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As Canadians cut costs, interest in no-fee credit cards is heating up. While these cards traditionally target students, newcomers, and lower-income households, a few options provide elite rewards. Our comprehensive guide covers the best choices across cash back, travel points, and balance transfer cards. If you want to avoid annual fees while maximizing credit card perks, read on for the best options.

Best No-Fee Credit Cards Canada 2024

CardPurchase Interest RateEarnExtra Perks
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card19.95%0.5 – 2%– Balance transfer offer (1.95% interest for first 6 months)
– Purchase assurance and extended warranty
Koho (Easy) MastercardN/A0% – 1% (earn extra cash back with partners)– Earn 3% savings interest on deposits
– Free budgeting tools
– Optional credit-building program
Neo Credit Card19.99% – 29.99%(QC: 19.99% – 24.99%)0.5% – 1% (earn up to 5% cash back with partners)– Add Neo Perks for extra cash back and other perks like travel insurance
– Upgrade to the premium plan for extra cash back and perks
– Get guaranteed approval with Neo secured credit
Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card20.99%0.5% – 4%– Purchase protection and extended warranty
– Referral bonus
BMO CashBack® Mastercard®20.99%0.5% – 3%– Purchase protection and extended warranty
– Get car rental and event discounts
– Balance transfer promotion
MBNA Amazon.ca Rewards Mastercard19.99%1% – 2.5%– Purchase protection and extended warranty
– MBNA Payment Plan- Rental car discounts
– No foreign exchange fees- Trip assistance services
MBNA True Line® Mastercard®12.99%None– Balance transfer option with 0% interest rate for up to 12 months
– Discounts on car rentals
Rogers World Elite® Mastercard®20.99%1.5% – 3%– Free airport lounge access
– Travel insurance
– Extended warranty and purchase protection
Scotiabank American Express® Card19.99%1% – 3%– Mobile device insurance included
– Extended warranty and purchase protection
– Get American Express Invites and car rental discounts
Tangerine credit card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

The Tangerine Money-Back Card presents a lucrative cash back opportunity. This no-fee card maximizes returns on everyday spending by letting you customize cash back categories. This unique feature enables cardholders to select and rotate up to three categories to earn unlimited 2% cash back. Tangerine also offers the no-fee Money-back World Card for higher-income Canadians.

Key Features

Annual Fee: $0

Purchase Rate: 19.95%

Cash Advance Rate: 19.95% 

Card Earn Rate

  • 2% cash back on up to 3 selectable categories
  • 0.5% cash back on other purchases

Spending Caps

  • None

Welcome Bonus: 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 2 months, up to $100 in total rewards.

Eligibility: $12,000 income, credit score +725.

Extra Features: Balance transfer offer (1.95% interest for first 6 months), automatic earning, purchase assurance and extended warranty. 

KOHO - EASY

Koho (Easy) Mastercard

KOHO’s Easy card is their no-fee solution. It operates as a prepaid card, meaning you’ll need to load money onto it. Your deposits earn a 3% interest rate, with an additional 1% cash back on your purchases. This approach provides the benefits of cash back rewards but won’t affect your credit score. Those willing to pay a fee can upgrade to higher cash back and interest rates. KOHO also offers a credit-building program. 

Key Features

Purchase Rate: N/A

Cash Advance Rate: N/A

Card Earn Rate

  • 1% on groceries and transportation
  • Extra cash back with partners

Welcome Bonus: None.

Eligibility: No credit check or income required.

Features: CDIC-insured deposits, purchase RoundUps, paid credit building program, budgeting and saving tools, free e-transfers, 3% interest rate on deposits, student and graduate discounts through Student Beans.

Neo Credit

Neo Credit Card

Neo is a Canadian fintech created by the founders of SkipTheDishes. Their no-fee card offers a reasonable cash back rate of 1% on gas and groceries, with a minimum monthly cash back rate of 0.5% with Neo partners.

