Last Updated on May 10, 2022 by Allard John Keeley
Let’s find out what the best Credit Cards in Canada are. And remember, it depends on what you as an individual or family member need so you’ll be sure to disagree with some of the choices, but we’ve tried to cover most of the major options that should take care of most people’s needs in today’s digital world where everyone is on the move. Especially new Canadians who might have lots of family back home in places like Bangalore, Guangzhou, or Quezon City, and who do a fair bit of flying to visit them on a regular basis.
Choosing a Credit Card in Canada is a little like choosing a car or any other major consumer durable product. That sounds a little strange since it’s just a tiny piece of plastic sitting in your purse or wallet with a chip and a logo on it.
But how you will use your Credit Card and for what you will use your Credit Card means that some cards won’t be what you’re looking for while others may be a much better fit for you. It boils down to price and services offered but it also depends on you, your lifestyle, what phase of life you’re in, and what you’re willing to pay.
Keeping all this in mind, let’s find out what the best Credit Cards in Canada are. And remember, it depends on what you as an individual or family member need so you’ll be sure to disagree with some of the choices, but we’ve tried to cover most of the major options that should take care of most people’s needs in today’s digital world where everyone is on the move. Especially new Canadians who might have lots of family back home in places like Bangalore, Guangzhou, or Quezon City, and who do a fair bit of flying to visit them on a regular basis.
So, what are the Top 10 Credit Cards in Canada? Let’s open up our wallets and find out!
10. TD Platinum Travel Visa Card
This is a card that does everything at a reasonable price but does not excel at any one thing. It’s not the cheapest card but it’s far from the most expensive one either. And it’s pretty good for travelling.
|Annual Fee:||$89||Interest on Purchases:||19.99%||Interest on Cash Advances:||22.99%||Authorized User:||$35|
|Reward points on groceries and bill payments:||3 per $1||Reward points on travel expenses:||5 per $1||Reward points on all other purchases:||2 per $1||TD cardholder reward points never expire|
9. American Express Gold Rewards Card
This is a standard all-round charge card with nice benefits but a fairly high annual fee and fairly high interest rates as well. In today’s world the fact that you don’t have to earn a specific salary to be eligible is a good feature (and a reason why its interest rates are so high). Plus, it’s travel rewards are a good feature.
|Annual Fee:||$150||Interest on Purchases:||30.00%||Interest on Cash Advances:||30.00%||1 Free Additional Gold Rewards Card|
|25,000 membership points bonus if purchase $1,500 or more in first 3 months. 2 points per dollar spent on eligible everyday purchases||2 points per travel purchases on eligible travel expenses. $100 on eligible hotel amenities like dining, spa, or golf||1 additional rewards point on eligible hotel or car rentals.||Access to insurance policies dealing with travel, accident, medical, theft, and other insurance policies.|
8. TD Aeroplan Infinite Visa Card
If you’re the kind of person who’s going to be flying to places like Vietnam, India, the Philippines or China on a regular basis – or Korea, or Nigeria, or any country that’s a 10-or-more-hour flight from places like Toronto or Vancouver – then Aeroplan is a word you like to hear because you love those travel miles. This card is not for everybody, given you need a minimum required income of CAD$60,000 (or $5,000 a month) and the annual fee is $120. But interest rates are reasonable as far as charge cards go.
|Annual Fee:||$120||Interest on Purchases:||19.99%||Interest on Cash Advances:||22.99%||Authorized User||$50|
|Earn 1.5 Aeroplan miles on purchases at eligible grocery, gas, and drugstores as well as Air Canada purchases||Earn 1 mile on all other purchases||Earn double points at participating retailers and the Aeroplan eStore. Need Aeroplan Membership Card||As long as you are a TD Cardholder your Aeroplan Miles will not expire|
7. Rogers Platinum MasterCard
Yes, Rogers – an internet/cable and telephony company that now also offers financial services through the Rogers Bank – has a Credit Card, which may seem a little strange to newcomers to Canada, but Credit Cards have been reproducing like a flock of horny Canada Geese on their way south to a golf course in Florida for years now. This card is a mix between a no-frills card with no annual fees and good interest rates and a slightly upscale card with low foreign transaction fees for people who travel and like to spend a little, but still need to stick to a strict budget.
|Annual Fee:||None||Interest on Purchases:||19.99%||Interest on Cash Advances:||21.5%||Foreign Transaction Fee:||2.5%|
|Complementary Bonus & Money Back rewards at selected locations like Fido, Rogers, tickets, and subscriptions||Points can be redeemed for pre-paid services like Chatr||Pay with Rewards App is a convenient way to redeem money back rewards using your phone||This is more a card for quick spenders not point savers although you do have quite a few options on how to spend your reward points|
6. Scotiabank Platinum American Express
When you travel a lot and a long ways one key worry you have is sickness or accidents or theft of some sort. This card provides comprehensive insurance policies to cover most contingencies that you face as a frequent flyer. As well added VIP Benefits listed in the table below make this a compelling offer, especially it’s large $10,000 purchase limit. Be warned however, it has very high annual fees, part of the cost of having a broad range of services to take care of you as you head back home to see family or fly out abroad on business on a regular basis.
