GreedyRates Awards 2020: Best Personal Finance Must-Haves

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Last updated on May 23, 2022

Actors, singers, directors, scientists, and many more stand at a podium each year and accept their respective awards for outshining others the year before. So why not do the same for Canada’s financial industry?

As Canada’s finance landscape continues to grow in exciting and innovative ways, there’s always something new on the horizon and it takes hard work to keep up with things like the best credit card or bank account options.

Luckily, you don’t have to let option overload get the best of you. Here at GreedyRates, we’ve made a list (and checked it twice) of some of the country’s best capital assets. From the top credit cards, to the most useful money-saving apps, we’ve parsed the earning power and interest rates of a bevy of financial instruments to bring you the best in Canada.

Credit Cards: The Winners

Best Cash Back Credit Card: Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

We chose the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card as our winner because of its generous cashback, unlimited earning potential, no annual fee and the card’s ability to change your selected Money-Back categories based on how you spend.

Offering 2% cash back on 2-3 categories that you get to choose based on your spending style. The list ranges from things like restaurants, grocery, gas, drug stores, parking, home improvement and more. Unlike other cards on the market, there’s no money-back cap, so you’re sure to enjoy the perks as long as you use the card!

This card is best for consumers who don’t want to pay a yearly fee and who appreciate the power to pick their own categories to match their spending habits.

Best Travel Credit Card: TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card

best travel credit cards

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card is a winner in our eyes because of its bonus offer and its earn rate, which was hefty for any Aeroplan cards in the country in 2019. Furthermore, Aeroplan points have the highest value for free flights.

And although there’s a $139 annual fee, it’s rebated in the first year. Must apply online by September 5, 2022.

The TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card is ideal for frequent fliers who collect Aeroplan points.

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.

Terms and conditions apply.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Card: MBNA True Line® Mastercard® credit card awards - Best balance transfer credit cardThe MBNA True Line® Mastercard® credit card is perfect for consumers looking to better manage their debt load, up their credit score and get a break from making payments on high-interest credit cards.

This card wowed us in 2019, with its extended 0% interest rate for 12 months on all balances transferred over within the first 90 days of account opening and its attractive 12.99% APR once the promo has ended, making it one of the most competitive offers on balance transfer cards.

The balance transfer will cost you 3% of the amount transferred (with a minimum fee of $7.50). The APR on purchases is also a comfortable 12.99%, the cash rate is 24.99% and there is no annual fee.

Sponsored advertising. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) and TD is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information on this MBNA credit card, please click on the “Visit MBNA Website here” link.

* This offer is not available for residents of Quebec.

Best Rewards Credit Card: Scotiabank Gold American Express® card awards - Best rewards credit cardWe love the Scotiabank Gold American Express® card credit card for its high earn rates for frequently used categories and its ability to earn up to 45,000 bonus Scene+™ points in your first year (that’s up to $450 towards travel). Terms and conditions apply.

The card also has the distinction of being one of the few cards in Canada that features no foreign transaction fees (typically 2.5%) on purchases made in non-Canada currency. The annual fee is $120, which is similar to other cards on the market, but with rewards like their 5-3-1 Scene+ points model on eligible purchases for each level, you get big bang for your buck.

This card is well-suited for those who travel and want to save on FX fees, as well as those who spend often on groceries, dining and entertainment.

Loans: The Winners

Best Personal Loans: Loans Canada awards - Best personal loans providerLoans Canada is our top pick for personal loans because of its solid reputation, easy application process and fast approvals. It’s also a great choice because of its ability to cater to people of all credit scores or financial hardships.

Loans Canada is not a single loan provider but rather a loan platform that grants users access to hundreds of online loan providers across the country. You can get loans of anywhere from $500 up to $300,000 with interest rates generally ranging from 3% to 46.96%. Loans can be approved in as little as 48 hours helping you get out of your tight spot quickly.

Loans Canada is helpful for someone looking for a personal loan that gives them quick, reliable access to as many providers as possible. They offer a wide variety of loan options, making them the perfect option for most of your loan related needs.

Best Car Loans: Car Loans Canada awards - Best car loans providerWe like Car Loans Canada for their transparent, easy application process and large lender network that is willing to work with consumers with shaky credit histories. Their long-standing record of over a decade attests to its reliability and efficiency.

With one of the most extensive networks of lenders in Canada, you can find loans for both new and used vehicles. Consumers provide info like what province they live in and what kind of car they are looking for and the website helps find them a pre-approved car loan in minutes. Interest rates for auto loans range from 0% (some dealers might be featuring a promotion) up to 29.95%.

Car Loans Canada is perfect for car buyers looking for reliable, fast credit. The site is especially good for people with a bad credit history or a low monthly income (though a minimum monthly income of $1,800 is required).

Banking Accounts: The Winners

Best Savings Account: EQ Bank Savings Plus Account awards - Best savings accountWe think EQ Bank is a marvelous match for the consumer looking to maximize savings. The bank offers the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account with an appealing interest rate of 2.3%*. That’s presently one of the best interest rates in the country and, more importantly, it’s EQ’s everyday rate. Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly so that your savings really pay it forward.

(The interest rate stated above for EQ Bank was current as of January, 2020.  Please visit EQ Bank to see the current interest rate for its Savings Plus Account)

Thanks to the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account, you can access your money when you need it without having to worry about fees or hidden charges. There’s no minimum balance required, and you’ll enjoy unlimited day-to-day transactions, Interac e-Transfers®, and up to 10 linked accounts.

This account is best for those looking for a flexible savings account without compromising on interest returns or paying fees for frequent transactions.

Best Chequing Account: Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account awards - Best chequing accountWhile chequing accounts don’t generally offer high-interest rates (because money isn’t intended to stay in the account for long) we think Tangerine’s No-Fee Daily Chequing Account is a winner thanks to its pretty nice interest rate, no fees and ease of use when transferring money back and forth.

