The Best Credit Cards in Canada for 2021

There are few financial decisions as important as deciding which credit card to use. While every Canadian will have different financial needs and preferences, some credit cards stand out above the rest. In this Wealth Rocket article, we will take a look at the best credit cards in Canada.

For many of us, breaking down which credit card to use is not our idea of fun evening activity. However, investing just a small amount of time into credit card research can go a long way in improving your financial hygiene.

This is exactly why we created this page. Continue reading our best credit card for Canadians page to quickly and efficiently find the right card for your needs. 

Table of Contents

The Best Credit Cards for Canadians

Tangerine World Mastercard

Tangerine-World-Mastercard-243x153

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-World-Mastercard-243x153
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. Tangerine World Mastercard

  • Recommended Credit Score: 740+
  • Minimum Income Requirment: $60,000
  • Annual Fee: $0

Tangerine is a Canadian online-only bank known for being untraditional.

By forgoing some services typically associated with brick-and-mortar banks, Tangerine can pass some hefty savings along to their customers.

The Tangerine World Mastercard is arguably Tangerine’s most popular credit card offering, mostly thanks to its lack of annual fee and considerable benefits.

Somewhat unusual for a card with a $0 annual fee, the Tangerine World Mastercard comes with several reward options that will especially appeal to travelers, such as rental car insurance, free airport WiFi access, lounge access, and cashback rewards while traveling.

However, the biggest advantage of using this card comes with its 2% money-back rewards program. It is available across three spending categories that the cardholder can choose.

Unlike many other rewards credit cards, there is no limit to the amount of money-back rewards you can earn with the Tangerine World Mastercard, meaning your rewards balance can quickly add up.

Most Ideal for:

  • Individuals who use their credit cards to pay for most things.
  • Individuals who often travel internationally.
  • Individuals who do not generally carry a credit card balance.

Less Ideal for:

  • Anyone looking to pay off a residual credit card balance, as this card’s interest rate is a less-than-desirable 19.95%.
  • Individuals who do not meet the minimum income requirement or credit score requirement.

To learn more, check out:

2. Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite

  • Recommended Credit Score: 740+
  • Minimum Income Requirment: $60,000
  • Annual Fee: $120

The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite stands out above the rest for one reason: cash back rewards.

Offering up to 4% on common everyday purchases, the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite is one of the only Candian credit cards to offer these kinds of rewards outside of travel incentives.

When shopping with your Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite, you will receive 4% cash back on all grocery and bill payments, 2% back on every dollar spent on gas, and 1% back on everything else.

Although this card is not travel-focused, it is not without its travel perks. Card users are eligible for travel insurance, as well as hotel upgrades.

Most Ideal for:

  • Those who use their credit card for their everyday purchases and are not interested in travel rewards.

Less Ideal for:

  • Those who use their credit card for travel and travel rewards.
  • Those who are seeking a low-interest card.

To learn more, check out:

3. TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

  • Recommended Credit Score: 740+
  • Minimum Income Requirment: $60,000
  • Annual Fee: $129 (waived the first year)

TD Bank is another one of the most popular banks in the country, with nearly 11 million customers across Canada. The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite is one of the most well-known Canadian credit cards, and with good reason.

First of all, there are the travel rewards. Aeroplan is a popular travel rewards program accepted at Star Alliance airline partners, including Air Canada. The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite is beloved among travel cards because it offers a comprehensive package from the opportunity to earn Aeroplan Miles on your purchases to generous travel insurance coverage.

Here’s how it works: for every $1 that you spend on purchases, you earn 1 Aeroplan mile. For purchases of some nature, such as groceries, pharmacy items, Air Canada flights, and gas, you will earn 1.5 miles. For individuals who use their credit card to pay for everything, this can add up rather quickly.

Most Ideal for:

  • Credit card users who pay off their balance consistently and use their credit card for all purchases.
  • Credit card users who want a travel rewards card.

Less Ideal for:

  • Somebody who has no interest in earning Aeroplan flight rewards.
  • Somebody who wants a 0% annual fee grace period, which is an automatic win for students.

