Canada’s Best Visa Credit Cards 2020 - MoneySense

Canada’s Best Visa Credit Cards 2020

As the largest credit card company in the world, Visa offers a wide array of benefits and types of credit cards, making it easy to find one that works for you.

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When consumers shop for a new credit card, they typically look at the ability to collect points, the insurance coverage offered, fees and interest rates on unpaid balances—not at the credit card company itself. But if you already have an account with Royal Bank of Canada, CIBC, Scotiabank or other Visa issuers, you may be inclined to choose a card that’s “in the family.” Or, you may want to take advantage of the benefits offered by the largest credit card company in the world. Whatever your reasons for considering Visa, this guide will help you find a credit card that fits your lifestyle.

The best Visa credit cards in Canada


Best Visa credit card for cash back

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite*

Scotia Momentum Visa InfiniteWhen it comes to perks, cash is king. You simply can’t find a more flexible reward, so it’s no surprise that cash back cards are extremely popular. The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite tops our list for its high earn rate—4% on groceries and recurring bills, 2% on gas and daily transit (including public transit, taxis and rideshares), and 1% on everything else—and its robust purchase and travel protection. The welcome offer is pretty hard to beat: 10% cash back on everything you spend up to $2,000 in the first three months, which works out to up to $200.

  • Annual fee: $120 (waived for first year)
  • Welcome offer: For the first 3 months get 10% cash back on everything (up to $2,000 spend)
  • Earn rate: 4% on gas and recurring bills; 2% on gas and daily transit; 1% on everything else
  • Additional benefits: Mobile device insurance, travel emergency medical and travel accident coverage, car rental damage/loss waiver, flight interruption and delayed and lost baggage insurance; and access to Visa Infinite experiences
  • Income requirement: $60,000 or a minimum household income of $100,000

Click here for more details about the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite*


Best Visa card for travel rewards

TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite*

TD First Class Travel Visa InfiniteFrom providing purchase protection and insurance coverage to offering opportunities to earn travel rewards, credit cards have revolutionized travel. Our top pick in this category, the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card, allows you to earn TD Points which you can redeem for rewards, including travel. For new cardholders there’s a bonus of up to 80,000 points, which is a travel value of up to $400 when redeemed online at ExpediaforTD.com. In addition to the sign-up incentive, this card gets first pick for its flexibility. Rewards can be applied to any travel expense—not just flights.

  • Annual fee: $120 (rebated for the first year)
  • Welcome bonus: Up to 80,000 TD Points (20,000 when you make your first purchase; plus, earn 5 times the Points on purchases for the first 3 months, to a maximum of 20,000 points each month)
  • Earn rate: 9 TD Points per dollar on travel booked online through Expedia; 6 TD Points per dollar for travel booked on the phone through Expedia; and 3 TD Points per dollar spent on everything else
  • Additional benefits: Travel emergency medical, travel accident, car rental, trip interruption, flight interruption and delayed and lost baggage insurance; access to Visa Infinite experiences; savings with Avis and Budget car rentals
  • Income requirement: $60,000 or a minimum household income of $100,000

Click here for more details about the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite*


Best no fee Visa card for rewards

Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa

For a no fee card, this Visa comes with some great rewards. You’ll earn 4% on the first $5,000 you spend at restaurants, bars and coffee shops; 1.5% on the first $15,000 spent on gas, groceries and at drugstores; and 0.5% on everything else, with no limit. The welcome offer is very generous, with 10% cash back at restaurants and bars for the first four months (on spends up to $500). However, each one of the bonus categories has a cap, meaning that earns exceeding the cap amount drop down to the base 0.5% rate. Note that you must currently hold a Simplii financial bank account to qualify for the card. 

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Welcome bonus: 10% cash back at restaurants and bars during the first 4 months up to a $500 spend
  • Earn rate: 4% cash back at restaurants, bars and coffee shops (up to $5,000 spend); 1.5% back on gas, groceries, drugstore purchases and pre-authorized payments (up to $15,000 spend); 0.5% on all other purchases
  • Additional benefits: Purchase security and extended protection insurance
  • Income requirement: $15,000 


Best Visa card for no foreign transaction fees

Home Trust Preferred Visa*

For travellers and cross-border shoppers, a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees is a revelation. Most credit cards apply a surcharge of 2.5% to 3% in foreign transaction fees on top of the currency exchange, bumping up your cost for products and services purchased in different currencies. With that surcharge out of the way, you’re already saving—but the Home Trust Preferred Visa goes one better and lets you earn 1% cash back on all purchases in Canada. And the card has no annual fee, so you keep more of your money in your wallet.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: 1% on all purchases in Canada 
  • Additional benefits: Roadside Assist membership; car rental collision insurance; purchase security
  • Income requirement: None specified

Click here for more details about the Home Trust Preferred Visa card*


Best Visa card for low interest

RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option

RBC Visa Classic Low Rate OptionFor students or those carrying debt, rewards and perks may be less important than having a credit card with low interest. RBC offers the Visa Classic Low Rate Option card. For the very affordable annual fee of $20, cardholders receive an interest rate of 11.99% on purchases and cash advances. Though basic, this card provides purchase protection and extended warranty protection, as well as zero liability protection against fraud, meaning that if someone hacks your card, you won’t be on the hook.

