Best Cash Back Credit Card Rankings in Canada For 2016
In the last few years, cash back credit cards have been the most popular rewards card in Canada. Many Canadians prefer a cash back credit card because it’s simple to understand, offers great value and redemption is hassle free.
For those tired of dealing with rewards catalogues, flight redemption charts, booking fees, and seat availabilities, a cash back credit card offers a great alternative. For every dollar you spend on the card, you get a percentage back in the form of cash – nothing more, nothing less.
Cash back credit cards now offer as much value as premium travel cards. As a result, Canadians are flocking to cash back more than ever, because they offer the simplicity and transparency lacking in many points programs, with enough value to become outstanding primary rewards cards in your wallet.
Here’s the summary of the top ranked Canadian cash back credit cards:
Best Cash Back Credit Card Rankings for Canada 2016
- Best No Fee Cash Back Credit Card Winner:
Winner: The SimplyCash Card from American Express (1.25% flat cash back, 5% cash back promo, no fee)
Runner Up: BMO CashBack MasterCard
- Best Flat-Rate Cash Back Credit Card Winner:
Winner: BMO No-Fee CashBack MasterCard (2% flat cash back promo, no fee)
Runner Up: CapitalOne Aspire Cash Platinum MasterCard
- Best Gas & Grocery Cash Back Credit Card Winner:
Winner: Scotia Momentum Visa Inifinite Card (up to 4% flat cash back, $100 bonus)
Runner Up: MBNA SmartCash World MasterCard
- Best Versatile Cash Back Credit Card Winner:
Winner: MBNA Rewards World Elite® MasterCard® credit card (2% flat cash back, $100 bonus, no fee 1st year)
A full review of each of the top ranked Canadian cash back credit cards are as follows:
Best No Fee Cash Back Credit Card in Canada:
A No Fee Cash Back card offers cash back without charging an annual fee. It’s a great option for low spenders, people who want a second card (back-up) in their wallet, and for those who want to stack rewards with multiple cards to maximize their earn rate.
Why It’s A Winner: This card has no annual fee, Canada’s market leading cash back rate of 1.25% on all spend with no limits & a promo of 5% cash back on gas, grocery & restaurants for the first 6 months!
What makes this card stand out from the rest is the highest no annual fee cash back rate of 1.25% in Canada with absolutely no restrictions. There are no caps, tiers or categories – no tricks, fine print or shenanigans.
Making the offer even more attractive, during the first 6 months, the SimplyCash card has a special promo offering 5% cash back on gas, grocery and restaurants (up to $5,000 in spend in those categories) & you can transfer balances from your existing credit cards at 0% for 6 months!
The card has a low minimum income requirement of $15,000, making it accessible to most.
Best Flat Rate Cash Back Credit Card in Canada:
A flat rate cash back credit card offers one cash back rate for all purchases, with no caps, tiers, or categories. Flat rate cash back cards are the ultimate rewards card for people who are looking for simplicity and transparency without sacrificing a rich premium rewards rate.
Why It’s A Winner: The BMO CashBack MasterCard has no annual fee, a limited time 2% cash back on all spend, no limits, for the first 6 months and a simple and compelling 1% cash back rate on all spend thereafter, with no restrictions, categories, spending tiers or caps to worry about. Sometimes, simple is powerful.
In addition to a market leading cash back rate, for a limited time, the BMO CashBack MasterCard comes with a 2% cash back promo for the first 6 months on ALL spend – with no limits on how much you can earn or spend, it’s a risk-free opportunity to earn some serious rewards!
One tip for Costco shoppers, it might be the richest no-fee Costco credit card available – especially with the 2% promo. While the Costco MasterCard from CapitalOne offers “up to” 1% cash back for Costco purchases (0.5% on the first $3,000 you spend annually, and 1% after that), the BMO CashBack MasterCard gives you 1% right from the start, without any tiers or caps – 2% in the first 6 months. With no-fee, you should get both cards – use your Costco card for restaurant (3%) & gas (2%) purchases, and your BMO MasterCard (1%) for Costco and all other purchases.
