Best Credit Cards in Canada 2019
The range of credit cards available in Canada seems to keep growing and growing! This benefits Canadians by giving us more choice in how we make our purchases and earn back from them, but it can also lead to some option anxiety. Whether you want fast cash back, a low interest rate, luxurious travel privileges, or something else entirely, you can rely on our curated ‘best of the best’ list below to find the perfect Canadian card to suit your unique lifestyle.
|Best Travel Rewards Card||TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite|
|Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Card||Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card|
|Best Cashback Card||Tangerine Money-Back Card|
|Best Lifestyle Rewards Card||American Express Cobalt™ Credit Card|
|Best for Credit Builder/Repair Card||Capital One Guaranteed Mastercard|
|Best Balance Transfer Card||MBNA True Line® Mastercard®|
|Best Low Interest Card||American Express Essential Card|
|Best Business Card||American Express Business Gold Rewards Card|
Best Travel Rewards Cards
Travel rewards cards help you earn points or miles from everyday purchases, which are then redeemed to reduce the price of travel and make it more convenient, and more luxurious as well. These cards might also come with a host of useful features like airport lounge access, priority boarding, and free checked bags. The best travel rewards cards should also provide thorough insurance coverage, for things ranging from serious medical emergencies to inconveniences for which you’ll want reimbursement.
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite
The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card is superior to other travel cards because of its privileged Air Canada benefits, travel insurance, Aeroplan Miles on everyday purchases, and generous introductory bonuses. Introductory bonuses of up to 30,000 Miles and an annual fee rebate of $120 add up to a value of $540 in your first year alone, and that’s not including all the Aeroplan Miles you’ll earn via regular spending. On groceries, gas, drugstore purchases and on aircanada.com, you’ll collect 1.5 Miles per $1 spent—and then 1 Mile per $1 everywhere else.
Aeroplan Miles can be spent on Air Canada flights, on which you’ll enjoy free checked bags, priority check-in and boarding, and free entry into the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge once per year. The Aeroplan Infinite Visa exceeds insurance expectations as well, with $1 million travel medical coverage for 21 consecutive days, coverage for trip cancellations and interruptions, damage to a rental vehicle, trip and baggage delays, and common carrier accidents. You’ll also get global discounts on vehicles at Avis or Budget locations along with purchase protection and extended warranties.
You can learn more about this card by reading our complete TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card review or click here to apply for the TD ® Aeroplan ® Visa Infinite card
American Express Gold Rewards Card
We’re including this Amex card as one of our top two travel cards, because American Express and its Membership Rewards program offer so many extra perks for travellers when compared with Visa or Mastercard. However, an Amex won’t be accepted in as many places, so many of our readers opt to choose a powerful Amex (like the Gold Rewards card) as a complement to a more widely-accepted Visa or Mastercard. For a $150 annual fee, Amex Gold Rewards cardholders will get a welcome bonus of 25,000 points when they charge $1,500 to the card during the first 3 months and will earn 2 points per $1 spent at eligible grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and on travel. The card earns 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere, and an extra point if you’re booking a hotel or rental car through Amex Travel.
Redeem your points flexibly on purchases charged to the card, on gift cards or merchandise, use the handy Fixed Points Travel Program, or transfer them to a range of other supported travel rewards programs (including Aeroplan). Amex Membership also includes specialty privileges and status at 600 hotels worldwide, such as automatic room upgrades and cash credit for luxury amenities and hotel facilities, upgrades at Hertz, and excellent insurance (coverage of $5 million medical, trip interruption, rental car, baggage, hotel or motel, delays and more).
You can learn more about this card by reading our complete American Express Gold Rewards Card review or click here to apply for the American Express Gold Rewards Card.
Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Cards
Carrying a credit card that exempts you from foreign transaction fees—which are charges of at least 2.50% on each purchase in a foreign currency—helps you to significantly reduce your costs when buying abroad or online in a foreign currency. Canadians can choose from a handful of no-foreign-transaction-fee cards, including cards that have no annual fee and basic perks; cards with higher annual fees and premium travel perks; and even cards that successfully offset foreign transaction fees with an accelerated rate of cash back on purchases made in foreign currencies.
Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card
The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card leads the upper tier of Scotia’s travel card suite, as it charges no foreign transaction fees and provides many more worthwhile benefits for a justified $139 annual fee. The card comes with a generous introductory bonus, which can add up to 40,000 points during the first year. Cardholders will earn 2 points per $1 spent on groceries, dining, entertainment, and daily transit, plus 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere.
Scotia Rewards points are redeemed for travel but also on merchandise and gifts, but the travel theme is strongest as the Passport Visa Infinite also boasts a great insurance package. It includes emergency travel medical (25 days of coverage up to $1 million), trip cancellation and interruption, flight delay, rental car damage and much more. As far as the card’s other perks go, one of the nicest is complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge membership, plus 6 free annual passes.
You can learn more about this card by reading our complete Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card review or click here to apply for the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card
Rogers World Elite Mastercard
Instead of helping cardholders avoid foreign transaction fees entirely, the Rogers World Elite card boosts the amount of cash back that they earn on foreign currency purchases. The card’s other benefits also go toward making it a primary choice for cash-back-loving Canadians, even if they don’t travel, and another draw is its $0 annual fee. This means it’s essentially free to keep in your wallet while empowering your purchases with an impressive 1.75% cash back on purchases in Canadian dollars, and then 4.00% cash back on any purchases made in a foreign currency. The accelerated rate offsets a standard 2.50% foreign transaction fee, netting 1.50% in cash back abroad.
Using the cash back you accumulate is relatively easy, with the Mastercard Pay with Rewards application giving you access to your statement and the ability to pay off purchases using accumulated cash back with a single tap. Other features include a $25 cashback bonus for signing up, extended warranty and purchase protection, rental car collision and damage, out-of-province or country emergency medical, trip interruption and trip cancellation insurance.
You can learn more about this card by reading our complete Rogers World Elite Mastercard review or click here to apply for the Rogers World Elite Mastercard
Best Cashback Cards
You can’t beat cash back for the direct, straightforward way in which it helps you save. Canada’s best cashback cards are all about maximizing the percentage you collect from any purchase, allowing you to redeem your accumulated cash back easily, and offering other perks on top.
Tangerine Money-Back Card
Tangerine’s Money-Back card is great for Canadians who haven’t yet found that one perfect card which earns cash back in all the categories they spend in most frequently. Cardholders get to choose 2 purchase categories where they earn 2.00% cash back—from common options like restaurants, grocery, gas, and drug stores to others such as furniture, home improvement, entertainment and parking. There’s no annual fee, and the card has average income and credit requirements, making the Money-Back card accessible for most Canadians. A third 2.00% cashback category is provided to cardholders who choose to deposit their earnings to a Tangerine Savings Account.
In these two or three categories, you can boost your cash back to 4.00% for 3 months if you apply before July 31, 2019 as part of a limited-time promotion. Another separate offer from Tangerine is for transferred balances: New cardholders can consolidate other balances on their new Money-Back Credit Card and pay 1.95% interest on the transferred balance for the first 6 months. The card is also compatible with Apple, Google, and Samsung Pay and provides coverage for new purchases with extended warranties and purchase insurance.
You can learn more about this card by reading our complete Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card review or click here to apply for the Tangerine Money-Back Card
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card
There is no cashback card currently on the market offering as much introductory value as the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card. With no annual fee in the first year either—that’s the equivalent of $120, not including all the additional cash back you’ll earn from your regular spending. A generous cashback rate of 4.00% is applied to gas and grocery purchases, with 2.00% collected from pharmacy purchases and recurring bills, and then 1.00% everywhere else.
The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card also has insurance perks worthy of its fee and a relatively low $60,000 income requirement. Cardholders are protected with $1 million in medical emergency insurance for 15 consecutive days, and are also provided coverage for trip interruptions, flight delay, delayed and lost baggage, rental car collision and damage, travel accidents and more. Visa Infinite perks are also available at select locations—like hotel room upgrades and free Wi-Fi, complimentary wine tastings and a complimentary concierge service.
