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Best Credit cards for december 2022 in Canada

Apply for a best credit card. On 03.12.2022 you have access to 11 credit cards. Increase your chances of getting money — fill out a multi-application with a free credit rating check.

Offers: 11

Updated
01.12.2022
13:13
Toronto-Dominion Bank
TD® Cash Back Visa Card®
Rating by Finanso®
i

The rating by Finanso® is determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula includes a financial product type as well as tariffs, fees, rewards and other options.

Recommended FinScore™
0
300
650
1000
Rate
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Effective interest rate on the product

19.99% - 22.99%
Toronto-Dominion Bank
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Card
Rating by Finanso®
i

The rating by Finanso® is determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula includes a financial product type as well as tariffs, fees, rewards and other options.

Recommended FinScore™
0
300
650
1000
from $5,000
Rate
i

Effective interest rate on the product

19.99% - 22.99%
Scotiabank
Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite Card
Rating by Finanso®
i

The rating by Finanso® is determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula includes a financial product type as well as tariffs, fees, rewards and other options.

Recommended FinScore™
0
300
650
1000
Rate
i

Effective interest rate on the product

20.99% - 22.99%
Submit your credit card application online
Submit your credit card application online

Take advantage of our credit card selection system with a free credit check!

Royal Bank of Canada
RBC Avion Visa Infinite Business®
Rating by Finanso®
i

The rating by Finanso® is determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula includes a financial product type as well as tariffs, fees, rewards and other options.

Recommended FinScore™
0
300
650
1000
Rate
i

Effective interest rate on the product

21.99% - 22.99%
Royal Bank of Canada
RBC British Airways Visa Infinite®
Rating by Finanso®
i

The rating by Finanso® is determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula includes a financial product type as well as tariffs, fees, rewards and other options.

Recommended FinScore™
0
300
650
1000
Rate
i

Effective interest rate on the product

21.99% - 22.99%
Royal Bank of Canada
RBC Visa Platinum®
Rating by Finanso®
i

The rating by Finanso® is determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula includes a financial product type as well as tariffs, fees, rewards and other options.

Recommended FinScore™
0
300
650
1000
Rate
i

Effective interest rate on the product

26.99% - 27.99%
Royal Bank of Canada
RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege®
Rating by Finanso®
i

The rating by Finanso® is determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula includes a financial product type as well as tariffs, fees, rewards and other options.

Recommended FinScore™
0
300
650
1000
Rate
i

Effective interest rate on the product

21.99% - 22.99%
Royal Bank of Canada
WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard®
Rating by Finanso®
i

The rating by Finanso® is determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula includes a financial product type as well as tariffs, fees, rewards and other options.

Recommended FinScore™
0
300
650
1000
Rate
i

Effective interest rate on the product

21.99% - 22.99%
Royal Bank of Canada
RBC Avion Visa Platinum®
Rating by Finanso®
i

The rating by Finanso® is determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula includes a financial product type as well as tariffs, fees, rewards and other options.

Recommended FinScore™
0
300
650
1000
Rate
i

Effective interest rate on the product

21.99% - 22.99%
Royal Bank of Canada
RBC Cash Back Mastercard®
Rating by Finanso®
i

The rating by Finanso® is determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula includes a financial product type as well as tariffs, fees, rewards and other options.

Recommended FinScore™
0
300
650
1000
Rate
i

Effective interest rate on the product

21.99% - 22.99%

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the application is easy and takes less then 5 mins to fill out. but the funding time is quite long. if looking for instant funding then its not here...
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Best Credit cards for december 2022

Looking for a perfect credit card? The rough estimate of credit cards within Canada is approximately 80 million. That’s not surprising. Canadians use credit cards for different reasons starting with shopping and ending with reserving flights. Credit cards are a great way to start building a solid credit history. Of course, everyone has different spending habits, so some options may work great for some people and for others may not. Not to buy a pig in a poke read our article about the best credit cards in Canada which will give the information you need about the credit card market.

Everyone knows that a credit card is a payment card with the bank's money on it. When you make a purchase with a credit card, you borrow from the bank and then give it back. You can pay with a credit card on the Internet, in shops, cafés, restaurants, pharmacies, and shopping centers — in any places where bank cards are accepted for payment. From the store's point of view, a credit card is no different from a debit card: it's the same money.

Some credit cards come with an annual fee, but there are some that are totally free. If you have this question - how to opt for the best possible option for yourself, this article will walk you through the best credit cards in Canada. Let’s start!

Major types of credit cards in Canada

Ready to enter the credit card world? It’s essential to know the major types of credit cards before diving into the game. When applying for a credit card the first thing to consider is its type. You may come across different types of credit cards as a variety of credit cards are available for Canadians, each aimed at certain financial goals. One type is good for one situation, and the other fits other circumstances. That’s why it’s better to know how different types of credit cards work. Let’s jump right into it!

In the most general sense, there are three main types: those intended for use by general consumers, students, and small business owners. 

