11 Best No-Fee Credit Cards In Canada (Oct 2022)

September 10, 2022
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There are quite a few good no-fee credit cards in Canada, but some stand out above the rest for their low fees and generous welcome bonuses. I constantly keep up with the best options for Canadians looking for a no-fee card and make my recommendations below based on years of experience.

I recommend the American Express Green Card as the #1 no-fee credit card in Canada due to its generous welcome bonus, purchase protection, and the fact that your earn points on all purchases. It is one of the most flexible cards, with the option to transfer your points to other programs, and it comes with comprehensive insurance.

What Are No-Fee Credit Cards?

No-fee credit cards in Canada come in all shapes and forms; from reward cards like cash back and travel to more specialized cards like secured, low interest, or balance transfer credit cards. In general, no-fee credit cards are more limited in their offerings compared to premium cards; this shows up as lower cash back, higher interest rates, or reduced insurance coverage.

Depending on the type of card you’re looking for, you can expect non-promotional cash back rates of 3% on select purchases, limited travel insurance, and interest-free grace periods on balance transfers. In the last couple of years, there’s been a consumer shift towards no-fee credit cards, but it may be some time before they gain even more ground – for now if you’re choosing a credit card, keep in mind that premium cards have lots of additional perks and benefits, and you can usually earn more than enough to justify the annual fee.

 Without further ado, here are the best no-fee credit cards Canada has to offer:

The Best No-Fee Credit Cards In Canada

  1. American Express Green Card: Best for very generous welcome bonus
  2. BMO AIR MILES Mastercard: Best for travel perks, including medical and travel insurance
  3. BMO CashBack Mastercard: Best for promotional cash back rate
  4. Brim Financial Mastercard: Best for no foreign transaction fees and high cash back rate at partner airlines
  5. Canadian Tire Triangle Mastercard: Best for cash back rate at CT partner stores
  6. Home Trust Secured Visa: Best for no credit score check and no-fee ATM withdrawals worldwide
  7. MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard: Best for generous welcome bonus and cash back on all purchases
  8. MBNA True Line Mastercard credit card: Best for 0% introductory interest rate for the first 12 months
  9. President’s Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard: Best for travel insurance and high PC point earn rate
  10. SimplyCash Card from American Express: Best for no yearly cash back limit
  11. Tangerine World Mastercard: Best for customizable cash back categories

American Express Green Card

Great for no annual fee, additional cards for free, and the option to transfer points to other programs
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
    20.99% on purchases, 21.99% on cash advances
  • Welcome Bonus
    10,000 MR points
  • Rec. Credit Score
    660+
  • Features & Benefits

    • Earn $10,000 Membership Rewards points as a welcome bonus after spending $1,000 in your first 3 months
    • Redeem your points for a statement credit on eligible purchases
    • Access to American Express Experiences and Front Of The Line
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for no annual fee, additional cards for free, and the option to transfer points to other programs

    Pros

    • 10,000 MR points
    • No annual fee
    • Transfer points 1:1 to other loyalty programs (Aeroplan, Marriot Bonvoy, and more)
    • Request up to 9 additional cards at no cost
    • Purchase protection
    • Access to presale tickets and VIP seating in select events through American Express' Front Of The Line program

    Cons

    • Low base earn rate (1 point per $1 spent)
    • Very limited benefits
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees

    The American Express Green Rewards Card is a premium travel card with an annual fee of $250. For the first three months, it offers a very generous earn rate of 10 MR points per $1 spent on eats & drinks, for up to $2,000 spent (20,000 points). To apply for this card, you need a good credit score of at least 660, and there is no minimum annual income requirement.

