The Best Credit Cards in Canada for 2019 [By Card Type]

There’s no universal answer to the question, “What is the best credit card?” Much in the same way the best convertible coupe would be ill-suited for a family of four, the best travel rewards credit card would make little sense for someone who rarely travels abroad.

Simply put, categories matter and selecting the best credit card for you comes down to a number of factors – from your personal spending habits to what type of rewards add the most value to your life.

With that in mind, broke down the list of the best credit cards in Canada across the following categories:

Best Credit Cards Canada

Best Overall Canadian Rewards Card

The Scotiabank Gold American Express climbs to the top of our list due to the combination of its strong welcome bonus, high reward earn rate, and flexible points structure.

The credit card offers a lucrative 4 Scotia Rewards points for every dollar spent on a range of purchases that include dining, gas, groceries, entertainment, and restaurants. Points can be redeemed for everything from hotels and flights from any carrier (including taxes and surcharges) to movie tickets and more, with all new applicants who sign up by October 31, 2018, entitled to $150 worth of points after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months. Flights can be booked through Scotiabank’s own full-service travel agency or bought outright on this credit card and retroactively redeemed using points. Plus, cardholders are granted a 35% discount for VIP access to airport lounges, robust travel insurance coverage, and concierge services, all for an annual fee of $99.

Best Canadian Cash Back Credit Card

The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite offers the most bang for your cash back across a variety of popular spending categories. With this card, you’ll earn 4% cash back every time you spend at the gas pump or cross an item off your grocery list, 2% cash back at drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. Not to mention, you can shave some money off your smartphone and internet bills every month with 2% cash back on pre-authorized payments.

The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite also packs in a surprising number of travel insurance benefits for a cash back credit card, including baggage loss and emergency medical insurance, to name a few. This card does feature an annual fee of $99, which is waived for the first year if you sign up by October 31, 2018.

Best No Fee Credit Cards for Canadians

The SimplyCash Card from American Express is the ideal choice for anyone looking to steer clear of annual fees or pick up a second, low-commitment credit card. On top of no annual fees, this card offers 1.25% in cash back rewards on all purchases. Plus, you can boost your rewards in the first 3 months with the card’s 2.5% cash back welcome bonus (up to a maximum of $150 on eligible purchases).

Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Card for Canadians

Almost every credit card and Visa debit card charge a 2.5% fee on purchases made in a foreign currency. The few exceptions to the rule are known as no foreign transaction fee credit cards.

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is the only card from one of Canada’s big six banks to charge no foreign transaction fees. Plus, this premium credit card allows you to earn up to 2 Scotia Rewards points for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases and grants special access to Priority Pass airport lounges in exchange for an annual fee of $139. New applicants who sign up by October 31, 2018, also receive $250 worth of free points when they use the card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.

A no annual fee alternative is the Home Trust Preferred Visa, which waives the foreign transaction fee for up to 10 purchases made in a non-Canadian currency in a single day and grants 1% cash back on all purchases as well as emergency roadside assistance services. Unfortunately, this credit card is not available in the province of Quebec.

Best Canadian Travel Rewards Credit Card

If you travel overseas every year or so, the BMO World Elite Mastercard should be a top consideration. Right out of the gate, you’re eligible to receive $250 worth of BMO Rewards when you spend at least $3,000 in the first three months. As for earning points, you can gain up to 3 BMO Rewards for every dollar spent on dining, entertainment, and travel-related purchases.

BMO Rewards can be redeemed for discounted flights, hotels, vacation packages, gift cards, and can even be used to cover flight taxes and surcharges. This credit card also grants VIP membership to over 1,000 airport lounges and two complimentary passes per year, which more than makes up for its $150 annual fee.

The American Express Cobalt is another travel rewards credit card worthy of mention. Launched in 2017, this credit card gives you up to 5 AMEX Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent at restaurants, food delivery services, cafes, and grocery stores and 2 points per dollar on travel-related purchases. A true testament to the card’s value – you can redeem 1,000 points for $10 in travel rewards, which works out to a 5% return on food and drink purchases.

When booking your travel, points can be redeemed for hotels and flights (including taxes, fees, and surcharges). The credit card also boasts comprehensive insurance coverage benefits and special access to event and concert ticket pre-sales. Unique both in its welcome bonus and annual fee, cardholders are charged $10 every month while receiving 2,500 extra points per month in the first year after spending at least $500 (up to a maximum of 30,000 points).

Best Credit Card for Canadian Debt Consolidation

If you want to stop juggling debt and more easily manage your unpaid balances on a single credit card, the Scotiabank Value Visa should be your card of choice. For one, this credit card offers an introductory 0.99% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months. The Scotiabank Value Visa also charges a nominal $29 annual fee and a straightforward, flat interest rate of 11.99% on everything including cash advances, purchases, and balance transfers (after the first six months) to help streamline and simplify your debt repayment goals.

Best Low-Interest Rate Credit Card for Canadians

If more often than not, you struggle to pay off your credit card balance in full every month, you should prioritize one credit card feature above all others: a low-interest rate.

Whereas most cards hit you with interest rates in the double digits on carried balances, the American Express Essentials Credit Card has a lower rate of 8.99% on purchases and cash advances. That means more of your money will go towards paying down your debt, with less being siphoned off to cover interest charges. To top it all off, the American Express Essentials includes no annual fees and offers special access to events and movie screenings through the American Express Invites program.

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