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The best credit cards in Canada for 2022

Reading up on credit cards? Wondering what’s the best card for me? In under 60 seconds, CardFinder narrows down your top matches without impacting your credit score, no SIN required

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Every year, Ratehub.ca rounds up the best credit cards in the country to help Canadians wade through the financial weeds to find the card most suited to their spending habits and lifestyle.

Like clothing, credit cards aren’t one-size-fits-all. We’ve said this before — the best one for you depends on your financial situation and may be one earns you rewards for travel or merchandise, saves you money via a low interest rate or puts cash right back into your wallet. 

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Best overall travel credit card

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If you’re looking for a well-rounded, lucrative rewards card that’s just as great for everyday spending as it is for travel, the American Express Cobalt has got you covered. Cardholders can take advantage of the strong travel insurance, impressive welcome bonus and flexible point redemption options. 

Offering an industry-leading five times the points (valued at $0.01 per dollar) on eligible restaurants and food delivery purchases, three times the points on eligible streaming services, and twice the points on travel and daily transit, the American Express Cobalt easily takes our prize for best overall travel credit card in Canada. Aside from that, the card’s welcome bonus gives new users the ability to earn 2,500 points for each month you spend $500, up to a maximum of 30,000 points—that’s $300 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.

Pros:

  • Great welcome bonus - earn 2,500 points for each month you spend $500, up to a maximum of 30,000 points—that’s $300 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
  • Flexible and easy point redemption, allowing cardholders to redeem their Membership Rewards for travel, gift cards, merchandise, or purchases. Frequent flyers can also transfer their points 1:1 to several loyalty programs. 
  • Earning potential for restaurants and takeout is significantly higher than most other cards
  • Access to Front of the Line Presale and Reserved tickets to concerts, theater performances, movie screenings, and culinary events, along with other special offers
  • Strong travel insurance package including up to $5,000,000 in travel emergency medical 
  • No fee for additional authorized users (an average fee of $30 - 50 on other comparable cards) 

Cons:

  • Monthly fee of $12.99 (coming to an annual fee of $156, which is higher than most other rewards cards) 
  • American Express isn’t as widely accepted in Canada compared to Visa and Mastercard
  • Travel insurance package does not cover trip cancellation or medical coverage for cardholders over the age of 65
  • Airport lounge access isn’t provided, which may be disappointing to frequent travels

Honourable mention for best overall travel credit card

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The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card has a best in class return on spending due to the 5 times multiplier for every $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, food delivery and entertainment and 3 times multiplier on gas and transit. This adds up to a ton of points on your everyday purchases. On top of that, cardholders will not have to pay a foreign transaction fee on foreign currency purchases and have access to a cohesive travel insurance package. The Scotiabank Gold American Express card is a great travel companion offering significant savings. 

Pros: 

  • No foreign exchange fee on any foreign currency purchases while traveling abroad or shopping online (typically a 2.5% fee)
  • Extensive insurance coverage - The $1 million travel medical insurance lasts for 25 days, which is one of the longer coverage periods you’ll get. 
  • High average % return on spending (5 points per $1 on purchases) - best in class multipliers across groceries, restaurants, entertainment, gas and transit
  • Great welcome bonus with the opportunity to Earn up to $850* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 45,000 bonus Scene+ points and first year annual fee waived. Offer ends 30 April 2023.
  • Access to VIP airport lounges and around the clock concierge services 

Cons:

  • Points will expire if they are not used with 12 months of the purchase date
  • American Express isn’t as widely accepted in Canada compared to Visa and Mastercard
  • Annual Fee $120

Best overall cash back credit card

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The biggest selling point of the CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* is its impressive rewards on everyday essentials. On top of the 1% earn rate for all purchases, this card earns an industry-leading 4% cash back on both groceries and gas purchases – two of the most common spending categories for Canadian households. Thanks to CIBC’s new Cash Back on demand feature, cardholders can choose to redeem rewards at any time as a statement credit starting in increments of $25. 

