Who doesn’t like free cash? If you are looking for a way to get a little extra back at the end of each month, a good cash back card is right for you. Most cash back cards offer you a percentage of your purchases as a reward. Cash back credit cards can help you make the most of your every day purchases.
This year, the biggest change is that the TrueEarnings Card from American Express has been discontinued. In its place, I’ve included two other options that you’ll find further down the page.
Look for a cash back card that is likely to provide you with maximum rewards in the spending categories you use most. These credit cards are most effective when you use them to make every day purchases, and then pay off the balance each month.
Scotiabank Momentum VISA Infinite Card – The Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite card is designed to reward you for your every day purchases. I believe it’s the best credit card available in Canada and it’s the card I use for all my regular purchases and bill payments. You receive a full 4% cash back on gas station and grocery store purchases. Additionally, you receive 2% cash back on your recurring payments and on drug store purchases. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. There is a 21-day grace period before interest starts accruing. The Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite Card comes with a 19.99% interest rate on purchases and 21.99% interest rate on cash advances.
There is a minimum income requirement for this card: $60,000 a year for an individual and $100,000 for a household. This card comes with a $99 annual fee, but it can easily be overcome if you are smart about your spending, taking full advantage of the tiered system to get a higher cash back rate on common purchases.
BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard: You get one of the highest flat cash back rates — 1.75% — of any cash back credit card out there. There are no caps, categories, tiers or limits with this card. There is a $120 annual fee, but it is waived for the first year, so you can quickly start earning cash back without being in the hole. With the right strategy, you are likely to easily make up for that fee.
This cash back credit card also comes with perks generally associated with travel cards, including out of province and country travel medical insurance, free roadside assistance, and car rental and trip insurance. You’ll also have access to extended warranty protection and purchase protection.
MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard – For the first six months of being an account holder, you can get 5% cash back on qualified gas and grocery purchases. After the first six months, you get up to 2% cash back in these categories. All other spending comes with 1% cash back. Your cash back rewards are automatically mailed to you in the form of a cheque at the end of each billing cycle in which you reach $50 in cash rewards.
You can enjoy a 1.99% interest rate on balances transfers for the first 10 months, which is a nice bonus for a card like this. The purchase AIR for the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard is 19.99% and the balance transfer interest rate is normally 21.99%. This credit card comes without an annual fee, which makes it attractive.
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express – If you are looking to earn a flat, no-hassle rate on everything that you buy, the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express is a great choice. You will earn 1.5% cash back on all your purchases, with no need to remember to sign up to earn special category rates. Right now, American Express is also offering you the chance to get 5% cash back on all the purchases you make in the first six months, up to $400.
If you use the SimplyCash card for all of your purchases, you can easily earn plenty of cash back each year. If you spend $1,750 each month using your card, you can get about $315 cash back each year, at the 1.5% rate. That more than offsets the $79 annual fee, and you could easily get even more cash back. While the 1.5% rate only lasts until you reach $100,000 in purchases, you can still make a tidy sum up to that point, and afterward you still earn 1.25% cash back, with no cap. Other perks of the card include insurance coverage, fraud protection, 24/7 customer service, and access to exclusive experiences through American Express Invites.
If you spend less, you can use the “regular” SimplyCash American Express card. It comes with no annual fee, but you only earn 1.25% cash back.
Capital One Aspire Cash Platinum MasterCard – If you have average credit but still want to earn cash rewards without paying an annual fee, you might benefit from the Capital One Aspire Cash Platinum MasterCard. This credit card features 1% cash back on all purchases. There is no need to keep track of rotating categories or sign up for cash back. These rewards are made easy, and there is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn.
The Capital One Aspire Cash Platinum MasterCard has no annual fee, and comes with price protection, purchase assurance, extended warranty, and car rental insurance. These perks increase the value of the card, as does the fraud protection. The interest rate is fairly steep (as of this writing, it’s prime + 16.8%), but if you pay off your balance each month, it shouldn’t be a problem.