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Published May 12, 2022

13 Best Credit Cards in Canada for 2022

Compare the best credit cards in Canada across categories like no-fee, travel rewards and cash back, to find the optimal card for your lifestyle and spending habits.

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

As of January 2021, there were over 76 million credit cards in circulation nationwide, according to Statista. Canadian credit cards typically have an interest rate of around 19%, but when choosing the best credit card for your needs, there’s more to consider than the APR alone.

Our picks for the best credit cards in Canada include top contenders across numerous card categories so you can find the ideal card for your spending habits and financial goals.

Best Credit Cards in Canada

Our pick for bonus rewards on daily spending

American Express Cobalt® Card

  • Annual Fee
    $155.88
  • Interest Rates
    20.99% / 21.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1x-5x Points
  • Intro Offer
    Up to 30,000 Points
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    The American Express Cobalt Card boasts high rewards rates on everyday spending, a generous welcome bonus, comprehensive travel insurance coverage, flexible point redemption and plenty of specialty perks to keep things interesting all year long.

    Pros
    • Earn 150,000 points in the first year by spending up to $30,000 on eats, drinks and groceries. Combined with the 30,000 point intro offer, you could earn 180,000 points in your first year, which you could redeem for travel and more.
    • Easily transfer the points you earn to popular airline and hotel loyalty programs, such as Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy.


    Cons
    • Airport lounge access isn’t provided, which may disappoint some frequent travellers.
    • No travel medical coverage for cardmembers over the age of 65.
  • Product Details
    • In your first year as a new Cobalt Cardmember, you can earn 2,500 Membership Rewards® points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in net purchases on your Card. This could add up to 30,000 points in a year.
    • 30,000 points is enough for:
    • $300 in statement credits redeemed towards purchases charged to your Card or
    • $225 in American Express® Prepaid Cards.
    • Earn 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks in Canada, including groceries and food delivery.
    • Earn 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada.
    • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible transit & gas purchases in Canada and eligible travel purchases. That's 2X the points on purchases that get you from point A to B.
    • Earn 1 point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else. We won't tell you where to spend, we'll just reward you on your Card purchases.
    • Transfer points 1:1 to several frequent flyer and other loyalty programs.
    • Cobalt Cardmembers receive regular Perks such as bonus reward offers and access to great events.
    • Access Front Of The Line® Presale & Reserved Tickets to some of your favourite concerts and theatre performances and special offers and events curated for Cardmembers with American Express® Experiences.
    • American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details, current product information and Terms and Conditions, click the Apply now link. Conditions Apply.
Our pick for flat-rate cash back with a high ongoing rewards rate

SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express

  • Annual Fee
    $99
  • Interest Rates
    19.99% / 21.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    2%-10%
  • Intro Offer
    Up to $400
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    A high flat rewards rate of 2% makes it easy to earn cash back on every purchase — no need to keep track of bonus categories, spending limits or tiered and rotating structures.

    Pros
    • An unlimited 2% cash-back earn rate is among the highest we evaluated.
    • You can earn up to $400 in the first four months.


    Cons
    • Other cards on this list offer a higher cash-back rate on specific spending categories and might be a better fit if you’re comfortable keeping track of tiered rewards structures.
  • Product Details
    • New SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express Cardmembers can earn 10% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to $400 cash back) for the first 4 months of Cardmembership.
    • Earn 2.0% cash back when your Welcome Rate ends.
    • No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn after your Welcome Rate ends.
    • Access to memorable experiences with American Express Invites®.
    • Extensive insurance coverage and 24/7 Customer Service.
    • American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.
Our pick for a no-fee bonus category card with a low introductory APR on purchases

Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa Card

  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    19.99% / 22.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    0.5%-10%
  • Intro Offer
    Up to $500
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    The $0-annual-fee Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card earns bonus cash-back on the purchases you make almost every day.

    Pros
    • New cardmembers can earn a 9.99% introductory annual interest on purchases for the first six months.


    Cons
    • The 0.5% base rate isn’t exactly impressive, but it only applies after you hit the annual spending limits of bonus categories.
    • It only includes purchase security and extended protection insurance.
  • Product Details
    • 4% on restaurant, bar and coffee shops, up to $5,000 per year.
    • 1.5% on gas, groceries, drugstores and pre-authorized payments, up to $15,000 per year.
    • 0.5% on everything else.
    • Plus, for your first 4 months, enjoy 10% bonus cash back at restaurants and bars up to $500 spend. Get 4% cash back after that.
    • Redeem cash back as a statement credit in December.
    • No annual fee.
    • Cash back when you send money abroad with a Simplii Financial Global Money Transfer. No transaction fees and no interest charges.
    • Purchase security and extended protection insurance provided.
    • Preferred rates: 19.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances.
    • To be eligible, a $15,000 (individual) annual income is required. Also, you must have a Canadian credit file and be a Canadian resident (excluding Quebec) that is the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
Our pick for a premium Aeroplan credit card with unlimited rewards

American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card

  • Annual Fee
    $599
  • Interest Rates
    19.99% / 21.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1.25x-3x Points
  • Intro Offer
    Up to 85,000 Points
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    Comprehensive travel insurance, Air Canada benefits, impressive earn rates and unlimited rewards make the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card a strong choice for frequent travellers.

