The best credit cards in Canada 2022
Here’s a quick overview of essential information. Other important details about each card—like interest rates, welcome offers and additional benefits—are listed below.
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‡ On the first $500 spent per month
Canadas best credit cards in more detail
Finding the right credit card could save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year. Whether you’re looking for lower fees, more rewards or simply valuable perks like travel medical insurance or rental car savings, every dollar counts. If you use your credit card wisely, pay off your balance monthly and find the right rewards program for you, and you are sure to come out ahead. There’s a slew of credit card options out there, and it can be challenging to find the best deal—but this list of best credit cards in Canada is here to help. We’ve highlighted the best in 13 different categories so that you can zero in on the ones that fit your spending habits, and offer features you truly value. Remember, this “best credit cards” ranking is the starting point; the final decision is yours to make.
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Best overall cashback credit card
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite*
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite is its high earn rates in popular spending categories. You’ll get 4% cash back on groceries and recurring bills (like Netflix), 2% back on gas and transit (including Uber), and a 1% base rate for spends in all other categories. The included insurance covers your mobile device, car rental, and travel eventualities, and you’ll gain access to Visa Infinite perks like Concierge Service and Hotel Collection. If you’re looking for the most well-rounded and lucrative cash back card, our pick is the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite.
Best rewards cards for everyday spending
American Express Cobalt Card*
With a high earn rate, a generous welcome bonus and easy-to-redeem points, the American Express Cobalt Card is our top pick as the best travel credit card for everyday spending. The points you earn can be used toward travel at a rate of 1,000 points for $10 for any flight on any airline with no blackout dates, or use them toward the American Express Fixed Points Travel program, which lets you unlock even better value on round-trip flights. If you prefer to use your rewards for accommodations, you can transfer your points to one of the American Express Hotel partners, including Marriott Bonvoy.
Get more details about the American Express Cobalt Card*
Best cash back cards
For simplicity: American Express SimplyCash Preferred*
If you’re not a points hacker but still want returns in your back pocket, consider the Amex SimplyCash Preferred card which makes earning money on your everyday spending uncomplicated. With this card you’ll earn 2% on everything you charge, so there are no spending categories to keep track of. Plus, for new cardholders, there’s a promotional offer of 10% for the first four months when you could earn up to $400. At $99, the annual fee is moderate but that doesn’t mean the card has no perks. Travel and shop stress-free with included insurance, and be sure to take advantage of the shopping, dining and travel offers you get with American Express.
Get more details about the American Express SimplyCash Preferred*
For bonus categories: CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite
On top of its standard 1% earn rate, the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite card earns accelerated cash back rates in a diverse range of five common spending categories. It earns 4% cash back on both groceries and gas (no other cash back card earns more in those two essential categories), and you can earn twice the cash back on dining (including deliveries), daily transit (includes transit passes to rideshares like Uber), and 2% on recurring bills (think smartphone and cable bills). And it’s a standout compared to other cash back cards, as you can redeem whenever you like, as opposed to just once a year. Cash back redemption is done in increments of $25.
Additional benefits: Mobile device insurance; emergency travel insurance; concierge service; Visa Infinite Dining and Wine Country program, save up to $0.10 per litre at participating Chevron, Ultramar and Pioneer gas stations when you link your card with Journie Rewards. Get more details about the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite
Best Visa travel points cards
For flat rate: Scotiabank Gold American Express*
If you’re an avid traveller looking for the best Visa card in Canada, look no further. In December of 2021, the popular Scene points program expanded into Scene+ with additional partners and new shopping and travel rewards. With 5 Scene+ points for every $1 spent on dining and entertainment, 3 points per $1 on gas, transit and streaming services, and 1 point per $1 on everything else, the Scotiabank Gold American Express is the very best way to take advantage of it. Travellers will be especially interested in Scene+ Travel which lets you earn and redeem points on trips, hotels, car rentals, and more. Plus it has a good suite of travel-related insurance. New members can start things off strong with up to 40,000 Scene+ points, annual fee waivers, and a 0% balance transfer offer.
