Finder Credit Card Awards

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Welcome to the Finder Credit Card Awards 2021

Our awards are designed to find the credit cards that stand out as excellent choices for Canadians in the most important categories: Travel, Rewards, Cash Back, No Annual Fee, Balance Transfer and Low Rate. When picking the best credit cards in each category, we used a data-driven approach to analyze all relevant features and fees fairly and equally to arrive at our list of winners and finalists.

The winners

We’ve selected a winner for travel, rewards, cash back, no annual fee, balance transfer and low rate. You can read more on our methodology below. We considered all widely available credit card products for the Finder Credit Card Awards, including those from all major banks and challenger banks. Any credit card products that were excluded from consideration were excluded on the basis of very limited availability to the average Canadian (regardless of province of residence) OR if the card could not be used at a wide range of retailers/service providers.

Here are the winners for 2021:

Best Rewards Credit Cards

To be eligible for this category, a card needs to offer either rewards points or miles.

Best Travel Credit Cards

Credit cards in this category must earn rewards points or miles, complimentary travel insurance and at least one other travel-related perk, such as airport lounge access or car rental perks.

Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Cards offering cash back were considered for this category.

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Cards in this category must charge no annual fee for the life of the card – cards offering no fee for a limited period, such as the first year, are not included.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Credit cards offering a balance transfer rate of 3.99% or less were considered in this category. We also take into account balance transfer fees and the number of months the offer is valid for.

Best Low Rate Credit Cards

This category considers any cards with purchase interest rates of 12.99% or lower. Cards offering temporary low interest rates were not considered here.

Finder Credit Card Awards winners announcement

Consumer credit card sentiment

The start of the year is typically a time of housekeeping and planning. Paying off holiday bills, setting budgets, and reevaluating financial products, including credit cards.

And it turns out Canadians are wary of taking on more debt in 2022 with three times as many people saying they will use their credit card less this year or stop entirely (20%), as compared to those saying they will use their card more (5%).

1.6 million Canadians (5%) say they plan to switch or have a card that doesn’t meet their needs. An additional 3% of Canadians say their credit card brings them stress.


Credit Card Features – 2022 Ranking

We asked Canadians which credit card perks mattered to them most in 2022. Unsurprisingly, the number one focus was low interest rates, which 26.5% or 8.2 million Canadians cited as their top priority in a card.

Coming in a close second are cards which offer rewards programs and points with 24.6% or 7.6 million prioritizing this category. The third highest focus for 19.2% or 5.9 million Canadians is to earn cash back in a credit card. Closely following cash back is 18.9% or 5.8 million Canadians looking for a low-annual fee on their credit card.

Rounding out the list is travel, with 9.5% or 2.9 million Canadians looking for their credit card to provide travel miles, points or other perks. Finally, being a more niche category focused on debt consolidation and repayment is balance transfer cards, with just 4.9% or 1.5 million Canadians citing this as a key priority in their credit card.


Demographic Trends

Gender

  • Men are more likely to say they plan to switch cards this year (3% vs 2%) for women.
  • Women are more likely to say they will use their credit card less (12% vs 9%)
  • Men are slightly more likely to care about rewards (25% vs 23% of women) and balance transfer (6% vs 4% of women)

Generation

On average 21% of older Canadians aged 45 – 65+ say they plan to use their credit card less or stop entirely versus an average of just 18% of younger Canadians aged 18 – 44

  • Canadians aged 25 – 34 (5%) are most likely to have a card that doesn’t meet their current needs or that brings them stress (5%)
  • Canadians aged 18 – 24 (6%) are more likely than any other generation to say they plan to use their card more
  • Younger Canadians aged 18 – 34 more likely to say they prefer rewards credit cards
  • Seniors also most likely to say they care about low interest rate cards (20%)

Region

Overall Western Canadians seem to be more satisfied with their credit cards, as just 3% of Western Canadians (BC, SK, MB, AB) say they have a credit card that doesn’t meet their needs or plan to switch cards vs more than 7% of Eastern Canadians (ON, QC, Atlantic)


