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2021's Best Cash Back Credit Cards for Canadians

Earn guaranteed cash back when you make everyday purchases with a cash back rewards credit card.

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What is a cash back credit card?

A cash back credit card is a rewards credit card that allows you to earn a small percentage (usually around 1-4%) of your purchase back in cash, helping you save money on everyday purchases. Cash back rewards can be based on a flat-rate, bonus, or flexible bonus structure. Each structure has its own benefits.

Most cash back cards allow you redeem your cash reward as either a deposit into your bank account or a statement credit that reduces how much you owe on your credit card statement. Start saving money by finding the best cash back credit card today.

2021's Best Cash Back Credit Cards in Canada

See the best cash back credit cards to find the best fit for you.

Card

Annual fee

First year value

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite

$120

$571

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite

$120

$717

SimplyCash Card from American Express

$0

$375

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.

You can redeem your 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.

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$153
Scotia Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$564
Scotia Cash Back Rewards
Annual fee
$120
First Year Waived

Premium cashback card for families looking to save on groceries
Includes comprehensive travel insurance and rare mobile device insurance
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$153
Annual rewards
$564
Premium cashback card for families looking to save on groceries
Includes comprehensive travel insurance and rare mobile device insurance
Details at a glance Collapse details

Cardholders of the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card can earn 10% back on everyday purchases for the first three months, up to $2,000 in total purchases. That is $200 cash back. Plus, Scotiabank will waive the annual fee for the first year.

Regularly earn 4% back on groceries, recurring bill payments and subscription services, 2% back on gas and daily transit, and 1% back on everything else.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will see $717 cash back 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:

$120

Limited time offer/bonus:

  • Earn 10% back on all eligible everyday purchases for the first three months, up to $2,000 in total purchases. Plus, Scotiabank will waive the annual fee for both the primary and secondary cardholders for the first year.

Offer expiry date: February 28, 2021

Rewards:

  • Earn 4% back on groceries, recurring bill payments and subscription services, including Netflix.
  • Earn 2% back on gas and daily transit, including buses, taxis, and rideshare services.
  • Earn 1% 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 = $717
Annual fee = $0
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $717

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

You can redeem your points for:

  • Cash back can be deposited into a Scotiabank chequing or savings account in November of each year.
  • Cash back can be added as a statement credit in November of each year.

Insurance:

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

Other perks:

  • Save up to 25% off base rates on rental cars at participating AVIS and Budget locations across the U.S. and Canada.
  • Enjoy 24/7 concierge services for booking reservations, tickets, or trip preparation.
  • Access the Visa Infinite* Hotel Collection and the Visa Infinite* Dining and Wine Country program.

SimplyCash Card from American Express

SimplyCash™ Card from American Express

card image
Welcome bonus
$75
AMEX Cashback Rewards
Annual rewards
$300
AMEX Cashback Rewards
Annual fee
$0

Very straigtforward cashback credit card for individuals who are looking to try AMEX
Strong and simple rewards rate
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$75
Annual rewards
$300
Very straigtforward cashback credit card for individuals who are looking to try AMEX
Strong and simple rewards rate
Details at a glance Collapse details

With the SimplyCashTM Card from American Express, cardholders can earn 2.5% back on all purchases for the first three months, up to $150 back ($6,000 in total purchases). After that, receive 1.25% back on everything you buy.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will see $375 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:

$0

Limited time offer/bonus:

  • Earn 2.5% back on all purchases for the first three months, up to $6,000 in total purchases.

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

Rewards:

  • Get 1.25% cash back on purchases with no limit to how much you can earn.

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 = $375
Annual fee = $0
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $375

You can redeem your points for:

  • Cash back appears as a statement credit in September of each year.

Insurance:

  • Travel accident insurance
  • Buyer’s Assurance® Protection Plan
  • Purchase Protection® Plan

Other perks:

  • Get all that American Express Invites® has to offer, including exclusive access to tickets, events and deals.

*Rates, product information and rewards estimates are subject to change at any time and do not constitute financial advice.

