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Shopping for the right credit card doesn’t have to be a chore. From cash back cards to travel rewards cards to low-interest cards, we’ve done extensive research, compared the Canadian credit card market, and hand-selected our top choices for the best credit cards in Canada.

What Canadian Credit Card Is Best For You in 2020?

Credit CardBest ForMore Info
CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card
Best Cash Back Credit CardRead On
Tangerine World Mastercard®Best No Annual Fee Credit Card Read On
MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit cardBest Low Interest Rate Credit CardRead On
Refresh Financial Secured CardBest For Improving Credit ScoreRead On
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card Best Aeroplan CardRead On
CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for StudentsBest Student Credit CardRead On
Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® cardBest No Foreign Transaction Fee CardRead On
TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* CardBest For Gas RewardsRead On
Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* cardBest For Grocery RewardsRead On
The American Express Cobalt™ CardBest For Dining Out RewardsRead On

Best Credit Card for Cash Back: CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card

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For cash back on everyday purchases, look no further than the CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card. 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 includes a suite of insurance coverage (including travel medical) and access to the exclusive luxury hotel and travel benefits offered through the Visa Infinite program.

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: $60,000 individual or $100,000 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 travel insurance, access to Visa Infinite benefits

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


Best Credit Card With No Annual Fee: Tangerine World Mastercard®

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Considering it’s a no annual fee credit card, the Tangerine World Mastercard® sure has a lot to offer cardholders. For one, you can earn up to 2% unlimited cash back on everyday purchases, which is excellent by itself. How it works: select two of Tangerine’s money-back categories in which to earn 2% cash back. After choosing, you’ll earn 2% cash back on everything charged onto your card that falls into these categories. All purchases made outside of your chosen categories will earn 0.5% cash back.

Your cash back rewards are also paid out monthly – a big bonus considering you have to wait for an annual payout with other credit cards. Your money back rewards are automatically deposited into the account of your choice every month, or can be credited back onto your credit card statement. If you choose to deposit your rewards into a Tangerine Savings account, you’ll get a third 2% cash back category, allowing you to earn even more!

In addition to earning cash back, the Tangerine World Mastercard® cardholders also get a suite of complimentary benefits, such as shopping protection, rental car loss/damage insurance, new mobile device insurance, and a complimentary membership to the Mastercard® Airport Experiences Provided by LoungeKey at $32 USD per visit.

The only downside is the minimum income eligibility requirement for this card is a bit steep for some: you must earn $60,000 per year as an individual or $100,000 per year as a household, or have a total balance of $250,000 or more in Tangerine Savings Account(s) and/or Investment Fund Account(s). If this is too high, take a look at the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card instead. It offers the same great rewards and no annual fee, but only requires an annual income of $12,000 to qualify.

The Details:

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Minimum Income Eligibility: $60,000 individual or $100,000 household per year OR total balances of $250,000 or more in Tangerine Savings Account(s) and/or Investment Fund Account(s)
  • Credit Score Required: Good to Excellent
  • Rewards: 2% cash back in up to 3 categories, 0.50% on everything else
  • Additional Perks: Airport lounge access, mobile device insurance, rental car collision insurance, zero liability, extended warranty, purchase protection
  • Purchase APR: 19.99% | Cash Advance APR: 22.99%

Learn more about the Tangerine World Mastercard®


Best Credit Card With Low-Interest Rate: MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® Credit Card 

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What makes the MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card our top choice for the best low-interest rate credit card in Canada? This card has a very low annual interest rate on purchases of 8.99%. That’s one of the lowest rates on the market, and the annual fee is only $39. It’s a good choice if you aren’t sure you can pay off your balance every month, potentially saving you dough on interest charges. But be careful with cash advances: the interest rate on those is a whopping 24.99%.

The Details

  • Annual Fee: $39
  • Minimum Income Eligibility: N/A
  • Credit Score Required: Fair to Good
  • Additional Perks: Low annual interest rate
  • Interest on Purchases: 8.99% | Interest on Cash Advances: 24.99% | Interest on Balance Transfers & Access Cheques: 8.99%

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec.

Learn more about the MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card.


Best Credit Card to Repair Credit: Refresh Financial Secured Card

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Got no credit history or a bad credit score? No problem! The Refresh Financial Secured Card can help you boost your credit rating in as little as 30 days. Here’s how it works: secure your card with your own funds and then choose a credit limit that suits your financial situation (between $200-10,000). Refresh Financial makes monthly reports to the TransUnion and Equifax, so if you use this card responsibly, you’ll gradually see your score improve in a short period of time. Another bonus: the interest rate on purchases is 17.99%, which is lower than most credit cards. To apply, there’s no minimum income, credit score, or guarantor required, meaning getting approved is essentially guaranteed. However, you have to be the age of majority in your province/territory to apply.