Pros:

  • Significantly higher earn rates on groceries and gas than most other cards (4% cash back)
  • Flexible cash back redemption option allowing users to redeem their cash back at any time in increments of $25
  • Access to CIBC’s Pace It program, allowing you to pay off large purchases in monthly increments
  • Features an excellent digital-only welcome bonus, where new users who apply online can Welcome Offer: Get a first-year annual fee rebate for you and up to three Authorized Users† and 10% cash back for the first 4 statements on net purchases of up to $2,500.†
  • Access to the Visa Infinite Program, entitling you to attend special dining events and hotel perks at participating hotels and restaurants

Cons:

  • Annual fee ($120) and personal income requirements ($60,0000) may be prohibitive
  • Insurance coverage isn’t as comprehensive as other similar rewards cards (if insurance is a priority for you, consider the cards featured on our list of Best credit cards for travel insurance)

Honourable mention for best overall cash back credit card

Ratehub.ca take

Similar to the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite credit card, the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite card offers impressive rewards on everyday purchases. This card earns 4% back on groceries, recurring bill payments, and subscriptions like Netflix, 2% on gas, local transit and transportation costs and 1% on everything else. This card can help offset rising household expenses and is considered to be one of the best cash back credit cards.

Pros:

  • Significantly higher earn rates on groceries and gas than most other cards (4% cash back)
  • Strong insurance coverage which typically is reserved for travel credit cards
  • Annual fee is waived for the first year 

Cons:

  • Limit of an annual total spend of $25,000 on the 4% and 2% spending categories; where after the earn rate drops to 1%
  • Cash back reward is only offered as a statement credit once per year in November and cannot be redeemed in smaller amounts or any other time of year 

Best low interest credit card

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In the Venn diagram of features most sought after by those looking to minimize their credit card debt, the MBNA True Line Mastercard has some considerable overlap. The card has no annual fee and a below-average purchase interest rate of 12.99% on purchases and balance transfers. 

Pros:

  • The low interest rate of 12.99% is fixed and won’t change regardless of your credit rating, income, or the bank’s prime lending rate.
  • No annual fee and no income requirements to qualify making it very accessible
  • Promotional balance transfer of 0% is available for a full year helping pay down or eliminate credit card debt

Cons:

  • Does not include insurance or other benefits
  • Offer not available to residents of Quebec

Best balance transfer credit card

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The CIBC Select Visa shoots right to the top of our list for best balance transfer credit card in Canada for its undeniably great balance transfer promotion: Transfer your credit card balance - Get 0% interest for up to 10 months with a 1% transfer fee† and a first year annual fee rebate†. With interest completely out of the equation for a limited time, you can move the balance owed on your current credit card over to the CIBC Select Visa and chip away at your debt faster and more efficiently. The good news is the CIBC Select Visa also offers a below-average interest rate of 13.99% as standard. So, even if you can’t completely tackle the debt you transferred before the allotted ten-month promotional period ends, you can continue to leverage a low interest rate that’s between eight and six percentage points below what most other credit cards charge.

Pros:

  • Offers an unbeatable 0% interest rate on balance for a limited-time of ten months and carries a below-average interest rate of 13.99% as standard
  • Ability to add up to three authorized users at no additional cost

Cons:

  • As a low interest credit card, the CIBC Select Visa doesn’t offer much in the form of perks
  • Balance transfer offer is available exclusively to new cardholders when applying online, and you can only transfer up to 50% of your assigned credit limit 

Best credit card for bad / rebuilding credit

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For those looking to rebuild their credit, the Plastk Secured Visa Rewards Card offers cardholders a great welcome offer, the ability to earn rewards, a below-average interest rate and monthly credit score tracking updates through Equifax. While the annual fee of $120 is not prohibitive, cardholders will also have to pay a $6 monthly maintenance fee raising the total annual fee cost to $120.

