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2021 Best Credit Cards for Canadians

Looking for a new credit card? Find one that matches your lifestyle.

Select your priority

Select your rewards preference

Select your annual fees

How to use the RATESDOTCA Credit Card Tool

1

Choose between Rewards or Low Interest

Rewards Cards are the best bet for people who pay off their balance and don't pay interest every month.

Low Interest Cards are helpful for individuals who are working to pay off their credit card balance.

2

Choose between Cash+ or Travel Rewards

Cash+ cards reward you with cashback, statement credits or points that can be exchanged in retail stores.

Travel cards reward you with points to be used for travel purchases and may come with travel perks like complimentary lounge visits.

3

Are you willing to pay a fee?

Fee cards often offer superior rewards to no-fee cards, but we understand fees may not be for everyone. If you select "I Don't Mind" we will show you the best fee and no-fee cards.

View and compare your Cards!

Use our tool to select the card that best fits your lifestyle, compare the potential rewards or savings based upon your spending habits and the Perks and Insurance that come with each card.

Credit cards 101

Credit cards not only help you make purchases and payments, but they’re also a great financial tool that can truly complement your lifestyle. Not all credit cards are the same, and the key is to choose one that matches your spending habits, financial goals, and lifestyle preferences.

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Picking the best credit cards in Canada

To help consumers find the best money products, RATESDOTCA's Best of Finance team annually audits and analyzes the leading credit cards on the Canadian market. We converted miles and points into cash values, so every card was on equal terms. All interest rates on purchases and balance transfers were considered. To come up with the total first-year value of each card, the team scoured annual fees, promotional offers and each product’s fine print, deciphering the smallest of details. The credit cards that offered the highest first-year value ranked at the top of each category, except for one or two cards we couldn’t help but feel outweighed their competitors with their special qualities.

Best credit card for earning rewards and for young professionals

A great rewards credit card fits your lifestyle, rewarding you with points, travel miles or cashback. Not to mention exclusive access to variety of benefits such as, gift cards, retail discounts, hotel upgrades and more. When you use a rewards credit card to pay for a good or service, your transaction earns rewards, making paying with debit or cash seem unrewarding.

The American Express Cobalt

The American Express Cobalt cards is also a great option for you if you're a young professional, as you earn up to 5x the rewards on purchases like eats and drinks, food delivery, and groceries .

Looking for the best rewards credit card in Canada? Here's our Best of Finance pick for the top rewards credit card and the top card for young professionals.

American Express CobaltTM Credit Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$787
AMEX Rewards points
Annual rewards
$1155
AMEX Rewards points
Annual fee
$120

Winner – Best Overall Rewards Card and Best Card for Young Professionals
Particularly great for individuals who live in the city, eat out often or order in.
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$787
Annual rewards
$1155
Winner – Best Overall Rewards Card and Best Card for Young Professionals
Particularly great for individuals who live in the city, eat out often or order in.
Details at a glance Collapse details

Cardmembers of the American Express Cobalt Card can earn up to 45,000 bonus Membership Rewards® in the first year. That is equal to roughly $787 toward travel.

Earn 2,500 points each month you spend at least $500 on the card. Plus, when you apply by May 5, 2021, you can earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend at least $3,000 in the first three months of opening the account.

This card is great for earning rewards on everyday purchases, and redemption is made easy. Cardholders can redeem their rewards for almost anything, and members can shop directly through Amazon.ca using their rewards.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will see $1,822 in Membership Rewards® points in the first year.

Credit score requirement for approval

Fair: You have had a credit card or loan for one or more years. For the last two years or more, you’ve paid back debts to creditors with no defaults. You haven’t missed more than two payments on your credit in the last three months.

Monthly fee: $10 ($120 per year)

Limited time offer/bonus

  • New card members can earn 45,000 Membership Rewards® points in the first year. Collect 2,500 Membership Rewards® points each month you spend $500 on your card. Plus, when you apply by May 5, 2021, you can earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend at least $3,000 in the first three months of opening the account.

Offer expiry date: May 5, 2021

Rewards

  • Earn five points per dollar in eligible grocery, dining, and food delivery purchases.
  • Earn two points per dollar in travel and transit, including gas, public transportation, rideshare services and travel bookings.
  • Earn one point per dollar you spend everywhere else.

Earning potential

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

Rewards earned over a 12-month period = 111,000 Membership Rewards® points
Monetary value= $1,942
Annual fee = $120
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $1,822

*The $10 monthly fee was multiplied by 12 months to get the annual fee.