General consumers are the largest segment of the market. The terms vary widely, based on issuer, card network, credit score requirements, and a number of other factors. Users of general-consumer credit cards are eligible for all consumer protections. 

If you are a business owner, a business card can help you carry out your business investments and purchases. Business credit cards tend to offer higher credit lines than their general-consumer counterparts. They also give you special expense tracking features, the ability to customize spending limits for employee users, and rewards targeted to common company expenses, such as office supplies. Business credit card users are not eligible for a number of important consumer protections. 

Student credit cards

College students are a unique group that requires special offers as their income is limited. When you’re new to credit in general student credit cards can be typically easier to get, and the aim of those is to help you build up your initial credit and establish financial habits.

There are also many different types of credit cards within those three groups as well based on the fees, interest rates, rewards, and benefits offered. 

Secured cards

Secured cards should be guaranteed by collateral, typically by a refundable deposit. In case you default on your payments the credit card’s lender may keep your deposit. Usually, a secured credit card has a limit equal to 50 percent to 100 percent of the amount of the deposit. 

Low-interest credit cards

Low-interest credit cards either offer a low introductory rate on balance transfers or a low intro rate on new card purchases. Regular APRs tend to be high.   

Rewards cards

There are cash back and rewards credit cards. Credit cards offer spending-based rewards in terms of cash back, points, and miles. You can gain either a percentage back on card purchases (cash rewards), or you can build up points that you can use for travel expenses. Some credit cards offer the same “earning rate” across all purchase types, while others provide extra rewards in certain specific categories, such as eligible gas, groceries, and travel. It’s also common for cards to offer “bonuses”.  

No-fee credit cards

Credit cards without fees are generally seen as an ideal starting point within the credit card game. If you are averse to paying any credit card annual fees consider no annual fee credit cards. They can be a good fit for you if you are a student, a lower-income individual, or somebody who is building a new credit history from scratch. But even for more advanced credit card practitioners who might also be pursuing more powerful credit card rewards out there with higher annual fees, there is still an important role to play for no annual fee credit cards. As these cards have no fee, you just keep them open year after year to prop up your credit history and have them continue to contribute to the average age of accounts criteria on your credit file. 

Top credit cards in Canada

You're probably seeing dozens of ads every day on TV, online, or even in the mail about which credit cards to apply for. It’s worth noting that information from the websites can be biased as credit card companies pay huge commissions to review websites to get on their top. Make sure to examine available options prior to jumping right into the credit card game. 

The truth is that there are so many options, and it’s tough to choose what cards make the most sense for you. So, there are literally hundreds of credit cards out there, and we definitely are not able to cover everything in this article. Nevertheless, we have compiled the picks for the top credit cards in Canada. Let’s dip our toes into the game!

Best travel credit cards

If you are into travel, by getting sign-up bonuses you can travel the world in ways you’ve never thought possible before. So, the best cards for traveling:

CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card

One of the best credit cards if you are new to a credit card game is the no annual fee Aeroplan co-branded credit card - CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card. It will help you get started collecting points which will help you travel the world better. The Aeroplan program has historically been in Canada one of the best options for booking high-value travel using your points. That means that you’re earning your points, and you’re not just getting a fixed return on it as you would with cash back, but instead, you’re using those points to unlock higher value when you’re booking travels. So, that would include economy class tickets that would otherwise cost you a lot of money or perhaps a business class or first class travel. This card gives access to the Aeroplan program and is one of the best beginner cards to start with. 

Pros

  • No annual fee;

  • One of the best cards to get started without the burden of having to pay an annual fee;

  • Gives a welcome bonus of ten thousand Aeroplan points which is worth about $210;

  • On top of that, this card gives access to the preferred pricing benefit which means a discount on every Aeroplan flight you redeem for. 

Cons

  • The interest rate of 20.99% on purchases, and 22.99% on cash advances (21.99% for Quebec residents).

American Express Gold Rewards Card

It is good for people who are looking for premium travel. It can be considered one of the best cards to be introduced to the membership rewards ecosystem. There is an annual fee of $250 on this card, but if you apply through a referral link you might get a welcome bonus of 40,000 membership rewards points. It also offers a pretty competitive return on your everyday spending, at least by Canadian standards. You’ll get 2x points on gas, groceries, drugstores, and eligible travel purchases and 1x points on other eligible purchases. It’s not the strongest return, there are going to be stronger returns that we cover.

Pros

  • 2x on travel, gas, grocery, and drug store purchases;

  • 1x on any everyday purchases;

  • Travel coverage including travel insurance;

  • Exclusive offers. 

Cons

  • $250 annual fee.

TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite Card

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card is a good option if you envision yourself with Air Canada fairly frequently. This card is one of the strongest cards in terms of the ongoing benefits especially if you travel as a couple or a family. The first reason why this card is good for beginners is that it allows them to earn aero plan points just like CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card with Aeroplan points being one of the most valuable currencies in Canada for high-value travel. The annual fee is $120. 

