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The best Visa credit cards in Canada for 2023
Whether you’re looking for a travel credit card, an everyday cash-back card, a low-interest card, or something else, Visa has got you covered. The largest among Canada’s three major credit card networks (including Mastercard and American Express), Visa offers a wide variety of credit products to fit every need. Let’s take a look at the best Visa cards in Canada.
Best overall Visa card
Offering the highest earn rate for a non-travel card on this list, the BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite offers a whopping five times the BMO points per dollar on virtually all types of food and transit purchases - from groceries and restaurants to gas, ride shares, taxis, and public transit. No other Visa card in Canada earns more rewards per dollar on restaurants and daily transit.
For travellers, the BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite’s flexibility is something to take note of. BMO points can be redeemed for flights on virtually any airline (with no blackout dates or restrictions) in increments of 400 points for one dollar. And, if using your points for travel isn’t what you’re looking for, you can also redeem them for statement credits in increments of 200 points per dollar.
And while the card does have an annual fee of $120, it also comes with a yearly $50 credit which you can use to offset the fee, bringing it down to $70.
- 5x the points on virtually all food and transit purchases - the best value in these categories of any card in Canada
- Get a 10% boost to your earn rate by adding an authorized user
- Welcome offer - earn up to 70,000 points ($467 value), 5 times the points on gas, dining, groceries and transit for the first year, and 10% more points when you add an authorized user. Also, earn a $50 lifestyle credit.
- Flexible redemption: use your points to book travel on virtually any airline or for statement credits
- Yearly $50 credit
- Outside of food and transit, you’ll only earn one point per dollar on other purchases
- The card’s travel insurance benefits aren’t that extensive, lacking perks such as flight delay and lost/delayed baggage insurance
- Your points must be redeemed through the BMO Rewards Centre, which does offer access to virtually all major airlines, but also means you can’t use points to book flights directly from an airline or third-party travel website
Best cash back Visa card
Offering an impressive 4% cash back on both groceries and gas - two of the most popular spending categories among Canadian households - the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite also gets you 2% cash back on dining/food delivery, daily transit and recurring payments, making it one of the most solid cash back cards on the market today.
Points can be flexibly redeemed in increments of $25 or more, and you’ll also receive some key insurance benefits, including out-of-province/country travel emergency medical insurance and mobile device insurance.
Plus, drivers can link and use their CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite card with Journie Rewards to automatically save up to 10 cents per litre at participating Pioneer, Fas Gas, Ultramar and Chevron gas stations.
- Digital-only welcome bonus: earn 15% cash back welcome bonus of up to $300 (first 4 statements).
- Earns 4% cash back on both groceries and gas - two of the most popular spending categories among Canadian households
- Get 2% cash back on everything from dining/food deliveries and daily transit to recurring bill payments
- Cardholders receive access to some key insurance benefits including out-of-province/country travel emergency medical insurance and mobile device insurance
- Redeem cash back flexibly on your schedule in increments of at least $25
- Link and use your CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card with Journie Rewards to automatically save up to 10 cents per litre† at participating Pioneer, Fas Gas, Ultramar and Chevron gas stations
- Lacks comprehensive travel insurance benefits including flight delay and lost/delayed baggage insurance (perks some premium cardholders have come to expect)
Another formidable entry into this category is the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite, which offers 4% cash back on groceries and recurring bills and subscription purchases (including streaming subscriptions like Netflix and Spotify), plus 2% on virtually all types of transit (gas, rideshares, taxis, public transportation) and 1% cash back on all other purchases with no cash back limit.
The card also comes with complimentary benefits including mobile device insurance (up to $1,000 on newly-purchased smartphones) and emergency out-of-province/country travel insurance.
- Welcome offer - Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases).
- Earns 4% cash back on groceries year-round. It also earns 4% on recurring bill payments - which can encompass a slew of purchases from smartphone bills and cable to streaming subscriptions (think Netflix and Spotify)
- Earns 2% cash back on virtually all types of transit - from gas and rideshares to public transit and taxis
- Mobile device insurance (up to $1,000 on newly-purchased smartphones) and emergency out-of-province/country travel insurance are included as complimentary benefits
- Cash back is only redeemable once per calendar year in September
Best no-fee Visa card
The Home Trust Preferred Visa comes with no annual fee and earns a flat-rate of 1% cash back across all purchases made in Canadian currency. Plus, unlike many Canadian credit cards, it has no foreign transaction fees - a big drawing point for frequent travelers or those who shop online in a foreign currency such as USD.
