Best credit cards for seniors and retirees in Canada

Fact Checked: Amy Tokic

🗓️

Updated: June 07, 2024

Skip Ahead

Skip Ahead...

Partners on this page provide us earnings.

For most folks, applying for a credit card is as simple as picking the one you like, stating your job and income, and presto – you've likely been auto-approved. But what if you don't have a job and your income is fixed because you're retired? If you're a senior, finding a credit card that adds value to your life can get tricky—but not impossible. 

For instance, when asked for your income don't limit yourself to after-tax earnings from your principal investment portfolio. Use your gross income and include all forms of income, such as rental income, book of business residuals, pension and even government assistance programs. The idea is to prove to the credit company that you can earn a sizeable sum even if you opt to live a more frugal lifestyle or to optimize tax-efficient withdrawals. 

My father, for instance, successfully applied for and was auto-approved for the prestigious Amex Aeroplan Reserve, despite being retired and having a modest income.

Rest assured that there are still numerous options to explore when searching for the best credit card for seniors in Canada. 

Here, I'll break it down so you can choose what suits your lifestyle and needs best.

Best for groceries

Best credit card for seniors in Canada who need cashback at the grocery store

Scotia Momentum® Visa* Card

about new welcome offers by email

cash back for every $1 you spend on all eligible gas stations, grocery store, drug store purchases and recurring bill payments.

2%

cash back on all other eligible purchases.

1%

savings off base rates at participating AVIS locations and at participating Budget locations in North America.

25%

days of purchase security on most items purchased with your card.

90

extra year on top of manufacturer's warranty.

1

Purchase APR

19.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

22.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$39

Recommended Credit Score

Fair

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Apply now

10% back

Fair

about new welcome offers by email

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%

Purchase APR

19.95%

Balance Transfer Rate

1.95%

Cash Advance APR

19.95%

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

Recommended Credit Score

Fair

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 back—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

With the cost of groceries straining our budgets, it’s tempting to find out how we can make those groceries work for us. Cashback credit cards are a great way to do that, especially those offering special bonuses for grocery shopping.

One card to consider is the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite. It offers a whopping 4% cashback on groceries (along with subscription services like Netflix). It does come with a $120 annual fee, which certainly bites into its rewards, but if you do lots of grocery shopping, 4% cashback is hard to beat. 

Bonus: To qualify for this card, you can claim either $60,000 in income or $250,000 in managed assets—something that might be easier for most retirees. Bummer: You only get paid out once per year and only as a statement credit (ugh).

Do annual fees and statement credit make you a bit uncomfortable? Me too. I opt for the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card. You can select 2% cashback on three categories including groceries, and that money gets deposited right into your Tangerine savings (or as a statement credit) monthly. Oh, and another perk is that there's no annual fee. 

Best for drugstores

Best credit card for seniors over 65 at the drugstore (you may not have your workplace benefits anymore)

PC® World Elite Mastercard

Apply now

30 pts per $1

Fair

Earn 30 points per $1 spent at PC grocery stores

* 45 points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix

45 points

At least 30 points per litre of gas purchased at Esso™ or Mobil™ stations

30 points

At least 30 points per $1 spent on PC Travel services

30 points

30 points per $1 spent at Loblaw Banner Grocery Stores (includes Loblaws, No Frills, Valu-Mart, Independent Grocers, Zehrs, Real Canadian Superstore, Fortinos, etc.)

30 points

Purchase APR

21.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

21.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.97%

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit Score

Fair

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • High earn rates in certain stores

  • Easy, straightforward redemptions

  • Points don’t expire provided your account stays active and in good standing

  • Special events allow you to earn extra points

Cons

  • High income requirement to qualify

  • Accelerated earn rates are limited to certain partner stores, and points can be redeemed only for purchases within Loblaw banner stores

  • Points can’t be transferred to other loyalty programs

  • The included travel insurance is very limited

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Apply now

10% back

Fair

about new welcome offers by email

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%

Purchase APR

19.95%

Balance Transfer Rate

1.95%

Cash Advance APR

19.95%

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

Recommended Credit Score

Fair

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 back—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

If you love shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart (or at least visit it frequently), the PC World Elite Mastercard may be right for you. It gets huge cashback from purchases at Shoppers (4.5% to be exact) and skips the annual fee, which is a massive plus in my mind. Ok, to be fair, it isn’t “cash” back per se – you’re paid out in Optimum Points, 20,000 of which can be redeemed for $20 at places like Shoppers and Loblaws. You’ll earn 45 points for every $1 spent at Shoppers, effectively 4.5% cash back.

