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A cash back credit card is a rewards credit card that lets you earn a small percentage of your spending back in cash. The amount you’ll earn back varies from card to card, with the best cash back credit card in Canada allowing you to earn a bundle back on your everyday purchases.

The best cash back cards are a good option for anyone who wants to earn the maximum possible rewards for their spending but isn’t interested in earning points for free flights or other rewards.

With the best cash back credit card, you can redeem your cash reward as either a deposit into your chequing account or a credit on your statement. It’s that easy – just more money in your pocket.

Overview of Best Cash Back Credit Cards for 2020

Credit CardBest ForMore Info
CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa* CardGas & Grocery PurchasesRead On
TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* CardEasy RedemptionRead On
BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*Shopping PurchasesRead On
Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* cardGrocery & Recurring BillsRead On
BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®*No Annual Fee & Welcome BonusRead On
Tangerine Money-Back Credit CardFlexibilityRead On
SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American ExpressGenerous base earn rateRead On
BMO CashBack® Business Mastercard®*For BusinessesRead On

How Much Cash Back Will I Earn?

It depends on the credit card. Some credit cards have a cap of the total amount that you can earn, but others (like the Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard) have no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn on your everyday purchases.

The dollar value of the cash back you’ll earn can vary dramatically depending on your unique spending habits and the rewards scheme of the credit card.

Most cash back credit cards reward you differently depending on how your purchase is categorized. For example, a cash back credit card may pay 4% cash back on grocery spending, but only 1% cash back on gas.

For this reason, it’s important to analyze your spending habits and choose a credit card that is right for you. For example, if you have a long commute and you spend $1,000 per month on gas and groceries, choose a credit card that rewards that spending.

If you choose wisely, charge your everyday purchases to your credit card and pay off your balance every month. It’s a simple but savvy strategy that allows you to easily earn hundreds of dollars per year in cash back rewards.

Best Cash Back Card for Gas & Grocery Purchases

Canadian households spend on average $2,000 annually to gas up their vehicles. If you use your vehicle frequently, get a credit card that’ll give you some hefty cash back on your fuel purchases.

Winner: CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa* Card

Apply Now

If you’re headed to the pump or eligible grocery store, make sure the CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa* Card is tucked into your wallet. This card offers a generous 4% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases, as well as 2% cash back on Tim Hortons and TELUS purchases and 1% cash back on everything else. Plus, there’s no limit on the total cash back you can earn.

Even better, the welcome offer is particularly enticing: new cardholders get a first year annual fee rebate and 10% cash back  for the first 4 statements on total purchases of up to $2,000. That’s a value of almost $300!  This card also comes with car rental insurance, travel accident insurance, and shopping protection.

The Details:

  • Annual Fee: $99 (first-year annual fee rebate)
  • Annual Interest on Purchases: 19.99% | Annual Interest on Cash Advances: 22.99%
  • Income Eligibility: $15,000 household
  • Credit Score Required: Good
  • Welcome Offer: Get a first-year annual fee rebate and 10% cash back on the first 4 statements (up to $2,000 in total purchases)
  • Additional Benefits: Earn cash back on every dollar you spend, includes insurance coverage and shopping protection

Learn more about the CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa* Card.

Conditions apply

Insurance coverage(s) included with CIBC credit cards are underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. You may contact the insurer at 1 866 363-3338 in Canada and the U.S or collect from elsewhere at 905 403-3338 or visit cibccentre.rsagroup.ca. Some insurance coverage(s) require purchase(s), common carrier fares, accommodations and other trip costs to be charged to the card to activate coverage. Other conditions may apply. For important information regarding coverage, eligibility requirements, benefits, pre-existing health/medical conditions, limitations and exclusions, see cibc.com/ca/credit-card/agreements-insurance.html and the insurance certificate(s) in your card package.


Best Cash Back Card For Easy Redemption

If you can’t cash out easily, what’s the point of having a cash back credit card? When choosing a winner, we looked for a card that balanced a great cash back rewards rate with a simple redemption process that included regular payouts.

Winner: TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card

Apply Now

If you’re looking to maximize the payout for gas, groceries, and regular bills, the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card is a great option.

