The Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2017

Best Cash Back Credit Cards

#1
Scotiabank Momentum VISA Infinite Card

Scotiabank Momentum VISA Infinite Card

4% cash back on groceries and gas

Apply Now
#2
BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard

BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard

1.75% cash back, $150 bonus

Apply Now
#3
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

2% cash back in chosen categories

Apply Now

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 or year, a good cash back card could be right for you. Most cash back cards offer you a percentage of your regular, planned purchases as a reward. The best cash back credit cards can help you make the most of your everyday purchases.

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 everyday purchases, and then pay off the balance each month.

Before you use a cash back credit card, make it a point to create your own budget. You should only spend on things you would buy anyway for best results. Track your spending to make sure you don’t overspend on your credit card. If you carry a balance, the interest rate you pay will offset your rewards, and you could find yourself deep in debt.

Great For: Gas and grocery purchases

Annual Fee: $99

  • Best cash back rewards of any Canadian credit card: 4% cash back on groceries and gas, 2% on recurring payments and drug store purchases, and 1% on everything else.
  • Travel insurance package
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection
  • Purchase APR: 19.99%
  • Cash advance/balance transfer APR: 22.99%, balance transfer APR 1.99% for the first six months
  • Annual fee waived for the first year

Scotiabank Momentum VISA Infinite Card: The Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite card is designed to reward you for your everyday purchases. I believe it’s the best credit card available in Canada for families with large grocery bills. 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. You are limited to earning the higher cash back rate for gas and groceries to $25,000 in annual spend.

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 22.99% interest rate on cash advances and balance transfers. Right now, you can also get an introductory 1.99% APR on balance transfers for the first six months and have your annual fee waived for the first year.

You also get additional perks, like travel insurance with this credit card. This credit card comes with purchase protection and extended warranty protection as well. It’s also possible to get 20% off on your Avis car rentals.

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.

If you spend a lot of money on groceries and gas each month, this credit card is right for you. This is truly getting rewarded for the most important purchases in your life.

Apply for Scotiabank Momentum VISA Infinite Card

Great For: Cashback rewards without categories, Costco shoppers

Annual Fee: $120

  • Flat 1.75% cash back rate, automatically redeemed monthly as a statement credit
  • Up to $150 signing bonus: $50 after your first purchase and $100 when you spend $3,000 in the first three months
  • Travel insurance package
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Purchase APR: 19.99%
  • Cash advance APR: 22.99%
  • Annual fee waived the first year

BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard: With the 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. Everything you spend earns you cash back. This can be a great way to get on top of your situation. You can use the money for anything from buying a new smartphone to boosting your TFSA contribution.

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 over time. In fact, if you spend $3,500 on your card each month, you will end up with $735 in cash back. Subtract the annual fee, and that’s still a “profit” of $615.

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. These perks can help you if you are a frequent traveler. You’ll also have access to extended warranty protection and purchase protection. (

The regular APR is 19.99% for purchases and 22.99% for cash advances. This means you want to be sure to pay off the balance each month to avoid paying hefty interest charges. (

Right now, there is a cash back signing bonus. You can get up to $150. You get $50 after making your first purchase with the credit card and another $100 when you spend $3,000 in the first three months.(

Finally, there is a minimum income required for this credit card. You need $70,000 as an individual or $120,000 annual household income. (You can read the full review.)

Apply for BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard

Great For: Majority of spending in 2-3 categories

Annual Fee: $0

  • 2% bonus cash back on two categories YOU choose. Third category if you connect to your Tangerine savings account.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases in other categories.
  • 4% bonus cash back on your chosen categories for the first three months.
  • Low 1.5% foreign currency transaction fee.
  • Cash is redeemed automatically each month.
  • No limits on how much cash you can earn, and no tiers or rotating categories.
  • APR: 19.95%.
  • No annual fee.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card: One of the latest entries into the world of cash back cards is the Tangerine Money-Back credit card. This card is already a major contender. First of all, you can choose two of your higher 2% cash back categories. You can also choose a third category if you connect your card to your Tangerine savings account, agreeing to have your cash back deposited there. All other categories receive 1% cash back. There is a signing bonus of 4% cash back on your chosen categories during your first three months of card membership.

