The best travel credit cards and best cash back credit cards in Canada are extremely popular, but most of them come with an annual fee. This isn’t a big deal if you believe the benefits are worth it, but what about credit cards with no annual fee, are they any good? The short answer is yes, but your options are much more limited.
The good thing is that some of the best no fee credit cards come packed with benefits and are usually the ideal card for specific situations. Read my guide on the best no fee credit cards now to find out which ones you should apply for.
|Best for||Earn Rate|
|PC Financial World Elite Mastercard||Groceries||Up to 45 points per $1 spent|
|Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card||Cash back||2% on up to 3 categories, 0.5% all others|
|Rogers World Elite Mastercard||Foreign purchases||3% on USD purchases, 1.50% on all other purchases|
|STACK Mastercard||No forex fees||N/A|
|MBNA True Line Mastercard||Balance transfer||0% balnce transfer for 12 months|
|BMO CashBack Mastercard||Students||1% cash back on all purchases|
|KOHO||Prepaid||.5% cash back on all purchases|
PC Financial World Elite Mastercard
- Earn 45 PC Optimum Points per $1 dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart
- Earn 30 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent where PC Products are sold
- Earn 30 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent at PC Travel
- Earn 30 PC Optimum Points per litre at Esso/Mobil locations
- Earn 10 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent on all other purchases
The PC Financial World Elite Mastercard is ideal for people who collect PC Optimum points. Since PC Optimum points can be earned at grocery stores where President’s Choice products are sold, Shoppers Drug Mart and Esso gas stations, this card is extremely useful. It takes 10,000 PC Optimum points to claim $10 in groceries which means you can earn up to 4.5% in points when using this card per $1 spent. In addition, if you sign up for PC Insiders, you can earn even more points. That’s pretty sweet for one of the best credit cards with no annual fee.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
- 2% money-back on up to 3 categories
- 0.5% cash-back on all other purchases
- Purchase assurance and extended warranty
People love the Tangerine money-back credit card since it allows you to choose up to three categories where you’ll earn 2% cash back. In addition, you’ll earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases, which is why this is one of the best no fee credit cards. The nice thing about the Tangerine Money-Back credit card is that you can have the cash back earned applied directly to your monthly statement or deposited into your Tangerine account. Note that Tangerine also introduced the Tangerine World Mastercard which comes with a few additional benefits.
Rogers World Elite Mastercard
- $25 in cash back rewards after your first purchase
- Earn 3% cash back on purchases made in U.S. dollars
- Earn 1.50% cash back on all other purchases made in Canadian dollars
- Mastercard Airport Experiences membership provided by LoungeKey (no passes)
- Global WiFi for the primary cardholder via Boingo
- Travel insurance
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty
If you’re looking for a credit card with no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee, then you need to get the Rogers World Elite Mastercard. Technically speaking, you are charged the 2.5% foreign transaction fee, but you earn 3% in cash back on USD transactions so you actually come out ahead by .5%. All other purchases earn you 1.50%. Other benefits include basic travel insurance, free global WiFi, purchase protection and extended warranty. Not only is this card one of the most underrated credit cards, but it’s also one of the best credit cards with no annual fee.
BMO Rewards Mastercard
- 10,000 BMO Rewards points after your first purchase and the first statement
- 10,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
- Earn 1 BMO Rewards point for every $1 spent
- Earn 2 BMO Rewards points at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty
The BMO Rewards Mastercard is a good option for people who want to earn BMO Rewards and don’t want to pay an annual fee. The sign up bonus is worth up to 20,000 BMO Rewards points but it requires two steps. You get 10,000 points when you make your first purchase and after your first statement has posted. The additional 10,000 points are given if you charge $1,000 to your card in the first three months of card membership. The earn rate is a straight 1 point per $1 spent, but you earn 2X that at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations. The included purchase protection and extended warranty are a nice touch.
