No annual fee credit cards

Get a credit card with no annual fee but still enjoy a range of perks and benefits.

By   |   Verified by Yvonne Taylor   |   Updated 28th November 2022

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Comparing no annual fee credit cards

National Bank World Elite Mastercard

On website

FeaturedApply by 13 January 2023New offer

National Bank World Elite Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn up to 70,000 points. That's 30,000 welcome points when you spend at least $5,000 within three months of opening the account. Get 10,000 points when you signup for the insurance. Plus an additional 30,000 points when you spend at least $12,000 within 12 months of opening the account. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year.
  • Earn 5 reward points per $1 spent on groceries and restaurant transactions. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • Enjoy unlimited access to the National Bank lounge at Montréal-Trudeau Airport and get up to $150 each year in refund for your travel expenses.

Pros

  • Gives you the equivalent of $1,750 in benefits and rewards the first year when you reach the minimum purchase requirement.
  • Gas purchases, travel and recurring bill payments earn 2 points per $1 spent then other purchases will earn 1 point per $1 spent.
  • Take advantage of the unlimited lounge access and the $150 refund per year on your travel expenses.
  • Comes with comprehensive insurance coverage, trip cancellation/interruption, flight delay, baggage insurance, and rental vehicle insurance.
  • Includes extended warranty on your purchases.
  • Enjoy concierge service that offers a wide range of services.

Cons

  • The annual fee reverts to $150 p.a. after the initial year.
Neo Credit Card™

On website

Neo Credit Card™

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

From 19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn up to 15% cashback on your first purchase at participating partners.
  • Earn enormous bonuses — like 15% cashback — on your first purchase at most partners. Plus an average 5% cashback at Neo partners.
  • Boost your cashback by choosing a flexible, monthly rewards plan.
  • No annual fee.

Bank promo

  • Receive $25 when you signup today. Terms and Conditions apply.

Pros

  • Earn an average of 4% cashback at thousands of local and national gas, grocery stores, and more.
  • You can cash out anytime with just one tap.
  • $0 p.a. annual fee.

Cons

  • There is a 2.5% Foreign Exchange Fee.
National Bank Platinum Mastercard

On website

Apply by 13 January 2023New offer

National Bank Platinum Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn up to 35,000 points. That's 15,000 welcome points when you spend at least $3,000 within three months of opening the account. Get 10,000 points when you signup for the insurance. Plus an additional 10,000 points when you spend at least $6,000 within 12 months of opening the account. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year.
  • Travel insurance for up to 10 days, which includes trip cancellation and travel interruption insurance.
  • Mobile devices insurance against theft or damages for a period of up to 2 years

Pros

  • Gives you the equivalent of $490 in benefits and rewards the first year when you reach the minimum purchase requirement.
  • The 2 reward points per $1 spent on groceries and restaurants.
  • Comes with comprehensive insurance coverage, trip cancellation/interruption, flight delay, baggage insurance, and rental vehicle insurance.
  • Includes mobile phone insurance.
  • Use accumulated points to get new electronics, vacation packages, travel tickets, and more.

Cons

  • The annual fee reverts to $70 p.a. after the initial year.
  • Gas purchases, travel, and recurring bill payments earn 1.5 reward points per $1 spent then other purchases will earn 1 reward point per $1.50 spent.
National Bank Mycredit Mastercard

On website

National Bank Mycredit Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • $0 annual fee.
  • Earn 1% cashback on restaurant transactions and recurring automatic transfers. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • Get 0.5% cashback on all other purchases.

Pros

  • $0 annual fee.
  • Earn up to 1% cashback.
  • Get insured against theft or damage for up to 2 years following the purchase of your mobile device using your Mycredit Mastercard.

Cons

  • There is no introductory balance transfer offer on this card.
National Bank Allure Mastercard

On website

National Bank Allure Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • The Allure card allows you to contribute to the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • 1 point for every $2 spent (earn $10 for every 1,000 points earned).

