Best Cash Back Credit Card Rankings in Canada For 2016

Best Cash Back Credit Card CanadaLooking for the best cash back credit card with unparalleled rewards? There’s never been a better time to get a cash back credit card in Canada than now. Reward rates have skyrocketed and programs are easier to use than ever.

With so many strong no fee & premium cash back credit options, there’s no reason not to get rewarded for every purchase you make.

Whether you spend a lot or a little, cash back credit cards offer superb value. They offer the simplicity and transparency lacking in many points programs and stellar earnings, making them outstanding primary and back-up credit cards.

Here’s the summary of the top ranked Canadian cash back credit cards:

Best Cash Back Credit Card Rankings for Canada 2016

A full review of each of the top ranked Canadian cash back credit cards as follows:

Best Bonus Category Cash Back Credit Card in Canada:

A Bonus Category cash back credit card offers extra cash back in one or more merchant categories such as gas, groceries, pharmacies, restaurants, etc… If you spend a lot in one of those categories, they can be excellent opportunities to maximize your cash back – especially if you combine cards with different bonus categories!

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Tangerine Cash Back Credit Card

Click Here To Apply

Why It’s A Winner: The Tangerine Money Back credit card, while still new, has made a dramatic impact on Canada’s no fee cash back credit card scene. The card offers a refreshingly innovative, transparent and lucrative cash back program.

There is no annual fee, ever, and it offers cash back rewards deposited automatically into a savings account or against your statement balance every month. You earn 4% cash back in up to 3 bonus categories of your choice for the first 3 months, 2% cash back in those categories thereafter, and 1% on all other purchases. There are no tiers, caps or limits. No fine print.

The card has the highest no fee cash back earn rate on the Canadian market. By comparison, TD’s no fee cash back card offers .75%, CIBC’s offers .5% on the first $6,000 of non-grocery spend and Cap One offers 1%.

With no annual fee, the richest cash back rate and the most user friendly redemption process, this card is great as your primary no fee rewards card, or in combination with other category based cash back cards.

$15K minimum income requirement

The BMO Cash Back MasterCard 

cash back credit card bmo mastercard

Click Here To Apply

Why It’s A Winner: The no-fee BMO Cash Back MasterCard is refreshingly simply, transparent and reliable – and offers the RICHEST sign-up bonus of $75 of any no fee cash back credit card in Canada!

You earn 1% unlimited cash back on ALL purchases, with no caps or fine print. There’s no annual fee – ever. With no annual fee, the $75 sign-up bonus is absolutely risk free money.  It’s yours for the taking. Even if you already have a cash back card, this could make a great back-up card for your wallet in case the other one is lost, stolen, declined or frozen. Or, you could just apply to get $75 free!

$15K minimum income requirement

Best Flat Rate Cash Back Credit Card in Canada:

Flat rate cash back credit cards offer the same cash back rate on all your credit card spend with no caps, tiers or categories. You’ll get the same value everywhere, all the time.

The SimplyCash card from American Express

SimplyCash Card From American Express Cash Back

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Why It’s A Winner: If you’re looking for superb value and simplicity, The SimplyCash card from American Express can’t be beat. It has no annual fee & offers 1.25% cash back on all spend, no limits.

But here’s where the card gets really interesting. The SimplyCash card from American Express gets you 5% cash back on all eligible purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants in Canada (up to $250 cash back or $5,000 in spend) for the first 6 months.

With no annual fee, it’s worth it just to take advantage of the 6 month 5% cash back promo. At the end of the promo period you can decide to keep using the card or not. There’s no cost to you either way.

$15K minimum income requirement

MBNA Rewards World Elite® MasterCard® credit card 

MBNA Rewards World Elite MasterCard credit card

Click Here To Apply

Why It’s A Winner: The MBNA Rewards World Elite MasterCard is a hidden gem. It’s Canada’s richest and most convenient flat rate cash back credit card. No contest.

It offers a flat 2% cash back rate on ALL spend – no limits, no categories. To help you give it a try, the $89 annual fee is waived in the first year, and MBNA is dumping a $100 welcome bonus into your account – all you have to do is activate your card. That’s a free $100 just for getting the card.