Pros:

  • Sign up bonus - Zero interest rate for the first 3 months. Upon sign up, new Customers get 5000 Rewards Points ≈ $25.00 redeemable after 3 months*.
  • Ability to earn rewards on purchases
  • The purchase interest rate of 17.99% is one of the lowest available compared to most cards
  • 25 day interest-free grace period
  • Monthly credit score updates through Equifax helping cardholders monitor their credit score and any changes

Cons:

  • If cardholders fail to make the minimum payment for two consecutive month the purchase interest rate increases from 17.99% to 29.99%
  • The $6 monthly maintenance fee in addition to the $120 annual fee could be intimidating to users who don’t want to spend too much on a card (total annual cost of $120)
  • There are a few hidden charges to watch out, such as $35 charge for dishonoured payments and a 4.5% foreign conversion fee (compared to 2.5 - 3% for most other cards)

Best no fee credit card for cash back

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The SimplyCash from American Express credit card lets you earn cash back equally across all categories - removing the complexity of some cash back reward credit cards and making it one of the best no fee credit cards in Canada. With SimplyCash, cardholders can earn 2% cash back on gas and grocery purchases (up to $300 annually) and 1.25% cash back on all other purchases. Overall, the SimplyCash credit card is a great option for those who aren’t looking for premium perks or won’t earn enough rewards to offset an annual fee.

Pros: 

  • Simple and easy rewards structure
  • Can earn accelerated earn rates on eligible gas and grocery purchases
  • Insurance coverage and 24/7 concierge services 
  • Access to Front of the Line Presale and Reserved tickets to concerts, theater performances, movie screenings, and culinary events, along with other special offers

Cons: 

  • American Express isn’t as widely accepted in Canada compared to Visa and Mastercard
  • Cash-back rewards are only redeemable once per year in September

Honourable mention for best no fee credit card for cash back

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While the fact that the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is a no annual fee card is a big reason behind its popularity, what really sets this card apart is the customizability. With this card, you can choose your own bonus categories (which will earn you a strong cash back rate of 2% per dollar spent). This is rare in the credit card market and means you can avoid being locked into a bonus category that you can’t take full advantage of or that doesn’t align with your spending habits. On top of that, your cash back is refunded on a monthly basis (instead of the standard annual reimbursement). 

Pros:

  • Flexibility to pick up to three bonus categories to earn 2% cash back on (out of a total of 10 options), which is in sharp contrast to most other cards where you have fixed bonus categories that you have no control over
  • 2% cash back per dollar on bonus categories is one of the richest earn rates for a no-fee card
  • Freedom to change up your bonus categories at any time (changes will take up to 90 days to come into effect)
  • Widely accepted almost everywhere including No Frills and Costco as it is a Mastercard credit card
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Free supplementary cards for authorized users

Cons: 

  • For all purchases that aren’t categorized under one of your chosen bonus categories, you’ll earn just 0.5% cash back
  • No travel medical insurance or any substantial side perks

Best premium credit card

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When it comes to extra perks, the American Express Platinum Card is in a class all its own and is very easily classified as the best premium credit card in Canada. While its annual fee isn't cheap, the American Express Platinum Card offers all the bells and whistles and benefits that makes it worthwhile. Aside from its point value (three points per dollar on eligible dining/food delivery in Canada, two points per dollar on travel, one point per dollar on everything else), this card comes packed with tons of extra benefits, including complimentary airport lounge access with unlimited passes to Priority Pass and Centurion lounges, a dedicated concierge line, an annual $200 travel credit, hotel upgrades and Platinum Concierge services, and one of the best travel insurance packages on the market.hat, your cash back is refunded on a monthly basis (instead of the standard annual reimbursement). 

