Cash back credit cards do exactly what their name suggests: they refund a small percentage of your purchases either as a credit on your credit card statement or as cash in your bank account.
Each cash back credit card available in Canada lets you earn certain percentages back for different types of purchases, so the right card for you should match your particular spending profile. For example, if you commute hundreds of kilometres per week and spend thousands on gas every year, a cash back credit card that offers a high percentage of cash back on gas would be a great way to optimize your savings.
Cash back credit cards can be very lucrative, earning you hundreds in cash back per year, but you have to choose one that matches your purchasing habits. We’ve made a list of the best cash back credit cards in Canada for 2019.
Canada’s best cash back credit cards of October 2019
|Best Cash Back Credit Card For||Credit Card||Annual Fee|
|Groceries and Bills||Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite (VIEW)||$120 (waived first year)|
|Flat-Rate Cash Back||SimplyCash Preferred from American Express (VIEW)||$99|
|No Annual Fee||Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card (VIEW)||$0|
|Sign-Up Bonus||TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card (VIEW)||$120 (waived first year)|
|No Foreign Transaction Fees||Home Trust Preferred Visa (VIEW)||$0|
Best cash back credit card for groceries and bills
Winner: Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite
The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite is one of the best cash back cards available in Canada for 2019. This card offers 4% cash back at grocery stores and on recurring bills, 2% cash back on gas and public transit (including taxis and Ubers), and 1% on all other purchases.
The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite has an annual fee of $120 that is waived for the first year. The purchase interest rate on this credit card is 20.99%, and you must earn $60,000 per year individually or $100,000 per year as a family to qualify for this card.
Why we like it:
While the ability to pocket 4% in straight cash on all your grocery and supermarket bills is arguably the card’s best feature (and something no other cash back card can beat), the 4% on recurring bills is a stand-out too. Especially when considering recurring bills can count as almost any payment that’s automatically charged to your card every month (think cable, phone bills, insurance, streaming services, and more).
The inclusive transit category will also mean you’ll earn 2% on your commuting costs no matter how you get around (be it Uber or streetcar). Last but not least, the card comes with mobile device insurance that’ll cover the costs of phone repairs provided you bought the device (or pay for the contract) on your card.
This premium credit card is backed with additional perks, including 24/7 complimentary concierge service, as well as access to the VISA Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection and the VISA Infinite Dining Series. This card also provides comprehensive insurance coverage including travel medical and accident insurance, trip interruption insurance, baggage loss and delay insurance, and car rental collision loss/damage waiver insurance.
Best flat-rate cash back credit card
Winner: SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express
The SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express will earn you 2% cash back on all your purchases with no maximum to how much you can earn – that’s the highest flat cash back rate in Canada. So, if you’re looking for simplicity and don’t spend a disproportionately large amount of your budget on otherwise common expenditures, such as groceries or gas, this card is a great option. The SimplyCash Preferred has a $99 annual fee but no minimum income requirement to qualify. The purchase interest rate is 19.99%, and you’ll pay 22.99% on cash advances and balance transfers.
Why we like it:
Right now, the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express is offering new cardholders 5% cash back on all purchases for their first six months (which is three months longer than most credit card welcome offers), up to a maximum of $300. This offer, combined with free supplementary cards and strong 2% flat-rate cash back on all purchases, makes this credit card a good option for high volume spenders.
Like most premium credit cards, the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express provides you with extensive insurance coverage including travel emergency medical, flight delay, baggage loss, car rental collision loss/damage waiver, and travel accident insurance. Supplementary cards are also free so that the whole family can earn rewards. You’ll also have access American Express Invites, which unlocks front of line pre-sale and reserved tickets as well as access to exclusive theatre and show offers.
Best no annual fee cash back credit card
Winner: Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is a top contender for best no-fee cash back credit card for its rich rewards rate and flexibility. This card lets you earn 2% cash back in two spending categories of your choice (or three categories if you also sign up for a free Tangerine savings account). The categories you can choose from include:
- Drug Stores
- Home Improvement
- Public transportation and parking (which includes road tolls, taxis and ride-sharing services according to Tangerine’s terms and conditions)
It’s also worth noting that you have the option to change up your 2% money-back categories at any time (changes will be reflected after one statement period). For all other purchases, you’ll earn 0.5% cash back. This credit card charges a flat interest rate of 19.95% on purchases, cash advances balance transfers, and you’ll need to earn at least $12,000 per year to qualify. There is no limit on the cash back rewards you can earn, and supplementary credit cards are free for additional cardholders.
Why we like it:
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is popular because you can choose the categories that you spend the most in, making this card highly customizable from customer to customer. 2% cash back is also one of the richest rewards rates for a no fee credit card. Your cash back will be applied to your credit card statements or deposited into your Tangerine Savings account on a rolling basis every month, so you won’t have to wait a whole year to reap the benefits of your savings.