Besides the phenomenal 2% cash back rate, MBNA makes it really easy to redeem your cash back when and how you want. At any time, you can redeem your cash back by having MBNA send you a check, deposit your earnings into your bank account or apply your cash back against your statement.

Minimum personal income of $70K, or household income of $120,000

Best Specialty Cash Back Credit Card in Canada:

Not every card fits neatly into a defined category. The cash back cards below offer superb value, in some cases, better than those above. Check them out to see what they can do for you.

The Rogers Platinum MasterCard

Rogers MasterCard

Click Here To Apply

Why It’s A Winner: The Rogers Platinum MasterCard may just be the richest no-fee flat rate cash back card in Canada – whether you’re a Rogers customer or not.

You get 1.75% cash back on ALL spendnot just at Rogers. Rogers customers can redeem for Rogers services and products at any time. Or, if you’re not a Rogers customer you can have Rogers apply your cash back earnings as a statement credit against ANY spend on your credit card.

The Rogers MasterCard also sets itself apart with 4% cash back on ALL purchases made in a foreign currency! That means, with a 2.5% foreign transaction fee, you’re netting 1.5% cash back on foreign purchases with Rogers. You will be losing 1.5% to .5% (rewards rate of 1% to 2%, minus the 2.5% foreign transaction fee) with most other Canadian credit cards on foreign purchases.  That’s a huge savings on foreign purchases for most Canadians.

There is a welcome bonus of $25. The annual fee is waived in the first year. Thereafter, you can have your annual fee waived if your Rogers bill is set up as a pre-authorized payment. For all others, the annual fee is only $29. With no annual fee in the first year, and a $25 welcome bonus, you’re getting the card free for 2 years, if you’re not a Rogers customer.

This is also the best no fee cash back card to shop at Costco with – even better than the CapitalOne Costco MasterCard itself, where you will earn less than 1%! With the Rogers MasterCard, you will earn 1.75% cash back on ALL Costco purchases.

$15K minimum income requirement

President’s Choice World Elite MasterCard

PC Financial World Elite MasterCard

Click Here To Apply

Why It’s A Winner: The President’s Choice Financial World Elite MasterCard is the first World Elite level credit card, with no annual fee! It offers 3% cash back at Loblaw stores and Shoppers/Pharmapix and 3 cents/litre off at Esso stations, and 1% everywhere else.

The 3% cash back rate is stellar compared to the 2% rate offered by Tangerine for its bonus categories. But you have to be willing to shop at Loblaws, Shoppers and Esso. On the other hand, you can earn 4% at the grocery store with the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card, but you’d have to pay a $99 annual fee, and you’d only get 2% at the drugstore.

The PC World Elite MasterCard is also one of the only no-fee credit cards in Canada to offer out-of-province and out-of-country travel medical insurance. With no annual fee, that should be reason enough for many people to get the card – you don’t even have to book your travel with the card to get the travel medical coverage.

Minimum income of $70,000 or household income of $120,000.

Best Annual Fee Cash Back Credit Card Winner:

Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite Card

scotia momentum visa infinite card

Click Here to Apply

Why It’s A Winner: The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card offers more cash back in everyday spending categories than any other credit card in Canada. You earn 4% cash back on gas & groceries, 2% cash back on recurring spend & pharmacies and 1% everywhere else.

The first year annual fee of $99 is waived for accounts opened by October 31, 2016. However, even with the annual fee of $99, the rich cash back rate still make this card more valuable than almost any other credit card in the country. Also, the card also comes with travel medical insurance, trip interruption, flight delay and car rental insurance – making it a good replacement for your travel credit card.

If you use your card for gas & groceries, this card can’t be beat. It will only take $205 of gas & grocery spend a month, to break even on your $99 annual fee.