Pros:

  • Very lucrative welcome bonus - earn up to 80,000 Membership Rewards® points - that’s up to $800 towards a weekend away.
  • 3x points on eligible dining and food delivery in Canada (which will come in handy when traveling domestically) and 2x points on travel purchases
  • No minimum income requirement - a rarity for a card of this calibre
  • Lounge access - unlimited free access for you and one guest to over 1,200 airport lounges as part of the American Express Global lounge collection 
  • VIP benefits at Toronto Pearson Airport including access to Pearson Priority Security Lande, free valet parking (usually a $25 fee), and 15% discount on parking as a statement credit
  • Upgraded gold hotel status with Marriott Bonvoy, Radisson Rewards and Hilton Honors and car rental privileges with Hertz and Avis 
  • Transfer point 1:1 to several frequent flyer programs
  • One of the best travel insurance packages on the market, including everything from out-of-province emergency medical to $500,000 travel accident insurance and beyond

Cons: 

  • A very high annual fee of $699, which can be seen as $499 after the annual $200 travel credit
  • American Express isn’t as widely accepted in Canada compared to Visa and Mastercard

Best credit card for travel perks

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The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card is the best credit card for traveling as it is one of few cards waiving foreign transaction fees (a saving of 2.5% on all foreign currency) in addition to valuable travel benefits like comprehensive travel insurance, airport lounge access worldwide (with 6 free visits per year), and the ability to redeem your Scene+ points for travel. 

Pros:

  • One of the few Canadian credit cards to offer no foreign transaction fees (saving you 2.5% on all your purchases made in a non-Canadian currency)
  • Earns three Scene+ points for every dollar spent at participating grocery stores like Sobey's, IGA, and FreshCo, among others; two Scene+ points for every dollar spent on eligible grocery, dining, entertainment and daily transit purchases
  • Flexible point redemption
  • Priority Pass membership with six free visits per year to over 1,200 lounges worldwide
  • Access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection and Visa Infinite Dining series
  • Complimentary Avis Preferred Plus membership
  • Comprehensive travel insurance including coverage for emergency medical, trip cancellation/interruption, and flight delay, among others

Cons: 

  • Annual fee of $150 is higher than the average for cards of this calibre
  • Much lower return than other cards with comparable annual fees

Honourable mention for best credit card for travel perks:

Ratehub.ca take

When it comes to extra perks, the American Express Platinum Card is in a class all its own and is very easily classified as the best premium credit card in Canada. While its annual fee isn't cheap, the American Express Platinum Card offers all the bells and whistles and benefits that makes it worthwhile. Aside from its point value (three points per dollar on eligible dining/food delivery in Canada, two points per dollar on travel, one point per dollar on everything else), this card comes packed with tons of extra benefits, including complimentary airport lounge access with unlimited passes to Priority Pass and Centurion lounges, a dedicated concierge line, an annual $200 travel credit, hotel upgrades and Platinum Concierge services, and one of the best travel insurance packages on the market.hat, your cash back is refunded on a monthly basis (instead of the standard annual reimbursement). 

Pros:

  • Very lucrative welcome bonus - earn up to 80,000 Membership Rewards® points - that’s up to $800 towards a weekend away.
  • 3x points on eligible dining and food delivery in Canada (which will come in handy when traveling domestically) and 2x points on travel purchases
  • No minimum income requirement - a rarity for a card of this calibre
  • Lounge access - unlimited free access for you and one guest to over 1,200 airport lounges as part of the American Express Global lounge collection 
  • VIP benefits at Toronto Pearson Airport including access to Pearson Priority Security Lande, free valet parking (usually a $25 fee), and 15% discount on parking as a statement credit
  • Upgraded gold hotel status with Marriott Bonvoy, Radisson Rewards and Hilton Honors and car rental privileges with Hertz and Avis 
  • Transfer point 1:1 to several frequent flyer programs
  • One of the best travel insurance packages on the market, including everything from out-of-province emergency medical to $500,000 travel accident insurance and beyond

Cons: 

  • A very high annual fee of $699, which can be seen as $499 after the annual $200 travel credit
  • American Express isn’t as widely accepted in Canada compared to Visa and Mastercard

Best no foreign transaction fee credit card

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The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card is the best credit card for traveling in Canada as it is one of few cards waiving foreign transaction fees (a saving of 2.5% on all foreign currency) in addition to valuable travel benefits like comprehensive travel insurance, airport lounge access worldwide (with 6 free visits per year), and the ability to redeem your Scene+ points for travel. 

