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If you love the no-hassle nature of cash back and you’re allergic to annual fees, the SimplyCash® Card from American Express should definitely be on your credit card shortlist. Its 1.25% base cash back rate is nothing to scoff at, particularly for a no annual fee card with no on-record minimum income requirement. The welcome bonus is competitive to boot, and its drawbacks are relatively minor all things considered (spoiler alert: it’s an Amex, and it won’t be accepted everywhere).
Pros and cons
- No annual fee for primary or additional cardholders
- Big welcome bonus
- Solid regular cash back rate on all eligible purchases: Earn 2% cash back on eligible gas purchases in Canada, 2% cash back on eligible grocery purchases in Canada (up to $300 cash back annually), and 1.25% cash back on all other eligible purchases
- No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn at the base rate
- Cash back is only applied as a statement credit once a year
- Amex cards aren’t accepted by every merchant
Check where Amex cards are accepted in Canada.
In your first 10 months as a new SimplyCash® Card from American Express Cardmember, you can earn a $10 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $300 in purchases on your Card. This could add up to $100 in statement credits in the first 10 months. Conditions apply.
Related: Best credit card sign-up bonuses and promotions
Earning cash back
With the SimplyCash® Card from American Express, earn 2% cash back on eligible gas purchases in Canada, 2% cash back on eligible grocery purchases in Canada (up to $300 cash back annually), and 1.25% cash back on all other eligible purchases—the only stuff that won’t get cash back are non-purchases, like cash advances, balance transfers, etc.
1.25% is very respectable for a base earn rate. The good news is that there’s no limit to the amount of cash back you can accrue at the base earn rate.Apply for the SimplyCash® Card from American Express
Redeeming cash back
The cash back you accumulate is applied as a credit against your card’s statement once a year, each September. This is less ideal than the cash back redemption policies used by some competing cash back cards, like the once-a-month credit with the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, or the uber flexible ‘redeem whenever you want’ policy for the BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*.
Related: Best Cash Back Cards in Canada
Insurance perks for the SimplyCash® Card from American Express are limited, which is unsurprising for a card with no annual fee.
Manufacturers’ warranties on items purchased with the card are extended by up to one additional year, and items are insured with up to $1,000 in Purchase Protection if they’re damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase. The card also comes with $100,000 in travel accident insurance, but offers no other travel insurance of any kind.
Related: Which credit cards offer the best extended warranty and purchase protection?
Other notable perks
Amex cards are unusual in that a number of them come with a referral incentive. The SimplyCash® Card from American Express pays $50 for each friend or family member you successfully refer to the card, i.e. you’ll get the payout if you recommend the card to someone you know and their application is approved by Amex. This is valid for up to $750 in cumulative annual referral bonuses (15 referrals each year). Subject to change.
Another upside to being an Amex cardholder is that you’ll get access events and special offers curated for Cardmembers with American Express® Experiences.
Related: Credit cards with referral bonuses
Interest rates and fees
- Purchase interest rate: 20.99%
- Cash advance: $2.75 charge per advance + 21.99% interest rate
- Balance transfer: N/A
- Foreign transactions: 2.5% charge per foreign transaction
- Missed payment/Late payment: Purchase interest rate increases to 24.99% if you have two late payments in a 12-month period; or to 26.99% if you have three late payments in a 12-month period
The SimplyCash® Card from American Express is technically very accessible: you need to be the age of majority in your province or territory of residence, as well as a Canadian resident with some form of credit history. There are no publicly disclosed credit score or minimum income requirements, but we assume Amex will want to see at least an average credit score to approve you for the card.
How does it compare to the competition?
*Terms and Conditions apply
Concerned that your Amex won’t be accepted everywhere you shop? Before you apply for the SimplyCash® Card from American Express check out some of the other no annual fee cash back options in Canada.
If groceries are your biggest monthly expense you should probably go with the BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*, which earns 3% back on up to $500 spent on groceries per month*, i.e., up to $15 in monthly cash back. Or if your biggest expenses are in other categories, like gas or restaurants, you could pick the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, which allows you to earn 2% back in two spending categories of your choice, or three categories if you deposit the cash back you earn into a Tangerine savings account.
Both alternatives are Mastercards, so they’ll be accepted at the vast majority of retailers. And some Canadian retailers, like Costco and No-Frills, *only* accept Mastercards, to the exclusion of Visa or Amex.
*Terms and conditions apply
Should you apply for the SimplyCash® Card from American Express?
The SimplyCash® Card from American Express is an easy way to earn back on most of your spending. As with all Amex cards, its primary caveat is that it won’t be accepted in all stores, with particularly low acceptance rates in rural areas and at smaller mom-and-pop shops. That’s why it’s a wise idea to always have either a Mastercard or Visa handy as well, preferably one that complements your SimplyCash card’s earning rates. Read our guide to learn more about using credit card combinations to max out your rewards and cash back.
If you prefer to keep life simple and use only one credit card rather than a combo, the SimplyCash® Card from American Express is a good pick. But keep in mind that it might be worthwhile to upgrade to the SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express, which has higher cash back earn rates at 2% base with accelerated earn rates on eligible gas and grocery purchases. The SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express’s $9.99/month (equals a total fee of $119.88 annually) annual fee is offset by cash back earnings if you spend approximately $5,000 or more with the card each year. That extra earning can add up to a decent chunk of change over time!
American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply. BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the Apply now link for the most up to date information.