The card also comes with an insurance feature not seen on many cards of this type - complimentary car rental collision insurance. There’s also no income requirement, meaning lower-income applicants with a solid credit score should find it easier to be approved.
As this is a no-fee card, you won’t find as many bells and whistles as those with a yearly charge, but this card’s unique features make it stand out.
- Earns a flat 1% cash back on everything you buy in a Canadian currency
- It’s one of the few Canadian credit cards to completely waive its foreign transaction fees (unlike most cards, you won’t owe an additional 2.5% fee when making a purchase in a foreign currency - either while abroad or when shopping online)
- Complimentary car rental collision insurance is included, a perk rarely offered by no-fee cards
- Applicants won’t need to meet a specific income requirement to be considered eligible
- If you don’t charge at least one purchase on the card over a consecutive 365-day period, you’ll owe a $12 inactivity fee. The silver lining: this small fee is easily avoidable by making at least one purchase on the card every year
- Cardholders can make a maximum of 10 transactions per day with the Home Trust Preferred Visa
- The card’s earn rate doesn’t apply to purchases made in foreign currency
Best airline Visa card
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 biggest benefit of this card is that if you use your Aeroplan card in conjunction with this card at participating retailers, you’ll get double the points.
Air Canada travellers can also enjoy perks like complimentary checked baggage and the chance to earn Status Qualifying Miles to reach Aeroplan Elite Status more quickly. In addition, the card comes with an extensive travel insurance package covering everything from flight cancellation/delay to emergency medical. As an added bonus, users who enroll for NEXUS will get an application fee rebate (up to $100 CAD) every 48 months. Additional Cardholders can also take advantage of this NEXUS fee rebate.
- Earns between 1 and 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar on everyday purchases.
- 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
- The card’s stacked digital-only welcome offer allows new cardholder to Not available to display at the moment.
- 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
- 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
Best Visa travel card
Offering a fantastic earn rate, thorough insurance package, and one of the best welcome bonuses of any travel credit card in Canada right now, the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite takes our prize for best Visa travel card.
Users will still get eight TD points per dollar on travel purchases through Expedia for TD, and two points per dollar on all other purchases. That’s a great earn rate that will keep the card useful long after the welcome bonus ends. TD points are also extremely straightforward: one point equals 0.5 cents in travel rewards, and your points never expire.
The card also comes with a thorough travel insurance package covering everything from medical emergencies (up to $2 million) to lost/delayed baggage.
- TD Rewards Points are extremely flexible and easy-to-understand. 1 point equals 0.5 cents in travel rewards, and thanks to TD’s partnership with Expedia, points can be redeemed for virtually anything available on one of the world’s largest travel search engines
- Earn 8 TD Points per dollar (equivalent to 4.5% in travel rewards) on purchases booked online through the Expedia for TD website - one of the highest earn rates on travel spending on any travel card in Canada
- Earn a flat 2 TD Points per dollar (equivalent to 1.5% in travel rewards) on all everyday purchases
- For a limited time, cardholders can Not available to display at the moment.
- Gain comprehensive travel insurance coverage with up to $2,000,000 in travel medical emergency coverage for trips up to 21 days
- While the TD First Class Visa Infinite offers points bonus on travel spending as well as a strong flat earn rate on everything else, it doesn’t offer additional points on popular spending categories like groceries, gas, or dining
- Unlike other travel cards, the card doesn’t offer any complimentary airport lounge access, instead opting for an annual discount
- The card charges foreign transaction fees (2.5%)
For those looking for a flexible travel card boasting great perks, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite warrants a look.
The card comes with some excellent benefits, including no foreign transaction fees, a complimentary membership to Priority Pass’ 1300-plus airport lounges with six free visits per year. It should be noted that most cards offering this level of lounge benefits charge up to $300 in annual fees, meanwhile, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite’s annual fee is just $150. There’s also the card’s impressive travel insurance package, covering emergency medical, flight delay and more.
Scotia Rewards Points are also flexible and easy-to-understand: 5,000 points always equals $50, and you can redeem them to book travel directly from an airline or travel website (so you aren’t forced to rely on Scotia’s in-house travel agency).