For dining and transit: BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite*
If you want to earn rewards on your dining and transit costs, look no further. You’ll earn 5 times the BMO Rewards points on your spending at grocery stores and restaurants (including delivery and takeout) and on your transit costs, like gas, public transit and rideshares. Other categories earn at a rate of 1 point per $1. You can redeem your BMO Rewards points for travel, as well as gift cards and select products. You can also pay for purchases with your points directly— selecting a transaction of as little as $1 and using your points to cover it.
Get more details about the BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite Card*
Best no fee cash back card
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card*
If you’re looking for a no-fee, cash-back credit card, then the Tangerine Money-Back card needs to be on your radar. With 2% cash back on up to three spending categories of your choice (such as groceries, gas and dining) and 0.5% back on everything else, this credit card is an excellent choice in the no-fee category. When you sign up, instead the bank set categories for you, you customize your cash-back spending options. You choose two categories where you earn 2% right away, but if you set your cash back to deposit directly into your Tangerine account, then you get to add a third category—meaning you can reap some considerable rewards.
If you meet the $60,000 annual income requirement, you’ll automatically be considered for the Tangerine World Mastercard, which comes with additional perks such as mobile device and rental car insurance.
Get more details about the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card*
Best no-fee card for travel rewards
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard*
The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard offers a strong sign-up bonus for a no-fee card, and the 10,000 points on offer are easy to earn. All you need to do is spend $500 in grocery and restaurant purchases within 90 days of getting your card to receive the first 5,000 points. Sign up for paperless e-statements to receive the rest. MBNA points are flexible and easy to redeem for a variety of things including travel, where you get the most bang for your buck at 100 points to claim $1 in travel. For reference, it takes 200 points to claim $1 in cash back.
Annual fee: $0
Interest rates: purchases 19.99%, cash advances 24.99%, balance transfers 22.99%
Welcome offer: For the first 90 days, you can get up to 10,000 points (approx. $50 in cash back): 5,000 for registering for paperless e-statements, 5,000 for spending $500 in purchases with the card. Plus, earn 4 points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership and household utility purchases. (Not available for residents of Quebec, instead click here.)
Earn rate:Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible groceries and restaurants ($5,000 max annual spend per category) and 1 point per $1 on everything else.
Additional benefits: Purchase assurance and extended warranty
Get more details about the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard*
Best Aeroplan card
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite*
If you tend to fly Air Canada when you can, then the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite could be the credit card for you. This Visa gives you, and up to eight guests flying on the same itinerary, free checked bags on your Air Canada flights. And when booking, as an Aeroplan credit cardholder, you get preferred pricing (using fewer points with Air Canada), too. We bet you want to know about the newly revamped Aeroplan plan, too: The earn rate for the card is 1.5 Aeroplan points per $1 spent on gas and groceries. And 1 Aeroplan point per $1 spent on all other purchases. This is a respectable earn rate, since groceries and gas are typically what people spend the most of their money on. You also get great travel insurance, mobile device insurance, purchase security, extended warranty and a Nexus rebate of up to $125.
Annual fee: $139 (rebated the first year)
Interest rates: purchases 19.99%, cash advances 22.99%, balance transfers 22.99%
Welcome bonus: You can earn up to 50,000 Aeroplan points. First, earn 10,000 as a welcome bonus when you make your first purchase and another 20,000 when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days. After that earn another 20,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $7,500 within the first 12 months of opening an account. Must apply by September 5, 2022. Quebec residents, click here.
Earn rate: 1.5 Aeroplan points per $1 spent on gas and groceries, 1 Aeroplan point per $1 spent on everything else
Our favourite features: Free checked bags
Additional benefits: Travel insurance, mobile device insurance, up to $125 Nexus rebate every 48 months
Plus, when TD credit card holders refer friends and family for an eligible TD credit card, they can earn a $100 e-gift card when their application is approved. You can earn up to 3 e-gift cards (a $300 value) within the offer period, which ends May 29, 2022.
