5 Best Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards in Canada

Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards

Cash back rewards credit cards are great cards for people who like simplicity in their rewards. You know the value of your rewards and can easily calculate a return on your spending if you have a cash back card. In Canada, it would appear that the cash back cards are less rewarding than their siblings, the “Fixed-Value” rewards cards.

In this category, we have the Scotia Amex Gold card well ahead of the competition, then a few cards that are pretty much neck and neck as 2% return cards. The top 5 get rounded out with the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite.

The Top 5 Cash Back Credit Cards in Canada are:

Top 5 Cash Back Credit Cards
1. Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite*
2. MBNA Smart Cash
3. The SimplyCash™ Preferred card from American Express
4. Rogers™ Platinum Mastercard®
5. TD Cash Back Visa Infinite

Redeeming Cash Back

Cash back rewards credit cards are those that give you your rewards in the form of (obviously) cash or statement credit. There are different ways that the rewards can be submitted to you. There are 2 key aspects, other than the cash back rate, that will make a cash back card better or worse:

  • Minimum amount of rewards required to redeem
  • Automatic redemption of rewards or user-initiated rewards redemption

On one end of the spectrum, the full amount of your award can come in as a statement credit automatically on a certain date. On the other end of the spectrum, some cash back cards require the cardholder to request a cheque / statement credit and can only do so after a minimum amount of rewards has been earned. Obviously the easier it is to redeem the rewards, and get all of your rewards in your hand, the better the card.

Cash Back Cards vs Fixed Value Rewards Cards

Something to think about is that the Fixed Value Rewards cards are very similar to the Cash Back credit cards. As a result, I have decided to put together some restrictions to delineate the difference.

A cash back card has the following requirements:

  • You don’t need a specific purchase to release your rewards
  • $50 or more in rewards can be redeemed for the best rate

Some examples of Fixed Value Rewards cards:

  • The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® card requires a travel purchase to release the rewards
  • The MBNA World Elite points can be redeemed against a minimum $100 travel purchase at the best rate but can be redeemed for $250 statement credit at the best rate

Examples of Cash Back cards:

  • The American Express Costco card accrues points until the end of the year when all rewards are paid out in the form of a cheque
  • The Amazon.ca card accrues points for each purchase. When $20 of rewards are accrued (2000 points) a statement credit is automatically issued

1. Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite*


Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite*

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite*
Type: Visa
Rewards: 4% cashback on gas, grocery
2% cashback on drugstores and recurring bill payments
1% cashback on everything else
Annual Fee: $99
Sign-up Bonus: First year free
Redemption: Full balance awarded automatically at the end of 12 month period

This is a Visa credit card so it is accepted pretty much anywhere and it gives you a very high 4% cash back on gas and grocery spending. It also gives a 2% return on spending on drugstores and recurring bill payments so it is definitely at the top for those categories. Your rewards are redeemed automatically each year, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to redeem your cashback or not being able to get all of them due to a redemption threshold. The annual fee is annoying but given the huge rate of return, this is my favorite cash back card in the Canadian credit card market.

2. MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard


My MBNA Smart Cash Review

MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard
Type: Mastercard
Rewards: 2% cash back on gas and groceries,
0.5% on everything else
Annual Fee: $0
Sign-up Bonus: 5% on gas and groceries for the first 6 months

The MBNA Smart Cash card is a great card for people who want cash back, simplicity and no annual fee on their credit card. The 2% return on gas and grocery is great for a no annual fee card and 1% return on all other spending is the standard return for no-fee cash back cards. The other great thing about this card is that your rewards are send to you automatically once you achieve $50 worth of rewards.  I really like this card as it is a nice compliment in case you have an American Express as your main spender.

3. The SimplyCash™ card from American Express

Application Link

The SimplyCash™ card from American Express
Type: American Express
Rewards: 2% cash back when your Welcome Rate ends
Annual Fee: $99
Sign-up Bonus: 5% cash back on everything for the first 6 months (up to $300 cash back)

If you’re fanatic about cash back cards, this credit card could be perfect. It offers a great 2% cash back on all purchases made and a 5% cash back bonus for the first 6 months of Cardmembership (up to $300 cash back). There is no limit to the cash back you can earn for the standard 2% rate.

American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link.

Conditions apply

4. Rogers™ Platinum Mastercard®


Application Link

Rogers™ Platinum Mastercard®
Type: Mastercard
Rewards: 3% cash back on purchases made with a foreign currency
2% cash back on Rogers products and services
1.25% cash back on everything else
Annual Fee: $0
Sign-up Bonus: $25 in cash back rewards when you make your first card purchase in the next 3 months

The Rogers Platinum Mastercard is a must-have if you’re a Rogers Customer – but even if you’re not, it has an exceptional perk which will make you take a second look. With a 1.25% cash back rate in every dollar you spend and no annual fee, this card is already hard to beat in terms of value. What makes the Rogers Platinum Mastercard really stand-out though is it’s 3% cash back on all purchases made in a foreign currency, which if played right, can further earn you some more value.

