RateSupermarket.ca aims to make financial decision-making easier for the consumer by acknowledging the best credit cards and banking products in Canada at its annual Best of Finance Awards. (Originally published May 15, 2019)

The credit card, loan, bank account, or mortgage you choose can affect how the future of your money, how investors and lenders look at your portfolio, potential job offers, the type of house you can rent or buy, and even the type of cell phone plan you get (pro tip: good credit may mean better deals!).

That being said, the world of personal finance, credit and investing can be a daunting one to navigate. Everyone has a unique lifestyle and budget which may lead them to choose a specific credit card or banking product over another. And it’s imperative to do your research before signing on the dotted line. With so many options available, choosing the best product can be difficult.

That’s why we at RateSupermarket.ca annually audit Canadian credit cards and banking accounts to see how they stack up against each other. The Best of Finance Awards recognizes some of the top products in the personal finance industry and helps you – the consumer – ultimately find your best match.

In choosing the winners of the 2019 Best of Finance Awards, we converted miles, points and cash back into dollar figures. Interest rates, balance transfer rates and annual fees were examined, and each product’s fine print was carefully deciphered. The credit cards that provided the most cash value ranked at the top of their category. The bank account and investment products were evaluated based on total interest earned over a five-year savings term while taking a typical initial balance and monthly fees into account.

The 2019 Best of Finance Awards categories are:

New award categories

As a top comparison site and leader in the Canadian fintech space, RateSupermarket.ca strives to stay on top of new trends in finance and technology. For that reason, this year, the Best of Finance Awards features a new category: Best Prepaid Card. Prepaid credit cards are increasingly becoming a popular way for Canadians to access funds, similar to a regular credit card, without having to pay interest fees. All category nominees marketed seamless payment options, optimized security, and comprehensive reward programs while providing a digital alternative to the traditional banking experience.

However, the team concluded the winner of the category to be KOHO, due to its straightforward cash back options and transparent earning structure.

And to determine the winner of the Fan Favourite Credit Card award we once again, took to Facebook and asked our consumers to vote on which credit cards best perform for them.

Without further ado, here are the 2019 Best of Finance winners:

The Best Credit Cards of 2019

Best Rewards Card

  • Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* card
    • Rewards earned after 2 years = $1,048.70

Best Rewards Card with No Annual Fee / Low Income Requirements

  • RBC® Cash Back MasterCard‡
    • Rewards earned after 2 years = $500.59

Best Card for Carrying a Balance

  • National Bank Syncro Mastercard®
    • Interest saved after 2 years = $296.98

Best Card for Balance Transfers

  • MBNA True Line® Mastercard® credit card
    • Interest saved while paying off balance = $270.17

Best Card for Building Credit

  • Home Trust Secured Visa Card

Best Card for Students

  • BMO SPC CashBack Mastercard® (Note: This card has now been discontinued)
    • Rewards earned after 2 years = $464

Best Card with Travel Perks

  • CIBC Aventura® Visa InfiniteTM
    • Rewards earned after 2 years = $1,216.63

Best Card for Groceries

  • American Express CobaltTM Credit Card
    • Rewards earned after 2 years = $1,194.68

Best Gas Rewards Card

  • Scotia Momentum®VISA Infinite* card
    • Rewards earned after 2 years = $1,048.70

Best Store Card

  • President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard®
    • Rewards earned after 2 years = $976.91

Fan Favourite Card

  • President’s Choice Financial® Mastercard®

Best Prepaid Card

  • KOHO Prepaid Visa Card Download the KOHO app now to get $20 after first purchase when you join KOHO with the referral code RSMKOHO20.

The Best Banking Products of 2019

Best Savings Account

  • Motive Financial

Best Chequing Account

  • Scotia OneTM Chequing Account

Best Cashable GIC

  • Oaken Financial

How we chose the best credit cards

Rewards credit cards

To calculate the return earned on each Canadian rewards credit card, we assumed a total monthly spend on the card of $1,600*, divided into the following categories:

  • Food: $710.58
  • Gas: $134.31
  • Pharmacy: $55.33
  • Travel: $151.21
  • Other: $548.57
  • The credit card balance was paid in full each month, with no interest charges accrued.
  • The consumers always use the card at partner retailers, if applicable (e.g. all gas purchased at Shell locations).
  • All points and miles were calculated into a cash value in order to compare cards like for like.
  • Spending was calculated over a 24-month period, taking into account all signup bonuses, good standing bonuses, first-purchase bonuses, annual fees and waivers.
  • Gas mileage was based on a 2016 Honda Civic.

*Source: Statistics Canada

Low interest credit cards

To calculate the value of low interest credit cards, we assumed the following:

  • The cardholder is starting with the average Canadian credit card balance of $2,640 and pays the minimum payment plus $10 monthly over a 24-month period
  • The interest paid on the balance over the 24-month period is compared to that of the average credit card with a 19.99% APR.
  • Total card value takes into account all signup bonuses, good standing bonuses, first-purchase bonuses, annual fees and waivers.

Low balance transfer credit cards

To calculate the value of low balance transfer credit cards, we assumed the following:

  • The cardholder is starting with the average Canadian credit card balance of $2,640 and pays a monthly installment of $220 in order to pay the balance within a 12-month period
  • The cardholder has transferred the balance from another card to activate the promotional balance transfer interest rate and has paid a 1% fee of $26.40.
  • The interest paid on the balance over the 12-month period is compared to that of the average credit card with a 19.99% APR
  • Total card value takes into account all signup bonuses, good standing bonuses, first-purchase bonuses, annual fees and waivers.

How we chose the best banking products

To determine the top-performing savings accounts, chequing accounts, TFSAs and GICs, we calculated the total interest earned, based on the following:

Savings accounts

  • Balance – No Minimum: $100
  • Balance – With Minimum: $5,000
  • Savings Term: 5 years
  • Monthly Fees: $0

Chequing Accounts

  • Balance: $100
  • Savings Term: 5 years
  • Monthly Fees: $0

GICs

  • Balance: $1,000
  • Savings Term: 5 years
  • Monthly Fees: $0
RATESDOTCA Team

The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

Recent News Articles
7 Ways to Rein In Your Spending This Cyber Monday
Learn the apps and hacks you need to know to save valuable time and money this Cyber Monday.
Best BMO Credit Cards for 2020
The Bank of Montreal (BMO) has a wide variety of credit cards with all kinds of amazing perks.
Speeding Tickets May Cost You More Than You Think
Traffic violations can be serious. Not only do they carry an immediate fine, but also end up on your driving record, and there’s a good chance they will affect your insurance premium as well. Find out how much they could cost you, and what to do about it.