Pros:

  • One of the few Canadian credit cards to offer no foreign transaction fees (saving you 2.5% on all your purchases made in a non-Canadian currency)
  • Earns three Scene+ points for every dollar spent at participating grocery stores like Sobey's, IGA, and FreshCo, among others; two Scene+ points for every dollar spent on eligible grocery, dining, entertainment and daily transit purchases
  • Flexible point redemption
  • Priority Pass membership with six free visits per year to over 1,200 lounges worldwide
  • Access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection and Visa Infinite Dining series
  • Complimentary Avis Preferred Plus membership
  • Comprehensive travel insurance including coverage for emergency medical, trip cancellation/interruption, and flight delay, among others

Cons: 

  • Annual fee of $150 is higher than the average for cards of this calibre
  • Much lower return than other cards with comparable annual fees

Honourable mention for best no foreign transaction fee credit card:

Ratehub.ca take

All three of Brim’s Mastercards charge no foreign transaction fees and offer a flat earn rate across all purchases, simplifying the rewards program. Depending on which Brim Mastercard you choose, you can earn either 1%, 1.5%, or 2% cash back on all purchases (with the Brim Mastercard, Brim World, and Brim World Elite respectively). Not only can you earn cash back, but you can easily rack up bonus rewards when shopping from over 200 eligible partner merchants. Some of our favourites include up to 4% on Apple and Microsoft, and 3% on Nike, Lufthansa, Etihad, and Emirates Airlines.

All Brim Mastercards also offer complimentary mobile device insurance and free Boing Wi-Fi Membership. Plus, the World and World Elite versions provide rental car insurance and out-of-province/country emergency medical insurance.

Pros:

  • Welcome bonus waives the annual fee for the first year, enhancing the first year benefits
  • No foreign exchange transaction fees saving you 2.5% per purchase in a non-Canadian currency (online or abroad) 
  • Solid across-the-board cash back earn rate of 2% with the opportunity to earn more at select partners
  • Flexible rewards system letting you easily redeem Brim Rewards in increments of 100 points for $1 in statement credits (or 1% per point, effectively like a cash back card)
  • Strong insurance coverage which includes the travel insurance package (out-of-province medical, flight delay, baggage delay, and more) and the mobile device and event ticket insurance - two areas of coverage which are a bit more rare to find

Cons: 

  • The card’s flat 2% earn rate only covers $25,000 in purchases annually, then dips to 1% which may be limiting for high spenders
  • Personal income requirement of $80,000 could pose a barrier for some (For those looking for a version of this card with a lower income requirement, Brim’s World Mastercard and basic Mastercard offer many of the same benefits with a less-prohibitive hurdle)

Best credit card for students

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The BMO CashBack Mastercard - Student is a no annual fee rewards credit card that offers particularly strong returns on everyday essentials from grocery stores and supermarkets. It earns 3% cash back on the first $500 you spend on groceries every month and 1% on recurring bills up to $500 every month (0.5% cash back after that). For all your other everyday purchases, you’ll net 0.5% cash back without limits. This credit card has the trio of features that most appeals to students: 1. no annual fees 2. the ability to earn straightforward rewards, and 3. no income requirement.

Pros:

  • No annual fee
  • 3% cash back on groceries makes it one of the best no fee cards to own for that spending category
  • Great welcome offer:
  • No income requirement - perfect for students on a fixed income
  • Cash back system is more straightforward than points
  • Redeem cash back for as little as $1 at a time
  • Purchase and extended warranty protection and discounts on rental cars from eligible National and Alamo agency locations.

Cons: 

  • 1% cash back rate on recurring bills and 0.5% on everything else isn’t particularly compelling
  • Bonus categories each have a monthly cap of $500 (but reset monthly)

Best business credit card 

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The BMO CashBack Business Mastercard is our top no fee business credit card in Canada as it provides high cash back earn rates on business essentials. Earn rates include 1.75% on Shell gas stations and 1.5% on office supply purchases as well as cell phone and internet bills.