5. TD Cash Back Visa Infinite


Application Link

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite
Type: VISA
Rewards: 3% cash back on grocery, gas and regular recurring bill payments
1% cash back on everything else
Annual Fee: $120 (first year waived)
Sign-up Bonus: 6% cash back welcome rate for the first 3 months, up to a total spend of $3,500

The TD Cash Back Visa Infinite rounds up our list at #5. Although 3% cash back for gas and grocery purchases might not seem the best compared to the other rates from the list all the more with a $120 annual fee tag, one attractive perk you can get from this card is the 3% cash back on recurring bill payments which if played properly, can accumulate over time. The 6% welcome rate for the first 3 months, or if you hit the total spend of $3,500 (a cash back value of $210), also helps to sweeten the deal.

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18 comments on “5 Best Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards in Canada”

  1. Francis says:

    The biggest highlight of the Amazon card is that it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. There is no reason that a credit card should gouge customers by tacking on 2.5 to 3.0% to the exchange rate when it costs practically nothing to convert money electronically. On $5,000 of spending abroad, that’s $125 to $150 saved right there, on top of the $50 you get from the 1% cashback.

  2. PC says:

    Nice recap of the top cards in Canada, glad to know I have 3 of 5 credit cards. I have 2, 4- still have the 1.5% cashback, and 5.

  3. Fabio says:

    How up-to-date are the above programs? For example, seems like Costco has broken with Amex and moved to CapitalOne MasterCard.

    • thepointster says:


      The costco card broke its relationship with american express in late 2014. These reviews were done in early 2014. The 2015 iteration will be out relatively soon.


  4. Darren says:

    Capital One security out of 10 (-10) Looking after their customers out of 10 (-10)

    I was very open to this new Capital One card where they said it was better than American Express. After one month I had over $ 5000.00 of fraudulently charged charges put on my mastercard chip all within 20 min. After four months I still have not got all my money back. After calling all I get is the run around saying the credit will come but I never see it.

    Scotia Bank Visa and American Express has always looked after their clients and customers same day. My advice to anybody applying for the Capital One card don’t apply.

    • thepointster says:


      I am actually very surprised this happened. I had a fraudulent charge on my Cap One card and no questions asked it was removed wihtout even a hesitation.

      Having a fraudulent charge on your card is not something that Capital One can prevent but their response is something that they can. If you are in this situation, then you should call the ombudsmen of financial affairs for your province and they will step in immediately. I HIGHLY doubt Capital One is going to risk getting major fines for this over $5000, which is nothing for them (even though it is a lot for an individual). I say raise this up with the authorities.

  5. You can make all those cards even better with a free Lyoness Cashback Card!

    As a free member you have 3 benefits:

    1. Cashback – 1% – 5% on all Lyoness* purchases (deposit to your bank account)

    2. Shopping Points – worth $7.50+ each

    3. Friendship Bonus – up to 0.5% on all of the purchases your friends and family make through Lyoness Merchants.

    The Friendship Bonus can best be described as a referral fee. A thank you that is paid for by the merchant.

    * Some merchants you may recognize Priceline.com, Petro Canada, Home Depot, The Bay, The Source, Banana Republic and even your local dentist or ‘mom and pop’ restaurants!


  6. Jim says:

    A major bonus with the Amazon.ca card is there is no 2.5% charge for conversion to Canadian funds when you are out of country. We use it when travelling to US and elsewhere and by avoiding the standard 2.5% credit card charge and picking up a 1% back it’s like 3.5%. Also use when buying on internet from US.

    • thepointster says:

      That is a definite advantage to the Amazon card.

      The math I would use would be (example World Elite 2% card):

      World Elite card (w/ foreign transaction fee):
      $100 + 2.5% foreign transaction fee – 2% cashback = $100.50 cost

      Amazon.ca Card (w/ no foreign transactino fee):
      $100 = 0.0% foreign transaction fee – 1% cashback = $99 cost

      I would put that as better by 1.5%. Definitely a win if you do a lot of foreign transactions.

      If you do a lot of USD specific transactions you may benefit from holding a USD card.

  7. Milan Rericha says:

    I strongly agree with you, Tamara, the free Lyoness loyalty card gives all cashback credit cards fresh new twist. You can combine the cashback from the credit cards with cashback and other bonuses from free Lyoness card and get really nice bonuses. I combine them every time I go shop.
    You can easily sing up here and print your own cashback card instantly: http://bit.ly/14P4OOX

  8. Frank says:

    Isn’t Lyoness a pyramid scheme?

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