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2022'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.

The Best of Finance Winners for 2022: Best Cash Back Credit Card

  First year value* Credit score required Winner
$745 Excellent BMO CashBack World Elite* Mastercard*
$500 Good 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 Cash Back Credit Card

Cash back credit cards are straightforward: cardholders earn a small percentage of each purchase back in rewards. Still, there are differences between the two types of cash back cards:

  • Category cash back: This type of card rewards the user for shopping in specific spending categories like gas or groceries at an accelerated rate. For example, 4% cash back for some purchases and 1% back on everything else. Shoppers who routinely purchase items in privileged categories can maximize their rewards with a category card.
  • Flat-rate cash back: This type of card rewards the user for all purchases at one rate and does not privilege certain types of purchases. For example, an earn rate of 1.25% cash back on everything you buy. Cash back is usually applied as a statement credit every month or once per year on a specific date. It can also be deposited directly into a chequing or savings account.

We compared the top cash back credit cards using our Best of Finance methodology and ranked the cards that provided the highest first year value.

  First year value* Credit score required Top features
$745 Excellent Great cash back rates and welcome bonus. Includes great travel perks such as travel insurance and airport lounge access.
$717 Excellent Great introductory cash back rates. Includes comprehensive travel insurance as well as mobile device insurance.
$701 Good Enjoy introductory cash back rates and then a flat rate of 2% cash back on all purchases after that. Includes extended travel insurance package and plenty AMEX entertainment perks.
$804 Fair High earn rate allows you to easily redeem points for cash back.

Winner: BMO CashBack World Elite* Mastercard*

The BMO CashBack World Elite* Mastercard* allows you to earn 5% cash back on groceries, 4% cash back on transit, and 3% cash back on gas. The cash back rewards and welcome bonus can potentially net you $745, according to our Best of Finance methodology.

Additional benefits include complimentary roadside assistance, discounts at select car rental companies, as well as travel and medical insurance.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$150
+ Annual rewards
$594
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
$0
Total first year value
$744
BMO CashBack World Elite* Mastercard*

card image
Welcome bonus
$150
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$594
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases • 23.99% on cash advances
2022 Winner – Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card
Strong cash back reward rates in a variety of catagories 
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$150
Annual rewards
$594
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$150
+ Annual rewards
$594
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
$0
Total first year value
$744
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases
23.99% on cash advances
2022 Winner – Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card
Strong cash back reward rates in a variety of catagories 
Details at a glance Collapse details

Annual fee

$120

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Get up to 10% cash back in your first 3 months and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year*.

Offer expiry date: December 6, 2022

Rewards

With this card, you can earn the following:

  • 5% cash back earn spent on groceries
  • 4% cash back earn spent on transit
  • 3% cash back earn spent on gas
  • 2% cash back earn spent on bills
  • 1% cash back earn spent on other eligible 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 + Welcome bonus = $594 + $151 = $745
Annual fee = $120 (waived the first year)
Total earned over a 12-month period (rewards minus annual fee) = $745

You can redeem your points for:

  • Redeem your rewards annually as a statement credit.
  • Have your rewards deposited into your BMO InvestorLine account.
  • Deposit your rewards into your BMO chequing or savings account.

Benefits

  • Complimentary Lounge Key Mastercard Airport Experiences membership
  • Complimentary roadside assistance
  • Access over 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world - all at no added cost, and no added fees or roaming charges
  • Access to 24/7 Concierge Service
  • Up to 25% off at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car locations worldwide
  • Unlock Mastercard Travel Rewards cashback offers when you travel and shop outside of Canada

Insurance

  • Purchase protection - 180 days
  • Extended warranty - 2 Year
  • Travel accident - $500,000
  • Emergency medical term - 8 days
  • Trip interruption - $2,000
  • Flight delay - $200
  • Baggage delay - $750
  • Lost or stolen baggage - $500
  • Hotel burglary - $750
  • Rental car theft
  • Rental car accidents - $200,000

Runners-up: Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

Apply for the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card to earn 4% back on groceries, recurring bills, and subscription purchases. Collect 2% back on gas and daily transit, including buses, taxis and rideshare services. Earn 1% back on everything else.

You could have an extra $717 in your wallet within 12 months, according to our Best of Finance methodology.

Annual fee

$120

Annual fee for additional cardholders: $50

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, pay no annual fee in the first year including for any supplementary cards and get a 2.99% introductory interest rate on purchases and balance transfers for the first 6 months.

Offer expiry date: October 31, 2022

Rewards

  • Earn 4% cash back on eligible groceries, recurring bill payments and select subscription purchases.
  • Earn 2% cash back on eligible gas and daily transit, including taxi, rideshare and public transit purchases.
  • Earn 1% back on everything else.

SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express

The SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express offers cardholders 10% cash back on up to $4,000 in total purchases for the first four months. That could add up to $400 cash back. Get 2% cash back on all purchases, no matter the spending category.