Pros

  • Annual fee waiver for the first year if apply before October 29;

  • Huge welcome bonus of up to 100,000 points;

  • 9x points when you book travel online through Expedia;

  • 3x points on all other eligible purchases;

  • Earn free flights and hotel stays.

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide airport access.

American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card

If you are looking for a card with Air Canada benefits, in particular, consider the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card. As a premium credit card not only does it give you the first free check back on Air Canada flights, but it also gives you comprehensive travel insurance, priority check-in for boarding, and the maple leaf airport lounge access prior to your flight.

If you’re interested in maximizing the points even if you do have to pay an annual fee, the ends justify the means. Has one of the highest welcome bonuses on the market of up to 85,000 Aeroplan points upon signing up. You’ll get 55,000 bonus points upon spending $6,000 in net purchases on your Card within the first 6 months. Plus you can also get 5,000 Aeroplan points for each of the first 6 months that you spend $1,000 in eligible card purchases for a total of 30,000 points there. This card’s benefits will be useful if you do travel with Air Canada often. 

The annual fee is $599 offset by $100 statement credits in the first year. 

Pros

  • maximize the points from the get-go; 

  • 3x on eligible Air Canada flights purchases;

  • 2x on eligible dining and food delivery;

  • 1.25x on other purchases;

  • 85,000 Aeroplan points will be enough for a business flight over to Europe and almost enough for a business class flight over to Asia;

  • Air Canada airport lounge access;

  • Travel insurance;

  • Other travel rewards.

Cons

  • $599 annual fee.

  • Best travel rewards apply to Air Canada.

American Express Cobalt® Card 

The American Express Cobalt Card is one of the perennial favorites of the Canadian credit card market. It is one of the simplest and the most rewarding one-stop-shop solutions to get started with earning points on your daily purchases, and getting an initial signup bonus. It has got a $12.99 monthly fee which equals an annual fee of $155.88. Furthermore, it has a signup bonus that is also delivered monthly. So, during the first 12 months each month that you spend $500 on the card, you’ll earn 2,500 membership bonus points for a total of 30,000 points in the first year. What makes the cobalt card so special and popular among Canadian cardholders are its elevated earning rate of 5x points on eligible eats and drinks purchases. That includes everything that you’re likely to spend money on for eligible eats and drinks such as food delivery services or grocery purchases, as well as in the future when we’re dining out all eligible eats and drinks earns 5x the points. Interest rates of 20.99% on purchases, and 21.99% on cash advances.

Keep in mind that you can actually maximize the 5x rate further if you go to the grocery stores and purchase gift cards for other places where you might shop. You will earn 5x the point on all these purchases because you are buying a gift card at grocery stores. With this card, you will feel very rewarded because the 5x rate is one of the strongest in Canada.  

Pros

  • Welcome bonus up to 30,000 points: you can earn 2,500 points each month for spending $500 monthly in net purchases during the first year. 

  • Boasts high rewards; 

  • Earn 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks purchases in Canada, including groceries and food delivery; 3x on eligible streaming subscriptions; 1x on other purchases for every $1;

  • Transferring points to airlines and hotels; 

  • Access to other perks, such as great events and special offers. 

Cons

  • The caveat is that it earns membership select points, not regular points, and they can not be transferred to airlines, instead, they can only be transferred to hotel partners such as Marriott Bonvoy. You can also redeem points directly through the American Express program;

  • No additional travel benefits for travelers, such as airport lounge access, and medical coverage. 

Best student credit card

BMO CashBack Mastercard

This no-annual-fee card has an incredible offer of 3% cash back on groceries which is better than most premium credit cards with an annual fee. The main focus of this card is cash back on groceries. Depending on your area, Walmart, and Super Centres might be considered grocery stores and you can get 3% cash back. However, you are limited to $500 a month on groceries. That card also offers 1% cash back on recurring bill payments. That includes your cell phone, internet, Netflix, and household utility purchases. As a sign-up bonus, this card will offer a generous 5% promotional cash back rate for the first 3 months. What’s more, most of the cards pay out their cash back only once a year but here you can redeem it anytime you want as long as you have a credit card balance of at least one dollar. 

Pros

  • No annual fee;

  • A great option for those who spend a lot on groceries;

  • Welcome bonus of 5% cash back on everyday spending within the first 3 months up to  $2,500 ($500 on groceries, $500 spend in recurring bill payments, $1,500 on other purchases); 

  • Earn 3% cash back on groceries;

  • 1% cash back on recurring bill payments;

  • Additional perks, such as extended insurance on purchases. 

Cons

  • Limit on groceries up to $500 to get 3% cash back;

  • Low cash back of 0.5% on other eligible credit card purchases;

  • A 2% fee for balance transfers

Best low-interest rate credit cards

Scotiabank Value® Visa Card

This low-interest credit card is intended for an individual looking for a balance transfer credit card. With its help, you will be able to transfer balances from higher-rate credit cards and save money with low interest. Although it comes with a $29 annual fee it also comes with 12,99% interest rates on eligible purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.