Neo Credit users can also earn up to 5% (on average) when shopping with Neo partners. Moreover, if you’re looking to earn even more cash back, you can opt for Neo Credit’s premium plan for $4.99 or add Neo perks, which gives you extra cash back earning potential and access to other perks such as travel insurance. 

Key Features

Purchase Rate: 19.99% – 29.99% (19.99% – 24.99% for QC residents)

Cash Advance Rate: 22.99% – 31.99% (22.99% – 25.99% for QC residents)

Card Earn Rate

  • 1% on gas and groceries.
  • 0.5% monthly minimum cash back with Neo partners.
  • 5% on average at Neo-partnered restaurants, bars, and cafes.
  • 3% on Netflix, Disney+, Crave, Apple, Spotify, Uber, Lyft, UberEats, DoorDash, and Skip the Dishes.
  • 2%+ at Neo retail partners (online and in-store).

Welcome Bonus: Get up to 15% cash back on your first-time purchases with Neo partners. If you opt for the premium plan, you can get the first 3 months for free. 

Eligibility:  Must be a resident of Canada and be at least the age of majority within your province of residence. Neo Secured Credit is available for those who are unable to qualify for Neo Credit. 

Extra Features: Neo Perks and Neo Credit premium plan. 

Simplii financial cash back card

Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card

The Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card is an ideal no-fee option for young Canadians who love to eat out and have fun. The card maximizes spending at restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, providing 4% cashback. The primary drawback is the lack of redemption flexibility. Your accumulated cash back rewards are applied as an annual credit to your January statement.

Key Features

Purchase Rate: 20.99%

Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%

Card Earn Rate:

  • 4% on restaurants, bars, and coffee shops
  • 1.5% on gas, groceries, drugstores, and bills
  • 0.5% on everything else

Spending Caps:

  • $5,000 across restaurants, bars, and coffee shops 
  • $15,000 across gas, groceries, drugstore, and bills
  • Drops to 0.5% afterward

Welcome Bonus: Up to 10% cash back on eligible restaurants, food delivery and bar purchases in first four months ($100 maximum rewards).

Eligibility: $15,000 household annual income, 760+ credit score, Canadian resident, age of majority.

Extra Features: Purchase protection and extended warranty, referral bonus.

BMO CashBack Mastercard

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®

The BMO Cashback Mastercard offers the market-leading cash back rate for groceries across no-fee cards. You’ll earn 3% cash back on groceries, dropping to 0.5% after you exceed $500 in monthly spending. Considering the lower spending caps, this card caters to students rather than families. Unlike the Simplii card, you’ll have more redemption control as you can redeem accumulated cash back anytime.

Key Features

Purchase Rate: 20.99%

Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%

Card Earn Rate:

  • 3% cash back on groceries
  • 1% cash back on recurring bills
  • 0.5% cash back on other purchases

Spending Caps:

  • $500 monthly for groceries
  • $500 monthly for Recurring Bill Payments
  • 0.5% afterward

Welcome Bonus: Earn up to 5% cash back in first 3 months. 

Eligibility: No income requirements, credit score +660.

Extra Features: Purchase protection and extended warranty, car rental discounts, event discounts, balance transfer promotion.

Amazon.ca Rewards Mastercard

MBNA Amazon.ca Rewards Mastercard

We all love Amazon shopping, and the MBNA Amazon.ca Rewards Card is the perfect companion. The card provides significant value to Prime members, with a 2.5% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods. 

You’ll also benefit from cash back on foreign currency transactions, essentially creating a no-foreign exchange fee card. The primary drawback is that your accumulated cash back can only be redeemed as Amazon gift cards.

Key Features

Purchase Rate: 19.99% 

Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%

Card Earn Rate:

  • 1.5% at Amazon.ca and Whole Foods Market
  • 2.5% back for Prime members on foreign currency transactions, and the above locations
  • 1% back on all other Mastercard-accepted purchases.

Spending Caps: None

Welcome Bonus:

  • 5% back at Amazon.ca, Whole Foods, grocery stores, and restaurants. Applies for the first six months on up to $3,000 in spending.
  • Up to $75 Amazon gift card upon approval.