    Pros
    • Strong earn rates with unlimited rewards.
    • Air Canada airport benefits, like Maple Leaf Lounge access, a free checked bag, Priority Airport Check-In, Priority Boarding for you and up to eight travel companions.


    Cons
    • A high $599 annual fee.
    • The highest earn rate only applies to Air Canada travel purchases, so this card might not be a good fit if you prefer another airline.
  • Product Details
    • New American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Cardmembers can earn up to 85,000 Aeroplan points:
    • Earn 25,000 Aeroplan points after spending $3,000 in net purchases on your Card within the first 3 months of Cardmembership.
    • Plus, you can also earn 5,000 Aeroplan points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $1,000 in purchases on your Card for the first twelve months of Cardmembership. That could add up to 60,000 Aeroplan points.
    • New Cardmembers: Earn up to $2,700 in value within your first year. Spend applies to bonus point offers valued at up to $1,700.
    • Eligible cardmembers get a FREE Uber Pass membership for 12 months. Including unlimited $0 delivery fee on eligible restaurant orders of $15 or more, 5% off eligible restaurant orders over $15, and exclusive Rides Perks.
    • New Cardmembers: Receive up to $100 CAD in statement credits every four years when a NEXUS application or renewal fee is charged to your American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card.
    • Standard Earn Rate: Earn 3X the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada®* and Air Canada Vacations®*.
    • Standard Earn Rate: Earn 2X the points on eligible Dining and Food Delivery purchases in Canada.
    • Earn 2X the points on eligible purchases with Rocky Mountaineer®**. Plus, you could receive a Complimentary Hotel Room Category Upgrade, on the first and last night, and a Complimentary Upgrade from SilverLeaf to GoldLeaf class of service when you book directly with Rocky Mountaineer using your Aeroplan Reserve Card.
    • Standard Earn Rate: Earn 1.25X the points on everything else.
    • Get through the airport quicker with Air Canada Priority Check-In, Air Canada Priority Boarding and Air Canada Priority Baggage Handling.
    • Receive one Annual Worldwide Companion Pass when you spend $25,000 in net purchases prior to your Card anniversary date; your Pass entitles you to buy an accompanying Air Canada economy class ticket for a companion at a fixed base fare from $99 to a maximum of $599 CAD (plus taxes, fees, charges, and surcharges).
    • Enjoy access to select Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges™* and Air Canada Café™ in North America for you and a guest, with a same day ticket on a departing Air Canada or Star Alliance flight.
    • Enjoy your eligible first checked bag free for up to 9 people travelling on the same reservation on Air Canada flights.
    • Roll over any unallocated Aeroplan Elite™* Status Qualifying Miles and unused eUpgrade Credits to the following year to enjoy during your travels.
    • American Express® Experiences opens doors for you to access a number of special events, including special dining experiences, VIP parties, advance film screenings and more.
    • Get more from your travel experience at Toronto Pearson International Airport with:
    • Access to Pearson Priority Security Lane.
    • Complimentary valet service at the Express Park and Daily Park.
    • 15% discount on parking rates at the Express Park and Daily Park.
    • 15% discount on Car Care Services.
    • Get access to more than 1,200 Priority Pass™ airport lounges and enjoy an oasis of comfort before your flight, regardless of your airline or cabin class.
    • American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.
Our pick for bonus rewards on travel

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

  • Annual Fee
    $149
    Annual fee rebate for the first year*
  • Interest Rates
    19.90% / 22.90%
  • Rewards Rate
    3x-6x Points
  • Intro Offer
    80,000 Points
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    Not only does this World Elite card offer a high rewards rate on travel purchases, but it also comes with premium travel perks, like a $100 travel enhancement credit and 31-day worldwide emergency travel medical insurance.

    Pros
    • A $100 annual travel enhancement credit covers seat upgrades, baggage fees, lounge passes, and more.
    • No foreign transaction fees.


    Cons
    • Select types of travel insurance won’t apply unless you charge 75% of your travel expenses to the card.
    • No travel medical coverage for cardmembers over the age of 65.
  • Product Details
    • Get up to $649 in total value* for the first year! Must apply by October 31, 2022. Conditions apply.
    • Primary Cardholder Annual Fee: $149.
    • Annual Interest on Purchases: 19.9%.
    • Annual Interest on Cash Advances and Balance Transfers: 22.9%.
    • Authorized User Annual Fee: $50 Per Card.
    • *Terms and Conditions apply.
    • ®/TM Mastercard and World Elite are registered trademarks, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Used pursuant to licence.
Our pick for bonus categories tailored to your spending

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    19.95%
  • Rewards Rate
    0.5%-10%
  • Intro Offer
    Up to $100
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    You can earn unlimited cash back at a 2% rate in up to three categories of your choice — all while earning 0.50% back on everything else.

    Pros
    • You can tailor the 2% rewards to your spending by choosing up to three categories from Tangerine’s list of 10, which includes basics like gas and groceries as well as unusual picks like furniture and home improvement.
    • Transfer balances within your first 30 days and pay only 1.95% interest on the transferred balance for the first six months (19.95% after that).


