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Looking for the best credit cards in Canada to maximize your rewards this year?

We have carefully sifted through the numerous cards on the market and provided you with the best credit card options for travel rewards, cash back rewards, zero annual fees, students, low-interest rates, balance transfers, bad credit, and more.

Use this list of the best Canadian credit cards to trim down your credit card options for 2020.

Canada’s Best Credit Cards in 2020

Best No Fee Credit Card

1. Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

  • Promo: 1.95% balance transfer
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Minimum income eligibility: N/A

Not ready to pay an annual fee for a card? You can still earn significant cash back rewards with the Tangerine Money-Back Credit card. This card allows you to choose up to 3 specific categories of spending and earn an unlimited 2% cash back when you make purchases.

Some of the available money-back categories include grocery, gas, entertainment, home improvement, public transportation, hotel/motel, restaurants, and recurring bill payments. For all other purchases outside of your favourite categories, you get 0.50% in cash back.

For a card that has no annual fees, the unlimited 2% cash back is awesome. In addition, you also get:

  • 1.95% interest rate (for 6 months) on balance transfers
  • Free additional cards
  • Purchase protection (90 days from when you purchase) and extended warranty (up to an additional 1 year)
  • Cashback is paid out monthly so you don’t have to wait till the end of the year to use your rewards

Note that the 2% cash back is generally available on two spending categories. However, if you open a free Tangerine Savings Account and deposit your cash back inside it, you automatically qualify for an additional money-back category, for a total of three 2% categories.

Tangerine Cash Back Credit Card

Apply for the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card.

Tangerine recently introduced the Tangerine World Mastercard® which is an upgrade on the Tangerine Money-Back card and also has zero fees.

In addition to the up to 2% cash back on three categories of spending, the Tangerine World Mastercard® also offers:

  • No annual fee
  • 1.95% balance transfer rate for 6 months
  • Rental car collision/loss damage insurance
  • Mobile device insurance
  • Mastercard Airport Experiences Provided by Loungekey
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

If you have a personal income of $60,000 or more, you can easily qualify for the no-fee Tangerine World Mastercard. If your income is lower, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card offers the same level of cash back rewards and no annual fee.

Apply for the Tangerine World Mastercard.

Best Cash Back Credit Card

2. Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

  • Promo: 10% cash back for 3 months and 4% cash back thereafter
  • Annual fee: $120, waived in 1st year
  • Minimum income eligibility: $60,000

The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite qualifies as a solid cash back card and comes with juicy premium benefits at a reasonable fee. The biggest attraction is its regular 4% cash back on groceries and recurring bill and subscription payments, 2% cash back on gas and daily transit; and 1% cash back on everything else.

For a limited time, new cardholders earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (on up to $2,000 in purchases).

Combined with the first year fee waiver and free supplementary cards, this is a welcome bonus worth $350!

Other benefits of the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite:

  • The $120 annual fee is waived in the first year
  • Travel benefits including travel emergency medical insurance of up to 15 consecutive days if you are under 65 years, trip interruption, flight delay, travel accident, delayed and lost baggage insurance
  • Mobile device insurance for up to $1,000
  • Purchase security and extended warranty
  • Rental car collision loss/damage insurance

The cash back rewards you can earn using this card is significant. Note that if you need supplementary cards, a $30 fee applies (also waived in the first year).

Scotia momentum visa infinite

Apply for the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card.