It offers 3% in Cash Back Dollars on eligible grocery and gas purchases and on regularly recurring bill payments set up on your account. For everything else, you get 1% cash back. What’s also great is that there’s no expiry on Cash Back Dollars.

As a sign-up bonus, there’s a limited-time welcome offer of 10% on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to a total spend of $2,000), and you get a first year full annual fee rebate for the primary and first additional card holder on the steep $120 annual fee. Conditions apply, and you must apply by December 6, 2020 to take advantage of this fantastic limited-time offer.

A big perk of this credit card is that you don’t have to wait for a yearly or monthly statement to redeem your earnings. Instead, you can redeem your Cash Back Dollars at any time, applying a credit to your card’s balance whenever you like. You’re the boss!

The Details:

  • Annual Fee: $120 (Annual fee rebate for first year, conditions apply. Must apply by December 6, 2020)
  • Minimum Income Eligibility: $60,000 personal or $100,000 household income
  • Credit Score Required: Good to Excellent
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 10% in Cash Back Dollars on all purchases for the first 3 months up to a total spend of $2,000 (Conditions apply. Must apply by December 6, 2020.)
  • Additional Benefits: Earn up to 3% cash back on eligible everyday purchases; includes travel insurance and Emergency Road Services with the Deluxe TD Auto Club Membership
  • Interest on Purchases: 20.99%| Interest on Cash Advances: 22.99%

Learn more about the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card.

*This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.


Best Cash Back Card for Shopping Purchases

For everyday purchases, you’ll want a card with an excellent overall cash back earn rate. Whether you’re stocking up on household supplies at Costco or making online purchases at The Bay, one card stands out for giving a decent amount of cash back on whatever you’re buying.

Winner: The BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*

Apply Now

With the BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*, you can earn 1.5% cash back on all card purchases* – with no caps or category limits. Plus, this card comes with a phenomenal promo right now: new cardholders get up to 10% cash back in the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases) and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year*. That’s up to $200 that you can put towards your next splurge.

Even better, redemption is easy: cash back rewards can be deposited into your BMO chequing or savings account, applied as a statement credit, or deposited into your BMO InvestorLine account. You get to choose!

The Details:

  • Annual Fee: $120 (first-year annual fee rebate)
  • Minimum Income Eligibility: $80,000 individual or $150,000 household
  • Credit Score Required: Excellent
  • Additional Benefits: Travel insurance, complimentary membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey*, shopping protection
  • Interest on Purchases: 19.99% | Interest on Cash Advances: 22.99%

Learn more about the BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*


Best Cash Back Card For Grocery Spending

The average family of four in Canada spending roughly $12,157 per year on food expenditures — that’s a heck of a lot. Why not put the cost to work for you and earn points on your grocery purchases? Look for a credit card that offers a high points-earning potential for grocery spends,

Winner: Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

Apply Now

The Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card has one of the most generous cash back programs available in Canada and is ideal for anyone who spends significant amounts of money on groceries. With this card, you’ll earn a whopping 4% for every $1 you spend on grocery store purchases and recurring bill payments.

Plus, there’s no annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards. The Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card also offers mobile device and comprehensive travel insurance — big perks that make this card worth considering.

The Details:

  • Annual Fee: $120 (First-year annual fee waived)
  • Minimum Income Eligibility: $60,000 personal or $100,000 household income
  • Credit Score Required: Excellent
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases)
  • Earn Rate: 4% cash back on recurring bills and grocery purchases, 2% on gas and transit purchases, and 1% on everything else.
  • Additional Benefits: Comprehensive travel insurance, mobile device insurance coverage, luxury hotel privileges, complimentary concierge services 24/7
  • Interest on Purchases: 20.99% | Interest on Cash Advances: 22.99%

Learn more about the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card.


Best Cash Back Card with No Annual Fee and a Welcome Bonus

Finding a cash back credit card that offers both a generous welcome bonus and no annual fee is a rarity indeed. But we scoured the market and found one that’s a clear winner.

Winner: BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®*

Apply Now

If you’re looking for a no-fee card with a hefty welcome bonus, the BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®* may be for you. It offers a generous sign-up bonus of 5% cash back in your first 3 months on all purchases.

Plus, you can redeem the cash any way you want: deposit it into your BMO chequing or savings accounts, put it into your Investorline account, or apply the credit to your monthly statement.

