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Last Updated: 19 Nov, 2019
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Credit Card Annual Reward Value Signup Bonus Annual Fee Interest Rate BT Rate
Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite Card

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite Card

Best credit card
$299.00
$99.00
19.99%
22.99%
SCENE® Visa Card

SCENE® Visa Card

Best credit card
$23.00
$0.00
19.99%
22.99%
Scotia Momentum® Mastercard® Credit Card

Scotia Momentum® Mastercard® Credit Card

Sponsored
$0.00
$0.00
7.99%
22.99%
Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa Card

Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa Card

Sponsored
$0.00
$0.00
7.99%
22.99%
Scotiabank Value® Visa Card

Scotiabank Value® Visa Card

Sponsored
$0
$0.00
$29.00
12.99%
0.99%
Home Trust Low Rate Secured Visa Card

Home Trust Low Rate Secured Visa Card

Sponsored
$0
$0.00
$59.00
14.90%
None
No-Fee Scotiabank Value® Visa Card

No-Fee Scotiabank Value® Visa Card

Sponsored
$0
$0.00
$0.00
16.99%
3.99%
Refresh Financial Secured Visa

Refresh Financial Secured Visa

Sponsored
$0
$0.00
$12.95
17.99%
None
Scotiabank® GM® Visa Card

Scotiabank® GM® Visa Card

Sponsored
$0.00
$0.00
17.99%
17.99%
Tangerine Money Back Credit Card

Tangerine Money Back Credit Card

Sponsored
$0.00
$0.00
19.95%
1.95%
Home Trust No Fee Secured Visa Card

Home Trust No Fee Secured Visa Card

Sponsored
$0
$0.00
$0.00
19.99%
None
Home Trust Preferred Visa Card

Home Trust Preferred Visa Card

Sponsored
$0.00
$0.00
19.99%
None
Scotiabank® American Express® Card

Scotiabank® American Express® Card

Sponsored
$50.00
$0.00
19.99%
22.99%
Scotiabank® American Express® Platinum Card

Scotiabank® American Express® Platinum Card

Sponsored
$300.00
$399.00
19.99%
22.99%
Scotiabank® GM® Visa Infinite Card

Scotiabank® GM® Visa Infinite Card

Sponsored
$79.00
$79.00
19.99%
22.99%
Scotiabank® Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank® Gold American Express® Card

Sponsored
$150.00
$99.00
19.99%
22.99%
Scotiabank L'earn Visa Card

Scotiabank L'earn Visa Card

Sponsored
$0
$0.00
$0.00
19.99%
22.99%
Scotia Momentum® Visa Card

Scotia Momentum® Visa Card

Sponsored
$0.00
$39.00
19.99%
2.99%
Scotiabank® More Rewards® Visa Card

Scotiabank® More Rewards® Visa Card

Sponsored
$60.00
$0.00
19.99%
22.99%
Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite Card

Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite Card

Sponsored
$400.00
$139.00
19.99%
22.99%
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Best Credit Cards In Canada

There is no one “best credit card in Canada,” but rather a lot of credit cards that are best for different people, depending on their spending habits. Someone that doesn’t own a car won’t get as much value out of the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite, which gives 3% back on gas. That’s why it’s important to compare credit cards in Canada to find the one (or few) that fit your spending the best.

Even if two people have the same spending habits, they may both have different best Canadian credit cards because of how they want their rewards. Travel rewards cards are very popular, but some people prefer the simplicity and flexibility of cash back. Therefore, the best rewards card in Canada may not actually be the best credit card for someone, even if they would get a lot of points.

We studied all of the credit cards in Canada (over 180!) to find the best, which we’re showing you here. They’re broken down into a few different categories:

  • Best Canadian credit card
  • Best rewards credit card
  • Best cash back credit card
  • Best rewards credit card (no fee)
  • Best cash back credit card (no fee)
  • Best low interest credit card
  • Best bad credit credit card

We made a few assumptions on spending habits for demonstration purposes, so even though we do stand by these recommendations, you might learn that the best credit card here isn’t actually the best one for you. Be sure to compare credit cards online before applying for any credit card to make sure it fits your spending.

 

Best Canadian credit card

There are a lot of cards that are very good, but there isn’t one that I would say is head-and-shoulders above the rest for every person in Canada. Generally, anyone that tries to tell you that any card is the best Canadian credit card is trying to sell you that card.

 

Best Rewards Credit Card

Scotiabank Gold American Express

 

This recommendation comes with a caveat. This actually isn’t the best rewards credit card in Canada yet. As of writing, the best rewards credit card is actually the American Express Cobalt. Let me explain why.

There are changes coming the Scotiabank Gold Amex in August 2019 that are turning it into the best rewards credit card – but that’s in August. For now, it’s a mid-range card that’s still pretty good but not the best.

