The best no-fee credit cards in Canada for 2024

From cash back to rewards points (and perks like no foreign transaction fees), here's a list of Canada's best no fee cards.

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MoneySense is an award-winning magazine, helping Canadians navigate money matters since 1999. Our editorial team of trained journalists works closely with leading personal finance experts in Canada. To help you find the best financial products, we compare the offerings from over 12 major institutions, including banks, credit unions and card issuers. Learn more about our advertising and trusted partners.

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The best no-fee cards by category

Imagine enjoying the perks of a credit card without the expense of an annual fee. Well, Canadians can choose from an impressive selection of no-fee credit cards that make this dream a reality. These cards not only save you money on an annual fee but also offer enticing rewards like cash back and travel points. Here are our picks for the best no-fee credit cards in Canada.

Best credit card by categoryWhy we love it
Best no-fee cash back credit card
SimplyCash Card from American Express
At least 1.25% back on all purchases
Best no-fee cash back card (honourable mention)
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
2% back in up to 3 bonus categories of your choice

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Best flat-rate cash back card
Rogers Red World Elite Mastercard
A flat 1.5% back on all your Canadian purchases, plus enough back on all U.S.-dollar purchases to cover forex fees
Best no-fee travel credit card
American Express Green Card
Consistent earnings of 1 point per $1 on all your purchases, combined with the flexibility and value of Amex Membership Rewards
Best no-fee travel card (honourable mention)
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard
5 bonus categories and an annual birthday bonus of 10% of the points earned each year
Best no forex card
Home Trust Preferred Visa
1% cash back on all Canadian purchases, and no forex fees on all foreign-currency purchases (not just U.S.)
Best cash back credit card for students
BMO CashBack Mastercard for Students
3% back on groceries and the ability to redeem rewards at any time
Best travel credit card for students
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students
Good return on spending, plus a few travel benefits and student-friendly perks
Best low-interest credit card
Flexi Visa
10.90% purchase interest rate
Best store credit card
PC Financial World Elite Mastercard
Highest rate of return on spending at one of the largest retail networks in the country
Best store credit card (honourable mention)
Triangle World Elite Mastercard
4% back in Canadian Tire Money

Best no-fee cash back credit card

At a glance: The SimplyCash Card from American Express keeps things simple. All purchases earn 1.25% cash back aside from gas and groceries, which earn at a higher 2% rate. The 1.25% base rate is among the most generous available, which is just one of the reasons this card is the best no-fee cash back card in the country.

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SimplyCash from American Express

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: 2% cash back on gas and groceries; 1.25% cash back on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: You can earn a $10 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you make at least $300 in purchases (for a total value of up to $100).
  • Annual income requirement: None
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 725 or higher
  • Interest rates: 21.99% on purchases, 21.99% on cash advances

Pros

  • The base earn rate of 1.25% is generous for a no-fee card.
  • Earn 2% on two of the most popular spending categories: gas and groceries.
  • Refer a friend and earn up to $375 cash back annually for approved referrals.
  • A rarity for a no-fee card: You get travel insurance that provides up to $100,000 in accidental death and dismemberment insurance when you fully charge your common carrier (plane, train, ship or bus) tickets to the card.

Cons

  • You can’t access your cash back at any time. Instead, it’s applied to your account as a statement credit each September. 
  • With grocery purchases, you’re capped at $300 in cash back annually (the first $15,000 spent). That’s a relatively low cap for a bonus category.
  • American Express is less widely accepted in Canada than Visa or Mastercard, so you might want to also carry a secondary card for purchases at certain stores, including Costco and Loblaw grocery stores. 

Honourable mention

At a glance: The only card in Canada that lets you pick your accelerated earn categories, the Tangerine Money-Back card is a perennial favourite of Canadians looking for a flexible no-fee card that fits their spending habits. Those with a Tangerine savings account can choose up to three 2% money-back categories (otherwise you get to select two categories) from an impressive list of 10 categories.

