Best Credit Cards with No Annual Fees in Canada

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Whether you are looking to get your first credit card or are looking to round out your wallet with a new addition, many Canadians prefer no annual fee credit cards to save on out-of-pocket costs that come with more premium credit cards.

While many articles out there focus on all of the no annual fee credit cards available in Canada, we have curated a narrow list of the actual best no annual fee credit cards for Canadians based on earning rates and cardholder benefits. Needless to say, if you are looking to add a new credit card with no annual fee to your wallet, one of the below options should meet your needs.

Let’s take a look at our shortlist of the best credit cards with no annual fee in Canada, and the rewards earning rates and benefits you can receive from them.

The Benefits of a No Annual Fee Credit Card

There are a number of reasons as to why you would want to include a credit card as part of your personal finance strategy, and a no annual fee card is a low-risk way to introduce a credit card to your wallet.

The biggest benefit of credit cards that have no annual fee is that there are no initial out-of-pocket costs or fees for simply holding the credit card. This means there is no need to worry about maximizing your benefits or rewards like there are when you are using a travel credit card like a premium Aeroplan credit card. Plus, there are no concerns about holding the card year over year since you won’t be surprised by an annual fee renewal cost.

All of the credit cards mentioned in this article offer various rewards in the form of cash back or loyalty program points. While they might not earn as much as a credit card that has an annual fee, many of the below cards have excellent earning rates when considering that the cardholder is not paying any fees to obtain those rewards. This is the biggest benefit, as any cash back or rewards earned are a net positive since you aren’t eroding the value earned by having to pay an annual fee.

Best All Around No Annual Fee Credit Cards

If you are interested in a no annual fee credit card with strong all-around utility, there are a couple of cards that are worth learning more about: the Tangerine World Mastercard and the Rogers Red Mastercard.

Tangerine World Mastercard

The Tangerine World Mastercard is our favorite no annual fee credit card that earns cash back as cardholders can select up to three categories that they can earn 2% cash back on, and can change these categories monthly if desired.

Apply Now Learn More Earn $170 in FlyerFunds upon approval.
Tangerine World Mastercard

The Tangerine World Mastercard earns cash back and allows cardholders to choose three accelerated spending categories to increase their cash back earnings. In 2024, we awarded this card as the Best No Annual Fee Cash Back Credit Card.

Check out our Tangerine World Mastercard review for more details.

BONUS
$100 cash back
MINSPEND
$1,000
NET VALUE
$100+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY
Oct 31, 2024

Cardholders can select from the following categories to receive an elevated 2% cash back earning rate: grocery, furniture, restaurants, hotel/motel, gas, recurring bill payments, drug store, home improvement, entertainment, and public transport/parking. Earned cash back is paid automatically monthly which is a nice benefit since the cash back will hit your account much more frequently than other cash back credit cards.

The Tangerine World Mastercard also offers a complimentary Boingo WiFi membership, great for accessing free WiFi on WestJet flights. The card also offers four insurance coverages including rental car collision/loss/damage insurance, mobile device insurance, purchase assurance, and extended warranty insurance.

If you are interested in the Tangerine World Mastercard and apply through Frugal Flyer Rebates, when approved you can receive an additional $170 FlyerFunds Rebate paid to you via PayPal!

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is another alternative with no annual fee as it offers the same earning rates. However, this card does offer less benefits and insurance coverages, so the Tangerine World Mastercard is the far better choice.

Rogers Red Mastercard

The Rogers Red Mastercard is a great option for any Rogers, Fido, or Shaw postpaid customers as they will receive an increased cash back earning of 2% on all purchases and a 1.5x redemption rate bonus when redeemed towards Rogers, Fido, or Shaw purchases.

Apply Now Learn More Earn $50 in FlyerFunds upon approval.
Rogers Red Mastercard

With the Rogers Red MastercardRogers, Fido and Shaw postpaid customers can earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases and get a 1.5x redemption bonus on Rogers, Fido and Shaw purchases – a 3% cash back value.

Check out our Rogers Red Mastercard review for more details.

BONUS
$60 cash back
MINSPEND
$0
NET VALUE
$60+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

Cash back earned on the Rogers Red Mastercard can be redeemed at any time provided a minimum cash back balance of $10 has been earned. Rogers Red Mastercard cardholders will also receive five free “Roam Like Home” days every calendar year to be used when traveling outside of Canada to save on cellular costs.