Get more details about the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite*
Best Air Miles credit card
BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard*
Air Miles collectors, rejoice! The Air Miles World Elite Mastercard from Bank of Montreal pairs one of the most generous Air Miles earn rate available—1 mile per $12 spent—with an extremely valuable suite of travel-related perks, including travel insurance. (Plus three times the miles at Air Miles partners.) New cardholders get the first year’s annual fee waived, and the welcome offer of 2,000 Miles will give you a substantial start on your miles collection.
Get more details about the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard*
Best low-interest credit card
MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard*
People looking to reduce the amount of interest they pay should consider a low-interest credit card like the MBNA True Line Gold card. You won’t earn anything for your spending on the card, but the interest rate is just 8.99%, which is significantly lower than the average of 19.99% most other credit cards charge. If you’re currently carrying a balance on a credit card with a higher interest rate, then you should also consider taking advantage of the optional balance transfer at the time of application. Balances transferred won’t be charged interest for a full six months, which could save you bundles.
Get more details about the MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard*
Best credit card for gas
CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite*
With a return of 4% cash back on gas and the option to save $0.10 per litre at certain gas stations, this card is designed to give you back some of the (large) chunk of money you spend on fuel. There are a few other bonus categories through which to earn competitive cash back rates too, like 4% on groceries, which is extra handy with rising food costs. It also offers 2% cash back on daily transit (including ride shares and public transit), so it’ll get you rewards on all modes of transit, as well as 2% on dining and recurring payments.
Annual fee: $120 (rebated for the first year)
Interest rates: Purchases 20.99%, cash advances 22.99%, balance transfers 22.99% (21.99% on cash advances for Quebec residents).
Earn rate: 4% cash back on gas, 4% on groceries, 2% on dining, daily transit and recurring bills, and 1% on everything else.
Welcome bonus: Get 10% cash back for all purchases on your first four statements, or first $2,500 in purchases (up to $250 in cash back). After that, the earn rate becomes 4% on gas and grocery purchases and 1% cash back on everything else.
Additional benefits: Emergency travel medical; car rental collision and loss damage insurance; mobile device insurance; plus save up to $0.10 per litre at participating Chevron, Ultramar and Pioneer gas stations when you link your card with Journie Rewards.
Income required: $60,000 or $100,000 as a household
Get more details about the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite*
Best credit card for groceries
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite*
This card helps offset rising household expenses: you’ll earn 4% back on groceries, as well as 4% on recurring bill payments and subscriptions like Netflix. This card also earns 2% on transportation costs including Uber and gas (up to an annual total spend of $25,000; after that the earn rate drops to 1%). All other purchases earn at 1%, too. However, if you’re a commuter and spend a lot on gas and groceries, you may want to consider the card above to earn 4% back in both of those categories. Figuring out which you spend more on (recurring bills or gas) can help you pick the most beneficial card for you.
Annual fee: $120 (waived for first year)
Interest rate: Purchases 20.99%, cash advances 22.99%, 22.99% on balance transfers
Welcome bonus: You can earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000). Must apply by May 1, 2022.
Earn rate: 4% cash back on groceries, 4% cash back on recurring bill payments, 2% on gas, public transit, taxis and rideshares, and 1% on everything else
Additional perks: Travel emergency medical coverage, travel accident, trip cancellation, trip interruption and flight delay insurance, and delayed or lost baggage protection; car rental loss or damage insurance; mobile device insurance
Income required: $60,000 or $100,000 as a household
Get more details about the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite*
Best credit card to shop local
This is a new category on our list this year. We wanted to share a bit more info on how credit cards are catering to those who want to support businesses near them. Credit cards are accepted pretty much everywhere, even small mom-and-pop shops. The lure of shopping with bigger retailers has been the potential for rewards; but those who want to shop local to support their communities can now collect rewards too, including cash back. And now there is a card that gives preferencial rates for shopping local (more on that below).In an effort to boost the profile of small businesses and help them survive the volatility of the pandemic, many credit card companies have launched programs to connect consumers with the best of their communities. For example, with American Express’s Shop Small, consumers can easily locate and purchase from local vendors. Visa’s Back to Business Locator identifies merchants across type and location, providing easy access for local spenders. Through its partners, Mastercard offers small businesses a variety of tools they can use to succeed, from cybersecurity to customer relationship management, all available in its Business Resource Centre. These are all excellent programs aimed at keeping small businesses vital, but when it comes to consumer perks for shopping local, our top credit card pick is the Neo Card.