After the promo period ends, you’ll get 3% cash back on grocery purchases, 1% cash back on recurring bill payments and 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases!* If you’re making big purchases on this card, the pay off is plenty.

Other perks include up to 25% off rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations, purchase protection and extended warranty on most items bought with your card, and a 1.99% introductory interest rate on Balance Transfers for 9 months (with a 1% transfer fee). Did we mention that there is no annual fee for this credit card?

The Details:

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Income Eligibility: $15,000
  • Credit Score Required: Good to Excellent
  • Welcome Offer: 5% cash back bonus for first 3 months on all purchases and 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months (with a 1% transfer fee)
  • Additional Benefits: Up to 25% off rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations, purchase protection and extended warranty
  • Interest on Purchases: 19.99% | Interest on Cash Advances: 22.99%

Learn more about the BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®*.


Best Cash Back Card For Flexibility

The last thing you want in a cash back credit card is one that comes with a lot of rigid rules and restrictions. There’s value to getting a card tailored to your unique spending habits, but also allows you to change up the rewards scheme whenever necessary.

The best cash back credit cards will also have flexibility when it comes to redemption and will make the payout process easy.

Winner: Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Apply Now

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is a winner for its flexibility and simplicity.

There’s no annual fee or no complicated rules or limits: cash back rewards are earned automatically and paid monthly either to your credit card balance or redeemed into your savings account.

Here’s how it works: choose two money-back categories to earn 2% cashback, plus get a third 2% category when you have your Money-Back Rewards deposited into your Tangerine Savings Account. For all other purchases charged to your card, you’ll earn 0.5% cash back. Also awesome: there’s no limit on the amount of Money-Back Rewards you can earn on your everyday purchases (conditions apply).

The Details:

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Minimum Income Eligibility: $12,000
  • Credit Score Required: Good to Excellent
  • Additional Benefits: Automatic, monthly reimbursement to your credit card balance or savings account; unlimited cash back
  • Interest on Purchases: 19.95% | Interest on Cash Advances: 19.95%

Learn more about the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card


Best Cash Back Card With Generous Base Earn Rate

A cash back credit card with a hefty base earn rate is good to have in your wallet. That way, if you hit the card’s cap or you’re buying something that doesn’t fall into a cash back category (like groceries and gas), you can still get a decent return on your spending.

Winner: SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express

Apply Now

With the SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express, you earn 2% cash back on all card purchases, with no limit to how much you can earn. So if you charge $2,000/month onto this card, it would fetch you $400 in cash back annually. Add in the welcome offer of 10% cash back on all eligible card purchases for the first 4 months of card membership (up to $400 cash back), and you’re really getting a return on your spending.

You can also cash in on the American Express Refer-A-Friend program. For every approved referral, you could earn a bonus of $100 that will be added to your cash back balance, up to a maximum of $1,500 cash back.

This card also comes with travel insurance, shopping coverage (e.g. purchase protection) and exclusive American Express Invites®. Overall, the $99 annual fee offers excellent value when you consider all the included perks.

The Details:

  • Annual Fee: $99
  • Minimum Income Eligibility: N/A
  • Credit Score Required: Good to Excellent
  • Welcome Offer: 10% cash back on purchases for the first 4 months (up to $400 in cash back)
  • Additional Perks: Travel insurance, shopping coverage, exclusive entertainment access
  • Purchase APR: 19.99% | Cash Advance APR21.99%

Learn more about the SimplyCash Preferred™ Card from American Express.


Best Cash Back Card for Businesses

If you’re using your credit card for business expenses, why not reap the reward of cash back on your spending? Looking at what’s available, we found a winner that has no annual fee and an excellent cash back rate.

Winner: BMO CashBack® Business Mastercard®*

Apply Now

The BMO CashBack® Business Mastercard®* is an excellent business credit card that allows you to earn cash back on every dollar that you spend. Specifically, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on eligible gas station, office supplies purchases, and on recurring cell phone/internet billings charged to the card, as well as 1.75% cash back at participating Shell locations. Everything else charged to the card earns 0.75% in cash back. As a welcome bonus, new cardholders also earn 6% cash back on gas, office supplies and cell phone/internet bills for the first 4 months. This card also has no annual fee, so why wouldn’t you add it to your wallet?