Eligibility: No income specified, 760+ credit score, Canadian resident, age of majority.

Extra Features: Purchase protection and extended warranty, MBNA Payment Plan, rental car discounts, no foreign exchange fees, and trip assistance services.

MBNA True Line Mastercard

MBNA True Line® Mastercard®

For those carrying a balance, look no further than the MBNA True Line Mastercard. This no-fee card offers a market-leading balance transfer promotion. You’ll receive a 0% interest rate for up to 12 months if you transfer a balance within 90 days of account opening. This card can become a lifeline for those needing debt consolidation. It’s worth mentioning the balance transfer comes with a 3% fee, and your interest rate increases to 12.99% after the 12 months.

Key Features

Purchase Rate: 12.99%

Cash Advance Rate: 24.99%

Card Earn Rate: None

Spending Caps: None

Welcome Bonus: 0% APR on balance transfers made within the first 90 days for 12 months (3% transfer fee).

Eligibility: No income requirement specified, 660+ credit score, Canadian resident, age of majority.

Extra Features: Balance transfer promotion, up to nine authorized users with no additional annual fee, and discounts on car rentals.

Rogers World Elite MasterCard (1)

Rogers World Elite® Mastercard®

Snowbirds should opt for the Rogers World Elite Mastercard. The card offers impressive insurance coverage for a no-fee card. Likewise, the cash back on USD purchases exceeds the foreign exchange fee, netting 0.5% in the US. Seeing a no-fee World Elite Mastercard is unique, considering they’re generally premium options. The caveat is the higher income requirement to qualify.

Key Features

Purchase Rate: 20.99%

Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%

Card Earn Rate:

  • 3% on U.S. dollar purchases 
  • 1.5% everywhere else

Spending Caps: Unlimited cash back

Welcome Bonus: $25 cash back after making the first purchase within three months of card membership.

Eligibility: $80,000 personal or $150,000 household annual income, $15,000 in annual card spending, 725+ credit score, Canadian resident, age of majority.

Extra Features: Paid airport lounge visits, free additional cards, strong insurance coverage, extended warranty and purchase protection.

Scotiabank® Platinum American Express® Card

Scotiabank American Express® Card

The Scotiabank American Express Card is a magnet at earning points. You’ll receive up to 3% per dollar spent on eligible merchant partners like Sobeys, Safeway, Foodland, and more. The card also uniquely provides mobile device insurance and an appealing welcome bonus. Overall, this card is a great option for anyone who wants a no-fee rewards card. 

Key Features

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Purchase Rate: 19.99%

Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%

Card Earn Rate:

  • 3x points (3%) at participating grocery stores
  • 2x points (2%) on eligible eating and drinking, other eligible grocery stores, entertainment and streaming services, and gas and transportation
  • 1x point (1%) on everything else

Spending Caps: $50,000 annually

Welcome Bonus: Up to 7,000 bonus Scene+ points ($70 value); 5,000 points for exceeding $750 in the first three months, 2,000 points when you exceed $5,000 in the first year. 

Eligibility: $12,000 personal income, 760+ credit score, Canadian resident, age of majority.

Extra Features: Mobile device insurance, extended warranty and purchase protection, free additional cards, American Express Invites, car rental discounts.

Not sure what the best credit card combination is for your needs?

Pros And Cons Of No-Fee Credit Cards

Pros

  • Save money – Avoiding an annual fee can save you $50-120 per year, depending on the card. These savings add up over time.
  • Earn rewards – Many no-fee cards offer cash back, points, or other rewards on purchases. You can earn perks without a fee.
  • Build credit – Responsibly using the card and paying it off will help you build a good credit score over time. No-fee cards generally provide an entry point to students.

Cons

  • Decreased rewards – No-fee cards have lower earn rates than their paid counterparts. Rewards may be capped at specific spending thresholds.
  • Fewer perks – You may miss out on extras like airport lounge access offered by premium cards. Insurance coverage is also usually less comprehensive.

