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Canada's Top Cash Back Credit Cards 2021

I don't need to read all this just show me the rankings!


Last updated: February 4, 2021

Welcome to Rewards Canada's fifth annual Top Cash back Credit Card rankings!

A major revamp to our rankings as we dive more in-depth into the actual cash back earnings on Canadian cash back credit cards and then look at all addition benefits these cards provide.

On top of that our rankings will now be dynamic and not set in stone for one year as of the release date like our previous rankings. This list will be updated as required when welcome offers, card offerings and/or benefits change. Therefore cards can and will shift on this list.

The list of the best cards has definitely shifted this year and while the rankings rely heavily on the actual cash back earned, the best card for you may not be the best card on this list. Some key aspects to take into consideration when choosing a cash back credit card are:

  • Where do I use my credit card the most? Groceries, Gas, Travel, Restaurants? We have a set percentage breakdown for our rankings of 30% to groceries, 10% to gas, 5% to dining and so forth. This breakdown may be different for you so it can affect which card you go for.
  • How often do I want to access my cash back? When you get your cash back will depend on the card you have. Some cards only give your cash back once per year while others are monthly and some are even better allowing you to cash out when you hit a small minimum reward balance
  • What insurance and/or other benefits do I require? Cash back cards in Canada vary widely with insurance benefits from very little on no fee cash back cards to a full suite of benefits on the Visa Infinite and World Elite Mastercard cards.
  • Be sure to take everything into consideration. The amount of cash back earned on the top 5 cards (and even others just outside the list) is very close. A card that earns $50 more in a year but only cashes out in November may not be better than one that allows you to cash out more frequently as it frees up cash for you to use right away.
  • If you are fine with getting your cash back once per year consider cards from CIBC or Scotia. Want quicker access to cash back consider TD or Meridian. Don't make a lot of purchases on gas and groceries or other accelerator categories offered by some of the cards? Consider the American Express SimplyCash Preferred for its flat 2% earn rate.

While Rewards Canada takes into account all the aspects of the cards most Canadians get their cash back cards for the cash back and all other features and benefits are secondary to that. Hence our rankings weigh heavily on the cash back earned. You can see our breakdown of the cash back earned below the rankings and card details.

To see all the cards we considered and to learn about all the rewards and benefits on all the cards visit Rewards Canada's Cash Back Credit Card Comparison Chart. You'll also want to visit our Ultimate Cash Back Credit Card Portfolio to see what we think is the best combination of cards for your wallet.

Recommended Listening: Rewards Canada Podcast Episode 68: Clash of the Credit Cards - The Ten Percenters

We compared over 40 cash back card options for Canadians for the best of the best and from those comparisons these are our picks for the Top Cash Back Credit Cards in Canada:

 

Canada's Top Cash Back Credit Cards for 2021


CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card

With a first year annual fee rebate and 10% back on all spending up to $2,000 plus a strong 4% return on groceries and gas - two categories almost all Canadians spend the most money on this card comes out on top in terms of cash back earned. Plus you will benefit from a high cap on earn categories ($20K), no limit to the cash back you can earn, and strong insurance benefits!

Cash Back Access (Liquidity): Anytime your reward balance reaches $25

2nd


Meridian Visa Infinite* Cash Back Card

A newcomer to our rankings this card issued by Meridian Credit Union also has a first year annual fee waiver saving you $99. It's earn rate of 4% for groceries and gas, 2% on pharmacies and utility bills coupled with being able to access your cash back monthly make this a very strong cash back card.

Cash Back Access (Liquidity): Monthly

3rd


SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

Who doesn't want 10% back on all spending in the first fourth months (up to $400 in rewards) and then 2% on all spending after that along with a strong insurance package? The SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express is the best card if you make a lot of purchases at locations that don't have accelerators on other cards.

Cash Back Access (Liquidity): Once per year

4th


Scotia Momentum® VISA* Infinite card

A veteran card in the Canadian market, the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card has always been one of the better cash back cards and even the best a few years ago. It's strong earn rate of 4% on grocery and recurring bill payments along with a 10% welcome bonus and the first year annual fee being waived makes this card one of the top 5 in Canada.

Cash Back Access (Liquidity): Once per year

5th


Desjardins Cash Back World Elite®Mastercard®

This Desjardins card was revealed in fall of 2020 and it came with a strong showing. Considering it has no welcome bonus and no first year annual fee waiver you know it must be a good card to break into the top five. The card offers 4% back on groceries and recurring bill payments and 3% back on restaurant, entertainment and public transportation purchases. On top of this there is no mention of any spending caps at all which means you aren't limited in the amount of 4% and 3% cash back you can get when compared to other cash back cards.