    Rewards

    You can earn MR points at a rate of:

    • 1 MR point on deliveries and travel-related purchases
    • 1 MR point on eligible hotels and car rentals

    Perks and benefits

    • Transfer your points to other flyer programs at a rate of 1 MR point for 1.2 Marriott Bonvoy, 1 Aeroplan point, or 1 Avios point  
    • Request up to 9 supplementary cards at no cost
    • Extended warranty

    Redeem your points

    There are four main ways you can spend your MR points:

    • Merchandise at eligible stores
    • Gift cards
    • American Express Travel Services
    • Online subscriptions

BMO AIR MILES MasterCard

Great for travel perks, bonus points on partner stores, and travel insurance
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
    19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Welcome Bonus
    1,500 pts
  • Rec. Credit Score
    660+
  • Features & Benefits

    • Earn 1,500 AIR Miles bonus miles as a welcome bonus
    • No Annual fee
    • Discount on car rentals in Canada and abroad
    • Extended Warranty and purchase protection
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for travel perks, bonus points on partner stores, and travel insurance

    Pros

    • 1,500 bonus welcome points
    • Earn 3 BMO AIR MILES for every $25 spent at AIR MILES partner stores
    • Show your AIR MILES Card at participating partners and earn twice the amoung of AIR MILES
    • Add additional cardholders and get free AIR MILES
    • Comprehensive travel insurance
    • 25% off at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car locations

    Cons

    • Needs a good credit score (660+)
    • Low earn rate when not shopping at partner stores (1 point per $25 spent)
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees 

    The BMO AIR MILES Mastercard is a no-fee low-interest travel card. It comes with a generous welcome bonus and is a great option if you want to transfer your card balance: there is a 1% fee on transfers and an introductory interest rate of just 1.99% for the first 9 months. 

    Rewards

    You can earn AIR MILES in two ways. Rates are:

    • 3 miles per $25 spent at participating AIR MILES partners
    • 2 miles per $25 spent on groceries

    Additionally, you can get double the miles by showing your AIR MILES card at participating shops and retailers.

    Perks and Benefits 

    • 25% off at partner rentals National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations
    • Bonus miles when you add an authorized users
    • Warranty and purchase protection

    Insurance 

    The BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard has comprehensive medical and travel insurance, including car rental, flight delay, and baggage insurance.

BMO CashBack MasterCard

Great for high earn rate on groceries and very low balance transfer fees
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
    19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Welcome Bonus
    $25
  • Rec. Credit Score
    660+
  • Features & Benefits

    • $125 in cash back as a welcome bonus after spending $2,500 within your first 3 months
    • Get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on Balance Transfers for 9 months, 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred
    • Redeem your cash back as a direct deposit, credit on your statement, or a deposit to your BMO InvestorLine account
    • Extended Warranty and purchase protection
    • Discount on car rentals
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for high earn rate on groceries and very low balance transfer fees

    Pros

    • Earn 5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months
    • 3% cash back on groceries
    • Very low introductory interest rate (1.99%) for the first 9 months
    • Redeem any amount of cash back instantly & set up automatic deposits
    • Extended warranty and protection on all purchases
    • 25% off at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car locations

    Cons

    • Cash back capped at $500/month
    • Low base earn rate
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees

    The BMO CashBack Mastercard is a no-fee credit card that offers very competitive cash back rates, even compared to some premium credit cards. New cardholders can enjoy a 5% cash back on all purchases for the first three months. If you’re looking to transfer your balance, this is also a great option; the BMO CashBack Mastercard charges just 1% in transfer fees and has a fixed 1.99% rate for the first 9 months.

    Rewards

    The BMO CashBack Mastercard offers cash back on all purchases and bonuses in certain categories. Here’s the breakdown:

    • 3% cash back on groceries 
    • 1% on subscriptions like streaming services and utilities
    • 0.5% on all other purchases

    Perks and Benefits

    Redeeming Your Cash Back

    After accumulating $25 in cash back, you can redeem it at any time. Here are the options you have:

    • Set up deposits directly into a BMO account (Savings, Chequing, or InvestorLine)
    • Get a credit on your monthly statement
    • Set up recurrent payments when you accumulate a certain amount of cash back
    • Get a one-time lump sum payment

    Keep in mind your cash back rewards won’t expire as long as your account is in good standing.

