When you look at credit cards, many of them offer various incentives. You could get a cash back card, a travel credit card or even a low interest credit card, but what’s the best choice for families? That’s a tough question to answer since every family has different wants and priorities.

When picking a credit card, you’ll want to look at your spending, what kind of rewards you like to earn, and what additional benefits you may get with the card. There’s no one specific card that will meet everyone’s needs, but these four credit cards offer something for every family.

Our top picks

Credit card Great features Annual fee

1. Tangerine World Mastercard®

Cash back $0

2. Scotiabank® Gold American Express®

Scotia Rewards, travel insurance

$120

3. PC Financial World® Elite Mastercard®

PC Optimum points, travel insurance  $0

4. SimplyCashTM Card from American Express

Cash back $0

1. Tangerine World Mastercard

Tangerine recently released its second credit card, the Tangerine World Mastercard which currently has an offer of 4% Money-Back Rewards (no limit) in up to 3 categories for 3 months. Although this new card has a higher income requirement of $60,000 compared to the $12,000 that the Tangerine Money-Back Card has, the World card comes with additional benefits including rental car collision/loss damage insurance and mobile device insurance.

You still get to choose up to three categories where you’ll earn 2% Money-Back Rewards while all other purchases will get you 0.5% back. This card is incredibly popular since you get to choose your categories where you’ll earn more cash back and it has no annual fee!

Credit score requirement for approval:

Good-Excellent: As this is a premium credit card, you’ll likely need a credit score in the 740-900 range to be approved. To have that score, you should have a long credit history where you’ve consistently made payments on time. If you declared bankruptcy in the last six years, you likely won’t be approved.

Annual fee:

No annual fee

Limited time offer/bonus:

● Get 4% Money-Back Rewards in up to 3 categories of your choice for the first 3 months

● 1.95% interest on balance transfers for six months

Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: January 31, 2020

Rewards:

● 2% cash-back on up to 3 categories of your choice

● 0.5% cash-back on all other categories

Earning potential:

Based on our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian family will earn $546.85 in rewards in the first two years of card membership, which includes the bonus 4% money-back in up to three categories for three months.

Annual fee (x2 for 24-month period) = $0
Total earned over a 24-month period (rewards minus annual fee) = $546.85

*Assuming you have earned the third category by depositing your rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account and you have chosen to earn from grocery, restaurant, and gas purchases.

Insurance:

● Rental car collision/loss damage

● Mobile device

● Purchase protection

● Extended warranty

Other perks:

● Mastercard Airport Experiences Provided by LoungeKey (no passes)

● Priceless cities experiences

● Exclusive experiences and offers

A similar option:

If you don’t meet the minimum income requirement of $60,000, you could apply for the Tangerine Money-Back Card which has the same earn rate but fewer benefits.

2. Scotiabank Gold American Express

Scotiabank made some big changes to its Gold American Express last year and they were mostly for the positive. The biggest changes came to the earn rate where you now get up to 5X the points on select categories. The current sign up bonus of 20,000 Scotia Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months has a value of $200.

With this card, you’ll earn extra points on grocery, dining, entertainment, gas, public transportation, rideshares, and eligible streaming service purchases. That’s a lot of categories which is why this is one of the best credit cards for families who do a lot of spending.

Scotia Rewards are best redeemed for travel as they give you maximum value. Speaking of travel, this card comes with no foreign transaction fees and a nice suite of travel insurance.

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've made the minimum payments on my existing credit cards for the past three months.

Annual fee:

$120 ($29 for each supplementary card)

Limited time offer/bonus:

● 20,000 Scotia Rewards Points when you charge $1,000 to your card in the first three months of card membership. That’s a value of up to $200.

Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: March 1, 2020

Rewards:

● Earn 5 times the Scotia Rewards points for every dollar spent on eligible grocery, restaurant, fast food, food delivery, and food subscription purchases.

● Earn 5 times the Scotia Rewards points on eligible entertainment purchases.

● Earn 3 times the Scotia Rewards points on eligible gas and daily transit, including taxis and rideshare services.

● Earn 3 times the Scotia Rewards points on select streaming services.

● Earn 1 Scotia Rewards point per dollar spent on everything else.

Earning potential:

Rewards earned over a 24-month period = 138,159
Monetary value = $1,381.59
Annual fee (x2 for 24-month period) = $240
Total earned over a 24-month period (rewards minus annual fee) = $1,141.59

The earning potential includes the current promotion of 20,000 Scotia Rewards points when you charge $1,000 to your card in the first three months of card membership. It should also be noted that our Best of Finance methodology includes entertainment purchases into "other" spending so you have the potential to earn more points than what we’ve estimated.

