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Best Credit Card for Young Professionals in Canada for 2020

Nov. 5, 2020
8 mins
A trendy young woman works in a modern coworking space and chats happily on her phone

Going here and there and everywhere, the young professional is trying their best to do it all. That is why they need a credit card that works just as hard, earning cash back or rewards for trips to the store, rideshares to meetings and interviews, or a drink with friends.

Our top picks reward cardholders for everything they buy, and members can spend their points or cash back on nearly anything imaginable. These cards offer various features from free Wi-Fi at over a million hotspots worldwide to mobile device insurance (including your tablet) and rewards that you can redeem through Amazon.ca.

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

These are the best credit cards for young professionals for 2020.

Our top pick
Credit card Great features Annual fee
1. American Express CobaltTM Credit Card
  • Flexible Membership Rewards® redeemable for travel or statement credits
  • Travel insurance

$10 per month

($120 per year)
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. Tangerine World Mastercard®
  • Cash back
  • Boingo Wi-Fi for Mastercard®*
$0

1. American Express CobaltTM Credit Card

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$525
+ Annual rewards
$1155
- Annual fee
$156
Total first year value
$1524
American Express Cobalt® Credit Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$525
AMEX Rewards points
Annual rewards
$1155
AMEX Rewards points
Annual fees:
$156
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases • 21.99% on cash advances
2022 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
$525
Annual rewards
$1155
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$525
+ Annual rewards
$1155
- Annual fee
$156
Total first year value
$1524
Annual fees:
$156
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases
21.99% on cash advances
2022 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

Apply for the American Express CobaltTM Card and earn 2,500 Membership Rewards® points each billing period you spend at least $500 in the first 12 months. 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. At the end of the year, you could have 45,000 extra points to spend on nearly anything you like.

Redeem points for travel, merchandise or your card purchases for endless options and flexibility. This card treats members for each aspect of an on-the-go lifestyle, from hailing a taxi to grabbing a drink with friends.

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

Monthly fee:

$10

($120 per year)

Limited time offer/bonus:

  • New cardmembers can earn up to 45,000 bonus points within the first year. Earn 2,500 Membership Rewards® points for each billing period you spend at least $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 at grocery stores, restaurants, cafés, bars, and food delivery.
  • Earn two points per dollar on gas, travel and transit, including taxis, buses, subways and rideshare services.
  • Earn one point per dollar you spend 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 = 111,000 Membership Rewards® points
Monetary value= $1,942.50
Annual fee = $120
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $1,822.50

*The annual fee, in this case, is the total of 12 monthly fees at a rate of $10 per month.

You can redeem your points for:

  • Streaming services
  • Movie tickets
  • Dining out
  • Retail purchases
  • Merchandise
  • Flights through the Fixed Points Travel Program
  • Other travel through American Express Travel
  • Events
  • Purchases on Amazon.ca

Insurance:

  • Out of province/country emergency medical
  • Flight delay
  • Baggage delay
  • Hotel burglary
  • Lost or stolen baggage
  • Car rental theft and damage
  • $250,000 travel accident
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty

Other perks:

  • Enjoy all that American Express Invites® has to offer, including advanced ticket sales, special offers and experiences, exclusive access, and onsite event privileges.
credit card mascot.png

Compare the best credit cards on RATESDOTCA

Find the best credit card for your lifestyle today!

2. Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$153
+ Annual rewards
$564
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
$0
Total first year value
$717
Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$153
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
One of the top cards that earns you generous cash back in a variety of key purchase catagories
Includes rare Mobile Device insurance on a cash back card
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$153
Annual rewards
$564
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$153
+ Annual rewards
$564
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
$0
Total first year value
$717
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
One of the top cards that earns you generous cash back in a variety of key purchase catagories
Includes rare Mobile Device insurance on a cash back card
Details at a glance Collapse details

The Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card rewards members with 10% cash back on all eligible purchases for the first three months, up to $2,000 in total purchases. Plus, Scotiabank will waive the annual fee for the primary and secondary cardholders for the first year.