If you are interested in the Rogers Red Mastercard and apply through Frugal Flyer Rebates, when approved you can receive an additional $50 FlyerFunds Rebate paid to you via PayPal!

The Rogers Red World Elite Mastercard is another great no annual fee option, however, it has a higher income requirement of $80,000 annual personal income or $150,000 annual household income which may make it less accessible for some individuals. 

The Rogers Red World Elite Mastercard also comes with an additional benefit of complimentary Boingo WiFi membership and an increased earn rate of 3% cash back on US dollar purchases, but all other benefits and earning rates are the same. Note that the card still does charge 2.5% in foreign transaction fees, so consider a credit card with no foreign transaction fees instead if this makes up a large bulk of your purchases.

Best No Annual Fee Credit Card for Restaurants

The Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa card is the best no annual fee credit card for restaurant, bar, and coffee shop purchases as it earns 4% cash back on all purchases in these categories on up to $5,000 spent in a calendar year.

Apply Now Learn More Earn $60 in FlyerFunds upon approval.
Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card

The Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa card earns cash back and gives cardholders the opportunity to earn up to 4% cash back on purchases at restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.

Check out our Simplii Financial Cash Back card review for more details.

BONUS
$50 cash back
MINSPEND
$500
NET VALUE
$50+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa cardholders will earn 1.5% cash back on purchases made at grocery stores, gas stations, drug stores, and on pre-authorized purchases (up to $15,000 spent in a calendar year) and 0.5% cash back on all other purchases. Cash back is automatically redeemed once a year on the last day of the cardholder’s December statement.

Cardholders are also able to access two types of insurance coverage: purchase security coverage and extended protection insurance. Refer to the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa certificate of insurance for additional details, including terms and conditions for eligibility.

If you are interested in the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa card and apply through Frugal Flyer Rebates, when approved you can receive an additional $60 FlyerFunds Rebate paid to you via PayPal!

Best No Annual Fee Credit Card for Groceries

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is the only card on this list that doesn’t earn cash back, but instead, it earns 2 MBNA Rewards points for every dollar spent on restaurant, grocery, digital media, memberships, and household utility purchases up to $10,000 spent per category in a calendar year.

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard earns MBNA Rewards points and gives cardholders the opportunity to earn 2x MBNA Rewards on restaurant, grocery, digital media purchases, and more.

In 2024, we awarded this card as the Best No Annual Fee Points Credit Card.

BONUS
10,000 MBNA Rewards
MINSPEND
$500
NET VALUE
$100+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

Cardholders will receive 1 MBNA Reward point per dollar spent on all other everyday purchases. MBNA Rewards points are worth 1 cent per point when redeemed towards travel purchases, making this an effective 2% rate of return on any of the above categories.

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus cardholders will also receive birthday bonus MBNA Rewards points (up to a maximum of 10,000 points). This bonus is equal to 10% of the total number of points earned in the 12 months leading up to the cardholder’s birthday. Cardholders will also benefit from three available insurance coverages on the card: mobile device insurance, extended warranty, and purchase assurance.

Best No Annual Fee Credit Card for Automotive Benefits

The Canadian Tire Triangle World Elite Mastercard is the best card if you are looking for free automotive benefits as an alternative to CAA/AAA membership.

Canadian Tire Triangle World Elite Mastercard

The Canadian Tire Triangle World Elite Mastercard earns Canadian Tire Money and offers cardholders benefits such as complimentary gold membership to the Canadian Tire roadside assistance program.

Check out our Canadian Tire Triangle World Elite Mastercard review for more details.

BONUS
0 Canadian Tire Money
MINSPEND
$0
NET VALUE
$0+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

The Canadian Tire Triangle World Elite Mastercard earns Canadian Tire Money on all purchases. Cardholders will receive 4% back on all purchases at Canadian Tire stores and partner locations, 3% back on grocery purchases (up to $12,000 spent per calendar year), and 1% back on all other purchases. 

Cardholders will also receive 7 cents back per litre of premium fuel purchased at Gas+, Essence+, and participating Husky gas stations and 5 cents back in CT Money per litre on all other fuel types which is a great way to save money on fuel.

