Best Credit Cards 2021

Credit cards are a useful tool to build credit and take advantage of your spending. They have different rewards, cashback options, flexible spending, and many benefits. There is no single best credit card because it depends on what you value. That is why we have compiled a list of the best credit cards in a wide variety of categories.

How do we choose the best credit cards?

We judge credit cards differently in each category so what we list fulfills your specific needs. The first thing we consider is rewards and signup bonuses. We also compare their annual fees, income requirements, and interest rates.

Rewards: Premium credit cards will usually have incentives to make purchases.You can either get points that you can redeem for rewards or cashback dollars. The cashback rate can be easily compared directly between credit cards. However, rewards vary and do not have an exact cash equivalent, but we have provided an approximate $ worth for each credit cards’ rewards points and information on how to earn them.

* The ¢ value of rewards points are our best estimates and do not reflect the variety and potential of the rewards.

Signup Bonuses: Credit card providers will often give new holders signup bonuses to make their credit cards more attractive. Generally, this entails financial incentives or extra points. Signup bonuses can make your credit card much better for the first few months.

* Signup bonuses are accurate as of Feb. 22, 2021. Offers may be cancelled or expire.
  • Annual Fee: Premium credit cards with the best benefits will usually have an annual or monthly fee. We report these fees on an annualized-basis.
  • Income Requirements: Most credit cards will have a minimum income requirement. This is usually personal income, but most will have the option of using your household income as well. We prefer credit cards with lower income requirements because they are easier to qualify for.
  • Interest Rate: Credit cards can have up to 3 different interest rates: a purchase interest rate, a cash advance interest rate, and a balance transfer interest rate. The purchase interest rate is charged on any credit balance you do not pay on time, the cash interest rate begins accruing immediately upon getting a cash advance or conducting any cash-like transaction using your credit card, and the balance transfer interest rate is the interest charge on any credit balance you transfer from another credit card.

Best Travel Credit Card Canada

Of all the benefits that credit cards offer, travel rewards are the most common. You can earn travel points and air miles, which can be redeemed for flights or vacation getaways. You can also get other benefits like VIP lounges, welcome bonuses, and travel insurance. Each card has several unique benefits that can add to your travel experience. Visit each credit card’s official website for a complete list of rewards and perks.

American Express Cobalt

Annual Fee: $120
Income Requirements: None
Interest Rate: 19.99% purchases, 21.99% cash
Points: 1 point ≈ 1¢ in rewards
Rewards:
  • 5 points per $1 spent on eligible dining purchases
  • 2 points per $1 spent on eligible transit, gas, and travel purchases
  • 1 point per $1 spent on anything else
Signup Bonus:
  • 2,500 points for each month in your first year where you spend $500

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

Annual Fee: $139
Income Requirements: $60,000 Personal, $100,000 Household
Interest Rate: 19.99% purchases, 22.99% cash
Points: 1 point ≈ 2¢ in rewards
Rewards:
  • 2 points per $1 spent on eligible Air Canada purchases
  • 1.5 points per $1 spent on eligible gas, grocery, travel, and dining purchases
  • 1.25 points per $1 spent on anything else You can earn double the points through the Aeroplan eStore.
Signup Bonus:
  • 10,000 points with your first purchase
  • 10,000 points when you spend $1,000 within 90 days
  • First year annual fee rebated

Scotiabank Gold American Express

Annual Fee: $120
Income Requirements: $12,000 Personal
Interest Rate: 19.99% purchases, 22.99% cash
No foreign transaction fee.
Points: 1 point ≈ 1¢ in rewards
Rewards:
  • 5 points per $1 spent on eligible grocery and dining purchases
  • 3 points per $1 spent on eligible gas and daily transit purchases
  • 1 point per $1 spent on anything else
Signup Bonus:
  • 25,000 points when you spend $1,000 within 3 months

Best Cash Back Credit Card Canada

Sometimes, rewards are too complex and hard to claim. Cashback credit cards are easy to compare and make it easy to track your savings. Instead of having rewards points that can expire or never be used, cashback rewards can be used to buy anything.

