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The best Visa credit cards in Canada

Looking for Visa credit cards? Why not compare your options? In under 2 minutes, we’ll narrow down your best card matches from multiple banks.

Compare Canada's best Visa credit cards

The best rewards cards for
  • all reward types
  • cash back
  • store credit
  • travel
with
  • any annual fee
  • no annual fee
CardBest used forAnnual feeRewards

Food & transit

$120

  • 5 pts/$1 for gas, groceries, restaurants
  • 1 pts/$1 for other

Travel perks

$139

  • 2 pts/$1 for entertainment, groceries, restaurants, daily transit
  • 1 pts/$1 for other

Groceries & bills

$120

  • 4% bills, groceries
  • 2% gas, Public transit, taxis, and rideshares
  • 1% other

Aeroplan Points

$139

  • 1.5 pts/$1 for eligible, gas, groceries and Air Canada purchases.
  • 1 pts/$1 for everything else

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Best Visa credit cards in Canada for 2021

 

1. Best Visa credit card for dining and transit spending

Winner: BMO eclipse Visa Infinite 

Why it's one of the best

  • You’ll earn a whopping 5X the BMO points (the equivalent of 3.5% in travel rewards) per dollar spent on virtually all types of food and transit purchases - from groceries and restaurants to gas, rideshares, taxis, and public transit. No other Visa card in Canada earns more rewards per dollar on restaurants and daily transit.
  • BMO Points are extremely flexible and can be redeemed for flights on virtually any airline with no blackout dates or seat restrictions at a rate of 140 points for $1 (0.71 cents per point / 0.71% in travel rewards). BMO Points can also be redeemed for statement credits (similar to cash back) in increments of 200 points for $1 (0.5 cents per point / 0.05%).
  • Cardholders will receive a $50 credit every year in January, which effectively helps to cut down the card's $120 annual fee down to $70.
  • New cardholders can earn up to 40,000 BMO points ($285 travel value / $200 cash value) within your first year, along with a first year annual fee waiver ($120 value).
  • When adding an authorized user, the card’s earn rate will get a 10% boost. That means you’ll go from earning 5 BMO points per dollar on food and transit to 5.5 points. 
  • Mobile device insurance (up to $1,000 on newly-purchased smartphones) and emergency out-of-province/country travel insurance are included as complimentary benefits. 

Are there any drawbacks?

  • You’ll earn just 1 BMO point per dollar spent on all other generic, everyday purchases (not including food and daily transit). That’s the equivalent of 0.71% in travel rewards / 0.5% in statement credits, which is below the average of at least 1% earned by most comparable cards. 
  • While the card does provide travel medical emergency coverage, its insurance benefits aren’t comprehensive and lacks perks like flight delay and lost/delayed baggage insurance.
  • You must redeem points using 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.

 

2. Best Visa cash back credit cards

Winner: CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite

Why is it one of the best?

  • Get the annual fee rebated for the first year and rack up 10% cash back for your first months four months (up to $200 in bonus cash back). Offer exclusive to newly-approved cardholders. 
  • 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.

Any drawbacks?

  • Lacks comprehensive travel insurance benefits including flight delay and lost/delayed baggage insurance (perks some premium cardholders have come to expect).

 

Also consider: Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite

Why is it one of the best?

  • New cardholders who sign up by February 28, 2021 can earn over $300 in bonuses ($120 annual fee waiver for the first year and 10% cash back for the first three months; up to $200).
  • 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.

Are there any drawbacks?

  • Cash back is only redeemable once per calendar year in September.

 

3. Best no fee Visa credit card

Winner: Home Trust Preferred Visa

Why is it one of the best?

  • 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.

Are there any drawbacks?

  • 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.

 

4. Best Visa airline credit card

Winner: TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

Why is it one of the best?

  • 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).
  • Aeroplan points don’t have a consistent value, and when optimizing the program’s rewards chart, cardholders can potentially net up to 2 cents per point depending on travel routes (or even higher returns on business class flights). That’s well beyond the conventional 0.5-1 cent per point offered by many other credit card travel programs.
  • Aeroplan’s unique stop-over policy can help cardholders further maximize points values (for an incremental 5,000 points, you can add one stopover on each one-way flight and see more destinations; certain restrictions apply, like the fact stopovers aren’t permitted within Canada or the US).
  • Access to Air Canada perks including: first bag checked free on Air Canada flights for the primary cardholder and up to eight travel companions (up to $30 in savings per traveller on flights across Canada and the US); and the ability to earn credits on everyday purchases that can help cardholders get closer to achieving elite airline status. 
  • The card’s stacked welcome offer includes up to 25,000 bonus points (a $500 value) and an Air Canada Buddy Pass (book an economy flight and receive a second complimentary “companion” ticket; $0 base fare, just pay taxes and fees. Valid for 1 year). Must apply by December 5, 2021.
  • 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.
  • This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here

Are there any drawbacks?