Pros:

  • No annual fee or income requirement 
  • Welcome offer: Get 6% cash back on gas, office supplies and cell phone/internet bills for 4 months*
  • A maximum of 22 additional employee cards can be added to the primary cardholder account (annual fee of $40 for every additional cardholder) 
  • Automatic rebates of 1-25% when you shop at qualifying merchants with Mastercard Easy Savings
  • 90 day purchase protection and extended warranty coverage for up to one additional year on any purchases made with the card
  • BMO’s Liability Waiver program can safeguard against any employee card abuse

Best credit card for gas and groceries 

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The biggest selling point of the CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* is its impressive rewards on everyday essentials making it the best credit card in Canada for gas and groceries. On top of the 1% earn rate for all purchases, this card earns an industry-leading 4% cash back on both groceries and gas purchases – two of the most common spending categories for Canadian households. Thanks to CIBC’s new Cash Back on demand feature, cardholders can choose to redeem rewards at any time as a statement credit starting in increments of $25. 

Pros:

  • Significantly higher earn rates on groceries and gas than most other cards (4% cash back)
  • Flexible cash back redemption option allowing users to redeem their cash back at any time in increments of $25
  • Access to CIBC’s Pace It program, allowing you to pay off large purchases in monthly increments
  • Features an excellent digital-only welcome bonus, where new users who apply online can Welcome Offer: Get a first-year annual fee rebate for you and up to three Authorized Users† and 10% cash back for the first 4 statements on net purchases of up to $2,500.†
  • Access to the Visa Infinite Program, entitling you to attend special dining events and hotel perks at participating hotels and restaurants

Cons:

  • Annual fee ($120) and personal income requirements ($60,0000) may be prohibitive
  • Insurance coverage isn’t as comprehensive as other similar rewards cards (if insurance is a priority for you, consider the cards featured on our list of Best credit cards for travel insurance)

Best credit card for hotel stays

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The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card is specifically made for hotel rewards, making it an excellent card for frequent travellers and one of the best hotel rewards credit cards in Canada. With this card, you’ll earn five Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on eligible card purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program, and two Bonvoy points per dollar on all other card purchases. Points can be redeemed for free nights at more than two dozen hotel brands including Marriott, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, W Hotels, St. Regis, Ritz Carlton, Sheraton and Delta.

Pros:

  • More than 7,000 hotels worldwide under this loyalty program
  • Annual free night’s accommodation at any Marriott Bonvoy hotel 
  • Complementary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status

Cons:

  • Does not include travel emergency medical insurance within the insurance package

Best credit card for Aeroplan

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Aeroplan clients and frequent Air Canada fliers searching for a card to help them earn more on travel should look no further than the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite. The card’s limited-time welcome offer is impressive: Earn up to 50,000 Aeroplan points when you sign up. They’ll also waive the annual fee for your first year. Must apply by January 3, 2023.†. Users can earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent on eligible gas, grocery and direct through Air Canada purchases (including Air Canada Vacations) and 1 point per dollar on everything else. 

Pros:

  • Aeroplan points can be redeemed for flights on Air Canada or over 27 Star Alliance member airlines (including United Airlines and Lufthansa, to name a few)
  • Access to Air Canada perks: first bag checked free on Air Canada flights for the primary cardholder and up to eight travel companions (up to $30 in savings per traveler on flights across Canada and the US) plus the ability to earn credits towards achieving elite airline status
  • Up to $100 in Nexus Membership reimbursements available every 48 months; allowing for smoother cross-border travel within Canada or between the US
  • Comprehensive travel insurance benefits with up to 21 days of out-of-province/country medical emergency coverage, flight delay insurance, lost/delayed baggage insurance, and even hotel/motel burglary insurance for stays within the US and Canada
  • Can get double the Aeroplan points when using this card in conjunction with your Aeroplan card at participating retailers

Cons:

  • The card’s annual fee is $139 versus the $120 typically found on comparable rewards cards
  • The Aeroplan points program isn’t the most straightforward, and navigating your way around the program’s quite elaborate rewards chart / understanding how to best maximize points can require considerable effort
  • Aeroplan points can’t be redeemed on any airline but only on Air Canada and Star Alliance Members

Honourable mention for best credit card for Aeroplan

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If you’re looking for a well-rounded, lucrative rewards card that’s just as great for everyday spending as it is for travel, the American Express Cobalt has got you covered. Cardholders can take advantage of the strong travel insurance, impressive welcome bonus and flexible point redemption options. 

