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Best of Finance Winners: The Best Credit Cards and Banking Products of 2018

Oct. 25, 18
5 mins
A man and a woman drink coffee together and search for deals on their computer

RATESDOTCA aims to help its consumers understand which financial products match their personal portfolio. That’s why we recognize the best of the best every year at our Best of Finance awards, helping you save money and put even more in your wallet.

You work hard for your money, so when it comes to banking, you want to make the most informed decision before applying for a new product. Of course, reasons for choosing a specific credit card or banking product will vary depending on your unique lifestyle and budget. And doing your research before signing on the dotted line is crucial. But with so many options available, it may be hard to choose the one that’s right for you.

That’s why we at RATESDOTCA annually review the market and recognize some of the top-performing credit cards and banking products at our Best of Finance awards – ultimately making your decision easier when it comes time to change investments or apply for a new credit card.

In choosing the winners of the 2018 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. 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.

As department stores and specialty retailers continue to enter the banking space, it’s clear that the market has more to offer than cards and products from the “Big Six” banks. As such, we also added a new category to this year’s Best of Finance: Best Store Card.

So without further ado, here are the 2018 Best of Finance winners:

The Best Credit Cards of 2018

Best Rewards Card

Best Rewards Card with No Fee

Best Card for Building Credit

Best Card for Groceries

Best Card with Travel Perks

Best Card for Students

Best Card for Gas Rewards

Best Store Card

Fan Favourite Credit Card

The Best Banking Products of 2018 

Best Savings Account

Best Chequing Account

Best Cashable GIC

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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 $1,149.82*, divided into the following categories:

  • 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 $2,660, 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 $2,660, and pays a monthly installment of $221.67 in order to pay the balance within a 12-month period
  • The cardholder has transferred the balance from another card to activate the promotion balance transfer interest rate, and has paid a 1% fee of $26.60.
  • 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

Chequing Accounts

GICs

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.

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