Best Cash-Back Credit Cards in Canada: Reviews and Beginner’s Guide

Finding the best cash-back credit cards in Canada isn’t easy. So many card companies are competing for customers, offering highly competitive cash back, but also imposing some hidden fees and restrictions. It can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for.

That’s why we set out to explore all the options and are now bringing you the ultimate list of credit cards that will let you score some lucrative cash-back offers across Canadian stores. Here’s what we picked.

Canada’s Best Cash-Back Credit Cards

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BMO CashBack® World Elite® Mastercard®

Best for grocery shopping

  • No fee for the first 12 months
  • Huge cash-back incentive
  • Rebate starts at just $1
  • Rewards available at all times
  • Great cash-back rates

MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®

Best for travel

  • Welcome offer worth $245
  • No pre-set redemption times
  • Cash back and rewards
  • Good points conversion rate
  • Low interest rate for shopping

SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express

Best flare rate cash-back card

  • Flat-rate cash back
  • Low annual fee
  • No additional cost for supplementary cards
  • Unlimited cash back
  • No minimum income requirements

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Best for low income customers

  • No annual fees
  • Easy to apply for
  • Low interest rate
  • Big cash-back intro offer
  • Promotional balance transfer interest rate

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite Card

Best for subscriptions and utilities

  • Valuable introductory offer
  • Travel and mobile device insurance
  • Various benefits and discounts
  • Cash back on all recurring payments
  • Great cash-back rate

Canadian Cash-Back Credit Card Reviews

Let’s dive deeper and explore what each of the cards has to offer for Canadian shoppers. In this section, you’ll find detailed information about each of the featured cards, their pros and cons, as well as what they are suited for. Let’s start from the top.

BMO CashBack® World Elite® Mastercard®

star 9.2

Best for grocery shopping

  • Annual fee: $120 (waived for the first year)
  • Rewards rate: 1%-5%
  • Welcome offer: Up to 10% cash back during first three months
  • Redemption frequency: Any time, or in monthly increments starting at $25
  • Interest rate: 20.99%-23.99%
  • Min. income: $80,000

Canadian shoppers are very familiar with the Bank of Montreal. The renowned institution offers several Visa and Mastercard credit cards with various bonuses, including cash back. Among them, the Canadian cash-back card of choice for the most devoted shoppers is the CashBack World Elite Mastercard.

The black-and-silver card is mainly known for being the only card that gives 5% back on groceries. Additionally, BMO has a welcome offer for new credit card users, which waives the annual fee for the first year and boosts the cash back up to 10% during your first three months. Other benefits include 4% cash back on public transportation, taxis, and ride shares, 3% on gas, and 2% cash back on recurring bills. But what about regular purchases outside of the promotional period? Well, you’ll only get 1% of the value you’ve spent back, although there’s no limit to how much you can earn this way, and your rewards never expire.

While it is one of the most popular cash-back cards in Canada, not everyone can apply for it. After all, it has “elite” in its name. BMO requires that you either earn $80,000 a year, or that your whole household has $150,000 in annual income. The requirements are high, but worth it – this card allows you to redeem your cash back at any time, or set up automatic monthly redemption whenever you collect at least $25.


Pros

  • + No fee for the first 12 months
  • + Huge cash-back incentive
  • + Rebate starts at just $1
  • + Rewards available at all times
  • + Great cash-back rates

Cons

  • High income requirements

MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®

star 9

Best for travel

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Rewards rate: 1-5 points per $1 spent on select purchases
  • Welcome offer: Up to 30,000 MBNA reward points
  • Redemption frequency: Any time
  • Interest rate: 19.99%-24.99%
  • Min. income: $80,0009

Some cash-back cards in Canada can be used to score travel miles and other gifts, but MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard® is not like that. This card is laser-focused on getting you your money back. It also offers a lower-than-average interest rate on shopping, and you can redeem the rewards throughout the year.

Instead of pure cash back, you’ll be earning MBNA points with this card. Eligible purchases will generally award you one point per $1 spent, but there’s an additional incentive – you’ll first earn five points per dollar until your annual expenditure reaches $50,000. This offer includes groceries, restaurants, digital media, subscriptions, and utilities.

Once you’ve opened up an account with MBNA, you can enable digital bank statements to earn 10,000 bonus points. Additionally, spending at least $2,000 on eligible purchases within the first 90 months nets you 20,000 points, for a grand total of 30,000. The points, naturally, never expire and amount to $245 in cash-back value. Lastly, each cardholder gets a birthday gift of extra points equal to 10% of their total annual earned points (with a cap at 15,000). With such an offer, it’s easy to see why this is the best points credit card in Canada.

The accumulated points can then be converted into cash, merchandise, or used for travel. MBNA’s conversion rate is 120 points to $1 for cash and charity, and 100 points to $1 for travel, while merchandise and gift cards have separate point values.