  • Annual fee: $20
  • Earn rate: N/A
  • Interest rate: 11.99%
  • Additional benefits: Free additional card; save 3¢ per litre on fuel at Petro-Canada gas stations when you link your credit card to your Petro-Points account; option to save at select retailers, such as Roots, Indigo and The Keg restaurants, through RBC Offers 
  • Income requirement: None specified


Best Visa card for lounge access

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card*

Scotia Passport Visa InfiniteTravel rewards cards aren’t just about collecting points and getting insurance coverage — many give you access to airport lounges all over the world. And while some get you a few free lounge visits, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card gets you a Priority Pass membership and six free visits per year to your choice of more than 1,300 lounges, no matter your airline or class of service. That’s more free visits than almost any credit card with an annual fee of $150 or less. Plus, you can use those free visits for your travel companions we well; instead of waiting at the gate, you can enjoy comfy chairs, wi-fi, bar beverages and soft drinks; some lounges offer spa services at extra charge, as well as shower facilities and nap rooms. Travellers will also appreciate that there are no transaction fees on foreign currency purchases they make with this card. 

  • Annual fee: $139
  • Welcome bonus: 25,000 Scotia Rewards Points if you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
  • Earn rate: 2 Scotia Rewards Points per $1 on the first $50,000 in eligible purchases; 1 Scotia Rewards Point on every $1 spent over $50,000 limit and on all other purchases 
  • Additional benefits: No foreign transaction fees; 6 complimentary airport lounge visits
  • Income requirement: $60,000 or a minimum household income of $100,000

Click here for more details about the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite*


Best Visa card for travel insurance

Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Card

Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards CardMost credit cards come with some type of travel insurance, but our pick for the most comprehensive coverage is the Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Card. Typically cards come with $1 million in medical emergency coverage for a few weeks of travel with little to no coverage for seniors; however, this card comes with up to $5 million per person for trips of up to 48 days if you’re 59 and under (23 days for ages 60 to 64). Even seniors up to the age of 75 will receive complimentary coverage for up to 15 days. It also includes solid trip cancellation and interruption insurance, flight delay insurance, baggage insurance and vehicle rental insurance.  To top it all off: the card comes with up to $1,000 in mobile device insurance that’ll cover your cell phone if it’s lost, stolen, or accidentally damaged.

  • Annual fee: $99 (waived for first year)
  • Welcome bonus: None
  • Earn rate: 1.5 Points per dollar spent on all Canadian purchases and 3 Points per dollar on foreign purchases
  • Additional benefits: Access to Visa Infinite benefits including 24/7 concierge services and hotel stay upgrades at eligible locations
  • Income requirement: $60,000 or a minimum household income of $100,000


Best Visa card for students

Scotiabank Scene Visa card*

If you’re a student who wants to build up your credit history, earn rewards and not pay an annual fee, then consider the Scotiabank Scene Card. The big perk is that you can earn points on everyday purchases towards free movies, which require 1,250 Scene Points each, but you’ll get discounts at restaurants and up to 25% off car rentals at participating Avis and Budget locations as well. It’s also an easy card to qualify for, as it requires a modest annual income of $12,000.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Welcome bonus: 2,500 Scene Points with your first $500 in purchases made in the first 3 months
  • Earn rate: 1 Scene Point for every $1 spent; 5 Scene Points for every $1 spent at Cineplex theatres or cineplex.com
  • Additional benefits: $10 off participating restaurants when you redeem 1,000 Points; 25% off base rates at participating Avis and Budget car rental locations 
  • Income requirement: $12,000

Click here for more details about the Scotiabank Scene Visa Card*


Honourable mention

Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa*

Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa CardWhile perks and rewards are great, you often have to pay an annual fee in order to get them. With the Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa card, not only do members forgo an annual fee, they’re given the opportunity to earn cash back! And with an introductory interest rate of 7.99% for the first six months, you can take advantage of transferring balances from higher-interest cards.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: 1% cash back at gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores and for recurring bills; 0.5% on everything else
  • Additional benefits: Free additional cards; up to 25% off on car rentals at Avis 
  • Income requirement: None specified

Click here for more details about the Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card*


Overview: Canada’s best Visa credit cards


Visa card Best for Best feature explained
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Cash back Earn 10% for 3 months. Afterwards, get 4% cash back on groceries and bills
TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Travel Up to 9 TD points per $1 on travel purchases. Redeem points for flights any airline through ExpediaforTD.com
Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa No fee 4% on dining (up to $5,000 annual spend)
Home Trust Preferred Visa No foreign transaction fees 2.5% savings on all foreign purchases
RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option Low interest 12.99% annual interest rate on purchases
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Airport lounge access 6 free annual passes to Priority Pass lounges
Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Travel insurance Up to $5 million in travel medical emergency coverage for 48 days. Up to 15 days coverage for seniors
Scotiabank Scene Visa card* Students Earn Scene points on every purchase
Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Honourable mention No annual fee and up to 1% cash back


MORE ON CANADA’S BEST CREDIT CARDS:


Our methodology

For the best Visa credit cards 2020 ranking, we categorized credit cards based on the best feature of each. Our rankings also took into account the annual fee; rewards earn rate, if applicable; and additional benefits, such as purchase protection, automobile roadside assistance and bonus opportunities to earn rewards.

‡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.