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Best No Annual Fee MasterCard Canada

Updated: Apr 15

Best No Annual Fee MasterCard Canada

I think I speak for all of us when I say credit cards have evolved from an optional accessory to an essential tool. If used correctly, they can save you a ton of money each year.

Among the big three—Visa, American Express, and MasterCard—MasterCard is the one more widely accepted in Canada. In this post, we will look at the best no-annual-fee Mastercard credit cards in Canada and also discuss a few reasons you should choose this credit card network instead of American Express and Visa.

At the end of this post, you will have a clear picture of the best credit card choice for you, so let's get right into it!

Best No Annual Fee MasterCard based on different Criteria

Note: Rebates are offered on many of the cards discussed here, so you can earn rebates for the cards you apply for only from the link below.

Best overall no-fee Mastercard credit card if you are a Rogers Customer

The Rogers Mastercard is not only one of the best no-fee credit cards in Canada, but it is also one of the best cards among all the other credit cards, both paid and free!

Rogers Mastercard

The only catch for this card is that the rewards you earn on this card depend on whether you have a qualifying Rogers, Fido or Shaw service.

If you don't have a qualifying service, then the reward rate is 1% for overall purchases. But if you do, then you can earn 2% on all your everyday purchases and redeem them with a 1.5x redemption bonus equal to a 3% cashback value! That's almost double the cashback value of the other cards we are going to discuss below!

Because of this simple fact, the Rogers Mastercard makes it to the top spots of many different reward categories, such as the best card for recurring bill payments and subscription purchases, etc.

While this card has many advantages, it also has one mentionable disadvantage, which is the fact that it does not come with purchase protection insurance or extended warranty insurance, which most other credit cards do. So, keep this in mind when applying for this credit card.

Best no fee Mastercard for restaurant, gas and grocery purchases

If you decide not to use the Rogers credit card, then the MBNA Reward Platinum Plus Mastercard is one of the other good choices. This card provides 2 points on restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases (Up to 20000 points yearly, 1 point after) and 1 point on all other eligible purchases.

MBNA Rewards WorldElite Mastercard

What gives this card an edge over the other credit cards is its annual birthday bonus points, which earns 10% of the points earned the last 12 months prior to the cardholder's birthday month. This allows this card to get ahead of the others based on their reward rate.

Because this card earns you MBNA - Platinum rewards points, what you decide to redeem your points for is very important. You will get the best value for your points if you redeem your points for travel, gift cards and merchandise at almost $0.01 value per point, but not a very good redemption rate if you go for statement credit. So if you plan to redeem the points for cash, you will be better off with another card. 

This card also has one of the best welcome bonuses among the no-fee Mastercard credit cards, with up to 20K point signup bonus, valued at $200 if redeemed for the correct redemption categories. Also, this credit card has $1000 mobile device insurance in addition to normal Purchase protection and Extended warranty insurance, which is a bonus.

Best no fee Mastercard for restaurant purchases if you are a Costco Member

If you are a Costco member, then you are eligible to apply for the Costco Mastercard. One common misconception about this card is that it's only great for Costco purchases and not any other purchases.

Costco Mastercard

But it's actually the other way around!

The Costco Mastercard earns 2% on Costco purchases only if they are made from their site,! So, when you purchase something in-store from Costco, you don't earn anything extra compared to other eligible purchases you do!

This card is great because it earns 3% on restaurant purchases, which is the main reason you might decide to get it. My biggest monthly expense, besides rent and my car, is the cost of going to restaurants, so if you are similar to me, it's worth optimizing for this category.

The big downside of this card is that it doesn't offer the best cashback in other categories. With a base cashback rate of 1% on most purchases, this card is not for you if you don't go to restaurants that much! It also has the basic Extended Warranty, purchase protection, and mobile insurance.

Best no fee Mastercard for flexible benefits

One of the main issues of no fee credit cards is that they don't come with many different benefits and insurance (especially travel insurance). This is something solved by Neo Financial. They offer the Neo Credit Card, which has the unique capability of perks that can be bought for a month for a very low fee and then cancelled when they are no longer needed.