American Express SimplyCash Preferred

Annual Fee: $99
Income Requirements: None
Interest Rate: 19.99% purchases, 21.99% cash
Cashback Rate:
  • 2% on everything
Signup Bonus:
  • 10% (up to $400) for the first 4 months

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite

Annual Fee: $120
Income Requirements: $60,000 Personal, $100,000 Household
Interest Rate: 19.99% purchases, 21.99% cash
Cashback Rate:
  • 4% on bills and groceries
  • 2% on travel
  • 1% on anything else
Signup Bonus:
  • 10% (up to $2,000) for the first 3 months

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite

Annual Fee: $120
Income Requirements: $60,000 Personal, $100,000 Household
Interest Rate: 19.99% purchases, 21.99% cash
Cashback Rate:
  • 4% on gas and groceries
  • 2% on transportation, dining, and bills
  • 1% on anything else
Signup Bonus:
  • 10% (up to $2,000) for the first 4 statements
  • First year annual fee waived

Best Rewards Credit Card Canada

Credit cards are a great way to get rewards on your purchases. These credit cards are the overall best for getting the most out of your spending. Since these credit cards are gathered from all that is available, you need to pick what types of rewards you value most.

Rewards: BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite

Annual Fee: $120
Income Requirements: $60,000 Personal, $100,000 Cash
Interest Rate: 20.99%, 23.99%
Points: 1 point ≈ .6¢ in rewards
Rewards:
  • 5 points per $1 spent on eligible groceries, gas, and transit
  • 1 point per $1 spent on anything else
Signup Bonus:
  • 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months
  • First year annual fee waived

Travel and Rewards: American Express Cobalt

Annual Fee: $120
Income Requirements: None
Interest Rate: 19.99% purchases, 21.99% cash
Points: 1 point ≈ 1¢ in rewards
Rewards:
  • 5 points per $1 spent on eligible dining purchases
  • 2 points per $1 spent on eligible transit, gas, and travel purchases
  • 1 point per $1 spent on anything else
Signup Bonus:
  • 2,500 points for each month in your first year where you spend $500

Cashback: American Express SimplyCash Preferred

Annual Fee: $99
Income Requirements: None
Interest Rate: 19.99% purchases, 21.99% cash
Cashback Rate:
  • 2% on everything
Signup Bonus:
  • 10% (up to $400) for the first 4 months

Best Student Credit Card Canada

Students arguably have the toughest time finding a good credit card. With no credit history and a low income, it may seem like you have few options. However, there are credit cards specifically designed to help students build credit and save money. Naturally, you will have a lower credit limit to start with, but with timely payments, you can increase it in no time.

BMO CashBack Mastercards

Annual Fee: 0$
Income Requirements: None
Interest Rate: 19.99% Purchases, 22.99% Cash
Cashback Rewards:
  • 3% on groceries
  • 1% on monthly bills
  • 0.5% on anything else
Signup Bonus:
  • 5% (up to $1,500) for the first 3 months
  • 1.99% balance transfer interest rate for 9 months (+1% transfer fee)

BMO Air Miles Mastercard

Annual Fee: $0
Income Requirements: $15,000
Interest Rate: 19.99% Purchases, 22.99% cash
Points: 1 Air Mile ≈ 12-19¢
Rewards:
  • 1 Air Mile per $25, Get 3x the Air Miles from participating AIR MILES Partners and 2x the Air Miles by using your BMO AIR MILES Mastercard and your AIR MILES Card at participating partners.
Signup Bonus:
  • 800 Air Miles
  • 1.99% balance transfer interest rate for 9 months (+1% transfer fee)

Scotiabank Scene Visa

Annual Fee: $0
Income Requirements: $12,000
Interest Rate: 19.99% Purchases, 22.99% Cash
Points: 1 Scene Point ≈ 1¢
Rewards:
  • 5 Scene Points per $1 spent through Cineplex
  • 1 Scene Point per $1 spent on anything else
Signup Bonus:
  • 2,500 Scene Points when you spend $500 within 3 months

Best No Fee Credit Card Canada

For people who do not like spending, you could actually lose money from the high fees that credit cards charge. Luckily, at the cost of slightly lower earnings, some credit cards can save you money no matter how much you spend. Credit cards in any category can have no fee, so we have put together the best credit cards from every category.

