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Best no-fee credit cards in Canada

Fees attached to credit cards used to mean those cards had something to offer in the form of rewards, travel miles or cash-back. In some cases, cards had fees with no rewards, as well. And if a card didn’t have a fee, you likely didn’t get anything in return at all.

But many financial institutions looking to attract customers have developed no-fee cards that are more attractive and offer some form of reward back to customers.

What exactly is a no-fee credit card?

It’s all in the name. A no-fee credit card is a card that doesn't have an annual fee. A lot of cards charge a fee just for the privilege of using them, or for the promise of some form of reward, but no-fee credit cards give you basic credit card benefits and don't charge a dime. These days, financial institutions offer no-fee cards that come with rewards, cash back and other perks.

Who should get a no-fee credit card?

Students, the budget-minded and anyone who wants a basic, backup credit card. Most students don't have a lot of extra money lying around, so paying annual credit card fees doesn't make sense. And if you're trying to stick to a budget, an annual credit card fee won't help your cause.

No-fee credit cards are also great for people who have no credit and want to build that up for future loans or credit needs, or even people who might want to repair their credit.

At the higher end, some people who use high-reward American Express or MasterCard credit cards may carry an extra card in case their main card doesn't work (or they max it out). That's where the no-fee credit card comes in. No-fee cards cost nothing to own, so they're the perfect backup.

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Advantages and disadvantages of having a no-fee credit card.

No two people are the same financially. Everyone has their personal budgetary restraints and limits. That is why different credit cards will appeal to and work better for some people more than others. When considering the type of credit card you need, alongside your own budgetary framework, be mindful of what no-fee cards do and do not offer.

What features and benefits do no-fee credit cards have?

Cards without annual fees often come with good rewards programs. Many offer cash back, travel rewards and other rewards points.

For example, here are some of the perks you can get with an American Express AIR MILES Credit Card:

If you prefer cash rewards, the SimplyCash Card from American Express might be perfect for you. With the SimplyCash Card, you can:

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card earns you:

Many no-fee credit cards also offer things like:

If you pay your balance on time and use your card responsibly, you'll get all these benefits at no extra charge.

Are there any disadvantages to using a no-fee credit card?

If you simply want or need credit and are not concerned with the perks, a no-fee credit card does the job.

However, no-fee credit cards often don't provide the same level of rewards benefits that fee-charging cards offer.

They usually come with fewer travel benefits as well. You probably won't get trip cancellation coverage, baggage loss reimbursement or travel emergency medical coverage with a typical no-fee card.

Check the table below to see how some of our favourite no-fee credit cards stack up against a comparable fee card.

Card

The American Express® AIR MILES®* Credit Card.

Rewards

1 reward mile for every $15 spent on gas/grocery/drug store purchases, and for every $20 spent elsewhere.

Annual Fee

$0

Interest rate

19.99%

Sign-up bonus

500 AIR MILES®* Reward Miles.

  

Your no-fee card questions, answered.

Looking for more credit card info? Check out our Help Centre.

What should I watch out for when it comes to my no-fee credit card?

Some credit cards only waive their annual fee for the first year, but still get categorized as no-fee cards. If you're looking for a card that never requires an annual fee, make sure the card's no-fee status is permanent and not just an introductory offer.

And, as with all credit cards, check the fine print and carefully review the interest rates and surcharges on the card.

Compare no-fee credit cards today

Don’t believe in paying annual fees just for the privilege of using a credit card? You’re not alone. There are plenty of great no-fee cards out there, and we can help you find the best one — just like that.

How can I find the best no-fee credit card in Canada?

Finding the best no-fee credit card in Canada is easy when you comparison shop on LowestRates.ca. We will break down the best no-fee cards in Canada and tell you which ones have rewards, how you earn those rewards, the interest rates associated with the cards and so much more.

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