Whether you’re looking for a primary credit card, a back-up credit card or an alternative to AMEX, there’s no reason why this card shouldn’t be in your wallet, it’s free and earns you a market leading 1% on ALL spend, without limits – after the 2% promo period. It offers great value and simplicity.
This card only requires a minimum income of $15,000, and also offers extended warranty and purchase protection.
Best Gas & Grocery Cash Back Credit Card in Canada:
Why It’s A Winner: The standout Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite card has been a favourite among GreedyRates readers, writers and editors alike. It has the highest ongoing cash back rate available in Canada for every day spend categories – perfect for families looking to maximize savings at the pump, supermarket, pharmacy and on monthly recurring bills (telephone, internet, utilities, etc). It also has a no annual fee waiver if you apply by May 31, 2016 making it free to try.
The card offers 4% cash back on gas and grocery store purchases, 2% cash back on recurring payments and drugstore purchases, and 1% everywhere else. Each category is capped at $25,000 annual spend, which is extremely generous and just meant to keep the gamers away.
To measure the potential value of the cash back earnings, we calculated the average earn based on $300 of gas, $400 of grocery, and $200 everywhere else for a total of $900 in monthly credit card spend. We came out to $360 cash back every year, or a cash back rate of 3.33%! That’s a ridiculous earn rate just begging to be exploited.
With a first year annual fee waiver worth $99, you can get one of Canada’s richest rewards credit cards virtually free – a steal of a deal. Even with the annual fee, we’ve found that the high cash back rate in gas and groceries, plus the premium insurances (travel medical, trip interruption, trip delay, car rental, etc…) justifies the low annual fee of $99 in year two and beyond.
Note this card requires a minimum $60,000 (individual) or $100,000 (household) annual income.
Best Versatile Cash Back Credit Card in Canada:
Why It’s A Winner: While advertised as a travel rewards card, the MBNA Rewards World Elite MasterCard actually offers the highest effective cashback rate in Canada of 2% on all spend, with no limits, a hefty $100 sign-up bonus and NO ANNUAL FEE in the first year!
You’ll get 2 points per dollar spent on the card, and then you’ll be able to convert each point to cash, travel, merchandise or gift card. Points never expire. When converting your points to cash you’ll get a rate of $.01 per point, and at 2 points per dollar spent, you’ll get the equivalent of 2% cash back on all spend, which is HUGE!
What’s also nice and unique about this card is that you can have your cash back redeemed either as a statement credit, have MBNA send you a check or have MBNA deposit your cash back earned directly into your checking account at $50 increments – the choice is yours!
The first year annual fee is waived in the first year, making the card free to try, and the 10,000 point sign-up bonus a truly free $100 gift! The annual fee then goes to $89 after the first year, but in our view it’s more than made up for with the 2% cash back rate, which is hard to get even for elite travel cards, which come at an even higher annual fee.
This card also comes with a nifty feature called Price Protection. If you make a qualifying purchase with your card and find the same product advertised in Canada at a lower price within 60 days after purchase, the difference will be refunded, up to $500, subject to a calendar year maximum of $1,000 per account. That’s in addition to extended warranty, purchase protection, car rental, travel accident and trip interruption insurance.
Cash (Back) is King
The best cash back credit card for you will depend on your rewards preferences and spending habits. You’ll get the most from your cash back credit card if you get a card with a high cash back rate in merchant categories you spend a lot in, like the convenience and transparency of cash back rewards, pay your balance in full each month and take advantage of your perks.
Don’t be afraid to get multiple cash back cards to take advantage of juicy 5% cash back offers – especially when there’s no annual fee. If you get the Amex SimplyCash card and the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard successively, you’ll get 12 months of gas & groceries with 5% cash back – and no annual fee!
Canadians are in an excellent position to take advantage of new cash back cards that offer more value and provide more benefits than any other card in their wallet today. Take advantage and get more bang for your back starting now!