    Cons
    • 2% cash back is a competitive rate, but many cards offer double the rewards on specific categories.
    • Tangerine is a virtual bank with no physical bank branches.
  • Product Details
    • 2% on two categories of your choice: grocery, furniture, restaurants, hotel-motel, gas, recurring bill payments, drug store, home improvement, entertainment, or public transportation and parking.
    • Get a third cash-back category by choosing to have your rewards deposited into a Tangerine Savings Account.
    • 0.50% on everything else.
    • Redeem cash back monthly as a statement credit or deposited into a Tangerine Savings Account.
    • No annual fee.
    • Transfer balances within your first 30 days and pay only 1.95% interest on the transferred balance for the first six months (19.95% after that).
    • Get free cards for any authorized users on your account.
    • It only includes purchase assurance and extended protection insurance. For more insurance, consider the Tangerine World Mastercard which requires a minimum personal income of $60,000. If you meet this requirement, you will automatically be considered for the World card if you apply for the Money-Back card.
    • Preferred rates: 19.95% for purchases and cash advances.
    • To be eligible, a $12,000 (individual) annual income is required. Also, you must have a Canadian credit file and be a Canadian resident of the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
Our pick for bonus rewards and a digital-first experience

Brim World Elite Mastercard

  • Annual Fee
    $199
  • Interest Rates
    Rates vary by card member
  • Rewards Rate
    1x-30x Points
  • Intro Offer
    Up to $500
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    Brim is a tech-savvy option that offers an impressive mobile app with budget tracking, an eShop with hundreds of retailers, partnerships with five mobile wallets, free global WiFi, and no foreign transaction fees — even when shopping online.

    Pros
    • Rewards are easy to understand — each point is worth $0.01 — and you can earn up to 30x at select retail partners, which includes small local businesses and big brands.
    • Comprehensive insurance package offers 16 types of insurance, ranging from trip cancellation and interruption to mobile device and event ticket protector insurance.


    Cons
    • The bonus rewards rate drops down to the 1x flat rate after you spend $25,000.
    • Brim is a virtual bank with no physical bank branches, so you must be comfortable with a digital-first experience.
  • Product Details
    • 2x points per dollar on everyday purchases, up to $25,000 annual spend. Then, 1x.
    • Up to 30x points per dollar on retail partners in the eShop.
    • Points have a straightforward value of $0.01 and can be redeemed on transactions or as cash back. $1 minimum redemption required. Points do not expire.
    • $199 annual fee.
    • Brim’s Family Card option lets you add additional card members, set and adjust their spending limits, block types of transactions and track spending — perfect for teaching teens smart budgeting.
    • World Elite Mastercard benefits, including membership to Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey and access to over 1 million Boingo Global Wi-Fi hotspots around the world.
    • Enhanced security features allow you to lock your card and block online or foreign transactions instantly.
    • Access to the Brim Installment plan.
    • 16 types of insurance provided, including 15-day travel medical benefits — up to $5 million in coverage. 3-day coverage is available for ages 65 and older.
    • Preferred rates vary by card member.
    • No foreign exchange fees.
    • To be eligible, $80,000 (individual) or $150,000 (household) annual income is required. Also, you must have a Canadian credit file and be a Canadian resident of the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
Our pick for bonus rewards on groceries, transit, gas and recurring bills

BMO CashBack® World Elite® Mastercard®

  • Annual Fee
    $120
    Waived first year
  • Interest Rates
    20.99% / 23.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1%–10%
  • Intro Offer
    Up to $260
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    You won’t need a strategy to make the most out of this bonus-category card. The BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard spends like a flat-rate card thanks to stellar rates on four popular daily spending categories.

    Pros
    • Score generous cash-back rates for popular spending categories: 5% on groceries, 4% on transit, 3% on gas, 2% on recurring bills, and 1% on everything else.
    • Feel protected with 13 types of insurance and fantastic travel benefits.


    Cons
    • Spending categories come with easily-hit spending caps, but the 1% base rate still earns you value once you hit your monthly bonus rate limits.
    • The $120 annual fee is pretty steep. While we think you’ll more than make up for it through cash back savings, the no-fee BMO CashBack Mastercard is a great alternative.
  • Product Details
    • 5% on groceries, 4% on transit, 3% on gas and electric vehicle charging, and 2% on recurring bills, up to $500 each on every statement cycle.
    • 1% on everything else.
    • Redeem your cash back as a statement credit, or directly deposit it into a BMO Chequing, Savings or InvestorLine Account.
    • $120 annual fee.
    • Mastercard World Elite Benefits, including Mastercard Travel Rewards, Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey and Boingo Public Wi-Fi.
    • Cash back when you travel outside of Canada with the Mastercard Travel Rewards program.
    • 13 types of insurance provided, including eight-day out-of-province/out-of-country emergency medical benefits — up to $2 million coverage.
    • Preferred rates: 20.99% for purchases, 23.99% for cash advances.
    • To be eligible, $80,000 (individual) or $150,000 (household) annual income is required. Also, you must have a Canadian credit file and be a Canadian resident of the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
Our pick for a bonus rewards card with a 0% intro period + no foreign exchange fees

Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card

  • Annual Fee
    $120
  • Interest Rates
    19.99% / 22.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1x-5x Points
  • Intro Offer
    45,000 Points
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    Not only does the Scotiabank Gold American Express card reward you with impressive rates in six popular spending categories, but it also comes with a 0% intro period for balance transfers and no foreign exchange fees.

    Pros
    • No foreign exchange fee on any foreign currency purchases while travelling abroad or shopping online — you just have to pay the exchange rate.
    • The 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers lasts for a full six months.


