Best Credit Cards

The Best Credit Cards In Canada For 2019

| October 8, 2019
best overall credit cards canada

Presenting the best credit cards in Canada for 2019. From the largest sign up offers to the best perks and highest rewards for spending in every category, compare our cards below to find the perfect match for you.

Scroll to view the full list, or click a category below to jump to a specific section.

Travel

Best for: Welcome offer, points earn rate, and easy-redeem travel

TD® First Class Travel® Visa Infinite

TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite

Apply Now

on TD’s website

Annual Fees
$120 (first year free)

Interest Rate
19.99% (Cash advance 22.99%)

Min. Income Required
$60,000 annual personal income or $100,000 annual household income.

Features:

  • Get a full Annual Fee Rebate and earn up to 90,000 TD Points (worth about $400).
  • Easy travel bookings through ExpediaforTD.
  • Earn 3 TD points per $1 spent on purchases using your card.
  • Redeem 9 TD points per $1 for travel purchases made online through ExpediaforTD.
  • Auto-rental collision and loss damage Insurance coverage available for 48 consecutive days.
  • Save 10% on Avis Rent-A-Car and Budget Rent-A-Car.
  • 24/7 emergency roadside assistance.
  • Travel medical insurance coverage up to $1 million for the first 21 days.
Best for: Airmiles

BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite® Mastercard®

BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite® Mastercard®

Apply Now

on BMO’s website

Annual Fees
$120 (first year free)

Interest Rate
19.99% (Cash advance 22.99%)

Min. Income Required
$80,000 or $150,000 annual household income.

Features:

  • 3,000 AIR MILES bonus offer when you sign up, and annual fee waived for the first year.
  • Earn 1 mile for every $10 in credit card purchases.
  • Earn 15% flight discount on all AIR MILES flights in North America with no blackout periods.
  • Complimentary MasterCard Airport Experiences with access to over 850 VIP lounges.
  • Two annual complementary LoungKey passes.
  • Earn up to a 25% discount at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Car Rental locations.
  • Travel medical insurance coverage up to $2 million for the first 15 days.
Best for: Aeroplan

American Express® Gold Rewards

American Express Gold Rewards Card

Apply Now

on American Express’ website

Annual Fees
$150

Interest Rate
30% (This is a charge card, not a credit card. They expect balances to be paid in full monthly. If not paid, then they will apply a 30% annual interest rate.)

Min. Income Required
$0.

Features:

  • Welcome bonus of up to 25,000 Membership Rewards.
  • Up to $100 USD hotel credit on qualifying hotel amenities charged to the room, such as dining, spa, golf and other hotel facilities.
  • Complimentary room upgrade at check-in.
  • Hertz Car Rental upgrade.
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on most of your everyday purchases.
  • Convert points to Aeroplan Miles at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Travel medical insurance coverage up to $5 million for the first 15 days.
Best for: Airline perks

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite

TD Aeroplan Infinite Visa Card

Apply Now

on TD’s website

Annual Fees
$120 (first year free)

Interest Rate
19.99% (Cash advance 22.99%)

Min. Income Required
$60,000 annual personal income or $100,000 annual household income.

Features:

  • Welcome bonus up to 25,000 Aeroplan Miles as your welcome bonus, and your first year’s annual fee rebated in full.
  • Earn 1.5 Aeroplan Miles for every $1 you charge to your card on eligible grocery, gas, drugstore and purchases made on aircanada.com.
  • Earn 1 Mile for every $1 you charge to your card on all other purchases made.
  • A slew of Air Canada perks including one complimentary first checked bag, priority check-in and boarding, 1x/year access to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge.
  • 24/7 emergency travel assistance and savings at Avis and Budget car rental.
  • Travel medical insurance covered up to $1 million of coverage for the first 21 days.
Best for: No foreign transaction fees

Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite

scotiabank passport visa infinite

Apply Now

on Scotia Bank’s website

Annual Fees
$139

Interest Rate
19.99% (Cash advance 22.99%)

Min. Income Required
$60,000 annual personal income or $100,000 annual household income.

Features:

  • Welcome bonus up to 35,000 Scotia Rewards points (equivalent to $350 in travel dollars).
  • Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points on every $1 spent on grocery, dining, entertainment, and daily transit.
  • Earn 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent on everything else.
  • No foreign transaction fees whether you make them online or outside of Canada.
  • Complimentary Priority Pass™ membership, and 6 free visits per year.
  • Travel medical insurance coverage up to $1 million for the first 25 days.

View more travel credit cards.

Rewards

Best for: Food and entertainment spending

American Express® Cobalt

american-express-cobalt-cardcard

Apply Now

on American Express’ website

Annual Fees
$120

Interest Rate
19.99% (Cash advance 22.99%)

Min. Income Required
$0.

Features:

  • Welcome bonus up to 30,000 Rewards Points.
  • Earn 5x points on food and drink purchases, including groceries, coffee shops, food delivery, bars, and restaurants.
  • Earn 2x rewards for all travel related purchases, including flights, hotels, gas, public transit, and rideshare services such as Uber, Lyft, and Via.
  • Offers flash bonuses that give the opportunity to earn 10x rewards on specific purchases.
  • Deals, coupons, and special offers available only to Cobalt Card Perks members.
  • Early Access invitations for live concerts, promotional events, sports games, and many other experiences through Front of the Line by American Express.
Best for: Cash back earn rate

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite

Apply Now

on Scotia Bank’s website

Annual Fees
$99 (first year free)

Interest Rate
19.99% (Cash advance 22.99%)

Min. Income Required
$60,000 annual personal income or $100,000 annual household income.

