Nothing could be easier to understand than a cash back credit card. You get a small percentage back on everything you buy on the card and the reward comes in the form of cash back, meaning money. The beauty is that you can spend these cash back rewards on anything you want. So they’re flexible too. But many offer much more than simply cash back. Here are some of the top cards in this category, along with the best they have to offer.
The best cash back credit cards in Canada 2019
- Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite and Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back — Best for gas and groceries (with a fee)
- The SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express — Best flat-rate cash back (with a fee)
- TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card — Honorable mention (fee cash back)
- Tangerine-Money Back Card – Best for flexible cash back (no fee)
- Rogers World Elite MasterCard – Best cash back for travel (no fee)
- The SimplyCash Card from American Express – Best flat-rate cash back (no fee)
- BMO CashBack MasterCard — Honorable mention (for no fee cash back)
- More on the best credits cards – View a complete list of top cards by category
- Our methodology – For greater insight into our rankings
Best cash back credit cards for gas and groceries
Great cash-back on gas and groceries: You’ll earn 4% back on this spending, plus you’ll earn 2% at pharmacies and on recurring bills paid through the card. For every other purchase, you’ll get back 1% per dollar spent.
Annual fee: $99, which is waived for the first year. A supplemental card is just $30
Free money: You won’t pay a cent for this card in the first year, plus 10% cash back on everything for the first three months on the initial $2,000 in purchases.
Good travel benefits: Even though this is not a travel card, it boasts delayed and lost baggage insurance, trip interruption insurance, flight delay insurance, and travel accident insurance.
One of a kind dining and drink: Wine country discounts in Ontario and British Columbia where you can enjoy complimentary tasting, private vineyard tours, and discounts on wine purchases. Plus, access to other Visa Infinite Services (including concierge services).
Click here for more details about the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite*
Gas and grocery savings: Earn 4% cash back per $1 spent on gas and groceries and 2% on pharmacy annually and pre-authorized payments and 1% cash back on everything else.
Free for the first year: Don’t pay the $99 annual fee for the first year
Big bonus: 10% cash back on everything you buy for the first 3 months. (This is available on the first $2,000 in purchase)
Flexible rewards: Cash back rewards can be redeemed for account credit, merchandise, gift cards, and more.
Mobile device insurance: Buy your new wireless device or make all monthly wireless bill payments on your card, and your mobile device (cell phone, smartphone or tablet) will be protected for up to $1,000 in case it’s lost, stolen or accidentally damaged.
Click here for more details about the Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back*
Best flat-rate cash back with a fee
Warm welcome: Juicy welcome bonus of 5% cash back on all purchases for the first 6 months (up to $300 cash back). Two percent cash back on everything—not just specific categories—after the welcome bonus ends.
Annual fee: $99
Reasonable rate: Low-interest rate of 1.99% interest rate on balance transfer for the first six months.
Referral perks: Receive a bonus when you refer select American Express cards to your friends and family.
Be first in line: Beat the line for events. Cardholders have priority access to concert tickets with American Express Invites
Click here for more details about the SimplyCash Preferred*
Honorable mention (fee cash back)
Juicy bonus: Get 6% cash back on everything for the first 3 months (on the first $3,500 in purchases)
Great earnings: Get 3% cash back per dollar spent on gas, groceries and utility bills. Plus, 1% on all other purchases
No annual fee the first year: And $120 per year fee after that
Emergency road services: Available to you through the Deluxe TD Auto Club Membership
Travel medical coverage: Includes up to $2 million of coverage for the first 10 days. If you or your spouse is aged 65 or older, you are covered for the first 4 days of your trip. Plus, additional top-up coverage is available
Click here for more details about the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card*
Best no-fee card for flexible cash back
What you’ll earn: 2% cash back on your everyday purchases in two 2% Money-Back Categories of your choice, and 0.50% money-back rewards on all your other everyday purchases. Categories you can choose from include grocery, restaurants, gas, recurring bills payments, public transportation, and parking, and more.
