How do we decide which credit cards are a cut above the rest?

We started by poring over every detail of 189 Canadian credit cards, tracking and comparing over 50 different features for each one.

We then enter those details into our math-based comparison engine, which gives each card a rating out of 5 – our Genius Rating.

Using this rating as our guide, we determine the winning credit cards across 24 different categories.

This way, whether you like to travel the world, get cold hard cash, save money on interest, or want to get the most out of AIR MILES or Aeroplan miles…

There’s a best credit card category for you.

Related: Who Has The Best Credit Card Portfolio In Canada?

And the winners are…

Ranging from 0% interest, to 2% cash back, all the way to 3.76% average rewards return on spending, here’s an overview of the well-deserved winners.

Please note the average earn rate is based on reasonably optimized spending and reward redemptions – we assume you won’t choose the toaster when flights are worth 4x as much!

We also use a default of $2,000 per month in spending split sensibly across spending categories, like gas and groceries. For more personalized results, enter your own spending habits into our compare credit cards spending calculator in the sidebar.

Best Credit Card Categories Best Credit Cards in Canada Rewards & Savings Learn More
Best Overall American Express Cobalt 3.76% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Mastercard BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard 2.12% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Visa Scotiabank GM Visa Infinite 3.25% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best American Express American Express Cobalt 3.76% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Cash Back Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite 2.07% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Cash Back with No Annual Fee Rogers World Elite Mastercard 1.76% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Travel American Express Cobalt 3.76% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Travel with No Annual Fee Rogers World Elite Mastercard 1.76% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Balance Transfer Canadian Western Bank Rewards Mastercard 1.99% promo rate (10 months) Learn More
Best Foreign Exchange Travel Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite 1.3% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best AIR MILES BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard 2.12% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Low Interest American Express Essential 8.99% interest rate Learn More
Best Grocery American Express Cobalt 8.75% typical return on groceries Learn More
Best Gas American Express Gold Rewards 5% return on gas Learn More
Best Insurance Desjardins Odyssey World Elite Mastercard 1.65% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Student CIBC Aventura Visa Card For Students 1.57% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Business Scotiabank GM Visa Business 3.25% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best U.S. Dollar RBC U.S. Dollar Visa Gold 1% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Store Scotiabank GM Visa Infinite 3.25% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Perks The Platinum Card 3.12% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Rewards American Express Cobalt 3.76% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Flexible American Express Cobalt 3.76% avg. earn rate Learn More
Best Aeroplan American Express Gold Rewards 3.68% avg. earn rate Learn More
People’s Choice Scotiabank SCENE Visa 1.43% avg. earn rate Learn More

Let’s get into each category one by one and review the winners…

Rate Your Wallet and find your perfect match.

Best overall credit card

Best overall credit card in Canada for 2019 award sealCurious what the best credit card in Canada is? We were too, so we took every aspect into consideration – all 50+ features, all 184 cards. And for the second year in a row, American Express Cobalt comes out on top. Considering this card is the #1 card in 5 other categories, this award is just the cherry on top. The Cobalt card has no minimum income requirement, an impressive welcome bonus, some of the highest earn rates in Canada (5x on food at grocery stores and restaurants), plus exclusive Cobalt Perks and all the other perks that come along with being an American Express cardholder.

Get the details here:

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Best Mastercard

Best Mastercard credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealLooking for the absolute best Mastercard on the market right now? The BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard offers great rewards, perks and insurance. Earn 1 AIR MILE for every $10 you spend and get a sign-up bonus of up to 3,000 miles. Then, anytime you redeem your miles for flights within North America, get a 15% reduction in the number of miles required to book your flight. Plus, with 14 types of insurance coverages, this card offers a lot for your travels.

Get the details here:

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Best Visa

Best Visa credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealPrefer having a Visa in your wallet? The Scotiabank GM Visa Infinite will offer you the most rewards for your purchases. Get 5% in GM dollars on the first $10,000 you make in purchases each year, and then earn 2% after that. And while your points can only be used to purchase a new GM vehicle, taking a bite out of the cost of purchasing a new vehicle goes a long way. And, you earn all these rewards for a low annual fee of $79.

Get the details here:

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Best American Express

Best American Express credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealAmerican Express cards tend to offer the highest rewards and the best perks. Not to mention that all of their cards have no minimum income requirements. Our top pick goes to the American Express Cobalt. Why? Earn the most rewards – up to 5 points per $1 spent, and get a great welcome bonus worth up to 30,000 points. The best part about getting all these points is you can use them in a variety of ways – the Fixed Points Travel Program, redeem for any travel, get cash statements, or transfer your points to Marriott Bonvoy. Plus, with 9 types of insurance coverage to protect you while travelling.

Get the details here:

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Best cash back credit card

Best cash back credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealThe Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite gives you 4% back on recurring bills and grocery purchases, 2% back on gas and daily transit, plus 1% cash back on all other purchases ‒ for a $120 annual fee. On top of that, this Visa Infinite card will give you concierge service, Visa Infinite perks, plus 11 different types of insurance included at no extra cost.

And as an added bonus, the first year is free.