How To Choose The Right No-Fee Credit Card

As a category, no-fee credit cards are best as an entry-level option for those not looking to splurge on premium features. Many Canadians opt for premium cash back or travel credit cards as they build their credit score and income. You’ll earn more points, receive more insurance coverage, and potentially benefit from lounge access. However, if these benefits don’t appeal, continue reading comparison factors amongst no-fee cards.

Rewards Structure

You may be familiar with cash back vs. points programs. In short, cash back programs offer more flexibility but a lower earning potential. Travel points will likely earn you more but have redemption complexity. Points are better if you frequently travel; otherwise, stick to cash back.

Look for a card that aligns high-earning categories with your spending habits. Also, review if your no-fee card imposes a spending cap, which drops your earn rate after exceeding a spending threshold. Lastly, review the welcome bonus your card offers. See if it’s achievable without over-extending yourself.

Interest Rates & Fees

While it’s best to pay off your balance in full, it’s worthwhile to understand applicable rates and fees. You’ll generally benefit from an interest-free grace period. Afterward, the purchase rate applies. Conversely, cash advances receive interest immediately. If you carry a balance, look for a card offering a low purchase rate or a strong balance transfer offer.

Eligibility

Your credit score temporarily drops every time you apply for a new card. This is because the lender usually performs a hard credit pull. Ensure you meet income and credit score requirements before applying for a new card. It’s worth noting that some options on our list are prepaid cards with no credit score requirements.

Additional Benefits

This can materialize as increased insurance coverage, balance transfer promotion, or more. Some no-fee cards even offer paid airport lounge access.

Tips For Managing A No-Fee Credit Card Responsibly

By now, you clearly understand no-fee cards, the best options, and how to compare them. You’ve likely honed in on at least one interesting option, so let’s cover how to manage it moving forward responsibly.

  • Avoid closing your oldest credit card.
  • Avoid cash advances or pay them off immediately.
  • Set up automatic payments for at least the minimum due.
  • Pay off balances in full each month to avoid interest charges.
  • Use cards only for purchases you can afford to pay off shortly after.
  • Check statements regularly and report unauthorized charges promptly.
  • Pay down the highest interest balances first if carrying a balance month to month.
  • Use cards sparingly and maintain low credit utilization to support good credit scores.
  • Instead of closing a card with an annual fee, ask to “product switch” to a no-fee card.

Final Thoughts

While premium travel and cash back cards have bigger perks, no-fee credit cards remain useful. Manage balances responsibly by paying off statement balances in full monthly and avoiding accruing interest charges.

Check that your chosen no-fee card aligns with your monthly budget and spending categories to maximize any cash back or points earned. Using any credit card prudently can help build your credit score over time without the burden of annual fees.

No-Fee Credit Card FAQs

What makes a no-fee credit card different from other credit cards?

Since no-fee cards don’t charge an annual fee, the benefits are lower than premium options. This generally means lower category earn rates (with spending caps), decreased insurance coverage, small welcome bonuses, and no airport lounge access. 

Can I still earn rewards with a no-fee credit card?

Yes, many no-fee cards offer cash back, travel points, or other rewards on your spending. However, you’ll earn a lower amount than premium cards. Additionally, many no-fee cards have category spending caps, decreasing your earn rate after exceeding it. 

Are there any hidden charges associated with no-fee credit cards?

As with all credit cards, you’ll pay interest when carrying a balance. Other charges can include fees for cash advances, foreign exchange, balance transfers, and late payments. Ensure to read the cardholder agreement for a complete understanding. 
Daniel Schoester avatar on Loans Canada
Daniel Schoester

Daniel is an expert on travel and finance. He received an Honours BBA (Finance) from Wilfrid Laurier University, then started his career with WOWA. Daniel is now the founder and lead financial writer of Croton Content. Aside from Loans Canada, notable clients include Forbes Advisor, WealthRocket, and Hardbacon. Daniel loves to travel when not working. Although based out of Lisbon, Portugal, some of his most adventurous destinations include Rio, Cairo, and Istanbul.

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