Neo Credit card

You can read more about these perks in detail here, but in summary, you have the option to buy perks that increase your cashback rate on certain spending categories, the option to buy travel perks for $4.99/month that gives access to Priority pass for lounge access, delay insurance, emergency medical, trip cancellation and car rental protection insurance and more.

They also have Mind and body perks that give access to free classes at some partners like Oxygen Yoga and Fitness, FinOn Pro, and Headspace Plus. In addition, there is a Mobile & Personal Protection insurance that gives you access to Damage and theft protection for your mobile, $1 million dollar coverage for fraud and identity theft, and a password management tool.

Best no fee Mastercard for free Roadside assistance benefit

Roadside assistance is one of the unique benefits that not many credit cards offer and it is useful when you get stranded on the road. Given it's a very expensive benefit to offer on a credit card, there aren't that many cards, even paid ones, that offer it.

However, the Triangle World Elite Mastercard is the only free card in Canada that offers this benefit.

Triangle World Elite Mastercard

The big catch is that it's hard to qualify for because it requires an excellent credit score and a Personal income of $80K/year or a household income of $150K/year.

If you make some purchases in stores that the Triangle reward program is part of, such as Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Mark's, etc, then you can earn 3%-4% in Canadian Dollar rewards. If you don't, then the base reward rate is 1%, which is also pretty good. However, if you are only maximizing rewards and don't care as much about the roadside assistance benefit, then the previously mentioned cards are probably a better fit for you.

Honorable Mentions for Best No Annual Fee MasterCard

Best no-fee Mastercard for Loblaw's affiliate grocery store purchases

PC World Elite Mastercard

If you are a person who frequently buys from Loblaw's affiliate stores, then the PC World Elite Mastercard is a good card to consider.

With this card, you can earn 45 points with an effective cash back value of %4.5 on Shoppers Drugmart purchases and 30 points on grocery purchases, which has a 3% effective cash back value in places such as the Atlantic Superstore, Extra Foods, Fortinos, Loblaws, Maxi, etc. and 1.9% on participating gas stations, which are ESSO and Mobil gas purchases. The base cashback rate on this card is 1% for all other eligible purchases.

You would mainly want to use this card for the categories that earn extra points and use other cards for all other eligible purchases.

Best no fee MasterCard for categories not covered by other cards

Tangerine Money back credit card

The Tangerine Money back credit card is special in the sense that it allows you to select from ten different categories—like Furniture, Home Improvements, and Drug Stores—where you can earn an enhanced 2% cashback, making it a unique offer in the realm of no fee credit cards. You can choose two categories (or three with a Tangerine Savings Account). In the other categories, you will earn 0.5%.

Even though this card does not have the highest cashback rates, it can be used to earn cashback on categories that pretty much no other credit card covers which are Furniture and Home Improvement purchases, so if you have huge purchases coming this card can be considered. (But still if you have the option to go for the Rogers Mastercard, a 3% return on all purchases beats this card).

Why MasterCard is a Preferred Choice in Canada

MasterCard's growing popularity among Canadians can be attributed to two key factors:

  • Costco's partnership with MasterCard means that's the only credit card they accept. Being exclusive to MasterCard holders, Costco allows cardholders to make bulk purchases at discounted rates while earning cash back!

  • Walmart transactions using a MasterCard are classified as "grocery" at Walmart Supercenters while using Visa or Amex would be considered as "other." Essentially, the strategic classification of Walmart transactions amplifies your grocery rewards, giving MasterCard users an upper hand over other card types.

How to choose the top no annual fee MasterCard credit cards in Canada

Every credit card has its own unique rewards and benefits, so there is no single card that is best at everything. Depending on your situation, you want to choose the no-fee credit card that works best for you based on your spending habits and benefit needs. We recommend using FinlyWealth's credit card finder tool to find the card that is most suited for your particular situation.

If you are looking for rewards, specifically the Rogers Master and MBNA cards are one of the most solid choices for a No annual fee Mastercard but if you are also looking to get some benefits as well the Neo card and Rogers World Elite are also great cards to consider.


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