Pros

  • $0 annual fee.
  • 1 point for every $2 spent.
  • Receive a 10% discount on the purchase of certain gift cards.

Cons

  • There is no introductory balance transfer offer on this card.
National Bank MC1 Mastercard

On website

National Bank MC1 Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • $0 p.a. annual fee
  • Includes Purchase protection and Extended warranty.
  • Control your spending by setting your credit limit to $500.

Pros

  • $0 p.a. annual fee
  • Includes Purchase protection and Extended warranty.
  • Get room upgrades, exclusive menus and many other surprises.

Cons

  • There is no rewards program on this card.
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

Apply by 30 April 2023

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

Balance transfer

6 months at 2.99% p.a.

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn 10% cashback on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases).
  • No annual fee for the first year, including supplementary cards ($120 and $50 p.a. respectively thereafter).
  • Earn cashback on groceries, recurring payments, gas, and everything else.

Pros

  • Generous cashback rate in the first 3 months.
  • No annual fee in the first year.
  • Includes travel, flight delay, lost baggage, and other insurances.

Cons

  • The $120 p.a. annual fee after the initial year.
Tangerine World Mastercard

Tangerine World Mastercard

Balance transfer

6 months at 1.95% p.a.

Purchase rate

19.95% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • 2% Money-Back Rewards on purchases in two categories of your choice or deposit your Rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account and get a third 2% Money-Back Category.
  • 1.95% p.a. for 6 months on balance transfers (3% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to cash advance rate of 19.95% p.a.
  • $0 annual fee.

Pros

  • Earn 2% cashback in two 2% money-back categories.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Comes with Mobile Device Insurance.
  • Get connected with access to over 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world with Boingo Wi-Fi.

Cons

  • There is no sign-up bonus offer on this card as of the moment.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Balance transfer

6 months at 1.95% p.a.

Purchase rate

19.95% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • 1.95% p.a. for 6 months on balance transfers (3% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to cash advance rate of 19.95% p.a.
  • Earn 2% Money-Back Rewards on your everyday purchases in two 2% Money-Back Categories of your choice, and 0.50% Money-Back Rewards on all your other everyday purchases.
  • Get your Rewards deposited into your Tangerine Savings Account and get a 3rd 2% Money-Back Category.
  • No limit on the amount of Money-Back Rewards you can earn on your everyday purchases. Conditions apply.

Pros

  • Get up to 2% cashback on 2 categories (up to 3 categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account).
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Up to 21 interest-free days.

Cons

  • There is a 3% balance transfer fee.
BMO CashBack Mastercard

Apply by 6 December 2022

BMO CashBack Mastercard

Balance transfer

9 months at 1.99% p.a.

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Get up to 5% cashback on eligible purchases in the first 3 months. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • 1.99% p.a. for 9 months on balance transfers (1% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to cash advance rate of 22.99% p.a.
  • Earn 3% cashback on grocery purchases, 1% cashback on recurring bill payments such as mobile phones, and 0.5% cashback on all other purchases, so every time you spend, you earn.

Pros

  • Get up to 5% cashback on eligible purchases in the first 3 months. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • No annual fee.
  • Earn 3% cashback on grocery purchases, 1% recurring bill payments and 0.5% cashback on all other purchases.

Cons

  • Any remaining balance transfer amounts will be charged 22.99% p.a.after 9 months.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard

Apply by 6 December 2022

BMO AIR MILES Mastercard

Balance transfer

9 months at 1.99% p.a.

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn 800 Bonus Miles when you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from the Credit Card open date. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • 1.99% p.a. for 9 months on balance transfers (1% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to cash advance rate of 22.99% p.a.
  • Earn 3 AIR MILES Reward Miles for every $25 in purchases at participating AIR MILES Partners and 1 Reward Mile for every other $25 you spend on eligible credit card purchases.

Pros

  • Earn 800 Bonus Miles when you meet the criteria.
  • Transfer balances of other credit cards at 1.99% for 9 months.
  • Includes Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty.