Pros

  • Annual fee rebate for the first year;

  • After that comparably low annual fee of $29;

  • Special offer of 0.00% on balance transfers for the first 6 months;

  • Low 12.99% interest rate both on purchases and cash advances;

  • For the first 6 months offers a special introductory interest rate on cash advances of 0.00% (12.99% after that);

Cons

  • Occasional special offers of an annual fee waiver;

  • No sign-up bonuses, no cash back;

  • Rewards are not available;

  • Insurance coverage is not available;

  • Requirement of $12,000 (individual) annual income to be eligible, as well as Canadian residence and Canadian credit file, are needed.

Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card

Another low-interest credit card with luxury perks and premium travel rewards is a good fit for travelers seeking a low rate on purchases and cash advances. Travel abroad with no foreign transaction fees.

Pros

  • Low-interest rate of 9.99% for eligible purchases and cash advances; 

  • Welcome bonus up to $60,000 for new cardholders (only for those who open an account by October 31, 2022), conditions apply;

  • Foreign purchases will not be charged any foreign transaction fees including online shopping;

  • Travel insurance package that provides 12 types of insurance, including medical coverage of $2 million for you and your family (spouse, children, or dependents under the age of 65). 

  • Mobile device insurance;

  • Travel privileges with 10 free visits with Priority Pass membership VIP lounge access at over 600 airports worldwide; 

  • Access to premium events, services, tours, and many more. 

Cons

  • Quite high annual fee of $399.

Best credit card rewards

Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card

One of the first things to know is that this card is specifically for the Canadian market. As for the credit card interest rates, they are 20.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances. The welcome bonus is offered in two parts. First, you will earn 20,000 Scene+ bonus points after you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months from an account opening. Second, to earn the other 20,000 Scene+ points, you need to spend at least $7,500 within the first year of card ownership. Therefore, to get 40,000 bonuses, you need to spend a total of $8,500 in the first year, which averages about $177 a week. And these bonus points according to Scotia Bank are worth up to $500, and it easily covers the annual fee when it kicks in during the second year of card ownership. 

It is good for anybody who likes to travel as it offers quite a lot of related benefits. First, you will have travel insurance for you, your spouse, your dependent children, and any other supplementary cardholders for up to $1,000,000. This will cover things such as sudden illness or accidental injury whilst traveling outside your province or territory of residence in Canada. You will also get trip cancellation insurance which will cover up to $1,500 per person if you have to cancel or interrupt a trip. For this to be valid you must pay for at least 75% of the trip on the card. The maximum coverage per trip is $10,000. In addition, you will get flight delay insurance which will cover up to $500 per person if you miss your flight or the flight is delayed more than 4 hours. Moreover, there is also delayed and lost baggage insurance that covers up to $1,000 if your luggage is lost or delayed more than 4 hours. Other kinds of travel insurance are also provided. More information is on the official website. 

Pros 

  • Annual fee rebate for the first year upon account opening by October 31, 2022;

  • No foreign transaction fees - you can make foreign currency purchases without any fees while traveling overseas or when shopping online for the US product which is rare amongst Canadian credit cards;

  • Earn 5x points per $1 spent at eligible grocery stores, restaurants, food delivery services, and entertainment purchases, such as movies, theatres, and tickets all within Canada;

  • Next, you will earn 3x points per $1 spent on eligible streaming services (including Netflix), gas, and daily transit, such as taxes, subways, Uber, and more; 

  • And other purchases will receive 1x point per $1 spent;

  • Other travel-related perks (are listed above). 

Cons

  • $29 cost for supplementary cards;

  • Expiration of the points after 12 months from the purchase date. 

Best for cash back bonus rewards

Cash back means a partial refund of a purchase cost that is normally paid back to you by the card issuer of he merchant.

Statement credit is similar but not the same as cash back. Statement credit is not sent directly to your bank account like cash back. Instead, what you earn is applied to your existing balance, reducing your debt.

American Express SimplyCash™ Card

If you want to keep things simple but still have the benefits of an American Express card like participating in American Express offers. This card takes the lead because it offers 2% cash back on purchases. The card offers 10% cash back in the first four months. That’s one of the best all-around cash back rates.

Pros

  • No annual fee;

  • Simplicity;

  • With this card you’re getting a 2% discount on your everyday spending;

  • Has a referral program - every time you refer this card to a friend, you will receive $50 in cash back up to $750;

  • Benefits like front-of-the-line access (allows buying tickets for concerts and sporting events 3-5 days before they go on sale to the public);

Cons

  • Not all vendors accept American Express (All the big stores like Walmart, Best Buy, and Sobey’s will accept it except for Costco and Loblaws). 

  • The acceptance rate on this card is not going to be as strong as some of the Visa or MasterCard. 

You may opt for other American Express cards instead where you are earning a more powerful points currency albeit at a lower earning rate.

American Express SimplyCash™ Preferred Card 

Go for this card to get a higher earning rate. It does come with a $99 annual fee but 2% cash back more than makes up for it as long as you spend at least $5,000 a year. There is no other card on the market that gives 2% cash back across the board. It comes with a 19.99% interest rate on purchases and 21.99% on cash advances.