STACK Mastercard benefits
- No foreign transaction fees
- No ATM fees (ATM provider may charge a fee)
- Discounts at a variety of merchants
- $5 free when you sign up with my referral link
With the STACK Mastercard, there are no foreign transaction fees whatsoever. That means that when you pay for your purchases in a foreign currency, you’re always guaranteed the lowest rate. What makes STACK appealing is that you also won’t pay any fees when using foreign ATMs with the exception of any one-time fees that they may charge. Regular banks usually charge a 2.5%-3.5% markup when using foreign ATMs so you can save quite a bit with STACK. If you sign up to STACK with my referral link, you’ll get $5 when you activate your card. Note that you must click this link via your mobile device for it to work.
MBNA True Line Mastercard
- 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 12 months
- 12.99% interest rate after the promotional period ends
- 24.99% interest rate on cash advances
For people who currently have credit card debt, they should ignore any points or cash back cards and instead look for one of the best balance transfer credit cards. The MBNA True Line Mastercard has a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 12 months which is incredible. Keep in mind that balance transfers come with a 3% fee ($7.50 minimum) but that’s still worth it considering that most credit cards charge 19.99% interest. Once your promotional period ends, you’ll pay just 12.99% interest which is still much lower than the average credit card.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
- No annual fee
- 5% cash back (up to $100) on all purchases made in the first three months
- 3% cash back on grocery purchases
- 1% cash back on recurring bill payments
- 0.5% cash back on all other purchases
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty
One of the best student credit cards in Canada is the BMO CashBack Mastercard since it has no annual fee. Many people find the earn rate to be pretty good and there’s no minimum income requirement to worry about. As a student, you’ll be happy to know that this credit card protects your purchases for 90 days from loss, theft and damage. It also doubles your manufacturers’ warranty up to one additional year.
- No annual fee
- 1% cash back bonus for 90 days with CASHMONEY referral code
- 0.5% cash-back on all purchases
- Automated savings goals
- Round up each purchase to the nearest $1, $5, or $10
- Real-time spending insights
- ApplePay compatible
KOHO has quickly become one of the best prepaid credit cards in Canada. Although you won’t build your credit score when using this card, it does help you manage your money. So why is this one of the best no annual fee credit cards in Canada? A lot of people are attracted to the automatic saving goals and how the app can round up your purchases. You also get real-time updates whenever you spend so you can really get an understanding of where your money goes. If you use my referral code CASHMONEY, you’ll earn an extra 1% in cash back for a total of 1.5% on all purchases in the first 90days.
Why get a no fee credit card?
If you’re looking at the list of the best no free credit cards in Canada, then you obviously don’t want to pay an annual fee. Although paying $99 – $150 a year for a credit card can be beneficial, for a lot of people, it’s not worth it. If you don’t use your credit cards regularly or if you don’t think you’ll be able to use the additional benefits, then getting a no fee credit card makes sense.
Advantages of a no fee credit card
Besides not having to pay an annual fee, no fee credit cards can be useful for many reasons including:
- Building your credit – Your credit score is important if you ever want to get a loan in the future. Using a no fee credit card and paying your bills in full and on time will show lenders that you’re creditworthy.
- You can make purchases – You can obviously make purchases with any credit card, but a no fee credit card is best suited for people who don’t use credit often. Get a no fee card and keep it in your wallet so you have access to credit when you need it.
- It can be a backup card – If you already have one of the best travel credit cards in Canada, then getting one of the best no fee credit cards in Canada can complement your spending. For example, American Express isn’t accepted anywhere so you can use your no fee card instead.
Disadvantages of a no fee credit card
No fee credit cards are great for casual users but quote often your earn rate is much lower compared to cards with an annual fee. How much lower? A 50% decrease wouldn’t be uncommon and the applies to both cash back and travel rewards credit cards. In addition, you typically get limited benefits with no fee cards. You won’t get things such as extended travel medical insurance, mobile device insurance, lounge access or travel credits.
No fee credit cards can definitely be useful, but they come with limited benefits. If you get one, always pay your bills on time and in full so you don’t incur any interest charges.