Minimum personal income of $60K, or household income of $100K

Summary of Best Cash Back Credit Card Rankings in Canada

Credit Card Base Cash Back Bonus Cash Back Categories Welcome Bonus Annual Fee
Tangerine Money Back MasterCard 1.00% 2% in 3 categories 4% for 90 days $0
Amex SimplyCash 1.25% 1.25% flat 5% for 6 months $0
Scotia Momentum Infinite Visa 1.00% 4% in gas, groceries None $99 / Waived 1st Year
MBNA Rewards World Elite 2.00% 2% flat $100 credit $89 / Waived 1st Year
Rogers MasterCard 1.75% 4% on foreign purchases $25 credit $0
PC Financial World Elite 1.00% 3% in Loblaw’s None $0
BMO CashBack 1.00% 1% flat $75 credit $0

Cash Back Strategy

There are a multitude of strategies to help you maximize your cash back. One of our favourites is called stacking. Essentially, you combine a multitude of cash back cards and use the one that provides you the most cash back for any given purchase. By doing so you maximize your total cash back earnings.

For example, if you wanted to do it with a series of no fee cash back cards, you could use the President’s Choice MasterCard World Elite to earn 3% at Loblaw’s and Shoppers Drugmart & 3 cents at Esso, your Tangerine card to earn 2% at restaurants, public transit and recurring spend and your Rogers MasterCard to earn 1.75% everywhere else and get 4% on foreign transactions All with no annual fees.

This is what it might look like visually:

cash back credit card optimization

The cells highlighted in green are short term promotions that are higher than any standard category bonus. So you might want to take advantage of them during their promo period. By way of example, despite PC MasterCard World Elite’s 3% cashback rate, you’d get 5% using Amex’s SimplyCash card for the first 6 months.

Cash Still Reigns Supreme!

If you’re frustrated with your points or miles card, now’s a great opportunity to try a cash back card and see if you like it.

If you currently use a debit card, you’re short-changing yourself. There is simply no reason to use a debit card. You either end up paying for your debit transaction through your checking plan, or on every transaction. Why pay to use your own money, when you can get rewarded for it?

To help you find the best cash back credit card for you, you can also use our tool, which shows you how much each card will earn you based on your individualized spend.

There’s never been a better time to get a cash back card than now. Take advantage of the rich promotional offers, no fee cards and first year fee waivers – the banks are giving away tons of value to earn your business – don’t be afraid to take advantage!



  1. I looked into the Rogers Platinum Mastercard and it turns out that unfortunately, they do now have the usual 2.5% foreign transaction fee. This mean 4% – 2.5% = 1.5% cashback on foreign transactions. It’s still worth it if you’re buying a lot in foreign currencies.

    • Hi Ashao,

      Great point and we totally agree. Rogers offers this most value on foreign purchases when you consider that you’re netting 1.5% cash back on foreign purchases. The Amazon card will have no foreign transaction fee, but will only get you 1% cashback, so you’ll only net 1% cash back – you get 50% more cashback with the Rogers card.

      Thanks for the comment,

      GreedyRates Staff

  2. I was about to apply for the Costco Mastercard until I read your article. My main reason to get it was for Costco purchases. I assume Costco purchases would be classified as “other” so I would earn .5% using Costco card (up to first $3,00 spent), 1% using Tangerine or 1.5% using Fido Mastercard. I’m a Fido customer so choice is easy.
    Thanks for the great info.

    • Hi Dave,

      Great thoughts. Not to mention, you could also get the MBNA Rewards World Elite card above, and get 2% at Costco (and everywhere else), with no annual fee in the first year and a $100 signing bonus!

      GreedyRates Staff

  3. I spoke with Tangerine today, because I could not apply using the online application link. They don’t have a separate field for mailing address and the online form fields they do have won’t let you add mailing address to them. So I phoned. I’m told that you only get 3 categories if you have a Scotiabank savings account. If you don’t you get 2 categories only. You get 2% back on your categories, after the 3-month promotion is up, and only 1% cashback on everything else. Is that correct?

    • Hi Kate,

      Yes that is correct. You get 2% cash back in 3 bonus categories of your choice, if you deposit your cash back into a Tangerine Savings account (which is free), 2 categories of your choice if you direct the cash back as a statement credit each month. The 2% cash back in bonus categories is doubled to 4% for the first 90 days. You get 1% cash back on all other spend. There are no earning limits or caps either in the bonus categories or elsewhere.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  4. Can anyone tell me what kind of credit limit is possible on the tangerine card? I have tried their help line twice but have been told they can’t answer that question and the only way to find out is to do a full credit app. I don’t want to do that if its a low limit card. Any info would be appreciated. Cheers

  5. How does the Canadian Tire Mastercard compare with these other ones?

    • Hi Sele,

      The Canadian Tire MasterCard earns good rewards in Canadian Tire stores, but poor value (.8%~) outside of Canadian Tire stores. As a result, it’s not recommended as a general cashback credit card.

