Best No Fee Credit Cards in Canada

Best No Fee Credit Cards in Canada for 2022

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Last updated on September 2, 2022 Comments: 15

High-end credit cards in Canada provide measurable financial benefits to their cardholders and can (hopefully) justify the annual fees they charge. But that doesn’t mean credit cards with no annual fees deliver insignificant value by comparison.

In fact, there are many Canadians who steadfastly refuse to pay an annual fee for a credit card, no matter their credit score or income level. You might not want to spend the amount of money necessary for your collected rewards or cash back to break even with an annual fee, for example. Not having an annual fee also makes it easy to ‘try out’ a card without losing any money in the event you don’t like it or don’t use it often. Whatever your reason for preferring a card without an annual fee, before applying for one you should review our curated list of the very best in Canada to determine which no annual fee card offers the best value for you.

Canada’s Best No Fee Credit Cards

CardCategoryCard Review
Tangerine Money-Back Credit CardCash BackRead More
BMO CashBack® MasterCard®*Student CardRead More
CIBC Dividend® Visa* CardVisa Read More
MBNA True Line® Mastercard® credit cardLow InterestRead More
Rogers World Elite MastercardUSD Cash BackRead More
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®RewardsRead More

Best No Annual Fee Cash Back Card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Apply Now
Who’s Eligible?
– 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

 

Other no-annual-fee cards in the cashback category find it difficult to compete with the Money-Back card from Tangerine, which saves you from paying an annual fee while still offering a very high 2% cash back on two purchase categories of your choice (three categories if you deposit the Rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account). All other purchases earn cash back at 0.5%, and cash back is credited (or deposited to your Savings account) on a convenient monthly schedule rather than yearly.

With no limits on how much cash back you collect, and the ability to swap categories between groceries, gas purchases, home improvement, pharmacy and many others, Tangerine provides superior flexibility.

  • Accelerated cashback rate: 2% cash back on 2 categories of your choice
  • Enhanced cashback rate: Get a 3rd category for depositing cash back to a Tangerine Savings Account.
  • Flat cashback rate: 0.5% cash back on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: Special 15% cash back rate* on the first $1,000 spent with the card ($150 cash back) in the first two months, apply by December 29, 2022.
  • Added features: purchase assurance and extended warranties

Apply here or learn more by reading our Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card review.

Please note that those who have an annual personal income of at least $60K or combined household income of $100K can get an upgraded version of the Money-Back Credit Card in the Tangerine World Mastercard®. It’s also a no annual fee card, and has the same money-back rewards, but adds on valuable features including mobile device insurance, airport lounge access, and insurance for car rentals.

*Terms and Conditions apply

Best No Annual Fee Student Credit Card

BMO CashBack® MasterCard®* for Students

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Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: Fair-Good
– Min personal income required: $0
– Annual fees: $0

Students will appreciate not having to pay an annual fee for the privilege of using their credit card, money which is better spent on books or food. As an entry-level card with a $0 price tag, it’s nice to be able to earn 0.5-3% cash back on any eligible purchase and is made better with a bonus of 5% cash back in the first 3 months (up to $125)*. Purchase protection and extended warranties are also clutch for students who don’t want to take a financial hit due to accidents or theft*.

  • Sign-up bonus: Get 5% cash back in your first 3 months*
  • Regular cashback rate: 0.5-3% cash back on all purchases*
  • Added features: Purchase protection and extended warranties*

Apply here for the BMO CashBack® MasterCard®* for Students

*Terms and conditions apply

Best No Annual Fee Visa Card

CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card

Apply Now

Who’s Eligible?

– Minimum Credit Score: Good
– Minimum Income: $15,000
– Age: Age of majority in province
– Residency: Canadian resident
– Other: No bankruptcy for the past 7 years

Offer Overview

The CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card is a great no-annual-fee option for those who prefer cash back over rewards points and who like the wide merchant acceptance rate associated with Visa. After the Welcome Offer ends, the card earns 2% cash back on eligible grocery purchases and up to 1% on everyday purchases like books, movies, food and more, as well as 1% cash back on eligible gas, transportation, dining purchases and recurring payments, and 0.5% cash back on all other qualifying purchases.

There are technically limits on the amount of cash back that can be earned at the 1–2% rates, but the limits are exceedingly high, lasting through either $20K in combined annual spending on groceries, gas, transportation, dining, and recurring payments; or $80K in net annual card spending. After reaching one of those milestones all purchases will earn at the 0.5% rate until the start of a new year.

