This puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to choosing a credit card that best suits your needs. But how to choose? The vast majority of credit cards offer either cash back rewards or travel benefits because that’s what most people want. Whether you want either of those or some combination of both, will help inform your decision. Other major factors will be the annual fees and interest rates.

We know searching for that perfect card can be daunting, so we’re here to help with a list of our best rewards cards for different needs. We’ve compared cards against a range of criteria – annual fees, benefits, interest rates, etc. – to create the Top 5 Rewards Cards in Canada.

Best Overall Rewards Credit Card:

Brim World Elite Mastercard

Required credit score: 700+ (good to great)

Interest rate: 19.99%

Annual fee: ($199) $0 for a limited time

Highlights: 

  • 2% cash back for all purchases on a card with an $0 first-year annual fee
  • Up to 30% in accelerated point earnings with over 100 well-known retailers including Lululemon, Nike & Patagonia
  • Get 2x the points on all payments with Amazon, Spotify & Netflix 
  • No restrictions on what you spend your cash back on
  • Exclusive offers for Brim users in-store & on its eShop website
  • $500 in first-time bonuses at participating merchants
  • Free global Wi-Fi with access to over 1 million Boingo hotspots 
  • Complementary Lounge Key Membership provides access to over 1000 lounges across 120 countries

Overview: 

Brim is unlike anything else on the market right now; it's your travel card, grocery card, and cash back card all in one!

We especially love Brim for its easy-to-understand cash back rewards system. With the Brim World Elite card, every dollar spent earns two Brim points worth two cents (2%). Brim connects you with hundreds of merchants and your loyalty is truly rewarded with point earnings that accelerate the more you shop at popular retailers including Lululemon, Nike, and Patagonia! 

Unlike other cash back cards, you don’t have to worry about specific categories or restrictions because Brim gives you the freedom to redeem points on any purchase with any participating merchant. And when you're done shopping, you can use your earned points like cash to pay your balance!

Brim’s other benefits include no fees on foreign transactions, saving you money on cross-border online shopping. There’s also practical everyday insurance coverage for things like your cell phone (loss, theft or accidental damage), concert ticket reimbursement, and travel. 

Lastly, Brim lets you convert some of your bigger ticket purchases into easy monthly payments. That means you can make big-ticket purchases (over $500) and pay it off over time. You'll even earn points on your installments.

We're just scratching the surface of the amazing perks this card unlocks. Check out Brim for yourself and take advantage of the waived annual fee while you can!

Best Travel Rewards Credit Card:

BMO AIR MILES Mastercard

Required credit score: 660+ (fair to good)

Interest rate: 19.99%

Annual fee: $0

Highlights: 

  • No annual fee
  • Get 800 Air Miles just for signing up
  • Double Air Miles for every $20 spent with participating partner
  • Standard Air Miles for every $20 spent anywhere else
  • Add additional cardholders for free and earn extra miles 
  • Car Rental Discounts at National and Alamo
  • Insurance on purchased items and against damage or theft 
  • 1.99% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 9 months

Overview: 

With the BMO AIR MILES MasterCard, the more you use it, the quicker you accrue Air Miles. Travel aficionados will use this credit card for everything and pay off the balance each month. That way they are constantly building a balance (and not a debt) to get them to their next voyage. The card’s no annual fee is quite attractive too, especially for a travel rewards card.

Even if travel isn’t currently on your radar (hello pandemic), you can use Air Miles for purchases with Air Miles Cash Rewards. This is one of the most popular travel cards in Canada for a reason.

Best Cash Back Credit Card:

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Required credit score: 660+ (fair to good)

Interest rate: 19.95%

Annual fee: $0

Highlights: 

  • No annual fee
  • 2% cash back, no limits or caps, on two specific purchase categories of your choice
  • Money-back rewards on everyday purchases are earned automatically and paid monthly
  • 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months
  • Spending tracker and organizational tools to monitor your spending habits
  • Purchase Assurance & Extended Warranty means robust insurance coverage

Overview: 

The Tangerine Money-Back credit card is one of the most generous cash back rewards cards on the market. Unlike most other cash back credit cards, the Tangerine card does not limit your rewards or place a cap. Choose two merchant categories, like groceries or bill payments, to earn your rewards, and you can change these categories every 90 days. 

Outside of those selected categories, you can get half a percent cash back on any eligible spending, which is pretty good considering you’re not paying any annual fees. The small catch on this card is if you want the cash directed to your bank account – you’ll need to start an account with Tangerine (a subsidiary owned by Scotiabank).

Best Credit Builder Credit Card:

Capital One Low Rate Gold Mastercard

Capital One Low Rate Gold Mastercard

Required credit score: - 560 (bad to none)

Interest rate: 14.9%

Annual fee: $79

Highlights:

  • Low annual fee of just $79
  • Low interest of 14.9% on purchases and balance transfers; 19.8% on cash transfers 
  • Guaranteed approval (conditions apply)
  • Buyer's Protection with Purchase Assurance, Extended Warranty, etc.
  • Multiple travel benefits including Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance

Overview: 

Not everyone is coming to the credit card market with a sterling credit score and that’s okay. In terms of credit cards designed specifically for those with low credit scores, the Capital One Low Rate Gold Mastercard leads the pack. This guaranteed approval card not only helps you build up your credit score, but it gives you a nice break on interest rates. At 14.9%, you’re 5% lower than the industry standard of 19.99%.

There’s a lot to like about this card, which is also available as a secured version, meaning you pay a deposit but don’t get some of the benefits. The Price Protection feature, for example, gives cardholders the ability to claim a lower price on a purchase if the item gets marked down after purchase (within 60 days). Also, the travel benefits (basic car rental insurance) are a rarity for a credit card in this low credit score category.

Best Student Credit Card:

CIBC Dividend Visa Card for Students

CIBC Dividend Visa Card for Students

Required credit score: 660+ (fair to good)

Interest rate: 19.99%

Annual fee: $0

Highlights: 

  • No annual fee
  • 2% cash back on grocery purchases & up to 1% on other purchases
  • $25 cash back after your first purchase on the card
  • Free SPC (Student Price Card) membership and access to SPC+
  • Extended manufacturer’s warranty up to one year on most purchases 
  • Free additional cards (up to 3)

Overview: 

When you’re a student getting your feet wet in the credit card pool, you don’t have a lot of extra money to throw around, so you’re looking for a budget-conscious credit card. The CIBC Dividend Card for Students will be attractive for low-income students hoping to avoid a costly annual fee and get some cash back on purchases like books and groceries. 

The downside of this card’s cash back scheme is you don’t qualify for that 2% until you’ve spent $6,000 for the year. So, if you’re solely looking for cash back rewards, you’ll find more generous terms. But if membership to the SPC is a potential benefit, there could be solid savings there with over 450 partner stores.