You can redeem your points for:

  • Travel
  • Fixed Points Travel Program
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • Purchases through Amazon.ca
  • Statement credit

Insurance:

  • Out of province/country emergency medical
  • Flight delay
  • Baggage delay
  • Hotel/motel burglary
  • Lost or stolen baggage
  • Car rental theft and damage
  • $250,000 travel accident
  • Purchase Protection® Plan
  • Buyer’s Assurance® Plan

Other perks:

  • Enjoy exclusive offers through Cobalt Perks.
  • Access presale tickets, exclusive offers and events through American Express Invites®.

Best no fee credit card

Are you looking for a no fee credit card? A no fee credit card is a great option for a new or occasional credit card user who doesn't want to pay an annual fee, yet still take advantage of the great rewards and perks from paying through a credit card. No fee cards also make great secondary credit cards to compliment a fee card. Here's our Best of Finance pick for the best no fee credit card in Canada.

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

card image
Welcome bonus
$160
MBNA Rewards points
Annual rewards
$350
MBNA Rewards points
Annual fee
$0

Winner – Best No Fee Card
Flexible rewards redeemable for travel or cashback
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$160
Annual rewards
$350
Winner – Best No Fee Card
Flexible rewards redeemable for travel or cashback
Details at a glance Collapse details

Apply for the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard and get four times the MBNA Rewards points per dollar you spend on gas, groceries and restaurant purchases for the first 90 days, up to the $5,000 annual spending cap in each of in these categories.

Plus, earn 5,000 bonus points when you make at least $500 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days. Get another 5,000 bonus points when you sign up for paperless e-statements within the same period. Redeem your rewards through the MBNA Rewards Catalogue for travel, merchandise and more.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will see $510 in MBNA Rewards points within the first year.

Credit score requirement for approval

Good: You’ve had a credit card or loan for at least six years. You’ve had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven’t opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You’ve made the minimum payments on any existing credit cards for the past three months.

Annual fee: $0

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Earn 4X the MBNA Rewards points per dollar you spend on eligible gas, grocery and restaurant purchases for the first 90 days, subject to an annual cap of $5,000 in total purchases in each category.
  • Get 5,000 bonus points when you make your first $500 in purchases within 90 days of opening the account. Get another 5,000 when you enroll in paperless e-statements within the same period.

Offer expiry date: N/A subject to change without notice

Rewards

  • Earn one point per dollar everywhere you shop.

Earning potential

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

Rewards earned over a 12-month period = 51,000 MBNA Rewards points
Monetary value= $510
Annual fee = $0
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $510

You can redeem your points for:

  • Travel
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • Statement credit

Insurance:

  • Purchase assurance
  • Extended warranty

Other perks:

  • Save on rental cars with AVIS Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car across the U.S. and Canada.
  • Feel some peace of mind with the Away from Home feature, including lost document and ticket replacement, lost luggage assistance, and legal assistance.

Best travel credit card and best credit card for Snowbirds and Cross Border Shoppers

A great travel credit card allows you to earn rewards points or miles through every transaction. Amongst all credit cards these rewards are usually the greatest value when you use them for travel related redemptions. If you're a traveller who enjoys discovering new cities, cultures and cuisines, why not supplement your lifestyle with a travel credit card? Get rewarded for purchases you were already going to make and enjoy perks like complimentary insurance or skip the need for foreign currency exchange with the a travel credit card that doesnt card a fee on foreign transactions.

For snowbirds or those that enjoy cross-border shopping, a great travel credit card for you can allow you to easily plan your trips across the border, without having to worry about dealing with any foreign currency as well. Plus, feel like you are covered with benefits like complimentary medical insurance.

Here's the Best of Finance top travel credit card and best credit card for snowbirds and cross-border shoppers.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$250
Scotia Rewards points
Annual rewards
$744
Scotia Rewards points
Annual fee
$120

Winner – Best Travel Card and Best Card for Snowbirds/Cross Boarder Shopping
Strong travel perks and 0% foreign transaction fees compliment great reward value
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$250
Annual rewards
$744
Winner – Best Travel Card and Best Card for Snowbirds/Cross Boarder Shopping
Strong travel perks and 0% foreign transaction fees compliment great reward value
Details at a glance Collapse details

Apply for the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card and earn 25,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when you make at least $1,000 in purchases in your first three months. That is a $250 travel value. Plus, pay no foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad or at foreign merchants online. Although the exchange rate still applies, cardholders will not pay the foreign transaction charges, which are typically around 1.5% to 3% of the purchase price.

