Best of Finance Winners: The Best Credit Cards for 2021

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RATESDOTCA aims to help Canadians make better money decisions by acknowledging the best credit cards in Canada at its 10th annual Best of Finance Awards.

Click here to see the list of Best of Finance winners.

Over 70% of Canadians believe their monthly spending will increase post-pandemic, according to a recent Leger survey conducted on behalf of RATESDOTCA. However, many of those purchases will likely happen closer to home as some pandemic spending patterns will persist.

Since the start of the pandemic, several distinct shopping trends began to emerge. With lockdown measures in place, transportation, dine-in restaurant and travel purchases decreased drastically.

The scales tipped in favour of groceries and stay-at-home spending. Forty-two percent of Canadians saw grocery spending increase, while travel spending dipped by the same amount.

The survey also suggests that these lifestyle changes may stick around. One in five Canadians (22%) plan to spend more on groceries after the pandemic. Meanwhile, Canadians will view travel purchases cautiously.

Forty-two percent of Canadians cut their travel spending as a result of the pandemic, but only 36% plan to return their spending to pre-pandemic levels once the current health crisis subsides. That means 6% or roughly one in twenty Canadians plan to keep their travel budgets lower for longer.

As for younger Canadians (aged 18-34), life in lockdown has dramatically influenced their spending behaviours. Other than grocery and home improvements, this segment is more likely to say they have increased their spending in all areas than those aged 35 and over.

Moreover, over half (51%) of younger Canadians say they have noticed an uptick in stay-at-home spending — an increase 18% of this group say with continue after the pandemic.

As vaccines become more readily available and post-lockdown spending ramps back up, it is important to reconsider the value your credit card provides, whether that is rewards or savings in your wallet.

At RATESDOTCA, we annually audit and evaluate the top credit cards in Canada to find the products that offer the best value based on spending habits. Our goal is to provide consumers with all the tools necessary to choose the right card for their lifestyle.

The Best of Finance Awards showcase industry-leading credit card rewards programs with the country’s top perks, benefits and insurance coverage. Using the Best of Finance methodology, we analyze over a hundred credit cards to determine our comprehensive list of winners.

We carefully compare the nominees by converting miles and points into cash value to assess each card’s ranking fairly. Our team considers all interest rates, welcome bonuses, annual fees, rebates and waivers — scanning the fine print for you.

Apart from a few unique circumstances, the credit cards with the highest first-year value rank at the top of each category.

So, without further ado, here are the 2021 Best of Finance winners:

The Best of Finance Winners for 2021

Click any of the categories below to snap to that section

  First-year value* Annual fee Winner
$1,874 $156 ($12.99 per month) American Express Cobalt™ Credit Card
$383 $0 BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*
$503 $0 MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®
$1,536 $139 (First year rebated) CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite™ Card
$717 $120 (First year waived) Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card
$181 $39 True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card
$353 $29 (First year rebate) CIBC Select Visa* Card
$0 $0 No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa* Card
$1,874 $156 ($12.99 per month) American Express Cobalt™ Credit Card
$364 $0 BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for students
$1,874 $156 ($12.99 per month) American Express Cobalt™ Credit Card
$1,244 $120 (First year waived) Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card
$476 $0 President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard®
$1,244 $120 (First year waived) Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card
$465 $0 SimplyCash™ Card from American Express

*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.

Best Overall Rewards Credit Card

Rewards credit cards continue to adapt to cardholders’ lifestyles, offering thousands of redemption options and flexibility. Cardholders can rack up rewards quickly and redeem them for almost anything, though travel will always provide the best value. When selecting our top picks, we also considered travel insurance and other perks, but it was ultimately the value of rewards or cash back that solidified our decision.

Winner – American Express CobaltTM Credit Card

Best Overall Rewards Credit Card for the second year in a row!