The card also earns 3x the points on purchases at participating grocery stores like Sobey's, IGA, and FreshCo, 2x the points on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment purchases, and daily transit, and one point per dollar on everything else.
- Complimentary membership to Priority Pass (access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide) with six free visits per year - many cards offering this come with a much higher annual fee.
- No foreign transaction fees on purchases (adds up to 2.5% savings on all purchases made in a non-Canadian currency) - making it the only card in Canada to combine lounge access and no fx fee perks.
- Flexible point system: points can be used to book travel directly from an airline or agency, and can also be redeemed retroactively towards travel purchases (allowing you to use points to offset the cost of a travel expense at a later date, up to 12 months after it was booked).
- Scotia Rewards Points values are easy to calculate. There are no complicated rewards charts and 5,000 points always equal $50 in travel savings (1 cent per point / 1% in travel rewards).
- You can add your first authorized user for free.
- New cardholders who sign up can earn up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points ($400 value). Offer ends 30 April 2023.
- Comprehensive travel insurance benefits including emergency out-of-province/country emergency medical insurance, flight delay, travel accident insurance, and hotel/motel burglary insurance.
- Annual fee of $150 may be prohibitive to some users
Best Visa card for students
The TD Rewards Visa card is ideal for students - between its low-interest promotional offer, no annual fee, and earn rates on things like groceries, fast food and travel, it’s an ideal card for young users just starting their credit journey.
Students can also earn three TD Rewards points for every $1 they spend on groceries, restaurants, and fast food, as well as four points per $1 on travel purchases made through the Expedia for TD website and one point per $1 on everything else. Loyal Starbucks customers can also earn 50% more points by linking their card with their Starbucks loyalty account.
Points don’t expire and can be redeemed on gift cards, cash back, and more, providing much-needed flexibility.
- Welcome bonus - a 9.99% promotional interest rate for the first 6 months. Apply by May 28, 2023.
- No annual fee and no charge for additional cardholders
- Earn 4 TD Rewards points for every $1 spent on groceries, restaurants and fast food purchases
- Earn 3 TD Rewards points for every $1 spent on travel purchases made through the Expedia For TD website
- Earn 2 TD Rewards points for every $1 spent on regularly recurring bill payments
- Earn 1 TD Rewards point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
- Earn 50% more TD Rewards points at Starbucks
- Points can also be redeemed for cash back, gift cards and more
- TD Rewards Points won’t expire as long as an account is open and in good standing
- Use the TD Rewards Visa for qualifying car rentals at Avis Rent-A-Car and Budget Rent-A-Car and save a minimum of 10% off the lowest available base rates in Canada and the U.S. and a minimum of 5% off the lowest available base rates internationally
- Students could lose track of when the promotional interest rate ends - causing them to get hit with a higher APR
Best Visa card for improving credit
Whether you’re trying to transfer a balance or just want a low-interest credit card for everyday use, the CIBC Select Visa may be up your alley.
The card’s current signup offer allows new users 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. While other balance transfer cards may offer 0% interest on their promotions, it’s rare to see a window as long as 10 months - something that sets this card apart.
Beyond the welcome offer, the CIBC Select Visa’s standard interest rate is still well below average at 13.99%. It’s also fixed, meaning it won’t fluctuate as a result of your credit rating or the bank’s prime lending rate.
As with most balance transfer credit cards, the Select Visa doesn’t offer much in the way of extra perks, but it does feature $100,000 common carrier accident insurance and the opportunity to save up to 10 cents/litre at participating Pioneer, Fas Gas, Ultramar and Chevron gas stations.
- Below average APR across the board on purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances
- Welcome bonus - 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.
- The interest rate is fixed and won’t fluctuate regardless of your credit rating or Bank’s prime lending rate
- Includes up to $100,000 in common carrier accident insurance.