Cons

  • Any remaining balance transfer amounts will be charged 22.99% p.a.after 9 months.
BMO Rewards Mastercard

Apply by 6 December 2022

BMO Rewards Mastercard

Balance transfer

9 months at 1.99% p.a.

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive 10,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend a minimum of $1,000 within the first 3 months from the account open date. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • 1.99% p.a. for 9 months on balance transfers (1% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to cash advance rate of 22.99% p.a.
  • No annual fee.
Walmart Rewards World Mastercard

Walmart Rewards World Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

19.89% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • No annual fee.
  • Earn 3% cashback when you shop at Walmart.ca
  • Earn 1.25% cashback at gas stations and any Walmart store in Canada.
  • Earn 1% cashback on all other purchases.

Bank promo

  • Get up to $25 in bonus Walmart Reward Dollars. Terms and Conditions apply.

Pros

  • Earn 3% cashback when you shop at Walmart.ca
  • Includes Fraud Protection, Free Extended Warranty Plan and Free Purchase Assurance.
  • $0 p.a. annual fee.

Cons

  • You can only spend your reward dollars at Walmart Canada.
Brim Mastercard

Brim Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • $0 p.a. annual fee.
  • Earn 1 point for every dollar spent.
  • Get access to over a million Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots in planes, airports and hotels around the world.

Bank promo

  • Earn up to $200 in bonus rewards after your first purchases with partner stores. Terms and Conditions apply.

Pros

  • $0 annual fee.
  • 0% Foreign Transaction Fee.
  • Access over 1 million Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots all over the world.

Cons

  • Other cards offer a better earn rate.
Canadian Tire Triangle Mastercard

Canadian Tire Triangle Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Collect 4% in Canadian Tire Money at Canadian Tire stores. Plus, collect 5¢ per liter in Canadian Tire Money at Gas+ and participating Husky Stations.
  • No annual fee.
  • No fee, no interest financing on qualifying purchases of $150 or more at participating stores.

Pros

  • Earn up to 4% cashback.
  • $0 p.a. annual fee.
  • Get access to exclusive events and extra savings.

Cons

  • Canadian Tire Money cannot be redeemed everywhere.
Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card

Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

6 months at 9.99% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn 4% cashback on restaurants, 1.50 % on gas, groceries, drugstore and .50% on all other purchases (cashback cap applies except for other purchases).
  • No annual fee.
  • Enjoy 9.99% introductory annual interest on purchases for the first 6 months (19.99% p.a. thereafter).
  • Add up to 3 additional cardholders and earn cashback faster.

Pros

  • Enjoy the 9.99% introductory annual interest on purchases for the first 6 months.
  • No annual fee.
  • Includes Purchase Security and Extended Protection Insurance.

Cons

  • You can only spend your reward dollars at Walmart Canada.
Walmart Rewards Mastercard

Walmart Rewards Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

19.89% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • No annual fee.
  • Earn 1.25% cashback when you shop at Walmart.
  • Earn 1% cashback on gas and all other purchases.

Bank promo

  • Get up to $25 in bonus Walmart Reward Dollars. Terms and Conditions apply.

Pros

  • Earn Walmart Reward Dollars on all your purchases.
  • $0 p.a. annual fee.
  • Addional cards at no extra cost.

Cons

  • You can only spend your reward dollars at Walmart Canada.
Brim World Elite Mastercard

Brim World Elite Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • $0 annual fee on the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
  • Earn 2 points for every dollar spent.
  • Includes all features of Brim World Mastercard plus premium insurances, trip cancellation and trip interruption insurances.

Bank promo

  • Earn up to $500 in bonus rewards after your first purchases with partner stores. Terms and Conditions apply.
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card

Apply by 23 January 2023

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn up to 50,000 Aeroplan points. Get 10,000 welcome points after your first purchase. Receive an additional 20,000 points when you spend at least $1,500 in net purchases within 90 days of account opening. Plus another 20,000 points when you keep your account active for 12 months and make $7,500 in net purchases. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • $0 annual fee on the first year.
  • Earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent on eligible gas, grocery, and direct through Air Canada purchases.