The Neo Card (standard plan)*
The Neo Card works with thousands of partnering vendors—big box, chains and local, too—across Canada to deliver noteworthy cash back rewards. Spends earn you an average of 4% cash back, with 1% being the minimum. That guaranteed 1% beats most cards, as the typical base rate for cash back cards is 0.5%. And Neo’s bonus rewards of 15% back on your first purchase sweetens the deal. Those looking for even beefier bonuses can consider the Neo Card Plus or Max for higher earn rates (monthly fees: $3 or $9, respectively).To find out if a local business is a partner, check Neo’s local map guide in its app. When you use your Neo credit card, you can score special deals plus cash back. It’s a win-win. It also has bigger partners too, like Bell, Canadian Tire and Esso.
Get more details about the Neo Card*
Honourable mention for local shopping: Visa
Visa’s Back to Business program is aimed at supporting small businesses as they contend with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Back to Business Locator uses the Visa payment network to identify and list businesses in their database which shoppers can use to find local vendors. Customers can join Visa’s #MySmallBizReco campaign to shout-out their favourites. Additionally, the company has a resource hub offering courses, grants, and tools to help small business owners.
Best student credit card
BMO CashBack Mastercard*
The academic year tends to be front-loaded with expenses: Text books, lab supplies and, if you’re living off-residence, housewares and the cost of setting up utilities. This is where a rewards card comes in handy, especially with a great welcome bonus of 5% cash back on purchases on your first three statements. After the bonus period, you’ll still earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments, and 0.5% on everything else. Fortunately for busy students, this straightforward card doesn’t have a complicated points system or tiered earn rates—it just provides simple cash back.
Get more details about the BMO CashBack Mastercard*
Best credit card for financial literacy
When it comes to managing money, most of us could use a little help which is where fintech (financial technology) companies are coming to the rescue. Take Koho, which offers a free spending and savings account that lets you use a prepaid Visa card to take the guesswork out of your finances while earning cash back rewards. Included tools for budgeting, tracking, round-ups and credit building will help you stay on track while their cash back rewards put a little extra in your wallet.
Annual fee: $0
Interest rates: N/A
Welcome offer: None
Earn rate: 0.5%
Additional benefits: Access to budgeting and tracking tools, instant round-up on purchases, early access to $100 of government cheques
Get more details about the KOHO Visa*
Best hotel card
Marriott Bonvoy American Express*
For those who travel frequently and want to make the most of their hotel-stay purchases, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express is one of the best hotel rewards cards in Canada. You can earn Bonvoy points on your credit card purchases that can be redeemed for a variety of perks and bonuses within the Marriott Bonvoy environment. That includes: Stays offered at more than 7,000 hotel properties worldwide, flights and rental cars, or you can exchange them for gift cards, merchandise or event tickets. The earn rate is 5 points per $1 at Marriott properties and 2 points per $1 everywhere else. With an annual free night and travel insurance, this is by far the best hotel card on the market.
Annual fee: $120
Interest rates: purchases 19.99%, cash advances 21.99%
Welcome offer: Earn 65,000 Marriott Bonvoy points plus a $100 credit on your statement when you charge $1,500 in purchases to your card within the first three months. Must Apply by May 11, 2022.