Features:

  • Groceries and recurring bill payments earn 4% cash back (also includes subscription payments like Netflix).
  • Daily transit, drugstore and gas station purchases earn 2% cash back (also includes taxis and Uber.
  • All other eligible purchases earn 1%.
  • Get VIP access: Dining series, concerts (with access to the VIP lounge), wine country experiences, and automatic room upgrades and free wi-fi for eligible hotel stays.
Best for: Travel rewards

TD® First Class Travel® Visa Infinite

TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite

Apply Now

on TD’s website

Annual Fees
$120 (first year free)

Interest Rate
19.99% (Cash advance 22.99%)

Min. Income Required
$60,000 annual personal income or $100,000 annual household income.

Features:

  • Get a full annual fee rebate and earn up to 90,000 TD Points welcome bonus (worth about $400).
  • Easy travel bookings through ExpediaforTD.
  • Earn 3 TD points per $1 spent on purchases using your card.
  • Earn 9 TD points per $1 for travel purchases made online through ExpediaforTD.
  • Auto-rental collision and loss damage Insurance coverage available for 48 consecutive days.
  • Save 10% on Avis Rent-A-Car and Budget Rent-A-Car.
  • 24/7 emergency roadside assistance.
  • Travel medical insurance coverage up to $1 million for the first 21 days.
Best for: Flexible spending

American Express® Gold Rewards

American Express Gold Rewards Card

Apply Now

on American Express’ website

Annual Fees
$150

Interest Rate
30% (This is a charge card, not a credit card. They expect balances to be paid in full monthly. If not paid, then they will apply a 30% annual interest rate.)

Min. Income Required
$0.

Features:

  • Welcome bonus of up to 25,000 Membership Rewards.
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases at eligible gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores in Canada.
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases for eligible travel purchases, such as flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and amenities.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else.
  • Front Of The Line Advance Access, Reserved Tickets, and E-Updates.
Best for: Premium rewards card

American Express® Platinum

Apply Now

on American Express’ website

Annual Fees
$699

Interest Rate
30% (This is a charge card, not a credit card. They expect balances to be paid in full monthly. If not paid, then they will apply a 30% annual interest rate.)

Min. Income Required
$0.

Features:

  • 50,000 bonus rewards points.
  • Eligible to use private lounges in over 1200 airports across the globe.
  • $200 CAD travel credit annually on eligible trips.
  • Bonus points if travel secured through AmEx Travel.
  • Special treatment when flying through Toronto Pearson airport: Priority security lane,and free valet or 15% parking discount.
  • Eligibility for hotel loyalty benefits: Hilton Honors Gold, Shangri-La Golden Jade, Marriott Bonvoy, Radisson Rewards.
  • Hotel perks such as late checkout and free breakfasts at eligible hotels.
  • Front of the line benefits for certain experiences.

View more rewards credit cards.

Cash Back

Best for: groceries and recurring bills

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite

Apply Now

on Scotia Bank’s website

Annual Fees
$99 (first year free)

Interest Rate
19.99% (Cash advance 22.99%)

Min. Income Required
$60,000 annual personal income or $100,000 annual household income.

Features:

  • Earn 4% for groceries, recurring bill payments, and subscription purchases.
  • Subscription purchases also includes Netflix.
  • Earn 2% for every $1 you spend on gas purchases and daily transit purchases.
  • Daily transit also includes Uber.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases with no cash back limit.
  • Access to 24/7 concierge service, and Visa Infinite experiences, which includes their hotel collection, and dining and wine country program.
  • Also comes with good travel insurance and rental car insurance.
Best for: Large welcome bonus + gas purchases

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite

Apply Now

on TD Bank’s website

Annual fees
$120, first year free

Interest rate
20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash

Min. income required
Minimum personal income of $60,000 and a minimum household income of $100,000

Features:

  • For the first 3 months of usage, get 10% cash back in all categories of spending, up to a total spend of $2000.
  • Earn 3% cash back on gas, grocery, and recurring bill payments.
  • Earn 1% in cash back on all other purchases made with your card.
  • Deluxe TD Auto Club Membership and Roadside Assistance.
  • Visa Infinite 24/7 Concierge Service.
  • Also comes with good travel insurance and rental car insurance.
Best for: Travel + foreign purchases

Rogers World Elite Mastercard

rogers world elite mastercard

Apply Now

on Rogers Bank’s website

Annual fees
$0

Interest rate
19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash back

Min. income required
Minimum personal income of $80,000 and a minimum household income of $150,000

Features:

  • Get $25 in cash back when you make your first card purchase within 3 months of receiving your card.
  • Get 4% cash back on all purchases made in foreign currencies (online purchases included). Once you factor in the 2.5% FX fees, that means you’ll earn 1.5% cash back.
  • Earn 1.75% cash back on all your purchases.
  • Earn 2% back for any purchases on Rogers products or services.
Best for: Flat-rate + easy approval

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

Apply Now

on American Express’ website

Annual fee
$99

Interest rate
19.99% (22.99% for cash advances, 22.99% for balance transfers)

Requirements
You are a Canadian resident and have a Canadian credit file. You are the age of majority in the Province or Territory where you live.

Features:

  • Perfect for people who spend in various different categories and want a high flat-rate cash back card.
  • 5% cash back on all spending for the first 6 month of use (up to $300 max received in rewards).
  • Get 2% cash back on all purchases made, making this the best flat rate card for all categories of spending.
  • Comes with a solid package of travel insurance and perks. $5 million coverage for emergency medical insurance (for the first 15 days).
  • No minimum income requirement to apply.
Best for: Flexible cashback

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

tangerine credit card

Apply Now

on Tangerine’s website

Annual Fee:
$0

Interest Rate:
19.95% (19.95% for cash advances)

Minimum Income Required:
Personal: $15,000

Features:

  • A unique option to pick and choose what you’d like to get the most cash back on.
  • You can choose up to 3 categories and receive a 4% cash back for the first 3 months.
  • After the welcome bonus period, earn 2% on your selected categories, and 0.5% on everything else.
  • During your first 30 days, transfer balances and pay only 1.95% interest on the transferred balance for the first 6 months (19.95% after that).

