There’s nothing like getting cold, hard cash. You can use it for travel, but also to buy literally anything you want. You can even save it and won’t ever have to deal with finding out that your money has “expired” and is no longer worth anything, which is the case with some other types of credit card rewards. Without taking anything away from rewards cards, the advantage of cash back credit cards is that they are easier to manage and help you save more.
Typically, cash back credit cards pay the cash back by sending you a cheque or applying it as a credit directly on your credit card statement. The discount percentage may differ depending on the purchase category, such as groceries, fuel or other, or even be higher on all purchases during the first few months you have the card. Therefore, the best cash back credit card for you will depend on your spending habits, as well as your short-term plans.
To help you choose a cash back credit card, we’ve researched our credit card comparison tool, and identified the 10 best cards of this kind. Here they are:
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite
The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card offers 4% cash back rewards on grocery store purchases and for all periodic payments or memberships, 2% on the purchase of fuel and public transport (including ridesharing services like Uber) and 1% on other purchases.
This card is part of the Visa Infinite program, which provides 3 main benefits. First of all, you get access to a concierge service, which is a 24/7 telephone service that can assist you with many things, especially if you want help finding a gift for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, securing tickets to a show, etc. There are also several hotels at which Visa Infinite cardholders get discounted prices, in addition to being able to upgrade their hotel room. You also get access to free Wi-Fi in your hotel room.
This card also provides several insurance coverages. You get mobile device protection, available for all new mobile phones or tablets under contract with a service provider.
The card also provides trip interruptions or cancellation protection, as long as 75% of the cost of your trip was charged to your Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card. If you are under age 65 and your trip lasts for a maximum of 15 consecutive days, you get emergency medical insurance coverage due to accident or illness of up to $1,000,000. If your plane is delayed, you can be reimbursed for all expenses incurred while waiting for the next flight, like your hotel room, and/or food. If your baggage is lost or delayed by more than 4 hours, you can be reimbursed for losses up to $500 or expenses for first aid items if your baggage is late. You are also covered in the event of an accident in public transport or a rental car.
You have purchase protection, which covers loss or damage to items purchased with the card within 90 days of the date of purchase. Lastly, you get an extended warranty that doubles the manufacturer’s warranty on products purchased with the card for a maximum of one additional year.
The annual fee is $120 for the primary cardholder and $50 for each additional card. However, the annual fees are waived during the first year. To be eligible, you must have an annual income of $60,000 per person or $100,000 per household. The minimum credit limit is $5000 with this credit card.
TD Cash Back Visa Infinite
The TD Cash Back Visa Infinite card offers 3% cash back for every dollar spent on fuel and groceries, and 1% on all other purchases. The spending limit for groceries is $15,000 per year. A similar limit of $15,000 per year applies to fuel. If you exceed this amount, the cash back will drop to 1%.
As a welcome offer, the card offers 10% cash back rewards on all types of purchases during the first three months, for up to $2000 in spending. You have the option of receiving your rewards at any time of the year, as long as your account is open and in good standing, and the minimum amount of the rebate is $25 or more.
With this card, you get the same “Visa Infinite” benefits provided with the previous card.
This credit card also comes with a free Deluxe TD Auto Club membership, which provides 24/7 roadside assistance if something goes wrong along your way. By using your card for all car rentals with Avis and Budget, you’ll save 10% in Canada and the United States, and 5% internationally. Cardholders also benefit from Auto Rental Collision/Damage Insurance, which only applies if you pay for the rental with your credit card.
The card also provides travel insurance, which includes $2,000,000 in coverage for stays of 10 days or less for those 65 and under, and for stays of 4 days or less for those aged 65 and over. Cardholders also benefit from coverage of $1000 per person for any delayed or lost baggage.
The annual fee for the primary cardholder is $120. There is a $50 fee for the first additional card, but no fee for subsequent additional cards. The minimum annual income required to obtain this card is $60,000 per person, or $100,000 per household. This card’s minimum credit limit is $5000.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is unique as it allows you to choose from a list of categories to determine which purchases are eligible for bonus cash back. A 2% cash back is provided in two of the following categories: groceries, entertainment and transportation, furniture, restaurants, hotels and motels, fuel, recurring bills, pharmacy and parking. This card gives you the opportunity to benefit from a third category at 2% if the cash back rewards are deposited into a Tangerine savings account.
Whether the rebate deposit is on your credit card statement or goes directly into your Tangerine savings account, it is automatically paid monthly instead of annually, like some credit cards. All other purchases earn a 0.50% discount. You are entitled to an unlimited amount of cash back rewards with the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card.
