Lifestyle   Money
By Consumer Team | 01 June 2022

Compare Top Credit Cards in Canada

Looking for the best credit card? Want to see which providers have the offers that suit your budget? Need some tips on what to watch out for? Check out our guide to the top credit card providers on the market and see which credit card fits your needs.

Credit cards come in handy when making daily purchases and managing our finances. The best credit card company can save you lots of money with low interest and travel rewards. They can also help you pay off credit card debt and build your credit. Some key characteristics to expect include:

  • Big signup bonuses
  • Low-interest rates
  • Zero annual fees
  • Investment benefits
  • No penalty APR
  • No balance transfer fee
  • Zero percent interest
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Cashback
  • Credit-boosting tools
  • Purchase perks, and
  • Travel perks

This post will provide insights into Canada’s five top credit card providers. Explore their requirements, offers, and fees to find the perfect card for your credit needs.

How to apply for a credit card and get approved

In Canada, a credit card application requires the following steps:

Step 1: Determine your credit needs

Your spending pattern will determine the best credit card for you. If you’re a revolver (someone who carries a balance each month, paying it off over time), go for a low-interest card. If you’re a transactor (someone who pays off the balance each month), a reward or cashback card is perfect.

Step 2: Determine your credit card eligibility

Get a sense of the level of credit cards for which you’re likely to be approved before filling out a credit card application. Your eligibility depends on your income, credit score, age, and residential status. Credit score typically ranges from 300 to 900, and you need at least 650 to be eligible for a credit card. Applicants must reside in Canada to apply and be at least 18 or 19 years of age, depending on where they live.

Step 3: Find the perfect credit card for you.

Now, it is time to compare the different credit card options to find the one that meets your credit needs. Choose the card for which you’re most likely to qualify. Make sure your desired card has all the features you want.

Step 4: Apply online.

You’ve found the ideal credit card for your income, credit score, financial needs, and lifestyle. The next step is to apply for it. You can do that quickly online. However, you’ll need to provide some personal information. The required details vary for different card applications. But generally, make sure you have the following information handy when you apply:

  • Basic personal details (name, address, and phone number)
  • One previous address
  • Current occupation and employer’s address
  • Current rent or mortgage payment
  • Your annual income
  • Social insurance number
  • Your household income and spouse’s income (if applicable)
  • Mother’s maiden name (for security reasons when dealing with the credit card company in the future)

Step 5: Wait to be approved

Once you complete your online application for a credit card, you may get approved in minutes. The credit issuer will let you know if the company requires additional information from you. They might promise to send your credit card within two to three business days after approval, but be ready to wait for seven to ten.

Top five Credit Card providers in Canada

Let’s compare five leading credit card companies in Canada to help you find the optimal card for your credit needs.

1. Scotiabank

To be eligible for the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card, you must have at least $12,000 (individual) annual income. Other requirements include a Canadian credit file, and you must be of the age of majority in the territory or province where you live.

  • Annual Fee: $120
  • Rewards Rate: 1x-5x Points
  • Interest Rates: 19.99% / 22.99%
  • Intro Offer: 45,000 Points

Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card offers zero foreign exchange fees on your foreign currency purchases when shopping online or traveling abroad. You’ll get a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for six months.

2. American Express

The American Express Cobalt Card offers high reward rates on daily expenses. The card comes with a generous welcome bonus. You’ll earn up to 150,000 points in your first year of spending $30,000 on groceries, food, and drinks. Also, you can earn up to 180,000 points which you can quickly transfer to airlines and hotel loyalty programs like Marriott Bonvoy and Aeroplan.

  • Annual Fee: $155.88
  • Rewards Rate: 1x-5x Points
  • Interest Rates: 20.99% / 21.99%
  • Intro Offer: Up to 30,000 Points

3. BMO

To be eligible for the BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard, you need at least $80,000 (individual) or $150,000 (household) annual income. Other requirements include a Canadian credit file, and you must be of the age of majority in the territory or province where you live.

  • Annual Fee: $120 (Waived first year)
  • Rewards Rate: 1%–10%
  • Interest Rates: 20.99% / 23.99%
  • Intro Offer: Up to $260

There’s no need for a strategy with the BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard as it is an excellent bonus-category card. It offers stellar rates on four daily spending categories: groceries: 5%, transit: 4%, gas: 3%, recurring bills: 2%, and everything else: 1%.

4. CIBC

To be eligible for the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite, you need at least $60,000 individual or $100,000 as a household. The card offers many benefits, including emergency travel insurance, mobile device insurance, Visa Infinite Dining and Wine Country program, concierge service, etc.

  • Annual fee: $120 (rebated for the first year)
  • Earn rate: 4% cashback on groceries and gas, 2% on dining, transportation, and recurring bills, and 1% on everything else
  • Interest rates: purchases 20.99%, balance transfers 22.99%, cash advances 22.99%

5. MBNA

To be eligible for the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard, you must have a Canadian credit file and be of the age of majority in the territory or province where you live.

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Rewards Rate: 1x-4x Points
  • Interest Rates: 19.99% / 24.99%
  • Intro Offer: 10,000 Points

With the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard, you’ll get rewards on common spending categories. It offers flexible redemption options such as charitable donations and travel, brand-name merchandise, cashback, gift cards, and points never expire.

FAQs

Why should I get a credit card?

You need a credit card because it offers more safety than cash and stronger fraud protections than debit. Other reasons include earning rewards without changing how you spend, seamless tracking of your spending, etc. By using your credit card responsibly, you’ll quickly build your credit.

How do I choose the best credit card?

The first step toward choosing the perfect credit card is checking your eligibility. If your credit score is above 650, it means you’re eligible. You’ll need to compare different credit card options and find the ones that best suit your credit needs. Once you find the card that offers the highest overall value, apply for it.

What is the best credit card for students?

The best credit card for students is BMO CashBack® MasterCard. It offers earnings of up to $177 per year when you spend at least $1,550 per month. You won’t have to pay any annual fees.

Conclusion

The best credit cards offer protection on your purchases and earn you rewards. With so many different credit card providers, choosing the perfect one can be challenging. However, the most suited card for your credit needs is the one that saves you the most money. With no annual fees, the BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard is a top choice for cashback.