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Best credit cards for online shopping

You can save on foreign transaction fees and high interest rates when you shop online with the right credit card.

Paying on plastic can be a convenient way to make purchases online, but there are some credit cards that are better for shopping online than others. Depending on how you shop online, you should make sure your credit card protects you against any potentially fraudulent transactions, doesn’t charge extra fees for overseas purchases or cuts down on interest charges.

Keep reading below for our guide to Canada’s best credit cards for online shopping.

Best for balance transfer offer: Scotiabank Value Visa Card

12.99%
Purchase Interest Rate
$29
Annual Fee
650
Min. Recommended Credit Score
With no cash back or rewards points, the Scotiabank Value Visa Card doesn't come with a lot of extra perks – but it can be a great tool for saving money. Save on interest for 6 months by consolidating your higher-rate balances with the balance transfer offer, and get an on-going 12.99% interest rate on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers.
Annual Fee $29
Additional Cardholder Fee $0
Min. Credit Score 650
Purchase Interest Rate 12.99%
Cash Advance Rate 12.99%
Interest Free Period Up to 21 days
Balance Transfer Rate 12.99%
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.5%
Pros
  • Low purchase and cash advance interest rates of 12.99%.
  • Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2021.
  • Once the promotional balance transfer period ends, any unpaid balance will incur the low rate of 12.99%.
What to watch out for
  • This card has an annual fee of $29.
  • No cash back or rewards.
  • This card has a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%.

Best for earning cash back: SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

19.99%
Purchase Interest Rate
$99
Annual Fee
700
Min. Recommended Credit Score
Earn 10% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to $400 in cash back) for the first four months of Cardmembership. The card also offers a suite of travel insurance benefits and exclusive offers on dining and entertainment. Just watch out for the annual fee of $99.
Annual Fee $99
Additional Cardholder Fee $0
Min. Credit Score 700
Purchase Interest Rate 19.99%
Cash Advance Rate 21.99%
Interest Free Period Up to 21 days
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.5%
Pros
  • Earn 2% cash back on all eligible card purchases.
  • Earn 10% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to $400 in cash back) for the first four months of Cardmembership.
  • Get up to $100,000 travel insurance coverage for delayed flights, lost or stolen baggage, car rentals and accidents. Plus, enjoy up to up to $5,000,000 Out-of-Province/Country Emergency Medical Insurance in emergency medical coverage.
What to watch out for
  • This card has an annual fee of $99.
  • When you spend overseas, you'll face a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%.

Best for no annual fee: Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

19.95%
Purchase Interest Rate
$0
Annual Fee
680
Min. Recommended Credit Score
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else. Categories include groceries, restaurants, hotels, gas, recurring bill payments, drug store, home improvement and entertainment.
Annual Fee $0
Min. Credit Score 680
Purchase Interest Rate 19.95%
Cash Advance Rate 19.95%
Interest Free Period Up to 21 days
Balance Transfer Rate 19.95%
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.5%
Pros
  • Earn accelerated cash back in 2 categories (with an optional third category).
  • No annual fee.
  • Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
What to watch out for
  • Receive only 0.5% cash back on all other categories of spending.
  • You'll pay a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% on all overseas purchases.
  • Pay a balance transfer fee of 3% of the total transferred amount or $5, whichever is greater.

Best for no foreign transaction fees: Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

19.99%
Purchase Interest Rate
$120
Annual Fee
700
Min. Recommended Credit Score
The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is a powerful everyday credit card as well as a strong travel companion. Book and redeem any flight for any time through Scotia Rewards Travel Service, a full-service travel agency. Plus, take advantage of the Best Price Guarantee on airfare. Plus, enjoy peace of mind with a broad array of travel insurance options.
Annual Fee $120
Additional Cardholder Fee $29
Min. Credit Score 700
Purchase Interest Rate 19.99%
Cash Advance Rate 22.99%
Interest Free Period Up to 21 days
Balance Transfer Rate 22.99%
Foreign Transaction Fee 0%
Pros
  • Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (that’s up to $400 towards travel) Apply by August 31, 2021.
  • Earn 5 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining and entertainment purchases, 3 points per $1 spent on eligible gas, transportation and select streaming services, and 1 point per $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Enjoy peace of mind with a broad array of travel insurance options including Emergency Medical, Travel Accident, Trip Cancellation and Interruption, Flight Delay, Delayed or Lost Baggage and Rental Car Collision Loss/Damage.
  • Book and redeem any flight for any time through Scotia Rewards Travel Service, a full-service travel agency. Plus, take advantage of the Best Price Guarantee on airfare.
  • American Express rewards including early ticket access, discounts and invites to exclusive events.
What to watch out for
  • This card has an annual fee of $120.
  • You'll need to earn a minimum income of $12,000 a year to be eligible for this card.