Automatic wins: Money-back rewards are paid monthly, and can either be applied towards your credit card balance or redeemed into your Tangerine savings account.
Customized to your spending habits: You can choose 2-3 categories that you want to earn 2% in based on your spending habits—and you can change your selections.
Limitless: No limit on the amount of money-back rewards you can earn.
Click here for more details about the Tangerine Money-Back Card*
Best no fee cash back for travel
Great earnings: Get 4% cash back on purchases in a foreign currency, 2% on Rogers products and services charged to your card, and 1.75% on all other purchases.
Free: No annual fee. Plus, additional cards are free. (But note, the individual income requirement for this card is $80,000, which is higher than most credit cards.)
Warm welcome: Get $25 in cash back rewards when you make your first card purchase within 3 months of receiving your card.
Flexible redemption options: You can redeem your cash back rewards towards all eligible purchases made on the card in the last 90 days.
Emergency medical coverage: Including Emergency Air-Transportation or Evacuation, additional hotel and meal expenses (up to $200 a day for a maximum of 10 days) if incurred after the planned return to Canada, emergency dental care, and more. (Certain conditions apply).
Click here for more details about the Rogers World Elite MasterCard
Best no-fee flat-rate cash back
Three-month bonus: Get a welcome bonus of 2.5% cash back on eligible purchases (up to a maximum of $150) for the first three months.
No annual fee: Both this card and any additional cards are free.
Broad rewards: Get 1.25% cash back on all purchases regardless of purchase category (after the welcome bonus ends). Plus, no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn.
Refer a friend: Get $100 cash back for each approved referral up to a maximum annual referral bonus of $1,500 Cash Back
Entertainment perks: That includes access to select Toronto lounges, including Roy Thomson Hall and the Budweiser Stage. Plus Front Of the Line access to presale tickets of the most in-demand concerts, theatre productions, and more.
Click here for more details about the SimplyCash Card from American Express*
Honorable mention (no fee cash back)
Welcome offer: Get 5% cash back on all purchases (up to $100) for this first 3 months
No annual fee: Plus, can add additional cardholders for free
Reliable cash-back: 1% cash back on all purchases after welcome bonus ends
First-rate: 1.99% introductory rate on balance transfers for the first 9 months
Discounts on vehicle rentals: Up to 25% off rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent-a-Car locations
Click here for more details about the BMO CashBack MasterCard*
Canada’s Best Cash Back Credit Cards – Rewards Overview
|Card||Net reward (excluding 1st year sign-up bonus)|
|Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite||$393|
|Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back||$393|
|SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express||$381|
|Rogers World Elite MasterCard||$420|
|SimplyCash Card from American Express||$300|
In-Depth: THE BEST CREDIT CARDS BY CATEGORY
- Overall Best Credit Cards in Canada
- Best Rewards Credit Cards
- Best Travel Credit Cards
- Best No Fee Rewards Credit Cards
- Best Low Interest Credit Cards
- Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards
- Best Student Credit Cards
For the Best Cash Back Credit Cards 2019 ranking, MoneySense tapped into Ratehub.ca’s‡ credit card tool and calculated the numbers for both fee and no fee cash back rewards cards based on $2,000 in monthly spending. We used the following scenario: $500 on groceries, $200 on gas, $200 on restaurants, $125 on bill payments, $175 on travel, $225 on entertainment, $75 on pharmacy purchases and $500 on everything else.
The end game was a magic number—that is, the annual net reward in dollar terms to identify the top cash back cards for each type of spender, along with an honorary mention. Our methodology also took into consideration other factors, including limited-time accelerated earn rates, the range of spending bonus categories, annual fee waivers, purchase protections and travel insurance perks.
‡MoneySense.ca and Ratehub.ca are both owned by parent company Ratehub Inc. We may be partnered with some financial institutions, but this does not influence the “Canada’s Best Credit Card” rankings. You can read more about this in our Editorial Code of Conduct.