The Details:

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Income Eligibility: N/A
  • Credit Score Required: N/A
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 6% cash back on gas, office supplies, and cell phone/internet bills for the first 4 months.
  • Additional Benefits: Earn cash back on every dollar you spend, purchase protection and extended warranty
  • Interest on Purchases: 19.99% | Interest on Cash Advances: 22.99%
Learn more about BMO CashBack® Business Mastercard®*.

Best Cash Back Credit Card 2020 by Annual Earning

Credit Card ReviewCash Back EarningsEstimated Cash Back in First Year* Annual Fee 
CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa* Card10% cash back on the first 4 statements for total purchases of up to $2,000 (conditions apply)$654$99 (first year annual fee rebate - conditions apply)*Visit Site
Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard Review2% Money-Back Rewards on purchases in up to 3 spending categories of your choice; 0.5% on everything else$646$0Visit Site
Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* card Review4% cash back on groceries & recurring bills, 2% cash back on gas and daily transit, 1% on everything else
+
Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for first three months (up to $2000 in total purchases).
$618$120 (First-year annual fee rebate)Visit Site
SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express2% unlimited cash back on all card purchases$561$99Visit Site
BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*Up to 10% cash back in the first 3 months$529$120 (First year annual fee rebate)Visit Site
BMO CashBack® Business Mastercard®*Up to 1.5% cash back on card purchases
+ Earn 6% cash back on gas, office supplies, and cell phone/internet bills for first 4 months.
$357$0Visit Site
BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®*Promo: 5% cash back in your first 3 months
+
3% cash back on grocery purchases, 1% cash back on recurring bill payments and 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases!*
$348$0Visit Site
TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* CardLimited-time promo: 10% on all purchases for the first 3 months up to a total spend of $2000 (Conditions apply. Must apply by September 8, 2020.)
3% in Cash Back Dollars on eligible gas, grocery, and recurring bill payments, 1% on everything else
$189$120 (Waived for first year. Conditions apply. Must apply by September 8, 2020.)Visit Site
*Estimated annual rewards calculation is based on average household food expenditure of $12,000 annually, $1,800 annually on gas, and $10,200 annually on miscellaneous card purchases. Calculation includes first-year welcome offer. Actual cash back depends on monthly card expenditures and spending categories.

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card: *This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.

How Do Cash Back Credit Cards Work?

It’s a pretty simple concept: for every purchase that you charge onto your credit card, you get a little kickback in cash — usually between 1% to 4% on every dollar that you spend. So if you have The Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card and spend $12,000 on groceries per year, you’ll get a whopping 4% cash back, which works out to that’s $480 annually or $40 a month.

It really demonstrates how that amount can really add up over time and put more money back into your pocket.

How to Maximize Your Cash Back?

Analyze your spending patterns. What are your biggest bills? If it’s groceries and gas, pick a credit card like the CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa* Card that rewards that spending.

If you’re undertaking a major home renovation, sign up for the BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®* and take advantage of the generous welcome bonus of 5% cash back for 3 months. For a $15,000 renovation, that would net you $750, and you don’t even have to pay an annual fee! It’s all about being strategic in your spending, and it’s why having more than one credit card is a good idea.

When Do I Get My Cashback?

It depends on the credit card. For instance, for the Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard, cash back is earned automatically on everyday purchases and paid monthly.

For other cards, you may have to wait until the end of the year to get your rebate. The cash back is usually applied to your credit card statement, or in some cases, redeemed into your chequing or savings account.

Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Cash Back Credit Card?

To find the best cash back credit card in Canada, you’ll have to think about what’s important to you and compare the perks offered by each. Are you seeking cash for free groceries? Or would you rather have the flexibility of spending cold hard cash however you please? Regardless of which one you choose, cash back credit cards are an excellent way to capitalize on everyday purchases (like gas and groceries) that actually add up to big-ticket items over time.

By using a credit card like the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card to earn 4% cash back on these purchases, you’ll be able to save and earn hundreds of dollars per year. Or if you’re a millennial just starting out, the Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard is also an excellent choice, especially with its no annual fee and low annual income requirement.