|Annual Fee:||$399||Interest on Purchases:||19.99%||Interest on Cash Advances:||22.99%||No details on whether points transferable to other plans|
|1 point per dollar of regular purchases; 4 points per dollar on entertainment, dining, grocery, gas purchases||7 different insurance coverages including: trip cancellation, emergency medical, lost baggage, flight delays etc.||No travel restrictions and points redeemable anytime and anywhere||Premium Concierge + VIP Pass for Exclusive Events + Complementary Lounge + Access to Special Events|
5. American Express Cobalt Card
This is a really nice card with lots of good stuff to offer, and it comes in a really cool colour! The travel rewards are a feature, but it delivers quality on most of what it offers. From a flexible policy on how and where you can redeem points to entertainment access rewards to high reward points for dining out to the usual Amex credits for hotels and other travel expenses. This is for people who like to go out a lot and like to travel a lot as well.
|Annual Fee:||$120||Interest on Purchases:||19.99%||Interest on Cash Advances:||22.99%||Additional cards at no extra cost|
|In your first year as a Cobalt cardholder you can earn 2,500 points per month if you spend $500 or more per month.||Earn 5 points per dollar for card purchases at eligible restaurants, bars, café’s and even some food delivery services||2 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases, as well as transit, or gas purchases in Canada||You can redeem points towards whatever card purchases you wish: streaming services, movie tickets, eats and drinks, or even purchases at Amazon.ca|
4. MBNA True Line MasterCard
Maybe this one should be your first Credit Card in Canada. The one that eases you into the overwhelming consumer financial choices that face you when you move here. Of course, you might have similar choices in your home country, but if you’ve been the type who likes to keep things simple and inexpensive, True Line MasterCard might be a good pick. It has no annual fee and ridiculously low interest rates for a Credit Card. (Goodness knows we’d love those low rates on our GICs but hey banks gotta be banks.) While it may not have all the juicy options that you find with pricier cards, it’s more than adequate in terms of the services it offers, especially if you prefer straightforward products. Careful with the cash advances though!
|Annual Fee:||None||Interest on Purchases:||12.99%||Interest on Cash Advances:||24.99%||Interest Balance Transfers and Access Cheques:||12.99%|
|Balances transferred during first 90 days pay 0% during first 6 months||A balance transfer fee of 1% applies (minimum fee of $7.50)||No information on travel or other rewards points||Add up to 9 authorized users with no additional annual fee|
3. Scotiabank Scene Visa Card
While this is classified as a Student Credit Card, it has the type of no-nonsense features that perhaps the spouse of a household’s primary earner would find useful, as a backup card or as a card for a young adult family member who is entering the workforce with their first full-time permanent job. There’s no annual fee and there’s a reasonable rewards policy as well. The rates charged are pretty standard, so you won’t see the low rates of a True Line MasterCard, but you do get those reward points!
|Annual Fee:||None||Interest on Purchases:||19.99%||Interest on Cash Advances:||22.99%||Minimum Annual required Income:||$12,000|
|5 points per dollar spent at Cineplex online and offline||1 point per dollar spent on regular purchases||During first 3 months as Cardholder purchases of $500 earn 2000 bonus points||Points can be redeemed on various options like movies, meals, and more. If you are applying for a Student Scene Visa Card you must apply in person at your local branch.
2. Tangerine Cashback Credit Card
This one is a consumer favourite in Canada, despite the fact that it does not offer travel-based rewards. It’s easy to use, you automatically get cashback rather than having to request it and you can deposit your cash rewards in your Tangerine Savings Account. There are also no limits to your cash rewards, unlike most other cards in Canada. It may not be the best for frequent flyers but if you’re going to be spending most of your money in Canada, this seems to be one of the best choices you can make.
|Annual Fee:||None||Interest on Purchases:||19.95%||Interest on Cash Advances:||19.95%||Up to 5 authorized users on one account|
|Welcome bonus of 4 points to every dollar spent in first 90 days.||2 points per dollar on any 2 of 10 categories with 1 point per dollar on all other purchases||Cash back can be deposited to a savings account||No travel points but unlimited cash back on purchases in 10 categories (gas, clothes, electronics, hotel/motels, furniture, drug stores, entertainment and groceries etc.)|
1. BMO World Elite MasterCard
Any Credit Card that has the words: World, Elite, & Master, in its brand name is obviously aiming high. This is not a cheap card with an annual fee of $150 but it delivers on its promises. But this is for real spenders. For example, you get a bonus of 35,000 points if you spend at least $3,000 or more on purchases in your first 3 months (or 90 days). Travel and entertainment purchases are nicely rewarded and there’s all sorts of features including medical assistance, roadside assistance, and first-class lounge access. This is for people who travel a lot and like a little comfort in their journeys, whether on business or with their families on holiday.
|Annual Fee:||$150||Interest on Purchases:||19.99%||Interest on Cash Advances:||22.99%||Minimum required income of $80,000 or $150,000 annual household income|
|3 points per dollar spent on entertainment, restaurants, or travel||2 points per dollar spent on all other purchases||Medical and Travel coverage as well as roadside assistance||Lounge access for cardholders|
Riley Haas has been a leading expert since 2011 on immigration matters, with hundreds of publications online. Published author of three books about political philosophy, the Beatles and the Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively. BA from Bishop’s University, MA from McMaster University. You follow Riley on Substack https://rileyhaas.substack.com.