    Cons
    • The bonus rewards rates drop down to the 1x flat rate after a $50,000 annual spend. This sounds like a lot, but much of your daily spending is probably included in the six bonus categories, so you might hit the limit faster than you’d think.
    • Your points will expire if you don’t use them within 12 months of the purchase date.
  • Product Details
    • 5x Scene+ points per dollar on eat in & eat on, including grocery stores, restaurants, fast food, drinking establishments, food delivery and food subscriptions.
    • 5x Scene+ points per dollar on entertainment.
    • 3x Scene+ points per dollar on gas, daily transit, and streaming services.
    • 1x Scene+ points per dollar on everything else + after $50,000 annual spend in accelerated earn rate categories.
    • Scene+ points can be redeemed for travel purchase, merchandise and other non-travel rewards such as gift cards and prepaid cards.
    • You must redeem a minimum of 5,000 points per travel-related rewards redemption, equivalent to $50 in travel savings. Points must be redeemed within 12 months of the purchase date.
    • $120 annual fee, which you can waive every single year by using the Scotiabank Preferred Package or Ultimate Package.
    • Discounted Priority Pass™ membership, which grants you access to over 1200 VIP lounges around the world.
    • Score deals on shopping, dining, travel and more with Amex Offers, and experience special events and discounts with American Express Invites.
    • Front Of The Line presale and reserved tickets.
    • 12 types of insurance provided, including 25-day travel medical benefits — up to $1 million in coverage. 3-day coverage is available for ages 65 and older.
    • Preferred rates: 19.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances.
    • No foreign exchange fees.
    • To be eligible, $12,000 (individual) annual income is required. Also, you must have a Canadian credit file and be a Canadian resident of the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
Our pick for a premium Aeroplan credit card with comprehensive travel insurance

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege Card

  • Annual Fee
    $599
  • Interest Rates
    19.99% / 22.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1.25x-2x Points
  • Intro Offer
    105,000 Points
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card comes with strong travel insurance and perks, plus healthy earn rates on everyday purchases.

    Pros
    • Comprehensive travel insurance includes medical benefits for ages 65 and older.
    • Complimentary Priority Pass membership with six airport lounge visits included each year.


    Cons
    • A high annual fee and a $200,000 household annual income requirement.
    • Accelerated earn rates are limited to $100,000 annual spend.
  • Product Details
    • Intro offer details: Earn a welcome bonus of 20,000 Aeroplan points after making your first purchase. Earn up to 85,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $1,000 each month for the first 10 months after opening your account. Plus, enroll for NEXUS and once every 48 months get an application fee rebate, share free first checked bags, and get access to Maple Leaf Lounges. Must apply by May 29, 2022.
    • 2x Aeroplan points on Air Canada and Air Canada Vacation purchases.
    • 1.5x Aeroplan points on gas, groceries, travel and dining.
    • 1.25x Aeroplan points on everything else, or after $100,000 annual spend in the bonus categories listed above.
    • Earn twice the points when you present your Aeroplan number at over 150 participating Aeroplan partner brands and at 170 online retailers and pay with your card.
    • Earn 50% more Aeroplan points at Starbucks when you link your TD card with your Starbucks Rewards account. Plus, earn 50% more Stars at participating Starbucks locations.
    • Redeem Aeroplan points online at AirCanada.com or via the app for flights, vacation packages, hotels, experiences, gift cards and more.
    • $599 annual fee.
    • Receive an Annual Worldwide Companion Pass — either for $99 or no additional cost after spending $25,000 on your card.
    • Priority Check-In, Priority Boarding, Priority Baggage Handling and Priority Airport Standby for you and up to eight travel companions on the same Air Canada flight.
    • Complimentary Priority Pass membership with six airport lounge visits included each year. Access to a Maple Leaf Lounge is also included.
    • Get a free Uber Pass membership for 12 months. Offer ends September 7, 2022.
    • Access to up to $5,000 in emergency cash advances.
    • 13 types of insurance provided, including 31-day travel medical benefits — up to $5 million in coverage for ages 65 and younger. Ages 65 and older are covered for the first four days of a trip.
    • Preferred rates: 19.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances.
    • To be eligible, $150,000 annual personal income or $200,000 household annual income is required. Also, you must have a Canadian credit file and be a Canadian resident of the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
Our pick for a no-fee card with bonus rewards on everyday spending

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    19.99% / 24.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1x-4x Points
  • Intro Offer
    10,000 Points
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard offers bonus rewards on common spending categories, along with flexible options for redemption.

    Pros
    • Flexible redemption options, including cash back, brand-name merchandise, gift cards, charitable donations and travel, and points never expire.
    • You can receive up to 10,000 Birthday Bonus Points every year.