Pros

  • + Welcome offer worth $245
  • + No pre-set redemption times
  • + Cash back and rewards
  • + Good points conversion rate
  • + Low interest rate for shopping

Cons

  • Annual fee isn’t waived for new customers

SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express

star 9.5

Best flare rate cash-back card

  • Annual fee: $99
  • Rewards rate: 2% on all purchases
  • Welcome offer: 10% cash back in first four months up to $400
  • Redemption frequency: Annual
  • Interest rate: 19.99%-21.99%
  • Min. income: None

American Express credit cards need no special introduction. These are well-known cards; therefore, we expected the company’s SimplyCash™ Preferred Card to offer good value to customers. What we didn’t expect is to get blown away by how great this flat-rate cash-back card is.

First off, this card comes with lower fees than competing brands – just $99 a year. It also has lower interest rates on purchases, incentivizing owners to use it more frequently. And you’ll definitely want to use this card as much as possible: During your first four months with this American Express card, the company will reward you with a flat 10% cashback on all purchases until you spend $4,000 on shopping, travel, or utilities. The card continues to reward you on a flat rate afterwards (at 2%), and you can request an additional card for a member of your household at no additional cost.

As with many similar flat-rate cash-back cards, you’ll be able to redeem your rewards on an annual basis. Really, the only downside of this card is that your rebate is available at the end of the year, unlike the more flexible funding schedules we’ve seen with other cards on this list. Anyone of the legal age and residence in Canada can apply for this card, making the SimplyCash™ Preferred Card a great choice for consumers of all ages and financial status.


Pros

  • + Flat-rate cash back
  • + Low annual fee
  • + No additional cost for supplementary cards
  • + Unlimited cash back
  • + No minimum income requirements

Cons

  • Annual rebates

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

star 8.9

Best for low income customers

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Rewards rate: Up to 2%
  • Welcome offer: 10% cash back up to $100 in the first two months
  • Redemption frequency: Monthly
  • Interest rate: 19.95%
  • Min. income: $12,000

The all-online bank Tangerine might be mostly virtual, but still offers some of the best cards with cash back in Canada. Of its several cards, our choice fell to the one simply named the Money-Back Credit Card.

This card is anything but plain, however. One of its strongest features is that it doesn’t charge you any annual fees. It’s not a promotional offer, or anything similar, the Tangerine’s credit card really has a $0 annual fee. On top of that, all interest rates are fixed at 19.95%, and there’s a promotional 1.95% rate for balance transfers during your first six months at this bank.

You can select two types of purchases to earn 2% cash back from, while everything else will return money at a 0.5% rate. Similar to other Canadian cash-back cards, Tangerine doesn’t restrict how much you can earn via cash back, and the money gets deposited into your account every month. What’s more, you can score a higher cash-back percentage during your first two months. Tangerine will give you 10% cash back for your first $1,000 spent, which means you can earn $100 in cash back during the promotional period.

Luckily, getting the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is fairly straightforward. You just need to be of legal age in Canada and have at least $12,000 gross annual income.


Pros

  • + No annual fees
  • + Easy to apply for
  • + Low interest rate
  • + Big cash-back intro offer
  • + Promotional balance transfer interest rate

Cons

  • Lower cash-back rates

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite Card

star 9.1

Best for subscriptions and utilities

  • Annual fee: $120 (waived during the first year)
  • Rewards rate: 1%-4% per $1 spent
  • Welcome offer: 10% cash back during first three months
  • Redemption frequency: Annual
  • Interest rate: 20.99%-22.99%
  • Min. income: $60,000

Scotia Bank offers one of the best cash-back cards in Canada, the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite Card. It is the most prestigious of Visa cash-back cards, one that will definitely come in handy for daily shopping, but also for something we can’t live without in these times – subscription-based services.

Most Canadians shop online and, likewise, are subscribed to various services like Netflix and Apple TV. Wouldn’t it be nice to get some of that cash back? With the Visa Infinite card, you get 4% of the money spent on subscriptions back. Additionally, the card gives back cash at the same rate for grocery shopping and recurring payments like utilities or pre-authorized payments.

However, while that’s all well and good, the real reason this is such a popular cash-back credit card in Canada is its introductory offer. During your first three months with Scotia Bank, the card’s cash-back rate is boosted to 10% for all purchases. Once you make $2,000 in expenses, earning $200 in cash back, the regular rates kick in, including 2% on transport and 1% on all other payments.

This Visa card comes with other benefits, too. You’ll be able to save on hotels, car rentals, and dining at select restaurants. Insurance is also included with this card and extends to your mobile device and protection for various incidents that may happen during travel.