Best Credit Card for Travel Rewards #1

3. Scotiabank Gold American Express

  • Promo: 25,000 bonus points ($250 value)
  • Annual fee: $120
  • Minimum income eligibility: $12,000

The Scotiabank Gold American Express is one of the best travel rewards credit cards in Canada. In addition to its high reward rate on popular spending categories (i.e. groceries and entertainment), this card offers an extraordinary level of travel insurance benefits. Here’s what you get:

  • 5 points (5% rewards rate) on every $1 spent on groceries, dining, and entertainment
  • 3 points for every $1 you spend on gas, daily transit and streaming services
  • No foreign transaction fees (a savings of 2.5%)
  • 1 point on every $1 spent on everything else
  • 25,000 bonus points ($250 travel value) when you spend up to $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Comprehensive travel insurance including travel emergency medical up to $1 million for up to 25 consecutive days (under 65 years) and up to 3 consecutive days (over 65 years), trip cancellation/interruption, delayed and lost baggage, travel accident (up to $1 million per incident), and hotel/motel burglary insurance
  • Rental car collision loss and damage waiver (up to 48 consecutive days and $65,000 MSRP)
  • Purchase security and extended warranty
  • 35% discount on Priority Pass membership
  • Easy to redeem travel rewards at 100 points = $1

For a card with an average annual fee, the Scotiabank Gold American Express does offer well-above-average benefits. You can read our full review here.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Apply for the Scotiabank Gold American Express.

Best Travel Credit Card #2

4. American Express Cobalt Card

  • Promo: 30,000 bonus points
  • Annual fee: $120
  • Minimum income eligibility: N/A

The American Express Cobalt card is one of a kind, and if you are looking to earn significant travel rewards from your everyday spending, this card delivers that!

To start, you earn 5 points for every $1 spent on groceries and dining out. This covers purchases at restaurants, bars, cafes, and even food delivery. You get 2 points per $1 spent on transportation and gas; and 1 point for every $1 spent on everything else.

The regular 5% cash back earning on groceries and dining is a top-of-the-line reward rate for this category of spending in Canada. Additionally, for every month you spend at least $500, you get an extra 2,500 points for up to 30,000 bonus points in the first year. This bonus alone is worth more than $500 in travel rewards!

Other benefits of the American Express Cobalt card are:

  • Travel insurance benefits including emergency medical (up to a maximum of $5 million per insured person for 15 consecutive days), flight delay, baggage delay, hotel/motel burglary, lost or stolen baggage, and travel accident insurance (up to $250,000).
  • Car rental theft and damage insurance with coverage for up to $85,000
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty
  • Front of The Line Access through AMEX Invites
  • Ability to redeem your points for just about anything, including cash to pay for your purchases (statement credit).

Redeeming your points for travel rewards is your best option since 1,000 points are equivalent to $10 as opposed to a $7 statement credit when you redeem for other purchases.

American Express Cobalt Card

Apply for the American Express Cobalt card.

Best Prepaid Credit Card

5. KOHO Visa

  • Promo: $1% bonus cash back for 90 days (use promo code CASHBACK)
  • Annual fee: $0 for regular account
  • Minimum income eligibility: $0

The KOHO Visa is a reloadable prepaid card that functions like a debit card and is usable worldwide wherever Visa is accepted. This card does come with lots of benefits and can save you a lot of money, especially if you frequently travel abroad.

  • No foreign currency exchange fees (a savings of 2.5% upfront – KOHO Premium)
  • No ATM withdrawal fees
  • 0.50-2% instant cash back on all your purchases
  • Up to 2% interest on your entire account balance (when KOHO Save launches)
  • Free budgeting app and automated roundup savings feature
  • Up to 12% extra cash back when you refer friends
  • A premium fancy metal card (optional) 

Read our complete KOHO review here.

Apply for the KOHO Visa card (enter promo code CASH BACK).

KOHO Premium App and Card

Best Credit Card for No Foreign Transaction Fees

6. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

  • Promo: 35,000 bonus points ($350 value) 
  • Annual fee: $139
  • Minimum income eligibility: $60,000

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card offers up to $350 in bonus points in your first year! This card is popular among travellers for many good reasons that include:

  • 2 points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining, entertainment, and daily transit
  • 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Zero (0$) foreign currency conversion markup
  • 25,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months and an additional 10,000 points if you spend at least $40,000 annually, for a total of $350 in travel rewards
  • Complimentary Priority Pass membership plus 6 free airport lounge access per year ($379 value/year)
  • Comprehensive travel insurance benefits (very similar to the Scotiabank Gold AMEX)
  • Rental car collision loss/damage waiver
  • Purchase security, price protection, and extended warranty

While the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite costs about $20 per year more than its sibling (Scotiabank Gold American Express), the higher introductory offers and free lounge access more than cover the higher fee.