View more cash back credit cards.

Low Interest

Best for: all around best low interest card

American Express Essential Credit Card

American Express Essential

Apply Now

on American Express’ website

Annual Fee
$0

Interest Rate
8.99%
Balance transfers and access cheques: 8.99%
Cash advances: 8.99%

Min. Income Required
No minimum income required to qualify for this credit card

Features:

  • 8.99% regular interest rate on purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.
  • 1.99% interest rate in first 6 months if you transfer your other credit card balances.
  • Transfer 50% of your assigned credit limit, up to a maximum of $7,500 with no fees.
Best for: low interest + balance transfer

MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard

mbna trueline mastercard

Apply Now

on MBNA’s website

Annual Fees
$39

Interest Rate
8.99% (8.99% for balance transfers and access cheques. 24.99% for cash advances)

Min. Income Required
No minimum income required to qualify for this credit card

Features:

  • 8.99% regular interest rate on purchases and balance transfers, 24.99% for cash advances.
  • 0% promotional annual interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months.
  • Add up to 9 authorized users with no additional annual fee.
Best for: variable rate

National Bank Syncro Mastercard

national bank syncro mastercard

Apply Now

on National Bank’s website

Annual Fee
$35

Interest Rate
8.9% minimum (or Prime Rate + 4%)
Balance transfers and access cheques: 12.9% (or Prime Rate + 8%)
Cash advances: 12.9% (or Prime Rate + 8%)

Min. Income Required
No minimum income required to qualify for this credit card

Features:

  • This is a variable rate card. Interest rates vary based on your credit score, and can be as low as 4%.
  • As a variable rate card, balance transfers and access cheques can be as low as 8%.
  • Cash advances can be as low as 8%.
  • 90-day purchase protection and an extended warranty on most items bought with your card.
Best for: Cash advance welcome offer

Scotiabank Value Visa

Scotiabank value visa

Apply Now

on Scotiabank’s website

Annual Fee
$29

Interest Rate
Purchases: 12.99%
Balance transfers and access cheques: 12.99%
Cash advances: 12.99%

Min. Income Required
Minimum $12000 personal income required
Credit limit $500 minimum

Features:

  • New cardholders get a 0.99% interest rate on cash advances for the first 6 months.
  • 12.99% interest rate after the promotional period ends in 6 months.
  • Free supplementary card.
  • Convenient way to pay with Visa payWave.
Best for: Balance transfer welcome offer

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard

bmo preferred rate mastercard

Apply Now

on BMO’s website

Annual Fee
$20

Interest Rate
Purchases: 12.99%
Balance transfers and access cheques: 12.99%
Cash advances: 12.99%

Min. Income Required
$15000 minimum personal income required

Features:

  • New cardholders get a 3.99% introductory interest rate welcome offer on balance transfers for 9 months.
  • Get purchase protection with manufacturer’s warranties increased by up to one additional year.
  • An additional safety net of coverage against accidental damage and theft.

View more low interest credit cards.

Balance Transfer

Best for: No-fee balance transfer offer

MBNA True Line Mastercard Credit Card

mbna true line mastercard

Apply Now

on MBNA’s website

Annual Fee
$0

Interest Rate
12.99%

Minimum Income Required
$0

Features:

  • No annual fee.
  • Promotional balance transfer rate of 0% for the first 10 months.
  • Regular balance transfer interest rate of 12.99%.
  • No minimum income requirement.
Best for: flat-rate cash back

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

simplycash

Apply Now

on American Express’ website

Annual fee
$99

Interest rate
19.99% (22.99% for cash advances, 22.99% for balance transfers)

Requirements
You are a Canadian resident and have a Canadian credit file. You are the age of majority in the Province or Territory where you live.

Features:

  • 2.5% cashback on purchases (for a maximum of $150) for the first 3 months of account opening.
  • 1.99% balance transfer rate for the first 6 months.
  • Transfer up to 50% of your assigned credit limit up to a maximum of $7500
  • Earn a flat-rate cash back of 1.25% on all purchases.
Best for: best balance transfer welcome offer

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

tangerine credit card

Apply Now

on Tangerine’s website

Annual Fee: $0

Interest Rate: 19.95% (19.95% for cash advances)

Minimum Income Required: Personal: $15,000

Features:

  • Balance transfer rate of 1.95% for the first 6 months.
  • Cardholders can choose where they earn the most. 2% cash back rewards on any 2 of the 10 available money-back categories of your choice.
  • The balance transfer fee remains the same at 3% of the transferred amount (or $5 minimum).
Best for: long-term low interest rate offer

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard

bmo preferred rate card

Apply Now

on BMO’s website

Annual Fee
$20

Interest Rate
Purchases: 12.99%
Balance transfers and access cheques: 12.99%
Cash advances: 12.99%

Min. Income Required
$15000 minimum personal income required

Features:

  • Promotional balance transfer rate of 3.99% for your first 9 months (with a 1% transfer fee).
  • Get a flat-interest fee of 12.99% on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers.
  • If you pay your full balance by the due date, you will receive an interest free grace period of at least 21 days.
Best for: Travel

BMO Air Miles Mastercard

bmo air miles mastercard

Apply Now

on BMO’s website

Annual Fee:
$0

Interest Rates:
Purchases – 19.99%
Balance Transfer – 19.99%
Promotional Rate – 1.99 for 9 months

Minimum Income Required:
$0

Features:

  • Comes with a balance transfer rate of 1.99% for 9 full months.
  • Also get a welcome bonus of 800 Air Miles for new cardholders (about $80 in value).
  • No annual fee.
  • Save 3 cents per liter at Shell when you use your card.

