I think I speak for all of us when I say credit cards have evolved from being an optional accessory to an essential tool. One that if used correctly, can save you a ton of money each year.
Among the big three - Visa, American Express, and MasterCard - MasterCard is growing its fan base in Canada. In this post, I will delve into the reasons behind MasterCard's unique edge and uncover the specifics of the "best no annual fee MasterCard Canada".
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.
With this in mind, let's explore some of the best no annual fee MasterCard options in Canada.
Highlighting some of the Best No Annual Fee MasterCards Canada
Here, we take an in-depth look at seven leading cards. Each card offers unique advantages designed to suit different spending habits and lifestyles.
1. Spenders who focus on grocery, gas, and restaurant purchases
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard
This card is perfect for spenders who focus on grocery, gas, and restaurant purchases, with 2 points per $1 spent on these categories for the first 90 days.
That sounds like the majority of people, right? A well-rounded credit card.
After this promotional period, users earn 1 point per $1 on these categories and 0.5 points per $1 on all other purchases. What sets this card apart is its 10,000-point welcome bonus, which is an unusual find for a no annual fee card.
And if you're curious about how much exactly you could potentially earn per year using this credit card, try out the Finly app that can automatically read your spending habits and give you an exact estimate.
2. Frequent shoppers at Canadian Tire and Sport Chek
Triangle World Elite MasterCard
This card is perfect for frequent shoppers at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, and participating Marks/L'Equipeur and Atmosphere stores.
You can earn 4% back in Canadian Tire Money on purchases at these locations. Besides, it offers 3% on grocery store purchases (up to $12,000 annually, excluding Costco and Walmart).
Oh and did you know this is the only free credit card in Canada that offers Roadside Assistance as a benefit?
3. Free credit card with no foreign transaction fees
This card is a preferred choice for international travelers and shoppers, as it offers no foreign transaction fees.
It maintains a steady reward rate of 1 point per dollar spent, and users can earn bonus points at select retailers.
Features like mobile wallet compatibility and the ability to lock the card from the app for security give it an edge over its competitors.
4. Perfectly made for Costco lovers
CIBC Costco MasterCard
Tailored for dedicated Costco customers, this card offers 3% cash back on restaurant purchases and 2% on gas purchases. For all other purchases, users can earn 1%.
The standout feature of this card is that it doubles as a Costco membership card, enhancing its utility.
Keep in mind the 3% cash back has a yearly limit of $5,000 net purchases and drops down to 1% once you reach that limit. Essentially that yields you $150 in cash back and then you continue gaining cash back at the lower rate.
So is this credit card worth the hype?
Easiest way to find out is by either using Finly's reward calculator tool and inputting your estimated spendings at Costco and other places, or using Finly's mobile App that would automatically take your past transactions into account as it does estimations for you.
5. Simple and effective cash back card for most people
This card offers 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three with a Tangerine Savings Account). For all other purchases, users can earn 0.5%.
You get the ability to customize cash back categories which makes this card align well with varied spending habits.
Also, the card offers a 1.95% balance transfer rate for the first 6 months, an attractive feature for those seeking to consolidate their credit card debt.
6. Hard to get but unlimited rewards and great benefits
Rogers World Elite MasterCard
It's hard to beat a card with 1.5% unlimited cashback rewards on all purchases, no foreign transaction fees, and travel and insurance benefits. This card is perfect for high spenders and frequent travelers.
It also comes with 3% unlimited cash back on U.S. dollar purchases which is great fit for frequent travelers to the United States.
However, keep in mind that it has a higher income requirement compared to other cards on this list. You need either $80,000 in annual personal income or $150,000 in annual household income.
7. Designed especially for Rogers™ customers
Rogers Connections MasterCard
Users can earn 1% unlimited cash back on all purchases and enjoy the advantage of no annual fee.
However, you can earn 2% unlimited cash back instead if you have 2 qualifying Rogers services - 1 wireless and 1 home. Check for your eligibility on their website.
Also, say goodbye to high income requirements. This card is comparably easier to get approved for.
Now that we got the card details out in the open, let's do a simple compare and contrast of our options.
How to choose the top no annual fee MasterCard Canada
It's fair to say that each card has its unique strengths.
MBNA's category-focused rewards, Triangle World Elite's high cash back at specific stores, Brim's elimination of foreign transaction fees, CIBC Costco's benefits for Costco shoppers, and Tangerine's customizable rewards and balance transfer offer. Your choice among these would largely depend on your spending habits, lifestyle, and reward preferences.
From a pure cash back perspective, Rogers World Elite is a great option if you can get past the income requirement. However, given the similarity in reward values offered by all these cards, it might be easier to make a decision once you can see a precise estimate of your potential rewards.