This credit card doesn’t impose limits on how much cash back you earn, and you don’t have to worry about rotating categories or tiers. It’s very simple and straightforward. If you connect your Tangerine savings account, you get even more bonuses and ease of redemption. Review your spending choices and choose categories where you spend the most for the best results with this credit card.

You can also enjoy other perks like a low 1.5% foreign currency transaction fee. If you know you will buy things abroad, this card is a great choice. Many other credit cards charge a fee of 2.5% for foreign currency transactions. You can also enjoy the fact that there is no annual fee with this credit card.

Apply for Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Great For: Loblaws, Superstore, and Shoppers Drug Mart shoppers

Annual Fee: $0

  • Earn up to 30 PC points for each dollar spent, depending on where you shop
  • Redeem for free groceries at participating stores selling President's Choice products
  • Travel insurance package
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase protection
  • 0.97% APR on balance transfers for the first six months
  • No annual fee

President’s Choice Financial World Elite MasterCard: If you are looking for a way to redeem your points for something you know you’ll buy — groceries — the President’s Choice Financial World Elite MasterCard is the cash back card for you. You can earn PC points for every dollar you spend. Your points are then redeemable at participating stores where President’s Choice products are sold. Plan your shopping around partners that offer more points:

  • 30 PC points per $1 at participating stores selling President’s Choice products
  • 30 PC points per $1 at Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix.
  • 30 PC points per $1.50 at pctravel.ca
  • 30 PC points per $1.60 at PC mobile
  • Bonus of up to three cents per litre at Esso

Every other purchase offers you 10 PC points per dollar spent. You can start redeeming points at 20,000, for $20 worth of groceries.

Other great perks that come with this credit card include travel emergency medical insurance, rental car insurance, and identity theft assistance. You can also get access to a 24/7 concierge service that can help you make dinner reservations, get event tickets, and do more.

The purchase rate for this credit card is 19.97% for purchases and 22.97% for cash back. You can take advantage of a 0.97% balance transfer rate for the first six months if you are new President’s Choice credit card customer. There is also a grace period of 21 days on this credit card. There is no annual fee.

You do need to meet income requirements of a personal income of $70,000 a year, or an annual household income of $120,000.

Apply for President's Choice Financial World Elite MasterCard

Great For: Those who spend less, spread in multiple categories

Annual Fee: $79

  • Flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases, up to $100,000 in purchases
  • Flat 1.25% cash back on purchases after $100,000, with no cap on what you earn
  • Bonus 5% cash back rate, up to $400, for the first six months
  • Travel insurance package
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Exclusive opportunities through American Express Invites
  • 0% APR on balance transfers for the first six months

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. 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.

The APR on this card is 19.99% for purchases and 21.99% for cash advances. There is also an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for the first six months. You will need to pay a 1% balance transfer fee.

Apply for SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

Great For: Lower credit ratings

Annual Fee: $0

  • 1% cash back on all purchases, with no caps or rotating categories
  • Easier to qualify for, with less stringent credit standards
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Rental car insurance
  • No charge for an authorized user
  • APR: 19.80% for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances
  • No annual fee

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.

This card is meant for those with average credit. You can find credit cards with more generous cash back rewards, but they are harder to qualify for. This is a card that is easier to get. As long as you use this card for most of your purchases, you can get a good amount in cash back, since there are no caps on earnings.

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. You can also add an authorized user free of charge.

You will see a fairly standard 19.80% APR on this card, and it applies to balance transfers and cash advances as well as purchases. This is a little different for cash back cards, many of which charge higher rates for cash advances.

Apply for Capital One Aspire Cash Platinum MasterCard

The best cash back credit cards make the most of your every day purchases. Look for a cash back card that gives you rewards in the categories you use most.

Written by Tom Drake

Tom Drake is the owner and head writer of Canadian Finance Blog. While you’re here, consider signing up for the RSS feed or email subscription. Both deliver the latest articles directly to you! You can also follow me on Twitter for all the latest posts or to send me any comments or questions!

18 Responses to The Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2017

  1. I love the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card. Just got my first cash back reward for our first year. $1203! Totally worth the hefty annual fee (which was waived for the first year). I think any family who drives and eats would benefit from this cash back card.

