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Canada's 8 best no fee credit cards 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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Jordann Brown

Bonus offers, points systems, travel perks: there are no shortage of rewards offered by credit card providers for choosing certain cards. While those incentives may be tempting, they also don't come for free. Any card offering you a slew of goodies is going to have an annual fee attached. If you're a frequent card user and have the income to handle paying yearly for your credit card, this shouldn't be a problem. But what if you only use your card occasionally and for very basic things? Or you're on a budget that won't allow for an annual fee?

The good news is there are several no fee credit cards that still deliver great value through cash back, travel rewards, low interest rates, or no foreign transaction fees. While their rewards might not be as fancy, the fact that they're free to carry is a huge selling point.

If you can’t justify paying an annual fee, check out our picks of the best no fee credit cards in Canada that made the cut for 2022.

The best rewards cards for

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Best No Fee Cash Back Credit Card:

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Learn more about the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Best No Fee Rewards Credit Card:

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

Learn more about the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

Best No Fee Low Interest Credit Card:

MBNA True Line Mastercard

Learn more about the MBNA True Line Mastercard

Best No Fee Credit Card for Foreign Transactions:

BRIM Mastercard

Learn more about the BRIM Mastercard

Best No Fee Credit Card for Students:

BMO® CashBack® Mastercard® - Student

Learn more about the BMO CashBack Mastercard (student)

Best No Fee Store Credit Card:

PC Financial® World Elite Mastercard® and Triangle™ Mastercard®

Learn more about the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard

Also consider:

Neo Financial Mastercard

Learn more about the Neo Financial Mastercard

American Express® Green Card

Learn more about the American Express Green Card

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

When getting a no fee credit card is the right move


You’re getting your first credit card

If you’re looking to get your first-ever credit card, there’s a good chance you’re in school or just starting out in your career. If that’s the case, your priority should be to find a credit card that’s easy to get, free to carry, and can help build your credit history – not chase premium rewards or perks on an annual fee card.

If you're new to owning a card and nervous about accumulating debt, choosing a no fee card with a low APR (interest rate) may be especially wise. Interest can easily grow if you're an inexperienced user, saddling you with bad credit that can follow you for years. With lower interest, not only will you avoid an annual fee, but you'll have a better chance at paying off your bill in full every month and staying out of debt.

With a no fee card, you can focus more of your efforts on paying off your balance every month and managing your spending. Regularly paying off your balance in full can improve your credit score and ensure you avoid racking up any interest charges.

By starting out with a no fee credit card, you can also keep the card active at no cost even if you don’t use it much or decide to upgrade to a more premium credit card down the line.

Finally, it’s worth noting that several credit cards that do charge annual fees come with qualification requirements, like an established credit history, a great credit score, and a minimum income of $60,000 to $80,000 – all or some of which may be out of reach if you’re a student or just entered the job market.


You won’t be using your credit card often

A credit card with an annual fee can pay for itself if you use it frequently enough. Since they almost always offer more rewards on your spending compared to their no fee alternatives, it can often be worth it to pay a yearly charge in return for all the savings and benefits you'll receive. However, if you rarely use credit and don’t spend a lot in specific bonus categories, you likely won’t earn enough rewards to offset the fee, leaving you to pay extra to use a card that isn't giving you much in return. You typically need to spend at least $500 a month in order for a card with an annual fee to make sense. If you don’t, a no fee card could be a better fit for you.


Elite perks and insurance aren’t top of mind

Many annual fee cards come with great perks that include everything from travel medical insurance and lost-baggage coverage to free hotel upgrades, complimentary airport lounge access, and more. These perks – usually baked into the cost of a card’s annual fee – can offer great value if you use them regularly, especially considering they could cost several hundred dollars more if you had to pay for them out of pocket. That said, if you aren’t a frequent traveller or these types of perks aren’t of interest to you, a card with no annual fee would be a better fit. After all, why pay for perks you won’t be using.


The benefits on a no fee card may be enough

Although credit cards with annual fees generally offer a wider array of perks, most no fee cards still do come with complimentary extended warranties and purchase protection.

Some no fee cards even come with rental car insurance, mobile device insurance, and roadside assistance. Depending on your priorities, those perks may be all you need. Plus, if you’re not an avid traveller, you probably don’t need the additional perks that come with an annual fee rewards card in the first place.


You want to adopt a two-card strategy

In some cases, it makes sense to pair a card with an annual fee with another card that doesn’t have a fee to earn additional rewards.

For instance, if you only use the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite ($139 annual fee) you would earn a strong 3% cash back on groceries and recurring bill payments but just 1% on your spending at restaurants and all other purchases. However, if you also picked up the no annual fee Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, you could use the Tangerine Card to earn 2% at restaurants and stick to paying with the TD Card at groceries to earn 3%. By pairing these two cards, you can earn double the rewards when dining out all while not paying any additional annual fees.

Another reason to pick up a second no fee credit card is if you have an American Express Card and need to carry an additional no fee Visa or Mastercard as a backup in case a merchant doesn’t accept Amex. The same holds true if your main credit card is issued by Visa but you regularly shop from Costco, since you may want to consider getting an additional no fee Mastercard credit card to use at the warehouse retailer.


You’re looking for a store card

Many retailers offer a store or co-branded credit card, which are best for frequent shoppers at these stores. These cards come with unique perks, such as the opportunity to earn more points or discounts for using your card. For instance, Triangle Mastercard holders can earn more Canadian Tire Money than regular Triangle Rewards members when they shop at Canadian Tire, Mark’s, or Sport Chek. And people with a PC Financial Mastercard can earn more points at Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, and Esso than regular PC Optimum members. What’s great about most store credit cards (including all those mentioned above) is they don’t charge an annual fee.


No-fee credit cards: pros and cons


No annual fees affecting your rewards

While it's true that no-fee cards can't offer the level of lucrative rewards featured on cards with $120+ annual fees, many still come with the ability to earn points or cash back, and that can reap significant yields if you use the card frequently and responsibly. With a no-fee card, you won't have a yearly charge eating into your rewards and lowering their value, leaving 100% of it to you.

They're great for your credit history

Because no-fee cards are virtually free to own, you'll never have to face the question of whether or not you can afford to keep it. This is great news for your credit history, as the longer you can keep a credit card account open and in good standing, the better you look to credit bureaus and potential lenders. Just remember to use it at least once a year to keep it active.

They'll save you money

This last one should be obvious, but opting for a no-fee rewards card instead of one with an annual fee means one less bill to pay, and that can make all the difference for families or those living on a fixed income. The opportunity to use and build credit should be available to those of all different income levels, and no-fee credit cards help provide that.



Not as many benefits

If you're in the market for a credit card with tons of extra bells and whistles, a no-fee card may not give you what you're looking for. Annual fees are how credit card providers justify all those beautiful perks, so a no-fee card will consequently feature less of them. That being said, if you're simply looking for an everyday card to help you build credit or earn a little bit of cash back on groceries and gas, this may be less of a concern.

No travel perks

Those looking for a no-fee travel card won't find many options, as extra benefits like travel insurance and airline/hotel rewards typically come with heftier annual fees.


Also read:

Do no fee credit cards come with rewards?

What is the best no fee credit card for students?

Why should I get a no fee credit card?

What is the best no fee cash back card?

No fee cards vs “first-year free” cards

Can anyone get a no-fee card?

What is the best no fee Mastercard?

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