View more balance transfer credit cards.

Student

Best for: Cash back

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

tangerine credit card

Apply Now

on Tangerine’s website

Annual Fee:
$0

Interest Rate:
19.95% (19.95% for cash advances)

Minimum Income Required:
Personal: $15,000

Features:

  • No annual fee.
  • A rare card that encourages saving.
  • Cardholders can choose where they earn the most. 2% cash back rewards on any 2 of the 10 available money-back categories of your choice.
  • Unlock a 3rd money-back category if instead of withdrawing your earnings and spending it all, you deposit it into a Tangerine Savings Account.
  • Comes with a tracking feature that observes and analyzes your transactions and gives you practical information on how to shop smartly.
Best for: largest welcome bonus from a no annual fee card.

BMO Cashback Mastercard

bmo cashback mastercard

Apply Now

on BMO’s website

Annual Fee:
$0

Interest Rate:
19.99% (Cash Advances 22.99%)

Minimum Income Required:
Personal: $15,000

Features:

  • No annual fee.
  • Cardholders get 5% cash back for the first 3 months (up to a maximum $2000 in purchases).
  • Flat-rate 1% cash back on all purchases made using your card after the promotional period is over.
  • Redeem your earnings once you hit $50 in rewards.
Best for: no annual fee travel card

CIBC Aventura Visa Card

cibc aventura visa

Apply Now

on CIBC’s website

Annual Fee:
$0

Interest Rate:
19.99% (Cash Advances 22.99%)

Minimum Income Required:
Household: $15,000

Features:

  • No annual fee.
  • Receive up to 7,500 Aventura Points as a welcome offer.
  • Your points can be put towards the payment of any airline, flight, and on any seat.
  • Redeem your earnings once you hit $50 in rewards.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent at gas station, grocery stores and drugstores, and on travel purchases made through CIBC rewards center
  • Earn 1 point per $2 spent on all other purchases
  • Aventura points can be used to pay for hotel stays, cruises, vacation packages, gift cards and other travel activities.
Best for: movie lovers

Scotiabank Scene Visa Card

scotia scene visa

Apply Now

on Scotiabank’s website

Annual Fee:
$0

Interest Rate:
19.99% (Cash Advances 22.99%)

Minimum Income Required:
$0

Features:

  • No annual fee.
  • 2,500 bonus SCENE points once you make $500 worth of every day purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Redeem your points for free movies, and getting $10 off for every 1000 points at any of their restaurant partners.
  • Redeem your earnings once you hit $50 in rewards.
  • Earn 1 SCENE point for every dollar spent with your card.
  • Earn 5 SCENE points per dollar when you use your card at Cineplex theatres or at Cineplex.com.
  • For every 1,250 points, you can watch 1 movie for free.
Best for: groceries

PC Financial Mastercard

Presidents Choice Financial Mastercard

Apply Now

on PC Financial’s website

Annual Fee:
$0

Interest Rate:
19.97% (Cash Advances 22.97%)

Minimum Income Required:
$0

Features:

  • No annual fee.
  • This card rewards your purchases with PC optimum points.
  • Redeem your points for free movies, and getting $10 off for every 1000 points at any of their restaurant partners.
  • Perfect for students who frequently shop at Shoppers Drug Mart and other stores that carry President’s Choice products.
  • Once you hit 10,000 points, you can redeem your rewards and use it to pay future grocery bills. Every 10,000 points is worth $10.

View more student credit cards.

Business

Best for: High earn rate + easy points redemption

American Express Business Gold Rewards Card

Apply Now

on American Express’ website

Annual fee
$250 (may be tax deductible)

Interest rate
19.99% (22.99% for cash advances, 22.99% for balance transfers)

Requirements
No mininum income requirement.

Features:

  • Earn 1 point for every dollar in purchases.
  • Welcome bonus of 30,000 points when you charge $5,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Maximize your cash flow with up to 55 interest-free days to pay.
  • Purchasing power that adjusts with Card usage.
  • Protection against employee misuse, a disability plan for when you can’t work, comprehensive travel insurance, including $100,000 travel accident insurance, flight delay, lost baggage, and more.
Best for: business travel rewards

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Credit Card

TD Aeroplan Infinite Visa Card

Apply Now

on TD’s website

Annual fee
$120 (first year free)

Interest rate
19.99% (22.99% for cash advances, 22.99% for balance transfers)

Requirements
$60,000 annual personal income or $100,000 annual household income

Features:

  • Earn 1.5 miles for grocery, gas and drugstore purchases.
  • Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases made with your card.
  • Welcome bonus up to 40,000 Aeroplan Miles as your welcome bonus, and your first year’s annual fee rebated in full
  • Earn miles twice when you pay and present your Aeroplan Membership Card.
  • Transfer your miles from other cards to your Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card.
  • When you fly Air Canada, get free checked bags, priority check-in and boarding, and even free access to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge once per year.
  • Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection and Complimentary Visa Infinite Concierge.
Best for: hotel rewards

The Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card

Apply Now

on American Express’ website

Annual fee
$120

Interest rate
19.99% (22.99% for cash advances, 22.99% for balance transfers)

Requirements 
Any income amount. Be a permanent Canadian resident. Have reached the age of majority in the Province in which you live.