The American Express CobaltTM Credit Card has a budget-friendly monthly fee of $12.99. That is less than most subscription services, and it provides more value. This credit card stands above the rest in this category, by far offering the highest rewards value of any card we have come across, especially regarding ongoing annual rewards. Earn five points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant and food delivery purchases, 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. This card also features travel insurance, mobile device insurance, and exclusive offers.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$875
+ Annual rewards
$1155
- Annual fee
$156
Total first year value
$1874
American Express CobaltTM Credit Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$875
AMEX Rewards points
Annual rewards
$1155
AMEX Rewards points
Annual fees:
$156
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases • 21.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Overall Rewards Credit Card, Best Credit Card for Young Professionals, and Best Credit Card for Earning Travel Points.
Particularly great for individuals who live in the city, eat out often or order in.
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$875
Annual rewards
$1155
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$875
+ Annual rewards
$1155
- Annual fee
$156
Total first year value
$1874
Annual fees:
$156
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases
21.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Overall Rewards Credit Card, Best Credit Card for Young Professionals, and Best Credit Card for Earning Travel Points.
Particularly great for individuals who live in the city, eat out often or order in.
Details at a glance Collapse details

Best No-Fee Cash Back Credit Card

Many no-fee credit cards offer hundreds of dollars in savings and additional benefits like shopping coverage, discounts and exclusive perks. This type of card can be beneficial as either a primary credit card or a secondary credit card that focuses on a particular spending category to complement another fee card. Our top picks have the most cash back rewards coupled with no annual fees.

Winner — BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*

When you think about how you spend the most money every week, grocery purchases are probably at the top of the list. Make sure you get the best return on your spending. The BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* rewards cardholders for their everyday purchases like groceries and recurring bill payments. Redeem cash back for as little as $1 or set up automatic deposits into a BMO chequing or savings account when you reach a reward balance of at least $25.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$95
+ Annual rewards
$288
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$383
BMO CashBack Mastercard®*

card image
Welcome bonus
$95
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$288
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner - Best No-Fee Cash Back Credit Card
Cash back rewards include the freedom to redeem anytime
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$95
Annual rewards
$288
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$95
+ Annual rewards
$288
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$383
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner - Best No-Fee Cash Back Credit Card
Cash back rewards include the freedom to redeem anytime
Details at a glance Collapse details

Best No-Fee Travel Credit Card

The top travel rewards programs are not exclusive to fee cards. While it may take a little longer to accumulate enough rewards for a flight or vacation package, no-fee cards still provide excellent value. Many no-fee travel cards also come with several travel perks and insurance — not a bad card to have in your back pocket if your primary card does not offer these benefits.

Winner — MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

Best No-Fee Travel Credit Card for the second year in a row!

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® is a top no-fee reward earner for points, and redemption options include travel or statement credits. Cardholders earn two points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases, up to a $10,000 annual cap in each category. Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases. This card also features perks like mobile device insurance and additional support in the form of shopping coverage and car rental discounts.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$163
+ Annual rewards
$340
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$503
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

card image
Welcome bonus
$163
MBNA Rewards points
Annual rewards
$340
MBNA Rewards points
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 24.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best No-Fee Travel Credit Card
Flexible rewards redeemable for travel or cash back
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$163
Annual rewards
$340
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$163
+ Annual rewards
$340
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$503
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
24.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best No-Fee Travel Credit Card
Flexible rewards redeemable for travel or cash back
Details at a glance Collapse details

Best Overall Travel Credit Card

The best travel rewards credit cards offer insurance coverage for peace of mind while out of the province or country. Our top picks have powerful rewards for travel redemption and include additional perks to make planning trips easy and airport visits more luxurious. Cardholders can access airport lounges worldwide, free Wi-Fi hotspots and exclusive offers.

Winner CIBC Aventura® Visa InfiniteTM Card

The CIBC Aventura® Visa InfiniteTM Card helps cardholders breeze through security with a NEXUS application fee rebate every four years when they enroll in the service. This unique feature is rare and only applies to very few travel cards. On top of a strong, flexible rewards structure, cardholders also get a complimentary Priority Pass Membership and four free airport lounge visits annually.

Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card

The best cash back cards are transparent and rewarding — what you see is what you get. Cardholders for our top picks don’t have to decipher their reward balance; they earn a percentage of each purchase to be applied as a statement credit or deposited directly into an associated savings account.

Winner — Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

The Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card is consistently in the top tier of cashback cards and has been for years, specifically for cash back value. Cardholders get 4% cash back on groceries, recurring bill payments and subscription purchases, including Netflix. Cardholders also receive 2% cash back on gas and daily transit and 1% back on all other purchases. This card also features travel insurance and mobile device coverage.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$0
+ Annual rewards
$564
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$564
Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$0
Scotia Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$564
Scotia Cash Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card
Includes comprehensive travel insurance and rare mobile device insurance
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$0
Annual rewards
$564
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$0
+ Annual rewards
$564
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$564
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card
Includes comprehensive travel insurance and rare mobile device insurance
Details at a glance Collapse details

Best Low Interest Credit Card

If you carry a balance month-over-month or occasionally, a low interest credit card can ensure you pay less interest than a standard credit card with a 19.99% interest rate and make payments more manageable. We don’t recommend using a low interest card to borrow money every month; however, this type of card can be helpful to pay off your balance or if you tend to miss a payment here or there. A low interest credit card can give you peace of mind, knowing you are paying far less interest than a standard credit card.

Winner — True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card

The True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card has a standard annual interest rate of 8.99% on balance transfers and purchases. That is less than half the rate of a standard rewards credit card.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$0
+ Annual savings
$220
- Annual fee
$39
Total first year value
$181
True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card

card image
Welcome bonus
$0
Annual savings
$220
Annual fees:
$39
Interest rates:
8.99% on purchases • 24.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Low Interest Credit Card
Low annual fee card includes complimentary shopping insurance
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$0
Annual savings
$0
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$0
+ Annual savings
$220
- Annual fee
$39
Total first year value
$181
Annual fees:
$39
Interest rates:
8.99% on purchases
24.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Low Interest Credit Card
Low annual fee card includes complimentary shopping insurance
Details at a glance Collapse details

Best Balance Transfer Credit Card

Switching to a low interest balance transfer credit card can help people pay off their debt faster as they work toward being debt-free. An excellent introductory balance transfer promotion can boost those efforts, assisting cardholders in accelerating their payments and paying less interest. We focused on the balance transfer interest rate and the length of the balance transfer offer to choose our winner for this category.

Winner — CIBC Select Visa* Card

The CIBC Select Visa* Card offers cardholders a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for up to 10 months with a 1% balance transfer fee. This promotion is one of the best rates on the market.

Best Secured Credit Card For Building Credit

A secured credit card can help those who find it challenging to get approved for credit. This type of card is secured with a deposit, set by the cardholder, ranging from around $200 to upwards of $10,000. As the cardholder keeps up with payments, their credit score should improve.

Winner — No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa* Card

The No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa* Card offers cardholders the opportunity to build or rebuild their credit for no annual fee and a minimum security deposit of $500. Members can pay bills online and use the card anywhere Visa is accepted.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$0
+ Annual savings
$0
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$0
No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$0
Annual savings
$0
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 19.99% on cash advances
Winner – Best Secured Credit Card for Rebuilding Credit
Great stater card for students, newcomers to Canada, or those looking to repair their credit score
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$0
Annual savings
$0
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$0
+ Annual savings
$0
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$0
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
19.99% on cash advances
Winner – Best Secured Credit Card for Rebuilding Credit
Great stater card for students, newcomers to Canada, or those looking to repair their credit score
Details at a glance Collapse details

Best Credit Card For Young Professionals

Our top picks in this category are tailored to ambitious individuals who need a credit card that rewards them for their busy lifestyles, which meant comparing dining, entertainment and transportation purchases. These cards also feature offers for everyday savings and exclusive experiences.