      Moreover, you have to be careful when applying for a Canadian Tire MasterCard, because while you’re applying for a credit card with an interest rate of 19.99%, they reserve the right to decline you for that rate, and approve you for a card with a rate of 25.99% on purchases and 27.99% on cash advances. You won’t know which rate you’ve been approved for until you receive your card. If you ever carry a balance, that’s a very high rate to assume.

      GreedyRates Staff

  6. The Tangerine card does have a drawback not mentioned here. Most credit cards allow you to set up automatic payments (either the minimum payment or the full balance due) so that you can be assured you will never get an interest charge even though there is a postal strike, or you are traveling, or just forget sometimes. But the Tangerine card seems to only allow this if you are a Tangerine Bank customer (and I live East of Montreal, so no Tangerines around here). This may be enough of a drawback for me to consider cancelling my Tangerine M/C.

    • Hi Narce,

      You are correct. However, you can still make online bill payment from your bank to pay down your Tangerine credit card. You just can’t make automatic pre-authorized payments initiated through Tangerine.

      Thanks for the comment!

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Yes, you are right, I can make payments through my regular bank – but if I am traveling, this means accessing my online banking information through an insecure public wi-fi hotspot, since my economy phone has no data capabilities. As we are warned in many security posts, this is NOT a good idea. All of my other cards can be paid automatically, in full, from my (non-Tangerine) bank account.

  7. Signed up with the MBNA Mastercard to get the 2% cashback, which is a great reward, especially with no annual fee first year and the $100 credit with first purchase.

    But I also want to mention that the customer service with MBNA has been outstanding so far. Perhaps because it is relatively unused or new, but I have never waited more than 2 seconds for a call to be answered and have gotten fast, efficient service and directly through to tech support (trying to link my new card to a 10 year old profile).

  8. Hi there. This is a great site to help decide what credit card to have. We have been trying to decide what is best. What do you folks think of the Walmart Financial Mastercard?

    • Hi Shelley,

      We think you can do better than the Walmart Financial MasterCard, both to earn cashback inside and outside of Walmart. First, you only get 1.25% cashback with the Walmart MasterCard for purchases inside Walmart, and 1% outside of Walmart.

      You can get 1.25% on ALL purchases with the no fee Amex SimplyCash card. Or, using the no fee Tangerine cashback card you can get 2% on WalMart supercenter purchases, if you select grocery as one of your 2 categories, plus another 2% cashback in another category of your choice, such as gas. You then get 1% everywhere else. Both these cards have great bonuses as well, you can read about above.

      Alternatively, if you’re a Rogers customer, you can get the no-fee Rogers MasterCard and get 1.75% cashback on ALL purchases, including Walmart.

      Thanks for the kind words and hope that helps Shelley!

      GreedyRates Staff

      • One negative I find with the Walmart Mastercard is that it’s not accepted if you live in Quebec. I also had trouble setting up the SecureCode and after calling Walmart Mastercard, and Mastercard itself, I have not received any replies.

        • Hi Ronee,

          That is true. Quebec residents cannot get the Walmart card yet, nor can any Walmart cardholder pay their balance in a Quebec based Walmart store. Then again, we’re not sure Quebecers are missing much with the Walmart MasterCard.

          Greedyrates Staff

  9. The AmEx card is great for 6 months, or until you realize that most of your regular merchants don’t accept AmEx, whichever comes first. Thereafter, it is subject to incineration.

  10. Hi. Just noticed this post. Great stuff as always.

    A question though, If the Scotia momentum Card has no fee the 1st year & gives 4% back on gas & groceries, while it cant be used at No Frills (owned by Loblaws) it still is a better bet in all other Loblaw grocery stores & all gas stations. More than Tangerine as well, after the 90 days , so why wouldn’t this be a good choice for stacking or on the grid above. Is the 2 cents per litre discount on gas offered by PC World Elite more lucrative r than 4% cash back?


