It used to be that if you wanted to earn rewards with your credit card, you had to pay an annual fee. This unlocked a variety of benefits including the ability to reap the rewards — either cash back or points — on every dollar spent. The downside to having to pay an annual fee was is that if you don’t spend enough to offset the fee, a rewards credit card doesn’t make financial sense.
Many Canadians can’t justify spending up to $100 per year for the privilege of earning rewards. Whether you’re a careful budgeter, a newcomer to Canada, or on a reduced income, there are many reasons why a fee-based rewards credit card doesn’t make financial sense.
Fortunately, there are several credit cards that have no fee but still allow you to earn rewards and access a variety of additional benefits such as exclusive events and insurance. Here are Ratebub.ca’s picks for the best no fee credit cards in Canada for 2018. No matter whether you prefer cash back, rewards, spend a lot on groceries, or you’re looking to pay off debt, we’ve got a credit card in the mix that’s right for you.
Ratehub.ca’s best no fee credit cards in Canada
- Best no fee cash-back cards: SimplyCash Card from American Express, Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
- Best no fee travel rewards card: Blue Sky Credit Card
- Best no fee card for consolidating and paying off debt: MBNA Platinum Plus Mastercard
- Best no fee low interest card: American Express Essential Credit Card
- Best no fee store card: PC Financial Mastercard
- Best no fee card with no foreign exchange fee: Home Trust Preferred Visa
Best no fee cash-back cards
If you’re looking for a cash back credit card lets you earn money back on every dollar you spend, the SimplyCash Card from American Express is an excellent choice. During the first six months you’ll earn a special welcome rate of 5% cash back for every dollar you spend on gas, groceries, and restaurants, up to a limit of $250 cash back. After that you’ll get 1.25% cash back on all purchases, with no limit on how much cash back you can earn, which makes the SimplyCash Card from American Express an excellent all-around credit card.
There’s no minimum annual income required to apply for this credit card, and when you apply, you can take advantage of a special 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers. This introductory rate lasts for six months and is only available at the time of online application.
Even though it’s a cash-back card, the SimplyCash Card from American Express offers a variety of insurance benefits including travel accident insurance, car rental collision insurance, and special coverage for any purchases made with this credit card including zero liability coverage, extended warranty, and purchase assurance.
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card has proven to be the stand-out all round no fee cash back credit card of 2017, and will most likely maintain its popularity in 2018. When you charge purchases on this credit card, you’ll earn 2% cash back in two spending categories of your choice, and 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.
Cash back is refunded monthly as a credit to your statement. If you choose to have your cash back earnings deposited into a Tangerine savings account, you’ll get a third spending category earning 2% cash back. The available categories are groceries, restaurants, gas, drugstore, entertainment, furniture, hotel-motel, recurring bills, home improvement, public transportation, and parking. The category selection options make this credit card highly customizable for your unique spending patterns, which is why this credit card has proven to be so popular.
There’s no minimum annual income requirement for the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, no limit on the rewards you can earn, and free supplementary cards are available to additional users on the same account.
Best no fee travel card
If you’re looking for a travel rewards credit card, the Blue Sky Credit Card is a good option in 2018. This American Express credit card allows you to earn 1.25 points per dollar spent on all purchases. When you charge your first $500 on this credit card (within three months) you’ll earn a bonus 10,000 points (worth $100 in travel rewards). Every 100 points is worth $1 in rewards, and can be redeemed in increments of 5,000 starting with little as 10,000 points. The Blue Sky Credit Card has no blackout dates, no seat restrictions and no travel restrictions.
Best no fee card for consolidating and paying off debt
One of your goals in 2018 might be to finally pay off that credit card debt that has been lingering too long on your current credit card. If this is the case, consider a balance transfer credit card as a way to access ultra-low interest rates and speed up your debt repayment process.
The MBNA Platinum Plus Mastercard is a good option as it offers 0% interest for the first 12 months, with a 1% balance transfer fee. Once the promotional period expires the interest rate jumps to 21.99%, so make sure to pay off the entire balance within the first 12 months. To apply for this credit card you’ll need a personal or household income of at least $35,000 per year.
Best no fee low interest card
If you’re looking for a low-interest credit card to round out your financial products, the American Express Essential Credit Card is a great option. This no fee credit card has a low minimum annual income requirement of $15,000 per year and currently offers the lowest fixed interest rate on the market for purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers at 8.99% across the board. If you want to pay off existing credit card debt, you can take advantage of the card’s balance transfer offer: a 1.99% interest rate in transferred balances for the first six months.
While this card may be no-frills, it still offers some insurance coverage in the form of travel accident insurance, purchase assurance, and extended warranty. You’ll also get access to American Express Invites, which includes special offers such as ticket pre-sales and reserved seats for concerts, movie screenings, and culinary events.
Best no fee store card
The PC Financial Mastercard is one of three PC Financial credit cards that offer PC Optimum points for every dollar spent on the card. This card has no annual minimum income requirement and no annual fee, and gives you 25 PC Optimum points for every $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix, 10 points for every $1 spent at Loblaw-branded stores, and 10 points per dollar everywhere else. You’ll also earn 20 points per purchased litre of gasoline or diesel at Esso. Every 1,000 points = $1, and it only takes a minimum of 10,000 points to redeem $10 off your purchase.
Best no fee card with no foreign exchange fee
Home Trust Preferred Visa
The Home Trust Preferred Visa is the only no-fee card with no foreign exchange fee in Canada. It also comes with the additional benefits of 1% cash-back on all spending with no limits and a free Roadside Assist membership. This is the perfect card to supplement your primary card(s) for travelling abroad.
- The Best Credit Cards in Canada for 2018
- Better Together: 3 Credit Card Combinations to Maximize Your Rewards
- Low Interest or Balance Transfer: Choose the Best Credit Card to Help Pay Off Your Debt