Features:

  • Welcome bonus of 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 in eligible Card purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties.
  • 2 points for every $1 in all other Card purchases.
  • Insurance including flight and baggage delays, and $500,000 in travel life insurance.
  • For large purchases, extend the manufacturer’s original warranty up to one additional year.
  • Redeem your points for free nights at over 6,700 hotels and resorts in 130 countries at twenty-nine distinct hotel brands.
  • Option to transfer your points to frequent flyer miles with a wide selection of airlines.
Best for: no foreign exchange fee

Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite Card

scotiabank passport visa infinite

Apply Now

on Scotiabank’s website

Annual fee
$139

Interest rate
19.99% (22.99% for cash advances, 22.99% for balance transfers)

Requirements
Have at least $60,000 in annual personal income or at least $100,000 in annual household income

Features:

  • Welcome bonus up to 35,000 Scotia Rewards points (equivalent to $350 in travel dollars).
  • Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points on every $1 spent on grocery, dining, entertainment, and daily transit.
  • Earn 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent on everything else.
  • No foreign transaction fees whether you make them online or outside of Canada.
  • Complimentary Priority Pass™ membership, and 6 free visits per year.
  • Travel medical insurance coverage up to $1 million for the first 25 days.
Best for: company gas/transit, food, entertainment spending

Scotiabank Gold American Express

scotiabank gold american express

Apply Now

on Scotiabank’s website

Annual fee
$99 (waived for the first year) Extra Card $29

Interest rate
19.99% (22.99% for cash advances, 22.99% for balance transfers)

Requirements
Yearly personal income of $12,000

Features:

  • Welcome bonus up to 30,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (equivalent to $300).
  • Earn 5 points for every dollar spent on grocery, restaurant & entertainment.
  • Food spending includes delivery services like Skip The Dishes and Foodora. Entertainment spending includes movies, theatre, and ticket agencies.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Earn 3x Scotia Rewards points for gas and daily transit. Transit includes Uber.
Best for: flat-rate cash back rewards

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

Apply Now

on American Express’ website

Annual fee
$99

Interest rate
19.99% (22.99% for cash advances, 22.99% for balance transfers)

Requirements
You are a Canadian resident and have a Canadian credit file. You are the age of majority in the Province or Territory where you live.

Features:

  • Earn 5% cashback in your first 6 months (up to $300), then earn 2% cash back when your welcome rate ends
  • Get 2% cash back on all purchases with no maximum on how much you can earn.
  • Extensive insurance coverage for things like flight delays, medical emergencies, car rental loss or damage, and more.
  • Transfer 50% of your assigned credit limit, up to a maximum of $7,500, whichever is less, and pay no balance transfer fee.
Best for: no-annual fee business credit card

BMO Rewards® Business Mastercard®

Apply Now

on BMO’s website

Annual fee
$120 (first year waived)

Interest rate
14.99% (22.99% for cash advances, 22.99% for balance transfers)

Requirements
Be an owner of a for-profit business that operates in Canada. No bankruptcy in the last 7 years. Be the age of majority in your Province or Territory.

Features:

  • Get 35,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 you spend on gas, office supplies and cell phone/internet bill payments.
  • Extensive insurance coverage for things like flight delays, medical emergencies, car rental loss or damage, and more.
  • Cash advances at over 1 million ATMs worldwide.
Best for: balance transfer

MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard

Apply Now

on MBNA’s website

Annual fee
$39

Interest rate
8.99% (24.99% for cash advances, 8.99% for balance transfers. For the first 90 days, enjoy 0% balance transfers, and will remain in effect for 6 months.)

Requirements
You are a Canadian resident and are of the age of majority in your Province/Territory of residence.

Features:

  • 0% balance transfer fee for the first 90 days, and will remain in effect for 6 months.
  • 8.99% standard interest rate on balance transfers, purchase interest. 24.99% for cash advances.
  • No minimum income requirement.

View more business credit cards.

Bad And Low Credit

Best for: Top overall card for building credit

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard

bmo preferred rate card

Apply Now

on BMO’s website

Annual Fee
$20

Interest Rate
Purchases: 12.99%
Balance transfers and access cheques: 12.99%
Cash advances: 12.99%

Min. Income Required
$15000 minimum personal income required

Features:

  • Welcome offer of 3.99% introductory balance transfer interest rate for nine months with a 1% transfer fee.
  • Regular balance transfer rate, purchase interest rate, and cash advance interest rate of 12.99%.
  • Extended Warranty coverage, doubling the original manufacturer’s warranty period up to a maximum of one additional year.
  • 15% off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows touring Canada, and 20% off resident shows in Las Vegas
Best for: unsecured card with no annual fee

No-Fee Scotiabank Value Visa

scotiabank no fee value visa

Apply Now

on Scotiabank’s website

Annual Fee
$0

Interest Rate
Purchase: 16.99%;
Cash Advance: 16.99%

Minimum Income Required
$12,000

Features:

  • Welcome offer balance transfer rate of 3.99% for the first 6 months.
  • Regular balance transfer rate, purchase interest rate, and cash advance interest rate of 16.99%.
  • Up to 25% off base rates at participating AVIS locations and at participating Budget locations in Canada and the U.S.
Best for: secured card with no annual fee

Home Trust Secured Visa (No Annual Fee Option)

home trust secured visa

Apply Now

on Home Trust’s website

Annual Fee
$0

Interest Rate
19.99%

Minimum Income Required
N/A

Features:

  • Credit card limit of anywhere from $500 to $10,000 depending on what amount you place as your deposit.
  • Credit limit scales with your deposit on a 1-to-1 ratio.
  • 21-day no-interest grace period to pay off your card.
Best for: guaranteed approval

Capital One Guaranteed Secured Mastercard

capital one guaranteed secured mastercard

Apply Now

on Capital One’s website

Annual Fee
$59

Interest Rate:
19.80%

Minimum Income Required
$0

Features:

  • Guaranteed approval.
  • Capital One will report your credit card activity to credit bureaus on a monthly basis. If you consistently pay your full balance, your credit will improve over time.
  • Credit limit of $300-$2,500.
  • Zero Liability protection coverage for unauthorized use of your card.