Tangerine’s no “unfair fee” chequing account features free, unlimited withdrawals, debit purchases, pre-authorized payments, bill payments, and email money transfers. No minimum balance is required and you can link up to three external banks to easily transfer money. You’ll also get your first book of cheques for free (additional ones are $20). The account additionally features free use of Scotiabank ABMs nationwide and interest rates work on a tiered system, starting at .15% and going up to .65%.

Tangerine’s chequing account is a smart pick for a flexible, no-unfair-fee account with a bit of interest-earning power.

Investing: The Winners

Best Robo-Advisors: Wealthsimple awards - Best robo advisorRobo-advisors have really taken off in the last few years and we believe that Wealthsimple stands out for its low fees, array of account options and engaging, educational and intuitive website (an especially vital feature for those new to investing). We love that portfolios are designed to match each investor’s risk tolerance and financial goals and are automatically rebalanced so clients don’t have to worry about keeping track of the stock market. And if you have any questions or concerns, you have the option to consult an advisor on the phone.

The fees and management expense ratios of the funds are low, at 0.50% on your first $99,999 and 0.40% on accounts with $100,000+ and there’s no minimum investment. You can put your money in a large variety of accounts like TFSAs, RRSPs and more. They also offer socially responsible investing accounts (with slightly higher MERs), a round-up feature to invest your spare change and unique Halal portfolios, taking into consideration Islamic investing principles.

Wealthsimple is best for someone who appreciates low fees and a hands-off approach to investing.

Best Online Brokers: Questrade awards - Best online brokersWe gave Questrade a gold star because of its modest fees and free ETF purchases as well as its easy-to-use platform allowing you to build a passive portfolio from ETFs.

One of Canada’s first online brokers, Questrade is also the country’s fastest-growing discount broker for a reason. The company offers low fees, with trading commissions ranging from only $4.95 to $9.95. There is no commission charge for purchasing ETFs and no yearly fees.

The Questrade platform is streamlined and user-friendly, with tools to make following investments easier. There is no minimum investment required and the company will cover transfer fees of up to $150 if you want to move money in from another broker. Questrade also offers $50 in free trades to those who open a new account and fund it with at least $1,000.

Overall Questrade will appeal to people who like low fees and want to actively manage their own investments.

Financial Apps: The Winners

Best Budgeting App: You Need A Budget awards - Best budgeting appThe best budgeting apps make it easy for users to track their spending, synch multiple accounts and set savings goals. You Need A Budget does all that and more. We gave this app an A+ based on its comprehensive overview of a user’s finances and its free educational resources. This app is definitely a must-have to get your wallet in shape this year.

It synchs to a variety of Canadian banks, credit unions and investment companies and automatically updates bank and credit card accounts whenever there’s new activity so you get real-time updates. Users who aren’t comfortable providing account information can also elect to upload information manually. You can also set budgets and track spending/saving goals, and track your money as you spend it. In YNAB’s mission to help you stay financially fit, they offer free financial workshops.

The YNAB app is designed for those who are serious about getting a handle on their finances and are looking to increase their financial acumen.

Best Payment Apps: Google Pay & Apple Pay awards - Best payment appWhen it comes to digital wallets, the winners are clearly Google Pay for Android and Apple Pay for iOS. Both apps hit all the high points and synch with the largest number of Canadian banks, credit cards and loyalty cards. You can also use the apps to store concert tickets, airline boarding passes and more.

Tax Software: The Winner

TurboTax awards - Best tax softwareWe think TurboTax tops others because of its reputation for reliability, tiered pricing options (including free!) and ease of use. Its free version offers quite a nice package and it provides a wide range of pricing models based on your specific tax needs, so you know you’re covered.

TurboTax is a CRA-approved online tax software system from Intuit that helps make it easier to do your taxes quickly and correctly. It works on multiple platforms like Windows, Mac, Android and iOS and is available in both free and paid versions. There are no income limits and you can import previous tax info using the CRA’s “Auto-fill My Return.”

TurboTax is super for people who want to do their taxes without shelling out for an accountant or tax return service.

And the Most Innovative Product for 2020 Is…

PayBright awards - Most innovative productGreedyRates is seeing a lot of potential in PayBright. We like PayBright because it’s easy to use, features fast approval, and is an impressive innovator in the Canadian financial landscape. The company just won “Canadian FinTech Company of the Year” at the 5th Annual Canadian FinTech & AI Awards.

PayBright is a Canadian company that works with over 4300 merchants across Canada (like Samsung, eBay and Wayfair) to provide consumers instant financing to pay for their purchases. Consumers apply for financing right at the point of purchase when they are ready to checkout. If eligible, PayBright approves you and gives you various payment options.

You can spread payments into bi-weekly or monthly payments and plans range from 2 to 60 months depending on the merchant, although average terms are 6-12 months. You can find financing from some merchants at a 0% interest rate; however, rates typically start at 7.95% and depend on the quality of your credit card.

PayBright is a good option for those who are responsible with credit but just need a little more time to pay for something.

So There You Have It

We’ve wrapped up 2019 and put together these must-haves for a financially sound 2020. From the best credit cards to tax and budgeting apps and software, GreedyRates does all the extensive research to make your personal finance decisions that much easier.

* All offer information is relevant as of January 8, 2020 and may be subject to changes.

Author Bio

Sandra MacGregor
Sandra MacGregor has been writing about finance and travel for nearly a decade. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications like the New York Times, the UK Telegraph, the Washington Post, and the Toronto Star. She spends her free time travelling, and has lived around the globe, including in Paris, South Korea and Cape Town. You can follow her on Twitter at @MacgregorWrites.

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