3 Best RBC Cash Back Credit Cards In Canada (Dec 2022)

October 16, 2022
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There are quite a few good RBC cash back credit cards in Canada, but some stand out above the rest for their impressive rates, complimentary memberships, and low annual fees. I constantly keep up with the latest options and policy changes and make my recommendations below based on years of experience.

I recommend the RBC Cash Back Mastercard as the #1 travel credit card in Canada due to its no annual fee, high earn rate on groceries, and a flat 1% cash back on all other purchases. It is one of the most flexible RBC cards, and the fact that it doesn't charge any kind of fee makes it an excellent introductory card.

What Are RBC Cash Back Credit Cards?

The Royal Bank of Canada – also known as RBC – is one of the ‘Big 5 Banks’ of Canada, with reach across North America and over 17 million active customers. RBC Cash Back Credit Cards are a type of reward credit card that allows you to earn rewards in the form of cash back when you make purchases. 

Through partnerships with other large companies, RBC offers bonus points and perks when you purchase at Petro-Canada and Rexall, plus a complimentary DoorDash subscription on all of their cards. You can redeem your rewards at any time through their customer support, or by waiting until you accumulate a minimum amount, usually $25 worth of rewards. 

Without further ado, here are the best RBC cash back credit cards Canada has to offer.

The Best RBC Cash Back Credit Cards In Canada

  1. RBC Cash Back Mastercard: Best for no annual fee
  2. RBC Cash Back Preferred World Elite Mastercard: Best for premium insurance coverage and exclusive Mastercard Travel Rewards 
  3. RBC Business Cash Back Mastercard: Best for business owners

How Do RBC Cash Back Credit Cards Work?

An RBC cash back credit card works like a regular credit card, but it gives back money in the form of cash back whenever you make a purchase at participating stores. How much you earn – whether a percentage or bonus points –  will depend on the terms of the particular card, but you can expect anywhere from 1.5% to 0.5% cash back. These rewards are usually added automatically to your credit card statement balance upon request.

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Cash back categories for RBC cash back credit cards include groceries, restaurants, entertainment, shopping, prescription drugs, and even travelling. You can also earn points in most of these, and exchange them for rebates on purchases, gift cards, and more.

Depending on your goals, you may want to go for a card that offers a higher cash back rate at groceries or one that offers a (lower) flat rate on all spending categories. Ultimately picking the right cash back credit card for you will largely depend on where you spend your money, and we recommend checking our list of the best cash back credit cards in Canada.

Pros & Cons Of An RBC Cash Back Credit Card

Pros: Why An RBC Cash Back Credit Card May Be Worth It

  • No limit on how much cash back you can earn every year
  • Earn bonus points at partner stores Rexall, Petro-Canada 
  • Complimentary DoorDash membership
  • Low-to-no no annual fees on most of their cards
  • Choose between category-specific and flat-rate cash back cards
  • Includes purchase security and extended warranty protection using your cash back credit card
  • If you apply for one of their World Elite Mastercard you will have access to exclusive perks and benefits

Cons: Why An RBC Cash Back Credit Card May Not Be Worth It

  • Diminishing cash back rates after you reach an annual limit
  • 19.99% interest rate on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances
  • 2.5% foreign exchange fee on most of their cards 

Types Of RBC Cash Back Credit Cards In Canada

#1 Flat-Rate Cash Back Cards

Flat-rate RBC cash back credit cards offer a fixed cash back rate across all categories. This is one of the most basic types of cash back cards; if you’re a beginner, they may be your best option considering how flexible they are. For these, you can expect cash back rates of around 1% on all purchases.

One major drawback is that if you’re not taking advantage of most categories and instead have higher spending on a particular one, you’re potentially missing out on the full benefit of a specialized cash back card. In that case, you’d be better off with a card that offered higher cash back on select categories like groceries or restaurants.

Here are two RBC cash back credit cards that offer flat cash back rates:

RBC Cash Back Preferred World Elite Mastercard1.5% cash back on all categories
RBC Business Cash Back Mastercard2% cash back on all categories in the first 3 months

#2 Bonus Category Cash Back Cards

Bonus category cash back credit cards offer higher cash back rates on select categories. These cards can be more rewarding than flat-rate cash back cards, but they also require a bit more planning and doing your due diligence, especially if the card has an annual fee. 

RBC Cash Back Mastercard2% on groceries, 1% on all other eligible purchases

How To Choose An RBC Cash Back Credit Card In Canada

#1 Annual Fee

The first thing you should look at when shopping for a cash back credit card is the annual fee. Generally, paying a higher yearly fee means access to better rates and exclusive benefits, but you still have to spend money to earn money. Even the most generous cash back cards in Canada have rates around 5%, so it may prove difficult to earn enough to justify a high annual fee. Zero-fee cash back cards aren’t as generous with their rates, but if you pay them on time, they’re guaranteed to make you a profit.

Keep in mind that if you have to increase your spending habits just to justify paying an annual fee, then that card is not for you. A cash back card should fit your spending, not increase them. That's why no-fee credit cards and no-fee cash back credit cards are so popular in Canada.

#2 Interest Rates

Another important factor is the interest rates. The standard interest rate for cash back cards is 19.99% on purchases and 21.99% on cash advances. if you find yourself falling behind often on credit card payments, a cash back card might not be for you. Alternatively, you could consider low-interest credit cards.

#3 Welcome Bonus And Promotional Rates

Some cash back cards in Canada come with a welcome bonus or promotional rate. Welcome bonuses are one-time rewards for new cardholders, which can take the form of higher cash back rates for fixed periods (usually no more than 3 months and with a built-in spending limit).