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: Get 5% cash back for the first 4 statements on net purchases of up to $2,000 (up to $100 cash back).
  • Regular Earn Rates: After the Welcome Offer ends, the card earns 2% cash back on eligible grocery purchases and up to 1% on everyday purchases like books, movies, food and more; 1% cash back on eligible gas, transportation, dining purchases and recurring payments; 0.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • Other Features: Get cash back on demand – redeem your cash back at any time when you have a minimum of $25 through CIBC Online and Mobile Banking®
  • Interest Rates: 20.99% Purchase Annual Interest Rate, 22.99% (for non-Quebec residents only) Cash Advance Annual Interest Rate, and 22.99% (for non-Quebec residents only) Balance Transfer Annual Interest Rate

Most merchants today accept both Mastercard and Visa, and in general we advise readers to focus on a card’s individual attributes rather than the payment network it belongs to. That said, some stores only accept one or the other, so if you shop frequently at a spot that accepts only Visa and not Mastercard, the CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card is probably the best no annual fee card for you, particularly if groceries are the largest line item in your budget.

Apply here or learn more by reading our CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card review.

This is a digital-exclusive offer. To be eligible for this offer, you must apply for a new eligible card using the “Apply Now” link available on this webpage.

† Conditions apply

Quebec Residents: Learn More about this CIBC product here

Résidents du Québec : Pour en savoir plus sur ce produit CIBC, suivez ce lien

Best No Fee Low-Interest Card

MBNA True Line® Mastercard® credit card

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Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: Fair-Good
– Min personal income required: N/A
– Annual fees: $0

Canadians looking to consolidate their other credit card balances or lines of credit under one low rate can do so with this card at no annual fee. The MBNA True Line® Mastercard® credit card offers 0% promotional interest rate† on balance transfers for the first 12 months which then jumps to 12.99% interest, which is definitely lower than you’d be paying on other cards (without paying an annual fee). Plus, the purchase APR is 12.99% so you won’t have to feel so guilty for using it when you shop.

This is especially true if your balances were previously exposed to high rates. It’s also worthwhile to note that MBNA offers a slightly different card (the MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card) to those who would pay a small annual fee in exchange for a lower standard rate on balance transfers and purchases.

  • Promotional Balance Transfer Rate: 0% for 12 months
  • Balance transfer rate: 12.99%
  • Purchase interest rate: 12.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 24.99%

Apply here or learn more by reading our MBNA True Line® Mastercard® credit card 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 USD Cash Back Card

Rogers World Elite Mastercard

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Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: Good-Excellent
– Min personal income required: $80,000
– Annual fees: $0

The combination of Canada’s top flat cashback rate with no annual fee is already an advantageous opportunity for cardholders, but the Rogers World Elite Mastercard raises the bar further by erasing some foreign transaction fees. Travellers know that fees of at least 2.5% on purchases made in a foreign currency can quickly get expensive, so Rogers lets them earn an accelerated 3% in cash back on these purchases made in U.S. dollars in order to offset those fees—and then some. Purchases made in Canadian currency earn a generous rate of 1.5%, making the card as useful for the average consumer as it is for regular travelers.

To qualify for the Rogers World Elite MasterCard your personal annual income must be at least $80,000, or $150,000 if applying as a household. Rogers makes redemption for your cash back easy as well, by allowing you to pay off eligible purchases that appear on your statement whenever you like (given you have at least $20 in cash back collected). This can be accomplished in real time with Mastercard’s Pay with Rewards application.

  • Regular cashback rate: 1.5% cash back on all purchases in CA$
  • Special cashback rate: 3% cash back on all purchases made in U.S. dollars
  • Sign-up bonus: $25 in cash back rewards when you make your first card purchase within 3 months of receiving your card.
  • Minimum annual income: $80,000 personal/$150,000 household
  • Added features: travel and insurance benefits

Apply here or learn more by reading our Rogers World Elite MasterCard review.

Best No Fee Rewards Card

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

Apply Now

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: Fair-Good
– Min personal income required: N/A
– Annual fees: $0

If you’re looking for a rewards credit card that offers a great points program on everyday purchases and strong welcome offer along with its no annual fees, then we recommend the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® (for more options, check out our full list of the Best Rewards Credit Cards in Canada).

For digital media memberships, utility payments, groceries, and restaurant purchases (a hefty portion of most monthly bills), the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® earns 2 MBNA Rewards points‡ per $1 spent, and 1 point‡ per $1 spent on everything else. These rewards don’t expire and can be spent on a variety of useful things like travel, cash back, merchandise, gift cards, and more.

Earn 4 MBNA Rewards points for every $1 spent on grocery, restaurant, digital media membership and utility payments for the first 90 days of account opening.

As a bonus, cardholders will earn up to 10,000 additional points just for making $500 in purchases (5,000) and for signing themselves up for paperless e-statements (another 5,000) (both within the first 90 days). 10,000 points have a value of $100 when redeemed on travel. If that’s not enough, on your birthday‡, you’ll earn 10% of the points earned the previous year, up to 10,000 points total.

