Most popular Canadian credit cards for 2019, based on cards-in-force and/or open accounts, range from cards offering cash back, points, air miles, no fee, low rate and even a guaranteed card for Canadians seeking to build or rebuild their credit scores.
Of all the card features offered to Canadians, cash back, like the U.S. market is the most popular. Canadians place a high value on their rewards programs, so much so that 48% who switched their primary credit card during the past year did so for a better rewards program.
On average, consumers in Canada used two credit cards for the purchase of goods and services in the past three months, with 81% of their total spend charged on their primary card. The average length of time card holders stay with the same credit card issuer is 10 years, with a median monthly spend on the primary credit card of $600.
Canadian Card Habits
More than half (51%) of credit card holders in Canada have used mobile apps during the past three months to manage their account, redeem rewards and take advantage of other benefits. Among card holders in Canada, those in the Gen Z generational group have the highest level of mobile app adoption (79%). Perceptions of security may be hindering mobile adoption, as only 41% of card holders perceive their personal information is very secure when using a credit card app, and 36% perceive the mobile app is less secure than the website.
About two-thirds of Canadian cardholders say they completely understand how to redeem rewards, according to recent survey by J.D. Power. Overall satisfaction is 87 points higher among this group than among card holders who say they do not fully understand how the system works. Furthermore, rewards redemption and frequency also contribute to higher satisfaction and loyalty levels.
1. Scotia Momentum No Fee Visa
The Scotia Momentum No Fee Visa, issued by Scotiabank, earns 1% cash-back on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, drug store and recurring payments. Recurring includes payments automatically billed to the card on a regular basis i.e. telecommunications, insurance, membership, subscriptions, etc. The card also earns 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.
Other card features include a 25% discount off base rate for AVIS and Budget locations in Canada and the U.S. Supplementary cards can be added to the account without an additional fee.
The preferred, or on-going fixed interest rate for purchases is 19.99%. For cash advances the fixed APR is 22.99%. The punitive interest rate is a fixed 24.99% for purchases and a fixed 27.99% for cash advances.
The interest-free grace period is 21 days for new purchases paid-in-full and 25 days for accounts carrying balances forward.
The foreign conversion rate is 2.50% with no cap. Cash advance fees vary by the source and location of the cash advance made. The over-limit fees is $29.00.
To quality for the Scotia Momentum No Fee Visa you must be a Canadian citizen or a Permanent Resident and your annual gross income must be least $12,000.
Scotiabank also offers 17 other consumer credit cards:
- Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite – APPLY NOW!
- Scotiabank Gold American Express – APPLY NOW!
- Scotiabank Momentum Visa infinite
- SCENE Visa – APPLY NOW!
- Scotiabank Momentum Mastercard – APPLY NOW!
- Scotiabank Momentum Visa – APPLY NOW!
- Scotiabank American Express – APPLY NOW!
- Scotiabank Platinum American Express – APPLY NOW!
- Scotiabank Passport Visa Gold – APPLY NOW!
- Scotiabank Rewards Visa – APPLY NOW!
- Scotiabank Value No-Fee Visa – APPLY NOW!
- Scotiabank Value Visa – APPLY NOW!
- Scotiabank U.S. Dollar Visa – APPLY NOW!
- Scotiabank GM Visa Infinite – APPLY NOW!
- L’earn Visa – APPLY NOW!
- Scotiabank GM Visa – APPLY NOW!
- SCENE Student Visa – APPLY NOW!
The Bank of Nova Scotia, operating as Scotiabank, is a Canadian multinational bank and the third largest bank in Canada.
2. President’s Choice World Mastercard
The President’s Choice Financial World Mastercard, issued by President’s Choice Bank, offers PC Optimum points for purchases.
Cardholders earn extra 10 points per $1 spent in most stores but can earn up to 35 bonus points per $1 spent at places like Shoppers Drug Mart. You can redeem 10,000 points for up to $10 worth of free rewards.
New cardholders are also eligible for a six month promotional rate of 0.97% for balance transfers.
The card carries no annual fee and an interest rate of 19.97% for purchases and 22.97% for cash advances. There is a 21 day interest-free grace period on new purchases.
A minimum annual personal income of $60,000 or household income of $100,000 is required for a PC Financial World Mastercard. To upgrade from another PC Financial Mastercard, the same income or a minimum $15,000 annual spending on the card is required.
