Last Updated on
I’ll be frank: I’ve never thought that Canada’s no fee credit cards get the respect and attention they deserve. They tend to be outshined by their premium counterparts. You know which cards I mean: those that, for the privilege of paying an annual fee of $120 (or more), give cardholders a big welcome bonus or perks like comprehensive insurance packages or airport lounge access. I’m not saying that those costly cards aren’t worth the price (they often are). I just think that there’s a lot to be said for no annual fee credit card cards in Canada that deliver nice perks without the hefty price tag. While the best no fee credit cards haven’t got the bells and whistles of premium plastic, many pack an impressive amount of punch underneath their no-frills exterior. But what is the best no fee credit card in Canada? The answer depends on what you’re looking for, but here’s a list of the best no fee credit cards in Canada.
Best Cash Back No-Fee Credit Cards
|Credit Card||Special Feature||More Info|
|Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card||Special offer: Earn 4% Money-Back Rewards on purchases in up to three Money-Back Categories for the first three months – Apply by October 31, 2019||Learn More|
|BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®*||5% cash back bonus for first 3 months on all purchases||Learn More|
|No-Fee Scotiabank Value® VISA* Card||No balance transfer fee||Learn More|
|MBNA True Line® Mastercard®||0% promotional balance transfer rate for the first 10 months||Learn More|
|Rogers™ World Elite Mastercard®||4% unlimited cash back on all purchases made in foreign dollars||Learn More|
|MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®||Welcome bonus of up to 10,000 bonus MBNA Rewards Points (up to $100 in travel value)||Learn More|
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
The Tangerine Money-Back MasterCard is one that I proudly have in my wallet. There are few no-fee cards that can compete with its outstanding 2% cash back in two categories. You’ll even get a third 2% category if you deposit the cash you accrue from your credit card into a Tangerine savings account (not a tough requirement given what good rates and low/no fees Tangerine accounts offer compared to Canada’s five big banks).
This is an excellent offer especially since the 2% cash back is not a promotional offer but rather the standard earn amount—such generosity is rare for a no-fee card. All other spending earns 0.5% cash back. What solidifies Tangerine’s place among the best no annual fee credit card in Canada is that cardholders get to pick what two or three categories they want to earn 2%. You can pick popular purchases like gas or groceries or more niche ones like parking or home improvement stores. No other card (be it basic or premium) offers such flexibility.
As another plus, there is no cap whatsoever on how much you can earn in cash back and you can even switch categories should your spending habits change. In case you need more reasons to apply, Tangerine is currently offering a promotion until October 31, 2019, that lets new cardholders earn 4% money back in up to three categories for their first three months. The card is also full of additional perks like a low balance transfer interest rate of only 1.95% interest for the first six months, as well as purchase assurance and extended warranty.
- Special offer: Earn 4% Money-Back Rewards on purchases in up to three Money-Back Categories for the first three months – Apply by October 31, 2019
- 2% cash back on two eligible Tangerine spending categories (groceries, gas, drug store, restaurants, recurring bill payments, furniture, home improvements, hotels, entertainment, public transportation/parking)
- 0.5% cash back on everything else
- Automatic, monthly reimbursement to your credit card balance or savings account
If your spending doesn’t really fall into a few set categories but you want a no-fee credit card with a big cash bonus, check out the no-fee BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®*. You’ll earn 5% cash back on all purchases charged to the card in the first three months—though only for up to a maximum of $4,000 in spending (which works out to be $200 cash back). After that, you'll get 1% cash back on all card purchases* with no caps, not category limits. Another nice feature is that new cardholders can transfer balances from their other credit cards to the BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®* and enjoy an introductory interest rate of a very attractive 1.99% for the first nine months. There is a 1% fee for balance transfers, but that’s pretty standard. Cardholders will also enjoy rental car benefits, purchase protection and extended warranty.
