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, 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 can stomach annual fees. And in some cases, it makes the most sense to stick to no fees, like:

  • when you rarely use a credit card,
  • when simple math shows projected rewards won’t cover 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 no annual fee cards:

CategoryCredit CardCurrent Welcome Bonus Offer
Best no fee credit cardMBNA 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 cardBrim Mastercard$200 worth of points (terms)
Best no fee flexible rewards credit cardTangerine Money-Back Credit CardNone
Best no fee American ExpressSimplyCash™ Card from American Express2.5% cash back for the first 3 months (terms)
Best no fee cash back Visa Home Trust Preferred VisaNone

Compare the top 10 no annual fee cards.

No fee credit card perks

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

In fact, some no 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

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.

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 no fee cash back credit card

For the best no fee cash back 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, upwards of 15% or more.

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

There's also 4 types of insurance coverage, plus 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 $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 gas and groceries.

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 no fee cash back American Express credit card

If you want a no fee American Express card, then the best option is the .

You’ll earn a solid 1.25% cash back on all purchases. Plus, for the first 3 months, you'll get 2.5% cash back (up to $150 earned) – that’s $75 more than you’d normally get. And, as an added bonus, this Amex card will also give you a referral bonus of $100 for any approved referrals you send their way (up to $1,500 annually).

On top of all that, you'll get:

Best no fee cash back Visa credit card

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 currency exchange 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.

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

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 into account, 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.

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