Credit card loyalty points can be confusing, especially when you look at a reward number in the tens of thousands. You may question the monetary worth and what items you can buy. Cash back credit cards are straightforward, and the rewards are easy to understand. The value you see is the value you get.

According to a J.D. Power study, cash back rewards are the most popular rewards type, with 30% of cardholders in Canada choosing this option.

The report also suggests that customers are more satisfied with their credit cards when they fully understand how to use and redeem their rewards.

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

These are the best cash back credit cards for 2020.

Our top pick
Credit card Great features Annual fee
1. TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card
  • Cash back
  • Travel insurance, complimentary roadside assistance

$120 (Rebated year 1)

Runners-up
Credit card Great features Annual fee
2. Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card
  • Cash back
  • Travel insurance, mobile device insurance
$120 (Waived year 1)
3. SimplyCashTM Card from American Express
  • Cash back
$0

1. TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card

Apply for the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card and get 10% 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 $651 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 10% back on all purchases for the first three months, up to $2,000 in total purchases.

Offer expiry date: December 6, 2020

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 = $651 TD Cash Back Dollars
Annual fee = $0
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $651

*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.
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2. Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

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.

3. SimplyCashTM Card from American Express

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. Information in this article is accurate as of the date of this posting, November 5, 2020. This article was first published on August 19, 2020.

This post has been updated.

Best of Finance 2020 Methodology Infographic

Hayley Vesh

Hayley Vesh is a creative, resourceful, and knowledgeable content producer who is passionate about financial literacy, storytelling, and generating ideas. She writes about credit cards, savings, debt management, and personal finance. In her spare time, Hayley can be found wandering in the woods, hunting for second-hand treasures, or curled up with a steeped tea and a good podcast.

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