Best cash back credit cards in Canada | July 2024

Fact Checked: Scott Birke

šŸ—“ļø

Updated: July 19, 2024

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The best cash back credit cards can help maximize your earnings on everyday spending. Cash back is one of the most attractive credit rewards options because you can spend it however you choose. There are no rules or restrictions on how you use your cash.

But which cash back credit card is best for you? Weā€™ve done the leg work of comparing all the options to help you pick one of the best cash back credit cards for your spending.

Best overall

Best cash back credit card in Canada

BMO CashBackĀ® World EliteĀ® Mastercard

Apply now

4.0

up to 10%

Welcome offer

Excellent

Suggested credit score

Get up to 10% cash back in your first 3 months and the $120 annual fee waived in the first anniversary*.

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

Pros

  • Valuable sign-up bonus

  • High 5% cash back rate on groceries

  • Free roadside assistance

  • Excellent extended warranty and purchase protection terms

Cons

  • Restrictive spending limits for most cash back categories

  • Sign-up bonus structure is head-scratchingly complicated

  • High minimum income requirements

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Required Annual Household Income

$150,000

Pros

  • Valuable sign-up bonus

  • High 5% cash back rate on groceries

  • Free roadside assistance

  • Excellent extended warranty and purchase protection terms

Cons

  • Restrictive spending limits for most cash back categories

  • Sign-up bonus structure is head-scratchingly complicated

  • High minimum income requirements

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Required Annual Household Income

$150,000

Groceries: 5% cash back up to $500 spent per month ($25 in cash back)*

5%

Transit: 4% cash back up to $300 spent per month ($12 in cash back)*

4%

Gas: 3% cash back up to $300 spent per month ($9 in cash back)*

3%

Recurring Bills: 2% cash back up to $500 spent per month ($10 in cash back)*

2%

Everything Else: 1% cash back, unlimited*

1%

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

23.99%

Cash Advance APR

23.99%

Annual Fee

$120

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.90%

  • Why we picked the BMO CashBackĀ® World EliteĀ® Mastercard

    +

    To start, you get a high 5% cash back rate on groceries and you can redeem that cash any time you like.

    It's a long standing winner of the best overall cash back cards and needed a mention here.

    You'll also get 3% back on gas, 4% back on transit (ride sharing, bus, and taxis), and 2% cash back on recurring bills (e.g. Spotify, Netflix, Gym membership).

    It also throws in roadside assistance which is a pretty sweet perk you just never want to pay for. And, it has pretty decent travel insurance which is rare for cash back cards.

    While you will have to pay the $120 annual fee, at least it's waived in the first year. However, you'll need to a minimum of $80k individual or $150k household income to qualify.

    Welcome offer: Get up to 10% cash back in your first 3 months and the $120 annual fee waived in the first anniversary*

    Cash back structure: After that 5% cash back on groceries (up to $500 per month); 4% cash back on eligible transit (up to $300 per month); 3% cash back on gas (up to $300 per month); 2% cash back on recurring bills (up to $500 spent per month); 1% cash back on all other purchasesā€ .

    *Terms and conditions apply

    ā€ Statement based on a comparison of the non-promotional grocery rewards earn rate on Canadian cash back credit cards as of June 1, 2024

    Who's eligible?

    Minimum credit score: Excellent

    Minimum income: $80,000 individual or $150,000 household

    Age: Age of majority in province

    Residency: Canadian resident

    Other: No bankruptcy for the past 7 years

Best for no fee

Best no annual fee cash back credit card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Apply now

5.0

10% back

Welcome offer

Good

Suggested credit score

Get 10% cash back on up to $1,000 in everyday purchases made within 2 months. Pay only 1.95% balance transfer interest for the first 6 months.

Expires

Nov 1, 2024

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Choose the spending categories where you want to earn the most cash back

  • Unlimited cash backā€”no maximum spending limit for any purchase category

  • Cash back is paid out monthly rather than annually

  • Periodically includes a special welcome offer where you can get extra cash back

  • 1.95% interest on balance transfers for the first 6 months (1% transfer fee applies)*

Cons

  • Regular cash back rates are still lower than what you can get from a card with an annual fee

  • Limited extra perks or benefits beyond the cash back and balance transfer promotion

  • Generally not a good fit for shopping at warehouse clubs or wholesale grocers like Costco or Walmart

  • Tangerine does not have any physical bank branches

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$12,000

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Choose the spending categories where you want to earn the most cash back

  • Unlimited cash backā€”no maximum spending limit for any purchase category

  • Cash back is paid out monthly rather than annually

  • Periodically includes a special welcome offer where you can get extra cash back

  • 1.95% interest on balance transfers for the first 6 months (1% transfer fee applies)*

Cons

  • Regular cash back rates are still lower than what you can get from a card with an annual fee

  • Limited extra perks or benefits beyond the cash back and balance transfer promotion

  • Generally not a good fit for shopping at warehouse clubs or wholesale grocers like Costco or Walmart

  • Tangerine does not have any physical bank branches

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$12,000

Earn 2% cash back on 2 categories of your choice (e.g. groceries, recurring bills, gas, drug stores, etc.)

2%

Get a Tangerine Savings account and add a 3rd 2% cash back category.

3

Earn 0.50% on all your other everyday purchases.