The Details:

  • Annual Fee: $48.95 ($12.95/annual fee + $3/month)
  • Minimum Income Eligibility: None
  • Credit Score Required: Bad to Poor
  • Welcome Offer: None
  • Additional Perks: None
  • Other Card Info: Purchase APR: 17.99%

Learn more about the Refresh Financial Secured Card

*This card is owned and issued by DirectCash Bank pursuant to license by Visa International. The Visa Brand is a registered trademark of Visa International.


Best Credit Card for Travel Rewards: TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card

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For an outstanding Aeroplan credit card, add the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card to your wallet. For starters, it offers a lucrative welcome bonus* of 10,000 Aeroplan points after you make your first purchase. You’ll also earn an Air Canada Buddy Pass after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days from account opening, which you can use bring anyone along to anywhere Air Canada flies in North America, including Hawaii and Mexico.

Plus, take advantage of the potential to earn Aeroplan points with every dollar spent. To sweeten the pot even further, purchases made at Aeroplan partners earn double the rewards when you pay with your Aeroplan credit card and present your Aeroplan membership card – meaning you can really rack up the Aeroplan points quickly and easily.

Other travel-related perks include travel and auto insurance, and exclusive benefits like a free first checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions on the same reservation for Air Canada flights, priority check-in and boarding with Air Canada flights, a $100 Nexus fee rebate (every 48 months), and more. The annual fee of $139 is affordable, but new cardholders get the added bonus of a first-year annual fee rebate for both the primary and first additional cardholder (conditions apply).

Limited time offerApply by January 17, 2021, to get an annual fee rebate for the first year and the welcome bonus of 10,000 Aeroplan points after making your first purchase.

The Details:

  • Annual Fee: $139 (first-year annual fee rebate if you apply by January 17, 2021)
  • Minimum Income Eligibility: $60,000 personal or $100,000 household annual income
  • Credit Score Required: Good to Excellent
  • Welcome Offer: Welcome bonus of 10,000 Aeroplan points after making your first purchase. Must apply by January 17, 2021
  • Other Perks: Travel insurance, $100 Nexus fee rebate (every 48 months), priority boarding/check-in and free first checked bag on Air Canada flights, Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance
  • Purchase APR: 19.99% | Cash Advance APR: 22.99%

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

Learn more about the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card

Best Credit Card for Students: CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for Students

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If you’re a cash-strapped student, the CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for Students is an excellent choice. It not only has no annual fee, but it’s also a rewards credit card to boot: you’ll get 2% cash back on eligible grocery purchases and up to 1% on everyday purchases like books, movies, food and more. Plus, there’s no limit to the total cash back you can earn. It also comes with purchase protection and extended warranty protection on most purchases. As a welcome offer, new cardholders get $25 cash back after making their first purchase.

The Details:

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Minimum Income Eligibility: $0
  • Credit Score Required: Good
  • Welcome Bonus: Get $25 cash back after making your first purchase
  • Additional Benefits: Shopping protection, extended warranty, cash back earned on card purchases
  • Annual Interest on Purchases: 19.99% | Annual Interest on Cash Advances: 22.99%

Learn more about the CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for Students.


Best Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fee: Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® card 

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We’re big fans of the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® card. It’s not only one of the best travel credit cards in Canada, but it also offers no foreign transaction fees. That means you will not pay 2.5% foreign transaction fees on any foreign currency purchases, including online shopping and when travelling abroad — only the exchange rate applies. It’s a big money-saver when you’re on the road.

We also love the Scotia Rewards points program. For every dollar you spend on eligible grocery stores, restaurants, fast food, drinking establishments, and entertainment, you’ll earn 5X Scotia Rewards points; 3X points per $1 on eligible gas, daily transit, and select streaming services; and any other purchases come in at 1X Scotia Rewards point per dollar spent. Plus, new cardholders who apply before February 28, 2021 will receive a welcome bonus of 25,000 Scotia Rewards points after spending $1000 within the first 3 months. What’s also exceptional about this credit card is the flexibility in rewards redemption. All you have to do is login to the system and select the “Apply Points to Travel” option. Then just use your accumulated points to offset any travel cost (flights, rental cars, hotels, etc.) charged on your credit card. It’s that easy – no black-out periods or mind-boggling restrictions.