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Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

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  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rates: 2% in up to 3 categories of your choice (including groceries, gas and dining) and 0.5% cash back on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: You can earn an extra 10% back on up to $1,000 in everyday purchases within the first 2 months. Must apply by October 31, 2024.
  • Annual income requirement: Personal or household income of $12,000
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  • Recommended credit score: 660 or higher
  • Interest rates: 19.95% on purchases, 19.95% on cash advances and 19.95% on balance transfers

Pros

  • The option to pick your 2% bonus categories from a total of 10 options, including grocery, gas, eating places, entertainment, public transit and recurring bills. 
  • You can switch your bonus categories, subject to certain limitations. 
  • Take advantage of a low 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers made within your first 30 days of being a cardholder. There’s a 1% balance transfer fee, and the interest rate is valid for six months (then it jumps to 19.95%).

Cons

  • Earnings are paid monthly, instead of annually like some cards. However, some cards give you even more access to your rewards by allowing you to redeem when you want.
  • A low income requirement of $12,000 per year makes it accessible, but our top pick has no specified income requirement.

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Best flat-rate cash back card

At a glance: If you’re a frequent flier looking for a no-fee pro-travel credit card, the Rogers World Elite Mastercard is a great option. Earn a high and consistent earn rate on all your Canadian purchases, plus enough on U.S. purchases to offset all foreign transaction fees—all with no annual fee.

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Rogers Red World Elite Mastercard

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  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: 1.5% cash back on all purchases, or 2% back for Rogers, Fido and Shaw customers; 3% cash back on all purchases in USD
  • Welcome bonus: You can This card does not have a welcome bonus at this time.
  • Annual income requirement: Personal income of $80,000 or household income of $150,000
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  • Recommended credit score for approval: 725 or higher
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances, 22.99% on balance transfers

Pros

  • Earn 1.5% on all purchases in Canada (in store and online), making this one of the best cards to use at Costco, which does not accept Visa or Amex. Or earn 2% when you have at least one qualifying service with Rogers, Fido or Shaw.
  • The accelerated 3% earn rate on purchases in U.S. dollars covers the 2.5% foreign transaction fee. If you frequently shop in the U.S., it’s like having a no-forex-fee card.
  • Get 1.5 times more cash when you redeem for Rogers, Fido or Shaw purchases. This is equivalent to earning 3%.
  • Redeem your rewards against purchases on your card once you have earned a minimum of $10 in cash back rewards.
  • The card comes with four types of travel insurance: emergency medical insurance, trip cancellation, trip interruption and collision/damage rental car coverage (all very rare features for a no-fee card). Complimentary membership to Mastercard Travel Pass by DragonPass is also included.

Cons

  • Only Rogers, Fido and Shaw customers benefit fully from having this card. The 1.5% earn rate for people who aren’t customers is less impressive.
  • High income requirements of $80,000 annual personal income or $150,000 annual household income may put this card out of reach. 

Best no-fee travel credit card

At a glance: Earn points on everyday purchases and enjoy the flexibility of redeeming them for a variety of rewards with this no-fee rewards credit card. Plus, Amex Membership Rewards are transferable at a 1:1 value to other frequent flyer and rewards programs, creating an opportunity to boost the value of your rewards.

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American Express Green Card

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: 1 point for every $1 spent on all purchases and 1 additional point for every $1 spent on hotel or car bookings made on americanexpress.ca.
  • Welcome offer: You can earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you charge $1,000 in purchases to your card in the first three months of cardmembership.
  • Annual income requirement: None
  • Points values: 1 Amex Membership Rewards point = $0.01 when redeemed with the Flexible Points Travel Program, $0.015 on average with the Fixed Points Travel Program, and up to $0.02 with airline points transfers.
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 725 or higher
  • Interest rates: 21.99% on purchases, 21.99% on cash advances

Pros

  • Redeem points for a variety of rewards like gift cards, merchandise, purchases made at Amazon.ca, travel and more.
  • Amex Membership Rewards points offer great value for travellers, allowing you to transfer your points to a variety of loyalty programs like Aeroplan at a value of 1:1. 
  • American Express Experiences program gives cardholders access to presale tickets and invites to exclusive events.

