Find out what are the best no annual fee credit cards

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards in Canada for 2019

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Last updated on August 12, 2019 Views: 547 Comments: 5
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High-end credit cards in Canada provide measurable financial benefits to their cardholders and can (hopefully) justify the annual fees they charge. But that doesn’t mean credit cards with no annual fees deliver insignificant value by comparison.

In fact, there are many Canadians who steadfastly refuse to pay an annual fee for a credit card, no matter their credit score or income level. You might not want to spend the amount of money necessary for your collected rewards or cash back to break even with an annual fee, for example. Not having an annual fee also makes it easy to ‘try out’ a card without losing any money in the event you don’t like it or don’t use it often. Whatever your reason for preferring a card without an annual fee, before applying for one you should review our curated list of the very best in Canada to determine which no annual fee card offers the best value for you.

CategoryCard
Cash BackTangerine Money-Back Credit Card
Cash BackBMO CashBack Mastercard
Balance TransferMBNA True Line® Mastercard®
No Foreign Transaction FeesRogers World Elite Mastercard
RewardsMBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

Best No Annual Fee Credit Card: Cash Back

Tangerine MasterCard Money-Back Credit CardTangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: fair_good
– Min personal income required: $15000
– Annual fees: $0

Other no-annual-fee cards in the cashback category find it difficult to compete with the Money-Back card from Tangerine, which saves you from paying an annual fee while still offering a very high 2.00% cash back on two purchase categories of your choice (three categories if you deposit the Rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account). All other purchases earn cash back at 0.50%, and cash back is credited (or deposited to your Savings account) on a convenient monthly schedule rather than yearly.

With no limits on how much cash back you collect, and the ability to swap categories between groceries, gas, home improvement, pharmacy and many others, Tangerine provides superior flexibility. Plus, cardholders get a promotion of 4% cash back in their chosen categories for the first three months after opening the account.

  • No annual fee
  • 2.00% cash back on 2 categories of your choice
  • Get a 3rd category for depositing cash back to a Tangerine Savings Account
  • 0.50% cash back on everything else
  • Purchase assurance and extended warranties

Click here to apply for the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

BMO CashBack Mastercard

bmo cash back mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: fair_good
– Min personal income required: $15000
– Annual fees: $0

BMO focuses primarily on a seamless cashback experience with its CashBack Mastercard, collecting a flat 1.00% cash back on all purchases you make. It’s important to note that the cashback rate rockets up to 5.00% in your first three months, or to a maximum of $4,000 spent ($200 cash back); afterward the rate returns to normal. A second part of the introductory bonus is the ability to transfer other balances to your new CashBack card and pay just 1.99% interest on that amount for 9 months.

Additional features are relatively basic, including 25% off at participating Alamo and National rental car locations, purchase protection and extended warranties, and the standard zero liability policy protecting you against unauthorized use.

  • No annual fee
  • Bonus: 5.00% cash back in the first 3 months
  • Bonus: 1.99% balance transfer rate for 9 months
  • 1.00% cash back on all purchases
  • 25% off rentals at Alamo and National
  • Purchase protection and extended warranties

Click here to apply for the BMO CashBack Mastercard

Best No Annual Fee Credit Card: Balance Transfer

MBNA True Line MasterCardMBNA True Line® Mastercard® Credit Card

Eligibility Criteria:
– 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

Canadians looking to consolidate their other credit card balances or lines of credit under one low rate can do so with a balance transfer card. MBNA offers one of the best—and with no annual fee—via its impressive True Line Mastercard. Use your approved credit limit with MBNA to transfer balances to the True Line card and you’ll pay 0.00% on this amount for 10 months. The best part about the 0.00% balance transfer promotion is that after it’s over, your balance transfer rate does a relatively small jump to just 12.99%, which is the same competitive rate applied to your regular purchases as well.

For making the balance transfer there’s a fee of 3.00%, but this is quickly rendered insignificant by the sheer amount of interest you’ll save in those 10 months. This is especially true if your balances were previously exposed to high rates. It’s also worthwhile to note that MBNA offers a slightly-different True Line card (the True Line® Gold Mastercard®) to those who would pay a small annual fee in exchange for a lower post-promotional and purchase rate.

  • $0 annual fee
  • 0.00% interest rate on transferred balances for 10 months (3.00% transfer fee)
  • 12.99% APR
  • 12.99% post-promotional rate on transferred balances
  • 24.99% cash advance rate

Click here to apply for the MBNA True Line® Mastercard® Credit Card

Best No Annual Fee Credit Card: No Foreign Transaction Fees

Rogers World Elite MasterCard

Rogers World Elite MastercardEligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: poor_fair
– Min personal income required: $80000
– Annual fees: $0

The combination of Canada’s highest flat cashback rate with no annual fee is already an advantageous opportunity for cardholders, but the Rogers World Elite Mastercard raises the bar further by erasing foreign transaction fees. Travellers know that fees of at least 2.50% on purchases made in a foreign currency can quickly get expensive, so Rogers lets them earn an accelerated 4.00% cash back on these purchases in order to offset those fees—and then some. Purchases made in Canadian currency earn a generous rate of 1.75%, making the card as useful for the average consumer as it is for regular travellers.