0.5%

Variable APR

19.95% - 24.95%

Balance Transfer Rate

1.95%

Cash Advance APR

19.95%

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

  • Overview of the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

    +

    You want a free credit card with money rewards? The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card lets you earn 2% cash back in two spending categories, or three spending categories if you deposit your cash back into a Tangerine Savings Account.

    These spending categories are flexible enough to reflect your spending habits which, if they happen to change from time to time, you can choose new categories every 90 days. Youā€™ll earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases, without any tiers, caps, or limits. Your cash back is dispersed monthly, which means you never have to wait to reap the rewards of your spending.

    For the first 30 days of card membership, cardholders can transfer a balance to Tangerine and pay just 1.95% interest for 6 months, 1% transfer fee applies* (19.95% after that).

    However, if you have an annual personal income of $60K or household income of $100K, it makes sense to consider the Tangerine World MastercardĀ® instead, which offers the same rewards rates as the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, but it comes with more features like mobile device insurance, airport lounge access, and car rental insurance.

    We think the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card offers the best flexibility in earning cash back. Even though thereā€™s a limit to how often you can change your spending categories, you still get to choose your own and there is no limit to the cash back you can earn, ensuring youā€™re truly getting the most bang for your buck on all your spending, plus thereā€™s no annual fee.

    Tangerineā€™s Money-Back Credit Card is the perfect option for pure cash back potential without any limits or fees. Tangerine will also give you an extra high earning cash back purchase category if you direct your cash back earned to a Tangerine Savings Account, making this the best card for anyone whoā€™s using cash back towards a financial goal.

    Who's eligible?

    Minimum credit score: Fair/good

    Minimum income: $12,000

    Age: 18+/age of majority

    Residency: Canadian resident/permanent resident

    Other: No bankruptcy for the past 7 years

    *Terms and Conditions apply

Best for flat rate

Best flat-rate cash back

SimplyCashĀ® Preferred Card

Apply now

4.0

up to $400

Welcome offer

Excellent

Suggested credit score

Welcome Bonus of up to $400 in Statement Credits

Pros

  • Earn up to $400 in statement credits in first 10 months

  • Competitive cash back rates: Up to 4% on gas and groceries, and more

  • Refer-a-friend bonus up to $750 annually

  • Extra benefits like rental car insurance and travel accident coverage

  • Manufacturer's warranty doubled on purchases

Cons

  • $9.99/month fee ($119.88 annually)

  • Cash back redeemed annually in September

  • Requires spending $750 monthly for maximum bonus

  • Not all benefits may be relevant to all users

  • Limited to American Express acceptance

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Pros

  • Earn up to $400 in statement credits in first 10 months

  • Competitive cash back rates: Up to 4% on gas and groceries, and more

  • Refer-a-friend bonus up to $750 annually

  • Extra benefits like rental car insurance and travel accident coverage

  • Manufacturer's warranty doubled on purchases

Cons

  • $9.99/month fee ($119.88 annually)

  • Cash back redeemed annually in September

  • Requires spending $750 monthly for maximum bonus

  • Not all benefits may be relevant to all users

  • Limited to American Express acceptance

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Earn 4% cash back on gas in Canada.

4%

Earn 4% cash back on grocery purchases in Canada, up to $1,200 cash back per year.

4%

Earn 2% cash back on everything else with no limit.

2%

Purchase APR

21.99%

Cash Advance APR

21.99%

Annual Fee

$119.88

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

  • Why we picked SimplyCashĀ® Preferred Card from American Express

    +

    Any Amex will allow you to earn cash back, but the best cash back credit card from American Express is the Simply Cash Preferred. You can convert American Express Membership Rewards points for cash, where 25,000 points is worth about $167.50, but for any travel rewards credit card, your points are better used for travel.

    With Amex, your cash back rewards are earned on purchases less returns and other credits and are applied annually to your account and paid out in September of each year.

    To start, they hit you with a nice welcome bonus: In your first 10 months as a new SimplyCashĀ® Preferred Card from American Express Cardmember, you can earn a $40 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases on your card.

    This could add up to $400 in statement credits in the first 10 months. Conditions apply. Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas station purchases in Canada, 4% cash back on eligible grocery store purchases in Canada (up to $1,200 cash back annually) and 2% cash back on all other purchases.

    The card also offers buyerā€™s assurance and purchase protection, doubling the manufacturerā€™s warranty on purchases by up to one year while also insuring them against damage or theft.

    Annual fee: $9.99/month (Equals a total fee of $119.88 annually)

    Cash back structure: Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas station purchases in Canada, 4% cash back on eligible grocery store purchases in Canada (up to $1,200 cash back annually) and 2% cash back on all other purchases

    Additional perks: Access events and special offers curated for Cardmembers with American ExpressĀ® Experiences, $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance, Buyerā€™s Assurance Protection Plan and Purchase Protection Plan

    We love that with the SimplyCashĀ® Preferred Card from American Express, youā€™ll get value everywhere, all the time, with the base earn rate. The annual fee, although not the highest weā€™ve seen, is still an annual fee that other cards may forego.

    Who's eligible?

