Credit Cards

What’s the best credit card? We recommend cards to four different Canadians

By: Rebecca Lee on November 29, 2016

I first started using a credit card because my financial advisor (Papa Lee) told me I needed to build up my credit history and earn points. So off I went.

Groceries, shoes, books? Say hello to my little Visa — the same little Visa I’ve been using for years because it never occurred to me to shop for a credit card. I defaulted to my bank’s offer and didn’t think twice.

Raise your hand (in cyber spirit!) if you’ve ever done the same.

There’s a card for everyone — but it’s not the same card

We shared a survey on Twitter and asked people to tell us a little bit about themselves and their credit card habits/preferences. Why? Because we wanted to show you that there are a lot of great credit card options, but no, not every card is right for every person.

So we picked four survey submissions as an example and used each person’s profile to recommend a credit card that we think they’d love and actually benefit from using.

Responses were anonymous, so I’m going to identify them by their professions: student, designer, chef, entrepreneur. Now let’s talk credit cards.

Age range: 25 – 34

Income range: Under $20,000

Number of credit cards: 1

Do you usually carry a balance? No. I pay my card off every month

What type of credit cards are you interested in? Rewards

Would you pay an annual fee? Depends on the benefits of the card

What do you use your credit cards for? Personal use only

The card we’d recommend: Tangerine Money-Back credit card

Tangerine’s Money-Back card is great for just about anyone, but since it has no annual fee, it’s especially suited to students who don’t have a lot of money. And speaking of money and a lack of it, let’s get to the rewards. Tangerine’s Money-Back credit card gives you cash back, which literally means that as you spend money on your card, you earn money back. Here are the cash back rates:

  • 4% cash back on the purchase categories of your choice for the first 3 months

  • 2% cash back for the purchase categories of your choice (applies after first 3 months)

  • 1% cash back on all other spending categories (applicable always!)

And the 19.95% interest rate — standard for any rewards credit card — is a non-issue if you pay off your credit card every month anyway (kudos on that btw).

Age range: 18 – 24

Income range: $50,000 – $70,000

Number of credit cards: 3

Do you usually carry a balance? Yes. I always carry a balance

What type of credit cards are you interested in? Rewards cards, low interest cards, and secured cards

Would you pay an annual fee? Depends on the benefits of the cards

What do you use your credit cards for? Personal use only

The card we’d recommend: MBNA Rewards MasterCard®

So you’re a young professional with multiple credit cards and you always carry a balance? What you need is a card that combines excellent rewards with practical benefits. Enter the MBNA Rewards MasterCard®.

It’s got all the good stuff: rewards points redeemable for cash back, travel, merch, etc., plus a 5,000 point sign-up bonus. There’s also no annual fee and when you apply for the card through our site, you get a free $100 gift card (to the merchant of your choice) upon approval.

Now the practical: this card also offers a 0% balance transfer rate for the first 6 months. You can transfer your current credit card balances to this card and pay off your consolidated balance from there, interest-free.

I know you didn’t actually ask about balance transfer cards, but food for thought, y’know?

Age range: 35 – 44

Income range: $40,000 – $50,000

Number of credit cards: 1

Do you usually carry a balance? Yes. I always carry a balance

What type of credit cards are you interested in? Low interest cards

Would you pay an annual fee? Depends on the benefits of the card

What do you use your credit cards for? Personal use only

The card we recommend: Scotiabank Value® Visa

Your credit card needs are simple: you want a low interest rate because you always carry a balance. Well, how about a card that has a low rate and can help you reduce your existing credit card debt? Wouldn’t that be the perfect garnish?

But, lame cooking jokes aside, the Scotiabank Value® Visa is one of the best low interest credit card offers out there. It has a rate of 11.99% and a balance transfer rate of 0% for the first 6 months. That means you can move the balance from your current credit card to this card and avoid collecting more interest charges on your debt, at least for a couple months.

We also send approved applicants a $75 gift card (to the merchant of their choice) when they apply for the Scotiabank Value® Visa on our site. That’s just our way of sweetening the offer.

Age range: 35-44

Income range: $100,000 - $150,000

Number of credit cards: 1

Do you usually carry a balance? I sometimes carry a balance

What type of credit cards are you interested in? Rewards cards, secured cards

Would you pay an annual fee? No way

What do you use your credit cards for? Personal use only

The card we recommend: SimplyCash Card from American Express

You’re (probably) a go-getter and take advantage of potential earning opportunities. Here’s a new one: the SimplyCash Card from American Express. It offers high rewards, zero fees, and insurance — the details are below.

  • 5% cash back on all eligible purchases for your first 6 months

  • 1.25% cash back on all other purchases and after the intro rate period ends

  • 0% balance transfer rate for the first 6 months

  • Travel accident insurance

  • Car rental theft and damage insurance

  • Special access and tickets for concerts, shows, and more via American Express Invites®

In summary, it’s a compelling offer. And as an entrepreneur, you want a card that can do it all — just like you.

You don’t need to be loyal

Not to a credit card anyway. Your bank’s offer isn’t necessarily the best option and neither is whatever card your friend’s using.

Before you commit to a credit card, you need to consider a few things that are unique to you: your income level, spending habits, preferred perks, attitude toward fees, and the list goes on.

So charge on, but charge smart.

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