Earn rate: 5 points per $1 at Marriott properties; and 2 points per $1 everywhere else
Additional perks: travel insurance; car rental coverage; annual free night’s accommodation
Get more details about Marriott Bonvoy American Express*
Best store or retail card
PC Financial World Elite Mastercard*
Due to its association with Loblaws stores and Shoppers Drug Mart, the PC Optimum program offers members access to a wide variety of ways to earn PC Optimum points, including gas, drug store and grocery purchases. With an earn rate of 30 points per $1 in Loblaws-owned stores (including No Frills and Real Canadian Superstores), 45 per $1 at Shoppers Drug Mart, and 10 everywhere else, this card is one of the best no-fee cards for gas and groceries on the market. It’s simple to redeem points. You simply show the card at checkout anywhere PC products are sold and get $10 back for every 10,000 points. There’s even an included package of travel and car rental insurance—and it carries no annual fee.
Get more details about the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard*
Best card for perks
American Express The Platinum Card*
If you’re looking for a premium credit card with loads of perks, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything better than The Platinum Card from American Express. The included travel insurance alone is worth a second look, but add to that complimentary airport lounge access with unlimited passes to Priority Pass and Centurion lounges, an annual $200 travel credit, hotel upgrades and Platinum Concierge services, and you’ve got the key to an upgraded experience. The card offers plenty of Membership Rewards points earning opportunities on dining, travel and everyday purchases, and comes with a sweet welcome bonus. Another advantage of joining the Amex system is that you’ll gain access to the lucrative Fixed Points Travel program, and you’ll be able to transfer your points to dozens of other loyalty programs.
Annual fee: $699
Interest rates: N/A
Welcome offer: Earn up to 110,000 points. In the first three months of having the card, you’ll get 90,000 points after you charge $6,000 in net purchases to your card. You can also earn 10 points for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases (up to 20,000 points) for the first six months of having the card. Must apply by May 11, 2022.
Earn rate: 3 points per $1 on dining and food delivery; 2 points per $1 spent on travel; 1 point per $1 on everything else
Additional Benefits: Unlimited free lounge access at over 1,200 airport lounges; $200 annual travel credit; travel emergency medical insurance; travel accident insurance; car rental coverage; hotel upgrades; Platinum; Concierge services; American Express Invites
Get more details about The Platinum Card from American Express *
Best no-fee card for perks
Brim Financial Mastercard*
Just because you want a no-fee card doesn’t mean you can’t get lots of perks. The Brim Financial Mastercard lets you earn points on all your purchases plus bonuses on spends at partner stores. Redeemable in increments of 100 (worth $1, or an earn rate of 1%), the points can be used against any transaction or as a balance credit. On top of the points program, the Brim card has no foreign exchange fee so you’ll save around 2.5% on your in-person or online cross-border shopping. Extras—like free worldwide wi-fi with Boingo, insurance for your mobile device, and common carrier accident insurance—round out the offering.
Annual fee: $0
Interest rates: purchases 19.99%, cash advances 21.50%, balance transfers 19.99%
Welcome offer: $200+ in first-time bonuses
Earn rate: 1 point per $1 on everything you buy, plus bonus points at partner merchants like Warby Parker, Nike, Microsoft and more
Additional Benefits: No foreign exchange; free global wi-fi by Boingo; up to $500 in mobile device insurance; event ticket reimbursement; common carrier accident insurance; flexible payments; family cards; budgeting and tracking tool Get more details about the Brim Financial Mastercard*
Best secured credit card for building credit
Home Trust Secured Visa*
Looking for a card to improve your own credit score? Maybe you are new to Canada, have a problematic credit history, or are just starting out on your own financially. There are many reasons why you might need to build or rebuild your credit—but whatever the case, you’ll want to take steps towards achieving a healthy credit score. That’s where the no-fee Home Trust Secured Visa can come in. Unlike with conventional credit cards, it’s easy to be approved for a secured card—you just need to be a resident of Canada (except Quebec) and have a deposit. The Home Trust Secured Visa tops our list for its low minimum deposit (you can start with as little as $500) and $0 annual fee. With this card, building your credit score is simple and affordable.