Scotiabank Gold American Express® Cardmembers can also take advantage of the Best Price Guarantee on airfare booked through the Scotia Rewards Travel Service and the extensive travel insurance coverage included on the card.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will see $874 in Scotia Rewards points within the first year.

Credit score requirement for approval

Good: You’ve had a credit card or loan for at least six years. You’ve had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven’t opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You’ve made the minimum payments on any existing credit cards for the past three months.

Annual fee: $120

Limited time offer/bonus

  • New cardmembers can earn 25,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when they spend at least $1,000 within the first three months.

Offer expiry date: February 28, 2021

Rewards

  • Earn 5X the Scotia Rewards points per dollar on eats and entertainment, including grocery, restaurant, fast food, food delivery and select food subscription purchases, as well as movies, tickets and more.
  • Earn 3X the Scotia Rewards points per dollar on rides and select streaming services, including gas, public transit, taxis, rideshare, Netflix, and more.
  • Earn 1X the Scotia Rewards point per dollar spent on everything else.

Earning potential

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

Rewards earned over a 12-month period = 99,400 Scotia Rewards points
Monetary value= $994
Annual fee = $120
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $874

You can redeem your points for:

  • Travel
  • Experiences
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • A statement credit
  • Converted to SCENE points

Insurance:

  • Travel emergency medical insurance
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Delayed and lost baggage insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Rental car collision loss/damage insurance
  • Hotel/motel burglary insurance
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warranty
  • Scotia Credit Card Protection (optional)

Other perks:

  • Enjoy all that American Express has to offer, including exclusive access to events, tickets, and deals.
  • Use the Scotia Rewards Travel Service for the Best Price Guarantee on airfare.
  • Take advantage of no foreign transaction fees on purchases made online and abroad.
  • Save time with the 24/7 complimentary concierge service.
  • Receive a preferred discount on the Priority Pass membership and access airport lounges around the world.

Best travel credit card for frequent flyers

Are you a frequent traveler? Use this travel credit card and take advantage of great travel benefits, such as lounge access and trip cancellation insurance to make your sure your trips are as stress free as possible. Plus enjoy no fee foreign transaction if you pay with your card while you are abroad. Best of all, you can save money by using your earned travel rewards to book your next trip. Here's our top travel credit card for the frequent traveler.

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$200
Scotia Rewards points
Annual rewards
$354
Scotia Rewards points
Annual fee
$139

Winner – Best Frequent Flyer Card
Premium card for travellers that includes strong benefits and insurance
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$200
Annual rewards
$354
Winner – Best Frequent Flyer Card
Premium card for travellers that includes strong benefits and insurance
Details at a glance Collapse details

Frequent flyers will enjoy the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card. Pay no foreign transaction fees on purchases and access a full suite of travel insurance. Plus, get six free lounge visits per year and the Best Price Guarantee on airfare when you book through the Scotia Rewards Travel Service.

For a limited time, get 20,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 in the first three months. Get an additional 10,000 Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $40,000 annually.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will see $415 in Scotia Rewards points in the first year.

Credit score requirement for approval

Excellent: You’ve had a credit card or loan for at least 10 years. You’ve had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or no defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven’t opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You’ve made the minimum payments on your existing credit cards for the past six months.

Annual fee: $139 - Get your first supplementary card for free. Each additional card has a $50 annual fee.

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Earn 20,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 in the first three months.
  • Get an additional 10,000 Scotia Rewards points when you spend $40,000 in everyday purchases annually.

Offer expiry date: February 28, 2021

Rewards

  • Earn two Scotia Rewards points per dollar spent on grocery, dining, entertainment, and daily transit purchases, including taxis and public transit, up to the first $50,000 spent annually. After, earn one Scotia Reward per dollar you spend in these categories.
  • Earn one Scotia Reward point per dollar you spend everywhere else you shop.

Earning potential

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

Rewards earned over a 12-month period = 55,400 Scotia Rewards points
Monetary value= $554
Annual fee = $139
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $415

You can redeem your points for:

  • Travel
  • Experiences
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • A statement credit
  • Convert to SCENE points

Insurance:

  • Travel emergency medical insurance
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Delayed and lost baggage insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Rental car collision loss/damage insurance
  • Hotel/motel burglary insurance
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warranty
  • Feel reassured (optional protection)

Other perks:

  • Cardholders can access the Price Protection Service. If an eligible item has a price drop within 60 days of your purchase, you can claim the price difference up to $100 per item and $500 a year. Other conditions apply.
  • Enjoy no foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad or at foreign merchants online. The exchange rate still applies.
  • Enjoy six free lounge visits per year with complimentarily Priority Pass Membership and Avis Preferred Plus membership for discounts and upgrades on rental cars.
  • Benefits include the Visa Infinite Concierge services, Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection, and the Visa Infinite Wine Country Program.