Cons

  • This card offers 1 extra point per $1 spent on hotel or car rental bookings made through the American Express Travel website. But it comes with a flat rate on most purchases, meaning you won’t benefit as frequently from earning bonus points on popular categories. 
  • American Express cards are not as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercard in Canada.

Honourable mention

At a glance: The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard features a flexible rewards program that gives cardholders maximum value when they redeem points for travel. It also includes a generous number of boosted earning categories, including restaurants, groceries, digital media, memberships and household utilities. Cardholders even enjoy an annual Birthday Bonus.

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MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rates: Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible groceries, restaurants, digital media, membership and household utility purchases ($10,000 max annual spend) and 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • Welcome offer: You can earn 10,000 bonus points ($50 in cash back value). Plus, get 4 points per $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership and household utility purchases during the first 90 days. (Not available for residents of Quebec.)
  • Annual income requirement: None
  • Points values: 1 MBNA Rewards point = $0.01 when redeemed for travel
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 660 or higher
  • Interest rates: 19.99% on purchases, 24.99% on cash advances, 22.99% on balance transfers

Pros

  • A birthday bonus perk gets you 10% of your annual earnings in points (up to a maximum of 10,000 bonus points in one year).
  • The MBNA Payment Plan allows you to pay for eligible credit card purchases of $100 or more in monthly payments rather than a lump sum.
  • Cardholders also enjoy rental car discounts, extended warranty and purchase protection.
  • It’s one of the few no-fee cards that offers mobile phone insurance.

Cons

  • The accelerated earn rate of 2 points is capped at $10,000 annually in each boosted category. Then it falls to the base rate of 1 point per $1.
  • MBNA rewards aren’t as flexible as some other programs, because you have to redeem through the bank’s own travel portal and you can’t transfer points to other airline programs.

Best no forex card

At a glance: Did you know that every time you use your credit card outside of Canada, most card issuers charge a 2.5% foreign transaction fee for processing purchases made in a non-Canadian currency? The Home Trust Preferred Visa is one of the only no-fee cards in Canada that doesn’t charge a forex fee.

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Home Trust Preferred Visa

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rates: 1% on all purchases in Canada and pay no FX fees on foreign currency purchases
  • Welcome offer: You can earn 1% cashback on eligible purchases in Canada, with no caps on cashback earn.
  • Annual income requirement: None
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 660 or higher
  • Interest rates: 21.99% on purchases, 21.99% on cash advances

Pros

  • A true no forex credit card, you don’t pay a fee for purchases in a non-Canadian currency (unlike some so-called no-forex fee cards that only waive the fee for some select foreign currencies).
  • Earn a flat 1% cash back (with no cap on earnings) on all your Canadian currency purchases.

Cons

  • Cash back is only earned on Canadian currency purchases (so while you’re abroad, you’ll save 2.5% on forex fees but won’t pocket the additional 1% cash back rewards).
  • Cash back is only redeemed as a credit once annually in January, as opposed to any time of the year.
  • The card does not come with extended warranty protection, which is pretty standard even for no-fee cards.

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Best student credit cards

For cash back

At a glance: With competitive cash back rates, including 3% on groceries, 1% on recurring bills, and 0.5% on other purchases, this card caters to students’ spending patterns and rewards users generously for common everyday purchases.

