Looking 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
Best Bonus Category Cash Back Credit Card Winners:
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card (no fee, 2% cashback on up to 3 categories, 1% elsewhere)
The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Credit Card (first year free, up to 4% cashback)
Best Flat-Rate Cash Back Credit Card Winners:
SimplyCash Card from American Express (no fee, 1.25% cashback on everything, 5% promo)
MBNA Rewards World Elite (first year free, 2% cashback on everything, $100 welcome bonus)
Best Specialty Cash Back Credit Card Winners:
Rogers Platinum MasterCard (no fee, 1.75% cashback on everything, no foreign transaction fees)
President’s Choice MasterCard World Elite (no annual fee, 3% cashback at Loblaw, Shoppers & 3 cents off at Esso)
Best Promotion Cash Back Credit Card Winner:
BMO Cash Back MasterCard (no fee, 2% cash back on ALL spend for 6 months, 1% thereafter)
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!
Why It’s A Winner: The Tangerine cash back credit card is an absolute beast! There’s no annual fee, you earn UNLIMITED 2% cash back in up to 3 bonus categories of your choice. You earn 1% cash back on ALL of your remaining spend – no limits.
For a limited time you get 4% cash back on your selected bonus categories for the first 3 months – no limits!
The card is both the richest no fee cash back credit card in Canada, and the most consumer friendly. You can choose up to 3 bonus categories from gas, groceries, pharmacies, restaurants, recurring spend, entertainment, public transport, hotel/motel, furniture & home improvement. You can also alter your categories to suite your changing spending habits.
Tangerine will either automatically credit your statement monthly or deposit your cash back into a Tangerine savings account – making it hassle free! Also, foreign transaction fees (non-Canadian purchases) are only 1.5%, instead of the 2.5% charged by most banks!
No minimum income requirement.
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
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.
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.
No minimum income required. American Express can also be used with Apple Pay!
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.
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 spend – not 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 no foreign transaction fees! Where most cards charge 2.5% on foreign purchases over and above the exchange rate. Rogers charges nothing. Not only that, you’ll continue earning 1.75% cash back on those foreign purchases as well! That’s like earning 4.25% on foreign transactions.
There is a welcome bonus of $35. 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 $35 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. You will earn 1.75% cash back on Costco purchases (more than what you would earn with the Costco MasterCard itself shopping at Costco, which is less than 1%!)
No minimum income required.
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 Promotion Cash Back Credit Card Winners:
The no-fee BMO Cash Back MasterCard is a flat rate cash back credit which currently offers a great promotion of 2% unlimited cash back on all spend for the first 6 months. After the 6 month promotion expires, you get 1% on all spend.
At 2% on all spend for 6 months, it’s a great opportunity to complement another cash back credit card that may not offer as much in non-bonus categories. It’s also a great opportunity to get 2% cash back at Costco for 6 months.
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 to avoid the 2.5% foreign transaction fee. All with no annual fees.
This is what it might look like visually:
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!