation. Fortunately, students have a few options to score some extra cash and save money. Many grocery stores and retailers provide student discounts, typically around 10% for groceries and possibly more at events.
Students can also get cash back or points with the right rewards credit card. Student credit cards usually have no fee and few eligibility requirements. Some cards require proof of enrollment in a post-secondary institution but typically do not require a credit check and have high approval rates.
We compared the leading student credit cards using our Best of Finance methodology and ranked the cards that provided the highest value.
Winner: BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students
The BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for students rewards scholars at an accelerated rate for essential purchases like groceries and provides a straightforward introduction to credit. There is no need to decipher the value of rewards; you will get a percentage of each purchase back and have more money in your wallet.
Get up to 5% cash back for the first three months. Conditions apply. After your first three months, earn 3% cash back on your first $500 grocery purchases and 1% cash back on your first $500 recurring bill payments each month. Earn 0.5% unlimited cash back on everything else.
According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian could earn around $364 cash back in the first year.
The right credit card can benefit the entire family. Whether it's earning groceries at your favourite store or redeeming rewards for streaming services, top credit cards can save you money where you least expect it.
We compared the leading credit cards for grocery and gas purchases using our Best of Finance methodology and ranked the cards with the highest first-year value.
Winner: President's Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard®
Cardholders of the President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard® can earn points on their grocery purchases at President's Choice banner brands, including Loblaws, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore and Zehrs, and their drugstore purchases at Shoppers Drug Mart. Earn at least 30 points per litre at Esso and Mobil gas stations.
Cardholders also have two ways to earn rewards faster. The first is to present their PC Optimum card at the checkout and double dip on points. The second is by creating a “household” within the PC Optimum app and pooling points to earn and redeem rewards as a family.
According to our methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $476 in rewards in the first year.
The pandemic has changed our spending habits. Many of us are more reliant on apps now — adding items to our cart from the comfort of our couches instead of in-store and ordering more food straight to our doorsteps. But you may not realize that it can take a toll on your reward balance.
These small lifestyle changes may decrease the rewards or cash back you would otherwise see in your wallet. Luckily, our top picks reward cardholders for their takeout and delivery purchases and offer great perks for staying home.
We compared the best credit cards for delivery and takeout purchases using our methodology and ranked the cards that provided the highest first-year value.
Winner: Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card
The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card rewards cardholders for everyday purchases, from takeout and delivery to streaming services. Get up to six Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, fast food, food subscription and entertainment purchases. Earn three Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on gas, transit and select streaming services like Netflix. Get one Scotia Scene+ point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Rack up rewards quickly and redeem them for thousands of options, including travel, merchandise, gift cards and statement credits. Plus, pay no foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad or online in foreign currency. Only the exchange rate applies.
According to our methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $1,194 in rewards in the first year.
Young professionals are often tech-savvy, ambitious individuals looking to make their mark on the world — working hard during the day and spending as much time as possible with friends in the evenings.
Our top picks reward cardholders who are trying to do it all. Earn cash back or rewards for everyday purchases like trips to the store, rideshares to meetings and interviews, takeout and even binge-watching movies or TV shows on Netflix.
We compared the best credit cards for young professionals using our methodology and ranked the cards with the highest first-year value.
Winner: American Express Cobal® Credit Card
The American Express Cobalt® Credit Card rewards cardholders for their busy lifestyles. Get five points for every $1 spent on restaurant and food delivery purchases in Canada. Earn three points for every $1 spent on eligible streaming subscriptions. Get two points for every $1 spent on eligible travel and transit, including rideshare services. Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Members can access Cobalt Perks and American Express® Experiences for exclusive offers, presale tickets and curated events.
According to our methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $1,524 in rewards in the first year.
Prepaid cards, loaded with a balance before use, require no qualification and are popular among consumers trying to develop their financial habits without assuming any risk. While they can be easily used to make online or in-store purchases, the cardholder doesn't assume any debt following the transaction. Similarly, the purchase is not subject to any interest charge.
Winner – KOHO Prepaid Mastercard® (KOHO Easy)
The KOHO Prepaid Mastercard® is as easy to use as a debit card but comes with the advantages of a credit card: you can earn 1% cash back rewards on grocery and recurring bill purchases as well as 5% cash back on select KOHO partnered merchants, including select food and drink merchants. This card also offers you the advantage of a low foreign exchange fee (1.5%). The KOHO Prepaid Mastercard is widely considered a good tool for consumers to develop strong financial habits. It even offers a low-fee option to help the cardholder build their credit score. According to our methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $126 in cash back rewards each year.
Mastercard offers you one of the largest payment networks in the world, allowing you to easily make payments wherever you go. You are protected from unauthorized transactions through Mastercard's Zero Liability coverage. Here's our top pick for the best Mastercard of 2023.
Winner — MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®
The MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard® offers you five points for every $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, digital media and utilities. Best of all, you can earn one point on every $1 spent on everything else. This card also comes with great insurance perks, such as mobile device insurance and rental car coverage. According to our Best of Finance methodology, you can earn up to $924 in rewards in the first year. This makes the MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard® the most rewarding Mastercard credit card.
Visa credit cards are hugely popular as they are widely accepted in more than 200 countries and territories. Visa credit cards offer you a secure and convenient way to pay for what you need, anywhere and anytime. Visa's Zero Liability policy protects you from any fraudulent transactions. We've analyzed the top Visa credit cards in Canada to find the best pick.
Winner — CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card
The CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card is a great travel rewards card that allows you to quickly rack up points due to a generous welcome bonus and points program. You can earn two points for every $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre and 1.5 points for every $1 spent at eligible gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores. Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases. You can also take advantage of mobile device insurance and the NEXUS application fee rebate, both extremely valuable benefits for travellers. According to our methodology, you can earn $1,525 in the first year, making this the best Visa credit card in Canada.
The RATESDOTCA Best of Finance methodology has evolved over the last 12 years. Our team analyzed 110 credit cards using 100+ data points over several weeks to determine the first-year value of each card. Here's more on how we found the winners for each category in 2023.
To calculate the first-year value for each Canadian rewards credit card, we assume cardholders spend $2,000* a month on the card across the following categories:
*Source: Statistics Canada
The Best of Finance methodology assumes the cardholder redeems their rewards for the highest point value. The RATESDOTCA comparison tool assumes the user redeems their points for travel when “travel” is selected and statement credits when “cash+” is selected to determine the first-year value.
We weigh each card’s perks, bonuses and benefits to calculate the Best Overall Rewards Credit Card.
Each category is weighted as follows:
To calculate the first-year value of low interest credit cards, we assume the following:
To calculate the value of balance transfer credit cards, we assume the following:
Find the best credit card for your lifestyle today!
RATESDOTCA may receive compensation when you click on links to those products or services. however, our content and calculations are objective and free from bias. The opinions expressed are purely those of RATESDOTCA; thus, partners are not responsible for any editorials or reviews that may appear. For current term and conditions on any advertiser or partner’s product, please visit their website.