Best cash back credit card

When you get a cash back credit card, you can save money all of your purchases by earning instant cash back or statement credits, allowing you to cover more than just the annual fees. For simplicity, cashback cards take the guess work out of how you want to use your rewards. Here is our pick for the best cash back credit card in Canada. Easily earn cash back on eligible grocery and gas purchases and much more.

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$79
TD Cash Back Dollars
Annual rewards
$492
TD Cash Back Dollars
Annual fee
$120
First Year Rebate

Winner – Best Cashback Card
Good cash back rewards value with the ability to redeem anytime
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$79
Annual rewards
$492
Winner – Best Cashback Card
Good cash back rewards value with the ability to redeem anytime
Details at a glance Collapse details

Apply for the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card and get 6% cash back on everything you buy for the first three months, up to $2,000 in total purchases. Plus, TD will rebate the annual fee for both the primary and secondary cardholders for the first year.

Regularly earn 3% cash back on grocery and gas purchases, as well as recurring bill payments. Get 1% back everywhere else you shop.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will see $571 cash back in the first year.

Credit score requirement for approval

Good: You’ve had a credit card or loan for at least six years. You’ve had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or no defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven’t opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You’ve made the minimum payments on my existing credit cards for the past three months.

Annual fee: $120 - Each supplementary card has a $50 annual fee.

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Get 6% back on all purchases for the first three months, up to $2,000 in total purchases.

Offer expiry date: May 30, 2021

Rewards

  • Earn 3% cash back on eligible grocery and gas purchases, as well as recurring bill payments set up on the account. There is a $15,000 spending cap in each of the three listed categories.
  • Earn 1% cash back on everything else.

Earning potential

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

Rewards earned over a 12-month period = $571 TD Cash Back Dollars
Annual fee = $0
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $571

*The $120 annual fee is waived for the first year.

Redeem points

You can redeem points for:

  • Statement credit (applied whenever you choose)

Insurance:

  • Travel medical
  • Delayed and lost baggage
  • Auto rental collision/loss damage
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warranty
  • Visa Zero Liability

Other perks:

  • Enjoy a free Deluxe TD Auto Club Membership for roadside assistance (valued at $79).
  • Save on rental cars with Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car across the U.S. and Canada.
  • Take advantage of the Visa Infinite* benefits, including complimentary concierge services, food and wine experiences, and the luxury hotel collection.
  • Get toll-free access to emergency travel assistance services abroad.

Best credit card for newcomers in Canada

If you're a newcomer to Canada, you probably will have little to no Canadian credit history. Using a credit card to build your credit history is a very important, as a healthy credit score can help you become eligible to apply for a variety of goods and services such as, mortgages and mobile phones. Even more than just earning on purchases, our top pick has great programs to help newcomers adjust to Canadian financial life. Here is our Best of Finance pick for the best credit card for newcomers.

BMO CashBack Mastercard

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*

card image
Welcome bonus
$95
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$288
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual fee
$0

Winner - Best credit card for newcomers to Canada
Cash back rewards include the freedom to redeem anytime
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$95
Annual rewards
$288
Winner - Best credit card for newcomers to Canada
Cash back rewards include the freedom to redeem anytime
Details at a glance Collapse details

Newcomers to Canada can start on the right foot with the BMO CashBack Mastercard. This card has high approval rates, and it offers great rewards. Plus, for a limited time, cardholders can earn 5% cash back for the first three months. Conditions apply. After, earn 3% cash back on the first $500 in groceries each month, 1% back on the first $500 in recurring bill payments monthly, and 0.5% unlimited cash back on everything else you buy.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will earn $383 back in the first year.

Credit score requirement for approval

Typically, this credit card requires a good credit score. However, for newcomers (or those with a thin credit profile), applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Good: You’ve had a credit card, or loan for at least six years. You’ve had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or no defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven’t opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You’ve made the minimum payments on my existing credit cards for the past three months.

Annual fee: $0

Limited time offer/bonus

  • New cardmembers can get 5% cash back for the first three months. You will earn the regular 3% cash back rate on grocery purchases, up to $500 per billing cycle, with a bonus rate of an additional 2% back on your first $500 spend over the first three months. You will also receive the regular earn rate of 1% cash back on recurring bill payments up to $500 per billing cycle, with a bonus rate of an additional 4% cash back on your first $500 spend over the first three months. For all other purchases, you will receive the regular earn rate of 0.5% cash back, with a bonus of an additional 4.5% back on your first $1,500 spend over the first three months.