Best for low interest rate: BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard

12.99%
Purchase Interest Rate
$20
Annual Fee
660
Min. Recommended Credit Score
The BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard is a simple, no-frills credit card with a low interest rate of 12.99% for purchases and 12.99% for cash advances. You won't earn any rewards points or cash back, but this card's low rate can help you save money and pay down your balance faster. Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
Annual Fee $20
Min. Credit Score 660
Purchase Interest Rate 12.99%
Cash Advance Rate 12.99%
Interest Free Period Up to 21 days
Balance Transfer Rate 12.99%
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.5%
Pros
  • Low APR of 12.99% for purchases and 12.99% for cash advances.
  • Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
  • Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty coverage and Zero Liability protection.
What to watch out for
  • This card has an annual fee of $20.
  • No cash back or rewards and no extra perks like complimentary travel insurance or car rental benefits.
  • This card comes with a balance transfer fee of 1%.
  • This card has a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%.

Please note: All information about TD Emerald Flex Rate Visa Card has been collected independently by Finder and this card is not available through this site.

Best for those with good credit: TD Emerald Flex Rate Visa Card

4.5%
Purchase Interest Rate
$25
Annual Fee
N/A
Min. Recommended Credit Score
The TD Emerald Flex Rate Visa Card is a unique credit card that offers a flexible and low APR that based on your own personal credit profile. With a higher credit score, you'll likely be offered a lower APR, while a lower credit score will result in a higher APR. Interest rates are calculated by using the TD Prime¹ + 4.5% up to TD Prime + 12.75%. Although this card can help you save money if you don't pay off your balance in full each month, you won't earn any rewards points or cash back.
Annual Fee $25
Min. Credit Score N/A
Purchase Interest Rate 4.5%
Cash Advance Rate 4.5%
Interest Free Period 21 days on all new purchases
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.5%
Pros
  • Flexible interest rates based on a few factors including your credit score.
What to watch out for
  • This card has an annual fee of $25.
  • No cash back or rewards.
  • This card has a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%.

How to choose the best credit cards for online shopping

When you’re comparing credit cards for online shopping, make sure to consider these factors to help you get the most out of your card:

  • No foreign transaction fees. When you buy online from overseas retailers, you may be charged foreign transaction fees. Usually costing around 2.5% of your transaction amount, these fees can quickly add up. Consider finding a card that charges zero or low foreign transaction fees.
  • Low interest rates. If you frequently carry a balance from month to month on your credit card, you might want to consider a card with a low ongoing interest rate.
  • A rewards card with a high earn rate. If you regularly shop online and usually pay your balance in full, a rewards credit card could help you earn points for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases. While most rewards credit cards award 1 point per $1 spent, some offer a higher earn rate of 2 points per $1 spent.
  • Fraud protection. It’s standard for credit cards to have protection in place to guard you against scammers, but you can do your part too by opting for a card that is linked to Verified by Visa or Mastercard SecureCode. It’s important to note that most insurances, such as purchase protection and extended warranty, don’t usually apply to items bought online.
  • Signup bonus. Some providers offer enticing bonuses just for signing up for a credit card. These extra rewards miles, points or cash back could add up to hundreds of dollars worth during the holidays — if you qualify. Confirm the offer requirements, as you may need to spend a set amount in the first few months before you receive your bonus.

How to make large purchases using a credit card

Avoiding currency conversion fees

Aside from being charged foreign transaction fees, another type of fee you can incur online when shopping with an overseas retailer are currency conversion fees. This fee is only charged should you choose to pay in your home currency. This essentially means the overseas retailer must convert your Canadian dollars into their local currency. Also known as a Dynamic Currency Conversion, or DCC, you can avoid these by paying in their local currency if possible.

The pros and cons of using a credit card for online shopping

Pros

  • Avoid foreign transaction fees. If you get a credit card with no or low foreign transaction fees, you can save on fees while making purchases online with overseas retailers.
  • Earn while you spend. If your credit card comes with a rewards system, you can earn points as you spend. These points can often be redeemed for cash back on your account, travel rewards and merchandise from the rewards program online store.
  • Wide acceptance and protection. If your credit card is linked to one of the larger providers, such as Visa or Mastercard, you can make purchases internationally. These networks often come with additional security, such as Verified by Visa or Mastercard SecureCode, giving you an extra layer of protection when shopping online.

