The Best Cash Back Credit Cards in Canada for 2021

If you are not yet acquainted with cash back credit cards, prepare to have your financial life forever changed. Although cash back is a common concept in Canada, there are many different types of cards on the market, each containing its own unique set of perks.

You’re not alone if the surplus of options causes you to turn a blind eye due to the overwhelming nature of cash back cards. However, there are good reasons to learn more about these spending tools.

This Wealth Rocket article will demystify the concept of a cash back card and provide a breakdown of some of the best cash back credit cards in Canada.

Table of Contents

The Best Credit Cards for Cash Back in Canada for 2021

Here are some of Canada’s most popular and effective cash back credit cards, with options from major and online banks, along with other credit card providers.

Tangerine Money-Back Card

Tangerine Money Back Credit Card

Annual Fee

$0

Rate

19.95%

Cashback

up to 2%

Min. Income

$60,000

On Tangerine Website

Scotiabank Gold AMEX Card

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Annual Fee

$120

Rate

19.99% - 22.99%

Min. Credit Limit

up to 2%

Min. Income

$12,000

On Scotiabank Website

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinte Card

Annual Fee

$120

Rate

20.99% - 22.99%

Cashback

Up to 4%

Min. Income

$60,000

On Scotiabank Website

Tangerine Money Back Credit Card
4.7/5

Annual Fee

$0

Rate

19.95%

Min. Income

$60,000

Cashback

up to 2%

Scotiabank Visa Infinite
4.7/5

Annual Fee

$120

Rate

20.99% - 22.99%

Min. Income

$60,000

Cashback

1% - 4%

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

  • Base Earning Rate: 0.5%
  • Maximum Earning Rate: 2%
  • Annual Fee: $0

Tangerine Bank fans rejoice! This beloved online bank offers a cash back credit card option known as the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card.

Tangerine is most reputable for its customer-first policies and no-fee bank accounts, so it makes perfect sense that their cash back credit card would also be generous and forthcoming in its offerings, with low interest to boot.

Complete with a $0 yearly fee and the ability to earn up to 2% cash back on purchases, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is a good deal by even the most scrutinizing of standards. Customers love that, unlike most cash back credit cards that come with pre-set qualifying categories, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card allows you to choose your own spending categories to receive 2% cash back on.

For example, let’s say you use your credit card most often for gas, groceries, and travel tickets. You can choose to earn 2% on any purchases of this nature, all while still earning 0.5% back on purchases of any other kind. You also have the option to change these preferred categories every 90 days.

You should know that only those with a Tangerine Savings Account have the option to choose three categories. Customers without a Tangerine Savings Account are limited to two categories only.

That said, it might be worthwhile to open a Tangerine Savings Account if you do not currently have one, as they are among the most renowned savings accounts in Canada.

To learn more, check out:

2. Best Cash Back Credit Card for Bonus Categories: Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite

  • Base Earning Rate: 1%
  • Maximum Earning Rate: 4%
  • Annual Fee: $120

This card, offered by Scotiabank, is well-known for offering a 4% cash back on groceries and bills with an annual maximum spending limit of $25,000. The card also offers 2% cash back on other common categories like gas and transportation, and 1% cash back for every other type of purchase.

The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite offers enough other perks to make it a great primary credit card, such as travel insurance, hotel upgrades, concierge services, and even the all-too-elusive mobile device insurance.

As far as incentives go, new cardholders can enjoy 10% back on any purchases that they make within the first three months, with a limit capped at $2,000. The yearly fee, which is generally $120, will also be waived for a new cardholder’s first year.

To learn more, check out:

3. Best Cash Back Credit Card for Promotional Interest Rate: AMEX SimplyCash Preferred

  • Base Earning Rate: 2%
  • Maximum Earning Rate: 10%
  • Annual Fee: $99

Some Canadians may not realize that it is possible to obtain an AMEX (American Express) card. However, Canadian bank account holders are not only eligible for AMEX credit cards—they are eligible for a great AMEX credit card.

Applying for the AMEX SimplyCash Preferred card as a Canadian is simple and available through an online application. Those who apply online will be treated to a promotional 10% cash back on their first four months of purchases, with your cash back amount capped at $400. Although this high return-rate card may be short-lasting, the regular cash back rate is still attractive at 2%.

On top of high interest rates, SimplyCash Preferred also offers you travel insurance, out-of-country medical insurance, extended warranties, and early access to select entertainment shows.

However, to benefit from all that this card has to offer, you will have to pay a yearly fee of $99 — though you can likely make this back through cash rewards credit.

4. Best Cash Back Credit Card for Grocery Store Purchases: CIBC Dividends Visa Infinite

  • Base Earning Rate: 1%
  • Maximum Earning Rate: 4%
  • Annual Fee: $99

The CIBC Dividends Visa Infinite stands out among an already impressive array of the best cash back credit cards in Canada for its relatively high earning potential on grocery and gas purchases.

For anyone who uses their credit card primarily for everyday purchases, this card will leave you with 4% back on every purchase that you make, with very generous limits in place.

For new users, the CIBC Dividends Visa Infinite welcomes you with open arms in the form of 10% cash back on up to $2,000 spent.

What’s more, this card provides you with a reasonable timeframe to spend this $2,000 — four months! Many holders will also enjoy the fact that the CIBC Dividends Visa Infinite earns a special 2% cash back at any Tim Hortons location, as well as any Telus bills.

Overall, this card is a great deal for any Canadian who is an average or below-average spender, as they may never exceed the card’s rather high spending limits — $20,000 a year for essentials and $80,000 a year for all other categories, meaning cardholders can enjoy accelerated cash back rates all year along.