Offer expiry date: October 31, 2021

Rewards

  • Get 3% cash back on grocery purchases, up to $500 in total purchases per month.
  • Get 1% cash back on recurring bill payments, up to $500 spent per billing cycle.
  • Get 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

Earning potential

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

Rewards earned over a 12-month period = $383
Annual fee = $0
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $383

You can redeem your points for:

  • Deposit your cash back into your BMO chequing or savings account.
  • Deposit your cash back into your BMO InvestorLine account.
  • Apply your cash back as a statement credit.

Insurance:

  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Zero Liability

Other perks:

  • Get up to 25% off rental cars at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations.
  • Receive 15% off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows touring Canada and 20% resident shows in Las Vegas.

Best student credit card

As a student, saving money to cover tuition and living expenses is very important. A student credit card can help you save money on annual credit card fees, while also providing great student rewards such as cash back and retail discounts. Not to mention the opportunity to build your credit history before you graduate and tackle a world full of opportunities. Here is our top pick for the best student credit card in Canada.

BMO CashBack Mastercard for Students

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for students

card image
Welcome bonus
$76
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$288
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual fee
$0

Winner – Best Credit Card for Student
Attractive sign-up bonus
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$76
Annual rewards
$288
Winner – Best Credit Card for Student
Attractive sign-up bonus
Details at a glance Collapse details

The BMO CashBack Mastercard lets students earn cash back on their necessities, including groceries, recurring bill payments and everything else they buy like textbooks and pub grub. For a limited time, students can earn 5% cash back for the first three months. Conditions apply.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will earn $364 back in the first year.

Credit score requirement for approval

Good: You’ve had a credit card or loan for at least six years. You’ve had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven’t opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You’ve made the minimum payments on any existing credit cards for the past three months.

Annual fee: $0

Limited time offer/bonus

  • New cardmembers can get 5% cash back for the first three months. You will earn the regular 3% cash back rate on grocery purchases, up to $500 per billing cycle, with a bonus rate of an additional 2% back on your first $500 spend over the first three months. You will also receive the regular earn rate of 1% cash back on recurring bill payments up to $500 per billing cycle, with a bonus rate of an additional 4% cash back on your first $500 spend over the first three months. For all other purchases, you will receive the regular earn rate of 0.5% cash back, with a bonus of an additional 4.5% back on your first $1,500 spend over the first three months.

Offer expiry date: October 31, 2021

Rewards

  • Get 3% cash back on grocery purchases, up to $500 in total purchases per month.
  • Get 1% cash back on recurring bill payments, up to $500 spent per billing cycle.
  • Get 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

Earning potential

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

Rewards earned over a 12-month period = $364
Annual fee = $0
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $364

You can redeem your points for:

  • Deposit your cash back into your BMO chequing or savings account.
  • Deposit your cash back into your BMO InvestorLine account.
  • Apply your cash back as a statement credit.

Insurance:

  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Zero Liability

Other perks:

  • Get up to 25% off car rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations.
  • Receive 15% off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows touring Canada, and 20% resident shows in Las Vegas.

Best credit card for rebuilding your credit in Canada

Tired of being rejected due to a bad credit rating? Rebuild your credit by using a secured credit card. You can get a secured credit card in Canada by putting down a security deposit to protect you and the lender from missed payments. Best of all, with a secured credit card, you can exercise good credit habits by making small transactions and paying your credit card bill on time. Such habits will help you rebuild your credit. Having an improved credit score can help you gain access to more goods and services such as, a mortgage or a financed vehicle. Here is our Best of Finance pick for the best secured credit card.

Home Trust Secured Visa Card

Home Trust Secured Visa Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$0
Annual savings
$100
Annual fee
$59

Winner – Best Card for Rebuilding Credit
Low interest Secured card in exchange for a small fee
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$0
Annual savings
$0
Winner – Best Card for Rebuilding Credit
Low interest Secured card in exchange for a small fee
Details at a glance Collapse details

The Home Trust Secured Visa card has a low-interest rate of 14.90% on purchases. Cardholders can set their own limit with the amount of their secured deposit and build their credit rating. This card allows users to buy online, pay bills and shop anywhere Visa is accepted.

Credit score requirement for approval

No credit: You currently do not have a credit card or loan in your name. You need to improve your credit due to a recent bankruptcy or default on a loan.

