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The best credit cards in Canada for 2024

Natasha-M 1
Natasha Macmillan, Business Unit Director - Everyday Banking

February 21, 2024

Discover the best credit cards in Canada from our carefully curated list across all categories. Compare options to find a credit card that perfectly aligns with your unique spending habits and lifestyle.

Canada's best credit cards at a glance

Annual fee

$156

Best for

Best credit card for rewards

Best credit card for groceries

Annual fee

$120

Best for

Best credit card for hotels

Annual fee

$0

Best for

Best credit card for travel

Best credit card for no foreign transaction fee

Best credit card for no lounge access

Annual fee

$120

Best for

Best credit card for cashback

Best credit card for gas

Annual fee

$0

Best for

Best credit card for no fee cash back

Annual fee

$0

Best for

Best credit card for low interest

Best credit card for balance transfer

Annual fee

$0

Best for

Best credit card for building credit

Best secured credit card

Annual fee

$799

Best for

Best credit card for perks

Annual fee

$120

Best for

Best credit card for travel insurance

Annual fee

$0

Best for

Best credit card for students

Annual fee

$99

Best for

Best credit card for businesses

Annual fee

$120

Best for

Best credit card for hotels

Annual fee

$0

Best for

Best credit card for Aeroplan

Our methodology: how we choose the best credit cards

Frequently asked questions

Why should I get a credit card?


How do I apply for a credit card?


What is the best credit card to build credit?


What is the best credit card for foreign transactions?


What is the best credit card for students?


What is the best cash back credit card?


What is the best credit card for travel?


How does credit card interest work?


Best credit card per category

Best rewards credit card and best credit card for groceries

featured

5.0 Ratehub rated

Best for Groceries & dining

First year reward
$660/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $156 annual fee

Earn rewards

1pt – 5pts / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

15,000 bonus points (a $150 value)

Best travel credit card, best no foreign transaction fee card, and best credit card for lounge access

featured

4.0 Ratehub rated

Best for Travel perks

First year reward
$715/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $150 annual fee

Earn rewards

1pt – 3pts / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

30,000 bonus points (a $300 value)

Honourable mention for best travel credit card

featured

4.5 Ratehub rated

Best for Groceries & dining

First year reward
$980/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $120 annual fee

Earn rewards

1pt – 5pts / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

40,000 bonus points (a $400 value)

Best cash back credit card and best credit card for gas

featured

4.5 Ratehub rated

Best for Groceries & gas

First year reward
$635/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $120 annual fee

Earn rewards

1% – 4% earn rate

Welcome bonus

$200

Best no fee cash back credit card

featured

4.5 Ratehub rated

Best for Flexible spending

First year reward
$647/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $0 annual fee

Earn rewards

2% – 10% earn rate

Welcome bonus

$100

Best low interest credit card and best balance transfer credit card

featured

4.5 Ratehub rated
12.99%

Purchase interest rate

Pay $5/mo

Based on a credit balance of $500

Annual fee

$0

Best credit card for building credit and best secured credit card

featured

3.0 Ratehub rated

Best for Everyday spending

First year reward
$132/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $0 annual fee

Earn rewards

0.5% – 15% earn rate

Best credit card for travel insurance

featured

4.5 Ratehub rated

Best for Groceries & dining

First year reward
$980/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $120 annual fee

Earn rewards

1pt – 5pts / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

40,000 bonus points (a $400 value)

Best student credit card

featured

Best for Groceries

First year reward
$331/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $0 annual fee

Earn rewards

0.5% – 3% earn rate

Best business credit card

featured

First year reward
$1,862/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $99 annual fee

Earn rewards

1pt – 10pts / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

67,000 bonus points (a $670 value)

Best hotel credit cards

featured

Best for Hotel stays

First year reward
$1,433/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $120 annual fee

Earn rewards

2pts – 5pts / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

80,000 bonus points (a $936 value)

Best credit card for Aeroplan

featured

3.5 Ratehub rated

Best for Aeroplan Points

First year reward
$1,216/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $139 annual fee

Earn rewards

1pt – 1.5pts / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

30,000 bonus points (a $600 value)

Anniversary bonus

10,000 pts (a $200 value)

Honourable mention for best credit card for Aeroplan

featured

5.0 Ratehub rated

Best for Groceries & dining

First year reward
$660/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $156 annual fee

Earn rewards

1pt – 5pts / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

15,000 bonus points (a $150 value)

Types of credit cards

1. 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.
  • Cash back: Another popular rewards card option is the cash back credit card. Unlike cards that 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. 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.

 

2. Low-interest and balance transfers cards

While it's not recommended, those who tend to 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. 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.

 

3. Secured credit 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 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 that will determine your ability to be approved for future credit cards, mortgages, lines of 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. Here are a few things to look out for when assessing credit cards in Canada:

1. 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 its 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 types 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.

4. Welcome offers and incentives: Most credit cards offer signup incentives designed to entice new customers. These can range from a waived annual fee for the first year, accelerated rewards for a limited time, and an ultra-low promotional interest rate, among other things. Shop around and compare welcome offers to see which one offers the best value. Taking advantage of the right promotion at the right time could net you some serious savings. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that signup offers and promotions don't last forever. Eventually, the card's typical annual fee, interest rate, and reward system will kick in, so make sure you are going to be alright with those before signing up. 

5. Eligibility: Getting rejected for a credit card can not only hurt your pride but your credit score, too. That's why it is important to have a good idea of your eligibility for a card before applying. Pay attention to the card's minimum income requirement and make sure you meet or exceed it. Also, make sure your credit is in good standing. To find out which cards you'll be most likely to get approved for before applying, use our handy credit card CardFinder and eligibility checker.

 

Everyone's needs are different, so view the elements above in terms of what most benefits you and what you can afford. 

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