Unlike travel rewards credit cards, which let you redeem points that are subject to restrictions and blackout periods, a cash back credit card is the simplest, most direct way to capitalize on your everyday spending. If you are still undecided, check out our list of the best credit cards in Canada.

The Best Credit Cards by Category:

This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.

Article comments

7 comments
Tudor says:

Your calculator is wrong, I put, as an example $30680 as the Other category and got $3452 as the following year amount and $3602 as the 1st year reward for the Amex Preferred Cash Back. Those amounts are impossible as the only difference for the first year is up to $300 for the first 6 months which is 5% cashback compared to the usual 2%. 2% of $30680 is $460.20. Where do you come up with the inflated $3452? It means the #s for the rest of the cards are wrong. Are you trying to push these cards with inflated cashback amounts? This is ridiculous and makes your site not credible.

Lisa Jackson says:

Hi Tudor,

Thanks for flagging this! The calculator was indeed malfunctioning and we are fixing it ASAP.

Shane says:

Hello team,

I am a fan of your website for its articles and content. I am writing you to request/suggest an article to help me (and other Canadians) with an annoying problem.

There is a spot in my wallet reserved for an ‘everything else’ credit card. This is for when I am making a purchase that doesn’t fall under any of the categories that give me extra value (Cashback or points) with my other credit cards (gas stations, restaurants, etc…). All of my credit cards give between 0.5-1% back on purchases made outside of the featured category. This is fairly standard across the board from what I can tell.

Until recently, my go to card was the Rogers Platinum MasterCard (although the Fido Mastercard was just as good).

This card has a few perks. It has no annual fee, which is essential for cash conscious consumers that don’t make tons of money like me. It is fairly easy to get, not requiring a massive income or a perfect credit score. It was great for foreign currency purchases outside of Canada or online by giving 3% (minus 2.5% in fees) to equal a net of 0.5% cashback. (This has been changed to USD only, so now I need to find a new card to fill the foreign currency spot if I ever go somewhere besides the USA-there’s a second article suggestion?). Best of all: it gave a flat 1.25% Cashback on all CAD purchases. I might get 4% at restaurants with the Simplii Visa or 2% at gas stations with the Costco Capital One, but if I’m at a furniture store or my chiropractor or a candy store or something like that then the 1.25% was the best I could get. In fact: anywhere I was in doubt I would use the Rogers card because I knew I was getting that extra 25 basis points over the 1% or less from my other cards if I misjudged the mcc code.

The problem is that Rogers lowered the Cashback to 1%. While that’s not bad, it no longer stands out at all. The Walmart and the PC mastercard both give 1% everywhere else with increased value in store. Unless I’m traveling to the states, there is no reason to give a valuable wallet pocket to a credit card that gives a 1% everywhere instead of a card that gives more than 1% in some places and 1% everywhere else.

What is the new best card for ‘everywhere else’ Cashback earning that doesn’t have an annual fee? I know there is an Amex card that does that, but Amex is not accepted everywhere like Visa or MC.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to seeing what you guys come up with!

Lisa Jackson says:

Hi Shane,

Good question! I would suggest checking out our article on the Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards:

https://youngandthrifty.ca/best-no-fee-credit-cards-canada/

Tangerine World Mastercard gives 2% back on up to three categories. There’s also the BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®* (up to 3% cash back) and CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card (up to 2% cash back). It makes sense to have more than one cash back credit card in your wallet. That way, if you hit the limits on these cards, you can always grab the next one and get an excellent cash back rate — and without paying an annual fee.

I hope this helps!

Kyla says:

There used to be a couple Canadian credit cards that waived the international transaction fee (like the old Amazon Mastercard). Do any exist today?

Lisa Jackson says:

Hi Kyla,

Yes, there are! Check out our article on the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards in Canada: https://youngandthrifty.ca/best-no-foreign-transaction-fee-credit-card/

C Baron says:

There is an unadvertised benefit of the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card which applies to existing customers with the Scotia Total Equity plan. The annual fee is half price, which is worth $70 of the $139 annual fee. Speaking from experience, if you are a joint mortgage holder, you must attend a bank in person to complete your credit card application, verify your identities, and complete all the paperwork. Online applications will not let you take advantage of this discount.
As of June 2020, this benefit is not advertised on Scotiabank’s website.