Annual fee: $59 - Or, pay monthly: $5

Credit limit (deposit):

$500 to $10,000

Insurance:

  • Purchase security

Best credit card for paying down your balance

Carrying a hefty balance on your credit statement month-over-month? It may be time to pay off your credit card balance once and for all. A low interest credit card will help you pay off your balance quicker, as a majority of your payment will go to your amount owing, rather than your interest. Our pick not only has a low interest rate to help you pay down your balance, it is also rewards users for their purchases on the card, which is very rare for low interest credit cards. Here is our top pick for the best credit card for paying off your balance.

HSBC +Rewards Mastercard

HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®

card image
Welcome bonus
$150
HSBC Rewards Points
Annual rewards
$144
HSBC Rewards Points
Annual fee
$25

Best Credit Card for Paying Down Your Balance
A rare low interest card, earns you rewards redeemable on travel or financial statements
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$150
Annual rewards
$144
Best Credit Card for Paying Down Your Balance
A rare low interest card, earns you rewards redeemable on travel or financial statements
Details at a glance Collapse details

The HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard offers cardholders an annual interest rate of 11.9% on purchases, balances transfers and cash advances for a low annual fee of $25 per year. Not only that, but this card also offers HSBC Rewards points and price protection.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will see $244 in HSBC Rewards points within the first year. Not only that, but this card also has a low-interest rate and would save the average Canadian $161.80 in interest charges over the first 12 months. That makes the first-year value for this credit card roughly $405.80.

Credit score requirement for approval:

Fair: You’ve had a credit card or loan for one or more years. For the last two years, you’ve paid back debts to creditors (with no defaults). You haven’t missed more than two payments on your credit in the last three months.

Annual fee: $25 - Supplementary cards have an annual fee of $10.

Limited time offer/bonus

  • For a limited time, cardholders can earn 20,000 bonus points when they spend at least $2,000 in the first 180 days of opening the account. That is a $100 travel value. HSBC will also rebate the annual fee for the primary cardholder for the first year.

Offer expiry date: December 28, 2020

Rewards

  • Earn two points per dollar you spend on eligible dining or entertainment purchases.
  • Earn one point per dollar you spend everywhere else you shop.

Earning potential

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

Rewards earned over a 12-month period = 48,800 HSBC Rewards points
Monetary value= $244
Annual fee = $0
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $244

*The primary cardholder receives a rebate for the $25 annual fee for the first year.

First-year savings

We compared a credit card with a $2,000 balance and a standard interest rate of 19.99% to the HSBC +Rewards Mastercard with an interest rate of 11.90%. The average Canadian could save roughly $161.80 in interest charges with this low-interest credit card.

Credit card balance = $2,000
19.99% interest rate = $399.80
11.90% interest rate = $238.00
First-year savings (what you would be paying on a standard credit card – what you would be paying on a low-interest credit card) = $161.80

*The annual fee is accounted for in the rewards calculation.

You can redeem your points for:

  • Travel
  • Experiences
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • HSBC Savings account credit
  • HSBC Mortgage account credit
  • Statement credit

Insurance:

  • Purchase assurance
  • Extended warranty
  • Price protection
  • Travel and medical insurance (optional)

Other perks:

  • Take advantage of the low-interest rate on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers.

Best credit card for families in Canada

The right credit card can help you and your family save money on your day-to-day transactions, becoming a great savings tool. So why not use a credit card that rewards you when you purchase groceries, pay your bills or buy your family gifts? With no fee, getting the perfect credit card for your family's lifestyle will help you maximize the value of your money today. See our top pick for the Canadian best credit card for families.

President's Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard

President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard®

card image
Welcome bonus
$20
PC Optimum Points
Annual rewards
$456
PC Optimum Points
Annual fee
$0

Winner – Best Card for Families
Great card for fans of the PC Optimum reward program looking to save even more on groceries
Details at a glance Collapse details
Winner – Best Card for Families
Great card for fans of the PC Optimum reward program looking to save even more on groceries
Details at a glance Collapse details

The President’s Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard is offering new cardholders 20,000 bonus PC Optimum points when they make their first purchase using the card. Not only will this card earn free groceries, but you can also earn rewards faster as a household. PC Optimum points are easy to redeem, and you only need a $10 value before you can cash in on free products and groceries. Plus, you can double-dip on points when you use your loyalty program card at the check-out.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will see $476 in PC Optimum points within the first year.

Credit score requirement for approval:

Fair: You have had a credit card or loan for one or more years. For the last two years or more, you’ve paid back debts to creditors with no defaults. You haven’t missed more than two payments on your credit in the last three months.