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BMO CashBack Mastercard for Students

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rates: 3% cash back on groceries (on the first $500 per month), 1% on recurring bills and 0.5% on everything else
  • Welcome offer: You can earn 5% cash back in your first 3 months. Conditions apply.
  • Annual income requirement: None
  • Recommended credit score: 660 or higher
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances (21.99% in Quebec) and 22.99% on balance transfers

Pros

  • Get 3% cash back on groceries—the highest rate on groceries for a no-fee cash back credit card in Canada. You also earn 1% on recurring bills. 
  • BMO has very flexible cash back options. You can redeem your cash any time and deposit it into a BMO account (chequing, savings or InvestorLine) or get a statement credit. 
  • Take advantage of extended warranty and purchase protection on your purchases.

Cons

  • Unfortunately, the accelerated rate categories have quite a low cap of only $500 monthly and once you reach that max you’ll only earn the 0.5% base rate.

For travel

At a glance: The CIBC Aeroplan Visa for Students is ideal for budding globetrotters. With no annual fee, you’ll earn 1 point per $1 spent on eligible gas, electric vehicle charging, groceries and on purchases made with Air Canada, including through Air Canada Vacations. For all other purchases earn you 1 point per every $1.50 you spend. Aeroplan is a dynamic rewards system which can turn your points into excellent value for flights and hotels—if you are strategic with your bookings.

CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students

Visit CIBC.com for more details
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rates: 1 point per $1 spent on gas and EV charging, groceries and Air Canada purchases, and 1 point per $1.50 on everything else
  • Welcome offer: Earn 10,000 Aeroplan points when you make your first purchase ($200 value).
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances (21.99% in Quebec)
  • Annual income requirement: None
Visit CIBC.com for more details
  • Point value: Aeroplan points are worth $0.02 on average
  • Recommended credit score: None specified

Pros

  • With Aeroplan you can redeem points on any available Air Canada flight with no blackout dates. You can also use them with any of Aeroplan’s many partners, such as United and Aer Lingus.
  • Get up to 10 cents off per litre at participating gas stations if you link your Aeroplan card with a Journie Rewards membership.
  • The card features car rental collision and loss damage insurance, as well as common carrier, purchase security and extended protection insurance.
  • Designed for students, the card has no minimum income requirement.

Cons

  • Your everyday purchases won’t contribute to earning Status Qualifying Miles with this Aeroplan credit card. 
  • For first-time cardholders, navigating the Aeroplan points program might be less straightforward, as point values vary according to a regional chart. To maximize value, strategic flight booking is essential.

Best low-interest credit card

At a glance: If you tend to carry a credit card balance from month to month, the smart financial move may be to prioritize low interest over chasing rewards. That’s where the Flexi Card from Desjardins comes in: It offers a rock-bottom APR with no annual fee.

Flexi Visa

Visit desjardins.com for more details
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rates: None
  • Interest rates: 10.90% on purchases and cash advances
  • Welcome offer: None
  • Annual income requirement: None
Visit desjardins.com for more details
  • Recommended credit score: Not specified
  • Interest rates: 10.90% on purchases and 10.90% on cash advances

Pros

  • You’d be hard pressed to find a card with a lower interest rate that also charges no annual fee (most low APR cards from the other banks charge between $20-$40 in annual fees)
  • Despite being a low interest card, it doesn’t completely skimp on perks: cardholders have travel insurance for trips up to 3 days, select rental car discounts at Hertz, Thrifty and Dollar and mobile device insurance.
  • The card also has a low 12.9% APR on cash advances.

Cons

  • This card doesn’t offer any balance transfer promotions. So if you want to transfer an existing balance to a new card with the goal of paying it off fast, you may want to consider a balance transfer credit card instead. 
  • If you prefer in-person support, note that Desjardins only has physical branches in Ontario and Quebec.

Best store credit card

At a glance: The President’s Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard offers an array of benefits for PC Optimum members. With an impressive earn rate of as much as 45 points per $1 at Shoppers Drug Mart, 30 points per litre at Esso, or any Loblaw-owned stores and 10 points per $1 on all other spending, this card is sure to amass rewards quickly.

