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Best No-Fee Cashback Credit Cards for 2019

Almost half of all Canadians have at least one annual fee credit card. That means that the other half don’t have one, preferring a no-fee credit card.

With such an even split between Canadians, which side is right? Is it better to pay an annual fee to get better rewards and benefits, or is it better to skip the annual fee and save a hundred dollars or more per year?

Without further ado, here are the best no-fee cashback credit cards for 2019. You can read more about why these are the best below.


Card Name

Cashback Percentage

Roger's World Elite Mastercard

1.75% back on all purchases

4% cashback on foreign currency purchases

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

2% back on up to 3 categories of your choice
0.5% back on everything else

American Express SimplyCash

Roger's Platinum Mastercard

Fido Mastercard

1.25% back on everything
3% back on foreign currency purchases (not Amex)


Roger's World Elite Mastercard

Why is this card #1? Because of its impressively high 1.75% cashback on all purchases. While some cards, such as #2 in our list, have higher categories for some categories, the ability to get 1.75% back on everything without having to think about it is pretty amazing.

Not to mention, the 1.75% is substantially higher than the 0.5% or 1% other no-fee cards offer in their “other” spending category.

This card is even better for using at Costco than the Costco card, because the Costco card only gives 0.5% back in its own store, instead of the 1.75% this one offers.

The 4% back on foreign currency purchases is also an interesting draw. Instead of doing away with the foreign currency transaction fee, it just compensates you for it. While this may seem effectively the same thing, it’s not quite as good as not having the fee at all. If you got a refund for an item purchased in a foreign currency, you’d lose the cashback which means you’d actually be paying (albeit a small amount) to return it!

There are some changes coming this year that allow you to redeem your cashback at any time (over $25) totally online, instead of having to call in before December every year and ask for a statement credit.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Tangerine’s main draw is the fact that you can choose up to 3 bonus categories. Because you can choose them, this card has some serious flexibility, and makes a great companion card for any other no-fee cashback card – or even cards with an annual fee.

The categories are also some you don’t see on many, if any, other credit cards:

As an added benefit, opening a Tangerine savings account (which is already pretty good) lets you get your rewards deposited automatically into it every month. It also increases your categories from 2 to 3.

Three-way Tie

All these cards offer the same 1.25% cashback on all purchases. American Express is often seen as not accepted in many places, but that’s not true anymore. You won’t be able to use your Amex in smaller stores or family-run businesses, but every major retailer, restaurant, and even government offices accept Amex as payment.

The Roger’s and Fido cards also offer 3% back on foreign currency purchases, which works out to 0.5% back after you factor in the 2.5% conversion fee.


What is a no-fee credit card?

A no-fee credit card is just any credit card that doesn’t charge you an annual fee. It could be a rewards, low interest, balance transfer, or a credit builder card.

Nearly every no-fee credit card will have an annual fee alternative, often with a similar name. For example, Scotiabank has 3 credit cards that share the name “Momentum Visa” with different rewards.

Credit Card

Annual Fee


Annual Rewards Value*

Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa Card


Gas: 1%
Grocery: 1%
Pharmacy: 1%
Bills: 1%
Other: 0.5%


Scotia Momentum® Visa Card


Gas: 2%
Grocery: 2%
Pharmacy: 2%
Bills: 2%
Other: 1%


Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite Card


Gas: 4%
Grocery: 4%
Pharmacy: 2%
Bills: 2%
Other: 1%



*The rewards are calculated after subtracting the annual fee and with the following monthly spending in mind:











Recurring bill payments









At this level of spending, it makes sense to go with the Momentum Visa Infinite card, as it gives you the most value per year, even after subtracting the annual fee. The Visa Infinite gives more than double the cashback!

At lower levels of spending, it is actually better to go with the lower or no-fee alternatives, as you aren’t able to make up the cost of the fee.

If we took that earlier spending and cut it in half, here’s what the annual rewards would look like after subtracting the fee:

Credit Card

Annual Rewards

Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa Card


Scotia Momentum® Visa Card


Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite Card



Instead of a $165 difference, there’s now only a $33 difference between the no-fee version and the premium card.

Finally, if we cut the spending by 2/3rds, these are the rewards you’d earn:

Credit Card

Annual Rewards

Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa Card


Scotia Momentum® Visa Card


Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite Card



There’s just a $1 difference between the no-fee and low-fee versions, and the premium card actually earns you the least!


Other Benefits

A better rewards program isn’t the only benefit of a card with an annual fee. They all have better insurance policies, and may come with perks for travelers if it’s a travel card, or other perks if it’s a cashback card.

A feature that’s common for premium travel cards is access to airport lounges. In most cases, the annual fee for the credit card is cheaper than paying for lounge access individually.

Some cashback cards even come with roadside assistance programs in addition to giving you bonus cashback for gas purchases.

It can be hard to put an exact number on the value of these extra benefits because your individual use of each of them will vary. Getting 6 free airport lounge passes a year is a great perk, but if you only travel once per year then the rest are wasted. When comparing credit cards, keep the benefits in mind and see if they match your lifestyle.


Common Travel Rewards Card Benefits

·        Insurance

o   Travel Emergency Medical

o   Travel Cancellation/Interruption

o   Flight Delay

o   Lost/Delayed Baggage

o   Rental Car Loss/Damage

o   Hotel/Motel Burglary

o   Travel Accident

·        Airport lounge access

·        Concierge service

·        Complimentary checked bag

·        Priority check-in

·        Rental car discounts


Common Cashback Rewards Card Benefits

·        Roadside assistance

·        Free hotel Wi-Fi

·        Hotel discounts

·        Concierge service

·        Travel insurance

o   Travel Emergency Medical

o   Lost/Delayed Baggage

o   Rental Car Loss/Damage

o   Hotel/Motel Burglary

o   Travel Accident


Ali Zaidi UW Ali Zaidi UW 01/26/2019
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