  • Accelerated earn rate: 4 MBNA Rewards points for every $1 spent on digital media membership, utility payments, grocery, and restaurant purchases for the first 90 days of account opening. Goes down to 2 points‡ after 90 days.
  • Regular earn rate: 1 MBNA Rewards point‡ per $1 spent elsewhere
  • Intro bonus: Up to 10,000 points
  • Added features: purchase assurance and extended warranties
  • Purchase interest rate: 19.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 24.99%
  • Balance transfer rate: 22.99%

Apply here or learn more by reading our MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® review.

‡, ††, ✪, ***, Terms and Conditions apply

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

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.

Summary of the Best No Fee Credit Cards in Canada

Credit CardSpecial Card FeatureApply for Card
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card2% on 2 categories of choiceApply Now
BMO CashBack Mastercard5% cash back in the first 3 months*Apply Now
CIBC Dividend® Visa* CardStandard earn rate of 2% cash back on groceriesApply Now
MBNA True Line® Mastercard® credit cardLow 12.99%✪ interest on balance transfers and 12.99% on purchasesApply Now
Rogers World Elite Mastercard1.5% domestic cash back
3% cash back on purchases in U.S. dollars
Apply Now
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®4 points†† on restaurants, grocery, utilities, digital media membership for the first 90 days.
10,000 bonus points†† within the first 90 days.
Birthday bonus‡ of 10% of points earned the previous year.
Apply Now

How Did We Choose These Cards?

We selected the cards on this page based on the fact that they include features usually reserved for cards with an annual fee, like lucrative sign-up bonus rewards, strong cash back and rewards rates, low-interest balance transfer promotions, etc. For each type of feature, we singled out the no annual fee card that provides the utmost value in its own special way. For example, there are a number of cards in the Canadian market that offer cash back with no fee, but the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is unique because it allows cardholders to choose the spending categories they’d like to earn back in.

How Do You Choose the Best No Annual Fee Credit Card?

When choosing the best no annual fee credit card, you have to consider what would personally benefit you most. Not all no annual fee credit cards are created equal. Are a great rewards program and a sign-up bonus most important to you?  Or are you more focused on obtaining the lowest interest rate on cash back and purchases? Of course, your own credit history and annual income may be a determining factor in the best credit cards for you, so it’s important to do your research on what you are eligible for.

When is a Credit Card Annual Fee Worth Paying?

Wondering why anyone would choose a card with an annual fee when there is such a strong selection of no annual fee credit cards available? Well, cards with annual fees may offer more in terms of lower interest rates, bigger rewards, and other features that you may find desirable. Therefore, it’s important to look at your spending habits and take into consideration whether a card with an annual fee may actually benefit you more.

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Author Bio

Nate Siegel
Nathan Siegel has a professional and educational passion for finance, and is a long-time writer for GreedyRates. He follows trends in the Canadian banking sector, compares competing products, and pores over fine print to make personal finance choices easier for Canadian consumers. In his spare time he loves running, swimming, and dogs of all kinds.

Article comments

15 comments
Jay says:

Here is my credit card portfolio for optimal no annual fee cashback :
Groceries : BMO CashBack Mastercard (3%)
Gas : RBC Cash Back Mastercard (save 3¢/L on fuel at Petro Canada + 0.5% cashback)
Restaurants : Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa (4%) or either Tangerine Money-Back or Desjardins Cash Back for Quebec residents (2%)
Eveything else : Rogers World Elite Mastercard (1.5%) or Amex SimplyCash (1.25%) if below $80,000 income.
Let me know if you find anything else better in these categories!

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Jay,
Great breakdown of your credit card toolkit. Certainly a lot of good options here to get the most cash back for your spending.

Claus says:

I just applied for and got a CIBC Dividend Visa card. While talking to them afterwards I was informed there is no welcome 5% bonus even though I registered through such a page. I registered around June 12th and had my physical card within a week. So unless they are just playing games with me you should update your info.

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Claus,
The 5% welcome bonus on the CIBC Dividend Visa is indeed applicable if you click and apply through the link here at GreedyRates. If you did click through and apply with us, please send an email to [email protected] with your full name, your email address use used to apply and a short description of the situation so we can look into the issue further. Thanks.

Ben says:

bmo cashback mastercard has limited its perks. 3% grocery, 1% recurring bill, 0.5% all else. I’ve had this card for many years and did not know that most of my purchases were now only 0.5%. Best to only use it for groceries!

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Ben,
What an ideal time to get 3% cash back on groceries huh? Anyway, thanks for flagging. I’ll get the editor to update this.