Brim Financial Mastercard

Great for milestone bonuses and cash back rates at partner airlines
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
    19.99% on purchases, 21.50% on cash advanes
  • Welcome Bonus
    N/A
  • Rec. Credit Score
    725+
  • Features & Benefits

    • Earn $200 in First Time Bonuses when purchasing at partner stores
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • No annual fee
    • Manage your card through the Brim app. Freeze your card, lock purchases in foreign currencies, or lock online purchases
    • Instant purchase notifications, insights into your monthly spendings, and instant card lock for all of your secondary cards
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for milestone bonuses and cash back rates at partner airlines

    Pros

    • Earn up to $200 in bonuses when reaching certain milestones
    • No foreign exchange fees when purchasing abroad or online
    • Earn up to 3% cash back from partner airlines (Lufthansa, Etihad, Avianca, Emirates)
    • Complimentary access to free global Wi-Fi through the Boingo Wi-Fi network
    • Comprehensive travel and medical insurance
    • Free access to budgeting tools

    Cons

    • High credit score to qualify (at least 725)
    • Low base earn rate (1% back)
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees 

    The Brim Financial Mastercard is a no-fee travel card that offers cash back when booking flights with one of their partner airlines. Additionally, you can earn up to $200 in first-time bonuses, for example, when you book your first flight. 

    Despite not charging an annual fee, the Brim Financial card does require a good credit score of at least 725.

    Rewards

    With this card, you can earn points on every purchase. Here are the rates:

    • 3% cash back on eligible flights (Etihad, Avianca, Emirates, and Lufthansa)
    • 1% cash back everywhere else

    Perks and benefits

    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Access to the Boingo Wi-Fi network worldwide
    • Seasonal offers and promotional cash back rates

    Insurance 

    The Brim Financial Mastercard offers insurance on certain categories, despite not charging any annual fee:

    • Common carrier accident insurance
    • Mobile device insurance
    • Extended warranty

Canadian Tire Triangle Mastercard

Great for high earn rate on Canadian Tire stores
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
    19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Welcome Bonus
    N/A
  • Rec. Credit Score
    660+
  • Features & Benefits

    • Earn 15% cash back in CT Money on your first purchase as a welcome bonus
    • Redeem your CT Money at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Atmosphere, Sports Rousseau, Hockey Experts, and participating Sports Experts stores
    • No annual fee
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for high earn rate on Canadian Tire stores

    Pros

    • No annual fee
    • 4% back in CT money on all purchases in Canadian Tire stores
    • Earn 5 cents per litre in CT money at Gas+ service stations
    • Collect 1.5% in CT money on all grocery purchase for up to $12,000 per year
    • Get your financed for purchases over $150 at select stores (no fees and no interests)
    • Customer service available 24/7

    Cons

    • You can only redeem CT points at select partner stores (CT, Sport Chek, Atmosphere and Sports Experts stores, among others)
    • High credit score to qualify (at least 660)
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees 

    The Canadian Tire Triangle Mastercard is no-fee cash back. One of the downsides of the Canadian Tire credit cards is that rewards are paid in CT Money, and you can only redeem them at select stores like Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, and Atmosphere. However, if you shop often at any of these stores, you will find that the cash back rates are very generous.

    Rewards 

    This card has four main cash back categories. You can earn:

    • 4% cash back when purchasing at Canadian, Tire Sport Chek, L’Équipeur, Atmosphere, and more
    • 1.5% cash back at grocery stores
    • 0.5% cash back on all other purchases

    CT Money points are roughly equivalent to $1, which is more than reasonable. Also, keep in mind that cash back on grocery purchases is capped at $12,000 per year.

    Perks and Benefits 

    • Purchases over $150 at participating stores qualify for no fee, no interest financing
    • 5 cents cash back per litre of gas at partner gas stations Gas+ and Essence+

Home Trust Secured Visa

Great for building your credit and the option to pay an annual fee for reduced interest rates
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
    19.99% on purchases, 19.99% on cash advances
  • Welcome Bonus
    N/A
  • Rec. Credit Score
    300+
  • Features & Benefits

    • Minimum security deposit of $500 ($10,000 max.)
    • Make purchases over the phone or online
    • Plan and book a vacation
    • Withdraw cash from over 1 million ATMs worldwide
    • Apply even if you declared bankruptcy in the past (A Discharge Certificate is necessary)
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for building your credit and the option to pay an annual fee for reduced interest rates

    Pros

    • No minimum credit score or credit history requirements
    • Great for building your credit score (reports monthly to Equifax and TransUnion)
    • Option to pay a yearly fee of $59 to reduce purchase interests to 14.90% (from 19.99%)
    • Manage your account and pay bills from Home Trust Visa Online.
    • Sync with online payment platforms like the Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay
    • Fraud protection on all spendings

    Cons

    • Minimum deposit is $500
    • No welcome bonus or reward on purchases
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees

    The Home Trust Secured Visa is a great way to start building your credit; it reports monthly to Equifax and TransUnion, and it doesn’t have a credit score minimum – virtually anybody can apply and get approved.