Annual fee: $0

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Earn 20,000 bonus PC Optimum points when you make your first purchase.
  • Take advantage of the promotional interest rate of 0.97% on balance transfers for six months. Balance transfers must be made within 90 days of opening the account.

Offer expiry date: December 31, 2020

Rewards

  • Earn 30 PC Optimum points for every dollar spent at:
    • President’s Choice grocery stores
    • PC Mobile
    • PC Travel
    • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Earn at least 30 points per litre at Esso and Mobil gas stations.
  • Get 10 points per dollar everywhere else you shop.

Earning potential

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

Rewards earned over a 12-month period = 476,000 PC Optimum points
Monetary value= $476
Annual fee = $0
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $476

Redeem points

Start to redeem your rewards as soon as you collect 10,000 PC Optimum points, which is a $10 value.

Redeem points at Loblaw banner stores, including Loblaws, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Valu-Mart, Zehrs, Independent, Fortinos, and Wholesale Club, as well as Shoppers Drug Mart locations.

  • Groceries
  • Merchandise

Redeem points online through:

  • Beautyboutique.ca
  • JoeFresh.ca
  • PC Express

Insurance:

  • Travel emergency medical
  • Car rental collision and loss damage waiver
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection
  • Identity theft assistance

Other perks:

  • Enjoy 24/7 concierge services to reserve tickets for a fun night out or book dinner reservations for the family.

Frequently asked questions about finding the right credit card for you

Before beginning your credit card search ask yourself the following questions to narrow down your selection criteria

What features and benefits do Canadian credit cards have?

Each Canadian credit card comes with different terms and conditions, but all of them offer similar basic features and benefits. This applies to Canadian Mastercard, Visa and American Express credit cards.

These features and benefits include:

  • Worldwide acceptance
  • Contactless payment
  • Protection against any unauthorized purchases
  • 24/7 customer service in case your card is stolen
  • Emergency card replacement

How do I find the best credit card?

When it comes to picking the best credit card for you, you must truly understand your spending habits and credit card eligibility. If you are a new credit card user, then you might want to look for a no-frills credit card to start building your credit score. If you’re a small business owner who is looking to make important business investments, then a business credit card will help you better carry out your business purchases. Frequent traveler? A travel card might be more in line with your spending habits and interests.

At RATESDOTCA, you can conveniently compare the top credit cards in Canada by sorting them by features such as interest rates, rewards type and annual fee.

How do I apply for a credit card in Canada?

Applying for a credit card in Canada is easy and simple. Whether you’re a new Canadian resident or a post-secondary student, finding the right credit card is very important.

Follow these four steps to find the best credit card today:

1) Understand your credit card needs: Decide what kind of purchases you intend to make with your credit card. Understanding your purchases can help you look for the perfect credit card that can offer you great perks such as, reward points and cashback offers.

2) Determine your eligibility: What is your credit score? Do you have a comprehensive credit history? Or are you a new credit card user in Canada? A high credit score, coupled with a fair amount of credit card experience will increase your eligibility.

3) Compare all credit cards: Compare the best credit cards by assessing the key features and benefits to see if they appeal to you and your needs. Don’t jump at the first option you find. Explore and compare different credit cards on the market and choose the one that best suits your needs.

4) Apply online: At RATESDOTCA, you can select the credit card you want and apply online on the credit card issuer’s website.

What credit score do I need to apply for a credit card Canada?

In Canada, credit scores are officially calculated by two major credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion. These credit unions assess the information in your credit file to calculate your credit score. Your credit file has information about your payment frequency, loan history, and credit card debt. Credit scores range from 300 to 900. The higher your credit score, the better your chances of being approved for a credit card. High scores indicate that you’re less likely to miss any payments.

Here’s a simple breakdown of credit scores in Canada:

  • 800 to 900: Credit scores in this range are considered excellent. You show a strong credit history.
  • 720 to 799: A credit score like this is very good. It reflects your healthy financial habits and ability to repay credit card lenders.
  • 650 to 719: This is considered a good credit score. Most people fall into this range.
  • 600 to 649: This is fair credit. You will have to show debt repayment to show a sense of financial responsibility.
  • 300 to 599: This is considered a bad credit score. You will have to repay any existing debt to improve your credit score and credit history.
  • If you have a bad credit score, you may be ineligible to apply for a new credit card with a high limit. But, you still have the option of applying for a secure credit card or a guaranteed credit card. Both types require a security deposit to ensure that any missed payments are covered. You can also consider a balance transfer credit card to pay off your credit card debt at a lower interest rate. When used correctly, these types of cards can help you build up your credit so you qualify for better credit cards down the line. Please note that prepaid credit cards will not affect your credit score.