Cash Back Access (Liquidity): Anytime your rewards balance reaches $100
Details on the Top Cash Back Credit Cards
What is a Cash Back Credit Card?
A cash back credit card rewards you for your everyday spending with cash. On every purchase you'll earn a percentage back that is paid out either on a monthly or yearly basis depending on the card.
Card Details


CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card

CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card

Annual Fee $120 Additional Cards (Up to 3): $30
Annual interest rate 19.99%† on purchases and 22.99%† on cash advances
$60,000 personal or $100,000 household annual income †

Welcome Offer: Get a first-year annual fee rebate!† Plus, get 10% cash back for the first 4 statements on total purchases of up to $2,000.†
After that, get cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases.†

· 4% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases†
· 2% cash back on eligible transportation, dining purchases and recurring payments†
· 1% cash back on all other purchases†

Apply Now

†Conditions Apply


Meridian Visa Infinite* Cash Back Card
Meridian Visa Infinite* Cash Back Card

• No annual fee in the first year on the primary card
• 4% on eligible gas and grocery store purchases
• 2% on eligible pharmacy purchases and utility bill payments
• 1% cash back on all other eligible everyday purchases
• Travel Insurance & Mobile Device Insurance coverage
• Rates, fees and other information are effective as of Jul 2, 2020. Subject to change.
• $60,000 Annual personal income or $100,000 Annual household income

Apply Now




SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express
SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express

Card Type: Credit   
Annual Fee: $99 Additional Card Fee: $0
Annual interest rate 19.99% on purchases and 21.99% on funds advances; Missed payment applicable rates, 23.99% and/or 26.99%

New SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express Cardmembers can earn 10% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to $400 cash back) for the first 4 months of Cardmembership 
• Earn 2.0% cash back when your Welcome Rate ends
• No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn after your Welcome Rate ends
• Access to memorable experiences with American Express Invites®
• Extensive insurance coverage and 24/7 Customer Service
• American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply

Apply Now


Scotia Momentum® VISA* Infinite card
Scotia Momentum® VISA* Infinite card

• Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, no annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards. A welcome offer value of $350.†
• 4% on eligible recurring bill payments and grocery store purchases
• 2% on eligible gas station and daily transit purchases
• 1% cash back on all other eligible everyday purchases
• Complimentary Concierge Services 24/7
• Visa Infinite Dining Series
• Visa Infinite Music Series
• Wine Country Wonders
• Luxury Hotel Privileges
• Comprehensive Travel Insurance & New Mobile Device Insurance coverage
• Rates, fees and other information are effective as of Nov 1, 2020. Subject to change.

Apply Now


Desjardins Cash Back World Elite®Mastercard®

Apply Now
Desjardins Cash Back World Elite®Mastercard®

Annual Fee $100 Additional Cards: $0 for members ($30 for non-members)
Annual interest rate 19.9% on purchases and cash advances
$80,000 personal or $150,000 household annual income

• 4% cash back on eligible grocery purchases
• 3% cash back on eligible restaurant, entertainment and public transportation purchases
• 1% cash back on all other purchases
• Membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey
• Travel Medical Insurance: Up to $5 million of coverage for the first 3 days
• Mobile Device Insurance: Up to $1,000
• Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance: Coverage for up to 48 consecutive days.
• Stay connected with free access to over 1 million Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide.

Apply Now

Spend and Earn Comparison for the top five cards:

Card Annual Card Spend Year 1 Cash Earnings* Year 2 and beyond annual earnings*
CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card $10,000 $378 $123.50
$30,000 $823 $568.50
$50,000 $1268 $1013.50
Meridian Visa Infinite* Cash Back Card $10,000 $225 $126
$30,000 $675 $576
$50,000 $1125 $1026
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express $10,000 $421 $101
$30,000 $821 $501
$50,000 $1221 $901
Scotia Momentum® VISA* Infinite card $10,000 $372 $95
$30,000 $802 $525
$50,000 $1232 $955
Desjardins Cash Back World Elite®Mastercard® $10,000 $120 $120
$30,000 $560 $560
$50,000 $1000 $1000

Spending assumption broken down as follows:

  • 30% Groceries
  • 5% Dining
  • 10% Gas
  • 10% Travel
  • 5% recurring bills
  • 40% other

* Cash earnings include any welcome bonus and subtraction of annual fees.

Care to comment on what we chose as the best cash back rewards credit cards? Want to voice your opinion on the good and the bad of all the cash back Credit Cards in Canada. Share you views and experiences in the comment section below or on Facebook and Twitter for Canada's Top Cash Back Credit Cards 2021!

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Disclaimers:
Our goal at RewardsCanada.ca is to present readers with reliable financial advice and product choices that will help you achieve your financial goals.
Rewards Canada receives compensation from some companies issuing financial products, like credit cards and bank accounts, that appear on this site.
Unless a post is clearly marked “Sponsored”, however, products mentioned in editorial articles and reviews are based on the author’s subjective assessment of their value to readers, not compensation. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link / learn more link.




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