View more credit cards for bad credit.


The Beginner’s Guide to Credit Cards

Maybe you just got your first credit card or are currently on the search to get your first one. whichever the case, getting educated about the in-and-outs of credit cards, how they work, and all the industry jargon that comes with it, is one of the most financially prudent decisions you can make for your future.

The right credit card can help you pay for major purchases while building your credit history — a constituent that reflects your ability to manage your finances, and shows insurers whether or not they can trust you with a loan for your car, house, tuition, etc.

How Does a Credit Card Work?

Let’s start with the basics. A credit card gives you a line of credit. Think of it as a short-term loan from your credit card issuer that you can use to make purchases. At the end of the month, the issuer sends you a bill for the amount you borrowed. This is different than a debit card in which you use the funds saved in your checking account to make the purchase.

Your line of credit, or credit limit, can be a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on which credit card you get and how good your credit history is. With a credit card, you get your use your bank’s money, that you otherwise don’t have, to make purchases with the promise that you will pay them back.

If you successfully pay off the amount you owe the bank on time every month, then there’s nothing to worry about. But if you are unable to pay the balance in full, or if you can only make the minimum amount due – lowest amount payable to avoid a late payment fee – then you will be charged the interest rate on the amount you borrowed. Each month that you carry a balance, you will be charged interest. Making payment consistently on time can significantly boost your credit score and shield you from ending up with massive credit debt.

Anatomy of a Credit Card: Glossary

There are a few important credit card related terms you will hear time and time again. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the following:

Annual Fee: Refers to a yearly fee charged to you by your credit card issuer for using their credit card and all the benefits it carries.

Credit Score: Refers to a three digit number that represents the risk the lender is taking by letting you borrow money. It shows how likely you are to repay the debt. Lenders use this number to decide whether or not they’ll approve you for a loan. The higher your credit score, the lower the risk you are to the lender. On a scale of 300-850, 300-629 is considered poor, 630-689 is considered to be fair, 690-719 is considered good, and 720-850 is determined to be an excellent credit score.

Credit Report: A report by credit bureau that shows your credit activity and how you manage your finances.

Credit History: Your ability to repay debt on time.

Signup Bonus: An incentive provided to you by your credit card issuer for signing up and performing a task such as spending a certain amount within a specific time-frame.

Purchase Interest Rate: Refers to the interest rate applied to the purchases you made in the event you fail to pay the full balance by the due date.

Cash Advance: A service provided by your bank that allows you to withdraw cash through an ATM or the bank against your credit limit. The interest rate charged on these are higher and the issuer will also charge you a cash advance fee per transaction.

Balance Transfer: Process of moving debt or balance from one credit card to another.

APR: Annual Rate Percentage refers to the annual interest rate that a lender charges you for borrowing money.

Variable Rate Interest: An interest rate that is subjected to change periodically.

Types of Credit Cards in Canada

There are different types of credit cards to meet the diverse needs of Canadian consumers.

Cash-back

Cash-back cards are a type of rewards credit card that refunds you a percentage of the amount you spent shopping. These can be redeemed as a check, statement credit to reduce the amount you owe the bank, or as a deposit into your savings account. The cash back percentage can range from 1%- 6%.

There are 3 types of cash-back credit cards: Flat-rate cards that pay the same cashback percentage across all categories, tiered cards that pay a higher bonus on certain categories, and rotating-bonus category in which the categories that earn more cashback than others changes periodically.

General travel credit cards

A travel credit card rewards you with points or miles for every dollar spent through your credit card. General travel credit card rewards can be redeemed on flights, hotels, or any travel related expenses. They also often have no foreign transaction fee which can bring large savings for Canadians who frequently travel internationally.

Airline credit cards

These credit cards are tied to specific airlines, and the reward points you earn in this type of card can be redeemed for airfare, upgrades on that airline. The perks associated with airline credit cards, such as free checked bags, priority boarding, use usually linked to the same brand.

Hotel credit cards

If you want free nights and room upgrades, and tend to stick with one hotel chain when travelling, then hotel credit cards are perfect for you. These credit cards carry the name of a hotel and offers points and perks redeemable at that hotel.

Balance transfer credit cards

Balance transfer credit cards are for people carrying multiple balances on several credit cards with a high-interest rate. This card helps you consolidate all that debt, and since it comes with as low as 0% interest rate for a few months to a year, you can make a significant reduction to your debt without wasting money away paying interest.

Low-interest credit cards

If you carry a balance month-to-month, you are charged an interest which increases the amount you owe the bank. A low-interest credit card comes with a smaller interest rate which can help you save money and tackle debt faster.

Student credit cards

Student credit cards are specifically designed for students, since as a demographic, they often have little-to-no credit history and are unable to meet a high-income requirement.

Business credit cards

Business credit cards are perfect for mid to small business owners who have multiple employees making purchases for their business. Businesses can typically find it difficult to get approved for a regular credit card. These credit cards come with a huge line of credit, generous welcome bonuses and extensive benefits package.

Secured credit cards

Secured cards are well-suited for those looking to rebuild their credit score, or are starting from scratch. They require you to place a security deposit which also establishes your credit limit for that card. For example, if you put $500 as security deposit, you will have a line of credit for $500. They credit cards have very low eligibility requirements.

How to Pick the Perfect Credit Card

With so many options available, it can be difficult to zero-in on the right card for your wallet.

Since the majority of people stick with the same card their whole life, before saying yes to any one card, consider the following points.