- Easy, flexible redemption
- 5% cash back bonus for first 3 months on all purchases
- 1% cash back on all credit card purchases when your sign-up bonus ends
- 1.99% introductory interest rate on Balance Transfers for 9 months (with a 1% transfer fee)
- Free supplementary cards
Best Balance Transfer No Annual Fee Credit Cards
A balance transfer offer is a real boon for Canadians carrying debt on high-interest credit cards. One of the top no-fee credit cards on the market is the No-Fee Scotiabank Value® VISA* Card. With its low balance transfer interest rate, no annual fee, and no transfer fee, this card could save you tons of money. Currently, the card is offering a 3.99% introductory interest rate for new cardholders on balance transfers for the first six months. Afterwards, the interest on the transferred amounts goes up to 16.99%. This is also the APR that will be charged on new purchases and for cash advances, which is a good standard rate, especially for cash advances. A sweet (and rare) extra is that there is no fee whatsoever to do the balance transfer during the promotional period. Cardholders can also save up to 25% off rental car rates at AVIS and Budget in North America when you pay with your No-Fee Scotiabank Value® VISA* Card.
- 3.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (16.99% after that)
- No balance transfer fee
- Save up to 25% off base rates at participating AVIS locations and Budget locations in Canada and the U.S. when charged to your credit card.
MBNA True Line® Mastercard®
Another no-fee credit card offering an excellent balance transfer promo is the MBNA True Line® Mastercard®. New cardholders enjoy a 0% interest rate for the first 10 months on any balance transfers done within the first 90 days of opening an account. After the promotional period ends, the APR goes up to 12.99%, which is still lower than the interest rate of many other credit cards. (But watch out: the interest rate for cash advances is a whopping 24.99%). It’s important to note that, while the normal balance transfer fee is 1% of the amount transferred, for the promotional 0% rate, your transfers will be subject to a 3% fee—which could still well be worth it if you are carrying a lot of high-interest credit card debt.
- 0% promotional balance transfer rate for the first 10 months
- Low 12.99% standard annual interest rate on purchases
- Balance transfer fee: 3% (minimum fee of $7.50)
*This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.
Best No Foreign Transaction Fees No Annual Fee Credit Cards
Rogers™ World Elite Mastercard®
If you’re a frequent flyer, you’ll definitely find that Rogers™ World Elite Mastercard® is one of the best no-fee credit cards in Canada. It’s the only no-fee card in the country that essentially nullifies FX fees (that annoying 2.5% most credit cards charge for all purchases made in foreign currency) by offering 4% unlimited cash back on all purchases you make in foreign dollars.
The card also features the highest flat cashback rate of any no annual fee card in Canada with an incredible 1.75% cash back on all other non-foreign dollar purchases. That amount goes up to 2% in unlimited cash back when you charge any Rogers products and services to your card. Presently, as a sign-up bonus, you’ll also earn $25 in cash back once you charge your first purchase within the first three months. Rogers™ World Elite Mastercard® also offers some of the best insurance coverage—like rental car collision/damage, emergency medical, trip interruption and trip cancellation—of any no-fee credit card in the country.
- 4% unlimited cash back on all purchases you make in foreign dollars
- 1.75% cash back on all other non-foreign dollar purchases
- 2% unlimited cash back rewards on Rogers™ products and services charged to your card
- Outstanding insurance coverage
Best Reward Credit Card with No Annual Fee
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®
Thought platinum cards were only for consumers who were willing to pay an annual fee? No way. A plethora of points is what makes the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® rank among the best no annual fee credit cards in Canada. You’ll net MBNA Rewards points for each dollar you spend on gas, groceries and restaurants (up to a maximum spend of $5,000). Those categories represent common expenditures for most Canadian consumers that often make up the lion’s share of monthly spending. For all other purchases, you’ll get 1 point per $1. Points can be redeemed for an array of items like travel, hotels, merchandise and more. Right now, as a welcome bonus, new cardholders will earn an extra 5,000 points after their first eligible purchase made within 90 days. They’ll also get 5,000 more points if they enroll to receive e-statement within 90 days of opening their account. With no annual fee, there’s really no reason to not sign up!
- Earn a welcome bonus of up to 10,000 bonus MBNA Rewards Points (up to $100 in travel value)
- Earn 2 points for every dollar spent on eligible gas, groceries and restaurants purchases ($5,000 max annual spend per category)
- Earn 1 point for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases
- Redeem your points for travel, cash back, and more
*This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.
The Best Credit Cards by Category:
Latest posts by Sandra MacGregor (see all)
- Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards in Canada for 2019 - September 23, 2019
- Is Real Estate a Good Investment Strategy for Retirement? - September 12, 2019
- Introducing Wealthsimple Trade - August 5, 2019