Get more details about the Home Trust Secured Visa*
Rogers World Elite Mastercard
A well-rounded card that serves travellers and cross-border shoppers, the Rogers World Elite gets this nod because it offers 3% cash back on U.S.-currency purchases, which works out to a 0.5% return when you factor in foreign transaction fees. Pair that with no annual fee, and 1.5% back on all other purchases, and you have a competitive card. However, world travellers will want to keep in mind that only the regular 1.5% earn rate will apply on foreign currency purchases outside the U.S., so you won’t come out ahead after being hit with the 2.5% foreign transaction fee. This card does include travel medical insurance, which covers you for trips up to 10 days. However, it also comes with a $15,000-a-year minimum spend, and a steep annual income requirement. So you’ll want to consider another option if you don’t make $80,000 a year as an individual, or $150,000 as a household.
Canada’s best credit cards
How do credit cards work?
It’s important to understand exactly what credit cards do, so you can use them to maximum advantage without falling into financial trouble. There are lots of benefits that come along with having a credit card. For example, they offer credit that can be used when you make a purchase, for balance transfers and/or cash advances. Essentially, your credit is like a short-term loan with a balance that comes due every month. As you pay down your balance, the credit available to you the following month starts to go back up to the maximum credit limit on your card. A credit card’s strongest advantage is convenience. Simply pay for your purchase with your credit card and you will be billed for the outstanding balance the following month—no cash in your wallet required. Other benefits include the ability to accrue rewards and points—such as cash back or travel points—based on a percentage of your purchases each month, usually between 1% to 4%, depending on which credit card you choose. You can then redeem those points for gift cards, travel or other items offered through the credit card company’s online rewards catalogue. Credit cards can also help you build credit. If you always pay on time, that will help you achieve a high credit score (650+points), allowing you to borrow for a mortgage or a car loan in the future at a reasonable interest rate from your local financial institution. Of course, credit cards need to be used responsibly, and they work best when you are a disciplined spender. Have only one or two cards in your wallet and make sure they match your spending habits. And of course, make sure you can pay off the balance in full (or at the very least make the minimum payment) every month so you don’t have to pay hefty interest on your unpaid balance. This can result in costly fees as well as getting points knocked off your credit score—a real no-no. But with a bit of diligent oversight and self-control, credit cards become helpful and convenient financial tools that can make everyday purchases easy.
Types of credit cards
Rewards credit cards
When it comes to rewards credit cards, the name says it all. These are cards that give you something back when you spend with them, whether it’s points, miles or cash. The more you spend, the more rewards you get. For those who pay off their balance in full every month, these cards can really add value. There are four main types of rewards cards:
Cash-back credit cards
These cards offer a rebate credited to your balance, usually calculated as a percentage of the dollar value of your purchases. Though most cash-back cards have accelerated earn rates in certain categories (groceries and gas, for example), they all also have a minimum base rate for spends outside those categories. Your cash back rewards can help you save on anything you can buy with your card.
Travel credit cards
These cards offer points or miles to be redeemed towards travel-related purchases such as flights, hotels, cruises or vacation packages. Rewards might not be as straightforward as cash back, but travel points cards can help you save big on upcoming trips, with many offering perks including sign-up bonuses, comprehensive travel insurance, and even airport lounge access.
Store credit cards
These cards gift you with points for everyday purchases that can be redeemed for discounts off items from your favourite retailer. The idea is to reward brand loyalty with valuable benefits. The PC Financial Mastercard and the Canadian Tire Mastercard credit cards are great examples.
Hotel credit cards
Similar to travel cards, hotel credit cards reward consumers with points redeemable for hotel stays and perks. These cards are often linked or co-branded with a specific hotel brand or loyalty program, like Marriott Bonvoy or Best Western Rewards
Low-interest credit cards
With standard interest rates sitting at anywhere between 19.99% and 22.99%, most rewards credit cards aren’t the right fit for people who carry a balance. That’s where low-interest cards come in. These cards, which typically charge between 8.99% and 12.99% interest on purchases, allow cardholders access to credit without high interest charges that quickly add up. They don’t usually have much in the way of extras or perks, but the lower rates help to ensure that you’ll come out ahead in the long run if you generally need more time to pay off your card balance.