Pros

  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Includes travel insurance.
  • Get a NEXUS application fee rebate.

Cons

  • The annual fee reverts to $139 p.a. after the initial year.
HSBC World Elite Mastercard

Apply by 28 February 2023

HSBC World Elite Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

19.9% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn up to 80,000 Points PLUS a full annual fee rebate for the Primary Cardholder for the first year. Must apply by 28 February 2023. Conditions Apply.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Earn 3% in travel rewards on all eligible travel purchases (6 points per $1) and 1.5% in travel rewards on all other eligible purchases (3 points per $1).

Pros

  • Earn 80,000 points when you meet the criteria.
  • $0 annual fee on the first year.
  • Includes 31-day insurance coverage.

Cons

  • The annual fee reverts to $149 p.a. after the initial year.
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card

Apply by 6 December 2022

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Get up to 60,000 BMO Rewards bonus points. 30,000 BMO Rewards welcome bonus points will be applied to your account after you spend a minimum of $3,000 within the first 3 months. The other 30,000 BMO Rewards welcome bonus points will be credited within 60 business days following the qualifying $3,000 spend.
  • $0 annual fee on the first year ($120 thereafter).
  • Earn 5x times the points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining in and out, gas and transit up to $50,000 in annual purchases on the Account, then continue earning points at the regular earn rate of 1 point per $1 in purchases.

Pros

  • Earn up to 60,000 bonus points when you meet the criteria.
  • Be eligible to receive a $50 statement credit each year. Conditions apply.
  • Enjoy access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection.

Cons

  • The annual fee reverts to $120 p.a. after the initial year.
CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card

CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • $0 annual fee on the first year (reverts to $120 thereafter).
  • $0 annual fee on the first year on 3 additional cardholders (reverts to $30 each after the initial year).
  • Earn 4% cash back on gas and grocery purchases.
  • Earn 2% cash back on transportation, dining, and recurring payments.

Pros

  • Access to unique dining events.
  • Get 24-hour complimentary concierge services with the Visa Infinite program.
  • Comes with Purchase Security and Extended Protection Insurance

Cons

  • The purchase rate is quite high at 20.99% p.a.
TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card

Apply by 28 May 2023

TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn up to 145,000 TD points. Get 20,000 welcome points after your first purchase. Receive an additional 115,000 points when you spend at least $5,000 in net purchases within 180 days of account opening. Plus earn a Birthday Bonus of up to 10,000 TD Rewards Points. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • $0 annual fee for primary and additional cardholders in the first year. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • Earn 3 TD Points for every $1 you spend on purchases.

Pros

  • Earn 9 TD points for every $1 you spend when you book online through Expedia.
  • Includes 7 travel-related insurances.
  • Earn 50% more TD points at Starbucks.

Cons

  • The annual fee reverts to $120 p.a. after the initial year.
BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard

Apply by 6 December 2022

BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Get up to 10% cashback on eligible purchases in the first 3 months. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • $0 annual fee on the first year ($120 thereafter).
  • Earn 5% cashback on grocery purchases, 4% cashback on transit transactions such as ride-sharing and/or taxis, 3% on gas, 2% recurring bill payments and 1% cashback on all other purchases.
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn up to 35,000 Aventura points. Get 20,000 points when you make your first purchase. Plus an additional 15,000 Aventura points when you spend $1,000 or more on each monthly statement during the first year. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • Save $139 with a first-year annual fee rebate.
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre.

Pros

  • Earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and drug stores (Accelerate your savings with 10 cents off per litre on gas).
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Get access to 1,300+ airport lounges – worth over $200. Enjoy a Priority Pass Membership and 4 complimentary airport lounge visits per year.