    Minimum credit score: Good/Excellent

    Minimum income: N/A

    Age: 18+/age of majority

    Residency: Canadian resident

Best for travel

Best cash back for travel

Rogers Red World EliteĀ® MastercardĀ®

Apply now

4.1

Excellent

Suggested credit score

to receive the latest news, tips and offers by email

Pros

  • Lucrative cash back rates on USD and CAD purchases, especially for Rogers, Fido or Shaw customers

  • No annual fee with valuable insurance benefits

  • Competitive against foreign transaction fee cards

  • Convenient cash back redemption options

  • Redemption bonus of 1.5x more cash back every time you redeem for Rogers, Fido or Shaw purchases

  • Travel insurance perks and airport lounge access

Cons

  • High income requirement: $80,000 personal or $150,000 household

  • Foreign transaction fee applies

  • Limited redemption options for statement credits

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Required Annual Household Income

$150,000

Pros

  • Lucrative cash back rates on USD and CAD purchases, especially for Rogers, Fido or Shaw customers

  • No annual fee with valuable insurance benefits

  • Competitive against foreign transaction fee cards

  • Convenient cash back redemption options

  • Redemption bonus of 1.5x more cash back every time you redeem for Rogers, Fido or Shaw purchases

  • Travel insurance perks and airport lounge access

Cons

  • High income requirement: $80,000 personal or $150,000 household

  • Foreign transaction fee applies

  • Limited redemption options for statement credits

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Required Annual Household Income

$150,000

Earn 3% unlimited cash back on purchases made in US dollars

3%

Earn 2% unlimited cash back on all eligible non-US dollar purchases if you have 1 qualifying service with Rogers, Fido or Shaw

2%

Earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on everything else

1.5%

Get 1.5x more cash back every time you redeem for Rogers, Fido or Shaw purchases

1.5x Cash Back

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

22.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$0

  • Overview of the Rogersā„¢ World EliteĀ® MastercardĀ®

    +

    The Rogersā„¢ World EliteĀ® MastercardĀ® gives you $25 in cash back rewards as soon as you make your first purchase. Youā€™ll earn 3% cash back on purchases made in U.S. dollars, either online or abroad and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

    It's arguably the best cash back Mastercard in Canada if you shop at Costco. That flat rate 1.5% cash back applies to Costco even if Costco isn't labelled as a grocery store bu

    There is a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%, but there are some additional perks like the travel insurance coverage and complimentary membership to Mastercard Travel Pass provided by DragonPass

    Cardholders will earn 3% cash back on each of their purchases made in U.S. dollars, which nets them 0.5% after factoring out the foreign transaction fee (2.5%). If youā€™re a U.S. frequent traveler and cash back is your favorite credit reward, this is the only card you should have in your wallet!

Best for groceries

Best cash back for groceries and bills

Scotiabank MomentumĀ® Visa Infinite

Apply now

5.0

10% back

Welcome offer

Excellent

Suggested credit score

Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). No annual fee in the first year, including on additional cards.

Pros

  • High earn rate on everyday spending categories

  • Comprehensive travel and purchase insurance

  • Visa Infinite perks such as concierge, events, and special offers

  • 25% Car rental discounts at Avis and Budget

  • Mobile device insurance

  • Up to $200 welcome bonus

Cons

  • Income requirements are higher: $60k personal or 100k household

  • Cash back can only be redeemed once a year

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$60,000

Required Annual Household Income

$100,000

Pros

  • High earn rate on everyday spending categories

  • Comprehensive travel and purchase insurance

  • Visa Infinite perks such as concierge, events, and special offers

  • 25% Car rental discounts at Avis and Budget

  • Mobile device insurance

  • Up to $200 welcome bonus

Cons

  • Income requirements are higher: $60k personal or 100k household

  • Cash back can only be redeemed once a year

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$60,000

Required Annual Household Income

$100,000

For every $1 you spend on grocery store purchases, recurring bill payments and subscription purchases

4%

For every $1 you spend on gas and daily transit purchases

2%

Cash back on all other purchases with no cash back limit

1%

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

22.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$120

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

  • Overview of the Scotia MomentumĀ® Visa Infinite* card

    +

    With the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card, youā€™ll earn 4% for every $1 you spend on groceries, recurring bills, and subscription services, 2% on gas purchases and daily transit, and 1% on everything else with no cash back limit.

    The 4% cash back at grocery stores as well as on subscriptions like Netflix, HelloFresh, or Chefs Plate is the highest earn rate for these budget items we pay. With 2% on on gas purchases and daily transit (including Uber) and 1% on everything else, the Scotia MomentumĀ® Visa Infinite* card is an urban professionalā€™s dream.

    Annual fee: $120 (waived in the first yearĀ¹)

    Cash back structure: 4% cash back on all grocery, recurring bills, and subscription services, 2% cash back on gas purchases and daily transit, and 1% cash back on everything else with no cash back limit

    Additional perks: New mobile Device Insurance, Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance, plus Travel Emergency Medical Insurance, Flight Delay Insurance, Delayed and Lost Baggage Insurance

    If you think about how many recurring bills you have, from cellphone bills to your gym membership, you can see how the Scotia MomentumĀ® Visa Infinite* card will let you earn a ton of cash back easily. Few credit cards can keep up with the cash back earn rate of the Scotia MomentumĀ® Visa Infinite* card.

