Best Mastercard Credit Cards in Canada in 2023
Of the three major credit card processors in Canada, Mastercard is particularly popular due to its near universal acceptance rate among merchants. Some stores even have exclusive Mastercard partnerships—a Mastercard is a necessity for those who often shop at Costco in Canada, where Visa and Amex are not accepted. Fortunately there are a wide variety of Canadian Mastercards to suit nearly every income level, habitual purchase category, and reward type preference.
In This Article:
Summary of Best Canadian Mastercards in 2023
|Mastercard||Card Type||Annual Fee||Card Review|
|Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card||Cash Back||$0||Read More|
|BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®*||Travel Rewards||$150||Read More|
|PC® World Elite Mastercard®||Grocery Rewards||$0||Read More|
|MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard®||Low Interest||$39||Read More|
|BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students||Student||$0||Read More|
Best Cash Back Mastercard
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
– Minimum Credit Score: Fair-Good
– Minimum Income: $12,000
– Age: 18+/Age of majority
– Residency: Canadian Citizen/Permanent Resident
– Other: No bankruptcy for the past 7 years
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is perfect if you want to choose the kinds of purchases you’ll earn extra cash back for, without paying for the privilege. Cardholders pay no annual fee and will choose two categories where their purchases earn 2% cash back—groceries, furniture, restaurants, hotels and motels, gas, recurring bills, drug stores, home improvement, entertainment, and public transit/parking make up the wide array of categories you can choose from. And by setting up automatic contributions to a Tangerine savings account, you can choose a third category with 2% cash back. On all other purchases, cash back accrues at 0.5%. The card’s flexibility makes it a perennial favourite in Canada, and it’s a fixture on our list of the best cash back cards offered by any card processor, Mastercard or otherwise.
New cardholders will also be able to take advantage of two welcome offers: Apply by July 5th, 2023. If you're approved, you’ll earn an extra 10% back on up to $1,000 in everyday purchases made within your first 2 months.* The second offer is a low 1.95% interest rate on balances transferred to Tangerine for 6 months (1% transfer fee applies)*.
Click here to apply or learn more about the card by reading our complete Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card review.
Note that if you’re drawn to the flexible rewards of the Money-Back Card, and you have an annual personal income of at least $60K or household income of at least $100K, you should take a look at the Tangerine World Mastercard® instead. Like the Money-Back Credit Card it has no annual fee and the same personalized rewards rates, but it offers added features like mobile device insurance, airport lounge access, and car rental insurance.
*Terms and Conditions apply
Best Travel Rewards Mastercard
BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®*
– Minimum Credit Score: Excellent
– Minimum Income: $80,000 individual or $150,000 household
– Age: Age of majority in your province or territory.
– Other Requirements: No bankruptcies in the last seven years
Credit cards with high annual fees and steeper income requirements also give cardholders a greater array of perks. There are few travel Mastercards that can rival the BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®*, which offers a massive welcome bonus of up to 60,000 BMO Rewards points, plus a waiver of the first year’s $150 fee*. That’s approximately $550 in value but other bonuses, like the waiver on the $50 annual fee for the first authorized cardholder*, and perks like complimentary membership in Mastercard Travel Pass provided by DragonPass,* with four annual complimentary passes, boost this number to an impressive value in your first year.
The card also accrues 5x the points for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases,* 3x the points for every $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases and recurring bill payments,* 1 point for every $1 spent everywhere else.* Points can be redeemed on all travel arrangements, including luxury 4-star hotels and airfare. If you can meet the income requirement of $80,000 per year, you’ll also likely spend more per month on the card. For $5,000 per month, at the end of your first year you’ll have accrued enough points to spend 7 nights in an all-inclusive 5-star resort in Mexico, or a flight all the way from Canada to Dubai. During the layover, enjoy one of your four yearly complimentary VIP lounge passes. Last but not least, travellers and their families are protected with World Elite Total Travel and Medical protection package from BMO, which represents the cherry on top for this Mastercard.
Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®* review.
*Terms and conditions apply
Best Grocery Rewards Mastercard
PC® World Elite Mastercard®
– Minimum Annual Income: $80,000 personal or $150,000 household
– Age: Age of majority in your province or territory
– Residency: Resident of Canada
The PC® World Elite Mastercard® is one of Canada’s best credit cards for earning back on groceries, and is a particularly good option for those who are allergic to annual fees and who shop regularly at Loblaw banner stores, like Loblaws, No Frills, and Real Canadian Superstore.
The card earns 30 PC Optimum™ points per $1 spent at Loblaw banner grocery stores (a 3% return rate); 30 points per litre of gas purchased at Canadian Esso™ and Mobil™ stations; 45 points per $1 at Shoppers Drug Mart or Pharmaprix; 30 points per $1 on PC travel services; and 10 points per $1 on everything else.
Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete PC® World Elite Mastercard® review.Sponsored advertising. President’s Choice Financial® Mastercard® is provided by President’s Choice Bank. The PC Optimum™ program is provided by President's Choice Services Inc. President’s Choice Bank is not responsible for the contents of this site, including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information regarding the PC® Mastercard®, PC® World Mastercard®, or PC® World Elite Mastercard®, please click on the “Apply Now” or other applicable button.