The Details

  • Annual Fee: $120
  • Income Eligibility: $12,000 annual income
  • Credit score requirement: Good to Excellent
  • Welcome Bonus: 25,000 bonus Scotia Rewards when you spent $1,000 within the first 3 months.
  • Additional Perks: No foreign transaction fees
  • Purchase APR: 19.99% | Cash Advance APR: 22.99%

Learn more about the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® card.


Best Credit Card To Save on Gas: TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card

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If you’re headed to the pump, you’ll want to have the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card in your wallet. This card offers a 3% in Cash Back Dollars on eligible gas purchases charged to your card, as well as on groceries and regularly recurring bill payments set up on your account. For everything else, you get 1% cash back. This is one of the most lucrative cash back offers on gas, so it’s definitely worth signing up if you commute to work or take long road trips.

For new cardholders, there’s also a  welcome offer of 10% on all card purchases for the first 3 months (up to a total spend of $2,000), plus a first-year annual fee rebate for the primary and first additional card holder (worth $120). Conditions apply, and you must apply by December 6, 2020 to take advantage of this excellent limited-time offer that’s worth up to $320.

What also sets this card apart from the competition is that there’s no waiting period to redeem your earnings. Instead, you can redeem your Cash Back Dollars at any time, simply by applying a credit to your card’s balance.

The Details:

  • Annual Fee: $120 (Annual fee rebate for the first year. 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. Card 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 Credit Card to Save Money on Grocery: Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* card

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If gas and groceries dominate your credit card statements, the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* card is for you. With this card, Canadians can regularly earn 4% cash back on every $1 spent on groceries, recurring bill payments, and subscription purchases – a substantial amount that adds up over time. Meanwhile, you can also get 2% cash back for every $1 spent on gas and daily transit, as well as 1% cash back on everything else with no cash back limit.  It’s one of the most generous cashback offerings on the market, especially since this credit card also has a crazy-good sign-up offer. As a welcome bonus, new cardholders earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first three months of card membership (up to $2000 in total purchases). Plus, there’s no annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards. Apply now because this limited-time offer ends on February 28, 2021. In addition, cardholders also receive the added benefit of mobile device insurance and comprehensive travel insurance.

The Details:

  • Annual fee: $120 (first year waived)
  • Income Eligibility: $60,000 personal or $100,000 household income
  • Credit Score Required: Good to Excellent
  • Welcome offer: Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for first three months (up to $2000 in total purchases).
  • Earn Rate: 4% cash back on recurring bills, grocery purchases, and subscription services, 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
  • Purchase APR: 20.99% | Cash Advance APR: 22.99%

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

Best Credit Card for Dining Out Rewards: The American Express Cobalt™ Card

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The American Express Cobalt™ Card is an essential card for food lovers who enjoy dining out frequently. Cardholders earn a whopping 5 Membership Rewards® points for every $1 in card purchases at eligible restaurants, bars, cafés, and food delivery in Canada. Membership Rewards® points can be redeemed for travel, concerts and events, gift cards, merchandise, and more. Or just get a statement credit, so you can put points toward anything you purchase with your card.

You’ll also earn 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible transit & gas purchases in Canada and eligible travel purchases and 1 point for $1 spent on everything else. Additionally, new cardholders can earn up to 30,000 bonus points—a $300 value when used as statement credits.

The Details:

  • Annual Fee:$120 ($10 per month)
  • Minimum Income Eligibility: N/A
  • Credit Score Required: Fair to Good
  • Welcome Bonus: Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points in the first year
  • Additional Perks: Travel insurance, shopping coverage, exclusive entertainment access, access to VIP benefits at the Hotel Collection from American Express®
  • Purchase APR: 19.99% | Cash Advance APR: 21.99%

Learn more about the American Express Cobalt™ Card.