    Cons
    • Accelerated earn rate drops to 2x after the first 90 days, and 1x after $10,000 in spending. Considering how many categories fit into the cap, hitting the limit will be easy for families and big spenders.
    • Lack of travel insurance may disappoint some cardholders.
  • Product Details
    • 4x MBNA Rewards Points per dollar on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership and household utility purchases during the first 90 days. Then, 2x for every $1 spent on eligible purchases in those categories thereafter. Both earn rates apply until $10,000 is spent annually. After that, earn 1x for every $1 spent.
    • 1x MBNA Rewards Points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
    • Redeem points for cash back, brand-name merchandise, gift cards from participating retailers, charitable donations, and travel.
    • $0 annual fee.
    • Receive Birthday Bonus Points equal to 10% of the total number of points earned in the 12 months before the month of the primary cardholder’s birthday, up to a max of 10,000 points.
    • Use your MBNA card to save 10% off Avis and Budget rental car base rates in Canada and the U.S., and 5% of base rates internationally.
    • Access to the MBNA installment payment plan.
    • Three types of insurance provided: extended warranty, mobile device and purchase assurance.
    • Preferred rates: 19.99% for purchases, 24.99% for cash advances, and 22.99% for balance transfers and access cheques.
    • To be eligible, you must have a Canadian credit file and be a Canadian resident of the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
Our pick for bonus rewards on groceries, recurring bills, gas and daily transit

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite Card

  • Annual Fee
    $120
    Waived first year
  • Interest Rates
    20.99% / 22.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1%-10%
  • Intro Offer
    Up to $200
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    Earn up to $1,000 in cash back on grocery shopping and recurring bill payments with a 4% rewards rate in both categories.

    Pros
    • It’s rare for a credit card to offer 4% cash back on two major spending categories. It’s even rarer to set a $25,000 annual limit to that 4% — a $1,000 value — before reverting to the healthy 1% base rate.
    • You can waive the $120 annual fee every single year by using the Scotiabank Ultimate Package.


    Cons
    • The cash back earned is hands-off. You have to wait until November, and then it’s only redeemable as a statement credit. If you have a Scotiabank account, that annual payout can be deposited into your bank account.
    • The 4% rate won’t mean much to you if you don’t buy a lot of groceries or often buy your food at somewhere that Visa doesn’t classify as a grocery store or supermarket, such as Canadian Tire, FreshCo, London Drugs, Walmart and No Frills.
  • Product Details
    • 10% cash back intro rate on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases).
    • 4% on groceries, recurring bills and subscription payments, up to $25,000 per year.
    • 2% on gas, rideshare, taxis and other forms of daily transit, up to $25,000 per year.
    • 1% on everything else.
    • Redeem cash back as a statement credit in November.
    • $120 annual fee.
    • Visa Infinite benefits, including Visa Infinite Concierge, Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection, Visa Infinite Dining Series, and entertainment and lifestyle offers.
    • Save up to 25% off base rates at participating AVIS locations and at participating Budget locations in Canada and the U.S.
    • Access to Scotia SelectPay.
    • 11 types of insurance provided, including new mobile device insurance and a 15-day out-of-province/out-of-country emergency medical benefits — up to $1 million in coverage.
    • Preferred rates: 20.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances.
    • To be eligible, $60,000 (individual) or $100,000 (household) annual income is required, or $250,000 minimum assets under management. Also, you must have a Canadian credit file and be a Canadian resident that is the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
Our pick for travel rewards and purchases booked through Expedia

TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card

  • Annual Fee
    $120
    Waived first year
  • Interest Rates
    19.99% / 22.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    3x-9x Points
  • Intro Offer
    Up to 100,000 Points
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    With a large welcome bonus and accelerated earn rate on travel booked through ExpediaForTD.com, the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card is perfect for travellers aiming to score free flights and hotel visits.

    Pros
    • A huge welcome bonus worth $670 — provided you take full advantage of the intro offer ($500) and the annual fee rebate for yourself ($120) and an additional cardholder ($50).
    • Travel expenses eligible for redemption include more than just hotel stays and flights – baggage fees, airport parking, car rentals, cruises, travel attractions, entertainment and more are all fair game.


    Cons
    • This card doesn’t have as many travel perks as others on the list, but you can quickly earn free flights and hotel stays.
    • No free airport lounge access — you only receive an annual discount on a Priority Pass lounge membership.
  • Product Details
    • 9x TD Points per dollar spent when you book travel online through ExpediaForTD.com
    • 3x TD Points per dollar spent on everything else.
    • Redeem points for travel, to help pay down your credit card balance, cash back, gift cards and more.
    • 200 TD Points are worth $1 in travel savings on purchases made through ExpediaForTD.com. 250 TD Points are worth $1 on travel expenses when you book on your own. Points do not expire.
    • $120 annual fee. You can waive this cost every year if you’re a TD member with an Unlimited or All-Inclusive chequing account.
    • Visa Infinite benefits including Visa Infinite Concierge, Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection, Visa Infinite Dining Series, and Entertainment & Lifestyle Offers.
    • Save with Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car.
    • 20% annual discount on a Priority Pass lounge membership.
    • 11 types of insurance provided, including 21-day travel medical benefits — up to $1 million in coverage. 4-day coverage is available for ages 65 and older.
    • Preferred rates: 19.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances.
    • To be eligible, $60,000 (individual) or $100,000 (household) annual income is required. Also, you must have a Canadian credit file and be a Canadian resident of the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
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Methodology to identify the best credit cards

NerdWallet Canada selects the best credit cards based on overall consumer value and their suitability for specific kinds of consumers. Factors in our evaluation include annual and other fees, rewards rates, the earning structure (for example, flat-rate rewards versus bonus categories), redemption options, bonus offers for new cardholders, introductory and ongoing APRs, and other noteworthy features such as airline or hotel perks or the ability to transfer points. Charge cards are not included on this list.