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

Apply for the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card.

Best Credit Card for Roadside Assistance

7. Triangle World Elite Mastercard

  • Highlight: Free roadside assistance membership
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Minimum income eligibility: $80,000

If you shop regularly at Canadian Tire, the Triangle World Elite Mastercard is an absolute must-have with 4% cash back (Canadian Tire Money) on your purchases at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Mark’s and Atmosphere stores, 3% on groceries and 1% on everything else.

Other benefits that come with the card:

  • Free Gold Plan roadside assistance
  • Get up to 7 cents per litre when you purchase fuel at Gas+ locations
  • Car rental collision/loss damage waiver insurance
  • Purchase security and extended warranty
  • No-fee, no-interest financing for up to 24 months when you make purchases of $200 or more

The main reason why I obtained the Triangle World Elite card was for the free roadside assistance. This saves me at least $100 in CAA membership annually and covers Canada and the United States with 5 service calls of up to 250 km and unlimited tows to any Canadian Tire auto shop.

If you are looking to get this card, note that the 3% cash back on groceries excludes purchases at Walmart and Costco.

Apply for the Triangle World Elite Mastercard.

Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers

8. MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard

  • Promo: 0% balance transfer 6 months
  • Annual fee: $39
  • Minimum income eligibility: N/A

The MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard offers a low rate of 8.99% on purchases and balance transfers. Note that cash advances come with a 24.99% interest rate.

If you are looking to consolidate your credit card debt, this card offers some of the best balance transfer rates available in Canada.

Worthy mention: The Tangerine Money-Back Card offers a 1.95% balance transfer rate for 6 months and has no annual fees!

MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard

Apply for the MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard.

Best Credit Card for Low-Interest Rates

9. American Express Essential Credit Card

  • Promo: 1.99% balance transfer
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Minimum income eligibility: N/A

The American Express Essential card is a no-fee credit card that offers one of the lowest rates you will find for cash advance and purchase balances in Canada at 12.99%. New cardholders can also take advantage of the 1.99% balance transfer rate for the first 6 months.

Other benefits are the purchase protection/extended warranty and travel accident insurance up to $100,000

This card is noteworthy when you consider that many other paid credit cards charge an annual interest rate of 19.99% or higher on purchases and cash advances. However, note that to take advantage of these rock-bottom rates, you must be making your minimum payments on time.

Worthy mention: The MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard also offers an 8.99% rate on purchases and balance transfers and 24.99% on cash advances. The card has a $39 annual fee.

American Express Essential Credit Card

Apply for the American Express Essential card.

Best Student Credit Card

10. BMO CashBack Mastercard

  • Promo: 5% cash back 3 months ($100 value)
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Income requirement: None

The BMO CashBack Mastercard affords students an opportunity to establish a credit history while earning some rewards. Even better, it is a no-fee credit card.

Benefits of this card include:

  • Limited time 5% cash back on purchases up to $2,000 in your first 3 months
  • 3% cash back on groceries; 1% recurring bills; and 0.50% on all other purchases
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty
  • Free access to BMO Extra Deals

You can apply for this card even if you have no income or credit history which makes it a top-rated credit card in the student category. Note that the 1% and 3% cash back categories have a monthly limit.

Worthy mention: Another great student credit card is the SCENE Visa card. It has no annual fees and you earn SCENE rewards you can redeem for free movies and food at participating restaurants.

Here is a list of the best student credit cards in Canada.

BMO Cashback Mastercard

Apply for the BMO CashBack Credit Card.