Pros

  • 2% cash back on everything;

  • Does not have a high-income requirement;

  •  $100 per Referral up to $1,500 a year (if you refer one that covers the annual fee already);

  • Front-of-the-line access benefits. 

Cons

  • Not all stores accept American Express including Costco and Loblaws.

Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa Card

Another cash back credit card is the 0%-annual-fee credit card. It is great for getting cash back by making everyday purchases. Just for using this card at restaurants, coffee shops, and bars, you get a whopping 4% cash back. Not only that, you get 1.5% cash back on eligible gas, groceries, reoccurring bills, and drugstore purchases. Moreover, there is 0.5% cash back on other eligible purchases. This is a perfect card for potatoes who go out only to buy eligible eats from restaurants or buy some groceries. You will be earning free money in a form of cash back doing what you already do just by using this credit card. 

It comes with an average interest rate of 19.99% on purchases and a 22.99% interest rate on cash advances. As a small pleasant addition, you can earn up to $500 in the first 4 months as a 10% bonus cash back at restaurants and bars. 

Pros

  • No annual fee;

  • 10% ash back intro offer;

  • 4% cash back at restaurants.

Cons

  • Comes with a pretty low 1,5% cash back on groceries, gas, and drug stores and 0,5% cash back on other eligible purchases.

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite Card 

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card offers 4% cash back on groceries and recurring bill payments make it perfect if groceries and monthly bills are your biggest personal expenses. This card comes with a $120 annual fee. Cash back is paid once a year. The interest rate is 20.99% on purchases, and 22.99% on cash advances.

Pros

  • 4% cash back on groceries and bills including cell phone, Internet, Netflix, and household utility purchases; 

  • 2% cash back on eligible gas and transit things like bus passes, and Uber;

  • 1% cash back on everything else; 

Cons

  • Requires strong credit score and income of at least $60,000 or a household income of $100,000; 

  • Walmart is not considered a grocery store;

Best no annual fee credit cards

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is one of the best general-purpose no-annual-fee credit cards if you are looking for something simple and less complex than an airline or hotel loyalty program. The interest rate is 19.99% on purchases, and 24.99% on cash advances.

Pros

  • Welcome bonus up to 10,000 - 5,000 points upon an account opening and spending $500 in the first 3 months and 5,000 points opting into electronic statements;

  • Strong earning rate of 4 MBNA bonus points per $1 spent on eligible gas, groceries, restaurants, and digital media during the first 90 days, thereafter 2 MBNA bonus points in those categories;

  • 1x on other eligible purchases;

  • Redemption of points for travel purchases;

  • Decently strong travel insurance package - you’ll be covered in the event of a common carrier accident; 

Cons

  • No additional travel perks, such as airport lounge access;

  • Earning rate of 2x points applies until $10,000 is spent annually.

CIBC Aeroplan Visa Credit Card

We have already considered this card in the "Travel" category but once again tell about it. For a more detailed description find it in the “Travel” category. 

If you are interested in collecting Aeroplan points, but you don’t want to shell out an annual fee on a credit card, this card is a great choice along with other travel rewards cards. 

Pros

  • $0 annual fee;

  • $0 for up to 9 additional cards;

  • Earning rate of 1 Aeroplan point per $1 spent on Air Canada, eligible gas, and groceries;

  • Earning rate of 1 Aeroplan point per $1.5 spent on all other purchases;

  • Welcome bonus of 10,000 Aeroplan points upon first purchase; 

  • Preferred pricing on Air Canada flights;

Cons

  • No premium travel perks.

Note! There are often better ways to gain more rewards while still not paying any fees at all. For example, you can sign up for credit cards that waive the fee for the first year. With CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite card you can get a one-time annual fee rebate ($139). So, you are not paying the fee in the first year, and then by the second year’s time you can downgrade it to the no-fee CIBC Aeroplan Visa card, and you would have come out ahead with even more earnings and an even higher earning rate in the first year comparing to just getting the CIBC Aeroplan Visa card directly.

American Express® Green Card

American Express Green Card is a great start for travelers as there are transferring points to airlines and hotel programs and there is no annual fee. 

The interest rate is 20.99% on purchases, and 21.99% on cash advances. In case of missed payments, the rates for your account will be 23.99% and/or 26.99%. 

Pros

  • Annual fee of $0;

  • The welcome bonus of 10,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of card membership;

  • 1x on card purchases;

  • 1x additional reward for every $1 on eligible hotel and car rental bookings made with American Express Travel;

  • Redeem points for gift cards, merchandise, purchases made at Amazon.ca, or eligible travel purchases; 

  • Exclusive offers with American Express. 

Cons

  • Limited travel benefits;

  • Lack of travel insurance options.

Best for bonus categories

Tangerine Money-Back Card

With this credit card, you can choose three out of ten categories to earn 2% cash back. These are going to be groceries, furniture, restaurants, hotels, gas, recurring bill payments, drug stores, home improvement, entertainment, public transportation, and parking. You can change your selections for these categories once every three months. So, you can tailor 2% cash back earning to whichever categories you spend the most money in as time goes by. 

