Top Canadian Visa Credit Cards of 2019
Choose the Best Visa Credit Card
For some, choosing the best Visa credit card for you and your lifestyle can be overwhelming, especially when there are so many options. Fortunately, RateSupermarket.ca makes it easy to compare the best credit cards on the market. Our site allows you to conveniently assess features, fees and interest rates of different cards to help you compare apples to apples.
What is a Visa credit card?
According to the Visa Canada website, the Visa credit card was launched in 1976, but its origins trace back to 1958 when Bank of America introduced its first credit card for customers. Today, Visa operates in more than 200 countries and territories and is widely recognized and accepted everywhere in the world.
And while Visa is actually a payment system, Visa-branded credit cards are issued by banks, trust companies and credits unions. Since credit cards bear the Visa logo, many people mistakenly think that Visa is the company that issues the credit.
With a Visa credit card, you can make purchases, book travel, and rent cars in-person or online wherever Visa is accepted, and also withdraw cash at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and financial institutions.
There are many different specialty Visa credit cards (for example, the TD Visa Travel Rewards credit cards), but every Visa card falls into one of these category types, each of which offers a progressive level of features and benefits:
- Visa Classic
- Visa Gold
- Visa Platinum
- Visa Infinite
- Visa Infinite Privilege
Visa credit cards are available for both individual consumer and business use.
What are the benefits to a Visa credit card?
All Visa credit cards offer certain basic benefits whether they are Visa Classic, Visa Gold, Visa Platinum, Visa Infinite or Visa Infinite Privilege.
These benefits include:
- Worldwide acceptance
- Zero liability for purchases you did not authorize when your card is lost or stolen
- Around the clock access to customer service if your card is stolen
- Emergency card replacement
Guaranteed hotel reservations (a reservation at a hotel or rental agency promises to have a room or car available for you, so long as the reservation is made with your credit card.
What types of specialty credit cards does Visa offer?
Specialty Visa credit cards are not offered by Visa. These are offered by the financial institutions that issue Visa-branded cards. Specialty cards generally have some sort of extra added benefit based on the type of card (for example, a department store Visa may offer discounts in-store when you use the card) in combination with the features and benefits of five main types of Visa credit cards – Visa Classic, Visa Gold, Visa Platinum, Visa Infinite and Visa Infinite Privilege.
What are the different types of specialty cards?
Rewards cards, Cash Back cards, Travel Insurance cards, Low Interest cards, Balance Transfer cards, No-Fee cards
Reward cards:Reward cards allow you to earn points when you make purchases and redeem those points from a catalogue of merchandise or discounted products. For example, the CIBC Tim Hortons® Double Double™ Visa* Card earns points that can be redeemed for coffee and food at Tim Horton’s, or the SCENE®* VISA* card earns points that can be redeemed for free movies at Cineplex Theatres, or some cards earn points that can be used towards gas at certain stations. Other reward credit cards help you earn points on travel.
Cash back cards: Some specialty cards are known as “cash back cards.” Cash back cards typically give you a percentage of cash back based on your transactions. For example, if a cash back card offers two per cent cash back on each purchase, you earn $2 for every $100 you spend. It may not sound like a lot, but if you use your cash back credit card for everyday purchases, it could add up over time to an impressive amount.
Travel credit cards: Some specialty cards are known as “travel cards.” These types of cards usually have the added benefit of trip-related and medical insurance coverage, so you’re protected from trip cancellations, delays, lost luggage, and medical emergencies while abroad.
Low Interest cards: Some specialty cards have lower interest rates than the standard credit card. If you tend to carry an unpaid balance from month-to-month, you can save money with card that has a lower interest rate. The standard interest rate on most credit cards is 19.99 per cent, but a low-interest card will accumulate less interest, meaning you pay less on your unpaid balance.
Balance Transfer cards: Some specialty cards have lower balance transfer rates than the standard credit card. If you are consolidating your debts, you can benefit from a card with a low balance transfer rate, making it easier to reduce your debt load.
No-Fee cards: While some credit cards come with an annual fee, some cards have no annual fee at all. However, if you’re getting a no-fee card, you should look at the interest rate closely. Some cards offer no annual fee but come with an inflated interest rate to compensate. This is important to note if you don’t pay off your credit card balance each month in full.