PC Financial World Elite Mastercard

Visit pcfinancial.com for more details
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rates: 45 PC Optimum points per $1 at Shoppers Drug Mart; 30 points per $1 at Loblaw banner grocery stores (including No Frills), and 10 points per $1 on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: You can
  • Annual income requirement: Personal income of $80,000 or household income of $150,000
Visit pcfinancial.com for more details
  • Point value: 10 PC points = $0.01 at Loblaws grocery network and Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 560 or higher
  • Interest rates: 21.99% on purchases, 22.97% on cash advances (21.97% for residents of Quebec), 22.97% on balance transfers

Pros

  • The earn rates translate to a high 3% to 4.5% return on your spending at Canada’s largest grocery and pharmacy retail network—all with the advantage of no annual fee.
  • You can quickly stack points by combining your PC Optimum Card and your PC Financial Mastercard.
  • The card features an impressive amount of insurance, including travel emergency medical insurance, car rental collision/loss damage waiver insurance, as well as collision/damage and theft protection for car rentals. 
  • One of the only no-fee cards that offer 24/7 concierge service.

Cons

  • To remain eligible for the card’s higher-tier earn rates, you need to spend a minimum of $15,000 annually. If not, you’ll be “demoted” to a lower earning card, such as the PC World Mastercard or PC Mastercard.
  • You have to shop at PC partners to earn the most points.

Honourable mention

At a glance: With no annual fee, cardholders earn 4% back in Canadian Tire Money on qualifying purchases at Canadian Tire, SportChek, and participating Mark’s/L’Équipeur and Atmosphere stores. Additionally, you’ll get 3% back on groceries and 1% in Canadian Tire Money on other everyday purchases. It’s also one of the few no-fee cards that offer car rental collision insurance and give you access to a roadside assistance plan.

Triangle World Elite Mastercard

Visit triangle.canadiantire.ca for more details
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: 4% back on purchases at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Mark’s/L’Équipeur, Atmosphere, Party City, Sports Rousseau, Hockey Experts, L’Entrepôt du Hockey and participating Sports Experts stores; 3% at grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Costco), up to $12,000 per year; 1% everywhere else; $0.05 to $0.07 back per litre at Gas+ and Essence+
  • Welcome offer: No welcome offer at this time.
  • Annual income requirement: Personal income of $80,000 or household income of $150,000
Visit triangle.canadiantire.ca for more details
  • Recommended credit score for approval: Not specified
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances (21.99% for Quebec residents), 22.99% on balance transfers

Pros

  • The card comes with a hassle-free return policy without requiring a receipt at select stores and offers exclusive savings events for members. 
  • The card comes with purchase security, extended warranty and car rental collision/loss damage waiver.
  • Enjoy the Triangle World Elite Mastercard Roadside Assistance Gold Plan, providing a towing distance of up to 250 km per service call to your preferred destination within Canada or the US. 
  • Get $0.07 per litre in CT Money on premium fuel and $0.05 per litre at Gas+ and Essence+ locations.
  • Cardholders can also enjoy complimentary concierge service to help you with travel and other bookings. 
  • One dollar in CT Money is equal to CAD$1. Plus, for $89 per year plus tax you can sign up for the Triangle Select program, which will earn you as much as ten times the CT Money on everyday purchases made with your Triangle Mastercard.

Cons

  • The reward points are only applied to the price of the purchased items, meaning the 4% you’ll earn on purchases at Canadian Tire doesn’t include sales tax.
  • The card has a high annual minimum income requirement of $80,000 or $150,000 per household.

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How we determine the best no-fee credit cards

Our editors apply their credit card expertise and knowledge of Canadians’ financial goals to come up with selection criteria that matches the needs of the intended cardholder. For every type of credit card in Canada, there is a no-fee option. So, we applied different selection criteria to nearly every award category on this list. In addition to standing out in its category, each card has no annual fee. The addition of links from affiliate partners has no bearing on the results. Read more about our selection process and about how MoneySense makes money.