    In terms of fees, the Home Trust Secured Visa has two options:

    • Low-Interest Rate Option: $5 monthly fee (or $60/year) plus an interest rate of 14.99% on unpaid balances
    • No Annual-Fee Option: $0 annual fee (free) plus an interest rate of 19.99% on unpaid balances

    The main difference is that for the no annual fee option, you pay higher interest if you fall behind on payments. In general, we recommend the no annual fee option.

    You can start using the card after you make your first deposit; the minimum is $500, and the maximum is $10,000. Keep in mind you will only be able to use as much as you deposit.

    Perks and Benefits

    • Withdraw cash at any time from any Visa ATM worldwide
    • Use your card wherever Visa is accepted
    • You can apply even if you declared bankruptcy in the past
    • Budget your spending by limiting the amount you deposit
    • Completely covered against fraud through Visa’s Zero Liability Policy

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

Great for high earn rates on restaurants, groceries, and household utilities
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
    19.99% on purchases, 24.99% on cash advances
  • Welcome Bonus
    10,000 pts
  • Rec. Credit Score
    660+
  • Features & Benefits

    • Earn 5,000 bonus points as a welcome bonus after spending $500 within 90 days
    • Earn 5,000 bonus points as a welcome bonus after enrolling for paperless e-statements within 90 days
    • Earn 20% bonus points every year on the anniversary of your account
    • Redeem your points for cash back, travel, merchandise, or gift cards
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for high earn rates on restaurants, groceries, and household utilities

    Pros

    • 10,000 bonus welcome points
    • No annual fee
    • Earn 4 points per $1 spent on eligible restaurants, groceries, and household utilities for the first 90 days (2 points per $1 thereafter)
    • Car rental & mobile device insurance (for up to $1,000)
    • Annual birthday bonus of 10% of all the points you earned in the last 12 months (maximum 10,000)
    • Extended warranty on purchases

    Cons

    • Low point yield after earning 10,000 points in a year (1 point per $1 spent)
    • Can only earn bonus points on select categories
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees 

    The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is one of the few travel credit cards that offer generous point earn rates and benefits, plus it doesn’t have any income requirement. To apply for this card and start enjoying the generous rewards, you only need a credit score of 660 or higher.

    Rewards

    Considering this card it doesn’t charge annual fees, the rates are very good. You will earn:

    • 4 points per $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, memberships, and household utilities (up to $10,000 spent on each category annually)
    • 2 points per $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, memberships, and household utilities after reaching the annual limit
    • 1 point per $1 spent on all other categories
    • Birthday bonus points: 10% of the points you earned in the previous 12 months as a free bonus

    There’s no limit to how much cash back you can earn in a year, and your points will not expire as long as your account is in good standing.

    Perks and benefits

    Some additional benefits include:

    • Access to the MBNA Payment Plan to schedule monthly payments for a large purchase
    • 10% off at partner rentals National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations
    • Mobile device insurance
    • Extended warranty

MBNA True Line Mastercard credit card

Great for no interest on balance transfers for the first year and no annual fee
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
    12.99% on purchases, 24.99% on cash advances
  • Welcome Bonus
    N/A
  • Rec. Credit Score
    660+
  • Features & Benefits

    • 0% introductory interest rate for the first 12 months
    • Around-the-clock fraud protection
    • Transfer your credit to your chequing account
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for no interest on balance transfers for the first year and no annual fee

    Pros

    • 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 12 months
    • No annual fee
    • 10% off car rentals (Avis and Budget) in Canada and the US
    • Make payments on the go with Apple Pay
    • Add up to 9 authorized users at no cost
    • Industry low annual interest rates on purchases starting at 12.99%

    Cons

    • Needs a good credit score (660+)
    • High interest rates on cash advances (24.99%)
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees

    The MBNA True Line Mastercard doesn’t charge annual fees and supports up to 9 authorized users – at no additional cost. You can also set up eligible credit card purchases over $100 and pay them back in monthly installments over the course of 6-18 months.