  2. the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard card is garbage, they impose alot of limits so if say spend $2000 a month only $1250 counts towards the cash back, here is the convo i had with the rep:

    Ethan: For the first 6 months you will get 5% cash back rewards on all your eligible gas and groceries purchases made up to $400 per billing cycle and 1% cash back rewards on rest of your purchases made up to $1250 per billing cycle.

    Ethan: After 6 months you will get 2% cash back rewards on all of your eligible gas and grocery purchases made up to $400 per billing cycle and 1% cash back rewards on rest of your purchases made up to $1250 per billing cycle.

    you: ok so if i spend $5000 per month, only $1250 will qualify for the cash back?

    Eathan: It means in a given month the maximum 5% cash or 2% cash back you can earn is up to $400, that is say for e.g. the first month you spend $1650 on gas and groceries you will get 5% cash back for $400 and for the remaining $1250 you will only get 1%.

  3. You state the “Capital One Aspire Cash Platinum MasterCard” has no annual fee and features 1% cash back on all purchases. Is this not the same as “PC Financial MasterCard” or “Walmart Rewards MasterCard”?

    • How about the Costco Mastercard. With no annual fee, the cashback rewards, no limit on how much you can earn and all the perks affiliated with it. How does this card compare to other no annual fee mastercard?

      • Hi Libby,

        I covered the Capital One Platinum Mastercard here, but it might not be a great deal, depending on how much you spend. If you can spend enough on a single card, the higher rewards and other benefits can negate the annual fees that these other cards carry.

  4. MBNA is really my favorite. No other cash back cards beats in terms of how fast we get our cash back. 2% on grocery and gas is also awesome. Thanks for sharing.

    BSR

  5. I was checking out the MBNA Rewards World Elite. It’s points based – 2 points for each $1 spent. Points can converted to cash at 10,000 points = $100. So 2% overall. No Limit on points.
    – $89 fee, 2 cards included.

    • Just got this card and it’s awesome. Got away from the Smartcash as it had too low a cap on purchases. The $100 you get after the first purchase is also pretty sweet.

  6. What about the new CIBC Dividend Infinite card, it gives you 4% on gas and groceries with no limit and they waive the $99 annual fee the first year..??

  7. Regarding the American Express SimplyCash Preferred Card you say that spending “$1,750 each month using your card…more than offsets the $79 annual fee”. I calculate that you would need to spend $2,633 per month just to break even on the annual fee compared to the no fee “regular” SimplyCash card. ($2633.33 x 12 x 0.25% = $79)

    • Hi Bob, I didn’t mean that it offsets the fee in comparison to the regular card, just that you’ll earn more than the cost of the fee. Your comparison is a good point though, especially if you’re mainly concerned about the rewards.

      However, if you see a benefit in the buyers’ assurance, purchase protection, and better travel insurance, (and not everyone takes advantage of these perks) then it becomes a bit more apples and oranges when trying to compare the two cards based on rewards and fees alone.

  8. the tangerine cash back is better than all of these.

    No fee, no chard for 2nd + users.
    No cash back limit
    1% everything
    2% on 3 defined categories (i use gas, groceries, and restaurants).

    The $99 fee on the momentum and charging for 2nd users make this card not worth it.

    • MoneyMan – depends on spending, you’ll reach a point where even with the yearly fee, the 2% will earn more cash. Like Tom say above in the previous comment.

      I’m interested in how the categories work for tangerine, are you able to change them as you wish? Does tangerine offer any sort of report that shows how your spending for the month / quarter / year lines up with these categories – basically, do they give you a tool to help with the decision?

      thanks

      • Hey Mike, The reporting is pretty good. You can report by 30 60 90 days etc. and it breaks down 1% and you 3 2% categories. You can change the categories at any time. One caveat, to get the 3rd 2% category you need to setup auto deposit of report $$ into your Tangerine Savings account. No biggie, can do whatever you want with it from there.

        My problem with the momentum (I’ve had one) and they charge for additional cards on top of the yearly fee so the math doesn’t work out for me.

  9. Gentlemen,

    I’m looking at a card that will give cash back and points for rewards (travel hotels restaurants ) Any interesting suggestions?

  10. After a lot of thought and because our location and where we shop we decided to get the PC elite master card…..the points for groceries add up quickly. the money we save on groceries goes into savings. It wouldn’t be the best choice for everyone but is working for us.

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