Canadian Tire Money earned on this card can be redeemed at Canadian Tire stores, Sport Chek, Mark’s/L’Equipeur, Party City, Pro Hockey Life, Hockey Experts, L’Entrepôt du Hockey, Sports Rousseau, and participating Sports Experts stores with no minimum redemption amount required.

The real selling point for this credit card is that it offers several automotive benefits free of charge. Cardholders receive a complimentary roadside assistance gold plan which gives up to 250 km of towing per service call anywhere in North America, completely free of charge. They will also receive a coupon for a free oil change at Canadian Tire locations annually.

Furthermore, Triangle credit cards have a unique feature where they can be used to make bill payments and earn 1% back. This can save you money every year when you pay large bills like property taxes which can’t normally be paid with a credit card.

canadian-tire-credit-card-bill-payments

The Canadian Tire Triangle World Elite Mastercard does have an income requirement of $80,000 annual personal income or $150,000 annual household income which may make it less accessible for some individuals. Cardholders are typically approved for lower limits initially and will be able to increase their credit limits over time.

Best No Annual Fee Secured Credit Card

The Neo Secured Credit Card is a great option for those individuals who prefer or require a secured credit card as opposed to a traditional credit card. Approval is guaranteed and cardholders only need to put down a minimum deposit of $50 to get started.

Apply Now Learn More Earn $25 in FlyerFunds upon approval.
Neo Secured Credit

The Neo Financial Secured credit card earns up to 5% cashback at partner retailers, a minimum of 0.5% across all purchases, has no annual fees, and is guaranteed approval with only a $50 minimum deposit. In 2024, we selected this card as the Best Secured Credit Card.

Check out our Neo Secured Credit Card review for more details.

BONUS
$25 cash back
MINSPEND
$0
NET VALUE
$25+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

The Neo Secured Credit Card earns a minimum cash back of 0.5% on all purchases, with an increased earning rate at select Neo Financial partners. Any cash back that is earned on the Neo Secured Credit Card can be redeemed at any time with no minimum cash back balance required.

If you are interested in the Neo Secured Credit Card and apply through Frugal Flyer Rebates, when approved you can receive an additional $25 FlyerFunds Rebate paid to you via PayPal!

Best No Annual Fee Credit Card with No Foreign Transaction Fees

The Home Trust Preferred Visa card is a good option for those who want to save 2.5% on all foreign currency purchases without needing to pay an annual fee.

Home Trust Preferred Visa Card

The Home Trust Preferred Visa card earns 1% cash back on all purchases and offers no foreign transaction fees on purchases in other currencies.

BONUS
0 None
MINSPEND
$0
NET VALUE
$0+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
No
EXPIRY

The rest of the card isn’t all that exciting as it only offers 1% cash back on all purchases which is beat by many other cards on this list.

If you are interested in the no foreign transaction fee benefit but would prefer a stronger card that offers it and don’t mind paying the annual fee, consider the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card or the Scotiabank Gold American Express card as strong contenders.

How To Determine The Best No Annual Fee Credit Card For Your Lifestyle

Determining the best no annual fee credit card for your life is no different than deciding on a credit card with an annual fee. Asking yourself questions like the following can go a long way in cutting down the list of potential credit cards:

  • What is the most important aspect of the credit card for you?
  • Are there any “must-have” benefits or insurance coverages?
  • Do you prefer points or cash back?
    • If cash back, does it matter to you if you can redeem earned cash back anytime or are you ok with receiving it as a lump sum once per year?
  • What categories do you spend the most of your money on?

While we often talk about our favorite cards, there is no one credit card that would fit all lifestyles and personal finance strategies so ensure you do your research. If you want to dig deeper outside of no annual fee credit cards, consider using our credit card comparison tool to see all of the best cards available for Canadians.

Conclusion

If you don’t already hold a credit card, starting with a no annual fee credit card is a great way to build your credit history and score. If you already hold a credit card, adding one of these cards to your wallet can open up other opportunities with different spending categories earning bonuses, additional benefits and rewards, and ultimately reward for more for your spending.

