Credit cards

A new credit card can help Canadians earn rewards for everyday spending, save toward their next trip, manage interest payments or build credit. No matter your needs, try to find a credit card that fits your particular situation and spending habits, not just the card that offers the most bells and whistles. Even if a card feature looks attractive, it doesn’t carry much value if you don’t use it.

Triangle™ Mastercard®
*Offer not available in Québec.

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  • Annual interest rate 19.99% annual interest rate, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Rewards rate Earn 1.5% – 4% cash back
  • Annual fee $0 annual fee

American Express Cobalt® Card

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  • Annual interest rate 20.99% annual interest rate, 21.99% on cash advances
  • Rewards rate Earn 1x – 5x points per dollar
  • Annual fee $155.88 annual fee ($12.99/month)

SimplyCash™ Card from American Express

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  • Annual interest rate 19.99% annual interest rate, 21.99% on cash advances
  • Signup bonus Earn 4% cash back in your first 6 months
  • Rewards rate Earn 1.25% cash back
  • Annual fee $0 annual fee

American Express® Green Card

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  • Annual interest rate 20.99% annual interest rate, 21.99% on cash advances
  • Signup bonus Earn 10,000 welcome bonus points
  • Rewards rate Earn 1x points per dollar
  • Annual fee $0 annual fee

American Express® Aeroplan®* Card

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  • Signup bonus Earn 10,000 welcome bonus points
  • Rewards rate Earn 1x – 2x points per dollar
  • Annual fee $120 annual fee

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card

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  • Annual interest rate 20.99% annual interest rate, 23.99% on cash advances
  • Signup bonus Earn up to 60,000 BMO Rewards points
  • Rewards rate Earn 1x – 5x points per dollar
  • Annual fee $120 annual fee, waived in the first year

Best Cards For…

The best credit cards in Canada for 2021

Updated August 17, 2021

This date may not reflect recent changes in individual terms.

Editorial note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted.

Written by: Sean Cooper

The best credit cards in Canada can help you earn rewards for your spending, save on interest and build credit. Take a look at our picks.




Best for choosing your rewards categories: Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Here’s why: If you like control over your bonus cash back and don’t want to pay an annual fee, then the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card might suit you.

You get to pick two spending categories to earn 2% cash back on. Bonus category choices include groceries, home improvement, recurring bill payments, entertainment and more. And you can choose a third 2% cash back category when you elect to deposit your rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account. All other purchases earn 0.5% back.


Best for bonus rewards: American Express Cobalt® Card

Here’s why: If you’re looking to maximize earning flexible points toward your choice of redemptions, the American Express Cobalt® Card offers numerous bonus categories to help.

You can earn five points per $1 spent at restaurants, grocery stores and food delivery (including groceries) on up to $30,000 spent annually (then one point per $1). You’ll also get three points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada, two points per $1 on gas, travel and transportation, plus one point per $1 on all other purchases.

The card doesn’t have a traditional annual fee, but there’s a $12.99 monthly fee.


Best for airline points: American Express® Aeroplan®* Card

Here’s why: If you travel often, you can redeem the Aeroplan points you’ll earn with this card for Air Canada flights. You’ll earn two points per $1 spent on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada, 1.5 points per $1 on eligible restaurant and food delivery purchases, and one point per $1 on all other purchases.

The American Express® Aeroplan®* Card also comes with a free checked bag for up to nine people traveling on your Air Canada reservation. There’s a $120 annual fee for the card.

This card is a charge card with no preset spending limit, which means you’ll need to pay your balance off in full every month. If you think you might need to carry a balance, this card probably isn’t right for you.


Best for great rewards and low interest: HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®

Here’s why: If you’re searching for both rewards and a low interest rate, the HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® is worth a closer look.

You’ll earn two points for every $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases, plus one point per $1 on all other eligible purchases. And the card has a low 11.9% interest rate on purchases to help you avoid big charges if you need to carry a balance.

The card has a $25 annual fee, which is rebated the first year. Residents of Quebec may see different terms.