Summary of the best Canadian credit cards:

  • Best card for bonus rewards on travel: HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
  • Best flat-rate cash-back card with a high rewards rate: SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express
  • Best premium Aeroplan card with unlimited rewards: American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card
  • Best bonus rewards on daily spending: American Express Cobalt® Card
  • Best bonus rewards card with a digital-first experience: Brim World Elite Mastercard
  • Best bonus rewards card for groceries, transit and recurring bills: BMO CashBack® World Elite® Mastercard®
  • Best bonus rewards card with a 0% intro period: Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card
  • Best no-fee bonus category card with a low intro APR: Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa Card
  • Best card for bonus categories tailored to your spending: Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
  • Best premium Aeroplan card with comprehensive travel insurance: TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege Card
  • Best no-fee card with bonus rewards on everyday spending: MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®
  • Best card for bonus rewards on groceries, recurring bills and daily transit: Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite Card
  • Best card for travel rewards and purchases booked through Expedia: TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite Card

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Beginner’s guide to credit cards in Canada

By Barry Choi and Shannon Terrell

A credit card is part of daily life for many Canadians. Using your card to pay for purchases can be more convenient than using cash. Plus, with the best credit cards, you can manage your expenses and earn rewards at the same time.

How credit cards work

Think of credit cards as a short-term loan from your credit card provider. You make purchases with your card and pay for them later.

One thing that makes credit cards appealing is that there’s an interest-free period. As long as you pay for all charged purchases in full by your statement due date, you won’t have to pay interest in exchange for borrowing the issuer’s money for a few weeks.

A typical credit card transaction would look something like this:

  1. You charge a purchase to your card
    When making purchases, choose credit as your form of payment. You’ll then tap, insert or swipe your card to initiate the payment. You may also be required to enter your pin number. If you’re making payments online, you’ll need to enter all your card information manually.
  2. Wait for your purchase to be authorized
    The payment terminal will contact your credit card company to confirm the purchase amount.
  3. The merchant gets paid
    Once approved, your credit card provider sends the merchant the funds. The merchant does pay a small fee to your credit card provider for this service.
  4. You get your bill and pay Once your bill arrives, it’ll list your transactions, minimum payment requirement and due date. If you only make the minimum payment, you may see some interest charges on your next bill. To avoid this extra cost, pay your bill in full by that date so no interest is charged.

Ideally, you’d be able to pay your bill in full each month so these interest charges would not apply. If you’re worried about your ability to do so, seek out a low-interest card to reduce your financial risk.

How credit card interest works

Credit card companies charge interest on unpaid balances. You don’t owe any interest when you pay your card’s balance in full. But what happens if you don’t pay off your credit card balance? Let’s take a look.

Say your card has a 19% interest rate — which is pretty standard. You pay $100 to buy a pair of concert tickets for yourself and a friend. But how much interest will those tickets accrue if you don’t pay your credit card balance and your card’s grace period has passed?

Here’s how to calculate credit card interest:

  1. Find your daily rate. Your card’s 19% interest rate is an annual rate. To find your daily rate, divide your annual interest rate by the number of days in one year.
    • 19% / 365 = 0.00052
  2. Find your daily interest accrual. Next, determine how much daily interest you’ll accrue on your unpaid balance by multiplying your daily rate by your average daily balance — which in this case is the $100 you spent on concert tickets.
    • 0.00052 x $100 = $0.05
  3. Multiply by the number of days in your billing cycle. To determine how much interest your unpaid balance accrues over one month, multiply daily interest by the number of days in your billing cycle.
    • $0.05 x 30 = $1.50

How credit card rewards work

With certain credit cards, you can earn rewards when you make a purchase. The type of rewards you earn and your earn rate differ by card, however.

Types of rewards in you can earn

The types of rewards you can earn can generally be broken down into four categories:

  • Cash back. For every purchase you make, get a set percentage back in cash. The pay-out date for your cash back earned differs depending on the card. It can be monthly, annually or when you reach a minimum threshold.
  • Travel benefits. Credit card travel rewards programs let you earn points or miles when you make purchases. You can use your rewards to offset the cost of flights, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages and more.
  • General rewards. Most rewards programs offer the option to redeem the points you’ve earned for general merchandise, gift cards, experiences, entertainment, financial rewards, and more.
  • Store perks. Many merchants have a co-branded credit card. The points you earn can be used in-store or online at any participating stores. Groceries, and merchandise are typical redemption options for store rewards cards.

Earn rates

When it comes to getting rewards, the earn rate is a critical factor. Every rewards card has a base earn rate, but some cards also have higher earn rates on certain types of purchases that can be highly lucrative. Knowing the difference between the two can help you maximize your rewards.

  • Base earn rate. This is what you’ll get for any purchase that doesn’t fall into an increased earn rate category, or after you’ve hit any applicable limits in those categories. For example, you might get 1% cash back or 1 point per dollar spent.
  • Accelerated earn rate. Getting extra points on bonus categories that line up with your regular spending is a great way to rack up rewards even faster. For example, some of the best cash-back credit cards in Canada may give you 4% back on groceries or 2% back on gas.