Canada’s Best Credit Cards in 2020 Summary 

Credit CardCredit Card TypeSpecial Card Feature/BonusAnnual Fee 
CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* CardCash Back10% cash back on the first 4 statements (up to $2,000 in total purchases)$99 (first-year annual fee rebate)Visit Site
Tangerine World Mastercard® Cash Back2% cashback in up to 3 categories$0Visit Site
MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit cardLow Interest RateInterest rate is one of the lowest in Canada$0Visit Site
Refresh Financial Secured CardBad CreditHelp you rebuild your credit score$48.95 Visit Site
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite*Travel RewardsA welcome bonus of 10,000 Aeroplan points after your first purchase. (Must apply by January 17, 2021)$139 (Rebated first year. Conditions apply. Must apply by January 17, 2021) Visit Site
CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for StudentsCash BackGet $25 cash back after making your first purchase$0Visit Site
Scotiabank Gold American Express® CardRewardsEarn 25,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points with your first $1,000 in everyday purchases in first 3 months†$120Visit Site
TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* CardCash BackEarn 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.)$120 (first year annual fee rebate)Visit Site
Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* CardCash Back10% cashback for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in purchases. Must apply by February 28, 2021)$120 (first year free)Visit Site
The American Express Cobalt™ CardRewardsEarn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points in the first year$120Visit Site

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card: *This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.
MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card: *This offer is not available for residents of Quebec.

How Do Credit Cards Work?

It’s essential to understand how credit cards work, so you can use them to their maximum efficiency without getting into financial trouble. Access to a credit card brings many benefits, including:

Access to credit – A credit card is an ideal tool if you need to make an online purchase, transfer an existing credit balance, or access cash quickly via a cash advance. A credit card is a revolving credit tool, meaning you can continue to charge purchases while paying back the balance.

Convenience – Credit cards allow you to make purchases using just a plastic card or even your phone, so you don’t need to carry cash for your daily purchases.

Build Credit – Opening a credit account and keeping it in good standing by making your monthly payments is an excellent way to build your credit score. A high credit score gives you access to competitive mortgage and car loan rates.

Rewards and Cash Back – Certain credit cards let you earn points, like Aeroplan milesAIR MILES, or cash back, to reward your daily spending. Points or cash back accrue when charging purchases to your credit card. Good rewards credit cards let you earn between one and five points per dollar spent, or between 1% – 5% of your purchase value as cash back rewards. You can redeem your points for hotel stays, flights, electronics, and experiences.

How to Choose the Best Credit Card

When it comes to choosing the best credit card, there isn’t a “one-size fits all” solution for everyone. Choosing the right credit card depends on your priorities and your spending habits. Consider the following factors before making a decision:

How much are you willing to pay annually?

Most premium credit cards have an annual fee, typically ranging between $99 to as much as $699. It may seem outrageous to pay for the use of a credit card, but they often include valuable perks as part of the package, which can ultimately save you money. But if affordability is more important, you may want to go for a credit card with a low or no annual fee.

What type of credit card are you looking for?

With so many types of credit cards on the market, look for one that matches your lifestyle. Do you prefer to earn rewards or cash back on your card purchases?  Do you spend a lot on groceries and gas? Or is your goal to pay off your credit card debt faster? Whatever is important to you right now should inform your choice.

Does the credit card offer a welcome bonus or a rewards program?

A rewards credit card will maximize your spending by letting you accrue points and giving you access to unique perks. If you participate in a rewards program like Aeroplan or Air Miles, look for a credit card that will maximize your points-earning potential for these programs. Bonus if the card includes a welcome offer that gives you a wack of points or rewards just for signing up.

Are there special perks or benefits for cardholders?

Many credit cards come with special perks or benefits for cardholders, such as insurance coverage, access to exclusive events, hotels, or discounts, rewards-earning potential, airline lounge passes, priority treatment on certain airlines, and more. Even with an annual fee, the perks add up and can save you money — provided that you use them!

If you’re still struggling to make a decision, you can also use our comparison tool to find a credit card that suits your needs and lifestyle.

Final Word

With so many credit cards on the market, finding the best one can be tricky. Just remember that there’s no “best” credit card for everyone, and finding a credit card that works for you requires a little research. Luckily, our in-depth analysis of the best credit cards in Canada will give you a bit of guidance and help you find one that suits your lifestyle.

The Best Credit Cards by Category:

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

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.

Article comments

3 comments
Thomas says:

Consistently missed is one that is regularly top of wallet for me: Rogers World Elite Mastercard. No fee. 4% of foreign currency, meaning after being charged 2.5% for exchange, you’re rewarded at 1.5% net. 1.75% on everything else. While not quite 2%, it’s unrestricted. i don’t work for Rogers and actually not very impressed with their service, but this card is a killer…

Sun says:

HI!
I would put the cibc dividend visa infinite with the scotia momentum if not even better since it’s 4% cash back for gas as well and groceries.

Valerie Winkels says:

Are there any eco or socially responsible credit cards coming to the Canadian market? I see these in the US and in Sweden.