A couple reasons for the change are the boost in rewards earning, the removal of the foreign transaction fee, and the flexibility of Scotia points.

First – the changes to rewards.

The Gold Amex is boosting 3 categories to 5 points per dollar: groceries, dining, and entertainment.

The entertainment category is fairly lackluster in my opinion, as entertainment spending doesn’t make up a large portion of the typical person’s budget. To clarify, by entertainment I mean what the credit card companies qualify as entertainment. Things like movie theatres, sports events, amusement parks, and the zoo all fall under the entertainment category, but things like buying a book or movie on DVD, renting a bicycle or leisure vehicle, or going clothes shopping are NOT considered entertainment by credit card companies. Because entertainment is so strangely specific, it’s hard to work into your daily life. On the other hand, it’s really good for travelers, since it includes basically every tourist attraction counts as entertainment.

Groceries is an excellent rewards category, as everyone needs to eat. Coupled with restaurants, where Canadians have been spending more and more every year, and you have a winning combination! (Even though I might personally consider restaurants as “entertainment”)

Unfortunately, gas is being bumped down 25% to just 3 points per dollar from 4. This is an all-around bad change if you ever buy gas, but has a small silver lining. Since rewards are determined by the merchant and not the item you’re buying, you can actually now earn 5 points per dollar on gas so long as you buy gas gift cards from grocery stores. Finally, they’re adding streaming services like Netflix as a bonus category. This is completely underwhelming, as the typical Netflix subscription will earn you about $6 over the course of a year, but I’m not going to complain about a free $6.

Second – the removal of the foreign exchange fee.

I hate this thing. It’s the reason that nearly everything you buy in a foreign country or from an American, European, or Asian website is 2.5% more expensive. You’re charged an additional 2.5% on any foreign transaction (including online transactions done from within Canada) on most credit cards. It comes down to greed from the banks, and it’s super frustrating since there are only a handful of cards that let you circumvent this charge.

Unless you were already using one of the few credit cards with no foreign transaction fee, you’ll immediately see a savings of 2.5% on anything purchased in USD, euros, or any other currency. That can often be better than cash back!

Third – the flexibility of Scotia points.

It’s nice to have a rewards program that is both easy to use and has transparent value.

1 Scotia point = 1 cent, in basically every case. You can book travel wherever you want, pay using your Scotia card, then pay off your balance with points without having to use some asinine system like expediafortd.com or calling the CIBC travel concierge.

But until August, I’ll stick with my Cobalt.

 

Best Cash Back Credit Card

visa

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite

This card is also having some changes in August 2019, but that actually doesn’t affect our recommendation at all. Overall, the changes are fairly neutral – some are slightly improved and some are slightly worsened. For this recommendation, we’ll talk about the card as if these changes were already live.

The biggest changes

The first thing that’s changing is the bonus cashback categories. As of August 2019, they’ll be:

Category

Bonus Cashback

Groceries & Recurring Bills

4%

Gas & Transit

2%

Everything Else

1%

You’ll earn a little more on recurring bills and a little less on gas. However, just like with the Scotiabank Gold Amex, there’s an easy way to keep your 4% back on gas purchases. When you purchase gas gift cards at grocery stations, they’re counted as a grocery purchase, giving you the full 4%.

The 2% back on transit is also a boost, up from 1% (previously it was coded as “other”). It counts for things like Lyft and Uber, as well as public transit tickets in cities/countries where you can pay by card.

Funnily enough, reloading a Presto card counts as a recurring bill, despite not needing to have the same amount or even a set schedule, netting you 4% back if you live in Presto service areas.

Other changes

The Momentum is also getting a mobile device insurance plan, which isn’t too unique nowadays but can be useful. With how expensive phones are these days, it can cost hundreds of dollars to repair a cracked screen or even up to a thousand dollars to replace a stolen one. Yes, it also covers lost or stolen phones. As long as you charge the full cost of the phone to the card, or pay the monthly bill using your card, you’ll be covered. With the 4% back for recurring bills like your phone plan, that’s a huge bonus!

The travel insurance offering is receiving a boost, too, with trip cancellation up to $1,500 being added. For once, something being added doesn’t mean that the rest of the insurance suffers – no other changes to insurance are being made.

However, one negative that is happening is the annual fee is increasing to $120. This brings it in line with other premium cards from banks like TD, but it is annoying. In order to offset the increased annual fee, you’d have to spend an additional:

$750 per year in groceries and recurring bills

$1,500 per year in gas and transit

$3,000 per year on everything else

$30 per year isn’t a gigantic increase, but it does cut your rewards.