  • 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.

 

5. Best Visa credit card for travel perks

Winner: Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

Why is it one of the best?

  • The card includes a complimentary membership to Priority Pass (access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide) with six free visits per year. Most rewards cards that offer comparable lounge benefits charge up to $300 in annual fees, meanwhile, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite’s annual fee is just $139.
  • The card waives its 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.
  • Scotia Rewards Points are extremely flexible, and can be used to book travel directly from an airline or travel website (so you aren’t forced to rely on Scotia’s in-house travel agency). Points can also be redeemed retroactively towards travel purchases (allowing you 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 by February 28, 2021 can earn 20,000 bonus points.
  • All cardholders can unlock an additional 10,000 bonus points ($100 travel value) every year, provided you spend at least $40,000 on the card annually.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance benefits including emergency out-of-province/country emergency medical insurance, flight delay, travel accident insurance, and hotel/motel burglary insurance.

Are there any drawbacks?

  • While the card’s perks are impressive, its everyday rewards rate (1 to 2 Scotia Points per dollar spent) isn’t as compelling.

 

6. Best general visa travel card

Winner: TD First Class Visa Infinite 

Why is it one of the best?

  • 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 9 TD Points per dollar (equivalent to 4.5% in travel rewards) on purchases booked online through the ExpediaforTD website - one of the highest earn rates on travel spending on any travel card in Canada. 
  • Earn a flat 3 TD Points per dollar (equivalent to 1.5% in travel rewards) on all everyday purchases.
  • For a limited time, cardholders can get up to 100,000 bonus points (a travel value of up to $500 when you book travel purchases through ExpediaforTD.com) and a first-year annual fee rebate. Must apply by December 5, 2021.
  • Gain comprehensive travel insurance coverage with up to $1,000,000 in travel medical emergency coverage for trips up to 21 days.
  • This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here

Are there any drawbacks?

  • 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.
  • The card does offer a discount on Priority Pass membership but falls short of delivering complimentary lounge access benefits. 

 

7. Best low interest visa card

Winner: CIBC Select Visa

Why is it one of the best?

  • Below average APR across the board on purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.
  • 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.

Are there any drawbacks?

 


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 Gold is the next step up in Visa card offerings. They typically have an annual income requirement and come with a $5,000 minimum credit limit. Visa Gold benefits include: zero liability, lost/stolen card reporting, car rental insurance, travel and emergency insurance policies, and emergency cash and card replacement.
  • Visa Platinum comes with the same income requirements and minimum credit limits as Visa Gold, as well as the same list of benefits. However, they often charge higher annual fees (hovering around the $89 mark) for greater rewards – and offer some extra prestige, if that’s what you’re looking for.
  • Visa Infinite offers all the same great benefits as both Visa Gold and Visa Platinum, but also includes added benefits (i.e. comprehensive travel insurance), higher earn rates for its cardholders, and more exclusive perks (read more about the Visa Infinite program in the next section). A personal income of $60,000 (or $100,000) is usually required to be approved for these cards.
  • Finally, Visa Infinite Privilege represent the most exclusive Visa credit cards and offer a suite of perks that often include access to airport lounges with a membership to Priority Pass, companion travel tickets, a higher volume of rewards per dollar, and huge sign-up bonuses. Visa Infinite Privilege usually have a higher barrier to entry with annual fees of $499 or more.

 


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. 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!

 


Visa credit card partnerships

Aside from the Visa Infinite program, some of Visa’s current credit card partnerships include:

  • Aeroplan: 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.
  • SCENE: The Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card comes with 2,500 SCENE points (worth 2 free movies) if you apply by November 21, 2021, and lets you earn 5 SCENE points per $1 spent at Cineplex and 1 SCENE point per $1 spent everywhere else.
  • British Airways: 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
  • Cathway Pacific: The RBC Cathway 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 Cathway 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.

Cards summary (+/-)

Mikael Castaldo, Senior Business Manager of Everyday Banking

Mikael is a Senior Business Manager at Ratehub.ca and the driving force behind our Everyday Banking Team. He knows everything there is to know about the best credit cards and bank accounts, and works closely with Canada’s top financial institutions - from banks to credit unions - to help ensure our over 1,200,000 monthly users get matched with the right plastic. A numbers guy at heart, having worked as a strategy consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, he’s found himself right at home as a personal finance expert at Ratehub.ca.

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