The card also comes with a welcome offer, which entitles you to an interest rate of 1.95% for 6 months on balance transfers. The card comes with purchase protection, which covers loss or damage to products purchased with the credit card within the first 90 days of purchase. The extended warranty doubles the retailer’s warranty for up to an additional 1 year.
This card is free, as are additional cards issued to other authorized users. However, you must have an annual income of at least $12,000 to be eligible for this card.
Tangerine World Mastercard
Like its little sister, Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, the Tangerine World Mastercard allows you to choose from a list of categories which purchases are eligible for enhanced cash back rewards. A 2% discount is offered in two of the following categories: groceries, entertainment and transportation, furniture, restaurants, hotels and motels, fuel, recurring bills, pharmacy and parking. This card also offers a third category at 2% when you deposit your cash back rewards into a Tangerine savings account.
All other purchases earn a 0.50% discount. Like the previous card, the deposit is made on your credit card statement or directly into your Tangerine savings account on a monthly basis.
As it is a World Mastercard, this credit card provides several benefits, including $1000 insurance in the event of loss or theft of a mobile phone or tablet, damage insurance on short-term rental vehicles, and free access to Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots anywhere in the world. It is these advantages that justify the annual income required to be eligible for the Tangerine World Mastercard.
It also provides purchase protection and an extended warranty, like the previous card. This credit card is free for the primary cardholder and additional authorized account holders. Lastly, this card comes with a welcome offer, which allows you to benefit from an interest rate of 1.95% for 6 months on balance transfers, like the previous card.
This no-charge card is only available to people with a minimum individual annual income of $60,000 or $100,000 per household.
American Express SimplyCash™ Preferred Card
The American Express SimplyCash™ Preferred Card gives you 2% cash back on all purchases when your welcome rate ends. As a welcome offer, it offers 10% cash back for the first 4 months on all purchases, up to a maximum cash back of $400.
This card is known for its wide variety of insurance, including rental car theft and damage insurance, $100,000 travel accident insurance, out-of-province/country emergency medical insurance (for people under 65), baggage loss or theft insurance, flight delay insurance, baggage delay insurance and even hotel burglary insurance.
The card also allows provides a purchase protection and an extended warranty to extend the manufacturer’s warranty by a maximum of 1 additional year and coverage for 90 days on theft or damage, up to a maximum of $1000. The credit card must have been used to purchase 100% of the product’s cost.
With this card you belong to the “American Express Invites” program. In fact, you get access to pre-sale tickets and the ability of making reservations at shows, restaurants or premieres of popular events. You also get exclusive access to seats reserved only for American Express credit cardholders. Lastly, the card provides you with email notifications of new events that will be premiered.
The annual fee is $99 for the primary card, but additional cards are free. There is no minimum income to be eligible for this card.
American Express SimplyCash™ Card
The American Express SimplyCash™ card is the no-cost little sister of the American Express SimplyCash Preferred Card. The cash back rewards are therefore lower, but still generous. It entitles you to a 1.5% discount on all purchases, whether in store or online. As a welcome offer, Amex Bank is offering 2.5% cash back on all your purchases during the first three months, up to a maximum of $150 in cash back.
This card includes the same perks as the previous card, namely purchase protection and an extended warranty. It also provides membership in the “American Express Invites” program, which has the same benefits as the previous card. Additionally, it offers travel accident insurance up to $100,000. This American Express card is much more accessible to everyone than the previous card.
This card has no annual fee and no minimum annual income is required in order to be eligible. All additional cards are also free.
CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite
If you’re a fan of coffee and donuts, this card might be for you. The CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite card has different cash back rates for different purchase categories. In fact, it offers 4% cash back per dollar spent on all fuel and grocery purchases, 2% on spending at Tim Hortons and Telus, and 1% on all other purchases. You are entitled to $80,000 in groceries and fuel expenses per year to access the 4% cash back rewards. If you exceed this amount, additional fuel and grocery expenses will have a 1% rebate. This also applies to the 2% cash back rewards on spending at Tim Hortons and Telus, in which case your rate drops to 1% after you have exceeded $20,000 in expenses.
There is also a 3¢/litre reduction on fuel at Chevron, Ultramar and Pioneer gas stations, regardless of the type of fuel. This discount applies to all CIBC cards.