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

Income Requirements: None
Interest Rate: 19.99% Purchases 24.99% Cash
Points: 1 Point ≈ 1¢
Rewards:
  • 2 points per $1 spent on eligible gas, grocery and restaurant purchases
  • 1 point per $1 spent on anything else
Signup Bonus:
  • 4 points per $1 spent on eligible gas, grocery and restaurant purchases
  • For the first 90 days: 5,000 points after $500 in eligible spending and 5,000 points after enrolling for paperless e-statements

Tangerine Money-Back

Income Requirements: $12,000
Interest Rate: 19.95% Purchases, 19.95% Cash
Cashback Rewards:
  • 2% on 2 eligible categories of your choice
  • 0.5% on anything else
Signup Bonus:
  • $250 and 5,000 scene points when you spend $5,000 within 3 months

BMO CashBack Mastercards

Income Requirements: None
Interest Rate: 19.99% Purchases, 22.99% Cash
Cashback Rewards:
  • 3% on groceries
  • 1% on monthly bills
  • 0.5% on anything else
Signup Bonus:
  • 5% (up to $1,500) for the first 3 months
  • 1.99% balance transfer interest rate for 9 months (+1% transfer fee)

Best Prepaid Credit Card Canada

Prepaid cards are different from regular credit cards. They have no eligibility requirements, but still offer some of the same benefits as a regular credit card. There is no interest rate or annual fee, so it is better to think of them as modified debit cards. The difference is when you use your prepaid credit card, you can build credit and earn rewards without worrying about interest.

KOHO Prepaid Visa Card

Rewards:
  • 0.5% cashback on eligible purchases
Signup Bonus:
  • 1% cashback with a referral code

Stack Prepaid Mastercard

Rewards:
  • Get a variety of discounts at one of Stack’s partnered businesses

KOHO Prepaid Visa Card

No benefits factored, but they include:
  • Loadable with U.S. dollars, Euros, British pounds, and Mexican Pesos
  • Reloadable at any CIBC Banking Centre

Best Low-Interest Rate Credit Card Canada

If you had trouble keeping up on credit card payments and you are thinking about transferring your credit card balance, lower interest rates can help you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. Instead of paying a hefty 19.99% interest rate on your credit card debt, you can pay as low as 8.99%. One disadvantage to low-interest rate credit cards is that you will not receive many of the usual benefits you may have come to enjoy. These cards are mainly used to help pay off credit card debt, so the bonuses are not a priority.

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard

Annual Fee: 20$
Income Requirements: None
Interest Rate: 12.99% Purchases, 12.99% Cash, 12.99% Balance Transfers
Signup Bonus:
  • First year annual fee waived
  • 3.99% balance transfer interest rate for 9 months (+1% transfer fee)

MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard

Annual Fee: $39
Income Requirements: None
Interest Rate: 8.99% Purchases, 24.99% Cash, 8.99% Balance Transfers
No benefits factored, but they include:
  • Usable with Apple Pay
  • Up to 9 additional users for free

HSBC + Rewards Mastercard

Annual Fee: $25
Income Requirements: None
Interest Rate: 11.90% Purchases, 11.90% Cash, 11.90% Balance Transfers
Points: 1 Point ≈ .57¢
Rewards:
  • 2 points per $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases
  • 1 point per $1 spent on anything else
Signup Bonus:
  • 30,000 points when you spend $2,000 within 180 days - First annual fee rebated

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

If you have bad credit or want to build credit, these cards are a great option. They are specifically designed for people with poor credit and they have low interest rates. You can also get a prepaid credit card with no eligibility requirements. Since most poor credit cards do not have rewards, you should only use these to help build your credit score until you can get a better credit card.

Secured credit cards: Unlike regular (unsecured) credit cards, you must pay an initial security deposit, but this deposit cannot be used to pay your credit card balance. It is just collateral for the lender in case you cannot pay off your balance.

Home Trust Secured Visa

Annual Fee: 0$ - $59
Income Requirements: None
Interest Rate: 14.99% - 19.99%
Credit Limit:
$1,000 - $10,000

Refresh Financial Secured Card

Annual Fee: $48.95
Income Requirements: None
Interest Rate: 17.99%
Credit Limit:
$200 - $10,000

Capital One Low Rate Gold Mastercard (Unsecured)

Annual Fee: $79
Income Requirements: None
Interest Rate: 14.9% Purchases, 21.9% Cash Great
Credit Limit:
Up to $7,000

Pick the “Best” One

Everyone has their own preferences and the credit card you pick has to depend on your spending habits, what rewards you like, your financial circumstances, and more. Even within the 8 categories we have put together, the best credit card really depends on you. Our top picks are a great starting point for selecting a credit card. You should use these as a reference point for other credit cards to make sure that you are getting the best deal possible. Once you are ready to pick the credit card that is right for you, get it immediately so you can start enjoying all the benefits that credit cards have to offer.