Best no annual fee credit card in Canada for 2020 award seal

You know that old saying, "you can’t get something for nothing"? Well, theese best no fee credit cards seem to shatter that theory.

They give you rewards with no strings attached.

And assuming you’re paying your bill on time, avoiding any pricey interest fees, you’re getting those rewards completely free.

When it comes to perks and benefits, you usually get what you pay for: higher annual fee = more perks and rewards.

But not everyone wants to deal with annual fees. And sometimes it just makes sense to have a no fee card, like:

  • when you rarely use a credit card,
  • when the rewards you earn don't justify the annual fee,
  • when you prefer NOT to track the cost against benefits, or
  • when you already have a premium card and you’re looking for a card to pair with it.

Plus, sometimes free is just a straight-up no-brainer.

Best no fee cash back credit cards for 2020

Here are a few of our favourite free credit cards:

Category Credit Card Current Welcome Bonus Offer
Best no fee credit card MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® Up to 10,000 points, plus 4 points per $1 spent in the first 3 months (terms)
Best no fee cash back card Brim Mastercard $200 worth of points (terms)
Best no fee flexible rewards credit card Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card None
Best no fee cash back Visa Home Trust Preferred Visa None
Best no fee cash back credit card for groceries BMO CashBack Mastercard 5% cash back for the first 3 months (terms)

Compare the top 10 no annual fee cards.

No fee credit card perks

Just because you’re opting for a credit card with no annual fee, you don't need to forgo all the fancy perks that premium credit cards offer.

In fact, some no annual fee credit cards still come with:

  • insurance,
  • referral bonuses,
  • low interest rates,
  • sign-up bonuses,
  • 0% foreign exchange fees, and
  • discounts on purchases.

So, when looking for a no fee credit card, it pays to shop around – no need to settle for just any card.

Best no fee credit card in Canada

Our top no annual fee credit card is the .

With this card, you'll earn a 1.35% return on a typical spend (when points are redeemed for travel). Here's what you'll earn for points:

  • 2 points for every $1 spent on gas, grocery, and restaurant purchases (up to $5,000 spent annually in each category), and
  • 1 point for every other $1 spent, including any overages in the bonus categories.

And since MBNA Rewards points are worth 1 cent when redeemed for travel, you'll earn up to 2% back on your spending.

What's even more impressive is that you get 7 different types of purchase and travel insurance. In fact, all the MBNA Platinum Plus Mastercards cover you with the same insurance package.

So, if you’re looking for a no fee card and insurance is important to you, MBNA is definitely a good place to start.

Finally, to top it off, this card will get you going fast with 10,000 sign-up bonus points:

  • 5,000 when you spend $500 in the first 90 days, and
  • 5,000 if you enroll for e-statements in the first 90 days.

Plus, you'll also earn 4 points per $1 spent on gas, groceries, and restaurant purchases in the first 90 days.

Best cash back credit card with no annual fee

For the best no fee cash back credit card, you'll want to look at the .

Let's start with rewards. You'll earn 1 point for every $1 you spend on the card. You can then use your points for a discount towards ANY purchase made to the card. Each point is worth 1 cent each, giving a return of 1%.

So that's an ordinary return, but what makes it our top no annual fee cash back card? It's all in the perks.

First, you can earn plenty of bonus rewards on your online shopping through Brim Rewards. There are over 150 retailers where you can earn bonus cash back, up to 15% or more.

Making a large purchase? Brim has installment plans on purchases of $500 or more. There's a 1 time fee to pay, and a monthly processing fee of 0.475% of the purchase price.

This card also includes 5 types of insurance coverage, including ultra rare event ticket reimbursement should you not be able to make your show.

And finally there's the holy grail of fees – no foreign exchange fees, which are not only rare, but even rarer on no fee cards.

Plus, the first time you use the card at participating retailers you can earn up to $200 in bonus points.

Best no fee flexible rewards credit card

The definitely stands out amongst its competitors because it works a little differently than other cards. It lets you choose which categories you want to earn higher cash back rates in, based on your own spending habits.

Here’s how it works: You get 2% cash back on up to 3 spending categories you choose. That means if the biggest chunk of your budget goes towards gas and groceries, you can earn 2% cash back on that category. You'll also earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.

And one of the best parts? You're able to change your categories if your spending habits change. So, if you buy a bike and gas is no longer one of your expenses, you can easily change that category to restaurants, or entertainment, or something else.

If you meet typical Mastercard World income requirements of either 60K personal or 100K household, you could get the instead. It comes with the same exact rewards, no annual fee, and has a few more perks included.

Best cash back Visa credit card with no annual fee

The best cash back Visa card on our list, the has a lot of things going for it. This card offers cardholders 1% cash back on all purchases – no limits, no restrictions.

And while that's pretty nice for a no fee card, that isn’t even where this card really shines. Not only does it offer you complimentary (though slightly limited) roadside assistance, but it also has no foreign transaction fee – and for the world-traveller and online-shopper alike…that 2.5% in savings is a pretty great deal. Just note that you won't earn cash back on these purchases.

Best no fee cash back credit card for groceries

Want to earn the most grocery rewards for no annual fee? The could be your card.

Why? You'll earn 3% cash back on your grocery purchases, on the first $500 you spend per month (or $6,000 per year). Maximize your spending, and that's $180 cash back you've earned, all while skipping on an annual fee.

There's also a sweetener when it comes to groceries. Since it's a Mastercard, you'll earn this bonus rate when shopping at Walmart Supercentres as well, something Amex and Visa cards don't do.

Outside of groceries, you'll also earn:

  • 1% cash back on recurring bills (up to $500 spent per month), and
  • 0.5% on all other purchases.

To top it off, you'll earn 5% in the first 3 months on the first $2,500 in purchases.

Check out our complete list of the top 10 best no fee cash back credit cards, so you can get the best free credit card available.

Compare No Annual Fee Credit Cards

How we get our rankings

How do we decide what are the best no annual fee cards? We take into account over 126 features of each credit card, broken down into 7 main categories.

No fee page genius rating scoring

We then take those features and put them through our algorithm, which calculates a score out of 5. And since we're talking about credit cards with low fees, we give extra weight to both the fees and rewards categories, as they're the primary features we're after with cards on this page.

Learn more about our Genius Rating methodology.

No annual fee credit cards FAQ

Is there a great cash back credit card with no annual fee?

Our current top choice for a no fee cash back credit card is the Brim Mastercard. With this card you’ll earn 1 Brim Rewards point for every $1 you spend on the card. And with each point worth 1 cent, this gives you a cash back return of 1%. That’s pretty good for a no fee credit card. On top of that, you also get the rare benefit of no foreign transaction fees, and 5 types of insurance, including rare event ticket reimbursement.

What’s the best no fee credit card available in Canada?

After running all the credit cards with no annual fee through our unbiased math-based algorithm, we’ve determined that the current top no fee credit card in Canada is the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®. With this card’s rewards, you’ll earn an average of 1.35% on purchases. You also get 7 types of insurance, which is just added peace of mind at no cost to you.

What about rewards? Is there a good rewards credit card that has no annual fee?

Our favourite no fee credit card that also earns flexible rewards is the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card. This is actually another cash back card, and you get to pick 3 spending categories in which to earn 2% cash back. And you’ll get 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.

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