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Canada's 8 Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Last updated: 2024-07-01

Read time 5 mins

Cash back rewards are great for their simplicity and flexibility, and anyone can appreciate a little extra money in their bank account.These are our picks for the best cash back credit cards in Canada.

Best Flat Rate Cash Back Credit Card

The SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express earns 2% cash back on all purchases. While most cards have higher category rates, this card is unparalleled for everything else.Plus, this card has a very reasonable annual fee of just $99. Compared to other premium cards which clock in at $120 or higher, you’ll be hard-pressed to find such a strong base earn rate at a better price.If you prefer a slim wallet and frequently shop at stores that take Amex, this card is without a doubt your best choice.

Best Lifestyle Cash Back Credit Card

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card can’t be beat when it comes to earn rates on everyday spending. If you live a fast-paced lifestyle, this is the ideal cash back card for you.You’ll earn 5% on groceries, restaurants, and entertainment purchases, the highest rate available on any card. The bonus points are capped at $50,000 spent per year in these categories, setting this card far apart from the competition.As an added bonus, you’ll get a strong 3% earn rate on gas, transit, and streaming services, no foreign exchange fees, and the many benefits of being an American Express cardholder – including Front of the Line ticket access and exclusive Amex Offers.While the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is technically a travel card, its Scene+ points can be redeemed for cash-equivalent statement credits very easily. If the card’s earn rates and perks fit your needs, it’s absolutely worth considering.The card's everyday earning rate is what makes it a shining star, so while the welcome bonus is usually quite appealing, I'd treat it like a cherry on top and not let a low welcome bonus hold you back if the card otherwise interests you.

Best Cash Back Mastercard

The Desjardins Cash Back World Elite Mastercard makes our list as an unsuspecting contender. Even though it has no welcome bonus, it’s a great all-round workhorse if it fits your spending profile.With elevated earn rates on groceries, restaurants, transit, and entertainment, this card is a great alternative to the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card. While the rewards aren’t quite as high, you’ll benefit from a lower annual fee and no limits to the amount of bonus cashback you can earn.Also, as the card runs on the Mastercard payment network, you’ll find that it’s accepted more widely. If you frequently shop at grocery stores or restaurants that don’t take Amex, you may often find yourself excluded from the highest cash back rates on the Scotiabank Gold Amex. If that’s the case, this card is a fantastic solution.

Best Cash Back Visa Card

The CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card is another jack of all trades, with 4% cash back on groceries and gas, and 2% back on restaurants and transit. These are some of the most useful categories for bonus rewards because they typically make up the majority of most Canadians’ everyday purchases.While other cards may offer similar rewards but with lower annual fees or higher spending limits, none have the same overall mix of category bonuses. If you’re looking for high rates on groceries, gas, and restaurants, don’t want to pay annual fees for more than one premium card, and can’t use American Express where you shop, the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite is the total package.Plus, since it’s issued by a major Canadian bank, you’ll get seamless integration with your chequing account if you also bank with CIBC. Although Desjardins and Meridian have similar cards with a lower annual fee, they don’t have as big of a national presence in case you need customer support.If you don’t meet the minimum income requirements for this card, you can apply for the CIBC Dividend Visa Platinum instead. It has all of the same earn rates and fees, just weaker insurance, and only requires an annual personal income of $15,000.

Best Credit Card for Recurring Bills

The Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite Card earns bonus rewards on recurring bills. This includes any utility companies that accept credit cards and are set up as a recurring pre-authorized payment, as well as select streaming services.Eligible recurring transactions earn 4% cash back. That’s by far the highest available earn rate for your recurring bills. Also, with 4% cash back on groceries, this card is a great choice for families with many mouths to feed and large homes to heat.Plus, new cardholders can often find an offer for their first-year annual fee waived and 10% cash back in the first three months.

Best No Fee Cash Back Credit Card

If you’re looking for a simple solution, the Rogers Red World Elite Mastercard is the card for you. While other cards offer better category earn rates, there’s no better choice for a budget-conscious spender.The card earns 2% cash back on all purchases if you're an eligible Rogers, Fido, or Shaw customer, or 1.5% cash back if you're not. This rate is slightly higher than the de facto benchmark for other World Elite Mastercards, but the Rogers Red World Elite Mastercard has the advantage of having no annual fee. If you’re primarily concerned about keeping costs down, you won’t find another card with a better all-round cash back rate.Also, the card gives higher rewards on US-dollar purchases to offset the foreign exchange fee. This gives you peace of mind not to fret about extra costs if you’re doing any online shopping on US sites or going for a jaunt over the border.Whether you like the simplicity of only using one card, or a high earn rate on uncategorized spending at no extra cost, there’s a place for the Rogers Red World Elite Mastercard in every wallet.

Best Cash Back Credit Card for Foreign Transactions

Brim is a small credit card issuer with lower foreign transaction fees on many of their cards. Their entry-level card with no annual fee, the Brim Mastercard, makes a great keeper or backup card for reducing foreign transaction fees, as it charges 1.5% instead of the industry-standard 2.5%.This card earns equal rewards on all foreign purchases, a unique feature among cards with no annual fee. Also, as a Mastercard, you’ll find it’s very widely accepted around the world on all your foreign purchases.Even for use at home, you’ve got a decent all-round entry-level credit card in the Brim Mastercard.

Best Cash Back Credit Card for Travel Insurance

If you’re a frequent traveller but prefer to earn cash back rewards, luckily you can still benefit from premium travel perks like insurance. If that sounds like you, the Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back Card is your best option.The card offers many types of travel insurance that are standard on premium credit cards, like emergency medical assistance, common carrier accident benefits, trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage, subsidies for lost or stolen baggage, and rental car insurance. Many of the maximum payouts are among the highest you’ll see, at levels common among travel cards but rarely seen on cash back cards.In fact, the coverage for seniors is better than what you’ll get on most travel cards. This card offers up to 15 days of medical coverage for cardholders up to age 75, and it extends coverage to grandchildren when travelling together.You’ll also earn 4% cash back on groceries and gas, two categories that are typically high-spend areas for most Canadians.Throw in a uniquely high 2% cash back rate on drugstore purchases and a manageable annual fee of $99, and you’ve got a surprisingly strong all-round cash back card.

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