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Credit card rewards come in many forms. From points to statement credits to cold-hard cash, a good rewards card maximizes on your everyday purchases and ultimately helps you save.

Reward credit cards generally offer different amounts of rebates for particular spending categories (gas, grocery, pharmacy purchases, etc.). And while there are so many options on the market, one distinctive feature between most rewards cards is whether it comes with an annual fee or not.

Cards with an annual service fee typically offer you more flexibility with a greater amount of cash-back or points for your purchases, whereas no-fee cards may offer a little less of a rebate with less opportunities to earn rewards. That being said, there are still a number of great no-fee reward options. But how do you choose the card that will provide you with the most in savings?

To make the decision-making process easier, use our card comparison tool. And with all things considered, from sign-up bonuses to earning categories, we used our Best of Finance methodology to rank the cards that provided the most cash value. These are the best credit cards that have no annual fee and offer points or cash-back rewards.

2019 Best of Finance Rewards Credit Card with No Fee category winner

RBC® Cash Back MasterCard‡

Why it’s an awesome card

The RBC® Cash Back Mastercard‡ is probably one of the easiest, no-fee options out there, earning you pure cash-back with no complicated point systems involved. For that reason, it won the award for Best Rewards Card with No Annual Fee / Low Income Requirements at our Best of Finance Awards this year.

Cardholders get unlimited cash-back on almost all purchases, including pre-authorized payments and recurring bills. Cash-back is credited automatically to your account and is detailed on your monthly statements, so it takes the guesswork out of figuring out how much you’ve earned and makes redemption effortless.

Earning rate*

  • Grocery: 2% cash-back for every $1 spent up to $6,000 per year, and 1% cash-back for every $1 spent thereafter.
  • Other: 0.5% cash-back for every $1 spent up to $6,000 per year, and 1% cash-back for every $1 spent thereafter.

Earning potential**

  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period: $500.59



*Earning rate up to card’s annual spending cap, if applicable.

**Assuming $1,600 is spent on the card monthly at eligible retailers, in the following categories:

  • Pharmacy: $55.33
  • Food: $710.58
  • Gas**: $134.31
  • Travel: $151.21
  • Other: $548.57

2019 Best of Finance Rewards Credit Card with No Fee runners up

RBC Rewards+ Visa Card

Why it’s an awesome card

The no-fee RBC Rewards+ Visa Card gets you all the basics with no frills, earning points on just about all spending categories. Off the bat, you’re eligible for up to 6,000 bonus RBC Rewards points – 2,500 upon approval, and 3,500 for going digital.

Cardholders can then redeem points for merchandise, gift cards, Apple or Best Buy products, and more from the RBC Rewards catalogue. Alternatively, you can be flexible in how you spend your points, as this card allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs, pay down your balance, donate to charity, or contribute to an RBC banking product.

Earning rate*

  • Pharmacy, grocery and gas: 1 RBC Rewards point for every $1 spent.
  • Other: 1 RBC Rewards point for every $2 spent on all other purchases.

Earning potential**

  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period: 36,003 RBC Rewards points.
  • Monetary worth: $360.03 in RBC Rewards points.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card 

Why it’s an awesome card

Don’t spent a lot on groceries or gas? No problem. The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card gives you the option to choose two out of 10 available categories to earn Money-Back Rewards. And if you set up your cash-back to be automatically deposited into a Tangerine Savings Account, you can also select a third category that will also earn 2% cash-back.

Better yet, there’s no cap on the amount of Money-Back Rewards you can earn, and you can change your Money-Back categories to suit your spending at any point in time. So if you realize you’re spending more in entertainment, or you know that you have to buy a lot of furniture next month, you can easily switch your categories to capitalize on your planned purchases. Money-Back Rewards are earned automatically, and are applied to your account and detailed on your statement each month. You can redeem them for a credit to your account, or deposit them into your Tangerine Savings Account, if you have one.

Earning rate*

  • Grocery, restaurants, furniture, gas, entertainment, drug store, home improvement, recurring bill payments, hotel/motel, public transportation and parking, or recurring bill payments: 2% cash-back (but you can only choose two categories).
  • Other: 0.50% cash-back.

Earning potential**

  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period: $496.16 with three Money-Back categories (grocery, restaurants and gas).

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

Why it’s an awesome card

This card comes with major potential to rack up the points if you’re a new cardholder. Not only do you get 2,500 bonus points for making your first eligible purchase, but with the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®, you also get an additional 2,500 points just enrolling for e-statements.

You can redeem points for cash-back, travel purchases, brand-name merchandise, gift cards from participating retailers, or even charitable donations. Points are earned automatically, and are applied to your account and detailed on your statement each month.

Earning rate*

  • Gas, grocery, and restaurants: 2 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
  • Other: 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Earning potential**

  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period: 61,809 points.
  • Monetary worth: $618.09 in points ($309.05 if redeemed for cash-back).

President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard® 

Why it’s an awesome card

For a no-fee card, the President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard® earning rate can’t be beat. You can also earn additional points on special offers listed within your PC Optimum account and in-store.

Cardholders get exclusive in-store promos where you can take advantage of earning even more points than those with just the PC Optimum points card. You can redeem points for free groceries or merchandise at President's Choice-affiliated retailers, so this card is especially beneficial if you frequently shop at store like Loblaw, Fortinos, Joe Fresh and Shoppers Drug Mart. You can buy just about anything with PC Optimum points at a Shoppers Drug Mart or Loblaw, but if you want more flexible rewards, try another card on this list.

Earning rate*

  • Pharmacy: 45 points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart and PharmaprixMD.
  • Grocery: 30 PC points per $1 spent on groceries purchased at participating stores where President’s Choice products are sold.
  • Gas: 30 points per litre at Esso locations.
  • Travel: 30 points per $1 on travel booked through
  • Other: 10 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Earning potential**

  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period: 876,914 PC Optimum points.
  • Monetary worth: $876.91 in PC Optimum points.

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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