What is the best Visa credit card for cash back?
The Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite credit card is an excellent choice if you want cash back on your transactions. It’s been awarded RateSupermarket.ca’s five-star rating and for good reason.
It’s a high-earning cash back credit card with travel benefits and no annual fee for the first year if you are a new Scotiabank customer. You also get four per cent cash back on gas station and grocery store purchases, two per cent cash back on eligible drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, and one per cent on all other purchases.
This card is loaded with added benefits, such as around the clock personal assistance in planning your trip, making restaurant reservations, booking accommodations, or buying concert tickets.
What is the best Visa credit card for travel rewards?
Our favourite Visa credit card for travel rewards is the RBC Visa Infinite‡ Avion®. Here’s why:
- 15,000 bonus points upon application approval
- First year's annual fee is waived
- Extensive travel benefits and insurance
- 10,000 extra RBC Rewards Points with a minimum spend of $1,000 or more within three months of opening your account
The best thing about the RBC Visa Infinite‡ Avion® is you don’t have to wait and collect points to start traveling; they give you enough points in the sign up bonus alone that can take you on a short-haul flight. If you want to travel further, the sign up bonus is a great start to getting you where you want to go.
Another great choice is the ScotiaGold Passport® VISA* card – which we gave a rating of 4.5 stars. This card gives you reward points for eligible purchases and five per cent cash back on Scotia Rewards Travel Service bookings for hotel, cruise, flight and vacation packages. You also get 5,000 bonus points upon your first purchase.
The card offers comprehensive insurance coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel medical emergencies and car rentals. In addition, you will have access to a worldwide network of specialists for concierge help with concert tickets, dinner reservations and much more.
At RateSupermarket.ca, you can compare the features of more great travel options like the TD Platinum Travel Visa , CIBC Aventura® Visa InfiniteTM, TD Classic Travel Visa and Shell AIR MILES World MasterCard®* from BMO.
What is the best Visa credit card with a low interest rate?
If you need a great card with a low interest rate, the CIBC Select Visa™ credit card may be best for you. It has a four-star rating from RateSupermarket.ca, and is only available to those with a fair credit score. The card has a low annual free of $29, but you also get an interest rate of 11.99 per cent, occasional promotional offers for lower balance transfer rates, and a $100,000 Common Carrier Accident Insurance policy. You also get access to optional CIBC Payment Protector™ Insure for credit cards and optional CIBC Emergency Travel Medical Insurance.
Another great choice is the Scotiabank Value® VISA* card, which also has a four-star rating and a low interest rate of 11.99 per cent for a low annual fee of $29. You also get a 0.99 per cent introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months with this credit card. Other benefits include purchase protection and extended warranty, and a discount on Avis rental cars.
Compare credit cards that offer low interest rates at RateSupermarket.ca.
What is the best Visa credit card for transferring my current credit card balance?
If you want to move your unpaid balance from one credit card to another, either to save on interest or consolidate your debts, you may want to look into a card with a low interest rate on balance transfers.
The Scotia Value® Visa card is rated four stars out of five by RateSupermarket.ca. As an introductory offer, it comes with a 0.99 per cent interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months. After that, the interest rate on unpaid balances is 11.99 per cent, so you should try to make all your transfers before the six-month period ends. Cash advances are also relatively low at 11.99 per cent. This credit card also provides purchase protection and extended warranty on your purchases, as well as a discount on rental cars from Avis.
At RateSupermarket.ca, you can compare cards that offer low balance transfer interest rates and find the best one for your needs.
What is the best Visa credit card with no annual fee?
RateSupermarket.ca offers quite a few Visa credit cards with no annual fee.
For example, a popular choice is the RBC Rewards+ Visa card. For a card with no annual fee, this card comes with many attractive, flexible features and benefits. Upon approval, you already get 2,500 bonus points as well as a 1.9 per cent welcome interest rate on balance transfers and cash advances for the first 10 months of cardmembership.
In terms of earning potential, you get one RBC Rewards® point for every $1 spent on gas, grocery and drug store purchases, and for every $2 spent on all other purchases. RBC Rewards® points can be redeemed for a slew of different gift cards and merchandise.
What is the difference between a Visa and Mastercard?