Best Low Interest Rate Mastercard
MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard®
– Minimum Credit Score: Fair-Good
– Minimum Income: N/A
– Age: You must be the age of majority in your home province
– Residency: Canadian.
If you’re committed to eliminating your credit card debt and are willing to pay a small annual fee in exchange for lower interest, the MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® is a top choice. The card offers competitively low rates on balance transfers, 8.99%✪, and purchases, 8.99%, which could save you hundreds if not thousands over those other high 20%+ interest rates you’re probably paying. These rates afford the cardholder with some ease when it comes to paying down their credit card debt, a feature well worth the card’s $39 annual fee. Just avoid cash advances with this card, as they’re subject to a crushing 24.99% interest rate, which is rather out of step with its low purchase and balance transfer rates.
Interest rates aside, other notable features for the MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® are relatively scant, though cardholders do benefit from purchase assurance and extended warranty protection.
Click here to apply or learn more about the card by reading our complete MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® review.
✪, Terms and Conditions apply.
This offer is not available for residents of Quebec.
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 “Apply Now” button
The Toronto-Dominion Bank is the issuer of this credit card. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank. ®MBNA and other-trademarks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.
Best Student Mastercard
BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students
– Minimum Credit Score: Good
– Minimum Income: $15,000
– Age: You must be the age of majority in your home province
– Residency: Canadian
The BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students offers great cash back rates on groceries but doesn’t charge an annual fee, the perfect combination for students with meagre budgets.
New cardholders start off earning at a special 5% cash back rate for the first three months, on up to $2,500 in purchases (max $125 in cash back)*. After that you’ll earn 3% cash back on groceries (up to $500 spent on groceries per month); 1% back on recurring bills (up to $500 spent per month); and 0.5% back on everything else*. The card also offers purchase protection* and extended warranty coverage*, rental car discounts*, as well as discounts on Cirque du Soleil shows touring Canada and in Las Vegas*.
Click here to apply and learn more.
*Terms and conditions apply
Didn’t Find Your Dream Card?
If this list of Canada’s best Mastercards hasn’t delivered what you’re looking for, please feel free to comment below or email us with some specific criteria, and we’d be happy to make some personal suggestions!
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I’m considering the no fee cards – capital one cash back (due to Costco frequency), BMO airmiles (because airmiles rewards), or sticking with PC Mastercard because I shop at superstore & get free groceries… I don’t travel…
Where I now live I’m getting gas at Shell with my American Express & I use to use my m/c for that at Costco & superstore but now won’t be…
I recently retired and no longer make the required minimum for most of the “high flying” travel credit cards (e.g. West Jet World). I do however own my own house, newer vehicles, and motor home and have a good credit rating. I’m not sure that the companies are taking this type of situation into consideration. I haven’t bothered applying because I don’t earn 80000.00 per year. Any ideas or comments?
Lenders take literally everything into consideration when determining creditworthiness: it’s never down to a single number on a piece of paper. This is why two applicants with the same score might results in one getting approved and the other not, because a credit profile (all the stuff held in your credit report) includes things like income, as you could’ve guessed, but also your debts, their time in existence, your payment history, your oldest and newest debts, your credit utilization ratio, your debt-to-income ratio and much more.
Given this perspective, we think that if your underlying financial situation is still strong despite your working income (investments, assets as collateral, pensions etc.) then there’s little harm in a new application. Your best strategy for applying, then, it to make a note on the application for the Westjet World Elite card or to apply directly with a banker at RBC. Best of luck!
I’m looking for a card to use for online purchases. My bank used to have a card that when making online purchases the money was just taken right out of my chequing account but they no longer have this service. Therefore I am in need of a card for my online purchases. I am retired so would need a card with low interest, no annual fees. Basically I would be paying the balance off each month. What card would you suggest? Thank you
Thanks for the comment, and for coming to GreedyRates. If you’re looking for a credit card that you can use to make purchases online that then withdraws from a chequing account, then you might be interested in a debit card rather than a credit card. These only make use of the money that you already have, not borrowed funds like credit from a bank, but if your bank discontinued its debit card or doesn’t offer one (that’s what it sounds like) then a basic credit card will suffice.
Keep in mind that you can purchase online with virtually any credit card these days. However, our first suggestion is a card like the Home Trust Preferred Visa. It has a $0 annual fee and grants 1.00% cash back on all your purchases. More useful is its feature exempting cardholders from foreign transaction fees, which are tacked onto any purchase that requires an exchange of currency. This is relevant for online purchases especially, because many times it’s not immediately obvious where an online store is based or which currency it uses. If you’re ordering items from an online store that ships from the UK, for example, then spending your Canadian dollars means that you’ll incur a 2.50% charge for the foreign currency transaction to Pounds sterling.