- Link and use your CIBC Select Visa Card with Journie Rewards to automatically save up to 10 cents per litre at participating Pioneer, Fas Gas, Ultramar and Chevron gas stations
- It has stiff competition from other lower interest cards from the likes of MBNA True Line Mastercard and BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
Card summary (+/-)
Learn more about Visa credit cards
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Visa credit cards overview
Visa is the largest of the three major credit card companies in Canada. Unlike American Express, Visa doesn’t issue credit cards on its site, nor does it offer any credit cards that are solely under the Visa name. Instead, your Visa will be issued by a bank, credit union or retailer, meaning you’ll see the issuer’s logo + the Visa logo on your card. With that being said, Visa does divide its credit card products under four categories: Classic, Gold, Platinum, Infinite, and Infinite Privilege.
Visa Classic is an ideal first credit card for you to get, either as a student, young professional or someone trying to establish credit. They don’t typically come with many perks or rewards, but their benefits include zero liability and lost/stolen card reporting. Visa Classic cards also typically have a low or no annual fees and little to no income requirements.
Visa Infinite program
There are well over a dozen Visa cards attached to its unique brand recognition program: Visa Infinite. Visa Infinite cardholders have access to special offers and unique opportunities, such as a long list of hotel upgrades, invitations to dinners hosted by renowned chefs, advance tickets and VIP lounge access at TIFF, discounts on tickets to sporting events and complimentary concierge services. They also come with travel insurance policies, travel medical insurance, zero liability, emergency card replacement and cash service, and more.
And for those looking for even more benefits and perks (providing they qualify, that is), there’s the Visa Infinite Privilege series of cards.
Users in the Infinite Privilege program enjoy all the same extras as Infinite cardholders, but have access to even more. Namely:
- Global Airport Lounge Access with 6 complimentary visits at Priority Pass lounges,
- Dedicated VIP security fast track lane at Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver International airports,
- Airport parking at Ottawa and Vancouver International airports, and
- Valet discounts at Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver International airports.
The two programs also have some differences when it comes to eligibility and cost. Visa Infinite cards, for instance, typically come with a $120-$150 annual fee and a minimum income requirement of around $60,000. Cards in the Infinite Privilege program, however, can carry annual fees of $399-$599 and are only eligible to those with a household income of $150,000 or higher.
Before you make a purchase with your Visa Infinite card, check out the Visa Infinite website to see if there are any offers you can take advantage of first!
Those using their Visa card for large-scale purchases can use Visa Installments to pay for qualifying purchases in smaller increments over a set period of time. When paying with their Visa, customers can now find out if their purchase qualifies for Visa Installments and select a payment plan that works for them.
There is no setup required, and users choosing this option won't have to undergo a credit check or sign up for a separate account or line of credit. Customers simply make their payments each month through their normal credit card statement.
Each participating financial institution offers different Visa Installment plans, so consult your bank for details regarding their particular minimum qualifying amount and terms available.
Visa credit card partnerships
Aside from the Visa Infinite program, some of Visa’s current credit card partnerships include:
CIBC and TD offer a total of 7 personal Aeroplan Visa travel rewards credit cards (4 and 3 respectively). CIBC offers two entry-level Aeroplan Visa Cards for students and general cardholders, TD offers the mid-tier Aeroplan Visa Platinum, while both banks provide near-identical versions of the Aeroplan Visa Infinite and Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege.
The RBC British Airways Visa Infinite card comes that lets you earn triple Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1.5 Avios for every $1 spent anywhere else. Avios can be redeemed for travel anywhere British Airways flies
The RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum card comes with a complimentary Green Tier membership into the Marco Polo Club, and lets you earn double Asia Miles for every $1 spent on Cathay Pacific purchases and 1 Asia Mile for every $1 spent anywhere else. Asia Miles can be redeemed for flights, upgrades and more.
Remember that all of these credit cards will be issued by a bank, credit union or retailer – not by Visa itself. As well, some Visa credit cards may also help you earn points specific to a bank’s own branded rewards program (like CIBC Aventura or RBC Avion), of which there are too many to list here.
More on Visa
Headquartered in Foster City, California, Visa is the largest credit card company in the world. In fact, The Nilson Report showed that Visa held 60.5% of the market share of purchase transactions made worldwide in 2013. Today, Visa operates in more than 200 countries, and is well known for its Visa credit card and Visa debit card products.
Learn more about Visa credit cards
Natasha Macmillan, Business Director of Everyday Banking
With over a decade of experience in the finance industry, Natasha works closely with Canada's top financial institutions - from banks to credit unions - to help Ratehub.ca's 1,200,000 monthly users get matched with the right banking products. read more
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