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Shopping online has become incredibly popular over the last few years. And now with COVID-19 and our new (temporary) social distancing world, it’s being relied upon more than ever.

If you’re spending plenty online, why not get a credit card that earns you plenty of rewards while you’re at it?

Here are the best cash back cards for online shopping, some of which also offer no foreign exchange fees to save you the standard 2.5% exchange fee.

The best credit cards for online shopping

What qualifies as a top cash back card for shopping online?

It needs to have a high, flat earn rate. Most online retailers generally don’t fall under any specific category (usually stuff like groceries, restaurants, gas), so the cards need to earn you plenty of cash no matter where you’re shopping.

Here are our favourite cards that offer high earn rates on every purchase.

Why use it for online shopping? Credit Card Annual Fee Apply
1% cash back on purchases, bonus rewards at select merchants, 0% FX fees Brim Mastercard None Apply Now
Up to 1.5% cash back on purchases, bonus rewards at select merchants, and 0% FX fees Brim World Mastercard $99 Apply Now
Up to 2% cash back on purchases, bonus rewards at select merchants, and 0% FX fees Brim World Elite Mastercard $199, first year free Apply Now
1.25% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee American Express SimplyCash None Apply Now
2% cash back on all purchases American Express SimplyCash Preferred $99 Apply Now
1.5% bonus cash back for online stores, including Amazon National Bank Echo Mastercard $30 Apply Now
0% FX fees and no annual fee Home Trust Preferred Visa None Apply Now

Best for earning up to 2% cash back while shopping online and saving on FX fees: Brim Mastercards

All of Brim’s Mastercards make great credit cards for your online shopping.

And it’s not just because they all have great flat earn rates either. Brim has partnerships with 150+ retailers so you can earn bonus rewards when you shop with them.

How much can you earn? It depends on the retailer, but you can earn anywhere from 3% to 30% back when you shop with them.

Here’s a sampling of the merchants available, and how much you can earn at each one:

Brim Financial retail partners
One thing to note – you forgo your card’s regular earn rates when you shop with Brim’s partners.

There’s one other feature that also makes Brim a great for online shopping – no foreign exchange fees. If you shop online and your purchases are not in Canadian dollars, you’ll save the typical 2.5% fee most credit cards tack on to your purchases.

With Brim’s cards, you’ll save on that fee and keep it where it belongs – your wallet.

So what will you actually earn with each card? Here’s the overview of all 3 of them. The major differences between them? The earn rates, annual fees, and insurance coverages.

Related: Brim Financial Mastercards Review: A New Generation Of Smart Credit Cards

Brim’s no annual fee card, the , offers 1% back on all purchases, with no caps to worry about.

And you can earn up to $200 in first time bonuses after making your first purchases with select Brim’s partners.

For insurance coverage, you’ll get 5 types included:

Brim’s mid-level offering, the , earns you 1.5% cash back on the first $25,000 in annual spend. You’ll earn 1% cash back after you’ve reached this limit.

After you make your first purchases with Brim’s partners, you can earn up to $300 in bonuses.

As for insurance, you’ll get 13 different types of coverage:

And it’s for an annual fee of $99.

Finally, there’s Brim’s premium offering – the . You’ll earn 2% back on your first $25,000 in annual purchases (1% after that).

You’ll also receive a top level bonus – up to $500 in rewards after your first purchases with Brim’s partners.

And this card has the most types of insurance included of ANY credit card in Canada – 15 types:

It has a high annual fee of $199 – the highest on our list here. But it’s currently waived for the first year.

Earn up to 2% cash back for shopping online with no limits: Amex SimplyCash Cards

American Express’s lineup of SimplyCash cards are also great for online shopping. They have high cash back rewards and reasonable fees.

But let’s address the elephant in the room when it comes to Amex cards – acceptance. Yes, there are a few big stores that don’t take them, with Loblaws banner stores leading the way.

But overall, it’s quite good, especially with online shopping. Here are a few of the larger online retailers that take Amex cards:

  • Amazon,
  • Indigo,
  • Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic,
  • Toys R Us,
  • Best Buy,
  • Walmart,
  • Canadian Tire,
  • Hudson’s Bay,
  • Home Depot,
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond, and
  • Sephora.