Winner — American Express CobaltTM Credit Card

Best Credit Card For Young Professionals for the second year in a row!

The American Express CobaltTM Credit Card features American Express® Experiences for front-of-the-line presale tickets, special offers and in-demand events. On top of that, the rewards on this card are second to none, focusing on eating out, nights on the town and frequent city travel. Cardholders get five points for every $1 spent on eats and drinks, including cafés and drinking establishments. Earn three points for every $1 spent on eligible streaming subscriptions. Get two points for every $1 spent on eligible travel and transit, including taxis and rideshare services, and one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$875
+ Annual rewards
$1155
- Annual fee
$156
Total first year value
$1874
American Express CobaltTM Credit Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$875
AMEX Rewards points
Annual rewards
$1155
AMEX Rewards points
Annual fees:
$156
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases • 21.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Overall Rewards Credit Card, Best Credit Card for Young Professionals, and Best Credit Card for Earning Travel Points.
Particularly great for individuals who live in the city, eat out often or order in.
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$875
Annual rewards
$1155
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$875
+ Annual rewards
$1155
- Annual fee
$156
Total first year value
$1874
Annual fees:
$156
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases
21.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Overall Rewards Credit Card, Best Credit Card for Young Professionals, and Best Credit Card for Earning Travel Points.
Particularly great for individuals who live in the city, eat out often or order in.
Details at a glance Collapse details

Best Student Credit Card

The right student credit card can support young scholars’ financial independence and set them up for success post-graduation. Students can earn cash back or points for making everyday purchases and have more money in their pockets.

Winner — BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for students

Best Student Credit Card for the second year in a row!

The BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for students offers cash back for day-to-day essentials like groceries, recurring bill payments and school supplies. The reward structure is straightforward: earn a percentage of each purchase back — perfect for new credit users

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$76
+ Annual rewards
$288
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$364
BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for students

card image
Welcome bonus
$76
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$288
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Student Credit Card 
No fee card that offering an attractive sign-up bonus
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$76
Annual rewards
$288
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$76
+ Annual rewards
$288
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$364
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Student Credit Card 
No fee card that offering an attractive sign-up bonus
Details at a glance Collapse details

Best Credit Card For Earning Travel Points

Our top picks for this category focus on the highest reward earn rates for popular rewards programs like Aeroplan, AIR MILES and American Express Membership Rewards®. These programs offer more flexibility than ever before regarding point redemption. Cardholders can cash in their rewards for travel and vacation packages as well as gift cards, merchandise and, in some cases, cash rewards.

Winner — American Express CobaltTM Credit Card

This winner should come as no surprise after also winning our award for the top rewards card. The American Express CobaltTM Credit Card rewards cardholders at an extraordinary rate for everyday purchases and offers an almost unlimited array of redemption options. Plus, this card features shopping, mobile device and travel insurance coverages.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$875
+ Annual rewards
$1155
- Annual fee
$156
Total first year value
$1874
American Express CobaltTM Credit Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$875
AMEX Rewards points
Annual rewards
$1155
AMEX Rewards points
Annual fees:
$156
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases • 21.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Overall Rewards Credit Card, Best Credit Card for Young Professionals, and Best Credit Card for Earning Travel Points.
Particularly great for individuals who live in the city, eat out often or order in.
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$875
Annual rewards
$1155
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$875
+ Annual rewards
$1155
- Annual fee
$156
Total first year value
$1874
Annual fees:
$156
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases
21.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Overall Rewards Credit Card, Best Credit Card for Young Professionals, and Best Credit Card for Earning Travel Points.
Particularly great for individuals who live in the city, eat out often or order in.
Details at a glance Collapse details

Best Credit Card With No foreign Transaction Fees for Long Stay Travellers

If you are a snowbird or spend a considerable time out of the country for work or play, your credit card can be a great tool to simplify travel. Credit cards that offer no foreign transaction fees can save cardholders around 2% to 3% on foreign currency purchases made abroad and online. The exchange rate still applies, but you can skip trips to pesky foreign banks or FX conversion booths.