Get the details here:

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Best no fee cash back credit card

Best no annual fee cash back credit card in Canada for 2019 award sealIf you want rewards with no fees, and happen to meet its $80K income requirement, then the Rogers World Elite not only has no annual fee, but offers a high earn rate for your spending as well. Earn 1.75% cash back on all of your purchases. Have any Rogers services? Charge those to your card and earn 2% cash back on those payments. Finally, any time you make a purchase in a foreign currency, get 4% cash back, which helps offset the 2.5% foreign exchange fees.

Get the details here:

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Best credit card for travel

Best travel credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealTravel credit cards are some of the best credit cards you can get. The best of the best will offer its cardholders lucrative rewards, big sign-up bonuses, and rewards that’ll often get you the biggest bang for your buck. This number one travel credit card is no exception. The American Express Cobalt gives cardholders a solid mix of flexible rewards, a generous welcome bonus, good insurance, and some pretty fun perks that all point to this card as the best travel credit card in Canada. Plus, if you use your points with the Amex Fixed Points Travel Program, you’ll get a solid 3.76% return on your spending on North American flights, making this card perfect for travel lovers.

Get the details here:

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Best no fee travel credit card

Best travel credit cards in Canada with no annual fee for 2019 award sealIn Canada, no fee travel credit cards are pretty rare. Why? Because the best travel cards come with premium benefits and steep price tags to match. However, that doesn’t mean a no fee travel card is impossible to find. And, we consider cash back cards as well, because getting cash you can use for anything (including travel) shouldn’t be excluded.

With that said, the Rogers World Elite Mastercard gives solid rewards for no annual fee, if you meet their $80K annual income. You also get basic travel insurance package as well, making it a solid no fee choice.

Get the details here:

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Best credit card for balance transfers

Best balance transfer credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealWe realize that it can be easy to fall behind and end up with credit card debt that we had no intention of racking up. If this is the case for you, a balance transfer credit card could be just what you need to help dig yourself out. Balance transfer credit cards allow you to take debt from one card and move it to another. Depending on what card you choose, you could end up with 6 to 10 months of low or 0% interest on those transfers. The top balance transfer card in Canada right now is the Canadian Western Bank Rewards Mastercard. It will give you 10 months of relief from high interest charges with 1.99% balance transfer interest – that’s 10 whole months of interest savings to try to get your credit card debt sorted out. (Not sure how balance transfer work? Read this blog post.)

Get the details here:

See More Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Best foreign exchange travel credit card

Best foreign exchange credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealNo one wants to pay fees when they don’t need to, so credit cards with no foreign transaction fees are highly sought after. The bad news? These cards are few and far between. Our number 1 no foreign exchange fee travel card is the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite. With this card in your wallet, you’ll skip that dreaded 2.5% and get an average of 1.3% return on spending, a priority pass membership, a free supplementary card, 6 free lounge visits per year, and 13 types of insurance coverage.

Get the details here:

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Best AIR MILES credit card

Best AIR MILES credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealThe BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard is far and away the best AIR MILES credit card on the Canadian market right now – and for good reason. For starters, you get a sign up bonus that is enough for 2 short-haul flights. Then, for every purchase made, you get 1 mile for every $10 spent. And if that wasn’t enough, concierge service, lounge access, and a 15% discount on AIR MILES flights in North America are also included. Plus, this card will give you 14 out of 16 types of insurance – the most of any credit card on the market. You can even try this card out for free for a year to make sure you like it before committing long term.

Get the details here:

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Best low interest credit card

Best low interest credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealWe always suggest that cardholders pay their credit card off in full every month, but we also realize that sometimes life can get in the way and that sometimes it’s easier said than done. If you find yourself forgetting to pay your card off in full and you end up with interest charges, that 20% can be pretty frustrating. If you’re looking for a lower rate, the American Express Essential offers a permanent low rate of 8.99% on both purchases and balance transfers. And, it also offers a balance transfer promotion of 1.99% for the first 6 months. All for no annual fee.

Get the details here:

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Best credit card for groceries

Best grocery credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealEating is a basic part of life – whether it be buying groceries or dining out. So why not get plenty of rewards for this basic need with a credit card that offers great rewards on food purchases? We give the crown to the American Express Cobalt earning you 5 points for every dollar you spend on groceries and food. And because we value each point at 1.75 cents, that gives you an incredible 8.75% return, one of the best you’ll find for any spending on any card.

Get the details here:

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Best credit card for gas

Best gas credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealSpend a lot of money on gas? If you own a vehicle (unless you drive an electric car) you’ll be spending a good chunk of money on gas for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, there’s plenty of cards that give you extra rewards for your fuel purchases. And the best one is the American Express Gold Rewards. While it only earns 2 points for every dollar you spend, transfer your points to Aeroplan where you can get a value of 2.5 cents for each one. This translates to a 5% return, the absolute best you can find for your gas purchases.