Pros

  • + Valuable introductory offer
  • + Travel and mobile device insurance
  • + Various benefits and discounts
  • + Cash back on all recurring payments
  • + Great cash-back rate

Cons

  • Rebate only available annually

How to Choose the Best Cash-Back Credit Card in Canada – Buyer’s Guide

The selection of credit cards that also give you cash back is growing by the day. Many Canadian banks and credit card companies offer them now, and you’ll often find more than a couple of cash-back cards at each bank. Worse yet, the card issuers tend to name these cards in a mysterious way, making them sound like exclusive tools only flaunted by the super-rich.

There are ways to make sense of that mess, though, and you’ll soon see that it’s not particularly difficult to find the right cash-back card, even if you’re not part of the 1%. In this section, we’ll go over the information you should be looking for when browsing for credit cards and explain in detail how the features of the top cash-back cards work and what offers are definitely a no-go.

The Cash-Back Rate

Obviously, the most important factor in choosing the right cash-back card is how much money you will be getting back with it. This can range from 0.5% to 5% per $1 spent. Some banks will reward you with points you can later convert into cash, goods, or services.

Flat-rate cards that give an equal cash-back rate on all purchases are a rarity. Instead, it’s more common for a credit card company to give back more for certain expenses, while your other purchases come with a much lower cash-back rate. In Canada, cash-back cards rebate an average of 1% per dollar spent.

Tiered cash back is the most common nowadays. For example, you’re likely to find a card that highly rewards purchasing streaming subscriptions, or any kind of recurring payments, like utilities. Likewise, another card may reward you with more cash whenever you pay for travel, while some cards let you pick what to get the highest cash-back rate on.

Whatever the case, it’s important to check the limitations of each offer. Your bank may give you higher rates, but only until you’ve accumulated a certain amount of cash back. In those cases, you’ll continue to earn, but at a slower pace, until a predetermined reset date.

Rebate Frequency

Getting your cash back is just one piece of the puzzle. The other is how often your credit card company deposits that money into your account, which makes a huge difference between an okay and amazing Canadian cash-back credit card.

Most banks and credit card companies do monthly rebates, while others rebate you at the end of the year. This depends on how the cash-back program is structured. For example, cards with high cash-back rates will have some annual limits on their highest tiers, so the rebate happens once every 12 months.

Some cards even rebate you after every single purchase. This is a rarity, but we featured one of them in this very article.

Introductory Offer

Banks, like any other business, are competing for customers. They want to create incentives for people to switch over, use their services, and prove their card is truly the best credit card for cash back.

When it comes to cash-back cards, banks have welcome offers for all new customers. These usually tend to include increased cash-back rates for the first several months, but can also include waiving the annual card fee, or even a combination of both. Although there are certain limitations, usually how much you can collect through these boosted cash backs, these offers are still worth it, as they are, quite literally, free cash.

However, banks are in the business of making money, so all of those offers come with caveats. Take extra care to read all the fine print and learn about the rules of each introductory offer.

Fees and Interest Rates

Most credit cards with cash back earn money for their issuers through various fees. When you use a credit card, interest is applied to the amount you owe the bank every month. After all, you are “borrowing” money by paying with your card, so the banks get those funds back with interest.

Every year, almost 80 million credit cards are issued in Canada. Each and every one of them comes with fees and the aforementioned interest rates. For cash-back cards, the standard interest rate floats around 20%-21%, while the annual fee is usually around $100 or more. On the plus side, the annual fee is often waived as an incentive for customers to apply for a credit card, but it will be charged after that promotional period expires.

Conclusion

For shoppers in Canada, cash-back credit cards continue to be an interesting proposition. After all, what’s better than getting some of your money back after spending on monthly bills, gas, and other commodities? As you can see, exciting cards are on offer right now, some with enticing intro offers, others with flat-rate rebate deals. It’s now easy to pick and choose and, hopefully, you’ll find just the card that suits your lifestyle.


FAQ

Do any credit cards give 3% back?

Yes, you can get cash back at 3% or even higher with some credit cards, but not on all purchases. High cash-back rates are usually reserved for a specific purchase type. There aren’t any flat-rate cards with a 3% cash back rate.

Which bank gives the highest cashback?

Aside from introductory offers that boost cash back to a 10% rate for the top cash-back credit cards, the highest cash back you can expect to earn is 5% with the BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard.

Are cash back Visa cards worth it?

Yes. Visa has several cash-back cards, each with a different rebate rate and annual fee. If you’re searching for the best deal, look for Visa Infinite cards. They are a bit harder to get, but worth the payback.

How does 5% cash back work on credit cards?

The bank, or the credit card company, rebates 5% of your purchase for every $1 spent. Then, that money is transferred to your account at a specified point. For example, the best cash-back credit cards in Canada give you money on a monthly basis, but some cards only unlock your rebate after 12 months.

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