Know your goals
It’s important to start your quest to finding your perfect credit card match by identifying your goals. Why do you want a credit card? Is it for general spending, collecting rewards, building credit, or for purposes like debt consolidation or repairing damaged credit. Since there are several types of credit cards available, recognizing your goals will help you narrow your options significantly.

Check your credit report
Except for Canadians who have never borrowed money before, everyone has a credit score. It’s extremely crucial to regularly check your credit score because it’s an important factor that decides which credit card you will qualify for. You can request a free copy of your credit report through two national credit bureaus in Canada-Equifax Canada and Trans Union Canada. It’s important to check your credit score with both bureaus. Do you know that as a Canadian, you are entitled to receive one free credit report per year? You can receive your report either online, in person or by mail.

Do you carry a balance?
Consider whether or not you will be able to afford paying the balance during the months you use your credit card. If you don’t think you will be able to pay the full balance in a timely manner, it would be for the best to go with the credit card that comes with a low interest-rate. This way, during the months where you are only able to make the minimum payment due, you’re not slapped with a high-interest penalty.

Is tackling debt your top priority?
Most credit cards have different interest rates. But if you are struggling to pay off multiple balances, the more time you wait, the higher the amount you will owe the credit card companies because of excessive interest. Consolidating all your debt to one credit card with very low balance transfer and purchase interest rate will help you conquer your debt quickly. For this purpose, you are better off getting a balance transfer card.

Have a poor credit history?
If you have a credit score less than 630, it’s best to apply for secured cards that require you to put down a refundable security deposit. But know that there are some unsecured credit cards that will accept people with bad credit, but they typically have a higher annual or interest fee. This can add to your existing debt or make it so that you are unable to make your payments on time which can negatively impact your credit score.

Analyze your spending habits
Examine your shopping habits and identify the major categories that dominate your expenses. Once you know where you are spending the most money, you can pick a card that brings the most rewards for that specific category. For example, if you spend the most on groceries then go with a card that gives you the maximum points or cashback in supermarkets. It is extremely important that you pick a card that suits your lifestyle, and provides bonus rewards for the category that sees the most expense from you.

Analyze the rewards
Some credit cards reward you with cash, while other credit cards reward you with points or miles that you can use while purchasing products in certain categories. Make sure that the credit card you pick offers you rewards that you will actually use. If you have a big road trip coming up, then a card that rewards you the most on gas or travel purchases would bring you more value than a credit card offering the most cash back for home-improvement.

Look at the eligibility requirements
Premium to elite credit cards that offer the most attractive rewards, perks and benefits come with a steep annual fee They also have very income and credit score requirements to be eligible. When researching credit cards, apply for one that has a good overall value and also is easy to apply. Credit card issuers are known to decline applicants with high income an excellent credit, so keep your options open.

Comparing Credit Cards

On the surface level, all credit cards function the same way– you buy things with the bank’s money and then you pay them back by due date. But there are subtleties that exist that makes each of these cards unique, and these same differences can either make the credit card a heaven to use, or a pain to deal with. There are a few fundamental pillars you need to evaluate to determine the quality of the credit card you want to sign up for.

Fees
Credit cards come with multiple fees – some may be worth it, while others are best to be avoided.

The most common fees are:

  • Annual fee – Credit cards that come with an annual fee usually has bigger sign-up bonuses and larger benefits. There are also cards that come with no-annual fee. These have lower rewards and higher interest rates. An annual fee isn’t always bad if the perks are relevant to you, rewards are nice and if you will be using the card a lot. That said, if the card you want has a huge annual fee, see to it that it has enough value to justify the high fees.
  • Foreign transaction fee – This is a fee that’s charged when you make a purchase abroad. It’s usually between 3-4%. If you are someone who frequently travels outside Canada then opt for a card that skips this fee.
  • Cash advance and balance transfer fee – These are fees are what a credit card issuer charges their customers for every eligible cash advance or balance transfer request.
  • Late payment fee – A penalty that’s added to a customer’s balance when they fail to make the minimum payment by the due date.

While the fees above are commonly found in all credit cards, other than the annual fee, almost all of them can and should be avoided.

Introductory rate
Many credit cards offer a low interest rate on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances for the first few months to a year. These rates can go as low as 0%, and presents the prime window of time to reduce your debt as much as you can, without losing money paying high interest rate.

Ongoing Interest
0% interest is great as an introductory perk, but it’s even better if the ongoing APR once the promotional period ends still stays relatively low. This should be an important factor to keep in mind if paying off your balance will take some time.

Welcome Bonus
A generous sign-up bonus quickly gives you a flood of rewards right after you sign-up and meet a few requirements. If getting rewards is your primary motive for getting a credit card then welcome bonus can be a very valuable asset. Travel credit cards generally offers the most lucrative bonus. But remember that, these do have a spending requirement you must meet inorder to claim your bonus. Typically, the bigger the reward, the higher the spending requirement.

Rewards
There are two elements you should note when looking at rewards– earn rate- the cashback percentage, points or miles you get for every $1 spent; and redemption value- the value received for each point or mile you redeem. Also note whether or not the redemption options contains enough flexibility to bring the most value for your lifestyle.

Perks
Premium credit cards tend to come with more perks than basic cards, but they also have steep annual fees which can go above $400. There are some standard perks that all good credit cards have. These include purchase protection, extended warranty insurance, rental car coverage, free VIP lounge access, and more. Make sure that the credit card you decide on is loaded with perks that you will actually use and need.

How to apply for a credit card

Applying for a credit card is easy, provided you have decided on which one you want. Keep in mind that the credit card issuer doesn’t know you, but will look at your credit history, employment and other financial assets and accounts to assess your risk to them.