    P.S. With all these options of travel points, cash back, Insurance , Free luggage on flights etc….It is virtually impossible to figure out which cards to use & when.

    P.P.S. Unrelated question : Trip interruption , loss baggage perks given by various credit cards are only if you booked the ticket with that credit card . Is that correct?

    • Hi Robert,

      We didn’t add the Scotia Momentum card to the stacking grid because of the annual fee. Sometimes the annual fee promo is in market other times it’s not.

      Correct, trip cancellation, interruption and lost baggage are typically available only if you book your ticket with the card that offers the coverage. The only exception is travel medical insurance, which covers even if you don’t book your travel with that card. You could drive to the U.S. and you, your spouse and dependents will be covered.

      GreedyRates Staff

  11. Rogers card will be good for who have rogers products and to waive annual fee you have to pay rogers, fido, chatr bill. Therefore, better for recurring bill with rogers mastercard. And PC mastercard gas points are 2 cents per liter unless fill with supreme. Only supreme will get 3 cents per liter or 3% back.

    • Hi Calvin,

      Thanks for the insight. The Rogers MasterCard gets you 1.75% on ALL purchases, and you can redeem once a year as a statement credit against ANY purchases, so it’s actually a really rich general cashback card. The annual fee is free for the first year for everyone, plus the welcome bonus of $35 off-sets the second year annual fee of $29 for non-Rogers customers – making it effectively free for 2 years.

      Of course nothing beats the no-fee PC Financial World Elite MasterCard’s 3% cashback in Loblaw owned stores. Combine the Rogers MasterCard with the PC Financial World Elite and Tangerine’s no-fee cashback card which gives you 2% in up to 3 categories of your choice and you have yourself a formidable trio of cashback options to optimize your rewards.

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Rogersbank announced the new mastercard.
        sounds good because I’m using fido but I already have rogers platinum master card.

        It pays to pay with Fido™ MasterCard®

        Earn 4% unlimited cash back rewards on all purchases in a foreign currency – from international websites to anywhere you travel abroad
        Plus 1.5% unlimited cash back rewards on all purchases in Canadian dollars
        Annual fee

        Get the credit card with no annual fee and get more of what you want from Fido.

        Get paid for using your card!

        Get up to $50 in cash back rewards as a welcome bonus: $25 on your first purchase
        Plus $25 when you register your Fido bill for pre-authorized payments.

        Hopely, it help you paying your bills..

  12. Something to note with the PC Financial World Elite card is that although the points are only available at Loblaws stores, they sell Gift certs to just about every major retail outlet out there. I believe they also sell pre-paid credit cards. So although it’s not as good as cash back, it’s the next best thing.

    • Hi Seglo,

      Good observation. So on the redemption side, using gift cards allows you to effectively redeem for more than just Loblaw goods, because you can redeem your cashback for an itunes, home depot or amazon gift card.


      GreedyRates Staff

  13. How come the Costco MasterCard is not on this list of the best?

    • Hi Libby,

      The Costco card may be good if you wanted to use it exclusively to earn 3% cashback in restaurant purchases, in combination with other cashback or rewards cards that earn more on all other purchases. Otherwise, it’s value is matched or exceeded by many, if not most, other no fee cashback cards in Canada.

      Here are the reasons it did not make our list. First it’s base cashback rate is one of the worst in Canada. You get .5% cashback on your first $3,000 of spend, and then 1% thereafter. 1% is the minimum base cashback rate available on every credit card in our rankings. That means one can get DOUBLE the cashback, even on Costco purchases, using their Tangerine or BMO no fee cashback MasterCard over Costco’s own MasterCard on the first $3,000 of spend.

      Second, while Costco’ 3% cashback on restaurants and 2% on gas is good, there are plenty of options, which we believe are as good or better, which have much better base cashback rates (although we won’t take anything away from the 3% cashback on restaurants). Tangerine offers 2% cashback in up to 3 categories of your choice (you get to choose from 10 categories), offering 4% for the first 90 days in your selected categories. Amex offer 5% cash back on gas, groceries & restaurants for the first 6 months and 1.25% cashback on all other spend all the time. BMO’s offering 2% cashback on all spend for the first 6 months, etc…

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

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