Winner — Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card has a lot to offer travellers. Get the Best Price Guarantee on airfare through the Scotia Rewards Travel Service, access a comprehensive list of travel insurance coverage and pay no foreign transaction fees. This card also features excellent earn rates on flexible rewards points that can be used for travel purchases or converted into cash back. The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card covers you for more than just convenience!

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$400
+ Annual rewards
$744
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$1144
Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$400
Scotia Scene+ Points
Annual rewards
$744
Scotia Scene+ Points
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees for Long Stay Travellers, and Best Credit Card for Staying Home and Ordering In
Strong travel perks and 0% foreign transaction fees compliment great reward value
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$400
Annual rewards
$744
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$400
+ Annual rewards
$744
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$1144
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees for Long Stay Travellers, and Best Credit Card for Staying Home and Ordering In
Strong travel perks and 0% foreign transaction fees compliment great reward value
Details at a glance Collapse details

Best Family Credit Card for Gas and Groceries

Running a household is a lot of work. Families are always rushing from point A to point B: school, appointments, extra-curricular activities, play dates — repeat, and still, somehow making time for three balanced meals a day. That is why this category focuses on the top reward values for gas and grocery purchases.

Winner — President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard®

Best credit card for families for the second year in a row!

The President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard® allows cardholders to combine points into a household. That means families can earn and redeem rewards together. Earn points for groceries, gas and drugstore purchases, and cash them in starting at 1,000 points for a $10 value. Plus, if you are already a PC Optimum member, you can leave the loyalty card at home and use your credit card to earn points instead. Get even more rewards with personalized offers through the PC Optimum app.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$20
+ Annual rewards
$456
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$476
President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard®

card image
Welcome bonus
$20
PC Optimum Points
Annual rewards
$456
PC Optimum Points
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
20.97% on purchases • 22.97% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Family Credit Card for Gas and Groceries
Great card for fans of the PC Optimum reward program looking to save even more on groceries
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$20
Annual rewards
$456
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$20
+ Annual rewards
$456
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$476
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
20.97% on purchases
22.97% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Family Credit Card for Gas and Groceries
Great card for fans of the PC Optimum reward program looking to save even more on groceries
Details at a glance Collapse details

Best Credit Card for Staying at Home and Ordering In

If you are like most of us at RATESDOTCA, your purchases may look a little different these days — with most transactions originating at home. Our top picks in this category reward you for your food delivery, takeout and even subscription purchases. With the right credit card, you’ll earn rewards for all the things that make for a great night at home.

Winner — Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card offers five Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on groceries, food delivery, fast food and food subscription purchases, including select meal kit services. It also offers three Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible streaming services like Netflix.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$400
+ Annual rewards
$744
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$1144
Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$400
Scotia Scene+ Points
Annual rewards
$744
Scotia Scene+ Points
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees for Long Stay Travellers, and Best Credit Card for Staying Home and Ordering In
Strong travel perks and 0% foreign transaction fees compliment great reward value
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$400
Annual rewards
$744
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$400
+ Annual rewards
$744
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$1144
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees for Long Stay Travellers, and Best Credit Card for Staying Home and Ordering In
Strong travel perks and 0% foreign transaction fees compliment great reward value
Details at a glance Collapse details

Best No-Frills Cash Back Credit Card

Flat-rate rewards credit cards offer the same percentage of cash back for all purchases, no matter the spending category. For example, a cardholder would earn one rate for every $1 spent on gas, pet supplies, furniture and subscriptions, instead of one for certain purchases and another for everything else. Our top picks focus on cards that offer one simple cash back rate across all purchases and the highest first-year value.

