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Barry Choi | Blog

The Best Credit Cards Of 2018 In Canada

May 2, 2018

Ask anyone what the best credit card is and you’ll get a different answer. What works for them may not work for you, so you need to put some extra thought into what your spending habits are and what kind of rewards you’re looking to earn before you put in your next credit card application.

That being said, what are the best credit cards of 2018 in Canada? From the best cash back card to the best card for paying down debt, we looked at various categories and have picked the top cards for you.

Best Overall Card

American Express Cobalt™ card


American Express Cobalt Credit Card

  • $10 monthly fee ($120 total annually)
  • Earn 2,500 Membership Rewards each month when you spend $500 in purchases on your card for the first year (30,000 total points)
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, bars, cafés, and food delivery
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel and transit
  • Earn 1 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 19.99% annual interest rate
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%
  • Supplementary Card Fee $0
  • Penalty APR: 23.99%-26.99%*

Ever since the American Express Cobalt™ card launched, it instantly became one of the best credit cards on the market due to its unique features. The monthly fee is much more appealing to people as opposed to paying $120 for the year upon signing up. This model allows people to test out the card and earn bonus points while deciding if this card is a keeper.

The 5 points earned on just about anything related to food is quite lucrative and is clearly aimed at people who enjoy eating out. 2 points earned per dollar spent on travel and transit (which includes public transportation) is quite generous while 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases is a nice way to round things out.

Your points earned can be used to redeem travel, concerts, gift cards, and much more. In addition, you can transfer your points to various hotel rewards programs which will help you earn free nights quicker.

Best Credit Card For Paying Down Debt

MBNA Platinum Plus® MasterCard®


MBNA Platinum Plus Mastercard

  • You could get a 0% promotional annual interest rate (“AIR”)† for 12 months on balance transfers✪ [completed within 90 days of account opening], with a fee of 1% of the amount advanced (minimum fee of $7.50)
  • Access to 24/7 customer service
  • Around-the-clock-fraud protection
  •  Immediate cash access at over 1 million ATMS worldwide
  •  No annual fee
  • 19.99% annual interest rate
  • Cash Advance Rate: 24.99%

When used effectively, the MBNA Platinum Plus® MasterCard® is a great way to pay down your debt since it offers 0% interest for 12 months on balance transfers completed in the first 90 days of opening your account.

Some people don’t like the idea of paying a balance transfer fee, but most credit cards have an interest rate of 19.99%, so that balance transfer fee of 1% to get a 0% rate for a year is a pretty good deal. The key is to ensure that you have a debt repayment plan in place since your interest rate goes up to 21.99% on any amount outstanding from your balance transfer.

Best Credit Card For Students

Scotia Scene® Visa*


Scotiabank Scene Credit Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2,000 bonus SCENE points when you charge $500 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 5 SCENE points for every $1 spent at Cineplex theatres or
  • Earn 1 SCENE point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get $10 off at participating restaurants when you redeem 1,000 points
  • 19.99% annual interest rate
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%

With no annual fee and no minimum income requirement, the Scotia Scene® Visa* will likely appeal to students. You’ll earn 2,000 bonus SCENE points when you charge $500 in the first 3 months which is enough points for two free movies. Keep in mind that these points are only worth it if you’re paying off your full balance every month.

Earning SCENE points is easy with this card since you’ll get 5 points for every $1 spent at Cineplex theatres or and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Besides free movies at Cineplex, members can use their points at CARA restaurants which includes Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, Montana’s, Milestones, Bier Markt, East Side Mario’s, Kelsey’s Roadhouse and more.

Best Card For Big Spenders

Scotia Momentum® Visa*


Scotia Momentum Visa

  • $99 annual fee (waived for the first year)
  • Earn 4% cash back on gas and grocery purchases
  • Earn 2% cash back on drug store purchases and recurring bill payments
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package included
  • 19.99% annual interest rate
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%

If you spend a lot on groceries and gas every year, then applying for the Scotia Momentum® Visa* is a must since it gives you 4% cash back in both categories. That’s easily one of the highest earns you’ll get for those categories and since this is a Visa card, it’ll be widely accepted.

Earning 2% cash back on drug store purchases and recurring bills is also a nice benefit since those categories are often overlooked, while 1% cash back on all other purchases is pretty standard.
You could argue that the most appealing aspect of this card is the fact that the annual fee of $99 is waived the first year so you can test it out for “free” for 12 months.

Best Cash Back Card

SimplyCash Preferred Card™ from American Express®


American Express SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card

  • $99 annual fee
  • Earn 5% cash back in your first 6 months (up to $250)
  • Earn 1.25% cash back on purchases after the first 6 months
  • 1.99% interest rate on optional balance transfers for the first 6 months
  • Earn a bonus of $100 cash back for each approved referral
  • 19.99% annual percentage rate
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%

If you’re looking for a straightforward cash back card, then you’ll want to pay attention to the SimplyCash Preferred Card™ from American Express®. You’ll earn 5% cash back on all your purchases (up to $250) in the first 6 months of card membership. Once that promotional rate ends, all purchases will earn you 1.25%.

For those who want to reduce their debt loads, the card also comes with an optional balance transfer at the time of application with a 1.99% interest rate for 6 months. There is no fee for this balance transfer so it should appeal to those who are looking to pay down their debt.

About The Author 

Barry Choi is a personal finance and travel expert based in Toronto who makes frequent media appearances in Canada and the US. You can read more of his work at or follow him on Twitter: @barrychoi

About Borrowell

Did you know that checking your credit score and credit report can improve your financial well-being and can help you save money? Having a good credit score can make it easier to achieve your financial goals and access products such as credit cards and personal loans. If you haven’t got your credit score from Borrowell, you can do so in under 3 minutes here.

*The product details described in this article may have changed since the time of publication.