We don’t recommend using this credit card for all purchases. This card is a great tool to combine with your other credit card as you look to maximize your cash back return on every dollar spent.

Pros

  • $0 annual fee;

  • Unlimited cash back at a 2% rate in up to three categories of your choice.

Cons

  • The caveat here is that you are going to earn zero cash back rewards on purchases outside these three chosen categories;

  • The interest of 1.95% on the transferred balance only for the first 30 days;

  • No physical banks as Tangerine is a virtual one. 

Note! Conditions Apply for each credit card in particular. Check the official website for full details, current product information, and Terms and Conditions. 

How to choose a credit card in Canada

To make the most of your credit cards, you have to be using the ones that fit your needs. We are going to be looking at how to opt for the right credit card, so you will be starting off on the right track. Let’s dive into the process of picking up a credit card!

When it comes to picking a credit card there is more to consider than a rate alone. You need to understand your goal for having a credit card, spending habits, and eligibility criteria.

Follow these steps to make the process easier:

Understand your credit card goal

The first thing that you should be doing is figuring out your goal or your aim with having a credit card. What is the main thing you want to accomplish with your card? What interest rate is acceptable for you?

It’s essential to determine what you need the credit card for, especially if you are new to a credit card game. First, if you are a beginner having no clue what to choose, you better be focusing on credit cards with no annual fees. If you are a student, you can opt for a student credit card. Sticking with no annual fee cards or student cards is a good start to establishing your credit history. 

If your goal is to save on interest, you can opt for a low-interest credit card. If you think you will, or you are planning on carrying a credit card balance month to month, and you know interest is going to accrue, and you want to make sure that the interest is low this is an option for you. Even though this is not the option we can recommend because we definitely do not recommend carrying a credit card balance and going into credit card debt. 

If your goal is to get cash back or rewards, there are cash back and rewards credit cards. Cash back credit card gives you the option to earn cash back by making eligible purchases. A rewards credit card provides benefits in various forms, such as travel rewards or point bonuses.

Your focus in choosing a credit card should always be on finding the best terms, which means rewards, earning rates fees, and APR, among cards you have a high likelihood of being approved for, based on your credit standing. Search for an offer that compliments your lifestyle. 

To help you set your goal, think about what credit card purchases you will make, thus what perks you are looking for. An important factor to consider is whether you want to earn cash back or points per travel. Cash back is straightforward and easier to manage. But if you urge traveling, then travel credit cards that earn bonus points can definitely give you a much higher upside with value.

In general, with travel credit cards look to get flexible points currencies over specific airline and hotel credit cards. Of course, if there is a specific airline or hotel card that makes a lot of sense for you as a frequent traveler and customer, or if there is an amazing offer from a specific credit card, then go ahead and opt to get one of those instead. You can always change back and forth between cash back and travel and even have multiple credit cards on both sides. So, it’s really up to you what credit cards to choose. 

Note! Make sure to research to learn how to redeem points the best way possible. 

Compare all possible options

Don’t rush to accept the first opportunity you find. Shop around to compare credit cards and choose the one that best fits your lifestyle. Explore the market and assess the key features. And don’t forget to stick to your set goal. 

Consider the annual fee, welcome bonus, points for cash back, and categories. Some credit cards come with an annual fee while others without it. Paying an annual fee is not always a bad thing, especially when the credit card comes with good offers and rewards. But you can always avoid paying the annual fee by choosing credit cards with no annual fee. Another way to get rid of the annual fee is to opt-out of a credit card that waives the annual fee for the first year.

Now let's talk about the welcome bonus. The credit card’s initial welcome bonus is going to give the highest return on your spending and the most upfront value. That’s why it’s tempting to pick cards that have good bonuses. Make sure that you are choosing bonuses with minimum spent requirements. That should be reasonable to hit according to your normal budget because most offers require spending an excessive amount of money. The higher welcome bonus is usually coming with high annual fees. Yes, you may pay a fee but in return, you will get points which can make that annual fee worth it.

The last but not the least thing to pay attention to is cash back. Cash back credit cards are aimed to help you earn cashback in different ways. Cash back rewards are bonuses provided to customers for making purchases with their cards. Some credit cards offer users straightforward cash back in dollars or cents, while others allow you to earn points that can be later redeemed for special products or services. Credit cards accrue cash back when you are making purchases but not all cards provide rewards for all kinds of spending. Some offer cash back only for special categories. Thus, decide for yourself how you want to receive rewards, in the form of cash back or in points.

Having summarized, choose whether or not the card will have an annual fee or welcome bonus and in terms of cash back and categories, find cards that align with your spending habits. 

Consider additional perks

That would be other insurance benefits, protections, and features that are sometimes a bit harder to put a value on. These could be travel insurance, primary auto rental coverage, airport lounge access, and no foreign transaction fees (which means foreign currency purchases without any fees). It’s important to pay attention to these things if you are looking to use credit cards for travel. But only you can decide if they are worth anything to you. 