Winner — SimplyCash™ Card from American Express

The SimplyCash™ Card from American Express offers 1.25% cash back on all purchases and features basic shopping coverage. Cardholders can also access American Express® Experiences for presale tickets, exclusive offers and curated events.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$165
+ Annual rewards
$300
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$465
SimplyCash™ Card from American Express

card image
Welcome bonus
$165
AMEX Cashback Rewards
Annual rewards
$300
AMEX Cashback Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 21.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best No-Frills Cash Back Credit Card
Straigtforward, no fee card with a generous 6 month welcome offer
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$165
Annual rewards
$300
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$165
+ Annual rewards
$300
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$465
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
21.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best No-Frills Cash Back Credit Card
Straigtforward, no fee card with a generous 6 month welcome offer
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Best of Finance methodology: How we chose the best credit cards

The RATESDOTCA Best of Finance methodology has evolved over the last 10 years. Here is how we calculate our winners today:

Our team analyzed 110 credit cards using 100+ data points over several weeks to determine the first-year value of each card.

Rewards credit cards

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:

  • Groceries: $500.00
  • Gas: $250.00
  • Drugstore: $150.00
  • Travel: $200.00
  • Restaurants: $250.00
  • Entertainment: $150.00
  • Recurring bills: $300.00
  • Retail store: $100.00
  • Local transit: $50.00
  • Other: $50.00

*Source: Statistics Canada

Additional assumptions:

  • The cardholder pays the credit card balance in full each month, with no interest charges accrued.
  • The cardholder always uses the card at partnered retailers, if applicable (e.g., all gas purchased at Shell locations or entertainment purchased at Cineplex.com).
  • We convert all points and miles into a cash value to compare cards equally.
  • Calculations are based on a 12-month spending period, considering all signup bonuses, welcome offers, good standing bonuses, first-purchase bonuses, annual fees and waivers.

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.

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See the methodology used for each type of credit card

Best overall rewards credit card

We weigh each card’s perks, bonuses and benefits to calculate the Best Overall Rewards Credit Card.

Each category is weighted as follows:

Weight Category
35% Ongoing annual rewards ($2,000 monthly spend – annual fee and welcome bonus) 
10% Welcome offer
10% Benefits
15% Flexibility of rewards (how easy rewards are to redeem) 
20% Insurance
5% Eligibility (income requirements)
5% Interest rates

Low interest credit cards

To calculate the first-year value of low interest credit cards, we assume the following:

  • The cardholder starts with a credit card balance of $2,000.
  • The interest paid on the balance over the 12-month period is compared to that of the average credit card with a 19.99% APR. The value of low interest credit cards is how much the cardholder will save.
  • The total card value considers all signup bonuses, welcome offers, good standing bonuses, first-purchase bonuses, annual fees and waivers

Balance transfer credit cards

To calculate the value of balance transfer credit cards, we assume the following:

  • The cardholder starts with a credit card balance of $2,000.
  • The cardholder has transferred the balance from another card to activate the promotional balance transfer interest rate.
  • The interest paid on the balance over the 12-month period is compared to that of the average credit card with a 19.99% APR.
  • The total card value considers all signup bonuses, welcome offers, good standing bonuses, first-purchase bonuses, annual fees and waivers.

About the survey

An online survey of 1,440 Canadians who own a credit card was conducted by Leger from April 16-18, 2021, using Leger’s online panel. The sample’s ages ranged from 18 to 55+ years old. No margin of error can be associated with a non-probability sample (i.e. a web panel in this case). For comparative purposes, though, a probability sample of 1440 respondents would have a margin of error of ±2.6%, 19 times out of 20.

Best of Finance past winners

Rates, product information, and reward estimates are subject to change at any time and do not constitute financial advice. This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely those of RATESDOTCA. Information in this article is accurate as of the date of this posting, May 18, 2021. Read our full disclaimer.

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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.