5. Best Flexible Cash Back Credit Card: BMO Cash Back Mastercard

  • Base Earning Rate: 0.5%
  • Maximum Earning Rate: 3% (groceries only)
  • Annual Fee: $0

Like the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, the BMO Cash Back Mastercard also comes without an annual fee. What’s more is that, compared to other $0 yearly fee cards, this card boasts the highest cash back percentage on groceries in Canada at 3%, with a reasonable monthly limit of $500. However, cash back options for non-grocery purchases is a less-enticing 0.5%.

Regardless of the card’s somewhat narrow focus, it remains a desirable choice for most Canadians.

For one, unlike most cash back credit cards with higher qualifying standards, the BMO Cash Back Mastercard requires an income requirement of $15,000 and a minimum credit score in the mid-600s, making it a viable option for Canadians’ wider scope than some of the more premium cards on this list.

Other perks that come along with this card include extended warranties for some purchases, car rental discounts, and promotional balance transfers that allow new customers to benefit from an interest rate of only 1.99% for up to nine months after switching their card over.

6. Best Cash Back Credit Card for Instant Cash Back: TD Cash Back Visa Infinite

  • Base Earning Rate: 1%
  • Maximum Earning Rate: 3%
  • Annual Fee: $120

The TD Cash Back Visa Infinite is unique among cash back credit cards for its high cash back rate on bill payments, at 3%. In fact, this card not only offers this rate for bill payments but also for groceries as well, making it perhaps the most desirable card for Canadians who use their credit card primarily for essential purchases.

This card does go beyond just the essentials, though. By offering its users 1% cash back on every other kind of purchase, with travel perks such as medical insurance and lost baggage insurance, and even insurance on car rentals, making it as desirable a credit card as any other in Canada.

The spending limits for this card are also reasonable, at $15,000 per category annually. The TD Cash Back Visa Infinite also offers the flexibility to redeem your cash back incentives at any time, unlike many other cards that only give the chance to cash out once a year.

7. Best Cash Back Credit Card for Travelling: Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

  • Base Earning Rate: This card uses the Scotia Rewards point system, which earns five points for every dollar spent in grocery, entertainment, and dining, and three points for every dollar spent on gas, transportation, and streaming services.
  • Annual Fee: $120

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is mostly known for having cash back rewards geared towards travelers, offering earners the option to redeem their points for travel fares with any airline without restriction. The card also offers some of the most comprehensive insurance coverage on the market, including protection against hotel robbery.

There are many reasons to choose the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card for new applicants, with the top one being the promotional offer that rewards new carriers with 25,000 bonus points if they spend $1,000 over their first three months.

Another thing worth noting is that although this card does carry a yearly fee of $120, its high earn rate means that the average user should have no problem making that fee back through their cash back rewards.

To learn more, check out:

8. Best Base Rate Cash Back Credit Card: Rogers World Elite Mastercard

  • Base Earning Rate: 1.5%
  • Maximum Earning Rate: 3%
  • Annual Fee: $0

For many Canadians, it may seem odd to see a Rogers-branded credit card. After all, most are probably familiar with the company’s position as a telecom giant.

However, there is no denying that Rogers is here to play in the big leagues with the Rogers World Elite Mastercard, no yearly fee, premium cash back credit card.

The Rogers World Elite Mastercard offers 3% unlimited cash back on all US dollar purchases, which is unusual for a Canadian credit card.

For purchases made at home, the card offers 1.5% unlimited cash back on all Canadian purchases.

Other travel-related perks come with this card, including emergency medical insurance, trip cancellation or interruption insurance, and rental car insurance.

Although the promotional offers may not be much to look at when compared with other cards, the Rogers World Elite Mastercard still gives its holders $25 in rewards for any holder that makes a single payment within the first three months.

What is a Cash Back Credit Card?

A cash back credit card is a credit card that grants the cardholder a rebate (or cash back) on every purchase that they make.

Typically, this is a flat percentage on every purchase, regardless of the category that the purchase falls into.

Cash back credit cards can pay between 0.1% to 10% of the item purchased.

Types of Cash Back Credit Cards

There are different types of cash back credit cards available, which include Flat Rate, Bonus Category, and Tiered cash back credit cards.

Flat Rate Cash Back Credit Card

A Flat Rate Cash Back Credit Card has a flat cash back rate on all purchases made on the credit card. These rates typically tend to be lower, but have advantages for people who only want to use one credit card.

Bonus Category Cash Back Credit Card

A Bonus Category Cash Back Credit Card is credit card that offers different bonus cash back rates on various spending categories.

Flexible Cash Back Credit Card

A Flexible Cash Back Credit Card is a cash back credit card that allows the cardholder to customize their cash back credit card categories.

Our Final Thoughts

Cash back credit cards are excellent tools for those who want to earn money with every transaction that they make. Cash back cards are incredibly popular because they allow people to earn money, especially on regular purchases like groceries or gas.

However, cash back credit cards are pointless if you do not make your payments on time and in full. The average credit card has an APR of 19.99%, which greatly overcasts the average cash back reward rate.

If you decide to use a cash back credit card, remember that saving your money will be much more valuable than the average cash back credit card.

But if you've got the discipline to pay off your balance in full each month, then cash back credit cards are right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cash back credit cards aren’t inherently bad. Like many financial matters, it depends on the individual. Cash back credit cards work best for anyone who pays their credit card balance off in full every month and does not risk having to pay a high-interest fee.

For example, if the yearly fee on a credit card is $99, you’ll have to earn at least $99 in cash back interest to break even.

Some of the best no-annual fee cash back credit cards include the BMO Cash Back Mastercard, the Rogers World Elite Mastercard, and the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card.

Luckily for the fervent traveler, many of the best cash back credit cards come with the best travel perks. For travel, we love the AMEX SimplyCash Preferred or the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite.

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