Frequently asked questions

No-fee credit cards do not charge an annual fee, which is typically used by card issuers to cover the cost of the benefits they offer. Though many no-fee cards still offer some form of perks and rewards, such as cash back, travel points and some insurance coverage, the benefits are typically less impressive compared to annual-fee cards. When used responsibly, no-fee cards can still help you build a credit history and improve your credit score.


It’s usually all about the perks. For example, some Aeroplan point collectors do pay an annual fee of $599 for the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege—which is way above the typical $100 rate. That card comes with travel benefits like unlimited free access for the cardholder and a guest to Maple Leaf Lounges throughout North America, and membership in the Visa Airport Companion Program hosted by DragonPass and includes six lounge visits worldwide, as well as priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling, and an extensive suite of travel insurance.


No-fee credit cards are suitable for a wide range of Canadians with different goals and spending habits. They are particularly useful if you don’t use credit often—if you spend thousands of dollars per year on your card, you may be able to earn more with an annual-fee card that offers many perks and rewards. No-fee cards are a good option if you’re new to Canada or have a shaky credit history and want to improve your credit rating over time. If you already have an annual-fee card, a no-fee card may also give you access to features your current card lacks, such as no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.


Not all credit cards have an annual fee, as you can see based on our list of Canada’s best no-fee credit cards. Why would someone have a card with this fee? Well, it’s about perks and promotions. Generally speaking, cards with an annual fee have higher earn rates for rewards, including points and cash back programs. There are also other perks that may lack with a no-fee card, like travel insurance, airport lounge access and more. So, if those things matter to you, then an annual fee might be worth it. But look at welcome offers, as many promotions waive the annual fee for the first year of having the card.


Advantages of a no-fee credit card

  1. Skip the yearly charge: A no-fee credit card is free to have at your disposal. Better yet, if you never carry a balance and you use a no-fee card that offers cash back or rewards, you’ll actually be in a better financial position than you would without the card. In many cases, the earn rate might be lower than with an annual-fee card; however, with a no-fee card, any rewards you earn can be a net positive—you don’t have to spend a certain amount every year to make up for the upfront charge.
  2. Save on certain expenses: A card that complements your spending habits and hobbies (like travel) can also save you a nice chunk of change on things like foreign transaction fees, insurance and rental cars. 

Drawbacks of a no-fee credit card

  1. Ho-hum rewards and cash back: Your reward earning power can be somewhat lacklustre when compared to the revved-up rewards you’ll usually reap with premium cards that have an annual fee. For example, with the American Express Cobalt card, you’ll earn 5 points per $1 spent on groceries and restaurants, 3 points per $1 spent on streaming services, and 2 points per $1 spent on travel, transit and gas (with everything else getting you 1 point per $1). You can see that at those earn rates, points can pile up pretty quickly. 
  2. Not-so-welcoming welcome offers: Because one of the major selling points of a no-fee card is that there is no fee, the welcome bonuses offered to attract new applicants are not as generous as cards with annual fees.
  3. Fewer perks: With few exceptions, no-fee cards lack the perks and benefits—particularly insurance—that tend to come with annual-fee cards. Typically (though not always), no-fee cards do include very basic protections, such as zero liability, purchase protection and extended warranty, but you’ll usually miss out on travel insurance, concierge service and perks, such as airport lounge access. Ultimately, you’ll have to weigh these benefits against the fees and decide whether a no-fee credit card works best for you.

What should you do with the money you saved with an annual fee?

With a no-fee card, you could save yourself $59 to $250 dollars a year. But make a conscious decision to do something with that money, like putting it into a high-interest savings account or into your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or tax-free savings account. It’s not a lot, but the compound interest you could earn makes it worthwhile. Use our compound interest calculator to find out how much you could grow your money.

Video: 5 reasons to swap your debit card for a prepaid cash back card

More of Canada’s best credit cards:

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About Sandra MacGregor

About Sandra MacGregor

Sandra MacGregor has been writing about personal finance, mortgages, investing and credit cards for over a decade.