Regularly get 4% back on groceries and recurring bill payments, as well as subscription purchases. Earn 2% back on gas and daily transit and 1% on everything else you buy.

Cardmembers will end up with extra cash in their pocket for their regular trips to the grocery store and running everyday errands, which is why it is an excellent choice for the young professional.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will see $717 cash back within 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% cash back on all eligible 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% cash back on grocery purchases, recurring bill payments, and subscription services.
  • Get 2% back on gas and daily transit, including buses, taxis and rideshare services.
  • Receive 1% back on all other purchases made using the card.

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:

  • Access a 24/7 concierge service for help planning and booking trips, tickets and reservations.
  • Enjoy Visa Infinite perks, including the Visa Infinite* Hotel Collection and Visa Infinite* Dining and Wine Country program.
  • Save on rental cars at participating AVIS locations across the U.S. and Canada.

3. Tangerine World Mastercard®

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$150
+ Annual rewards
$309
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$459
Tangerine World Mastercard®

card image
Welcome bonus
$150
Money-Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$309
Money-Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.95% on purchases • 19.95% on cash advances
Flexible ability to choose what categories earn you the most cash back
Includes exceptional perks and benefits for a no annual fee card
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$150
Annual rewards
$309
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$150
+ Annual rewards
$309
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$459
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.95% on purchases
19.95% on cash advances
Flexible ability to choose what categories earn you the most cash back
Includes exceptional perks and benefits for a no annual fee card
Details at a glance Collapse details

The Tangerine World Mastercard® offers cardholders loads of flexibility. Earn 2% cash back in up to three categories of your choice. Start with two categories and get a third when you choose to deposit your rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account. Not only that, but this card also features Boingo Wi-Fi for Mastercard®*, giving you access to over one million Wi-Fi zones across the world. Plus, enjoy mobile device insurance when you charge the full amount of your cell phone or tablet to your card.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will see $309 cash back 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:

  • New cardmembers can access a 1.95% promotional interest rate on balance transfers made within 30 days of account opening, for the first six months. A 1% balance transfer fee does apply.

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

Rewards:

Get 2% cash back in up to three categories of your choice. Start with two Money-Back Rewards categories and earn a third when you choose to deposit your money into a Tangerine Savings Account. Earn 0.50% back on everything else.

Tangerine Money-Back Rewards categories:

  • Grocery
  • Furniture
  • Restaurants
  • Hotel-motel
  • Gas
  • Recurring bill payments
  • Home improvement
  • Entertainment
  • Public transportation and parking

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 = $309
Annual fee = $0
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $309

*Assumes the cardholder chose to deposit their rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account, earning the third category. The categories selected were groceries, recurring bill payments and gas.

You can redeem your points for:

  • Cash back can be applied as a statement credit each month.
  • Cash back can be deposited into a Tangerine Savings Account.

Insurance:

  • Rental car collision and loss damage
  • Mobile device insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Mastercard Zero Liability

Other perks:

  • Stay connected with Boingo Wi-Fi for Mastercard®*, and access over one million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world.
  • Take advantage of Mastercard® Airport Experiences Provided by LoungeKey for exclusive deals and offers at over 400 airports.
  • Get free supplementary cards for authorized users.

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 an editor and writer in the personal finance space, where she uses her eight years of media and marketing experience to bring content to life. She specializes in money products, including mortgages, home and auto insurance, and credit cards. Hayley holds a Broadcast Journalism diploma from Sheridan College and was awarded the Shaw Media Journalism and Media Award for graduating at the top of her class. Her work has appeared in Global News and diverse digital corporate training materials behind the scenes.

Hayley is passionate about making complex subjects, such as home buying and financial literacy, concise and intriguing. Her work has garnered media coverage from The Globe and Mail, blogTO, Yahoo! News, and CityNews 680 and has been syndicated across other publications.

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