Providers we compared

LenderReview
American Express logoAmerican ExpressAmerican ExpressAmerican Express offers a range of credit cards to cater to all types of customers, as well as the exclusive Experiences rewards program.See the range
BMO logoBMOBMO has some of the most competitive balance transfer and low rate credit card options, as well as a range of travel, cash back and rewards cards. BMO is a Big Five bank.See the range
Brim logoBrimNew to the credit card market, Brim is an innovative company with cards offering cash back in points that can be used to pay off your credit card balance.See the range
Capital One logoCapital OneCapital One offers credit-builder cards for those looking to improve their credit score, as well as competitive rewards cards.See the range
CIBC logoCIBCOne of the Big Five banks, CIBC has a wide variety of credit card products, with rewards, cash back, student and business cards.See the range
Desjardins logoDesjardinsThe Desjardins Group is a financial services cooperative and the largest federation of credit unions in North America. It offers a range of cards including cash back, rewards, student cards and no annual fee.See the range
Home Trust logoHome TrustHome Trust has a small offering of credit cards which cater to those looking to rebuild credit, access home equity or earn cash back.See the range
HSBC logoHSBCOne of the world’s largest banks, HSBC has an extensive credit card product range, with 24/7 customer service and global reward systems.See the range
MBNA logoMBNAA subsidiary of TD, MBNA offers a wide range of credit cards including co-branded cards, rewards, travel, balance transfer and cash back.See the range
National Bank logoNational BankThe sixth largest bank in Canada, National Bank offers a suite of credit cards alongside the À la carte Rewards Plan.See the range
Neo Financial logoNeoNeo Financial is a Canadian tech company that offers a Mastercard branded cash back card. The company also offers the Hudson’s Bay Mastercard.See the range
PC Financial logoPC FinancialPresident’s Choice Bank powers the President’s Choice Financial Mastercard. Earn and redeem PC Optimum points at 4,500 locations across Canada including Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws.See the range
RBC logoRBCOne of the Big Five banks, RBC is the biggest bank in Canada by market capitalization. RBC offers a range of credit cards including rewards, travel, cash back, balance transfer, no annual fee, business and low rate cards.See the range
Rogers Bank logoRogers BankRogers Bank is a Canadian financial services company owned by Rogers Communications. The company offers both secured and unsecured Mastercard credit cards.See the range
Scotiabank logoScotiabankScotiabank is a Big Five bank that operates nationwide and has a big presence in the Americas too. A suite of credit cards are offered including travel, rewards, cash back, balance transfer and low rate cards.See the range
Simplii Financial logoSimplii FinancialSimplii Financial is the direct banking brand of CIBC. Founded in 2017, the bank offers a cash back credit card.See the range
Tangerine logoTangerineTangerine Bank is a subsidiary of Scotiabank. It offers cash back credit cards that typically come with sign-up bonuses and insurance coverage.See the range
TD logoTDTD Canada Trust is a Big Five bank offering a range of credit cards including travel, rewards, cash back, low rate and balance transfer cards.See the range
Canadian Tire Triangle logoTriangleTriangle offers a range of Mastercard credit cards issued by Canadian Tire Bank. Earn CT Money and use it at a range of stores including Canadian Tire, Sport Chek and more.See the range

Credit card ratings methodology

Finder considered all widely available credit card products for the Finder Credit Card Awards, including those from all major banks and challenger banks. Any credit card products that were excluded from consideration were excluded on the basis of very limited availability to the average Canadian (regardless of province of residence) OR if the card could not be used at a wide range of retailers/service providers.

To get a full breakdown of the methodology used to select the best travel, rewards, cash back, no annual fee, balance transfer and low rate cards, see above.

Evaluation took place in September and October 2021 with awards consideration closing October 31, 2021. Any new card features or details announced after October 31, 2021 would not have been factored into evaluation for the 2021 Finder Credit Card Awards.

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