President’s Choice Bank offers two other consumer credit cards:
President’s Choice Bank is a subsidiary of Loblaw Companies.
3. Triangle Mastercard
The Triangle Mastercard, issued by Canadian Tire Bank, offers 4% cashback on Canadian Tire Money retailers and 5 cents cash back, per liter, on all fuel types at Gas +1 and Husky stations. The card also offers no fee, no interest financing on qualifying purchases over $200.
The card carries no annual fee, a 19.99% purchase interest rate and a
cash transaction interest rate of 22.99%. The grace period 21 days, except 26 days in Quebec. The foreign transaction fee is 2.5%.
Canadian Tire Bank offers two other consumer credit cards:
Canadian Tire Bank is the financial services subsidiary of the Canadian Tire retail chain.
4. Capital One Guaranteed Mastercard
The Capital One Guaranteed Mastercard, issued by Capital One Canada, offers a card to anyone who meets four criteria: age of majority; haven’t applied for COF card in the last 30 days; don’t have an existing COF account or pending application; and haven’t had a Capital One account not in good standing in last year.
There is $59 annual fee and the purchase interest rate is 19.8%. The balance transfer interest rate is 19.8% and the cash advance rate 19.8%.
Credit limits run between $300 to $7000.
Capital One Canada offers five other consumer credit cards:
- Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard
- Guaranteed Mastercard
- Aspire Travel Platinum Mastercard
- Aspire Cash Platinum Mastercard
- Capital One Mastercard for Costco Members Only
Capital One Canada is a branch of U.S.-based Capital One Financial Corporation.
5. American Express Cobalt Card
The American Express Cobalt Card, issued by Amex Bank of Canada, offers 5X points on grocery & dining (up to $30,000 annually); 2X points on travel expenses in Canada; and 1X points on everything else.
Cardholders can earn up to 30,000 point in first year, up to 2,500 Membership Rewards points monthly by charging $500 in purchases per month.
Additionally, cardholders have access the benefits of the Amex Invites program and perks from The Hotel Collection from American Express,
The monthly fee is $10. The interest rate on purchases is 19.99% and
22.99% on cash advances.
Amex Bank Canada offers 13 other consumers credit card and five business cards in Canada:
- American Express Gold Rewards Card
- The Platinum Card
- SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express
- SimplyCash Card from American Express
- American Express Essential Credit Card
- Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
- American Express AIR MILES Credit Card
- American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card
- American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card
- American Express AeroPlan Gold Card
- American Express Aeroplan Plus Platinum Card
- American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
- American Express AeroplanPlus Card
- American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
- Business Platinum from American Express
- Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card
- American Express AIR MILES for Business Card
- American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card
Amex Bank of Canada is part of the U.S.-based American Express Corporation.
6. BMO CashBack Mastercard
The BMO CashBack Mastercard, issued by BMO Bank of Montreal, offers an on-going 1% cash back on all credit card purchases. When cardholders earn $50 in cash back, redemption is by direct transfer to a BMO checking or savings account, deposit to Investorline account; or as a credit on the BMO credit card statement.
New cardholders earn 5% cash back for the first three months and a 1.99% introductory rate interest rate on balance transfers for nine months with a 1% balance transfer fee.
Other BMO CashBack Mastercard features include a 25% discount off base rates for National and Alamo. Supplementary cards can be added to the account without an additional fee. Purchase protection and extended warranty covering most purchases is included.
The BMO CashBack Mastercard has no annual fee and carries an interest rate of 19.99% for purchases and 22.99% for cash advances. Cardholders in default are accessed a punitive interest rate of 24.99% for purchases and 29.99% for cash advances. The over-limit fee is $29, the foreign currency conversion fee is 2.50% plus Mastercard’s conversion fee.
Bank of Montreal offers 12 other consumer credit cards and four business credit cards:
- BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard
- BMO World Elite Mastercard
- BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
- BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard
- BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
- BMO Rewards Mastercard
- BMO SPC CashBack Mastercard
- BMO SPC AIR MILES Mastercard
- BMO U.S. Dollar Mastercard
- BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard
- BMO CashBack World Mastercard
- BMO AIR MILES World Mastercard
- BMO Business Mastercards
BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider – the 8th largest bank in North America with $807 billion total assets.