    However, there is one major downside: your cash back accumulates monthly but is only paid out once per year. If you like to get your hands on your rewards sooner rather than later, waiting for your annual payout can be a major bummer.

    Nevertheless, the extra perks of the card including travel insurance and new mobile device insurance can make waiting for your cash back payout worth it.

    Who's eligible?

    Minimum credit score: Excellent

    Minimum income: You must have a minimum annual income of $60,000 or a minimum household income of $100,000 or a minimum assets under management of $250,000

    Age: 18+

    Residency: Canadian resident/permanent resident

    Ā¹ Conditions Apply. Visit here for the Scotia MomentumĀ® Visa Infinite* Card to learn more.

Best no fee groceries

Best no annual fee card for groceries

BMO CashBackĀ® MasterCardĀ®

Apply now

4.0

5% cash back

Welcome offer

Good

Suggested credit score

Get 5% cash back in your first 3 months*

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

Pros

  • No Annual Fee: A rare find in Canada for a cash back card

  • A generous 3% cash back on groceries (up to $500 monthly)

  • Easily redeem from $1, set up automatic redemptions, or use as a statement credit

  • Additional perks include discounts on rentals, free supplementary cards and show discounts

Cons

  • Outside of groceries and recurring payments, the standard earn rate drops to 0.5%

  • Monthly caps on top earn rates for groceries and recurring payments

  • A 2% balance transfer fee applies

  • The interest rate on the remaining balance transfer amount increases after the introductory period

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$15,000

Pros

  • No Annual Fee: A rare find in Canada for a cash back card

  • A generous 3% cash back on groceries (up to $500 monthly)

  • Easily redeem from $1, set up automatic redemptions, or use as a statement credit

  • Additional perks include discounts on rentals, free supplementary cards and show discounts

Cons

  • Outside of groceries and recurring payments, the standard earn rate drops to 0.5%

  • Monthly caps on top earn rates for groceries and recurring payments

  • A 2% balance transfer fee applies

  • The interest rate on the remaining balance transfer amount increases after the introductory period

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$15,000

Cardholders earn 3% (up to a monthly max of $500) cash back on groceries

3%

Cardholders can earn 1% (up to $500 per month) on any recurring bill payments*

1%

Cardholders can earn 0.5% (no monthly max) on all other eligible purchases*

0.5%

Purchase APR

20.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$0

  • Overview of the BMO CashBackĀ® MasterCardĀ®*

    +

    The BMO CashBack MasterCard offers the highest cash back on groceries in Canada without paying an annual feeā€ , at 3%*. Thatā€™s competitive with a number of upper-tier cards charging annual fees in excess of $100+. It also offers a second accelerated earn rate of 1% on recurring bills, as well as a more standard 0.5% on all other eligible purchases*.

    If groceries represent a huge, ever-present expense for you (as they do for most people), itā€™s a smart move to get a credit card that pays back on your repeated trips to the market. The BMO CashBackĀ® MastercardĀ®* is an accessible way to maximize return on spending for those who canā€™t stomach paying an annual fee, or who donā€™t meet the income requirements for some of the upper-tier cards on this list.

    The cardā€™s only real shortcoming is that the enhanced cash back rates are limited: You can earn at the 3% and 1% rates only on the first $500 worth of grocery and recurring bill payments respectively each month*. If your monthly expenditures in those categories exceed $500, you should probably shell out for a card with an annual fee, but with a higher ceiling on the amount of cash back you can accrue.

    Annual fee: $120 (waived in the first yearĀ¹)

    Cash back structure: 4% cash back on all grocery, recurring bills, and subscription services, 2% cash back on gas purchases and daily transit, and 1% cash back on everything else with no cash back limit.

    Additional perks: New mobile Device Insurance, Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance, plus Travel Emergency Medical Insurance, Flight Delay Insurance, Delayed and Lost Baggage Insurance.

    Who's eligible?

    Minimum credit score: Good

    Minimum income: $15,000

    Age: Age of majority in province/territory

    Residency: Canadian resident

    *Terms and conditions apply

    ā€ Statement based on a comparison of the non-promotional grocery rewards earn rate on Canadian cash back credit cards as of January 4, 2023.

Best for gas

Best cash back credit card for gas

CIBC DividendĀ® Visa Infinite* Card

Apply now

4.0

10% backā€ 

Welcome offer

Good

Suggested credit score

Get a first-year annual fee rebate and earn a 10% cash back welcome bonus of up to $300!ā€ 

Pros

  • Very high cash back rates on eligible groceries and gas and electric vehicle charging

  • Lucrative welcome offer

  • Flexible cash back redemption policy

  • Premium Visa Infinite benefitsā€ 

  • No limit on the total cash back you can earnā€ 

Cons

  • Maximum annual spending limits in accelerated cash back

  • High-ish annual fee

  • Mid-level income requirement

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$60,000ā€ 

Required Annual Household Income

$100,000ā€ 

Pros

  • Very high cash back rates on eligible groceries and gas and electric vehicle charging