Check your eligibility

When it comes to picking the best credit card that fits your needs, you must comply with eligibility criteria. Carefully examine the requirements for credit cards you want to obtain. The first thing to take into account is your credit score. This is going to vary from person to person. There is no one exact credit score that will automatically approve you or deny you for every single credit card. In general, if you want to get the best cash back or travel credit cards you should aim to get your score into the 700s while also having a good income to report on your application. 

If you are starting from zero try to look at secured credit cards or student credit cards as they are easier to get and don’t have strict requirements. 

When you are ready - apply online

Having summarized, the order of operations to choose the right credit card. 

  1. Set a goal for a credit card;

  2. Determine the features it should have;

  3. Check the requirements;

  4. Make sure the card is worth it in the long term;

  5. When ready, apply.

How to apply for a credit card in Canada

Now you know how to choose the right credit card. Then, once you established what credit card you are looking for, the next step is to apply for it. Applying for a credit card should not be difficult. 

The application process will look something like this:

  1. Before filling in the application check the eligibility requirements

Make sure to check your credit score out before you apply for any card. It’s vital to know that you can always get approved with no surprises. Remember that applying for a new Canadian credit card requires a hard credit check, which will likely drop your credit score by a few points.

  1. Fill out the application form

Applicants have to apply through the official website of the bank or go directly to the financial institution. You need to provide basic information about yourself, including name, date of birth, address, and social security number. Supply any required documents including proof of income, so that the creditor knows that you can take on this new line of credit. If you can’t prove your income, obtaining a secured credit card is one of the ways people get their first credit card. You need to deposit some money before, so the bank can use it as collateral and will be sure that you will be able to cover your bills. 

  1. The credit card issuer will review your profile, verify your information, and pull your credit report.

How fast you will be approved depends on your profile. In case of a high credit score, you can anticipate instant approval. 

  1. If approved your card will be mailed out and will usually arrive within 14 business days.

  2. Once the card arrives you can activate it and use it to make your everyday purchases.  

Requirements

No one wants to get denied a credit card. So, let’s move on to how to figure out how to get approved for the cards that you want. 

Generally, eligibility requirements include:

  • Age

  • Residency status

  • Income

  • Credit history 

However, each card issuer determines the requirements for the particular product. With that being said, do your research first and identify some things about yourself:

  • Your current credit score;

  • Current income;

  • How many credit cards you have opened in the past 6-12 months;

  • How many credit cards you have in total with each issuer;

  • How many hard inquiries are on your credit report recently;

  • What your credit limits on existing cards are; 

  • What your credit utilization is (how much credit you are using).

Let’s talk about credit score as it’s one of the crucial values that shows your creditworthiness. Credit scores are numbers that are on a scale from 300 to 900. Those numbers show whether you are good at borrowing money and paying it back on time. The score is increasingly important because it determines your chances to be approved for any credit product. It presents a reliable snapshot of your history with debt. A lot of credit cards have score limits that you need to hit to get approved for. Some credit cards are easy for anyone to get approved for, even with low incomes, and some require a strong credit score. If you are new to credit, there are credit cards designed specifically for those without a credit history. If you are a beginner, try to stick with no-annual-fee cards until you establish your credit history for maybe a year or two. 

As long as you are in the average to good credit score zone you should have no problem getting a credit card. For those with bad credit, health-secured credit cards can be an option. 

Now we go over what counts as bad or good credit. Anywhere from 300 to 599 is considered a poor score, and on the flip side, anyone who is between 741 and 900 is considered excellent. Good credit is somewhere between 650 and 719. If you don’t know what your credit score is right now, you can check it for free yourself. You can either use TransUnion or Equifax. With these two credit bureaus, you are allowed at least one free report each year. 

The average credit card limit in Canada

Before having a credit card on your hands, you need to know how much you can spend on it. This brings us to the credit card limit which means the maximum amount of money that the issuer believes the cardholder can borrow while still keeping up with their payment obligations. Each credit card has spending restrictions and a maximum outstanding balance. Should you exceed this credit limit, you can face additional fees or even have your account suspended. 

There are a few key things you need to know. Credit limits vary considerably from person to person. There is no definite way to determine the average credit limit for a Canadian. Your credit limit is defined by a wide array of factors. These various factors estimate the riskiness of extending credit to you and what limits you will have. The relevant factors include your income, creditworthiness, length of your credit, and debt existence. Your credit score is also crucial in determining your credit limit. 

First, to receive a high credit limit, you will likely need to have good or excellent credit, a high income, and little or no existing debt. Second, the higher a person’s income is, the higher their credit limit is likely to be. Third, different generations have drastically different average credit card limits. In general, the older people are, the higher their average credit limit tends to be. That can be explained by the fact that older people are more likely to have been able to build good credit history and have established careers, therefore they have higher incomes. 

Statistically, the average credit card limit may range from $2,000 to $10,000 according to the data available from a credit bureau. However, if you are a newcomer to a credit card game, especially if you are a student, your credit card limit can be somewhere between $250 and $1,000. A premium, business, or corporate credit card comes with a higher credit

Your starting credit limit is not permanent. In case your card’s current limit isn’t sufficient to meet your needs, you can contact your issuer to ask for an increase. This requires at least six consecutive months of on-time payments and your finances to be in good order. Conversely, the credit limit can tank in case you do not pay within the monthly billing period. Therefore, always pay off in full and on time.