Offering an industry-leading five times the points (valued at $0.01 per dollar) on eligible restaurants and food delivery purchases, three times the points on eligible streaming services, and twice the points on travel and daily transit, the American Express Cobalt easily takes our prize for best overall travel credit card in Canada. Aside from that, the card’s welcome bonus gives new users the ability to earn 2,500 points for each month you spend $500, up to a maximum of 30,000 points—that’s $300 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.

Pros:

  • Great welcome bonus - earn 2,500 points for each month you spend $500, up to a maximum of 30,000 points—that’s $300 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
  • Flexible and easy point redemption, allowing cardholders to redeem their Membership Rewards for travel, gift cards, merchandise, or purchases. Frequent flyers can also transfer their points 1:1 to several loyalty programs. 
  • Earning potential for restaurants and takeout is significantly higher than most other cards
  • Access to Front of the Line Presale and Reserved tickets to concerts, theater performances, movie screenings, and culinary events, along with other special offers
  • Strong travel insurance package including up to $5,000,000 in travel emergency medical 
  • No fee for additional authorized users (an average fee of $30 - 50 on other comparable cards) 

Cons:

  • Monthly fee of $12.99 (coming to an annual fee of $156, which is higher than most other rewards cards) 
  • American Express isn’t as widely accepted in Canada compared to Visa and Mastercard
  • Travel insurance package does not cover trip cancellation or medical coverage for cardholders over the age of 65
  • Airport lounge access isn’t provided, which may be disappointing to frequent travels

Find your perfect credit card in under 60 seconds - No SIN required

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself

    Answer some questions so we can personalize our recommendations - this won't impact your credit score

  2. Check your eligibility

    We confirm your eligibility with our partner, TransUnion. This will be a ‘soft credit check’ which you can see but lenders cannot

  3. Find your perfect matches

    We show you the cards you’re most likely to want and most likely to get

let's get started

Types of credit cards

 

Rewards cards

Rewards cards are the most popular type of credit card, and for good reason: these cards allow you to collect points or cash back with every dollar you spend. Depending on the card and provider, you can redeem these rewards for travel, statement balances, future purchases, and more. But let's take a deeper look into which cards fall under the "rewards" umbrella.

Travel

Travel rewards cards are perfect for frequent flyers, as the points you earn by using the card can be redeemed for big discounts on flights and accommodations. These cards also frequently come equipped with thorough travel insurance coverage as well as fancy perks such as VIP airport lounge access, complimentary checked baggage, priority security lines, and hotel room upgrades. Some even feature no foreign transaction fees, allowing you to use the card abroad without having to pay an extra fee for purchases in foreign currency. Plus, if you're a member of a loyalty program such as Aeroplan or Air Miles, you can use a co-branded travel rewards card (such as the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard) to double your points when you use them both at partnered retailers.

 

Cash back

Another popular rewards card option is the cash back card. Unlike cards which offer points, cash back cards earn you different percentages back on specific spending categories such as gas and groceries (or, in the case of some cards, one flat rate across the board). Cash back rewards are also pretty straightforward: users can typically log into their account online and see their rewards total in dollars and cents. Redemption options can vary, depending on your provider. Some are quite restrictive, only allowing you to redeem after a certain amount of points have been collected, while others will let you redeem in any increment at any time. Cash back rewards are typically redeemed for statement balances, but some cards offer other options such as gift cards or savings account deposits.

 

Retail

For loyal customers of certain retailers, getting a retail rewards card could be a smart choice. These cards often boast accelerated points or cash back when you use the card at their partnered stores, allowing you to get the most out of your regular shopping trips. While these cards aren't super useful in the outside world, those who regularly visit these retailers can net big rewards over time, leading to savings on future purchases.