    To apply for this card, you just need to be a Canadian resident of age – there’s no minimum income required. However, you will need a credit score of at least 660.

    Perks and Benefits

    One of the main perks of the card is its low-interest fees. The regular annual interest rate is just 12.99%, compared to the industry standard of 19.99%, and the interest rate on balance transfers is also 12.99%.

    Using your MBNA True Line Mastercard to rent a car at participating Budget and Avis locations will get a 10% discount (applies internationally).

    Insurance

    This card comes with Mastercard Zero Liability and extended protection on all purchases, so you won’t be responsible for unauthorized purchases.

President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard®

Great for earning PC points and very low credit score requirement
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
    20.97% on purchase, 22.97% on cash advances
  • Welcome Bonus
    20,000 pts
  • Rec. Credit Score
    560+
  • Features & Benefits

    • World Elite Mastercard Earn 20,000 PC Optimum points as a welcome bonus
    • Extended warranty and purchase assurance
    • Access to Mastercard Global Services
    • Complimentary Concierge Services
    • Fraud protection and Proactive monitoring to manage and protect your credit card information
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for earning PC points and very low credit score requirement

    Pros

    • 20,000 bonus welcome points
    • Earn up to 45 PC points per $1 when purchasing at partner stores
    • Comprehensive travel and medical insurance
    • Complimentary Concierge service
    • No annual fee
    • Relatively low credit score requirement (560+)

    Cons

    • PC points can only be redeemed at select stores
    • Requires a minimum yearly income of $80,000
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees

    The President's Choice Financial Mastercard is a store credit card that offers very generous rewards when you shop at any of its partner stores. It doesn’t charge annual fees, and you can earn bonus points on most everyday purchases.

    Rewards

    PC Financial is partnered with a lot of stores; here are some of the best rewards by category:

    • 45 PC points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart
    • 30 PC points per $1 spent on grocery stores (Loblaws, No Frills, and more)
    • 30 PC points per litre of gas at Esso gas stations
    • 10 PC points per $1 spent everywhere else 

    Make sure to check PC Financial site for new partner stores.

    Perks and benefits

    • 21-day interest-free grace period on purchases
    • 4 free additional authorized users
    • Extended warranty
    • Complimentary Concierge services

    Insurance

    • Medical emergency insurance
    • Car rental collision insurance
    • Identity theft assistance

SimplyCash Card from American Express

Great for promotional cash back for the first 6 months, and road trip plus flight insurance
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
    19.99% on purchases, 21.99% on cash advances
  • Welcome Bonus
    $200
  • Rec. Credit Score
    660+
  • Features & Benefits

    • Earn $200 cash back as a welcome bonus after you spend $5,000 within the first 6 months
    • No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn
    • Access to exclusive virtual events and special offers
    • Access to American Express Experiences
    • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for promotional cash back for the first 6 months, and road trip plus flight insurance

    Pros

    • $200 bonus
    • Earn 4% cash back on all purchases for the first 6 months
    • Earn 1.25% cash back on all purchases after the welcome period ends
    • There's no annual limit to how much cash back you can earn
    • Book your travel with the SimplyCash card to get road trip & flight insurance
    • Earn up to $750 cash back bonus when referring friends & family

    Cons

    • Cash back rewards can be redeemed once a year
    • It isn't as widely accepted in Canada as Visa or Mastercard
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees

    The SimplyCash Card from American Express is a no-fee cash back card that offers a steady rate across all purchase categories. For new users, there’s a promotional cash back period of six months where you’ll earn 4% cash back on all purchases, up to a maximum of $200 cash back ($5,000 spent).

    Rewards

    After the promotional period ends, you can still earn cash back. You will earn:

    • 4% promotional cash back for the first six months
    • 1.25% cash back on all purchases after the promo period ends
    • Up to $750 cash back bonus for approved referrals

    Insurance

    This card offers very complete coverage, including categories like:

    • Emergency Medical Insurance
    • Flight Delay Insurance
    • Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
    • Mobile Device Coverage
    • $250,000 Travel Accident Insurance

Tangerine World Mastercard

Great for promotional cash back rate and customizable cash back categories
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
    19.95% on purchases, 19.95% on cash advanes
  • Welcome Bonus
    $150
  • Rec. Credit Score
    725+
  • Features & Benefits