7. RBC Visa Infinite Avion
The RBC Visa Infinite Avion, issued by the Royal Bank of Canada, is a travel credit card earning one point for every dollar charged. New cardholders receive 15,000 welcome points.
The card also offers 3 cents off per liter on Petrol-Canada fuel and 20% more Petrol Points.
There are no blackout periods or seat restrictions when redeeming. The card also offers extensive travel insurance benefits.
The card carries a $120 annual fee and a purchase interest rate of 19.99% and a cash rate of 22.99%.
To qualify applicants must have a minimum personal income of $60,000 or
a minimum household income of $100,000.
RBC also offers 15 other consumer credit cards and five business cards:
- RBC Rewards+ Visa
- RBC Cash Back Preferred World Elite Mastercard
- RBC Cash Back Mastercard
- RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option
- WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard
- RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege
- Signature RBC Rewards Visa
- RBC Visa Platinum Avion
- RBC Visa Platinum
- RBC Rewards Visa Preferred
- RBC RateAdvantage Visa
- RBC U.S. Dollar Visa Gold
- WestJet RBC Mastercard
- RBC British Airways Visa Infinite
- RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum
- RBC Avion Visa Infinite Business
- RBC Visa Business Platinum Avion
- RBC Business Cash Back Mastercard
- RBC Visa Business
- RBC Visa CreditLine for Small Business
RBC is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
8. ECHO Cashback Mastercard
The ECHO Cashback Mastercard, issued by the National Bank of Canada, offers 1.5% cash back on gas, groceries and online purchases, and 1.0% cash back on other purchases.
The card carries a $30 annual fee and a 19.99% purchase interest rate and a 22.99% interest rate on balance transfers or cash advances.
National Bank of Canada also offers eight consumer credit cards and five business credit cards:
- mycredit Mastercard
- World Elite Mastercard
- Allure Mastercard
- World Mastercard
- Platinum Mastercard
- Syncro Mastercard
- Ultramar Mastercard
- MCI Mastercard
- Mastercard Business Card
- Platinum Mastercard Business Card
- Mastercard Corporate Card
- Mastercard Business Line
- National Bank U.S. Dollar Mastercard Business Card
National Bank of Canada has #263 billion is assets.
9. CIBC Aventura Visa
The CIBC Aventura Visa card, issued by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, is a points rewards card offering one point for $1 at gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores; one point for $1 spent on travel through CIBC Rewards Centre; and one point for every $2 on all other purchases.
The card earns 2,500 points when cardholders spend $500 or more during the first four monthly periods. Cardholders can earn 500 extra points for having checking account, adding authorized user and eStatements.
New cardholders receive 5,000 bonus points.
A minimum annual income of $15,000 is required.
The card carries no annual fee and has a 19.99% purchase APR and a 22.99% cash APR.
CIBC also offers 12 consumer credit cards and five business credit cards:
- CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
- CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card
- CIBC U.S. Dollar Aventura Gold Visa Card
- CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege Card
- CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Card
- CIBC Aero Platinum Visa Card
- CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card
- CIBC Dividend Platinum Visa Card
- CIBC Dividend Visa Card
- CIBC Aventura Visa Card for Students
- CIBC Aero Platinum Visa Card for Students
- CIBC Dividend Visa Card for Students
- CIBC Aventura Visa Card for Business
- CIBC Aerogold Visa Card for Business
CIBC is part of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
10. MBNA True Line Mastercard
The MBNA True Line Mastercard, issued by MBNA, offers the lowest rates in Canada. The card offers a 0% promo rate for first 10 months (+3% fee).
There is no annual fee and the card carries a 12.99% interest rate for purchases, a 12.99% interest rate for transfers and checks; and a 24.99% interest rate for cash advances.
MBNA also offers 12 other consumer credit cards:
- MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard
- MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard
- MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard
- MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard
- MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard
- Best Western Rewards Mastercard
- Harley Davidson Mastercard
- Nordstrom Rewards Visa
- Melaleuca Mastercard
- The Royal Canadian Legion MBNA Rewards Mastercard
- Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard
- Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard
MBNA is a division of Toronto-Dominion Bank. CUETS Financial is also a credit card division of Toronto-Dominion Bank.