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Cash back credit cards 2020

Use a cash back credit card to earn cash rewards on your credit card purchases.

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If you’ve been looking for a rewards card, you’ve more than likely come across something called a cash back credit card. This is the most basic type of rewards card, and if you know how to use cash back cards to your advantage, you can see fantastic rewards.

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

19.99 % APR

Purchase interest rate

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

Apply today and receive 10% cash back (up to $400 in total cash back) in the first 4 months of Cardmembership.

  • Purchase interest rate: 19.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 21.99%
  • Annual fee: $99
  • Credit rating: 650+
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Compare cash back credit cards*

Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Cash Back Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Reward
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express
19.99%
21.99%
2%
$99
N/A
Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases
Earn 10% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to $400 in cash back) for the first four months of Cardmembership.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
1.95% intro APR for the first , 19.95% thereafter
19.95%
2%
$0
$12,000
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.
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 World Elite Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
1.5%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
$80,000
Earn 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases.
Get up to 10% cash back in your first 3 months and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year.
Shell CashBack Mastercard from BMO
19.99%
22.99%
1.5%
$0
$15,000
Get 1.5% cash back at participating Shell locations in Canada (up to a maximum spend of $2,500 in any monthly billing period), and get 0.5% cash back everywhere else.
Get $50 in cash back bonuses once you charge your first eligible purchase to your card. Plus, earn 1% cash back for the first 6 months on all eligible purchases.
BMO Cashback Business Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
1.75%
$0
N/A
Earn 1.5% cash back on eligible gas purchases, office supplies and on cell phone and internet recurring payments, earn 1.75% cash back at participating Shell stations, and earn 0.75% on all other eligible card purchases.
Get 10% cash back on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills for 3 months.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
0.5%
$0
$15,000
Earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to a maximum spend of $2,000, and earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases thereafter). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
BMO CashBack Mastercard For Students
19.99%
22.99%
0.5%
$0
$15,000
Earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.
Get up to 5% cash back in the first three months (up to a maximum spend of $2,000, and earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases thereafter). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months, with a 1% fee for every transferred balance.
Shell CashBack World Mastercard from BMO
19.99%
22.99%
3%
$79
$60,000
Get 3% cash back per $1 spent at Shells stations, 1.25% cash back on all other spend.
Earn 3% cash back at Shell stations in Canada, plus 1.25% cash back on all other spend.
Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
22.99%
1%
$0
$12,000
Get 1% cash back on all eligible gas station, grocery store and drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, and get 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Get a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all eligible purchases for the first 6 months. Apply by October 31, 2020.
Scotia Momentum Mastercard
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
22.99%
1%
$0
$12,000
Get 1% cash back on all eligible gas station, grocery store and drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, and get 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Get a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all eligible purchases for the first 6 months. Apply by October 31, 2020.
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How do cash back credit cards work?

Cash back credit cards are a type of rewards credit card that pays cash rewards on purchases. With a cash back credit card, cash is rewarded as a percentage of each purchase made. If your cash back credit card paid 1% cash back on all purchases, for example, you would earn $1 for every $100 in credit card purchases you make.

Most providers will automatically send your cash back to you – either monthly or annually – by making a direct deposit into your bank account or by sending you a cheque in the mail. This means you can typically use your cash back however you please.

Types of cash back rewards programs

Cash back rewards programs are set up in three basic ways:

  1. Flat rate rewards. With flat rate rewards, the credit card pays a flat percentage as a reward on all purchases. This kind of reward program is easy to understand and earning rewards is almost effortless.
  2. Tiered rewards. This type of program pays different percentages of rewards on different categories of purchases. This type of rewards program will require a little more calculation and strategy in using your credit card if you want to earn the maximum amount of rewards.
  3. Rotating categories. A rotating categories cash back credit card offers a higher reward rate for certain categories. With these cards, you may even be able to choose the spending categories yourself and change them monthly. Much like tiered rewards, you’ll need to analyze your spending and choose categories accordingly.

Is a cash back credit card right for you?

While the opportunity to earn cash back may sound appealing, cash back credit cards aren’t for everyone. A cash rewards credit card is ideal for you if you:

  • Pay your balance in full every month. Paying interest on a cash back credit card can add up quickly. Spending money on interest negates the rewards you’ve earned on your credit card.
  • Can responsibly use a credit card often. Earning the maximum amount of cash back rewards means using your credit card as frequently as possible. However, you should spend only what you can afford to pay back and to use your income to pay off your credit card balance rather than to make additional purchases.

How to choose a cash back credit card

While the opportunity to earn cash back may sound appealing, cash back credit cards aren’t for everyone. Still, this type of card can serve you well if you carefully choose the right product.

  1. Decide whether a cash back card is the right choice.
    A cash back credit card may be a good fit if you want rewards that are easy to redeem and you’re okay with not having top-of-the-line perks such as travel credits and elite status in loyalty programs. If you want a card with more features, consider a premium travel card.
  2. Decide if you want to pay an annual fee.
    Cards with the highest cash back rates may have annual fees. However, you can find many excellent cash back cards with no annual fees. If you decide to pay this cost, consider whether you’ll earn enough rewards to cover what you pay.
  3. Analyze your spending and find a rewards structure that fits.
    Think about what you typically spend on. If your spending is concentrated in certain categories, you might like a card that offers bonus rewards for those purchases. If you spend relatively evenly throughout many categories, a flat rate cash back card might fit the bill. This is a card that offers the same cash back rate on all purchases, no matter the category.
  4. Look at other benefits.
    When you’ve narrowed your potential picks, look into other features such as signup bonuses, balance transfer offers and travel insurance coverage. You may be able to easily pick a winner among cards that are seemingly identical.

Compare apps to help you earn even more rewards

Name Product Reward Fees Participating Brands Min. to Cash Out
Ampli
1-10% cash back, or a set $ amount
$0
50+
$15
Link your debit and credit cards to the Ampli app and earn cash back at 50+ big retailers across Canada. Enter promo code AMPLI5 to receive a $5.00 cash back bonus on signup.
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What to watch out for

  • Reward expiration. Check the fine print to find out whether your cash back rewards will expire. Remember to use your rewards before they expire otherwise you lose out on all your hard earned cash.
  • Excluded purchases. Knowing the ins and outs of your rewards program can keep you from being surprised at your rewards earnings. Cash back is rewarded based on a merchant code and on the merchant’s business type, so some purchases with a merchant may not earn rewards the way you would assume. For example, books purchased at a warehouse store won’t count toward cash rewards for bookstore purchases.

Frequently asked questions

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