    • Earn $100 cash back welcome bonus after spending $1,000 within your first 2 months
    • Earn bonus cash back on 2 categories plus an additional category when you link your Tangerine Savings Account
    • No limit on how much cash back you can earn
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for promotional cash back rate and customizable cash back categories

    Pros

    • $150 bonus
    • Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 2 months (2% cash back on 2 categories afterwards)
    • Unlock a third category and earn 2% cash back by creating a Tangerine Savings Account
    • There's no annual limit to how much cash back you can earn
    • Mobile device & rental car insurance
    • Customizable cash back spending categories

    Cons

    • No free passes included with the Mastercard Travel Pass (DragonPass)
    • Requires a minimum yearly income of $60,000
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees

    The Tangerine World Mastercard is a no-fee customizable cash back card that allows you to choose how to earn additional cash back. You can choose from 10 categories and earn bonus cash back with no annual limits. New cardholders will get promotional cash back of 15% for the first two months on all purchases up to $1,000 spent ($150 cash back).

    Rewards

    With Tangerine, you can select which categories you will earn extra cash back on. Keep in mind you can change them at any time, but it will take up to 90 days before it takes effect.

    • 2% cash back in two categories (choose from gas, groceries, hotels, home improvement, and more)
    • 0.5% cash back on all other purchases

    Perks and benefits

    • Unlock an additional 2% bonus cash back category by linking your Tangerine Savings Account with your credit card
    • Access to the Mastercard Travel Rewards program when purchasing abroad
    • Access to the Boingo Wi-Fi network worldwide
    • Complimentary DragonPass Mastercard Travel Pass
    • Choose from 10 cash back categories to earn bonus cash back

    Insurance

    Up to $60,000 in coverage for all purchases plus:

    • Loss, theft, and damage insurance
    • Extended warranty (up to 1 additional year)

How Do No-Fee Credit Cards Work?

When you use a credit card, the credit card company makes money by charging merchants a merchant fee, charging cardholders an annual management fee, and charging interest to users who fall behind on their payments.

No-fee credit cards usually offer lower cash back rates, lower point yields, and more limited features compared to their premium version. Still, they also tend to have lower credit score minimums and little-to-no annual income requirements.

Even though no-fee credit cards don’t charge annual fees, you may still have to pay some fees – here are some that you should consider when reading the fine print:

  • Interests on purchases and cash advances
  • Foreign transaction fees
  • Some credit cards offer add-ons like medical insurance or rental insurance

You can usually skip these entirely if you pay your balance on time and opt out of extra perks.

Pros & Cons Of A No-Fee Credit Card

Pros: Why a No-Fee Credit Card may be worth it

  • You don’t have to worry about using your card enough to offset the annual fee
  • There are many types of no-fee credit cards (cash back, travel, secured, and more)
  • Not as many requirements to apply
  • If you don’t fall behind on payment, you guaranteed to make a profit
  • Great for building your credit history

Cons: Why a No-Fee Credit Card may not be worth it

  • Limited benefits compared to premium credit cards
  • If you use your credit card a lot and can easily make up for the annual fees, you might be missing out on premium benefits from cards with annual fees

Types Of No-Fee Credit Cards In Canada

There are four main types of no-fee credit cards in Canada:

#1 No-Fee Cash Back Credit Cards

Cash back credit cards are one of the simplest credit cards out there: spend money on eligible categories and earn a percentage back. No-fee cash back credit cards are the most sought-after no-fee credit cards; if you don’t pay an annual fee, whatever you earn is free money – as long as you don’t fall behind on payments.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card2% cash back on up to three categories
BMO CashBack Mastercard for Students5% cash back on all purchases for the first three months

#2 No-Fee Travel Credit Cards

Travel credit cards are one of the most expensive credit cards out there. The main reason is that these cards offer lots of perks and benefits for frequent travellers, like VIP lounge access, priority boarding, medical insurance, and more.

No-fee travel credit cards may not offer all the benefits of premium cards, but they’re free, and you can slowly accumulate points over a long time, making them a great alternative.