Best for balance transfers: CIBC Select Visa* Card

Here’s why: If you want to pay off existing debt, the CIBC Select Visa* Card can help you out.

You’ll get a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for your first 10 months after your date of application — but note that there’s a 1% balance transfer fee. After those first 10 months, your interest rate on balance transfers goes up to 13.99%.

There’s also a $29 annual fee that is rebated for you and up to three authorized users the first year.


Best for a low ongoing interest rate: MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard®

Here’s why: You’ll get a very low 8.99% interest rate on eligible purchases, which can help you save money when you need to carry a balance.

There’s a $39 annual fee, but that cost might be worth it if you’re looking to save on interest compared to other cards.

This offer is not available to residents of Quebec.


Best for building credit with no annual fee: Home Trust Secured Visa*

Here’s why: This card is an option for building credit without paying an annual fee.

Applicants can choose between two options. You can choose a card with …

  • No annual fee and a higher interest rate, or
  • A lower interest rate and a $59 annual fee

Either way, you’ll need to put down a security deposit in any amount from $500 to $10,000 to open the card. Your deposit will also define your credit limit.

This offer is not available to residents of Quebec.



How to choose the right credit card for you

There’s no one credit card that’s right for everyone — it all depends on your credit and which card fits your individual needs. To help decide which card is right for you, consider the following questions.

Do you need to build or establish credit?

Before you can qualify for high-end rewards cards, you will need to establish a good credit history with Canada’s two major credit bureaus: Equifax and TransUnion. If you’re new to Canada or don’t have great credit, you may not be able to qualify for every card you’d like.

The good news is that there are different kinds of cards that can help you build your credit. Once you’ve built up your credit history — through on-time payments, for example — you may be able to qualify for cards with more features, including rewards.

Secured credit cards are great for building your credit when you lack a credit history or you’re looking to reestablish your credit. Your credit limit is based on a deposit you make with the bank to “secure” the card, and if you fail to make payments, the bank can use this deposit to pay off your balance.

While many banks and online providers offer secured credit cards, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada warns that consumers should beware of offers from issuers outside Canada. If you have trouble with the company’s services, it could be more difficult to take care of them.

Retail credit cards are another option for building credit. With a retail credit card, you typically earn rewards for your spending that you can redeem toward purchases at the connected store. These credit cards can be easier to get approved for, and they might even offer instant approvals.

Do you want to save on interest?

If you need to pay off purchases over several billing periods, you might want to look for a card with a low interest rate. While some cards have a low introductory interest rate, others have a comparatively lower rate on an ongoing basis. Depending on your budget, either type of low-interest credit card can help you save when you have to carry a balance.

If you have existing debt, you can look for a card that offers a low introductory interest rate on balance transfers. These cards let you transfer the balance from an existing credit card to the new credit card and pay a lower interest rate over a limited period of time. If you pay off your debt before that introductory period ends, you could save a lot on interest charges.

Do you want to earn rewards?

Once you’ve built a good credit history, rewards credit cards can provide value for your spending. Before you apply, it’s important to consider which types of rewards you value and how you might use them to your benefit. You can do this by estimating how much you could earn in rewards every year, then subtracting the annual fee.

There are three major types of reward cards: cash back, travel and store/retail.

  • Cash back: These cards allow you to earn cash rewards for everyday purchases, usually as a percentage of the amount you spend. With most cash back rewards, you can use the rewards to pay for charges you make using the credit card.
  • Travel: These cards earn points on your everyday spending that can then be redeemed toward airfare and hotel accommodations. While some cards only earn airline or hotel points for use with one brand, others offer flexible points that can be used at nearly any air carrier or hotel.
  • Store/Retail: These cards allow you to earn rewards that can then be redeemed toward purchases at the co-branded retailer.

How we picked these cards

When selecting the best credit cards in Canada, we tried to pick cards that suited a variety of needs. That included cards for earning rewards on a variety of spending, cards with travel redemption options and cards that can help you save on interest or build credit.