The new year means a new opportunity to be financially productive. This January, you should evaluate your financial situation and take a look at the products you’ll use for the next year: Do you have the lowest possible mortgage rate? Does your savings account have the highest interest rate? What about credit cards — are getting the most out of your regular spending?
A cash-back credit card is a great way to earn rebates on your everyday purchases. The best cash-back credit cards refund a small percentage of every purchase you make on the card, either as an statement credit or cash in your bank account.
Each card offers different cash back percentages for particular spending categories, so the best card for you depends on your individual spending profile. Luckily, you can compare multiple cards side-by-side with Ratehub.ca’s credit cards rewards calculator.
Ratehub.ca’s best cash-back credit cards in Canada
- Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite (5% cash back on purchases for first 3 months; annual fee waived for first year)
- SimplyCash Preferred from American Express (10% cash back on eligible gas, grocery and restaurant purchases for first 6 months)
- MBNA Rewards World Elite (2% cash back on all purchases; 10,000 bonus points with first eligible purchase, valued at $100)
- SimplyCash Card from American Express (5% cash back on gas, groceries, and restaurants for first six months; 1.25% back after)
- Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card (2% cash back in up to 3 categories, and 0.5% on everything else)
- BMO CashBack MasterCard (4% cash back for the first 4 months; 1% back after)
- ECHO Cashback MasterCard (1.5% cash back on gas, groceries, and certain online purchases; 1% back on everything else)
Cash-back cards with an annual fee
The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite is the best cash-back credit card for anyone who spends big on gas, groceries, recurring bills, and drugstore purchases — think couples, families, and large households. The card has a strong welcome offer of 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in purchases made within the first three months of card membership. After that, you’ll earn 4% cash back on gas and groceries, 2% cash back on drugstore purchases and recurring bill payments, and 1% cash back on everything else.
The SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express currently has the best welcome offer on the market: 10% cash back on all eligible gas, grocery and restaurant purchases in Canada for the first six months of card membership (up to $300 cash back). After the welcome rate ends, you’ll earn 2% cash back on all purchases, with no limit on how much you can earn at that rate. The card has an annual fee of $99.
With no tiered returns based on spending categories, the SimplyCash Preferred straightforward card with a competitive overall return. If you’re looking to pay down existing debt, it also offers a low 1.99% introductory interest rate on all credit card balances transferred to the card within the first six months, with no balance transfer fee charged on the transaction. Even though it’s not a travel credit card, it comes with comprehensive insurance coverage including travel emergency medical and accident, flight delay, baggage loss, car rental collision/loss damage waiver.
The MBNA Rewards World Elite card is a good choice if you are looking for a credit card with a lower annual fee. At $89 per year, this credit card is more affordable but does have minimum personal income requirement of $80,000 or $150,000 for a household.
With the MBNA Rewards World Elite, you won’t earn straight cash back. Instead, you’ll earn points at a rate of two points for every dollar spent. There is no limit on how many points you can earn, and the points never expire. Each point has an approximate value of $0.01 per point. When you make your first purchase, you’ll earn a bonus 10,000 points.
The MBNA Rewards World Elite credit card also comes with the standard world elite benefits including price protection, concierge service, and world offers.
Finally, this credit card doesn’t skimp on insurance benefits, covering you for travel accident insurance, trip interruption insurance, baggage loss insurance, car rental/collision insurance, and zero liability, price protection, extended warranty, and purchase assurance.
No fee cash-back cards
The SimplyCash Card from American Express is a no-fee cash back credit card that lets users earn 1.25% cash back on all purchases with no limit. On top of this regular cash back rate, new users will also earn 5% on gas, groceries, and restaurants for the first six months of card ownership (up to a maximum of $250).
This credit card has an interest rate of 19.99% on regular purchases and 22.99% on balance transfers and cash advances. For new cardholders who are carrying a balance on another credit card, the SimplyCash Card from American Express offers a special introductory rate for new users who wish to transfer a balance – 1.99% for the first six months. The balance transfer option is only available when you sign up, and there’s no fee for this special low rate.
While this credit card offers less insurance coverage than comparable cards that charge a fee, you’re still covered for travel accident insurance, car rental collision, loss and damage insurance, and coverage on your purchases including zero liability, extended warranty, and purchase assurance.
A relative newcomer to the cash back credit card scene, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card has proven to be a popular no-fee cash back credit card, primarily because of its flexibility. With this credit card, you earn 2% cash back on either two or three categories of your choice. The possible categories are grocery, restaurants, gas, the pharmacy, hotels, home improvement, bills, parking and public transportation.
This credit card has no fee, no minimum income requirement, and no fee for additional cardholders, making it accessible to most Canadians. Purchases on this credit card are subject to a 19.95% interest rate, as are cash advances. There is no balance transfer option for this credit card.
Third on our list of best no-fee cash back credit cards is the BMO CashBack MasterCard. As we mentioned, this credit card has no annual fee, and just a $15,000 per year income requirement to qualify. With this credit card, you’ll earn 1% cash-back on all purchases except during the first four months, when you’ll earn 4% cash back, up to a maximum of $125. This credit card charges the standard interest rate of 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances and balance transfer fees.
The BMO CashBack MasterCard offers a variety of perks not available through every credit card, including a 25% discount on car rentals at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car locations and no fee for additional cardholders. Your purchases are also protected by extended warranty, zero liability and purchase assurance.
Offered by National Bank, the ECHO Cashback MasterCard is a no-fee credit card for online shoppers. With this credit card, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on gas, groceries, and most online purchases, and an additional 1% back on all other purchases. There is no limit on how much cash back you earn, and you can apply your cash back as soon as you accumulate $25.
There is no income requirement for the ECHO Cashback Master Card, and you can expect to pay 19.99% on any purchases not paid off before the standard 21-day grace period. With the ECHO Cashback MasterCard, you’ll also enjoy purchase protection for 90 days after the date of purchase and extended warranties up to an additional year — the perfect compliment to your online shopping habit.
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Flickr: KMR Photography
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