Now, the shortcomings. The income requirements for this card are surprisingly high, asking for an $80,000 personal or a $120,000 household income. But recall that most card providers will consider *all income sources* including RRIF, RRSP and TFSA withdrawals, as well as government income support such as Old Age Support (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), along with Canada Pension Plan (CPP) earnings and any private pension or annuity income. Add it all up and this will help you qualify. I’d also recommend the Tangerine Money Back card as a solid alternative, especially if there are pharmacies other than Shoppers you frequent.

Best low interest rates

Best credit card for seniors who need lower interest rates

MBNA True Line Mastercard

Apply now

0% intro rate

Good

Get a 0% promotional annual interest rate (“AIR”)† for 12 months on balance transfers✪ completed within 90 days of account opening.

New cardholders can enjoy a 0% promotional annual interest rate† (a 3% transfer fee applies) for 12 months on any balance transfer✪ completed within 90 days of opening the account

0%

Purchase APR

12.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

12.99%

Cash Advance APR

24.99%

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Pros

  • Solid welcome offer: 12 months of 0% APR† on balance transfers✪ made within the first 90 days (3% transfer fee applies)

  • No annual fee or minimum income requirement

  • Low standard interest rate of 12.99% for all new purchases charged to the card

  • Some extra perks like fraud protection and a discount on car rentals

Cons

  • 3% balance transfer fee is comparatively high

  • Very high cash advance interest rate of 24.99%

  • No insurance benefits

  • Can’t transfer a balance owed to either MBNA or TD

MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard

Apply now

about new welcome offers by email

8.99% interest rate on purchases and 8.99%✪ on balance transfers

8.99

Purchase APR

8.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

8.99%

Cash Advance APR

24.99%

Annual Fee

$39

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Pros

  • Low interest rate on purchases and balance transfers

  • 24/7 customer service

  • Proactive fraud protection

Cons

  • $39 annual fee

  • Penalty interest rate if minimum payments are missed

Credit card interest can be scary, especially if you’ve got other things on your mind and find yourself missing a payment or two. If that’s at the top of your mind, the MBNA True Line Mastercard or MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard are certainly your best bets.

The stock True Line has no annual fee and a 12.99% interest rate (about 8% less than standard cards). The True Line Gold has a modest $39 annual fee but even lower interest at 8.99%. If it were me, I’d try to set up a system for making payments on time as often as possible, hedging my bets with the regular True Line Mastercard and skipping the $39 annual fee on the Gold version.

Best for no credit

Best credit card for seniors with no credit

Neo Secured Credit Card

Apply now

$25 on signup

Poor

$25 customer sign up bonus welcome offer

Up to 15% on first new purchases with Neo partners

15%

With Neo Partners

5%

on gas and groceries

1%-3%

Streaming, ridesharing, and food delivery services

3%-4%

With retail partners

2%-3%

On everything else

0.5%

Variable APR

19.99% - 26.99%

Cash Advance APR

24.99% - 28.99%

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit Score

Poor

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Required Annual Household Income

$0

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Low minimum security deposit

  • Cash back rewards on purchases

  • Instant approval regardless of credit score

Cons

  • Only reports to TransUnion

  • High APR range

KOHO Extra

Apply now

about new welcome offers by email

cash back on groceries, transportation, food, and drink

1.5%

cash back on all other purchases

0.25%

interest on your entire balance

5%

cash back extra at partnered merchants

5%

off Credit Building

30%

for credit building, instead of $10 (save 30%)

$7

Purchase APR

0.00%

Annual Fee

$84

Foreign Transaction Fee

0.00%

Recommended Credit Score

Fair

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Required Annual Household Income

$0

Pros

  • 1.5% cash back on on groceries, restaurants, food delivery, bars, coffee shops, and transportation

  • 0.25% cash back on all other purchases

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • No everyday banking fees

  • Credit Building by KOHO optional paid add-on

  • Earn interest

Cons

  • $84 annual fee

  • Deposits capped at $40,000

Previously, having no (or poor) credit might prevent you from accessing credit cards. But no longer – several options are available to you, even if your credit report is less-than-stellar. 

Generally, prepaid is the way to go, as it is auto-approved and actually allows you to earn interest on the credit you load on your card. You just load money on the card and start spending. You load more when that money runs out, leaving you in control. A great option is the EQ Bank Card, which has no monthly fee and even gives you 0.5% cash back on your purchases.