4. BMO World Elite Mastercard

  • Recommended Credit Score: 740+
  • Minimum Income Requirment: $80,000
  • Annual Fee: $150 (waived the first year)

BMO, or the Bank of Montreal, offers the BMO World Elite Mastercard, an all-encompassing travel card that lives up to its name. Like the TD Aeroplan, this card offers carriers the opportunity to earn rewards through their purchases, which can then be redeemed for a diverse number of offerings from travel expenses to certain merchants, as well as investing options.

Where this card really shines, though, is with its travel insurance offerings. This credit card offers automatic emergency travel medical insurance for the cardholder, their partner, and their children, should they have any. This alone makes it one of the top travel cards on the market.

Most Ideal for:

  • Credit cardholders who earn a high income.
  • Credit cardholders travel internationally often. This card even gives travelers access to several airport lounges every year.

Less Ideal for:

  • Credit cardholders who do not travel often.
  • Credit cardholders who do not want a credit card with a high annual fee.

5. CIBC Dividend Visa Card for Students

  • Recommended Credit Score: 670+
  • Minimum Income Requirment: $80,000
  • Annual Fee: $0

True to its name, the CIBC Dividend Visa Card for Students offers perks for a portion of the population who has particular financial needs: students.

Often (though not always), many people get their first credit card as a new student. In fact, it’s not an uncommon sight to see bank representatives set up shop at freshmen fairs at the beginning of the school year, offering different credit card deals to fresh-eyed students.

Needless to say, it can be a little difficult to know whether or not you are choosing the right card.

The CIBC Dividend Visa stands out from the rest, though. Unlike many of the credit cards in its caliber, this CIBC product offers the opportunity to earn 2% cashback on all grocery purchases, as well as 1% cashback on any other purchase.

In addition, new carriers will earn $25 back as a sign-up bonus. It’s a great no-frills card that comes without embellished incentives or hidden tricks of any kind.

Most Ideal for:

  • Students in search of a reasonable first credit card with no annual fee.
  • Students who are frugal and only use their credit cards for the essentials.

Less Ideal for:

  • Students looking for travel perks.
  • Non-students, as they are not eligible.

6. Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

  • Recommended Credit Score: 740+
  • Minimum Income Requirment: $12,000
  • Annual Fee: $120

Another offering from Scotia Bank, the Gold American Express Card, comes complete with a rewards program specially geared towards travelers.

Within this program, card users can receive five Scotia Rewards points per dollar spent on entertainment, dining, and groceries.

Three Scotia Rewards points for every spent on gas, and a Scotia Rewards point for all other purchase categories. New users are also offered 25,000 bonus points just for signing up. These points are redeemable for travel purchases as well as balance credits and more.

To make it even more incentivizing for world travelers, the Scotia Bank Gold American Express card does not charge a foreign transaction fee — a rarity for Canadian credit cards.

Travelers who use this card also benefit from a robust travel insurance package, as well as complimentary concierge services.

Most Ideal for:

  • Credit card users looking to get the most out of a travel rewards system.
  • Credit card users 65 or older seeking to benefit from comprehensive travel insurance.

Less Ideal for:

  • Credit card users who do not travel often.
  • Credit card users who find the annual fee not worth paying for through rewards.

To learn more, check out:

7. CIBC Select Visa

  • Recommended Credit Score: 670+
  • Minimum Income Requirment: $15,000
  • Annual Fee: $29 (waived the first year)

The CIBC Select Visa is one of the bank’s standard credit card offerings, and while it may seem like a run-of-the-mill “Big Five” credit card option upon first glance, this card’s advantages are pretty persuasive.

First of all, the CIBC Select Visa offers a relatively low-interest rate for a credit card, making it an enticing option for anyone who finds themselves stuck with a card with a prohibitively high-interest rate.

The CIBC Select Visa stands out among other balance transfer credit cards because it offers an unusually low-interest rate.

With this card, new holders are not only given a great balance transfer opportunity, with a 1% fee and ten months of 0% interest, its regular interest rate is also low as well.

Even if you do not pay off your balance within the 0% interest period, you still can reap the benefits of a relatively low-interest rate of 13.99%.