You can redeem your points for:

● Merchandise

● Gift cards

● Travel including flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises and more

● SCENE® points (after you convert)

● Towards the balance on your card

Insurance:

● Emergency medical (for when you travel out of province/Canada)

● Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance

● Flight delay

● Baggage delay and lost baggage coverage

● Travel accident insurance

● Rental car collision loss and damage insurance

● Hotel/motel burglary

● Purchase protection

● Extended warranty

Other perks:

● No foreign transaction fees

● American Express Invites

A similar option:

The American Express Cobalt Card has a similar earn rate but has slightly different categories for the multipliers. One thing the Cobalt Card lacks which the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card has is no foreign transaction fees.

3. President’s Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard

If you’re a frequent shopper at Loblaws owned grocery stores and Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix, then you’ll want to get the President’s Choice Financial World Mastercard since there’s no other way to earn more PC Optimum points. In case you didn’t know, PC Optimum is the largest retail loyalty program in Canada with more than 10 million members.

What makes PC Optimum appealing is that there are plenty of ways to earn and use your points. That said, without a PC Mastercard, you only earn points on in-store and targeted offers. Once you have a PC Mastercard, you earn points on all your spending.

Loblaws seems to be constantly looking for ways to improve the user experience as they’ve introduced new products that could be great for families. There’s PC Express which allows you to order your groceries online and then you can pick them up at the store. There’s also PC Insiders where you can earn more PC Optimum points but it comes with a monthly/annual fee.

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've made the minimum payments on my existing credit cards for the past three months.

Annual fee:

$0

Limited time offer/bonus:

● Promotional interest rate of 0.97% for six months on balance transfers made within 90 days of account approval

Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: N/A (subject to change without notice)

Rewards:

● Earn 30 points for every dollar spent at Loblaws owned grocery stores

● Earn 45 points per dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart

● Earn at least 30 PC Optimum points per litre with Esso Mobil

● Earn 30 points per dollar spent on PC Travel

● Earn 10 points per dollar on everything else

Earning potential:

Rewards earned over a 24-month period = 960,968 PC Optimum Points
Monetary value = $960.97
Annual fee (x2 for 24-month period) = $0
Total earned over a 24-month period (rewards minus annual fee) = $960.97

*Assuming all groceries are purchased at PC Financial stores, all pharmacy products are purchased at Shoppers Drug Mart, private transportation is through PC Travel, and gas is purchased through Esso Mobil.

The above calculation only factors in the earn rate from having the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard. It does not include any points you would earn from in-store promotions and targeted offers so you would likely be earning even more points.

You can redeem your points for:

You can cash in your points as soon as you have 10,000 ($10 monetary value) for:

● Groceries or merchandise at participating stores

● Online at Beautyboutique.ca, JoeFresh.ca, and PC Express

Insurance:

● Travel emergency medical

● Car rental collision/loss damage

● Purchase assurance

● Extended warranty

Other perks:

● Concierge Service

● Mastercard Airport Experiences Provided by LoungeKey (no passes)

A similar option:

Both the PC Financial Mastercard and PC Financial World Mastercard are similar but offer a slightly lower earn rate. What makes them appealing is that they have a personal income requirement of $12,000 and $60,000 respectively, whereas the World Elite version requires you to earn $80,000 per year to be approved.

4. SimplyCash Card from American Express

Families who don’t like the idea of sticking to specific stores or categories to earn more rewards will be interested in the SimplyCash Card from American Express since you’ll get the same earn rate regardless of where you shop.

This card has no annual fee and gives you 1.25% in cash-back on all your purchases. For the first three months of card membership, you’ll earn 2.50% in cash-back on all your purchases up to $150 in cash-back ($6,000 in spending).

Even though this is a pretty basic card, you still get American Express Invites which gives you exclusive access to some of the best dining, entertainment and experiences there is to offer.

Credit score requirement for approval:

Fair: You’ve had a credit card or loan for one or more years. For the last two years, 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.

Annual fee:

No annual fee

Limited time offer/bonus:

● 2.5% cash-back for the first three months of card membership up to $150 in earned cash-back

Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: N/A (subject to change without notice)

Rewards:

● Earn 1.25% cash-back on all purchases

Earning potential:

Cash-back earned over a 24-month period = $540
Annual fee (x2 for 24-month period) = $0
Total earned over a 24-month period = $540

Insurance:

● Travel accident

● Buyer’s assurance

● Purchase protection

Other perks:

● American Express Invites

A similar option:

The Tangerine Money-Back Card gives you 2% cash-back on up to three categories of your choice but all other categories earn you 0.5% cash-back.

Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a personal finance and budget travel expert at Moneywehave.com. He has been quoted by media in Canada and the United States including The Financial Post, The Toronto Star, Business Insider, The Globe and Mail, and has appeared on HuffPost Live.

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