 

Low-interest and balance transfers cards

While it's not recommended, those who tend to take out cash advances or carry a balance on their account from month to month would benefit from a low-interest credit card. The interest rates on your card may not seem like much at first, but allowing them to creep in month after month will take a toll on your credit card balance and credit score in general. That's why owning a low-interest credit card would be beneficial - if you're taking the risk of accumulating interest, you'll suffer less potential damage with a lower rate. Low interest credit cards in Canada offer rates as low as 8.99% to 14.99%, but keep in mind that rewards and perks on these cards are minimal to non-existent.

For those attempting to overcome credit card debt, a balance transfer card could be the ticket back to healthy credit. Essentially, users with debt can offload a percentage (or the entirety) of what they owe onto the card, most of which offer introductory interest rates as low as 0% for a specific period of time (usually 6-12 months). If you've got a solid repayment plan and can eradicate your debt in that window, a balance transfer card can allow you to do so much quicker without the added stress of additional interest in your way. They will charge a balance transfer fee (usually around 3% of the total you're transferring), but the benefit of much lower (or zero) interest is generally worth it.

 

Secured cards

Secured credit cards are perfect for newcomers to Canada, students just starting their credit journey, or users trying to rebuild their credit after suffering a financial loss such as bankruptcy. These cards require an upfront security deposit to activate, and your credit limit on the card will be of the same amount. While you can generally deposit as much as you'd like, there are usually minimums (anywhere from $50 to $500) and maximums (around $10,000) set in place by your provider. 

This security deposit acts as a kind of collateral for the issuer in case of missed or late payments, and it's why secured credit cards are incredibly easy to be approved for. The most important thing about secured credit cards, however, is that they report your payments to Canada's credit bureaus. This is imperative to building credit, as these organizations track your credit behaviour and assign you a score which will determine your ability to be approved for future credit cards, mortgages, lines or credit, and more. If you use a secured credit card consistently and responsibly, you'll eventually build your score and graduate to a non-secured credit card, closing down your secured account in good standing and receiving your deposit back in full.

 

What to look for in a credit card

Shopping around for the right credit card can be overwhelming. There's a lot of information to consider, and you don't want to get stuck with something less-than-ideal. Thankfully, there are a handful of major features you'll always want to look at when making a decision. Let's get into them now:

 

Annual fee

Arguably, the first thing to look at when considering a credit card is the annual fee. This can vary card-by-card (some don't have one at all), but generally the more rewards and perks a card offers, the higher it's fee will be. If you're in a higher income bracket, the bells and whistles of a top-tier rewards card may be worth the substantial yearly charge. For others, however, an annual fee can eat into your cash back or points, making your eventual savings much less than they should be. Plus, it's one more bill you'll have to pay. If you're on a fixed income or don't plan on using your card much, you may be better off with a no-fee credit card.

 

Interest rate

If you're someone who tends to keep a balance from month to month, you'll want to look at the interest rate of a credit card before you apply. This is a percentage of your total statement that will be charged on top of your principal owed if you don't pay your bill in full and on time. Most cards carry an interest rate of around 19.99-22.99%, but if that's a concern for you, look into low interest credit cards instead. These cards have lower standard interest rates, and sometimes will offer promotional rates of zero to ultra-low interest for a specific window of time.

 

Rewards

One of the biggest reasons why people apply for credit cards is the ability to earn and collect rewards. Whether it's in the form of cash back, points, or miles, users can redeem them for travel, merchandise, statement credits, and more (depending on the card and provider). When considering what type of rewards are best for you, think about your lifestyle and spending habits. If you're a frequent traveller, a travel card that rewards you for purchasing flights and hotel rooms could make your life a lot easier. On the other hand, if you mostly intend to use your card for regular errands like groceries and gas, an everyday cash back card with high earning potential in those categories would probably suit you best.

Why should I get a credit card?


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