  • Lucrative welcome offer

  • Flexible cash back redemption policy

  • Premium Visa Infinite benefitsā€ 

  • No limit on the total cash back you can earnā€ 

Cons

  • Maximum annual spending limits in accelerated cash back

  • High-ish annual fee

  • Mid-level income requirement

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$60,000ā€ 

Required Annual Household Income

$100,000ā€ 

cash back on eligible gas, EV charging, and grocery purchases.ā€ 

4%

cash back on eligible transportation, dining purchases and recurring paymentsā€ 

2%

cash back on all other purchasesā€ 

1%

save up to 10 cents per litreā€  at participating Pioneer, Fas Gas, Ultramar and Chevron gas stations.ā€ 

10 cents

Purchase APR

20.99%ā€ 

Balance Transfer Rate

22.99%ā€ 

Cash Advance APR

22.99%ā€ 

Annual Fee

$120

  • Why we picked the CIBC DividendĀ® Visa Infinite* Card

    +

    If you're looking for the best Visa cash back credit card, you've found it. It's the credit card with the top cash back in Canada.

    This CIBC cashback card caters to Canadians that dole out a substantial amount of their funds on eligible gas, EV charging, and grocery purchases, giving high 4% cash back rates for purchases in those categories after the welcome offer endsā€ . Though there are annual caps for earning at the cardā€™s accelerated rates (see ā€˜Cash Back Restrictionsā€™ below), the limits are quite high, and thereā€™s no cap on how much cash back can be earned overall.

    Annual fee: $120 primary cardholder, $30 each authorized user (up to 3)

    Cash back structure: After that 4% cash back on eligible gas, EV charging, and grocery purchasesā€ ; 2% cash back on eligible transportation, dining purchases and recurring paymentsā€ ; 1% cash back on all other purchasesā€ . Also, get cash back on demand ā€“ redeem your cash back at any time when you have a minimum of $25 through CIBC Online and Mobile BankingĀ®ā€ 

    Cash back restrictions: 4% and 2% cash back rates apply up to high $20K worth of annual eligible grocery, gas, EV charging, transportation, dining, and recurring bills; or up to $80K in annual purchases overall.ā€  After crossing one of those two milestones all eligible spending earns 1% until the rates are reset in December.

    Take a look at your monthly spending. If gas and groceries took the biggest bite out of your budget, which is likely the case for many families and commuters, we recommend applying for the CIBC DividendĀ® Visa Infinite* Card and calling it a day. If you spend at least $250 on gas and groceries each month, youā€™ll earn enough cash back in a year to make up for the annual fee.

    Note: If you donā€™t meet the CIBC DividendĀ® Visa Infinite* Cardā€™s annual income requirements, check out the CIBC Dividend PlatinumĀ® Visa* Card instead. Its cash back features are almost as strong as the CIBC DividendĀ® Visa Infinite* Cardā€™s, but it comes with a less comprehensive insurance package and a minimum annual household income requirement of just $15,000.ā€ 

    Who's eligible?

    Minimum credit score: Excellent

    Minimum income: $60,000 individual or $100,000 household

    Age: Age of majority in province

    Residency: Canadian resident

    Other: No bankruptcy for the past 7 years

    This offer is not available for residents of Quebec.

    ā€ Terms and Conditions Apply

    This is a digital-exclusive offer.ā€ 

    To be eligible for this offer:

    1) this offer must have been directly communicated to you from CIBC or from a partner/affiliate; and

    2) you must apply for the eligible card through the link provided in the CIBC or partner/affiliate communication to you.ā€ 

    This offer is reserved for you. Please do not forward it to anyone else. If you have opened, transferred or cancelled another eligible card within the last 12 months, we may approve your application, but you may not receive this offer.ā€ 

    The information for the CIBC DividendĀ® Visa Infinite*Card has been collected independently by Money.ca. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Best for no FX fees

Best cash back credit card for perks

Desjardins OdysseyĀ® World EliteĀ® Mastercard

Apply now

4.0

Fair

Suggested credit score

to receive the latest news, tips and offers by email

Pros

  • Get 3% cash back on groceries in BONUSDOLLARS, 2% cash back on restaurants, entertainment and alternative transportation in BONUSDOLLARS and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases in BONUSDOLLARS

  • 20% BONUSDOLLARSĀ® bonus for Desjardins members

  • Mobile device insurance included

  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • High annual fee

  • Supplementary card fee

  • No sign-up bonus

  • Limited lounge access

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Fair

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Required Annual Household Income

$150,000

Pros

  • Get 3% cash back on groceries in BONUSDOLLARS, 2% cash back on restaurants, entertainment and alternative transportation in BONUSDOLLARS and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases in BONUSDOLLARS

  • 20% BONUSDOLLARSĀ® bonus for Desjardins members

  • Mobile device insurance included

  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • High annual fee

  • Supplementary card fee

  • No sign-up bonus

  • Limited lounge access

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Fair

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Required Annual Household Income

$150,000

Get 3% cash back on your groceries in BONUSDOLLARS (up to $10,000).

3%

Get 2% cash back on restaurants, entertainment, and alternative transportation in BONUSDOLLARS (up to $6,000).

2%

Get 1.5% cash back on all other purchases in BONUSDOLLARS.

1.5%

Purchase APR

20.90%

Cash Advance APR

21.90%

Annual Fee

$130

  • Overview of the Desjardins Odyssey World Elite Mastercard

    +

    No credit card ā€œhas it all,ā€ but some come pretty close. The Desjardins Odyssey World Elite Mastercard makes sure you get what you want out of your credit card by, well, giving you a well-rounded rewards platform without a foreign transaction fee.