You can learn more about this card by reading our complete Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card review or click here to apply for the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card
Best Lifestyle Rewards Card
Activities like hitting bars and restaurants, ordering delivery and takeout, and using ride-sharing applications aren’t usually the most lucrative in terms of rewards points earned, but there is a niche segment of Canadian rewards credit cards perfect for consumers with high spending in those categories.
American Express Cobalt™ Credit Card
New changes are coming to the Amex Cobalt card as of August 20, 2019: cardholders will earn 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on dining (restaurants, bars, cafés, groceries, and food delivery), 2 points per $1 spent on travel and transit (hotels, buses, cabs, ride-sharing, trains, etc.), and then 1 point per $1 on everything else (clothes, events, you name it). Moreover, new members will earn 2,500 points each month they spend at least $500, and this lasts for the entire first year, making it possible to collect up to 30,000 bonus points in the first year. These points can be redeemed on streaming services, movie and event tickets, merchandise, food and drink, travel (including flights via the Fixed Points Travel Program), and Amazon.ca purchases.
Instead of charging an annual fee, Amex charges $10 monthly to members, which should be more convenient for younger cardholders who already pay for things like Netflix or Spotify on a monthly basis. Finally, Cobalt cardholders can look forward to quality Amex services like access to exclusive events, hotel credits for amenities and room upgrades where available, plus great insurance: emergency medical, coverage for flight delay, baggage delay, hotel and motel burglaries, lost or stolen baggage, car rental theft and damage, travel accidents and more.
You can learn more about this card by reading our complete American Express Cobalt Card review or click here to apply for the American Express Cobalt™ Credit Card
Best Card for Improving Credit Scores
Credit-building cards are a great fit for those who encounter the frustrating paradox of credit: using a credit card responsibly is one of the best ways to improve a credit score, but it’s very difficult to even get a credit card if your credit is weak to begin with. While credit improvement cards are often secured and therefore require a cash deposit to earn a matching credit limit, this isn’t always the case.
Capital One Guaranteed Mastercard
Capital One’s Guaranteed Mastercard has a $59 annual fee and offers virtually guaranteed approval, meaning that applicants with low credit or income are welcome to apply. The only firm requirements are that applicants should be the age of majority, residents of Canada, and new to Capital One (no current accounts, no pending applications, can’t have already applied within the past 30 days, no Capital One accounts in bad standing within one year prior to applying).
With frequent reporting to credit bureaus, Capital One helps Guaranteed Mastercard members improve their credit, as long as they make timely payments and utilize their credit limit well. Other notable features of the unsecured, ‘Gold’ version of the card are price protection, extended warranties, and purchase assurance, as well as travel benefits like a rental car collision and damage waiver, baggage delay and travel accident coverage, and travel assistance. An especially appealing feature of the card is that those who aren’t approved for the Gold unsecured version may be approved for the secured version instead, provided they can supply the required security funds. Secured cardholders receive a credit limit between $300 – $2,500, given that they provide security funds of either $75 or $300, depending on what Capital One requires.
You can learn more about this card by reading our complete Capital One Guaranteed Mastercard review or click here to apply for the Capital One Guaranteed Mastercard
Best Balance Transfer Card
Some of the most coveted cards in Canada grant cardholders the ability to get a lower interest rate—sometimes as low as 0%—on balances that are transferred from other credit cards or forms of debt. The card issuer’s goal is of course to win your business, but you can benefit tremendously from these promotions by stalling the interest accrual on your outstanding debts and paying the debts off during the promotion period.