An easy way to check if your favourite online retailer takes Amex is to simply do a test purchase. Put an item in your cart, attempt to check out and see if you can use an Amex card.

If a frequent retailer you use takes Amex, you’re good to go. Here are the 2 cash back cards Amex has in their card lineup.

If a no annual fee card is your game, then the is one of the best cash back choices out there.

Why? You’ll earn a simple 1.25% cash back on every purchase made with the card. Only one other no fee cash back card offers a higher rate on every purchase, and soon you’ll need to spend $15,000 on it every year just for the privilege of keeping it.

But not here. You’ll get 1.25% on everything, no limits. It’s a magnificent no fee cash back card.

It also has a great welcome bonus – earn 2.5% cash back for the first 3 months, on your first $6,000 in annual spend.

For a higher earn rate, and a lower annual fee of $99 compared to most premium cards, there’s the .

With this card, you’ll earn 2% cash back on every purchase, with no caps to worry about. There’s also a top welcome bonus – earn 5% cash back for the first 6 months, on the first $6,000 in annual spend.

2% cash back on all purchases, a low annual fee of $99, and a great welcome bonus? It’s no wonder the card is one of our top cash back cards.

Related: Category Vs. Flat Rate Cash Back Credit Cards: Which Is Better?

Earn 1.5% in bonus rewards for your online shopping with the National Bank Echo Mastercard

Another great card for shopping online is the , but for different reasons.

This card doesn’t have a high base earn rate for an annual fee of $30 (it’s 1%, which is still good), but it offers 1.5% cash back on online shopping (which excludes travel), gas, and groceries (up to $25,000 per year). No other card has a specific category for online shopping.

For a low annual fee of $30, you can add up extra cash back for all those online purchases, as well your gas and grocery essentials.

A no fee credit card with 1% cash back and no foreign exchange fees: Home Trust Preferred Visa

There’s one other card worth mentioning – the .

It’s a rare card with both no foreign transaction fees, as well as no annual fees. You’ll earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases with no limits on how much you earn. Just note that you won’t earn cash back on foreign currency purchases.

Alternatives to credit cards for online shopping

While credit cards are usually the card of choice for online purchases, you have other options at your disposal.

Here are a few other ways you can make online purchases without the use of a credit card.

Prepaid cards

Prepaid Visa, Mastercard, and Amex cards are a way to pay for purchases online. You can buy them in stores (for a fee, beware of those), or get one that’s issued specifically to you. Many of these cards also offer some rewards as well.

Here are a couple of those options.

Related: Prepaid Visa Or Prepaid Mastercard ‒ Which Option Is Better?

The is one of our choices. You’ll not only enjoy no annual fees, but no foreign transaction fees as well.

And you can earn rewards with Stack’s 140+ retail partners. Sadly, there’s no standard earn rate on every purchase.

To earn rewards on every purchase, the is another good prepaid alternative.

You’ll earn 0.5% cash back on every purchase, and earn bonus rewards with KOHO’s partners.

Plus, use our link and promo code CCGBONUS on sign up, and you can earn another bonus 1% cash back in your first 90 days.

For even more from a prepaid card, there’s the .

For either an annual fee of $84 or a monthly fee of $9, you’ll earn the same 0.5% cash back on every purchase, and earn 2% cash back on:

  • groceries,
  • transit, and
  • restaurants.

The best part? You can switch back and forth between regular and premium KOHO when you like.

Related: KOHO Prepaid Visa Review: Regular Vs. Premium – Everything You Need To Know

Use a Visa Debit or Mastercard Debit card

Have either a Visa Debit or Mastercard Debit card? You may be able to use them for online purchases as well.

The merchant has to accept them as a form of payment in order for you to use it.

This page has a list of merchants where you can use a Visa Debit card, and this Mastercard page has details on merchants that accept Mastercard Debit.

To get one of these cards, you’ll need a chequing account that includes these cards as your regular debit card.

For Visa Debit, these banks offer Visa Debit cards:

For Mastercard Debit, only BMO offers them.

What do you think?

Online shopping is only growing in popularity, and having the right credit card can help you earn rewards to help you save money.

What are your thoughts on the cards on our list?

Let us know in the comments below.