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Top Current Cash Back Credit Cards

Whenever miles and points take a beating, there is a lot of talk about signing up for the top cash back credit cards instead. Below, I have classified the top cash back credit cards according to the credit card company and then by annual fees (starting with lowest to highest).

When it comes to cash back credit cards in Canada, the goal is combine several cash back credit cards together so that you build a portfolio where you can earn more than 1% on all purchases. It sounds pretty minimal, so that’s why I am hoping that we see an increase in competition cash back credit cards this year.

Please note that this post is focused primary towards readers who have a strong preference towards cash back credit cards, rather than accumulating miles and points. Personally, because of the way the industry is structured at the moment, I am a bigger fan of credit cards that offer miles and points. I may one day switch to cash back if the balance is tipped within the industry.

American Express

American Express SimplyCash Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 5% cash back on gas, grocery and restaurants purchases (up to $250 cash back) for the first 6 months of Card membership as a welcome promotion
  • Earn 1.25% cash back on all other purchases and when the welcome promotion ends

American Express SimplyCash Preferred Card

  • $79 annual fee
  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases for the first 6 months of Cardmembership (up to $400 cash back)
  • Earn 1.5% cash back when your Welcome Rate ends (up to $100,000 annually) and 1.25% after

It is very slim pickings for American Express cash back credit cards. But the two options above are fairly decent, with one having an annual fee and the other doesn’t. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend the Preferred version unless you have a lot of spending to qualify for the 1.5% and that you do not have another credit card listed below that offers you the same or above return on specific purchases.

For example, let’s say you need to renovate your home, none of the credit cards below will give you more than 1% cash back on that home renovation, but you can receive 1.5% with the American Express credit card, that would potentially make the $79 annual fee worthwhile to pay, as long as your retailer takes American Express. This would usually happen when you are making a massive materials purchase from a big name retailer.

MasterCard

MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 5% cash back (on the first 6 months) on gas and grocery purchases on $400 worth of monthly (calendar month) purchases
  • Earn 2% cash back (after the first 6 months) on gas and grocery purchases on $400 worth of monthly (calendar month) purchases
  • Earn 1% cash back for all other purchases on $1,250 worth of monthly (calendar month) purchases

RBC Cash Back MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash back on grocery store purchases
  • Earn 0.5% cash back on your first $6,000 (annually) worth of purchases that are not groceries
  • Earn 1% cash back on any purchases in excess of $6,000

Canadian Tire Cash Advantage MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 3% cash back at Canadian Tire stores, Canadian Tire gas bars and Mark’s Work Wearhouse/L’Équipeur stores
  • Earn 0.25% cash back on the first $1,500 in purchases
  • Earn 0.5% on purchases above $1,500 and up to $3,000
  • Earn 1% on purchases above $3,000 and up to $24,000
  • Earn 1.5% on purchases above $24,000

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash back on a select group of categories (choice of 2 categories, a 3 choice if you deposit the cash back into your Tangerine Savings Account)
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 1.5% foreign conversion fee

There are some decent MasterCard options with no annual fee. If you are a fan of cash back, then I definitely recommend that you have at least one of the above MasterCards in your wallet. I would recommend the MBNA one as the obvious choice, but if you need to qualify for the multi-product rebate with RBC by having at least 1 credit card active every 90 days, then the RBC one is a decent enough choice.

The Canadian Tire credit card is only a decent option of you shop frequently at Canadian Tire to receive the 3%. But I would not use this credit card on any other purchases.

The Tangerine MasterCard is not yet accessible to the public, but once it is, it will definitely be one of the top cash back credit cards out there.

Visa

Chase Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn $20 Amazon.ca bonus sign up gift certificate
  • Earn 2% cash back on Amazon.ca purchases
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

Scotia Momentum Visa Card

  • $39 annual fee
  • $15 for supplementary cardholders
  • Earn 2% cash back for every $1 spent on gas, grocery and drug store purchases, as well as recurring bill payments
  • Earn 1% cash back for every $1 spent on all other purchases

Scotiabank Momentum Infinite Visa

  • $99 annual fee
  • $30 for supplementary cardholders
  • Earn $100 statement credit if you spend $500 in the first 3 months (if you sign up before February 29, 2016)
  • Earn 4% cash back for every $1 spent on gas and grocery purchases
  • Earn 2% cash back for every $1 spent on drug store purchases and recurring bill payments
  • Earn 1% cash back for every $1 spent on all other purchases

CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card

  • $99 annual fee
  • Earn 4% cash back on gas and grocery purchases
  • Earn 2% cash back on Tim Hortons and TELUS purchases
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases

Visa has the most variety for cash back credit card. The 4% return on the Scotiabank and CIBC credit cards are fairly decent. If you spend approximately $600 or more on gas and groceries per month, the $99 annual fee is fairly worth it.

At $500 per month, 4% return, you are receiving $20 cash back per month. If you multiple $20 x 12 months, you are receiving $240 cash back annually on those purchases. Had you used the MBNA Smart Cash instead at 2% return, the same $500 per month spending would net you $10 cash back per month or $120 cash back annually. The difference between $240 – $120 = $120, which covers the $99 annual fee!

Be sure to stay up to date with all the top cash back credit cards on this list. Please let us know if we are missing any top cash back credit cards.

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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