Canada’s best no-fee credit cards 2022 Searching for the perfect credit card? In under 60 seconds, CardFinder narrows down your top matches without impacting your credit score, no SIN is required.
Some of the best things in life are free—so why should you expect any different from your credit card? Canada has an impressive array of no-fee credit cards that don’t charge cardholders an annual fee, while also delivering respectable rewards like cash back and travel points. Many of these no-fee cards also boast attractive extras like solid welcome bonuses, no foreign transaction fees, and useful travel insurance. Individuals who don’t always pay off their balance every month will be happy that a few of these cards even feature a standard low-interest rate or an attractive balance transfer promo. Here are our picks for the best no-fee credit cards in Canada.
At a glance: The Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard is a perennial no-fee favorite thanks to its automatic 2% cash back on purchases in two spending categories, with a third category available if you set up automatic rewards deposited into a Tangerine Savings Account. What makes this card really stand out is that cardholders get to personalize their extra-earn categories from among a whopping 10 options.
Interest rates: 19.95% on purchases, 19.95% on cash advances, 19.95% on balance transfers
At a glance: An ideal card for those who spend much of their budget on groceries and gas, the SimplyCash American Express gets you 2% cash back in those two categories. The card also has a pretty generous base rate of 1.25% for all other spendings. Especially notable is the $100,000 in travel accident protection, a rare perk for a no-fee card.
At a glance: Brim Mastercard has one of the rarest—and most coveted—features of any credit card in Canada: no foreign transaction (FX) fee. When making purchases in a non-Canadian currency, most issuers charge cardholders a fee of around 2.5% on every purchase—and that’s on top of the exchange rate. Brim completely waives this fee. The card also comes with up to $500 in mobile device insurance and a free Boingo Wi-Fi membership.
At a glance: A perfect travel companion for frequent fliers, the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard has a flexible rewards program that offers the best value when points are redeemed for travel. It also features a wide selection of revved-up earning categories, including restaurants, groceries, digital media, memberships and household utility purchases. The icing on the cake is the yearly Birthday Bonus, which can really help punch up your point balance.
At a glance: This no-frills card is short on extras but is a powerhouse when it comes to potentially saving cardholders money. If you tend to carry a balance, a lower-interest card can be a lifesaver for your bottom line. With an interest rate of 12.99%, the MBNA True Line Mastercard charges nearly half of what most credit cards in Canada charge, potentially making it easier to catch up on debt.
At a glance: BMO’s CashBack MasterCard is a good fit for students looking for a no-fee card that will earn them a little extra cash as they build credit. While the card doesn’t come with lots of perks, its 3% cash back on groceries is the most generous earn rate available in that category for a basic credit card without an annual fee.
At a glance: For everyday spending on essentials, the no-fee PC Financial World Elite Mastercard is a popular choice. You’ll earn PC Optimum points, one of the best-known and most useful loyalty programs in the country. There are no complicated reward rules to navigate; cardholders can simply redeem points instantly at the cash register anywhere PC products are sold.
At a glance: The Triangle World Elite Mastercard from Canadian Tire is a digital evolution of the company’s well-loved Canadian Tire dollars and offers excellent earnings for those who regularly shop at Canadian Tire and partner stores. It’s also one of the few no-fee cards that offer car rental collision insurance and give you access to a roadside assistance plan.
Interest rates: 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances, 22.99% on balance transfers
At a glance: The Home Trust Secured Visa is an excellent pick for people who want to build their credit but who might otherwise have difficulty getting approved because of a low credit score or because they are new to Canada and don’t have much of a credit history. What makes this card especially unique is that it’s available with a lower interest rate (which can help you keep your debt in check) in exchange for paying a small annual fee.
At a glance: If you’re looking for a credit card with a strong selection of travel insurance and no annual fee, the Rogers World Elite Mastercard can’t be beaten. The card comes with emergency medical insurance, insurance for trip cancellation and interruption, and collision and damage coverage for car rentals.
The biggest advantage of a no-fee credit card is obvious: it’s free. Better yet, if you never carry a balance and you use a no-fee card that offers cash back or rewards, you’ll actually be in a better financial position than you would without the card. A card that complements your spending habits and hobbies (like travel) can also save you a nice chunk of change on things like foreign transaction fees, insurance, and rental cars.
In some cases, these benefits can be significantly intensified with a premium card that has an annual fee, so depending on your spending habits, an annual-fee card can be a worthwhile expense. You should consider a no-fee credit card if:
The potential drawbacks of a no-fee credit card include:
For the best cash-back credit cards 2022 ranking, MoneySense tapped into Ratehub.ca’s‡ credit card tool and calculated the numbers for both fee and no-fee cash-back rewards cards based on $2,000 in monthly spending. We used the following scenario: $500 on groceries, $200 on gas, $200 on restaurants, $125 on bill payments, $175 on travel, $225 on entertainment, $75 on pharmacy purchases, and $500 on everything else.
The endgame was a magic number—that is, the annual net reward in dollar terms to identify the top cashback cards for each type of spender. Our methodology also took into consideration other factors, including limited-time accelerated earn rates, the range of spending bonus categories, annual-fee waivers, purchase protections, and travel insurance perks.
‡MoneySense.ca and Ratehub.ca are both owned by parent company Ratehub Inc. We may be partnered with some financial institutions, but this does not influence the “Canada’s Best Credit Card” rankings. You can read more about this in our Editorial Code of Conduct. This article was originally published on Feb. 19, 2019, and has since been updated.
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