The MBNA True Line® Mastercard®
– Credit score required: Fair-Good
– Min personal income required: N/A
– Annual fees: $0
– This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For residents of Quebec, please click here
By far Canada’s most valuable balance transfer promotion, the MBNA True Line Mastercard provides new cardholders with 90 days during which they can transfer outstanding debts (as long as the debts are not owed to TD or MBNA) and then pay 0.00% interest on the total amount transferred for 12 months. There’s a 3% transfer fee, but the card has no annual fee and the amount you’ll save with zero interest over that 12 months will likely outweigh this relatively small transfer charge. For example, if your balance is $5,000 and your interest rate on that balance was 20.00%, then in those 12 months you’ll avoid over $800 in interest payments if you transfer the balance to the True Line Mastercard. All you need to do to keep the 0.00% rate is continue paying your minimum monthly payment, but it’s recommended to use the respite from interest to put more toward your balance than just the minimum.
Another great feature of the card is its low post-promotional interest rate on your balance transfer (and on regular purchases) of 12.99%. The fact that even its regular purchase interest rate is far lower than what most Canadian cards charge is what makes the MBNA True Line card such a boon, but cardholders should be aware that not all of its rates are so low. The cash advance rate is a high 24.99%, so we recommend cardholders avoid taking cash advances and use the card strictly for balance transfers and purchases.
You can learn more about this card by reading our complete MBNA True Line Mastercard review or click here to apply for The MBNA True Line® Mastercard®
Best Low Interest Card
Low interest cards are simple, no-frills cards that offer low interest rates without a bunch of fancy added features. The best candidates for Canada’s low interest credit cards are people who use their credit limit often and tend to carry a balance from month-to-month, because high interest rates for these cardholders make it that much harder to wipe the debt slate clean when the time comes.
American Express Essential Card
Amex offers up a simple premise with its popular Essential card: pay no annual fee and enjoy a low interest rate on your purchases and cash advances, no questions asked. Cardholders pay just 8.99% interest on the portion of their balance made up of purchases and cash advances (the majority of anyone’s spending) as long as they pay their monthly minimum on time. That’s big savings on interest charges, but it’s also suitable for those who already carry a balance at high interest, because Amex offers a 1.99% interest rate promotion on transferred balances for six months as well. The balance transfer is optional and only available at the time of application for those interested.
Otherwise, cardholders can expect the same high-quality experience as they would with any other American Express card. That includes Buyer’s Assurance and Purchase Protection, as well as $100,000 in coverage for travel accidents. There’ also Front of the Line access (an Amex specialty) providing entry into events, ticket reservations and more.
Best Business Card
Business owners have special costs that won’t earn accelerated rewards with a normal rewards credit card. Canada’s top business credit cards take this gap into consideration, ensuring that business owners can earn back on big expense categories for businesses, while simultaneously offering additional features that are uniquely suited to a business’s needs.
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
The Amex Business Gold Rewards card provides business owners with a welcome bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points when they spend $5,000 in their first 3 months, and 1 point per $1 spent on all purchases. You can also select up to three suppliers from American Express’ list, at which your purchases earn an extra 1 point per $1. Another much-appreciated perk is the card’s 55-day grace period, which gives business owners some extra payment flexibility in the event that their cash flows are more volatile from one month to the next.
Other business-centric benefits that come with the Amex Business Gold Rewards card are the ability to generate expense management reports for many purposes, to grow your credit dynamically (automatically adjust your limit based on recent usage) and to give employees secondary cards with liability protection against misuse. As an Amex card, it’s also not a surprise to see solid travel insurance, purchase protection and extended warranties, and exclusive Front of the Line access.
* This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.
Picking the Right Companion for Your Wallet
Identifying your spending habits and unique credit card needs is crucial to narrowing down a final choice. Compare credit cards by issuer, card feature and more and see which card applies the most to your needs. After you input your unique criteria and preferences, as well as your common purchasing patterns, the tool will curate a list of cards which are suited to you personally.
Getting the best credit card is a simple matter, regardless of which card perks you desire most. Whether you want a high cashback percentage, amazing travel rewards, accelerated credit improvement, or if you just want to nab this month’s most lucrative credit card promotions in Canada, it’s easier than ever to find the best options available on GreedyRates. If you need any further assistance when making an ultimate decision, feel free to contact us by email and we’ll give you a helping hand.