#4 Bonus Categories

Different cards offer different bonus categories. When you pick a card, make sure you choose one that fits your spending habits. For reference, here are some of the most common spending categories in cash back credit cards:

  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores
  • Restaurants
  • Travel
  • Drugstores

How To Redeem Your RBC Cash Back Credit Card   Rewards

Some RBC cash back credit cards may require you to accumulate a certain number of points before you can redeem them – this will depend on the terms of the particular card.

Statement Credit

Once you have received your cash back reward, you can use this to reduce the remaining balance of your RBC credit card statement. Remember that you must have the required threshold amount to exchange it (at least $25). For example, if you have an unpaid balance of $200 in your account and the reward you receive is $25, you can use this to decrease your bill to $175.

  • Log in to your account on the mobile app
  • Go to the Rewards section
  • Apply your cash back rewards to your credit statement

Redeem Your Points At Partner Stores

Another way to redeem your rewards is directly at partner stores Rexxal and Petro-Canada. For this, you will need a membership card; here’s the process: 

  • Create an account/apply for a membership at Rexxal and Petro-Canada
  • Link your RBC cash back credit card to your membership card
  • Accumulate points every time you pay with your RBC cash back credit card
  • Redeem your points directly at Rexxal and Petro-Canada for discounts or gift cards

Redeem Your Points For Cash

The most common option is to redeem your cash back directly for cash. You can set it up so it is deposited automatically to your RBC bank account every year, or call them directly and make a request. Keep in mind that you will need to accumulate at least $25 to claim your cash back.

Redeem Your Points For Travel-Related Purchases

You can also redeem your points for travel-related purchases like hotel stays, bookings, reservations, or gift cards. To redeem your points just visit RBC's website or log in to the mobile app. 

How To Pay Your RBC Credit Card Balance

RBC makes it easy for you to pay your credit card balance. Here are some of the options available:

  1. RBC OnlineBanking: Log in to your RBC account and pay your monthly bill immediately using their Online Banking option.
  2. Mobile Banking: Download the RBC app to make payments on the go and check how much you’ve earned.
  3. Telephone Banking: Call RBC customer support and specialist and ask him to settle your bills or check your account balance. 
  4. Automated Payments: Set up automated payments through RBC Online Banking.
  5. ATM Machine: Use your RBC Client Card and PIN at any ATM to pay off your credit card balance.
  6. In-Person Branch Appointment: Make an appointment at a nearby RBC branch and pay your statement balance using cash.   
  7. Mail: Make your payments through mail using the RBC address provided to you by one of their customer support representatives.

How To Apply For An RBC Cash Back Credit Card In Canada

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 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.

Residency Status

Canadian credit cards are available to residents and non-permanent residents. However, most cash back cards require you to be a Canadian resident. For other card types like a prepaid, store, and secured credit cards, you don’t even need a credit history. At the end of the day, residency requirements will depend on the specific credit card issuer.

Credit score

Most cash back credit cards in Canada require a good credit score, ranging from 670 to 740. Keep in mind that the higher your credit score, the more likely your application will be accepted, and the cards with the higher requirements usually have the best cash back rates and bonus perks.

Personal Or Household Income Requirements

Some premium cash back credit cards come with an income requirement, usually ranging from $60,000-$80,000 or $100-$150 household income. These cards tend to require a higher credit score and come with the best benefits. However, this is not the norm: most cash back credit cards have no-or-very-little income requirements.

Steps To Apply For An RBC Cash Back Credit Card

  1. Visit RBC’s credit cards website
  2. Pick a credit card, or use the Compare Tool to find the one best suited for you
  3. Once you have decided on a card, click the Apply button 
  4. Fill out the application
  5. Verify your identity 
  6. Submit the application 

Keep in mind it may take a couple of days before you receive a response.

RBC Cash Back Credit Card FAQs

Are RBC Cash Back Credit Cards Worth It?

When RBC cash back credit cards might be worth it for you:

  • If you want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases 
  • If you want to earn bonus points and additional benefits at partner stores
  • If you have no trouble keeping up with your monthly credit card payments and are very unlikely to fall behind
  • If you’re looking for a flexible way to redeem your cash back (discounts, paying off your statement balance, travel purchases, or gift cards)

When RBC cash back credit cards might not be worth it for you:

  • If you often fall behind on payments, a cash back credit card is not for you. The additional interest you will incur will offset any potential benefit of the cash back card
  • If you don’t make enough purchases to pay off the yearly fee (if applicable) and are forced to spend more to earn more, a cash back card is not for you. A cash back card should complement your spendings habits, not increase them
  • If you can afford to wait and accumulate points before redeeming your rewards

What Is The Best Free RBC Cash Back Credit Card In Canada?

The best free cash back credit card in Canada is the RBC Cash Back Mastercard. It comes with a flat cash back rate of 2% on groceries and 0.5% on all other purchases, and there’s no limit on how much cash back you can earn every year.

How Do I Claim My Rewards From The Cash Back Credit Card?

To redeem your rewards you have to visit RBC’s website or log in to the mobile app. You can redeem your cash back for any of these: 

  • Statement credit
  • Exchange points at partner stores for rebates
  • Cash deposited in your account
  • Spend points on eligible travel-related purchases

Is The Cash Back From The Credit Card Taxable?

In Canada, travel credit card rewards – including cash back, points, and travel miles – are not classified as income, but as discounts instead. For the purpose of tax, discounts are not taxable at the individual or business levels, so you’re not required to report your rewards to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) when filing your taxes.

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