Cons

  • The annual fee reverts to $139 p.a. after the initial year.
Student BMO CashBack Mastercard

Apply by 6 December 2022

Student BMO CashBack Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Get up to 5% cashback on eligible purchases in the first 3 months. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • No annual fee.
  • Earn 3% cashback on grocery purchases, 1% recurring bill payments and 0.5% cashback on all other purchases.
TD Rewards Visa Card

Apply by 29 October 2022

TD Rewards Visa Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

6 months at 9.99% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn TD Rewards Points (valued at $50 at Amazon.co) by keeping your account open, active, and in good standing for the first 90 days. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • $0 annual fee for primary and additional cardholders.
  • Enjoy a 9.99% interest rate on purchases for the first 6 months.

Pros

  • Get a 9.99% interest rate on purchases for the first 6 months.
  • Earn 2 TD Points for every $1 you spend on grocery purchases, restaurant & fast food purchases, and regularly recurring bill payment.
  • Comes with Purchase Security and Extended Warranty Protection.

Cons

  • Purchase rate reverts to 19.99% p.a. after 6 months.
MBNA True Line Mastercard

MBNA True Line Mastercard

Balance transfer

12 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

12.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Transfer balances from other credit cards at 0% for 12 months (3% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to purchase rate of 12.99% p.a. thereafter. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • No annual fee.
  • Enjoy a low standard interest rate of 12.99% on eligible purchases.

Pros

  • 0% for 12 months of Balance Transfer.
  • $0 p.a. annual fee.
  • A low standard interest rate of 12.99% on purchases.

Cons

  • There is a 3% Balance Transfer fee.
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card

CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn up to 20,000 Aeroplan points. Get 10,000 points when you make your first purchase. Plus an additional 10,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $1,000 or more during the first 4 monthly statement periods. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • A one-time annual fee rebate to the primary cardholder ($139) and up to three additional cardholders ($50 each).
  • Earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent at eligible gas stations, grocery stores, and drug stores.

Pros

  • Earn 1 point for every $1 you spend on all other purchases
  • Earn points twice at over 150 Aeroplan partners and more than 170 online retailers through the Aeroplan eStore.
  • Comes with valuable insurance coverage.

Cons

  • The annual fee reverts to $139 p.a. after the initial year.
Student BMO AIR MILES Mastercard

Apply by 6 December 2022

Student BMO AIR MILES Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn 800 Bonus Miles when you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from the Credit Card open date. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • No annual fee.
  • Earn 3 AIR MILES Reward Miles for every $25 in purchases at participating AIR MILES Partners and 1 Reward Mile for every other $25 you spend on eligible credit card purchases.

Credit cards with no annual fees are a good idea if you're on a budget or are just starting to build up your credit. Another good reason you might want to go with no fee credit cards in Canada is if you don't plan on using the card much and only really need it for emergencies.

The reason that a no annual fee credit card is an attractive option is because it usually includes rewards that the no-fee credit card doesn't, or only has to a lesser extent. These benefits include attractive rewards points systems and higher payouts in terms of cash back rewards. However, an annual fee can be expensive, especially if you're paying it on top of interest charges, and this is when having no annual fee to pay can seem like practical solution.

Benefits of no annual fee cards

The best no fee credit cards in Canada have a number of benefits you can take advantage of, beyond having no annual fee. This includes travel points with purchases, cash back options, low interest rates and no foreign transaction fees. While these benefits may be on a lower scale than fee-paying cards and will vary depending on the card you sign up for, it's easy to find a credit card that suits your needs but doesn't charge an annual fee.

Some cards also include a welcome bonus when you first sign up. This sign up bonus can range from high points for the first six months to a larger cash back amount for a set period of time on certain purchases. While the welcome bonus is a nice benefit, you should consider your long term needs and pick the card that best suits what you're looking for in the future.

But the main benefit is still the absence of an annual fee, making this option great for students or people starting their first job, or anyone who doesn't use a card enough to cover the annual fee cost in rewards points or cash back value.