BMO AIR MILES MasterCardEarn 3 Miles per $25 spent at AIR MILES partners. Redeem your points for travel and cash rewards
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MastercardEarn 4 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases. Redeem your points for travel-related expense

#3 No-Fee Secured Or Prepaid Credit Cards

If you’re trying to build up your credit score, you might want to consider a no-fee secured credit card or a no-fee prepaid credit card. With this type of card, you can easily build your credit and even earn modest cash back rewards.

Home Trust Secured VisaReports monthly to Equifax and TransUnion
KOHO Mastercard Prepaid Card0.5% cash back on all purchases

How To Choose A No-Fee Credit Card In Canada

Here are the things you should consider when picking a no-fee credit card:

Benefits

One of the first things you should consider when shopping for a no-fee credit card is the benefits. Based on your spending habits and the type of credit card you’re looking for, it’s key that you make sure the benefits from the credit card match your goals.

If you’re planning a vacation and are looking for a travel card that offers miles and travel perks, a reloadable or secured, a credit card might not be for you – despite not charging annual fees.

Interest Rates

Another important factor is the interest rates; if you find yourself falling behind often on credit card payments, it might be worth considering a low-interest credit card. The standard interest rate for credit cards is around 19.99%, and some no-fee credit card companies may charge higher rates to compensate for their no-annual fee.

Welcome Bonus And Promotional Rates

Most credit cards in Canada come with a welcome bonus or promotional rates. Welcome bonuses are one-time rewards for new cardholders; they can come in the form of travel miles for travel credit cards or higher cash back rates for the first couple of months. In some cases, it might be worth signing up for credit cards, taking advantage of the welcome bonuses, and moving on to a different one.

How To Apply For A No Fee Credit Card In Canada

Before applying for no-fee credit care, here are some things you should consider. For starters, No Fee credit cards are just regular credit cards that don’t charge an annual fee. Here are the requirements to apply for any credit card:

Age

In Canada, the minimum age to request a credit card is the age of the majority. Teens under that age can’t get approved for credit cards but can be added as authorized users to one of their guardian’s or parent’s credit cards. For reference, the age of the majority in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan is 18 years old. In all other provinces, the age of the majority is 19.

Proof of Identity

You will need to provide information verifying your identity. In this step, you can provide a photo of your Canadian passport, a driver’s license, a military ID, a health card issued by a province, or an employee identification issued by the federal government.

Residency Status

Canadian credit cards are available to Canadian citizens, residents, and work Visa holders. If you’re not either of those, you’ll need to register with Equifax or TransUnion. You may also be required to visit a bank branch for more information.

If you don’t have a credit score, you might want to start with a prepaid or a secured credit card, which doesn’t have as many requirements.

Credit score

No Fee credit cards in Canada tend to have low credit score requirements. However, the higher your credit score, the more likely your application is going to be accepted.

Application

When you send out your credit card application, you will need these documents:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Canadian driver’s license or government-issued ID
  • Physical address, email address, and phone number
  • Employer information: name, phone number, and address
  • Financial information, including income, expenses, and a recent paycheque or bank statement

No-Fee Credit Card FAQs

Are No-Fee Credit Cards worth it?

The short answer is yes. For the last couple of years, credit card companies have been slowly adding no-fee credit cards to their offerings, and right now, there are more no-fee credit card options than ever.  

The more thorough answer is that it depends – if you struggle to earn as much as you pay in annual fees, or if you can’t justify the fees you pay for a premium credit card, a no-fee card might be a great option for you. You won’t have to worry about meeting thresholds or tracking all your spending to make sure you earn enough – with a no-fee card, whatever you earn is a profit.

What Is The Best Free No-Fee Credit Card In Canada?

The best no-fee credit card in Canada is the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard. It has a promotional rate of 4 MBNA Rewards points per $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, and household utilities for the first three months.

How Many Credit Cards Are Too Many?

The biggest limitation when it comes to the number of credit cards you can have is your credit score and the annual fees.

If you’re applying for a lot of credit cards, chances are you will need to approve hard checks on your credit – this will hurt your credit score in the short term, and its compounds with the fact that a lower credit score is tied with a lower approval rate. The second factor is the annual fees; if you’re paying for three cash back cards, you may not earn enough in a year to pay off each of them.

A common strategy when it comes to credit cards is to have at least two cards, one with cash back benefits and another with more specific benefits tailored for you, like a travel credit card, for example.

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