The similarities between these two payment card systems outweigh any differences. In fact, any differences are generally due to the structure of rewards, benefits, special features and offers available from the issuing financial institution. Both Visa and MasterCard are widely recognized and accepted all over the world.
Which financial institutions offer Visa credit cards in Canada?
The following banks, trusts and credit unions offer Visa credit cards:
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
- Chase Canada
- Home Trust Company
- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Canada)
- Laurentian Bank
- Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
- TD Canada Trust
- Vancouver City Savings Credit Union
What is Visa Checkout and Visa Contactless Payment?
Visa Checkout: By registering your credit card information and shipping address with Visa Checkout, you won’t have to keep entering that information on participating online retail websites for each of your purchases, saving you time when shopping online.
Visa Contactless Payment: Contactless payments allow you to pay for purchases at merchants by simply tapping the terminal instead of swiping or entering your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Whenever you see a contactless symbol on the checkout terminal, you usually can tap your contactless card or payment-enabled device to pay.
Does a credit card cost money?
The “cost” of a credit card usually comes in the form of annual fees (although there are some credit cards that do not charge an annual fee) and interest accrued on unpaid balances.
Some specialty credit cards have a higher fee than other credit cards, such as those that earn rewards, come with travel benefits, or offer a lower interest rate. The fees can range widely, but generally the more features, or the lower the interest rate, the higher the fee.
That being said, there are some cards that don’t have an annual fee, but also have a higher interest rate. It’s something to watch closely when you compare credit cards. Most cards with an annual fee charge it to your credit card once a year. Although, the American Express CobaltTM Credit Card is notably one of the only cards on the market that breaks up its annual fee into monthly payments. The card comes with a slew of reward options and also allows cardmembers to pay off the $120 annual fee in increments of $10 per month.
Other fees associated with credit cards can include:
- Cash advance fees: This fee is applied when you withdraw cash at an ATM or bank, trust company or credit union from your credit card. It’s usually calculated as a fixed amount per cash advance or a percentage of the amount of the cash advance. Sometimes it can even be a combination of a fixed amount and a percentage of the cash advance.
- This fee is charged in addition to the cash advance interest rate, which is usually higher than the regular interest rate charged on your purchases.
- Foreign currency charges: When you make a purchase in a currency other than the Canadian dollar, you are charged based on the exchange rate for the day the purchase is made, in addition to a currency conversion fee. If you return the item later on, the refund amount may be less or more than the original transaction because exchange rates change on a daily basis.
- Over-the-limit fees: If you exceed the credit limit on your Visa credit card, you may be charged a fee.
- Dishonoured payment fees: If you make a payment but do not have enough funds in your bank account to cover the amount, you will incur this charge. The same is true if you use a credit card cheque for an amount that exceeds your credit limit.
- Inactive account fee: If you don’t use your credit card at least once a month, you may be charged a fee. Not using your card may also have a negative impact on your credit score.
If you’re in the market for a new credit card or just want to compare how your current card stacks up to Canada’s top credit cards, check out RateSupermarket.ca today!
What is the best Visa credit card in Canada?
Credit cards are not “one-size-fits-all.” Thus, there is no single card that can be labelled as “the best.” The best credit card for you depends on your unique needs. If you travel frequently, you will probably want the best travel card you can get. Similarly, there are Visa credit cards that work best if you want cash back for your purchases, rewards from a variety of merchants, a low interest rate on unpaid balances, or no annual fee. It all depends on your lifestyle.
RateSupermarket.ca’s comparison tool will show you the best credit card for you and provide all the information you will need to make a well-informed decision.
The Best Credit Cards in Canada
|Travel Rewards View all »||Sponsored RBC Visa Infinite‡ Avion® »||MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus® Mastercard® »||MBNA Smart Cash® World Mastercard® »|
|Gas Rewards View all »||Sponsored Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card »||American Express CobaltTM Credit Card »||Meridian™ Visa Infinite* Cash Back Card »|
|Low interest View all »||Sponsored True Line® Mastercard® credit card »||Sponsored American Express Essential™ Credit Card »||Scotia Momentum® Mastercard ®* Credit Card »|
|Balance Transfer View all »||Sponsored American Express Essential™ Credit Card »||Sponsored True Line® Mastercard® credit card »||Sponsored RBC Rewards+ Visa Card »|
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