The Home Trust Preferred Visa is a great card for being able to avoid these fees, but if you’re used to being able to stop by the local brand and meet with a banker, opt for a different credit card from one of the “Big Five” banks in Canada. Home Trust doesn’t offer the same level of support as BMO or TD, so you may prefer a card such as the MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard. This is another $0 annual fee card, and grants 2.00% cash back on gas and groceries (that’s boosted to 5.00% for your first 6 months) and 0.50% cash back on everything else. It’ll be great to use online as well. Let us know if you have any further questions.
What Canadian credit card company offers a high credit limit like discovery in the US
That’s a great question. As you probably know, the credit limit that you’re given by the bank is directly related to the multiple factors that go into your creditworthiness, which are scrutinized by the bank when they look at your application. At this time, they determine how much credit to extend based on your credit score, past and current debts, assets, income, dependents and more. This means that if your credit is weaker, your income is lower, or you have a lot of current debt, then your credit limit is capped regardless of what the maximum limit allowable would be.
That said, the cards which offer the highest maximum credit limit in Canada are also those which have the highest annual income and credit requirement. You can also get a high limit on expensive charge cards from Amex, such as the Platinum American Express card (you’re paying for the privilege though, with a $699 annual fee). If you need a credit card with a high limit, then check out any of the World Elite cards such as the BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard. Other good options are upper tier TD cards, like the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege card. If you’d like to expand upon your financial situation, and which type of high-limit cards you’re looking for (rewards, cash back etc.) then we can give you more precise recommendations. Shoot us an email at [email protected]. Best of luck in your search!
When are the airport passes available on the MasterCard elite
You’ll get your mobile access code to the LoungeKey membership program when you do your application online for the BMO Air Miles World Elite card, and you can use this to login to LoungeKey where your passes will be automatically credited. To use the passes, just flash your Mastercard to the lounge receptionist when you and your guests enter. It should happen right after your application is approved, so if you know you’re approved you might be able to use them even before you get the card!
The receptionist will check if you have vouchers and how many can be used, or tell you how much it is for you all to enter ($27 per person if not using vouchers). If you don’t have your card on you, then you can tell the receptionist your access number and reference “Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey.” Enjoy!
Very nice summary of different credit cards! Small question, regarding credit cards for gas especially at Shell, which one would be more advantageous, the one mentionned here where you’d receive 2 air miles per 20$ or 2% gas Capital One MC ? thanks (Also could you double dip and present your air miles card with the Shell AIR MILES Mastercard?
Good questions about gas cards, let’s see if we can make it clearer. First of all, you’re comparing one card which collects Air Miles to another, which collects cash back. Which of these is more valuable to you? Do you want to discount your travel or would you rather use your cash back at Costco? This is an important decision to make. Also, the Capital One Mastercard earns 2.00% cash back on gas (Shell included) while the Air Miles card earns 2 Miles for every $20 spent, which is the equivalent of around 1.00% instead of 2.00%–another distinction to make. Finally, no, you can’t present two credit cards in order to double your bonuses: whichever one you use is the one that collects extra rewards on the purchase while your membership to a similar card has no relevance if it isn’t part of the transaction. Hope that helps!
I do not see any review for Capital One MC and I’m rather disappointed. I was led to believe they were a highly rated company.
We’ve got nothing against the Mastercard you mentioned, but in our article about the best cards to use at Costco, we also cover its limitations. Consider that the highest rate of accelerated cash back of 3.00% is only earned at restaurants, or that on gas purchases you’ll earn 2.00% with no mention of groceries—a large monthly expense. There are other options that will result in more total cash back, and that will also work at Costco. The BMO Cashback World Elite Mastercard, for example, earns 1.50% cash back on all purchases including those at Costco, which will likely result in more savings overall.
You’ll also enjoy the perks of World Elite, including a generous introductory bonus of 5.00% on all spending for your first 3 months, LoungeKey airport lounge membership, and excellent medical insurance. Ultimately, you should decide which card is the best based on your own circumstances, and if you’d like to elaborate feel free to email us. Thanks!
For me, the most important attribute of a credit card is whether or not pending transactions show immediately when you login to the card’s site. If I want to check a purchase, I am not interested in waiting for the transaction to post. I want to see now. When people review credit cards, they never provide this information.
Awesome comment! This is something that can be highly annoying if you encounter it with your bank. The bank will often list “account credit” on your online statement instead of something more descriptive, which is infuriating, because people just want to see what exactly they spent their hard-earned money on! Unfortunately, it’s not feasible to do this type of research for every bank account in Canada. Indeed, for many banks it might be a more matter of finding and selecting the right website option (we’ve seen a “Reveal Transaction Details” button before), which means user error enters into the equation as well.
Delays between the purchase and the time it’s posted to your statement vary, however, but it’s obviously preferable to be able to reference the purchase immediately. Keep in mind that some purchases might take longer to settle than others, if there are a greater number of banks involved or if the money had to cross international borders (online shopping). Accordingly, it’s always prudent to save your receipts so you can verify them against your statement.
Either way, these are things that can’t be discovered until you’re actually a customer and have already made a purchase. It takes a bit of experience in the Canadian market to discover the nuances of its many banks, but with practice and proper research (ask your fellow Canadians!) you can figure it out.