FAQ

What are the hardest credit cards to get in Canada?

It is generally accepted that the hardest credit cards to get are the ones with exclusive offers. However, the difficulty of approval doesn’t necessarily depend on the exclusivity and the hardest credit cards to get aren’t necessarily the best ones. First, how hard a credit card to get is relative and depends on the specific situation. For instance, most cards are hard to get approved for if you have bad credit. On the other hand, some credit cards can not be obtained simply because you have to live in a particular area or have a certain type of job. 

Therefore, it’s not easy to say what cards you will not be approved for, but if any of the following is true for you, that can decrease your approval odds: 

  • Age under 21;

  • Not regular, reliable income;

  • Short credit history;

  • Recent missed payments;

  • You have recently been denied several credit cards;

  • You have opened a new credit card recently.

Based on the Internet reviews, it was found that Amex and Chase cards are the hardest credit cards to get approved for.

What is the most accepted credit card in Canada?

Visa and Mastercard are payment giants and should be accepted everywhere as they have well-established credit card processing networks. Although Costco and No Frills don’t take Visa. 

As for American Express card, it tends to be less accepted, so make sure to have an alternative payment with you.

How many credit cards can I have?

There is no limit on how many credit cards you can have. It all depends on how much you can afford to spend and your ability to pay back on time. Having more than one card requires extra responsibility to ensure that they are paying back on time. 

Most people recommend having at least two credit cards to make the most from.

As long as you are not losing money on annual fees or having trouble keeping up with bills then you can have as many cards as you are able to manage. It is vital to pay off any outstanding money owed as soon as possible to avoid any large fees.

Is it a good idea to have more than one credit card in Canada?

Having more than one card sounds tempting. Most people with a credit card are likely to have more than one. People choose to have several credit cards to unlock the bulk of benefits. The benefit of having multiple cards is the possibility to boost your score. By using a combination of several cards on different expense categories you will be able to maximize your overall cash back with every single purchase and that can earn you hundreds or even thousands of dollars every single year. Making cash back will allow you to earn extra money that you wouldn’t get if you’re using a debit card or cash. 2 or 3 credit cards are usually enough to get the most cash back from them.

It’s actually up to you to decide how many credit cards you want to have. If you plan to have many credit cards, then you can try to optimize and get different cards that will be the best in each spending category: one card that earns on travel, one card that is good for groceries, one for dining, another for gas. You can approach it this way in case you can manage all of these cards. However, if you are more of an average credit card user, and you don’t really want to carry a lot of cards, then prioritize finding one or two cards that will earn well for your highest spending categories. A good deal would be found in at least one card that earns 4-5% cash back on groceries and another one that earns 2% cash back on everything. Getting cards like that first is going to help you set up a good foundation. Worth remembering that the downside of having multiple credit cards is the risk of going into debt by spending beyond your means. If you feel that you can’t handle several cards because you can feel a bit overwhelmed by keeping track of several accounts, then it’s not for you. That’s why utilize the number of cards you are able to manage to pay off in full each month.

Do multiple credit cards affect credit Canada?

Will it destroy your credit if you keep opening credit cards? Is canceling credit cards going to hurt your credit as well? There is a lot of misinformation about how the major credit scoring systems actually work, as well as what exactly is the impact of every event with a credit card such as opening, closing, downgrading, etc. That’s why it’s worth familiarizing yourself with how credit scores are actually calculated and what components go into one's credit score and overall credit health. To make the long story short, the credit score is composed of five different components: payment history (35% of the score), utilization (30%), length of credit history (15%), new inquiries (10%), credit mix (10%). 

When applying for a new credit card you get a new inquiry on your credit profile with one of the bureaus. That impacts the “new inquiries” criteria of your credit score which is 10% of the overall score. Since it’s better to have fewer inquiries, getting an additional credit card lowers your score by a little bit. No other components are impacted at the stage of application. 

After obtaining a new card, with the first statement, a new trade line or a new credit account shows up on your credit file. That is going to make your file look younger on average which counts against your length of credit history because after all the long history you have the better. So, the 15% component takes a slight hit whenever the first statement of a new credit card gets posted. It’s normal to see your score dip by 5 to 10 points every time you apply for a new card. Over time your history will get older and different components of your file will increase. That means the score is recovering from that initial negative impact when you just opened the card. And as long as you pay every monthly bill on time and in full your credit score will work for you. By demonstrating responsible credit usage and perfect payment history it’s easy to improve your scores. Having several credit cards allows you to spread out expenses across these multiple credit cards, which lowers the credit utilization for each card that helps to build your score. 

After closing the card the positive elements would no longer be there. Canceling your credit card reduces the average account age, and therefore it brings down your score. The overall point stands that keeping your credit account open and alive can have positive credit impacts on you.