A couple of weeks ago I talked about whether or not using cash or credit cards was a better option. As you know from that post, I’m not against using credit, as long as you pay off your balances in full each month. A big perk of plastic is that many cards have added features that get you cash back or travel rewards to save you money. Today we’re going to look at a few of the available credit cards that have some of the best bonuses. You’ll first want to decide which category will work best for you. If you’re still catching up on debt and carry a balance, you’ll want to go with a low-rate card, but if you’re pretty good at paying them off every month, you’ll want to start reaping those rewards. If you travel a lot, you should look at a card that pays out in travel rewards. Otherwise, a cash back card is likely the best option.
Best Low-Rate Credit Card
You should try as hard as you can to not carry a balance on your credit card but if you absolutely must (I get it, things happen) you should look into a low-rate card. Even paying a small annual fee can be worth it if you carry a balance. The American Express Essential card will get you an interest rate of 8.99% with no annual fee. Just remember, if you’re paying off your card every month don’t even consider a low-rate option, move right on down to something rewarding.
Another option to look at if you’re paying off debt is to take advantage of a balance transfer. This will allow you to get a promotional interest rate on a new credit card that will likely be even lower than the lowest interest rate card you can find. One of the best balance transfer cards is the MBNA Platinum Plus Mastercard, which gives you 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 12 months. There is no annual fee for the card, but you will have to pay a 1% fee on the amount you transfer. No interest payments for a year is an excellent way to jump start your debt repayment.
Best Cash Back Credit Card
If you spend a lot on your credit card but aren’t a big traveller, then you should look at an option that pays you a percentage back. The Tangerine Money-Back card will get you 2% cash back and has no annual fee. Another good option is the SimplyCash Card from Amex with 1.25% cash back and also no annual fee.
Best Travel Rewards Credit Card
If you’re an avid traveller (or would like to become one), then getting yourself a travel rewards credit card can get you off on trips more often. A lot of cards also have sign-up bonuses that can equal a free flight or hotel stay right off the bat. There are people out there who hack travel reward programs like it’s their job. If you’re interested in getting into that then check out Rewards Canada, they’ll keep you updated on available offers.
As for card options, the Scotiabank Gold American Express card and the BMO World Elite Mastercard are both good options that aren’t tied to a specific airline. Both have an annual fee, but you’ll likely get that back and then some
Best Retail Rewards Credit Card
If you’re not much of a traveller another option is to earn rewards to use at places you spend money. The PC Financial World Mastercard will earn you PC points to save money on your grocery bill. If you shop at Superstore (or other Loblaws stores) and already collect PC points this, no fee option might be a good choice for you. Another good option, if you’re a Rogers customer, is the Rogers First Rewards Mastercard. This is another no fee option that can earn you money off your phone bill. The Scotiabank Scene Visa is also a good option if you’re a frequent movie goer, but they did just increase the number of points you need to get into Imax or other premium movies so keep that in mind.
If you want more details on these or some other good options check out the RateHub website. They give detailed breakdowns of all the credit cards and how much you can earn in rewards.