To qualify for the World Elite card your personal annual income must be at least $80,000, or $150,000 if applying as a household. Rogers makes redemption for your cash back easy as well, by allowing you to pay off eligible purchases that appear on your statement whenever you like (given you have at least $20 in cash back collected). This can be accomplished in real time with Mastercard’s Pay with Rewards application.

  • $0 annual fee
  • 1.75% cash back on all purchases
  • 4.00% cash back on all purchases made in a foreign currency
  • Redeem your cash back flexibly
  • $80,000/$150,000 annual income requirement
  • Travel and insurance benefits

Click here to apply for the Rogers World Elite MasterCard

Best No Annual Fee Credit Card: Rewards

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

MBNA Rewards Platinum PlusEligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: poor_fair
– Min personal income required: $
– Annual fees: $0

For gas, groceries, and restaurant purchases (a hefty portion of most monthly bills), the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® earns 2 MBNA Rewards points per $1 spent, and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. These rewards don’t expire and can be spent on a variety of useful things like travel, cash back, merchandise, gift cards, and more.

As a bonus, cardholders will earn up to 10,000 additional points just for making an initial purchase (5,000) and for signing themselves up for eStatements (another 5,000). 10K points have a value of $100 when redeemed on travel.

  • $0 annual fee
  • 2 MBNA Rewards points per $1 spent on gas, groceries, and drug stores
  • 1 MBNA Rewards point per $1 spent elsewhere
  • 10,000-point introductory bonus
  • Purchase assurance and extended warranties
  • 99% APR
  • Cash advance rate: 24.99%
  • Balance transfer rate: 22.99%

Click here to apply for the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

Summary of Best Canadian No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Credit CardSpecial Card FeatureCard Review
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card2% on 2 categories of choiceRead More
BMO CashBack Mastercard5% cash back in the first 3 monthsRead More
MBNA True Line® Mastercard® Credit Card0% for 10 months
12.99% APR
Read More
Rogers World Elite MasterCard1.75% domestic
4% foreign
Read More
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®10000 pts on first purchaseRead More

Article comments

5 comments
Nitesh says:

Is the The SimplyCash Card from American Express not on here just because it was reviewed after this article? For no annual fee and no 80K+ income requirement, with 1.25% flat cash back on everything, it’s seeming like a good choice to me to compliment my Tangerine (2% on 3 categories) and Simplii Visa (new, you should review it :), 4% on restaurants ) cards.

I’ve been looking around and don’t see much that would do much better with no fee for me, unless I specified travel points which may get marginally better value back.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Nitesh,

There are some great pearls of wisdom in your comment, and we highly appreciate you coming to GreedyRates and informing us (and other readers) about the cards that work best for you. As far as why we haven’t listed the card in this article, there’s simply such a large variety of great no-fee cards that choosing a winner for every category is difficult. The SimplyCash card you mention is awesome for its flat cash back rate–but consider this: With the Rogers Platinum Mastercard you get the same, 1.25% cash back plus 3.00% back on purchases made in a foreign currency, and it also has no annual fee.

You’re right that a nice flat rate complements the Tangerine card well, due to its strict yet valuable cash back categories model. The Simplii Visa is something we still need to take a deeper look at, but it sounds great and if you like it, that’s all that matters to us anyway. Check out the Rogers Platinum Mastercard, stack it up against the SimplyCash card, and let us know what you think. Keep in mind that one downside of the Rogers line of cards is that while they’re impressive on paper, you have to be tolerant of their once-per-year cash back redemption system, while other cards allow you to redeem it more flexibly.

GreedyRates

Nitesh says:

That’s an interesting option! I’ve always just converted some cash over before travelling to avoid other cards conversion fees, but if I was actually rewarded for foreign currency instead that would be interesting.

That said it’s a minute part of what I spend since I can’t travel all the time (alas, haha), so as far as I can think most of everything I buy is in CAD. Would that foreign currency cash back also apply to USD? That would raise interesting possibilities.

I’ll keep that one in my mental backburner at any rate, thanks

Mairin says:

This is a great article. It gives me almost everything I need to know in order to choose a credit card. However, it would have been really helpful if you had included the interest rate that each charges on unpaid balances. It’s awkward to have to check each application form for that info.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Mairin,

We value your appreciation, and love to hear that you’ve enjoyed reading our articles. More important however is that they’ve helped you! If you’re still deciding on which credit card to choose, always feel free to post a comment in the article or review you’ve got inquiries about or send us an email at info@greedyrates.ca. We’d be happy to consider some of your personal criteria about what you want in a card, the relevant details about your financial picture, and other info in order to provide the best suggestions possible.

If you’d like an easier way to search our site for cards that are both free to hold (no annual fee) and have a low interest rate, then you can simply filter the main credit card page using the menu on the left sidebar. Simply go to our site and click on ‘Compare Credit Cards’ on the top, then select the dropdown that’s relevant to you—from cash back, travel, rewards, and more. Once you see the page that displays the cards in a vertical table, click on the side menu and then “Additional Filters”, then “No Annual Fee”. The page will then display only cards with no annual fee while also listing the annual interest rates within the same table. If you need any more help, let us know. Thanks!

GreedyRates