This card also has a wide variety of travel insurance. It provides out-of-country or out-of-province emergency dental coverage for you, your spouse or children up to a maximum of $5,000,000 (c’est beaucoup pour des frais dentaires, n’est-ce pas?) per person. Travel must be for a maximum of 15 days and you must be 64 and under to be eligible. If you need to cancel your flight due to illness or injury, you have insurance with this card for up to $2000 per person. You also have coverage for your baggage that has been lost or delayed for more than 6 hours. In either case, you have coverage of $500 per person.
You will be reimbursed for your food, accommodation, public transportation, and even entertainment expenses if your flight is delayed by more than 4 hours, up to a total of $700. You are also covered for damage to vehicles rented during your trip if the value of the automobile is less than $ 65,000. Coverage of up to $500,000 is available to you if you are involved in an accident while using public transport.
Lastly, you get Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty Insurance, which covers all accidental loss, damage or theft, for 90 days of product ownership, and to double the retailer’s warranty for up to 1 year.
This card has an annual fee of $99 and $30 for each additional card. However, these fees are waived for the first year. To be eligible for this card, the primary cardholder must have a minimum salary of $60,000 per year, or $100,000 per household.
CIBC Dividend Platinum Visa
The CIBC Dividend Platinum Visa is sort of the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite card’s little sister, offering essentially the same cash back rates and charging the same annual fees. As you probably noticed while reading this article, when the cardholder’s required minimum annual income is lower than another card of the same type, it’s because it does not offer as much insurance or benefits as the card requiring a higher income. However, this card doesn’t provide travel medical insurance, travel insurance for out-of-province emergency medical care, trip interruption insurance and flight delay insurance and baggage insurance, as does the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite.
This card provides no less than 4% cash back on all fuel and grocery purchases, 2% on expenses at Tim Hortons and Telus, and 1% on all other purchases, like the previous card. So if you’re a fan of coffee and donuts and have enough insurance, this card might be the one for you. Like the last card, there is also a 3¢/litre reduction on fuel at Chevron, Ultramar and Pioneer gas stations, regardless of the type of fuel purchased.
This card has an annual fee of $99 and $30 for each additional card. The fee is, however, waived for the first year. The main difference with this card compared to the previous CIBC card is that the minimum income required for a CIBC Dividend Platinum Visa card is just $15,000.
BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard
The BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard offers a respectable 1.5% cash back rate on all purchases. Its welcome offer gives you no less than a 10% cash back on all purchases made during the first three months you have it.
For benefits, you get the “BMO CashBack World Elite Travel Insurance” protection package. It includes insurance on the rental vehicle while traveling, including damage, theft, accidents, dismemberment and even death. If you have to return from your trip due to an unforeseen event (such as a death in the family), you have coverage that protects you for expenses related to this unexpected return, up to $2000 per person. If your flight is delayed, you have insurance against flight delays longer than 6 hours. This means that you’ll be reimbursed for all expenses while awaiting the next flight. You have baggage loss or delay coverage of $750 per person. If you are under 65 and your trip is less than 8 days, you have insurance for all medical expenses in hospitals outside the province or country.
As for purchase protection, you get purchase insurance and an extended warranty. The advantage with this card is that it covers loss of or damage to purchases for 180 days and the retailer’s product warranty is doubled up to a maximum of 2 years.
This BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard also comes with a free membership to the Dominion Automobile Association (DAA). Like many BMO credit cards, you get a 15% discount on Cirque du Soleil shows in Canada and 20% off shows in Las Vegas.
The annual fee for this card is $120, although it is waived in the first year. If you have a BMO Performance Plan chequing account, you get the option of an $80 annual fee instead of $120, but there is an annual fee of $50 for each additional card. The minimum annual income to obtain this card is $100,000 per person, or $150,000 per household. Lastly, the card has a $5000 minimum credit limit.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
The BMO CashBack Mastercard earns 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments, and 0.5% on other purchases. Its welcome offer provides no less than 5% cash back on all purchases made during the first three months you have it.
As a benefit, this card helps you save up to 25% on all rentals from participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations. You get purchase protection and an extended warranty as well as the same discounts for Cirque du Soleil shows in Canada and Las Vegas as with the previous card.
This card has no annual fee and no minimum annual income is required to be eligible.
This article about the top 10 cash back credit cards in Canada has been compiled by Hardbacon, which has designed a credit card comparison tool listing hundreds of Canadian credit cards. Hardbacon also helps you save on savings accounts, chequing accounts, online brokers, robo-advisers, life insurance, mortgages and personal loans. If you want to take things one step further and take control of your finances, you should download Hardbacon’s mobile app, which links to your banking and investing accounts, helps you plan for your financial goals, create a budget and better invest.