There are quite a few good Visa credit cards out there, some are among the best credit cards in Canada, but some stand out above the rest for their impressive welcome bonuses, promotional cash back rates, and excellent rewards. I constantly keep up with the latest promotional rates and policy changes and make my recommendations below based on years of experience.
I recommend the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card as the #1 Visa credit card in Canada due to its low monthly fees, very high earn rate on gas, groceries, and transit, and access to exclusive Visa services. It has low annual fees for a Visa card and offers generous travel benefits like insurance and up to 10% bonus points when you add an authorized user.
What Is A Visa Credit Card?
Visa credit cards are a type of credit card that uses the Visa network – one of the world's largest electronic payments networks – to provide consumers and businesses an easy way to pay and get paid. The Visa network is supported in more than 200 countries and millions of businesses worldwide.
To provide credit cards, Visa partners with banks and other financial institutions that issue credit cards in Canada; these institutions set the requirements and benefits of their credit cards and Visa provides the framework through which transactions can be completed. Currently, Visa is partnered with 10 of the largest banks in Canada, including the Bank of Montreal (BMO), CIBC, and the Royal Bank of Canada.
Without further ado, here are the best Visa cards Canada has to offer:
The Best Visa Credit Cards In Canada
- BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card: Best for low annual fee and access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection
- BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card: Best for Airport Companion membership plus lounge visits
- CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card: Best for generous cash back on gas and groceries
- Home Trust Preferred Visa Card: Best for no annual fee and no foreign exchange fees
- RBC Avion Visa Infinite: Best for travel and medical insurance
- Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card: Best for promotional cash back rate for the first three months
- Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card: Best for access to the Visa Infinite Concierge, Hotel, and Dining and Wine programs
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card: Best for complimentary emergency roadside assistance
- TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card: Best for travel insurance
How Do Visa Credit Cards Work In Canada?
Visa is one of the largest credit card networks in Canada, and it is accepted in businesses in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Visa itself doesn’t issue or distribute cards; instead, it partners with financial institutions and provides access to the Visa payment network.
Credit card issuers (financial institutions) set the terms and conditions for their cards, including all the perks and benefits. Visa cards are available for individuals and businesses, and Visa Inc. earns a small commission from the merchant every time a customer uses the Visa network.
All Visa credit cards include a unique 16-digit number printed on the front, a microchip (designed to prevent fraud and protect cardholders), and a magnetic strip on the back.
Pros & Cons Of A Visa Credit Card
Pros: Why a Visa credit card may be worth it
- Access to exclusive Visa services like Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection and Visa Infinite Concierge
- Withdraw from over 2.5 million ATMs worldwide
- Supported in over 200 countries and territories
- Generous welcome bonus on all their cards
- Partnered with 10 of the biggest financial institutions in Canada
- Comprehensive travel and medical insurance
Cons: Why a Visa credit card may not be worth it
- High annual fees ($120+)
- Most Visa credit cards require good-to-very good credit scores (660+)
How To Choose A Visa Credit Card In Canada
The most important thing you should consider when shopping for a Visa credit card is the type. Based on your spending and your long-term goals you may want to go for a cash back or a travel Visa credit card. In general cash back credit cards have lower annual fees, but if you travel often it might be worth it to pay the higher annual fee of a travel credit card for the additional perks and travel benefits.
Another important fact to consider is the annual fees. Visa credit cards can have very different annual fees, but in general, they range from $120 to $150. This may seem high, but if you’re a frequent traveller or spend a lot of money at eligible stores, you will easily offset this fee with all the cash back and travel benefits like free stays at hotels and flights.
Welcome Bonus And Promotional Rates
Most Visa credit cards come with a generous welcome bonus. This is very common for credit cards with high fees somewhat high fees – additionally, some Visa cards offer to waive the first year’s fee completely. Additionally, you will find that reward credit cards offer very attractive promotional rates for the first couple of months. It’s usually very easy to earn enough from these benefits to justify paying a higher annual fee.
Exclusive Visa Benefits
Most Visa cards come with exclusive access to some of their services. These are particularly relevant if you’re looking for a travel credit card with extensive coverage:
- Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection
- Visa Infinite Concierge
- Visa Infinite Troon Golf Benefit
- Visa Airport Companion membership
- Visa Airport Experiences
- Visa Infinite Dining Series
- Visa Infinite Wine Country
Credit Card Insurance & Purchase Warranties
Some Visa credit cards include comprehensive travel and medical insurance. These cards usually have the highest annual fees but are a must if you travel often, and especially if you travel with your family. Here are some of the most common insured categories you can expect:
- Baggage delay insurance
- Baggage loss insurance
- Car rental insurance
- Mobile Device Insurance
- Flight delay insurance
- Travel emergency and accident insurance
- Trip interruption
- Trip cancellation
What Financial Institutions Offer Visa Credit Cards?
In Canada, there are five tiers of Visa credit cards for consumers. These are accepted in over 200 countries and millions of ATMs worldwide. Here’s a list of all the financial institutions in Canada that have partnered with Visa to offer one of their five tiers of credit cards:
- Bank of Montreal
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
- Chase Canada
- Home Trust Company
- Laurentian Bank
- Royal Bank of Canada
- TD Canada Trust
- Vancouver City Savings Credit Union
For reference, here are the five tiers of Visa credit cards. The higher the tier, the higher the benefits you can expect, and the higher the annual fee and overall requirements:
- Visa Classic
- Visa Gold
- Visa Platinum
- Visa Infinite
- Visa Infinite Privilege
How To Apply For A Visa Credit Card In Canada
In Canada, the minimum age to apply for 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.
Canadian credit cards are available to residents and non-permanent residents. However, most premium credit cards require you to be a Canadian resident. You don't even need a credit history for other card types like prepaid and secured credit cards. Residency requirements will depend on the specific credit card issuer and the type of card.
Most Visa credit cards in Canada require a good to excellent credit score. The higher your credit score, the more likely your application will be accepted, and the cards with the higher requirements usually have the best welcome bonuses. Anything above 725 and you should easily qualify for most Visa cards.
Personal Or Household Income Requirements
Some Visa credit cards have an income requirement ranging from $60,000-$80,000 for individuals or $100,000-$150,000 for households. These cards also require a higher credit score and come with the best benefits.
Visa Credit Cards FAQs
What Is The Best Free Visa Credit Card In Canada?
The best free Visa credit card in Canada is the Home Trust Preferred Visa Card. It comes with unlimited cash back, no foreign fees on online and in-person purchases, and car rental insurance.
Which Card Is Better To Use Visa Or Mastercard?
There is no clear winner; both have wide acceptance in Canada and offer similar benefits. Both are also extremely secure and are accepted worldwide.
What Are The Visa Credit Card Tiers?
In Canada there are five tiers of Visa credit cards for consumers. The higher the tier, the higher the fees and the better the perks. Some of the perks include exclusive access to Visa services like access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection, Visa Infinite Concierge, and Visa Infinite Troon Golf courses.
For reference, here are the five credit cards tiers:
- Visa Classic
- Visa Gold
- Visa Platinum
- Visa Infinite
- Visa Infinite Privilege.