Best Credit Card for Bad Credit

11. Refresh Financial Secured Visa Card

  • Annual fee: $48.95
  • Income eligibility: $0

The Refresh Financial Secured Visa is your go-to card if your credit score has tanked and you need a credit card to help you build back your credit profile. Approval for this card is pretty much guaranteed as long as you have the security deposit of at least $200 and do not have an existing Refresh credit card.

The Refresh Financial Visa is secured which means that your credit line is equivalent to your security deposit. You pay a $12.95 annual fee and $3 every month, for a total of $48.95 per year.

To get the most out of this card, you should pay off your card balance in full within the grace period so you can get your credit score back into positive territory as soon as possible.

Worthy mention: An alternative to the Refresh Financial Secured Visa is the Home Trust Secured Visa. Depending on the version of this card you qualify for, you may get 19.99% APR on purchases and a $0 annual fee, or 14.90% APR on purchases and a $59 annual fee.

Refresh Financial Secured Visa Card

Apply for the Refresh Financial Secured Visa.

Best Aeroplan Credit Card

12. TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum

  • Promo: 20,000 Aeroplan Miles
  • Annual fee: $89, waived in 1st year
  • Minimum income eligibility: N/A

The TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum is a top-notch credit card for earning Aeroplan Miles. You get:

  • Up to 20,000 bonus Aeroplan Miles
  • Annual fee of $89 is waived in the first year
  • 1 mile for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, gas and drug store purchases
  • 1 mile for every $1.50 spent on all other purchases
  • 2 x miles when you use your card with the Aeroplan membership card at participating retailers
  • Travel insurance including delayed and lost baggage, flight delay, and travel accident insurance
  • Auto rental collision/loss damage with coverage up to 48 consecutive days
  • Purchase security and extended warranty

The 20,000 bonus Aeroplan Miles is easy to get, with 10,000 miles awarded when you make your first purchase and an extra 10,000 miles when you spend $1,000 within 90 days of opening your account.

Lastly, this card gets you a 5-10% discount when you rent a car at participating Avis and Budget locations.

TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum

Apply for theTD Aeroplan Visa Platinum card.

Best Air Miles Credit Card

13. BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard

  • Promo: 2,000 bonus AIR MILES
  • Annual fee: $120, waived in 1st year
  • Minimum income eligibility: $80,000

The BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard is the best Air Miles credit card in Canada. To start, you get 2,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $3,000 in the first 3 months. The annual $120 fee is also waived in year one.

You also get:

  • 1 Air Mile for every $10 spent on all purchases
  • 15% discount on all Air Miles flights in North America
  • Complimentary membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by Loungekey, plus two free annual passes
  • Comprehensive travel insurance benefits
  • Rental car collision/damage insurance
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty
  • 25% discount on car rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations, plus 2x the reward miles

The BMO Air Miles World Elite is a well-rounded credit card for the savvy traveller and best-in-class if Air Miles collection is part of your travel hacking strategies. 

Apply for the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard.

Best Credit Card for Car Rental Insurance

14. American Express Gold Rewards Card

  • Promo: 25,000 bonus points
  • Annual fee: $150
  • Minimum income eligibility: N/A

The American Express Gold Rewards Card is a hidden gem and one of the best travel rewards cards out there. When you spend $1,500 in your first 3 months, you earn 25,000 welcome bonus points.

This 25,000 Membership Rewards points can be transferred on a 1:1 basis to Aeroplan for 25,000 Aeroplan points! 

Other travel rewards programs you can exchange your points for are Alitalia, Asia Miles, British Airways Executive Club, Delta SkyMiles, Etihad Guest, Hilton Honors, and Marriott Bonvoy. You also get:

  • Car rental theft and damage insurance of up to $85,000 MSRP on rentals up to 48 days (one of the best available)
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • 2 points per $1 spent on gas, grocery, pharmacy purchases, and travel
  • 1 point per $1 spent on everything else
  • Front of The Line Access
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

The American Express Gold Rewards card offers lots of benefits for the $150 annual fee. 

American Express Gold Rewards Card

Apply for the American Express Gold Rewards card.