You still have to make payments

There's no such thing as free credit cards, even if you are looking for a no-fee credit card. When we say "no fee" we're referring to the annual fee that a lot of credit cards have attached to them. This doesn't mean that your credit card is automatically a free credit card, as you would still have to pay interest on any balance that carries over from month to month. But if you pay off your balance in full every month, are never late with payments and avoid cash advances, the only fee you might run into is a foreign transaction fee.

Now that you have a better idea of what no fee credit cards are about you can appreciate the importance of sticking to a payment schedule. This essentially means you need to make a point of paying your credit card bill when it falls due, and avoid over-spending.

The reason you don't want to have a large amount carrying over each month is because interest is charged on the outstanding balance, which gets added to the interest on your purchases in the next month. That's because carrying a balance means that you lose your interest-free days on new purchases. This accumulated interest can result in a higher bill as each month passes, which can quickly get out of hand.

Annual fee payment schedule

You will normally be charged an annual fee in the first monthly statement after you open the card account, and then once a year on each anniversary of account opening.

Annual fee waivers

If you already have, or would prefer, a card with an annual fee and better rewards, you have nothing to lose by asking for an annual fee waiver. Just phone the card provider's service centre and ask for the waiver based on your record of expenditure with a credit card. The bank won't want to lose the merchant fees it earns from your purchases, and the call centre personnel may have discretion to waive the fee to keep your business if your expenditure is high enough.

Some credit cards offer new cardholders an automatic annual fee waiver in the first year.

Alternatives to no annual fee credit cards

If you don't want to use a no annual fee credit card, but are looking for the same payment convenience, you have several alternatives to choose from.

High rewards credit card

The first option is obviously a card with an annual fee. This is a good choice if you're looking for a card that has high rewards, a low interest rate or a significant welcome bonus. While the annual fee can vary depending on the type of credit card you're looking for, the cost is usually outweighed by the rewards if you use the card enough.

Prepaid card

The best part of a prepaid credit card is you don't have to worry about an annual fee or interest rates. You just go to the store and buy the prepaid card already loaded with a cash balance. Once the card is ready to go, you can use it anywhere traditional cards are accepted. This includes both brick-and-mortar stores and online shopping.

Debit card

If you have a check or transaction account in Canada you likely have a debit card. These cards allow you to withdraw money from your bank account at an ATM, as well as make purchases at a store checkout and online. There are no annual fees when it comes to a debit card, but you may have a fee attached to using it depending on the type of account it is linked to.

Learn about no annual fee credit cards

What is the benefit of a credit card with no annual fee? Are they worth it?

  • FAQs

  • Pros & cons

  • Tips

Do all credit cards have an annual fee?

No. While the vast majority of credit cards do charge an annual fee, there are plenty of options without one. Cards that don't charge an annual fee usually have fewer benefits than those that do, but not everyone spends enough on their credit card to take full advantage of the benefits.

Some credit cards with an annual fee will waive the fee in the first year.

Do I have to pay the whole annual fee if I close my account before a year is up?

Under normal circumstances you may be refunded for the portion of the year that remains after you closed your account. But you will need to check the card's terms and conditions to find out if this is the case.

How do I get a no annual fee card?

If you're interested in signing up for a card with no annual fee you just need to apply online after comparing your options and choosing the most suitable card for you. You'll need to provide identity information so the lender can perform a credit check, as well as details of your income and citizenship or residency. Once you're approved for the card it will be mailed to your nominated address.

Is a no annual fee card good for rebuilding credit?

While a no-fee card will save you the cost of the annual fee, it may not be an option if you have a lower credit score because you may not get approved for the card. A better option to rebuild your credit would be to apply for a secured card. Secured credit cards are easier to get approved for and are generally considered to be one of the best ways to rebuild your credit.

Is it worth paying an annual fee?