Get the details here:

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Best credit card for insurance

Best travel insurance credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealInsurance is one of those things that people may not realize their credit card even comes with, but can be extremely valuable. Depending on your card’s insurance coverage, you could gain extended warranty on all your purchases, mobile device protection, emergency medical, and even help if your flight or baggage gets delayed. In fact, credit cards can give you up to 16 types of travel and purchase insurance, and the card that comes with the best insurance coverage is the Desjardins Odyssey World Elite Mastercard. Although it doesn’t come with the most types of insurance, it does come out on top in terms of available payout on many of those credit card insurance categories.

Get the details here:

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Best student credit card

Best student credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealIf you’re a student, responsible use of credit cards can give you a good start on building your credit history and teaching yourself good spending habits. Sure, getting your first credit card can be stressful, maybe scary. The key is to spend within your means and pay off you balance in full and on time. The other thing is to research and compare your options. With no annual fee, high value rewards, and multiple redemption options, the CIBC Aventura Visa Card For Students is at the top of our list.

Get the details here:

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Best business credit card

Best business credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealIf you’re running a small business, every dollar matters. So, getting the best credit card can go a long way. The top spot for this category goes to the Scotiabank GM Visa Business. This card will earn you the most rewards for your purchases – 5% in GM dollars on the first $10,000 you spend, and earn 2% after that. And while your rewards can only be used to purchase or lease a new GM vehicle, the rewards you earn can take a big bite out of the next vehicle you purchase, whether for your business or for yourself. Either way, this card will get you the most rewards for your business purchases.

Get the details here:

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Best U.S. dollar credit card

Best U.S. dollar credit card in Canada for 2019 award sealIf you travel to the United States a lot (whether for work or play) and you have a U.S. dollar bank account or income, a U.S. dollar credit card could make sense. U.S. dollar credit cards are based in U.S. funds, and because of this, cardholders are not charged foreign currency transaction fees. This also means, however, bill payments will need to be made in U.S. funds. The RBC U.S. Dollar Visa Gold is one of the few Canadian issued U.S. dollar credit cards that allows cardholders to earn rewards – and who doesn’t want to earn rewards on their purchases?

Get the details here:

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Best store credit card

Best store credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealStore credit cards are tricky, because you’re often tied to one store when it comes to redeeming your rewards. The Scotiabank GM Visa Infinite is great for anyone looking to buy a vehicle in the next few years ‒ especially if you’re a GM fan. First year free, 8 types of insurance, and up to 5% in rewards that can be used towards your next GM vehicle – much better reward value than most store credit cards.

Get the details here:

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Best credit card for perks

Best perks credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealCredit cards are not just about rewards – that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Many come with some drool-worthy perks. The top card in this category by a mile is The Platinum Card from American Express, which gives you unlimited lounge access for you and a guest, a dedicated concierge line, a $200 annual travel credit, VIP treatment at the Toronto Pearson airport, incredible perks at hundreds of hotels, complimentary high-tier status, and much more.

Get the details here:

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Best rewards credit card

Best rewards credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealIf cash back or travel rewards are all the same to you, you don’t care so much about annual fees, and what you’re really looking for is a whole lot of rewards ‒ then this award category is for you. If you’re looking for the card that will give you the biggest return on your spending, the American Express Cobalt is the one.

Get the details here:

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Best flexible credit card

Best flexible credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealIf you don’t want to be tied down to one store or one type of reward redemption, flexible rewards credit cards fit the bill nicely. You get to be in charge and choose what you want to use your rewards on: travel, merchandise, cash back, investments, donations, and much more. At minimum, you won’t be boxed in with blackout dates and limited choice of airlines when redeeming for flights. The best card in Canada right now to give you that flexibility combined with high reward value is the American Express Cobalt. These rewards can be used for virtually anything. All you need to do is log into your mobile app and use your points to pay for the purchase you just made – easy-peasy.

Get the details here:

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Best Aeroplan credit card

Best Aeroplan credit cards in Canada for 2019 award sealYou may be surprised by the #1 card in this category…especially since it doesn’t actually reward cardholders with Aeroplan miles directly. And yet, the number one Aeroplan card in Canada right now is the American Express Gold Rewards. Not only can you transfer your points 1:1 to Aeroplan miles, but you also get a huge sign-up bonus, flexible rewards that can be used for a number of different things, plus it’s parcelled with a comprehensive insurance package.

Get the details here:

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People’s choice credit card

People's choice credit card in Canada for 2019 award sealA company can make lots of claims about their portfolio of cards, their customer service, and the ease of use of their rewards ‒ but where the rubber meets the road is when a customer receives their card and gets to try it out. You find out what a card is really like when you get to hear what real people have to say. You voted with your credit card reviews and we listened. The Scotiabank SCENE Visa claimed the victory, with the average user giving it a 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Get the details here:

Read more about People’s Choice and why your review matters.

There you have it…

The best credit cards in Canada for 2019 in 24 categories.

If you’re looking for a new credit card, this is the place to start.

But it doesn’t stop here. Our compare cards page will go over all the best credits cards based on parameters you enter in and give you our genius rating out of 5 for each one.

Want personalized credit card recommendations? Take our Rate Your Wallet quiz and we’ll find the credit cards best suited for your wallet based on your preferences.

Do you have a go-to credit card for 2019 that didn’t make our list?

Let us know in the comments below.9