What are the different types of cashback credit cards available?

Different cashback credit cards offer different perks. Here are the three different type of cashback offers you can expect to find in a credit card rewards program:

  • Category: Category cashback credit cards are the most popular cashback cards. They offer you cashback bonuses on purchases that fall under certain categories such as groceries, gas, and bill payments. Purchases outside these category may have a fixed cashback rate.
  • Flat-rate category: A flat-rate cashback card offers you a fixed cashback rate on all purchases. This is a good option for you if your purchases fall into miscellaneous categories rather than “bonus” categories like groceries and gas. A flat-rate cashback will help you earn the same rate of cashback on each and every purchase.
  • Flexible category: A flexible bonus cashback credit card allows you to choose your cashback bonus category, allowing you to align the card with your spending habits. Choosing a flexible bonus cashback card is great for people who to customize their cashback options. These bonus categories can be groceries, hotels, entertainment, public transportation and parking etc. See the best cashback credit cards in Canada today.

Cash back credit cards rewards structure

Every cash back card has its own rewards structure, allowing you to earn cash back rewards in different ways. Here are the three different types of cash back rewards structures you’ll see when you start comparing cash back credit cards:

Bonus cash back: Bonus cash back credit cards are the most popular cashback credit cards. A bonus cash back credit card offers you cashback bonuses on purchases that fall under certain categories such as groceries, gas, entertainment, and bill payments. Typically, the cash back rate on purchases in these categories are much higher than the flat rate you might earn on other cards. This specialization makes bonus cash back cards excellent choices for individuals who know they spend predominantly in these everyday categories. If all of your purchases don’t fall in one of the “bonus” categories, don’t despair. Purchases outside these categories will reward you at a lower fixed cash back rate, so you earn no matter what!

Flat-rate cash back: A flat-rate cashback credit card offers you a fixed cash back rate on every purchase. This is a good option for you if most of your purchases don’t tend to be focused around certain categories such as groceries or if you aren’t sure of your monthly purchases.

Flexible bonus cash back: A flexible bonus cash back credit card is customizable. It allows you to choose your cash back bonus category, helping you align your rewards with your spending habits. Your bonus categories can be anything from groceries, hotels, entertainment, to public parking.

Interested in earning cash back rewards? Here’s what you need to know.

What are the benefits of a cash back rewards credit card?

Using a cash back credit card allows you to earn a percentage of your money back when you make your purchases, meaning you don’t have to change any of your spending habits to start earning credit card rewards. Cash back rewards are just as good as cash because the cash back credit is instantly applied to your credit card statement. You have the flexibility of using your cash back rewards for anything you want.

Cash back cards do have their potential cons. Like most rewards credit cards, cash back credit cards may also come with a higher annual fee averaging $100-$120, so make sure that the cash back rewards structure helps you earn the maximum rewards on your day-to-day purchases (and offsets the annual fee). Also, many cash rewards programs have an annual maximum limit, meaning your cash back rewards will be capped at a certain amount.

How does a cash back credit card work?

Cash back credit cards usually work on a percentage formula. For example, if your cash back credit card promises you 3% instant cash back on grocery purchases, and you decide to purchase $500 worth of groceries with your card, you will earn $15 back into your credit account. This means you save 3% from your total amount spent.

If the same card promises you a bonus cash back of 5% on entertainment purchases and you purchase movie tickets for $200, you’ll receive an instant cash back of $10.

How can I redeem my cash back rewards?

When it comes to redeeming your cash back rewards, most credit card providers pay you the cash back in the form of a credit on your monthly statement. If you hold a bank account with the same credit card provider, you can also receive cash back deposits into your chequing account. The frequency of your cash back rewards payments depend on your credit card provider and the card itself. Some credit card providers allow you to redeem your cash back credit at intervals such as monthly, quarterly or annually, while others may set up an automatic redemption whenever you reach a certain balance, or even allow you to redeem whenever you choose.

Your credit card lender may also give you the option of receiving a cheque with your total cashback credit at the end of the calendar year.

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