The rewards process

Earning rewards can look different depending on the card and issuer, but generally speaking, the process works like this:

  1. Make a purchase with your credit card. The purchase must be considered eligible by the issuer to earn rewards.
  2. Your rewards are calculated. Depending on the merchant category and your earn rate, your credit card provider calculates how many rewards you’ve earned. They’ll also factor in any promotions where you’ll earn additional rewards.
  3. Rewards are deposited into your account. Cash-back rewards may be immediately visible in your account, but you may not be able to cash them out until a certain date or when you hit a certain threshold. If you’re earning travel or store rewards, you’ll either see your points immediately or at the end of the month when your statement posts.
  4. Redeem your rewards. In most cases, redeeming your rewards requires you to log in to your account. Redeeming cash back may only take a few clicks, but if you’re looking to redeem travel rewards, you may need to go through a travel portal or book the travel first.

Tracking your rewards

In most cases, logging in to your account will allow you to see how many rewards you’ve earned. Most credit card providers show how many points you’ve earned for each transaction as well as a running total, so you’ll know exactly where you stand. Additionally, credit card statements often have a more detailed breakdown of any extra rewards that you may have earned.

Your rewards typically show up when the transaction posts. Bonus rewards earned from special promotions should show up on your monthly statement. It’s also worth mentioning that any special rewards you get, such as a companion voucher, may take longer to appear in your account.

As for your welcome bonus, you usually need to track that on your own. For example, let’s say you need to spend $3,000 in the first three months of card membership to get your intro offer. Although you’ll usually get your bonus immediately after passing the minimum spend requirement, it’s up to you to check if points land after you’ve spent enough.

What’s better, a Mastercard or Visa?

It’s hard to declare a winner between Mastercard and Visa because these payment giants are credit card networks — not credit card issuers. Mastercard and Visa are among the most popular and well-established credit card processing networks in the world and share a lot in common. They’re both widely accepted and process billions of transaction dollars annually.

Mastercard and Visa predominantly work behind the scenes. They partner with card issuers, like banks and credit unions, to offer cards to the public. Eligibility requirements, rewards, signup bonuses — those are all determined by card issuers.

Is it okay to have two credit cards in Canada?

The short answer: yes. The long answer? The number of credit cards you have will depend on your spending habits, credit score and personal preferences.

There are benefits and drawbacks to carrying two or more credit cards. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Applying for a new Canadian credit card requires a hard credit check, which will likely drop your credit score by a few points.
  • Holding more than one credit card may improve your credit score if you use your cards responsibly.
  • Carrying more than one card means you’ll have access to multiple credit sources, which could lead to an increased risk of debt.

What credit cards are the most accepted in Canada?

Visa and MasterCard are the most accepted credit cards in Canada, although two major retailers don’t take Visa: Costco and No Frills.

If you carry an American Express card, you may want a backup form of payment — it tends to be less frequently accepted in Canada.

Can Americans get a Canadian credit card?

Yes, several Canadian banks offer non-resident and newcomer credit cards, including RBC, Scotiabank, TD, and more. These card programs are designed for newcomers and temporary residents and typically don’t require a credit check.

US citizens can also explore secured or prepaid credit card options. These Canadian credit cards require cash deposits before they can be used and can be a practical option for those paying a visit to the Great White North.

Types of credit cards in Canada

A wide variety of credit cards are available in Canada, and each can be used as a tool to achieve various financial goals. People who always pay their bills on time may want a rewards credit card, whereas someone looking to rebuild their credit may prefer a secured credit card. Since your personal situation could change at any time, it’s a good idea to understand how the different types of credit cards work.

Rewards credit cards

Rewards credit cards can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Cash back. You’ll get cash back on every purchase you make. See our picks for the best cash back credit cards in Canada.
  • General rewards. The points you earn can be used for gift cards, merchandise, experiences and sometimes travel. See our picks for the best general rewards credit cards in Canada.
  • General travel. The points you earn can be used for any type of travel redemption. See our picks for the best travel credit cards in Canada.
  • Airline rewards. Co-branded airline rewards can be used on a specific airline and its partners.
  • Hotel rewards. Points earned through hotel credit cards can be used at any participating property.
  • Store rewards. Use the points you’ve earned for groceries, merchandise and more.

No-fee credit cards

No-fee credit cards come with no annual fee. They can be any type of credit card, but often feature rewards or a low interest rate. Some no-fee cards are geared towards students and have easier requirements.

Balance transfer credit cards

Balance transfer credit cards typically come with a low introductory interest rate. Because of this, you can use them to move your balance from a credit card with a high rate to one with a lower rate, allowing you to pay down debt faster

Low-interest credit cards

Low-interest credit cards often have an interest rate of between 8% – 16%. This is significantly lower than standard interest rates, so low-interest credit cards can be helpful for people who may carry a balance.

Student credit cards

Student credit cards typically have more relaxed qualification requirements and often charge no annual fee. They’re a good choice for students who may be looking to build their credit or establish good spending habits.

Secured credit cards

If you’re unable to qualify for an unsecured credit card, you might be able to get a secured credit card. These cards require you to deposit security funds that act as your credit card limit. As you make your payments regularly, secured credit cards can build your credit score.

Black credit cards

Despite the name, what unites black credit cards isn’t colour; it’s exclusivity. Black cards are deluxe credit cards — the crème de la crème — typically available by invitation only to high earners and splashy spenders. The eligibility criteria for a black credit card differs by card provider, but typically, applicants need an excellent credit score and spending habits of at least six figures annually.