Satty says:

What is you opinion on the CIBC No Fee Aeroplan Card? Generous 10,000 points after first purchase and nice insurance/car rental insurance benefits, this looks like a great option if you collect Aeroplan points but don’t want to pay a fee.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Satty, though we haven’t had a chance to review this one yet, so I wouldn’t take this as official, I will say that though no annual fee and the introductory points offer are cool, the earn rate is very pedestrian at 1 point per $1 on gas, groceries and air Canada purchases and 1 point per $1.50 on all other purchases. Earning enough points after the initial 10,000 will be pretty slow, so i’d look for a card with a better earn rate, unless you don’t have a household income higher than $15,000.

HypeBoy says:

How is the Rogers Platinum card not on this list?

Nate Siegel says:

Hey HypeBoy,

Thanks for posting on GreedyRates! We appreciate your comment. The truth is, we can’t in good conscience put the Rogers Platinum card on this list, when the same issuer offers an even better no-fee card: the Rogers World Elite Mastercard. This is one of the only World Elite cards in Canada that doesn’t have an annual fee, which is saying something considering that the program’s perks include awesome travel insurance and other valuable benefits. More important, and the factor that effectively kicked the Platinum card off this list, is the World Elite card’s superior cash back.

Rogers’ World Elite card collects 1.75% cash back on everyday purchases in Canada, which is the highest direct cash back rate around. There’s also the fact that it earns at a boosted 4.00% cash back rate when you spend money in a foreign currency, like online or abroad. For these reasons alone, we felt that putting the Platinum card next to the World Elite (given that they both have the same annual fee: $0) would be a bit silly!

GreedyRates

Nitesh says:

Is the The SimplyCash Card from American Express not on here just because it was reviewed after this article? For no annual fee and no 80K+ income requirement, with 1.25% flat cash back on everything, it’s seeming like a good choice to me to compliment my Tangerine (2% on 3 categories) and Simplii Visa (new, you should review it :), 4% on restaurants ) cards.

I’ve been looking around and don’t see much that would do much better with no fee for me, unless I specified travel points which may get marginally better value back.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Nitesh,

There are some great pearls of wisdom in your comment, and we highly appreciate you coming to GreedyRates and informing us (and other readers) about the cards that work best for you. As far as why we haven’t listed the card in this article, there’s simply such a large variety of great no-fee cards that choosing a winner for every category is difficult. The SimplyCash card you mention is awesome for its flat cash back rate–but consider this: With the Rogers Platinum Mastercard you get the same, 1.25% cash back plus 3.00% back on purchases made in a foreign currency, and it also has no annual fee.

You’re right that a nice flat rate complements the Tangerine card well, due to its strict yet valuable cash back categories model. The Simplii Visa is something we still need to take a deeper look at, but it sounds great and if you like it, that’s all that matters to us anyway. Check out the Rogers Platinum Mastercard, stack it up against the SimplyCash card, and let us know what you think. Keep in mind that one downside of the Rogers line of cards is that while they’re impressive on paper, you have to be tolerant of their once-per-year cash back redemption system, while other cards allow you to redeem it more flexibly.

GreedyRates

Nitesh says:

That’s an interesting option! I’ve always just converted some cash over before travelling to avoid other cards conversion fees, but if I was actually rewarded for foreign currency instead that would be interesting.

That said it’s a minute part of what I spend since I can’t travel all the time (alas, haha), so as far as I can think most of everything I buy is in CAD. Would that foreign currency cash back also apply to USD? That would raise interesting possibilities.

I’ll keep that one in my mental backburner at any rate, thanks

Mairin says:

This is a great article. It gives me almost everything I need to know in order to choose a credit card. However, it would have been really helpful if you had included the interest rate that each charges on unpaid balances. It’s awkward to have to check each application form for that info.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Mairin,

We value your appreciation, and love to hear that you’ve enjoyed reading our articles. More important however is that they’ve helped you! If you’re still deciding on which credit card to choose, always feel free to post a comment in the article or review you’ve got inquiries about or send us an email at [email protected]. We’d be happy to consider some of your personal criteria about what you want in a card, the relevant details about your financial picture, and other info in order to provide the best suggestions possible.

If you’d like an easier way to search our site for cards that are both free to hold (no annual fee) and have a low interest rate, then you can simply filter the main credit card page using the menu on the left sidebar. Simply go to our site and click on ‘Compare Credit Cards’ on the top, then select the dropdown that’s relevant to you—from cash back, travel, rewards, and more. Once you see the page that displays the cards in a vertical table, click on the side menu and then “Additional Filters”, then “No Annual Fee”. The page will then display only cards with no annual fee while also listing the annual interest rates within the same table. If you need any more help, let us know. Thanks!

GreedyRates