Balance transfer credit cards
Once you accumulate a debt load on an existing credit card, the interest will compound—rapidly. Your best bet is to transfer the debt to a balance transfer credit card, which lets you move debt from a high-interest card to one with a lower rate. These cards often offer promotional interest rates for a specific period—0% interest for the first 10 months, for example—which can buy you time to pay down your balance with little or no interest. Sometimes, even the regular interest rate on a balance transfer card is lower than usual.
Student credit cards
Student, or “starter,” cards are credit cards aimed at people with no credit history looking to establish a credit score. These entry-level cards tend to have few qualification criteria, no annual fees and provide little in the way of perks or extras, but some do offer some decent rewards on your everyday spending.
Secured credit cards
People who lack a good credit score or a local credit history often have trouble getting approval for standard credit cards. This can be a real problem for those wanting to build up their credit towards a future purchase or loan—but secured cards can offer a solution. This kind of card is “secured” with a deposit by the applicant and virtually anyone will be approved. The responsible use of a secured card will help build, or rebuild, your credit score.
How to decide: What is the best credit card for me?
To decide which credit is the best for you, you need to look at your priorities. If you normally carry a balance or you want to reduce your debt, then a low-interest or balance transfer card should be the only types you consider. People who always pay off their full balance every month need to decide whether a travel or cash-back card makes more sense for them. Travel cards can offer lucrative rewards, but if you don’t like to travel, there’s no point in you getting a travel credit card. If this sounds like you, then a cash-back card may be the way to go. Now that you’ve got your category of card selected, take a look at the earn rate, additional, benefits and which type of points you earn for each card. If you happen to spend a lot on gas and groceries, then look for a card that has a high earn rate for those categories. The annual fee should also be a consideration in your decision making, but if you think you’re getting good value out of your additional benefits and you’re making more back than you paid with the fee, then it shouldn’t be a big deal.
Credit card points versus cash back: What to consider before applying
In the end, your decision will come down to whether a cash back or travel rewards credit card suits your needs and spending habits best. As mentioned, travel rewards can be lucrative, but a cash-back card is simple since you don’t need to worry about any potential travel restrictions. Here are some tips for considering each type of card. The first thing you want to look at is the earn rate. Take stock of your spending habits and pick a card that will earn you the most rewards. For example, if you spend a lot on gas, then pick a card that earns you more cash back at gas stations. High-earn rates are great, but keep in mind that many of the top cards have a high-income requirement. Cash back programs are simple to understand, but some credit cards will only give you what you’ve earned after you reach a minimum amount or once per calendar year. Find out how you’ll get paid and make sure you’re okay with it before you apply. If you’re considering a card with an annual fee, make sure the extra cash back you earn is worth more than the fee. If it’s not, stick to a no-fee card.
Selecting a rewards credit card
Generally speaking, cards that earn you points are usually best used for travel redemptions. These cards will likely give you other ways to cash out your points, but the majority of the time, you get the most value for your points when redeeming for travel. Similar to cash-back cards, you want to pick a card that gives you the most points on the categories you spend the most money. You also want to figure out what type of travel you prefer; you could get an airline-branded credit card or a hotel-branded one. There are also credit cards that allow you to redeem for any type of travel. Regardless of what you go with, you need to know how the reward programs work so you can maximize your points.
For the best credit cards 2021 ranking we ran the numbers for each of the cards in the seven categories based on $2,000 in monthly spending ($1,000 monthly for the student cards) as well as interest rates and offers. We also made some assumptions on spending—grocery spend of $500, gas of $200, restaurants of $200 and bill payments of $125, travel of $175, entertainment of $225, pharmacy purchases of $75 and other purchases of $500. (These were adjusted lower for student cards). The end game was a magic number—that is, the annual net reward in dollar terms to identify the top cards in each category, plus an honorary mention. As highlighted above, our methodology also took into consideration other factors, including the value of a credit card’s welcome bonuses, insurance benefits and flexibility. ‡MoneySense.ca and Ratehub.ca are both owned by parent company Ratehub Inc. We may be partnered with some financial institutions, but this does not influence the “Canada’s Best Credit Card” rankings. You can read more about this in our Editorial Code of Conduct.
Canada’s best credit cards 2022
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