Aeroplan credit cards

Millions of Canadians are members of Aeroplan, the loyalty program associated with Air Canada. There are several ways to become an Aeroplan member, but arguably the easiest is to carry an Aeroplan personal or business credit card. The best Aeroplan credit cards make it easy to earn points that can be used for special perks and benefits. Armed with one of these travel cards, your trip may be more enjoyable and affordable than ever.

Choosing the right credit card

How to choose a credit card

With so many credit cards available, narrowing down your choices can be a challenge. When choosing a credit card, there are numerous factors to consider — chief among them: card requirements.

Different cards carry different credit score and income requirements. To ensure you meet the eligibility criteria, learn how to check your credit score. And be mindful of personal or household income requirements, too — you’ll often encounter these criteria with high-tier luxury cards.

Credit card features to compare

Consider the following when deciding which credit card is right for you:

  • Annual fee. Decide if you want to pay an annual fee or not. Cards that have an annual fee typically come with better benefits.
  • Rewards. The type of rewards you want to earn will quickly help you narrow down your choices.
  • Earn rate. Try to choose a card with increased earn rates in the categories where you naturally spend more.
  • Welcome bonus. If you’re comparing similar cards, choose the one with a better sign-up offer.
  • Additional perks. See if there are any additional benefits you want, such as no foreign transaction fees, travel insurance, extended warranty, etc.

How to apply for a credit card

When you apply for a credit card, there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved. The credit card provider needs to assess your financial profile to determine if you’re creditworthy. The application process will typically look something like this:

  1. Fill out an application. This can be done online or at your financial institution. The application will ask for some basic information, such as your name, date of birth, address, social insurance number, employer and income.
  2. Your information is checked. The credit card issuer will check your credit history and verify the information that you provided.
  3. A decision is made. If you apply online, instant approval (or disapproval) is possible, but there’s also a chance the credit card issuer will ask you to contact them to provide additional information.
  4. Your card is mailed out. Your credit card will immediately be mailed out and will typically arrive within 14 business days.
  5. Activate your card. Once your card arrives, you’ll need to activate it by logging into your account or calling the number on your card. Once activated, you can use your card to make purchases.

Tips for maximizing your credit card rewards

Get the most out of your credit card rewards with the following tips:

  • Know how to earn points. Not all purchases may be treated equally — at least not in the eyes of your card issuer. Some purchases may earn you more points than others, so familiarize yourself with your card’s rewards program.
  • Explore redemption options. Card rewards range from travel perks to cold hard cash. If you’re card shopping, take a look at the reward options before signing up.
  • Capitalize on limited-time promotions. Keep an ear out for time-sensitive promotional periods when your points may be worth more.
  • Watch out for expiration dates. Some points expire after a prolonged period of card inactivity, so keep your card in good standing to maintain your point balance.

Credit card companies in Canada

Here are some widely known credit card issuers in Canada, along with their networks and notable cards. Credit card issuers are companies that lend money and provide credit cards. These issuers belong to credit card networks, which maintain the infrastructure that makes credit card transactions possible.

Credit Card Issuer NetworkNotable Cards
American ExpressAmerican ExpressNo-Fee: American Express® Green Card
ATBMastercard
BMOMastercardCash-Back: BMO CashBack® World Elite® Mastercard®
Brim FinancialMastercardNo-Fee: Brim Mastercard
Canadian TireMastercard
Capital OneMastercard
CIBCVisaCash-Back: CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite Card
Coast Capital SavingsVisa
DesjardinsVisa & MastercardTravel: Desjardins Odyssey® Visa Infinite Privilege
Home TrustVisa
HSBCMastercardRewards: HSBC +Rewards Mastercard
ManulifeVisa
MBNAMastercardNo-Fee: MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®
MeridianVisaCash-Back: Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back Card
National BankMastercard
Neo FinancialMastercard
PC FinancialMastercardRewards: President’s Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard
PlastkVisa
RBCVisa & MastercardCash-Back: RBC Cash Back Preferred World Elite Mastercard
Refresh FinancialVisa
RogersMastercard
ScotiabankVisa & American ExpressRewards: Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card
Simplii FinancialVisaCash- Back: Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa Card
TangerineMastercardStudent: Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
TD BankVisaTravel: TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite Card
VancityVisa
WalmartMastercard

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  • FAQs for Credit Cards in Canada

    • How many credit cards should I have?

      The number of credit cards that’s right for you will depend on your financial situation and goals. Many Canadians have multiple credit cards, often from two different credit card networks. For example, if you have an American Express as your primary card, you may want to get a Visa or Mastercard as your backup card. It can be especially useful to have cards that maximize different types of spending, such as a cash-back card with a high earn rate on groceries and a travel credit card that earns rewards on your favourite airline.

    • How does credit card interest work?

      Many Canadian credit cards have an interest rate around 20%. You would only pay this interest rate if you don’t pay off your entire balance by the time your bill is due. As long as you continue to carry a balance, you’ll continue to pay interest. If you’re constantly paying interest charges, it can be hard to make a dent on the principal amount.

    • What credit score do I need to get a credit card?

      A good credit score is typically required to get the best credit cards. However, there are plenty of options available for people with bad or fair scores, or limited credit history. If you are still building your credit score, consider a more suitable option, such as a secured credit card a prepaid card.

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