Every credit card has a rewards system designed to encourage spending. Some offer points which are redeemable for a flurry of things, while some others offer cash back. For many people, the points system is restricting as its uses are limited, and they may not be able to use them for what they want.
Conversely, cash back rewards have no restrictions, and you can spend on anything. There are many cards with many different offers, and you have to choose one that matches your spending habit. So we’ve compiled a list of the very best credit cards for cash back in Canada.
1. Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite
Number one on our list is the card with the highest cash back rate in Canada. This card offers 4% cash back for purchases on Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection, groceries and recurring bills; this includes subscriptions, phone bills, Netflix, etc. For transportation costs, you’ll get a 2% cash back on gas, Uber or public transit. Every other purchase earns at 1%.
If that’s not enough for you, this card is also currently offering a welcome bonus. Earn 10% cash back for the first three months of card ownership, and you’ll also get the first year’s $120 fee waived off. This offer runs till February 28, 2021.
It’s not the cheapest card around, but its features and perks make up for the annual fee. Beyond its cash back features, this card also offers several insurance coverages such as mobile device insurance, travel medical insurance, trip cancellation insurance and access to the VISA Infinite Dining Series.
- Annual fee: $120 (first year free)
- Earn 4% cash back on groceries and recurring bills
- Earn 2% cash back on gas and transit
- Get 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Welcome bonus: First-year annual fee waived; 10% cash back for all purchases up to $2,000 in the first three months (apply by February 28, 2021).
- comprehensive Travel Insurance, New Mobile Device Insurance
- Income required: $60,000
2. BMO CashBack MasterCard
The BMO CashBack MasterCard gives you 5% cash back on all purchases for the first three months of ownership and a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for nine months with a 1% transfer fee.
After the 3-month honeymoon period, cash back rates fall to 3% on groceries, 1% on recurring payments such as streaming services or monthly utilities and 0.5% on everything else. When you’ve accumulated as little as $1, cash back can be redeemed anytime you want.
You can also set up cash back to automatically credit your account whenever you earn at least $20. Cash back can be redeemed via Statement credit, BMO chequing or savings account or InvestorLine.
This card comes with no annual fee to sweeten the deal and an income requirement of just $15,000 annually.
- Annual fee: $0
- Earn 3% cash back on groceries (up to $500 per month)
- Earn 1% cashback on recurring bills
- Earn 0.5% cashback on all other eligible purchases
- Welcome Offer: Get up to 5% cash back in your first three months and a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for nine months with a 1% transfer fee
- Save up to 25% off rentals at select rentals
- Income required: $15,000
3. SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express
With a 2% cash back rate, it doesn’t seem as impressive until you realize that’s the earn rate for literally every purchase you make. There’s no 1% or 0.5% category; every purchase earns at 2%. It has the highest flat cash back rate in Canada, and there’s no limit to how much cash back you can make.
Coming with an annual fee of $99, it costs less than most other cards with a cost and has no income requirement. SimplyCash also comes with a welcome offer, which is 10% cash back within your first four months, on up to $4,000 in purchases.
If you don’t spend most of your money on groceries or transportation or have a wider spread of expenses, then this card’s 2% flat rate is ideal for you. Cash back rewards are awarded once every year as part of your September statement.
Like most AMEX cards, the SimplyCash Preferred Card provides extensive insurance coverage, including travel medical insurance, car rental collision damage/loss waiver, etc. it also offers AMEX invites, which can get you access to exclusive theatre and show offers
- Annual fee: $99
- Earn 2% cash back on all purchases
- Welcome offer: Get 10% cash back on eligible purchases for the first four months (up to $400 cash back)
- Additional Perks: Travel insurance, shopping coverage, exclusive entertainment access and free secondary cards
- Income required: No specific amount
4. Tangerine Money-Back
Earn 2% cash back in two spending categories of your choice (or three categories if you deposit your rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account). You can choose from ten categories: Groceries, Restaurants, Gas, Furniture, Entertainment, Drug stores, Public transportation and more. Any purchases outside of your selected categories earn at 0.5% cash back.
The ability to choose what categories you earn in makes the card highly customizable and, thus, ideal and more comfortable for customers to fully utilize its rewards and benefits. With no annual fee and unlimited cash back earning potential, Tangerine Money-Back is excellent for savings. Note that you’re also able to change your 2% cash back categories anytime you feel your spending pattern has changed.
You don’t have to wait a year to spend your cash back. It will be deposited monthly into your Tangerine Savings Account or applied to your credit card statements on a rolling basis.
- Annual fee: $0
- Welcome Offer: During your first 30 days, transfer balances and pay only 1.95% interest on the transferred balance for the first six months (19.95% after that)
- Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account)
- Earn 0.5% cash back on everything else.
- 90 days purchase insurance
- One-year extended warranty
- Unlimited cash back
- Income required: $12,000
5. CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card
This card is designed for people who spend a significant amount of their income on gas and groceries. It offers 4% cash back on groceries and gas, 2% cash back on Tim Hortons and TELUS purchases and 1% cash back on everything else.
There are annual caps to how much cash back you can earn at 4%. Upon reaching up to $20,000 yearly spend on groceries and gas or $80,000 annual spend overall, the earn rate falls from 4% to 1% cash back. The 4% earn rate resets the following year. There’s no cap on how much you can earn overall. Cash back made is credited to your account at the end of the year.
You can also earn cash back when you send a CIBC Global Money Transfer. There are no transfer fees, and there is no interest if you pay your balance by the payment due date.
Additional perks include Out-of-Province Emergency Travel Medical Insurance, $500,000 Common Carrier Accident Insurance, auto rental collision and loss/damage protection.
- Annual fee: $99 (rebated for the first year)
- Welcome bonus: 10.99% introductory interest rate on all purchases until August 2021
- Earn 4% cash back on gas and groceries
- 2% cash back on Tim Hortons and TELUS purchases
- 1% on everything else
- Travel insurance; concierge service; access to Visa Infinite Dining and Wine Country Series
- Income required: $60,000
TD Cash Back Visa Infinite
- Annual fee: $120 (the first year rebated)
- 3% cash back on gas, groceries and recurring bills
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Welcome Offer: Earn 6% cash back on eligible purchases for the first three months (on up to $2,000 in spending)
- Travel insurance benefits
- Income required: $60,000
- This offer is not available for residents of Quebec.
The Rogers World Elite MasterCard
- Annual Fee: $0
- Welcome bonus: $25 bonus cash back after first purchase
- 3% cash back on purchases made in U.S. dollars
- 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
These are our picks for the best credit cards for cash back in Canada.
Disclaimer: Rates and product offerings are always changing, so this article might not reflect the current market situation. Please contact your financial advisor before making any financial decisions.
Is a cash-back card worth it?
Yes! For flexibility and simplicity. You can spend the cash back anywhere and on anything. You don’t need to understand how to redeem points or calculate what they’re worth.
How can I maximize my credit card rewards?
The more you spend, the more rewards you earn. However, if you have trouble paying off your balance monthly, a credit card might not be ideal for you.
Is cash back from a credit card taxable?
Credit card rewards are treated as discounts on purchases rather than as income. That means you don’t owe taxes on your cash back.
What is the best credit card for cash back in Canada?
We all spend money on different things, so there’s no one right answer. The card that’ll earn you the most depends on your spending habit.