    The Desjardins OdysseyĀ® World EliteĀ® Mastercard isn't the most well-known credit card in Canada but it provides a reliable earning platform and plenty of additional perks that make it one of the best cash back credit cards for those who want simplicity but hate to pay additional fees when traveling abroad.

    Cardholders earn up to 3% cash back on groceries, 2% back on transit, dining and entertainment, and an unlimited 1.5% back on all other purchases. Additionally, cardholders enjoy no FX fees, comprehensive travel insurance and lounge access all for a reasonable $130 annual fee.

    Annual fee: $130

    Cash back structure: Earn 3% cash back on your groceries in BONUSDOLLARS (up to $10,000); 2% cash back on restaurants, entertainment, and alternative transportation in BONUSDOLLARS (up to $6,000); 1.5% cash back on all other purchases in BONUSDOLLARS.

    Additional perks: No foreign transaction fees, mobile device insurance, trip cancellation coverage, baggage protection and DragonPass lounge access.

    Who's eligible:

    Minimum credit score: Fair/Good

    Minimum income: $80,000 personal; $150,000 household

    Age: Age of majority in province/territory

    Residency: Canadian citizen/permanent resident

Best for RBC

Best cash back credit card from RBC with no annual fee

RBC Cash Back Mastercard

Apply now

4.1

0.99% intro

Welcome offer

Good

Suggested credit score

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Pros

  • No annual fee, no fee for additional cardholders

  • Up to 2% cash back on groceriesĀ², up to 1% cash back on everything elseĀ²

  • No limit on cash back earnedĀ¹

  • Save money on gas at Petro-Canadaāµ

  • Easy approval requirements

Cons

  • Cash back rewards on groceries drop to 1% after you accumulate $6,000 in grocery charges

  • No travel insurance or other perks

  • No welcome bonus

  • 0.5% applies to the cash back on everything else up to $6,000 but what is impressive is that for all non-grocery spend the cash back rate actually goes up from the 0.5% to 1% on spend over $6,000, rewarding as your spend more instead of diminishing

  • No travel insurance or other perks

  • No welcome bonus

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Pros

  • No annual fee, no fee for additional cardholders

  • Up to 2% cash back on groceriesĀ², up to 1% cash back on everything elseĀ²

  • No limit on cash back earnedĀ¹

  • Save money on gas at Petro-Canadaāµ

  • Easy approval requirements

Cons

  • Cash back rewards on groceries drop to 1% after you accumulate $6,000 in grocery charges

  • No travel insurance or other perks

  • No welcome bonus

  • 0.5% applies to the cash back on everything else up to $6,000 but what is impressive is that for all non-grocery spend the cash back rate actually goes up from the 0.5% to 1% on spend over $6,000, rewarding as your spend more instead of diminishing

  • No travel insurance or other perks

  • No welcome bonus

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Up to 2% unlimited cash back on groceries

2%

Up to 1% unlimited cash back on everything else

1%

Link your card and instantly save 3Ā¢/L on fuel and 20% more Petro-Points at Petro Canada

$0.03

Get 50 Be Well points for every $1 spent on eligible products at Rexall

50

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

22.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$0

  • Why we picked the RBC CashBack Mastercard

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    First and foremost, there's no limit on cash back you can earn at 0.5% cash back with the RBC Mastercard.

    With groceries, you can spend up to $6,000 per year and get cash back at 2%. After $6,000, it drops to 1%. But therein lies the good news. After $6,000 spend, your average cash back jumps up to 1% from 0.5%.

    Unfortunately, there's no welcome bonus or travel perks, but you do get purchase security and extended warranty protection.

    It's great for students as a shared cash back credit card because there are no fees for additional cards.

Expert tip: How to choose the best cash back credit card

Shop around for a cash back card that has an accelerated rate in spending categories that you will use the most but be mindful of spending caps. When it comes to rewards credit cards, cash back is a popular choice because it means your money can go towards any purchase. Itā€™s often applied to your statement credit but some cards allow you to deposit the cash back into your savings account as well. Cash back cards vary in the percentages of cash back that you can earn, how often the cash back is paid out (ie: monthly or annually), as well as how much cash back you can actually earn. Some cash back credit cards have spending caps (monthly or annually) while others have no limits on how much cash back you can earn.

ā€”Hannah Logan, Money.ca credit card, saving and travel expert

Summary of picks

Breakdown by annual cash back earned by credit cards with cash back

Card Name
Annual earnings based on $2,000 per month spending
BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard
$570
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
$384
SimplyCashĀ® Preferred Card from American Express
$612
Rogersā„¢ World EliteĀ® MastercardĀ®
$324
Scotia MomentumĀ® Visa Infinite* Card
$540
BMO CashBackĀ® MastercardĀ®
$276
CIBC DividendĀ® Visa Infinite* Card
$558
RBC CashBack Mastercard
$390
  • Methodology: How we chose the best cash back credit cards in Canada

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    Money.ca rates credit cards on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the best) and are based on the following criteria: annual percentage rate (APR), annual fee, balance transfer fee, foreign transaction fee, penalty fee and APR, rewards programs, sign-up bonuses, customer service, security, additional features, acceptance, and credit score requirements. For more, read Money.caā€™s complete review methodology.