Cons

  • Accumulating debt. Unlike a debit card or a prepaid card, a credit card is not linked to your own funds. So if you’re an impulsive or frequent spender, using your credit card for online purchases could quickly build up debt on your card. If you struggle to repay your balance in full each month, consider a card with low interest rates.
  • Security risks. While credit card security measures are in place to protect your finances against fraud or theft, no online purchase is entirely risk-free. Always research the site’s legitimacy and security before making a purchase.
  • Foreign fees. If your card doesn’t offer low or no foreign transaction fees, the cost of your online shopping can increase significantly when making a purchase in a foreign currency.

How to manage credit card debt from shopping

The ease of online shopping can make it harder than ever to manage your credit card balance. Whether it’s one big purchase for yourself, or a host of Christmas gifts for your family and friends, managing your post-shopping credit card debt can be tough. Here are some tips to help you stay on top of your spending and keep well within your budget.

  • Put away your credit cards. Maybe not forever, but perhaps until after you’ve paid off your balances. Avoid adding more purchases until you’ve payed off your existing balance – otherwise you’ll be adding more interest to the amount you already owe.
  • Make large payments right away. Paying off as much as you can each month reduces the balance that accrues interest after your interest-free grace period ends.
  • Find extra money. If your budget is stretched more than you’d like, look for ways to make extra bucks. Sell unused items in your home, rent out a spare room or start a side gig.
  • Set realistic financial goals that you can reach. It can take only a month or two to land in holiday debt, but it can take years to get out. Create a budget to schedule consistent repayments that can get you back on your feet quicker.

Carrying a balance? Consider a balance transfer card

If you’re looking to pay off your shopping credit card debt and better manage your money, consider getting a balance transfer card.

These cards are designed to help you consolidate your existing debt by offering an introductory low or 0% APR — typically for 6 to 12 months — on balances you transfer to that new card. At the end of the introductory period, your card reverts to a higher ongoing interest rate that applies to any debt you haven’t yet paid off, so your goal should be to focus on paying down your debt during the intro period and refrain from making any new purchases.

Compare balance transfer credit cards

Name Product Balance Transfer Rate Balance Transfer Fee Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
Tangerine World Mastercard
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
BMO CashBack Mastercard
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,000). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
3.99% for the first 9 months (then 12.99%)
1%
12.99%
$20
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
0.99% for the first 6 months (then 12.99%)
N/A
12.99%
$29
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2021.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
BMO Rewards Mastercard
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 725
Get a bonus of 10,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Apply by October 31, 2021 . Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
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Alternatives to credit cards: Use a prepaid card to shop online

If you don’t want to rack up credit card debt, but want a secure way to make purchases online, consider a prepaid card. You can load a prepaid card with funds and use them to make purchases.

Prepaid cards are also good for:

  • Controlling your spending. If you’re trying to curb your spending, this is a good way to stay within a budget. You can only spend the amount that’s loaded on the card and will need to reload more funds if your balance runs low.
  • Being widely accepted. Prepaid cards are usually Mastercard or Visa products, which means they are widely accepted and you can use them both online and in-store at millions of locations around the world.

Learn more about prepaid cards

Compare some of Canada’s best credit cards for online shopping

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
Tangerine World Mastercard
1.95% rate on balance transfers for 6 months
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
BMO CashBack Mastercard
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,000). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
Brim Mastercard
Up to $200 worth of bonuses
1 point per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to $200 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time through the Brim mobile app.
American Express Business Edge Card
57,000 points
Up to 3 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$99
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 57,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year.
Brim World Mastercard
Up to $300 worth of bonuses
1.5 points for every $1 spent
19.99%
$99
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to $300 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time through the Brim mobile app. 
BMO Rewards Business Mastercard
35,000 points
Up to 3 points per $1 spent
14.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get 35,000 points and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year (a total value of $295 when you pay with points).
BMO Cashback Business Mastercard
10% cash back
Up to 1.75% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get 10% cash back on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills for 3 months.
BMO CashBack Mastercard For Students
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get up to 5% cash back in the first three months (up to max. spend of $2,000). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months (with a 1% transfer fee).
Shell CashBack World Mastercard from BMO
N/A
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$79
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Earn 3% cash back at Shell stations in Canada, plus 1.25% cash back on all other spend.
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
50,000 points
Up to 2 points per $1 spent
N/A
$250
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months.
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