Cardholders can also access travel and shopping coverage and exclusive offers through American Express® Experiences like presale tickets and curated events.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian could earn around $701 in rewards in the first year.

Annual fee

$99

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Earn 10% cash back on up to $4,000 in purchases for the first four months. That could add up to $400 back.
  • Plus, earn a $100 statement credit when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first four months.

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

Rewards

  • Earn 2% cash back on all purchases.

American Express Cobalt® Credit Card - Honorable mention

The American Express Cobalt® Credit Card is one of the best credit cards in the Canadian credit card market.

Get five times the points at coffee shops, bars, restaurants, grocery stores, and even food delivery services. Earn three times the points on select streaming subscriptions and two times the points for every dollar spent on public transport, taxis, rideshare, and gas. Also, access exclusive benefits for members of the American Express Cobalt® Credit Card.

While we’ve classified this card as a rewards card, the American Express Cobalt® Credit Card still offers surprisingly good value in cash back.

The welcome bonus is equivalent to $300 in cash, and you could earn an additional $660 with the card’s standard cash back rate. That’s $804 in cash back in the first year of owning the card.

Annual fee

$155.88 ($12.99 per month)

Annual fee for additional cardholders: $0

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points. Earn 2,500 points each monthly billing period in which you spend at least $500 on your card for 12 months. This could add up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points in the first year.

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

Rewards

  • Earn five points for every $1 spent at grocery stores, restaurants, cafés, bars and food delivery purchases.
  • Earn three points for every $1 spent on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada.
  • Earn two points for every $1 spent on transit, gas, and other eligible travel purchases.
  • Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Best No-Frills Cash Back Credit Card

Flat-rate credit cards offer the same percentage of cash back for all purchases without designating specific spending categories. That means cardholders can earn the same amount of cash back whether they buy groceries at the supermarket or a couch from an online retailer.

While flat-rate credit cards typically offer fewer rewards than, say, a category card for gas or recurring bill payments, they are a good complement to the other credit cards in your arsenal. Using a no-fee, flat-rate card as a secondary card ensures you are always earning the most rewards for purchases that fall outside accelerated earning categories, like gifts, tech and furniture. We compared the top flat-rate rewards cards using our Best of Finance methodology, focusing on cards with no annual fee and ranked the cards that provided the highest first-year value.

  First year value* Credit score required Top features
$500 Good Enjoy introductory cash back offers and after it ends earn 1.25% cash back on all purchases.
$240 Good Earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases. Pay no foreign transaction fees.
$120 Good National Bank donates 10 cents for every $10 charged on the card to the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation. Includes shopping insurance.

Winner: SimplyCash™ Card from American Express

The SimplyCash™ Card from American Express offers 4% cash back on all purchases for the first six months, up to $5,000 in total purchases. After the welcome rate expires, earn 1.25% cash back. There is no limit to how much cash back you can earn throughout the year.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$200
+ Annual rewards
$300
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$500
SimplyCash™ Card from American Express

card image
Welcome bonus
$200
AMEX Cashback Rewards
Annual rewards
$300
AMEX Cashback Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 21.99% on cash advances
2022 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
$200
Annual rewards
$300
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$200
+ Annual rewards
$300
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$500
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
21.99% on cash advances
2022 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

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee for additional cardholders: $0

Limited time offer/bonus:

  • Earn 4% cash back for the first six months, up to $5,000 in total purchases. That is up to $200 cash back.

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

Rewards

  • After the bonus rate expires, earn 1.25% cash back on all purchases, with no limit to how much cash back 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 = $500
Annual fee = $0
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $500

Insurance

  • $100,000 travel accident
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty

Other perks

  • Cardholders can access all that the American Express Invites® program offers, including advanced and reserved ticket sales, special offers, and exclusive experiences.

Runners-up: Best No-Frills Cash Back Credit Card

Home Trust Preferred Visa Card

The Home Trust Preferred Visa Card offers cardholders 1% cash back on all eligible purchases. Plus, pay no foreign transaction fees when you’re abroad and when you make purchases in foreign currency online. Only the exchange rate applies.

Most no-fee cards don’t offer the perk of zero foreign transaction fees and this perk is also quite rare for even top-tier travel rewards cards. Cardholders can save around 2.5% to 3% on foreign currency purchases with this perk.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $240 cash back in the first year.

Annual fee

$0

Limited time offer/bonus

  • There is no welcome bonus currently.

Offer expiry date: NA

Rewards

  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases.

Allure™ Mastercard® from National Bank

The Allure™ Mastercard® from National Bank is a no fee credit card that allows you to earn 1% cash back on every $2 spent. With every purchase made through your card, you get the added benefit of purchase protection and extended warranty. You also get the chance to support the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation, as National Bank donates 10 cents for every $10 charged on the card. According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $120 as rewards in the first year.

Annual fee

$0

Rewards 

  • Earn 1% cash back for every $2 spent on all eligible purchases.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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