If you put as many of your expenses and bill payments as possible onto your card, it's certainly worth paying an annual fee for a card that will earn you rewards points or air miles at a faster rate. In this situation you should be able to earn points or miles worth far more than the cost of the annual fee every year. But if your annual card purchases are low – less than $5,000 – you may be better off not paying an annual fee and accepting a lower points earning rate, or no points at all.

What other fees apply to a no annual fee card?

While you don't have to worry about any annual fees with this type of card, you do have other fees you may need to pay depending on how you use your card. These fees can include a balance transfer fee, a late payment fee, an over-limit fee, a cash advance fee, a foreign transaction fee, a returned payment fee, and a card replacement fee.

Which is the best no fee credit card in Canada?

The best card for you is the one that offers the greatest convenience for paying for purchases and managing your account, while delivering the highest level of rewards points or other complimentary benefits to suit your lifestyle, all while charging no annual fee. Compare your options and choose one that you are likely to be approved for based on your income and credit score, and with benefits that you can actually use.

A good second card for Amex users

A no-fee card is a sensible option for anyone whose primary card is an American Express card. Amex cards may not be accepted everywhere, but if you have a no-fee Mastercard or Visa in your wallet, you have a low-cost backup in case your primary card is not acceptable.

Fewer additional perks

While some credit cards have perks like free insurance, airport lounge access and rental car discounts included, as well as other benefits, no-fee credit cards tend to have fewer perks like this.

Fewer rewards

While you do get rewards when signing up for no-fee credit cards, they aren't as attractive as rewards attached to credit cards that have an annual fee.

Save money

The first benefit is the most obvious one, in that you don't have to worry about paying a fee every year just for owning the card. This is especially attractive if you're on a tight budget, are just starting out with your first card, are looking for a secondary card, don't plan on using the card much, or just want to avoid paying extra fees.

Try before you buy

Before committing yourself to a particular card issuer, you may want to try their no annual fee card for size. You can find out how good their service is and how easy it is to manage your card account online, before moving on to one of their fee=paying cards.

Welcome bonus

The welcome bonus is typically a promotion that's designed to attract new users to the card. A welcome bonus expires after a set period of time has passed and can include perks like thousands of extra points for reaching a spending target, extra cash back percentages and more. Just make sure you read the terms of the welcome bonus to make sure you understand what you're getting once the promotional period has elapsed.

You can still get rewards

Just like fee-based credit cards, these cards often have rewards attached to them that you can earn when using the card. These include rewards like cash back percentages, point systems, and waived foreign transaction fees. Of course, the rewards vary depending on the card issuer, so you'll need to do your research before diving into a specific card.

Don't pay an annual fee for an emergency-use-only card

If you only want to have a credit card to give you access to funds in an emergency – such as unexpected car repairs or medical bills – there's no point in paying an annual fee for the privilege. Opt for a basic card with no annual fee.

Do your research

No matter what rewards the lender is offering, you should always do your research when it comes to choosing a credit card. You have to find out what other fees might exist besides the waived annual fee, as well as look into interest rates and how long any welcome bonus might last. You should also learn about any terms and conditions that might apply to your card, because these could be different from cards with an annual fee.

Match up the card with your lifestyle

The first thing you need to do when looking for a credit card is to figure out what you want to use it for and how it lines up with your lifestyle. If you're on a tight budget, a cash back credit card with no annual fee could be the way to go. If you expect to carry a balance on your card from month to month, choose a no annual fee card with a low interest rate. A rewards points card could work well if you spend quite a lot on credit card purchases, and a card with travel rewards like airport lounge access or free travel insurance could suit regular travelers.

Use a two-card strategy

Another good way to get the most from your card without an annual fee is to pair it with a card that has an annual fee. What you're doing here is using the rewards tied to the specific cards that most benefit you. For example, if the card with no annual fee has restaurant cash back rewards of 3%, but your annual fee card only has restaurant rewards of 1%, you would use the no annual fee card to get the extra rewards. Having the extra card in your wallet costs you nothing.