    Different categories of cards are rated using different weightings and each card is rated according to its primary category. Money.caā€™s business relationships have no effect on ratings. For the best cash back credit cards in Canada, read on!

Methodology

How we compared and chose the best cash back cards in Canada

For each cash back credit card there are some broad criteria we look at when assessing a cardā€™s merit. To identify the best cash back credit cards, our methodology focuses on the critical features that Canadians value, including welcome bonuses, earn rates, annual fees, interest charges and other associated costs of card ownership. 

Here are some of the factors we considered when determining the best credit card in every category and the best card overall:

  • Cash back earn rate: The point of a cash back credit card is to earn cash back! However, which card will deliver the most cash back depends a lot on how you spend your money. Because most cash back credit cards provide more value in some purchase categories than others, your own spending patterns will determine if a tiered rewards or flat-rate earnings structure is best.
  • Promotional bonuses: We love credit cards that deliver major perks sooner than later, which is why the promotional balance matters when signing up for a credit card. We did our main assessment without factoring any time-sensitive bonuses, but make sure you consider how extra cash back or a faster earn rate for a certain period can make one card stand out above the others for you.
  • Annual fee: An annual fee can really cut into the value of a cash back credit card, so you have to ensure the dollar value it provides in cash back and other perks exceeds this cost. In order to come up with an accurate comparison, we presented the above cardsā€™ net cash back earnings after subtracting the annual fee.
  • Redemption structure: How you get your cash back is as important as earning it! Some cards disperse cash back monthly, others annually, and some only when you hit a minimum balance threshold. Since many cash back credit cards will only disperse cash back to a chequing or savings account at the same bank, you might want to stick with one of the financial institutions youā€™re already using if you really want cold hard cash. However, virtually all cash back credit cards let you use your cash back as statement credit, so you have your pick!
  • Overall value relative to cost: Free isnā€™t always better. We determine if features like a big welcome bonus, strong redemption value, or high earn rate trump a cardā€™s annual fee.
  • Other fees: Annual fees arenā€™t always the only cost of owning a credit card. We factor in other charges like foreign transaction fees and balance transfer fees into the mix.
  • Special features and perks: Benefits like extended warranties, discounts, premium insurance packages and exclusive invites warrant scrutiny. When assessing a cardā€™s added perks, we also consider their relevance for the cardholder. We know cash back cards are a favorite of savvy shoppers, so discounts or freebies stand out as fringe perks.
How to choose a card

How to choose the best cash back credit card

When comparing cash back cards, make sure to consider how much cash back it will really deliver to your budget. Where and how you spend your money is the biggest determining factor! However, other things like where you bank, how often you want to receive cash back, how you want to use your cash back, and if you want other perks from your credit card will make it easier to choose. The items listed below are the most important to think about when applying for a cash back credit card.

Promotional earn rate

Many cash-back credit cards will offer a short term promotional earn rate, that will let you earn a supercharged amount of cash back on some or all of your purchases. This typically lasts for up to 3 months and can make a big difference in the cardā€™s benefits to you. If youā€™re planning to make a large purchase with your credit card, like booking a vacation, a generous cash back promotion can really pay off!

Earn rate by spending category

Cash back credit cards either offer a flat rate of cash back, or they offer tiered rates, with higher returns in some spending categories than others. Knowing your personal budget and spending behavior will tell you where you spend the most money, and therefore can reap the most rewards! Many cards offer higher cash back earn rates on groceries and gas purchases, but a lower rate on everything else. Review your own spending patterns to determine if youā€™ll earn the most from a flat-rate cash back card, or if you can benefit from one that rewards specific categories of purchases.

Cash back caps

One of the more frustrating aspects of some cash back credit cards is a cap on how much cash back you can earn. Sometimes this cash back is only for the promotional period at a higher earn rate, but sometimes itā€™s for a specific spending category or overall for the card. Most cash back caps are quite high, but some are surprisingly low which can really put a damper on the value of a card. However, there are plenty of cash back credit cards out there that let you earn unlimited cash back! Knowing how much youā€™re planning to charge to your credit card before you apply will tell you if youā€™ll hit a cash back limit or not, so do the math before you apply.

Redemption frequency and flexibility

Virtually all cash back cards will give you the option to use your cash back for statement credit. Others will deposit it to a chequing or savings account. Some cash back cards require you to hit a minimum cash back balance of $25 or $50 to redeem, whereas others will automatically disperse any amount youā€™ve earned. There are cash back cards that pay monthly, and ones that pay annually! The schedule and threshold required to access your cash back that you feel comfortable with is totally personal to your spending habits.

Annual fee

Paying an annual fee for a cash back credit card seems counter-intuitive, but it can be worth it if the card offers a particularly high cash back rate and other perks. Donā€™t write off a card with a fee immediately, as the rewards sometimes pay off the fee. Do the math to find out if the amount you plan to spend on the card will generate enough cash back to justify the cost!

Processor

A cardā€™s payment processor, whether Visa, Mastercard, or American Express, can tremendously impact its cash back value to you. If your favourite grocery store where you do most of your spending doesnā€™t accept American Express, it doesnā€™t matter how great the cash back rate is! To truly earn cash back from a credit card, you need to make sure itā€™s accepted where you shop, so take this into consideration before you apply.