Here are the steps you need to take to apply for your chosen credit card:

1. Check your credit report – Your credit score is important in determining which credit card you will qualify for. It takes into account your overall debt, the ratio of your credit card balance to your credit limit (known as credit utilization), your current loan balance in relation to what you originally owed.

2. Check the eligibility requirements – Eligibility requirements generally vary between credit cards. The mid to top tier cards require good to excellent credit scores and a high personal or household income requirement. If you have bad or no credit, you won’t qualify for a rewards card right away. You may want to start with a secured credit card, or one with a low interest rate, so that you can focus on (re)building your credit, and upgrade to a better card later down the road.

3. Fill out an application – You can either fill out an application online, or in some cases, like when it comes to applying for secured cards from major Canadian banks, you will have to visit one of their branches in person. While applying, you will be required to provide basic information like your name, address, employment status, annual income and more. Do not apply for multiple cards close together or at the same time because when your credit issuer goes to perform a hard check on your background, they’ll know.

4. Once approved, wait – If your credit card application gets approved, wait for your card to come in the mail. You should receive it within 10 business days.

5. Activate your card – You can activate your credit card by calling a number present on the sticker on your new card, or online through the credit card issuer’s website.

How Many Credit Cards Should You Have?

It depends on your needs. While one credit card will be sufficient for some, others will be able to earn the maximum rewards by carrying multiple credit cards. That said, carrying multiple cards comes with a lot of added responsibility. For example, you will have to ensure that your monthly balances are paid across all your accounts.

Carrying multiple cards do have its benefits. Like, where one credit card might offer you the best rewards on groceries, another credit card may help you get closer to your next trip by giving you amazing miles you can redeem for huge savings on your next flight. Through combining, you can easily earn huge incentives across multiple spending categories.

There is also the principle of credit utilization to consider. This denotes how much of your available credit limit you are using on your card (per-card), or across all your cards (overall). This factor can affect your credit score. You should not use more than 30% of your limit. The more you charge your credit card, the higher the credit risk. So, maxing out your card can lower your credit score.

Carrying multiple cards can help with this because it will spread your balances across multiple cards, hence, keeping your credit utilization less than 30%.

All that said, if you have trouble making payments or aren’t financially stable, then you should not get multiple credit cards.

What’s the Difference Between Visa and MasterCard?

If you have a credit card or are about to get one, it’s very likely that it will either be a Visa or Mastercard. These two brands are among the most popular credit card companies in the world today, and are accepted by merchants across the globe.

Visa and Mastercard do not issue credit cards to the customers directly. Instead, they partner with banks, credit unions and other financial institutions to issue cards carrying their names. The credit card issuer (your bank) is responsible for loading up the card with terms and conditions, rewards, insurance, interest rates, fees and other features to benefit the customers. When you make your payment every month, it’s the bank who receives the payment not Visa or MasterCard.

Visa offers a few classes of credit cards – Visa Classic, Visa Gold, Visa Platinum, Visa Infinite and Visa Infinite Privilege.

All of them come with the following benefits:

  • Global acceptance around the world
  • Zero Liability program that protects you against unauthorized transactions
  • Lost/stolen card reporting that makes it easy for customers to report a stolen or lost card through just a phone call
  • Guaranteed hotel reservation service that enables you to use your Visa card to book your hotel room and holds the room regardless of how late you arrive
  • Emergency card replacement service and emergency cash advances available 24×7

Mastercard is just as universally accepted as Visa, and comes with three types of cards – Standard Mastercard, World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard.

The benefits found in most of the Mastercard, depending on the level, include:

  • Shopping Protection – Extended Warranty, Price Protection, Purchase Protection
  • Personal Assistance – Master Global Service, free concierge services
  • Personal Protection – Zero Liability
  • Travel Assistance – Airport Lounge Access, Mastercard Global Service
  • Travel Protection – Car Rental Collision/Damage Waiver Insurance, Travel Accident and Emergency Medical Insurance, Trip Cancellation Insurance, Baggage Delay Insurance, Lost or Damaged Luggage Insurance, Hotel/Motel
  • Burglary Insurance

World and World Elite Mastercard members will also get access to a plethora of exclusive offers, upgrades and experiences from upscale retailers and luxury hotels and resorts.

Credit Card Best Practices

Before we end this comprehensive guide on credit cards, we want to leave you with some credit card best practices to help you use your card responsibly.

Keep your debt to the minimum – Try your best to pay your full balance every month. Even if you can’t, at least pay your minimum balance. That way you won’t have to pay a late payment fee along with interest.

Only buy what you can afford – Credit card can sometimes give you the illusion of having extra money. But remember that it’s not your money. It’s the banks, and you will have to pay it back by the due date. So budget well, and don’t use your credit cards to buy things that you don’t need or cannot afford to repay.

Stay within your limit – Repeatedly maxing out your credit card, or spending beyond your credit line will incur over limit fees and damage your credit score. Try to keep your balance below 30% of your limit at all times. This will show the lenders that you are a responsible credit card holder.

Make your payments on time – Not paying on time can trigger penalties and also have a detrimental impact on your credit score, especially if it’s a repeated behavior. If you find it hard to keep track of your due date, set up a monthly automatic payment.

Avoid taking cash advances – Cash advances cost you a fee per transaction, and they also have a much larger interest rate than your purchase APR. If you do take a cash advance against your limit, please pay it off in full because otherwise you will have to pay a substantial interest penalty.

Know your billing cycle – At the end of every month, there are two dates that you need to be aware of– the closing date and the payment due date. There are usually 21 to 25 days between those two dates, known as grace period. You won’t be charged any interest if you pay your balance in full within the grace period. If you fail to make the payment even after the closing date, you will be charged a late fee, and an interest.

Track your monthly statement – Go through your statements every month and check for fraud and overspending.