Most Ideal for:

  • Anyone seeking a balance transfer option to pay off a credit card balance who fears they may not be able to pay their card off within the zero-interest period.

Less Ideal for:

  • Somebody who is not concerned about paying off a credit card balance and is looking for a card with perks.

8. MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

  • Recommended Credit Score: 670+
  • Minimum Income Requirment: N/A
  • Annual Fee: $0

MBNA is an American bank that offers co-branded credit cards to Canadians. The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is a popular choice for many Canadians as it offers the opportunity to earn awards on everyday purchases and comes with no annual fee.

The earning scheme behind the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is simple: for every $1 spent, cardholders earn 1 point.

Most purchases outside of cash advances or balance transfers will be eligible.

There is an annual spending cap of $5,000, but this may not matter much for the modest spender.

Card carriers can redeem their MBNA Rewards within various contexts, whether it be travel or even against a statement. This card also comes with a $0 annual fee.

Most Ideal for:

  • Spenders with habits that mostly revolve around every day, non-travel expenses, and looking to earn rewards on their purchases.

Less Ideal for:

  • Spenders looking to perform a balance transfer.
  • Spenders searching for travel rewards.
  • Spenders who are seeking a cashback credit card, as this card focuses more on rewards than it does on cashback.

9. HSBC + Rewards Mastercard

  • Recommended Credit Score: 700+
  • Minimum Income Requirment: N/A
  • Annual Fee: $25

HSBC is an internationally-known bank whose credit card offerings are popular among Canadians. The HSBC+ Rewards Mastercard is especially popular, mostly thanks to its unusually low-interest rate of 11.9% and a low annual fee of only $25.

Furthermore, this card also offers its holders the ability to earn 2 points on every $1 spent, when applicable, and 1 point for every $1 spent for all other purchases. You can then put the points that you redeem towards your account balances, or just them to make a purchase. An added bonus is that these points don’t expire.

Overall, this card is a great choice for those looking for a rewards program but who do not necessarily pay off their credit card balance every month, as the 11.9% interest rate is much more forgiving than the standard credit card APR.

Most Ideal for:

  • Somebody trying to pay off a credit card balance and feels gauged by a high-interest rate.

Less Ideal for:

  • Somebody paying off their credit card balance in full every month and has no use for a low-interest rate.

10. BMO Cashback Mastercard for Students

  • Recommended Credit Score: 670+
  • Minimum Income Requirment: $15,000
  • Annual Fee: $0

The BMO Cashback Mastercard for Students deserves its spot as another highlight among Canadian credit cards geared towards students. Its main appeal is its $0 annual fee, paired with its cash back abilities, a welcome concept to Canadian students dealing with a tight budget.

Its grocery cashback opportunities, in particular, but it a few steps ahead of the rest — cardholders can earn up to 3% cash back on all grocery purchases for up to $500 monthly.

This is unparalleled in the Canadian credit card landscape. The card also enables its users up to 1% back on bill payments and 0.5% back on payments of any other kind.

For many students, using a credit card is all about building credit for themselves, and as a result, they are not looking for many things outside of a simple and functional no-fee credit card. The BMO Cashback Mastercard takes it one step forward by offering zero annual fees as well as the opportunity to earn cash back on every purchase.

Most Ideal for:

  • Students looking to build credit with no annual fee card.
  • Students who plan to use their credit card to pay bills and groceries.

Less Ideal for:

  • Students with a well-established credit history who are looking for a more intensive rewards system out of their credit card.

Frequently Asked Questions

While most “prime” credit cards may be reserved for those with scores over 750, it is still possible to get a credit card if you are in the process of rebuilding your credit and have a credit score below 700 or even 600 — your options of choice just might be slimmer.

There is no real rule to this. For the most part, it’s a personal opinion. That being said, many experts will suggest that you should have at least two, if for nothing else than to affect your credit positively by having a large amount of capital at your fingertips.

Again, there is not really a right answer to this. Both are internationally-renowned, reliable credit companies. While Mastercard may have a better exchange rate in some instances, this is not likely to be noticed by the average Visa owner unless they travel a considerable amount. Neither card type would be a poor choice.

Related Round Up Reviews