If prepaid isn’t your thing, consider a secured credit card, which requires you to make a deposit. The Neo Secured Credit Card is one to consider, with a minimum security deposit of only $50 and no annual fee. You could also look at KOHO, whose Extra credit plan starts at $9 per month and offers high-tier benefits like 1.5% cashback on various transactions and a whopping 5% cashback on select partners. 

Best medical coverage

Best credit card for seniors and retirees who want to travel but worry about medical coverage

Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card

Apply now

up to 60K pts

Good

Earn up to $2,100* in value in the first 14 months, including up to 60,000 bonus Scene+ points

Expires

Nov 1, 2024

Scene+ points for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases

2x

No foreign transaction fees

0%

Complimentary airport lounge passes per year

10

Purchase APR

9.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

22.99%

Cash Advance APR

9.99%

Annual Fee

$399

Foreign Transaction Fee

0.00%

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Pros

  • The card offers a competitive low interest rate on purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers

  • Comprehensive insurance coverage

  • Complimentary Airport lounge access

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Ideal for travelers as it has no foreign transaction fees

  • Offers a substantial welcome bonus that can be worth up to 60,000 Scene+ points

  • Enjoy premium perks like Hertz #1 Club Gold membership and concierge services.

Cons

  • High annual fee: At $399, the annual fee is steep, which could offset the rewards and benefits for some cardholders

  • Below average rewards rate: Lower compared to other cards with similar or lower annual fees

  • Limited American Express acceptance: Especially outside major cities

  • Rewards potential: The net rewards potential is relatively low when considering the high annual fee

  • Non-transferable points: Scene+ points cannot be transferred to other rewards programs

CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* Card

Apply now

up to 70K pts

Excellent

Get up to 70,000 Aeroplan® points (up to $1,400 in travel value,) free checked bags, complimentary lounge access, and more.

for every $1 you spend on eligible gas, electric vehicle charging, groceries, travel and dining.

1.5 points

for every $1 you spend with Air Canada directly, including through Air Canada Vacations®

2 points

for every $1 you spend on all other purchases.

1.25 points

Earn points twice at over 150 Aeroplan partner brands and over 170 online retailers through the Aeroplan eStore.

2x

Purchase APR

20.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$599

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$150,000

Required Annual Household Income

$200,000

Pros

  • 80,000 bonus reward points

  • Earn up to two points per dollar spent

  • Free checked bags with Air Canada

  • A NEXUS application rebate

  • Lounge access with Maple Leaf Lounges

  • A great travel insurance package

Cons

  • A high cost of $599 per year

  • High income requirements of $150,000 per year individual or $200,000 per year household

  • The highest redemption category for points is when you spend directly with Air Canada, which might deter some users

The best Canadian credit card for seniors' travel offers comprehensive health insurance—that doesn't cut off for anyone over 50. Finding a travel card that has seniors covered is shockingly hard, but there are a few options out there.

For seniors 75 and under, the National Bank World Mastercard offers 60 to 64-year-olds a generous 31 days of coverage and seniors 65 to 75 a decent 15 days. But what if you're looking to travel over the age of 75?

For seniors over 75, we turn to Scotiabank, one of the few credit card providers that offers double-digit days of coverage. The Scotiabank Platinum American Express card and the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege cards cover 10 days of coverage for 65-year-olds and up. These options are worth considering, and the CIBC cards may be slightly easier to qualify for than the Scotiabank card.

Best no FX fees

Best credit card for seniors who want to travel but want to avoid foreign exchange fees

Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite*

Apply now

up to 40K pts

Good

Earn up to $1,300* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points and first year annual fee waived

Expires

Jul 2, 2024

Scene+ points on every $1 you spend at Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland and participating Co-ops and more

3x

Scene+ points for every $1 you spend on other eligible grocery stores, dining, eligible entertainment purchases and eligible daily transit options (including ride shares, buses, subways, taxis and more)

2x

Scene+ point for every $1 spent on all other eligible everyday purchases

1x

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

22.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$150

Foreign Transaction Fee

0.00%

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$60,000

Required Annual Household Income

$100,000

Pros

  • No FX fees means the card saves you significant expenses on foreign transaction fees

  • Earn up to 3x Scene+ points per $1 spent on eligible purchases

  • Flexible and straightforward redemption program