Tangerine has always been a no-frills online banking solution, so it should come as no surprise that their no-frills credit card has no perks. With that being said, the card offers a promotional rate of 1.95% on balance transfers to new cardholders for the first six months.
Best cash back credit card for welcome offer
Winner: TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card
Gas, groceries and recurring bills (such as internet and cable) are among the largest expenses for the average Canadian household, and the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card has all three as its bonus categories earning 3% cash back. For all other purchases, you’ll get back a flat 1%.
As a new cardholder, you’ll also get 10% on all purchases for the first three months (up to $200). This card does have a $120 annual fee (waived for the first year), but it also provides additional perks on top of its cash back rewards including travel insurance benefits.
Why we like it:
Few credit card promotions let you earn cash back in the double digits, and in this case, it’s even combined with a first-year annual fee waiver to offer new cardholders a bonus valued at $320.
While not related to its welcome offer, the card’s included roadside assistance is also one of our favourite features. Typically an annual cost of $100, the card’s complimentary roadside assistance offers car owners with coverage for emergency towing, battery boosts, and more.
As highlighted above, this card comes with roadside assistance, which is a huge benefit for car owners. Additionally, it offers emergency travel insurance, concierge services, and the ability to redeem cash back flexibly at any time (provided you first earn a minimum $25 cash back).
No foreign transaction fee cash back credit card
Winner: Home Trust Preferred Visa
The Home Trust Preferred Visa is a no fee, 1% cash back card that ticks off one of the most important boxes for travellers: it has no foreign transaction fees. So, unlike almost every other Canadian credit card, the Home Trust Preferred Visa won’t tack on an additional 2.5% fee on purchases made outside the country or in a non-Canadian currency. This card does not have a minimum income requirement, however, residents of Quebec cannot apply.
Why we like it:
The card’s 1% cash back rate combined with its no foreign transaction fees means it offers one of the best returns for international spending for a Canadian credit card, which is all the more impressive considering it’s a no annual fee card. Plus, since it’s free to carry, the Home Trust Preferred Visa can act as a great secondary card to use just for when you’re travelling.
Along with rental car insurance, this card comes with a free Roadside Assistance Membership (upwards of $100 value) that’ll provide car owners with everything from emergency towing services, battery boosts, lost car key assistance, and more.
Best cash back credit cards – honourable mentions
Rogers World Elite MasterCard
As far as credit cards go, the Rogers World Elite MasterCard doesn’t exactly follow conventions. For one, it’s made for high-income earners who make at least $80,000 annually (or $150,000 as a household) despite the fact it’s a no annual fee credit card. It also offers membership to airport lounges through MasterCard Airport Experiences even though it’s a cash back card and not a travel points card.
It’s these unique benefits combined with its strong cash back earn rate of 4% on foreign purchases, 2% on Rogers products and 1.75% on everything else that makes the Rogers World Elite MasterCard one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada, particularly for travellers.
Why we like it:
The fact this card has a base cash back rate of 1.75% is one of its most appealing features, especially when considering that cards typically have a base rate of 1%. The ability to earn 2% cash back on Rogers products is also a great perk for anyone who pays for Rogers or Fido services such as internet or cable.
In terms of travel, this card’s top feature is its 4% cash back rate on foreign purchases, which serves to offset the card’s foreign transaction fee for a net savings of 1.5% on every purchase made outside the country.
The Rogers World Elite MasterCard comes with a full suite of travel perks including out of province emergency medical coverage and trip interruption coverage as well as access to over 850 airport lounges worldwide (a fee of $27USD applies per visit).
SimplyCash Card from American Express
If you’re interested in a cash back credit card but you don’t want to pay an annual fee, the SimplyCash Card from American Express is a good option. With this credit card, you’ll earn 1.25% cash back on every purchase, with no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn. Supplementary credit cards are free, and the purchase interest rate is 19.99%.
Why we like it:
With no tiered returns based on spending categories, the SimplyCash Preferred is a straightforward card with a competitive overall return. Not to mention, for the first three months after you sign up for this credit card, you’ll earn 2.5% cash back on all purchases, up to a limit of $150. This card also offers an attractive balance transfer option: 1.99% on transferred balances for the first six months. If you want a cash back credit card but don’t want to pay an annual fee, this is a great starter credit card.
Even though there is no annual fee, this credit card gives you access to some insurance coverage including travel accident insurance, zero liability, extended warranty, and purchase assurance. You’ll also have access American Express Invites, which unlocks front of line presale and reserved tickets and access to exclusive theatre and show offers.
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