How long does it take to get approved for a credit card in Canada?

How fast you get approved for a credit card in Canada depends on your credit report and credit score. If you have a high credit score, you can expect instant approval. Usually, credit card approvals take anywhere between 5-7 days. In some cases, it can also take up to 30 days.

Is there more than one type of credit card in Canada?

When it comes to credit cards in Canada, you have several different options to choose from. Each type of credit card offers you a unique advantage.

Learn about all the credit cards available in Canada.

  • Rewards (No-Fee) Credit Card: A no-fee credit card has a zero annual fee. Most no-fee credit cards come with minimal rewards and add-ons. This is a great option if you are just starting to build a credit history in Canada and are looking for a hassle free credit card. If you’re looking for a simple credit card and you usually spend less than $10,000 annually, then a no-fee card is perfect for you as you save on annual fee.
  • Rewards (Fee) Credit Card: A rewards credit card comes with a higher earning reward program and add-ons, such as cash-back offers, concierge services and travel insurance. Unlike a no-fee credit card, rewards credit cards come with a fixed annual fee. If you spend over $10,000 annually, getting a rewards credit card with an annual fee may be a better option, as the incremental rewards dollars will easily outweigh the annual fee - not to mention all the great perks! A rewards credit card is great for the frequent traveler and shopper as you can save lots of money on cashback offers, travel itineraries and reward points.

Pro tip: You can also use a combination of rewards credit cards to meet your lifestyle needs. A no-fee credit card can function as a great secondary card for people who want to avoid any annual fee on their second credit card.

  • Student Credit Card: All post-secondary students are eligible for a student credit card. Whether you’re an international or domestic student, building a Canadian credit history through a student credit card is very important. This will make future responsibilities such as such as renting an apartment or financing a car much easier. Most student credit cards come with a low or no annual fees.
  • Business Credit Card: A business credit card allows you to separate your business expenses from your personal expenses. This makes business accounting and bookkeeping simple and easy for business owners. By using a business credit card, you can take full advantage of the high credit limit and handle major business purchases and unexpected business costs.
  • Low Interest Credit Card: A low interest credit card allows to carry your credit card debt from month to month, at a lower interest rate. If you think you will need to take time to repay your credit card bill, a low interest credit card is a good option. It can save you money as you’ll avoid high interest charges.
  • Balance Transfer Credit Card: A balance transfer credit card allows you to transfer your existing credit card balance to another card and enjoy a lower interest rate. Some financial institutions offer balance transfer credit cards with interest rates as lows as 0%. If you have credit card debt and suffer from a high interest rate, a low balance transfer credit card is a good option to choose.
  • Secured Credit Card: If you are looking to rebuild your credit score, opting for a secured credit card is a good option. You’ll have to pay a security deposit in order to get a secured credit card. The amount of the security deposit depends on the new credit limit the secured credit card will have and your existing credit score. If you have a bad credit score, you may have to pay a full security deposit to protect you against unpaid credit card bills.
  • Guaranteed Credit Card: A guaranteed credit card promises an instant approval to all applicants, even those with a bad credit score. If your credit score is very low and you’re looking for a new credit card, applying for a guaranteed credit card is a good choice. It is important to note that guaranteed credit card limits are comparatively lower than other credit cards.

What’s the benefit of a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card allows you to transfer your existing credit card debt to another card and take advantage of a low interest rate. The interest rate may come with a time limit of 180 days, a few month or a year. By using a balance transfer credit card, you can reduce your credit card debt at a faster rate and rebuild your credit score.

If you use your balance transfer credit card for any new purchases before you pay off your existing credit card debt, you’ll be charged a standard interest rate, most cards charge a rate of 19.99% or more.

Also, be aware of the applicable transfer fee that comes with the new card. The transfer fee can be anywhere between 3%–5% of the amount of your total credit card debt.

Who are the major credit card lenders in Canada?

Credit card lenders are financial institutions who offer credit cards to customers. They are authorized to change interest rates and rewards points on any purchases and cash advances at their discretion.

The major credit card lenders serving customers in Canada are:

  • Affirm Financial
  • American Express®
  • BMO® Bank of Montreal
  • Canadian Tire
  • Capital One®
  • CIBC
  • Desjardins
  • Home Trust Company
  • MBNA
  • Meridian™
  • National Bank
  • President’s Choice Financial®
  • Refresh™ Financial Inc
  • RBC® Royal Bank of Canada
  • Scotiabank®
  • Tangerine
  • TD Canada Trust
  • Walmart
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