Best Rewards Card (No Fee)

Capital One Aspire Travel Platinum Mastercard  

Highlights:

  • Flexible rewards – buy travel anywhere and pay it off with points
  • $1 spent anywhere = 1 point
  • Basic travel insurance
  • Signup bonus of 10,000 points if you spend $500 in the first 3 months

It’s hard to find a no-fee travel rewards card that actually gets you a usable amount of rewards. This is because the earning potential on no-fee cards is low across the board, with some cards earning as little as the equivalent of $100 per year on spending of $1,500 per month!

However, the Capital One Aspire Travel Platinum Mastercard earns almost double that! It’s still not as good as the Scotiabank Gold Amex, but for a card that doesn’t have an annual fee or income requirement, you can’t do better.

With a simple rewards structure of $1 spent on anything = 1 point with no earnings caps, it’s easy to figure out how much you could earn. 1 point is worth $0.01, so just multiply all your spending by 0.01. It’s very similar to how the Scotia rewards program works, where you simply buy travel wherever you want and then can pay it off with points once it’s on your statement, making these points extremely flexible.

Plus, it comes with a basic amount of travel insurance. You get up to $250,000 in coverage for travel accidents, car rental collision coverage, and even baggage delay insurance (up to $300 over 3 days). Not bad for a free card!

 

Best Cashback Card (No Fee)

rogers

Roger’s World Elite Mastercard

Highlights:

  • 4% cashback on foreign currency transactions
  • 75% cashback on everything
  • Excellent travel insurance

There is no competition here. The Rogers World Elite Mastercard is not only the best no-fee cashback card in Canada, it may even be the best Mastercard in Canada – period.

Most people don’t like to deal with multiple credit cards, trying to find the best one for each type of transaction. While you can cover pretty much all of your bases with 2 or 3 credit cards, unless your spending is very high it’s not likely to actually have a tangible effect on your life. Usually you want to avoid having multiple premium credit cards since you would have to spend oodles just to break even because of the annual fee, leaving you with poor no-fee rewards options.

With the Rogers World Elite, you earn 1.75% back everything. That comes very close to the 2% cashback you see for many categories, and it blows 1% out of the water.

If you only want one card, this puts the average cashback for this card at an easy to understand 1.75% - it’s the same for anything you purchase. For most cards, the average cashback you can earn is lower than the maximum cashback of any one category. Look at the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite, for example. Although you earn 4% back in groceries and recurring bills, if you put all your spending on that card (we’ll estimate an annual spend of $20,000), your average cashback would be around 2.1%. If you take your annual fee into account, the average cashback for the Momentum is just 1.5% - lower than the no-fee Rogers card!

Plus, you get access to some of the best travel insurance for a free card in Canada. You get emergency medical, trip cancellation/interruption, delay protection, and rental car collision coverage. Having all of that coverage is rare enough on a cashback card, let alone a no-fee credit card.

So what’s the catch to this amazing card? Unfortunately, it’s a big one. In order to qualify, you have to have an individual income of $80,000 or household income of $150,000. You have to have an individual income higher than the median household income to qualify, which closes it off for most people. Which is a shame – I’d love to see more people get access to a card this good.

Best Low Interest Credit Card

American Express Essential

Highlights

  • Lowest regular interest rate in Canada
  • That’s about it

I don’t recommend getting a credit card with the intention of carrying a balance. It’s often one of the most expensive ways to get access to money, behind payday loans. But sometimes you need to carry a balance in an emergency, or if you’re unable to build a good emergency fund because of high bills and low income.

In that case, the American Express Essential card is the best low interest credit card in Canada. It has no benefits, unless you count getting “American Express Invites” emails (excuses to spend more money) but it has the lowest non-promotional interest rate of any credit card in Canada.

There’s not too much to say about this card. If you need low-interest access to credit, get this card. Otherwise, you should stick to one of the other best credit cards in Canada.

 

Best Bad Credit Credit Card

refresh

Refresh Financial Secured Visa

Highlights:

  • Approval without a credit check
  • Annual fee of just $12.95
  • Free financial education

If you’re having trouble getting approved for a credit card because of bad credit or even no credit history, then you should stop thinking about getting the best credit cards in Canada and instead focus on building up your credit history so that you can get those cards in the future.

The reason Refresh Financial has such a good card is for a few reasons.

First – no credit check

You can get approved for a Refresh Financial credit card with no credit check. That means even if you have a score of 300, or no score at all, you will always be approved for a Refresh card. With approval so easy, you can start building or rebuilding your credit right away.

Second – super low annual fee

The annual fee for the Refresh Financial Secured Visa is just $12.95. For guaranteed approval, that’s a pretty low price to pay.

Third – Free financial education

Refresh Financial doesn’t want you to be a customer forever. Instead, they want you to build your credit and move on to better products. They offer a financial education course so that you understand how to make better decisions in the future, and hopefully avoid coming back once your credit is high.

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