Josh Bandura

Josh Bandura

Co-Founder at Frugal Flyer
Josh has been involved in the miles and points game since 2015 but has scaled up his knowledge and points earning potential in recent years. With a consistent attitude of "min-maxing" in many aspects of his life, Josh has transferred this mindset over to the miles and points game. Always looking for the next big opportunity, he aims to share content on a variety of topics including his travels, miles and points, and most importantly, how to get the most out of your credit cards

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5 comments on “Best Credit Cards with No Annual Fees in Canada

  1. The rewards described for MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is quite MISLEADING – that 4 points per $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases is only for the FIRST 90 DAYS as a new cardholder. After 90 days, it’s only 2 points per $1 spent on those categories, up to $10K spent in a year in eac category, making it similar to Tangerine MC duo. It certainly covers more categories at the same time than Tangerine MC (3 categories max), but there’s no annual spend/reward limit with Tangerine MC and cash back is still easier to obtain/redeem than points. If MBNA really signs the transfer agreement with Alaska Airlines and these MBNA Rewards points can be transferred to Alaska Miles 1:1, it’d make this no annual fee card much more worthwhile.

    Reply
    • Thanks Duncan – I’ve corrected it across the site. I agree the value of the card hinges on the MBNA/Alaska partnership (which we are still waiting for more news on), but until then, I think there are much better cards with no annual fee as you listed.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the correction, Josh!
        The No Annual Fee credit card scene has suddenly become much more interesting since Rogers MC turns on the ‘3% cash back for every purchase’ that really stirred up the pot – basically anyone with even just one Rogers/Fido/Shaw postpaid service and doesn’t care about miles/points can almost rely on this one card alone for everything. It has beaten many former no-fee champions such as Tangerine MC, even premium annual fee cards like TD Cash Back Visa Infinite (only 3% on certain categories).
        Those without Rogers/Fido/Shaw postpaid service would still look elsewhere and use multiple cards; one of the missing cards on this list could be the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard (no annual fee one, not the new PC Insider WE MC). For consumers shopping a lot at Loblaw and its sub-branded stores as well as Shoppers Drug Mart, this card does give decent rewarding PC Optimum points, despite the rewards lock users inside the PC ecosystem, making it less flexible and appealing as real ‘cash back’ cards. Similarly, Triangle WE MC and Rogers (WE) MC (to get 3% back) and MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MC are not strictly ‘cash back’ cards either.
        One more No Annual Fee card worth mentioning should be Home Trust Preferred Visa. After the fall of Brim MC and others, this is probably the only Canadian No Annual Fee credit card that does not charge Foreign Exchange fee, which means using this credit card for any travel or online shopping in foreign currency transactions saves the user at least 2.5%.

        Reply
        • Hey Duncan,

          I agree, Rogers is the runaway choice for those who are eligible customers. That would be my go to recommendation for those who are looking for a good all-around no fee card.

          We actually added the Home Trust Preferred Visa card to this article today. I agree with what you mentioned and personally I prefer one of the other no foreign transaction fee options in Canada (especially the Scotiabank Passport VI at the moment since its first year free), but it could be a good fit for the right person. Its a shame that we continue to see cards that offer this benefit disappear in Canada.

          Reply
          • Yes, indeed.

            I got my Scotiabank Passport VI at the end of last year through FF as well – the FF offer was higher but Scotiabank welcome bonus was lower; 1st year annual fee was not waived at that time, but I switched to Scotiabank Ultimate Package this year so they retroactively waived the annual fee.

            This card is superb for those who value airport lounge access – 6 times per calendar year for primary cardholder and 6 times for supplementary cardholder as well! If the primary cardholder’s annual fee is waived through Scotiabank Ultimate Package, the 1st supplementary card annual fee is also waived, making it even more amazing value.
            Of course, those who don’t need airport lounge access or don’t want to pay $150 annual fee after 1st year or keep $6K in a chequing account to waive annual fee may still choose the annul-fee free Home Trust Preferred Visa.
            One last bit that may be added is the revamped No Annual Fee Rogers Red World Elite Mastercard for those who meet the income requirement. This one now has the same cash back value as non-WE Rogers MC, with extra perks of WE cards.

            If I may suggest another article to follow up: One Premium card (Annual Fee under $200) to accompany these No Annual Fee cards to make the best combo with the best rewards at the lowest cost.