Types of cash back

What are the types of cash back cards?

Cash-back credit cards come in three main categories:  

Flat percentage: these cash-back cards are just as they sound --- they pay cash back at the same rate for all purchases.These cards are best for people who want something back without having to overthink it. The trade-off for this convenience is that you typically only earn 1% or 2% for each transaction.

Tiered rewards: These cash back cards are great for people who tend to spend more on certain things. If you do all the grocery shopping for your household and a lot of the driving, a tiered rewards card that pays a higher percentage for groceries and gasoline may be an excellent option. Youā€™ll get a smaller return on other purchases.

Bonus category: These cards are for dedicated rewards earners. They offer high rebates of up to 5% in specific spending categories, such as at restaurants.The bonus categories can change every quarter, and you may have to register, or "opt in," for the bonus category each quarter.

Spending that earns the bonus may also be capped at a certain amount, like $1,500 during the quarter; and purchases in other categories will likely earn you just 1% cash back.

How to max rewards

What you need to know about merchant codes to max your cash rewards for credit

Merchant category codes, or MCC, help tell a credit card issuer what credit card category your purchase falls into for cash back. 

Shoppers drug mart, for example, despite selling many grocery items, is still categorized as "Pharmacies/Drug Stores" and therefore its merchant code is MCC 5912. Grocery stores are 5411. 

Here's how this may affect your cash back with an example comparing the Tangerine Money Back Card, PC Financial World Elite Mastercard, and our pick for the best cash back card, the CIBC DividendĀ® Visa Infinite*. To limit our results, let's pick Shoppers Drug Mart as our pharmacy of choice. 

Let's also assume you're spending $1,000 per year on drugstore purchases that may include shampoo, soap, toilet paper, etc. 

Tangerine PC Financial World Elite Mastercard CIBC DividendĀ® Visa Infinite*
Cash back potential: 2% cash back with drugstore category Cash back potential: Earn 45 points per $1 spent.

10,000 points = $10 in cash back.
Cash back potential: Earn 4% cash back on groceries, supermarkets and gas. 2% cash back on transportation, dining, recurring bills, and 1% cash back on everything else.
Spending cap: No cap, no limit on the cash back you can earn. Spending cap: Unlimited points, unlimited cash back Spending cap: $80,000 in net annual card purchases, or $20,000 by category
What you get back in cash: $20 What you get back in cash: $45 What you get back in cash: $10
Why compare cards?

Why you need to compare cash back credit cards

You need to compare credit cards because despite a particularly enticing offer, it may not suit your needs. 

In our example, PC Financial World Elite Mastercard wins, but that's because our pharmacy was Shoppers Drug Mart. 

If we change our pharmacy to Rexall or Guardian, Tangerine will walk away the winner. 

Finally, change our pharmacy to one within a grocery store, though (e.g. Metro or Walmart), and the winner is likely going to be the CIBC DividendĀ® Visa Infinite* Card which is why it's our top reward credit card for cash back. 

How do you master cash back rewards?

Choose a card that best suits your lifestyle and spending habits and that won't lure you into spending more than you should, just to chase after rewards.

Never buy what you donā€™t need. Track your spending for a month, and then pick a card that matches what you already spend. Always make sure you pay off your balance each month.

Credit card interest rates have been hovering around 19-21% on average. That's way higher than rewards earnings. Rolling over your balance for a couple of months can quickly eat away at your returns.

Conclusion

The bottom line on cash back credit cards

Cash back is one of the most attractive credit card rewards options because it has the most flexibility. Instead of being limited to travel redemptions or merchandise purchases, you can use your cash however you want. The best cash back card for you depends on your spending behavior and earning preferences, but you can feel confident choosing one from our list.

FAQs

FAQs

  • How can I redeem my cash back?

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    Depending on the card you choose, you can either redeem the cash back as statement credit or as rewards, which you'll have to complete another action in order to redeem. Most cash back can be redeemed online, some credit issuers do it by phone.

  • When can I redeem my cash back?

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    Some issuers allow you to redeem your cash back at certain intervals (monthly/quarterly/yearly) where others allow you to set up automatic redemption whenever you reach a certain balance.

  • How long does it take for cash back to show up?

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    Although the time will vary depending on the card you have, it can take an average of immediate to 14 business days to see your cash back in your account. *Note that some credit card providers might take longer.

  • Does Shoppers do cash back?

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    You can earn cash back from Shopper drug mart with any of our recommended cash back cards

Bridget Casey is the award-winning entrepreneur behind Money After Graduation, a Canadian financial literacy website aimed at 20 and 30-somethings. She holds a BSc. from the University of Alberta, and an MBA in Finance from the University of Calgary. She has been featured as a millennial financial expert by Yahoo! Finance, TIME Magazine, Business Insider, CBC and BNN. Bridget was recognized as one of Alberta's Top Young Innovators in 2016.

Doug Whiteman Former Editor-in-Chief

Doug Whiteman was formerly the editor-in-chief of Money.ca. He has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and CNBC.com and has been interviewed on Fox Business, CBS Radio and the syndicated TV show First Business.

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