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13 Best Credit Cards to Rebuild Credit in Canada (2023)

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If you have a poor or bad credit score, a secured or unsecured credit card designed for rebuilding credit can help turn your finances around.

While you generally don’t need a great credit score to apply for a prepaid card you can use for everyday shopping online, credit card issuers are much stricter.

Lenders look at your credit history and usually won’t approve your credit card application if your credit score is below 660.

That said, there are financial institutions in Canada that offer secured, unsecured, low-interest-rate cards and even guaranteed approval credit cards to people with bad credit.

This article covers the best credit cards for rebuilding credit or establishing credit in Canada.

Secured and Unsecured Credit Cards for Bad Credit

A secured credit card requires that you make a security deposit before you can access credit.

The security deposit acts as collateral and is equivalent to your credit limit. This lowers the risk of default faced by a lender if you are unable to pay off your balance.

When you no longer need the card, you can close your account and get your deposit back.

An unsecured credit card does not require a security deposit; however, you must meet minimum requirements, including a good credit score.

Both secured and unsecured credit cards report your activity to the credit bureaus. This can help build or rebuild your credit if you use the card responsibly.

Best Secured Credit Cards to Rebuild Credit in Canada

There is a high degree of probability that you will be approved for some of the cards on this list, regardless of your credit score.

Neo Secured Mastercard

Neo Secured Credit

Rewards: Earn up to 5% real cash back on purchases.

Welcome offer: 15% cashback on your first purchases, plus a $25 welcome bonus.

Interest rates: 19.99% – 29.99% for purchases; 22.99% – 31.99% for cash advances.

Annual fee: $0

Credit limit: Starts at $50.

Credit score required: Poor or bad credit score.

The Neo Secured Mastercard is the best credit card for bad credit in Canada.

Unlike traditional secured credit cards that charge a fee and don’t pay rewards, the Neo Secured Card offers up to 5% cash back when you spend with the card.

Approval is guaranteed, and when you sign up using our referral link, you also get a $25 cash bonus plus 15% cash back when you make your first purchase at several participating retailers.

You can easily redeem your cash back to pay off your credit card balance.

There’s no cap on your credit limit with this card, which is equivalent to your security funds. Learn more in this Neo Secured Card review.

Home Trust Secured Visa

Home Trust Secured Visa

Rewards: Earn points you can redeem for cash.

Interest rates: 14.90% on purchases; 19.80% on cash advances.

Annual fee: $59.

Credit limit: $500 to $10,000.

Credit score required: Poor or bad credit score.

The no-fee Home Trust Secured Visa can help you rebuild credit.

Cardholders can choose what their credit limit is based on how much they provide as a security deposit, with a minimum amount of $500 and a maximum of $10,000.

Note that if you carry a balance beyond the grace period, a 19.99% purchase rate applies.

Read my Home Trust Secured Visa review.

Best Prepaid Card to Rebuild Credit

KOHO Prepaid Mastercard

KOHO Prepaid Mastercard

Rewards: Earn 1% cash back on groceries and transportation; Up to 5% cashback at select partners; Earn interest on your balance*.

Welcome offer: Get a $20 bonus when you load and make your first purchase (use promo code CASHBACK during sign-up).

Interest rate fee: 0%

Annual fee: $0

The KOHO Prepaid Mastercard is not your typical credit card (it is a prepaid card), and you can qualify for it with any type of credit rating (including a bad credit score).

It offers a Credit Building Program for those looking to increase their credit score quickly.

After getting the free KOHO Card, simply subscribe to Credit Building at $7 to $10 per month. They report your monthly subscription fee payments to the credit bureaus, which helps rebuild your score over time. You can unsubscribe from this optional service at any time.

The free Card also comes with free perks and rewards, including:

  • Up to 5% cash back on debit purchases
  • 0.50% to 2.00% savings interest paid on your account balance (one of the best savings rates in Canada)
  • Free budgeting app
  • $20 cash bonus when you activate your card and use it for at least one purchase within 30 days of getting it

Best Unsecured Credit Cards To Rebuild Credit

If you have a good credit score, i.e. a credit score above 660, you may qualify for an unsecured credit card with a low-interest rate.

The benefit of a low-interest credit card is that you can transfer your credit card debt at a lower rate and save on interest fees.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Rewards: Earn up to 2% unlimited cash back in up to 3 spending categories and 0.50% on all other purchases.

Welcome offer: Get an extra 10% cash back on up to $1,000 in spending in the first 2 months ($100 value); 1.95% balance transfer rate for 6 months.

Interest rates: 19.95% for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.

Annual fee: $0

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is an unsecured credit card that pays up to 2% cash back.

You can apply for this card if you have a credit score of 600 or higher and an annual income of at least $12,000.

For a limited time, new applicants can earn an extra $100 cash back when they spend up to $1,000 within the first 2 months of getting the card.

Scotiabank Momentum No-Fee Visa Card

Scotiabank Momentum No-Fee Visa Card

Rewards: Earn 1% cashback on gas, groceries & drugstore purchases; 0.50% cashback on everything else.

Welcome offer: Earn 5% cashback in the first 3 months on up to $2,000 spent ($100 value); introductory 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 6 months.

Interest rates: 19.99% on purchases; 22.99% on cash advances.

Annual fee: $0

As the name suggests, the Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa credit card is a card with no annual fee. The APR is 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances.

It has an 0% introductory rate on balance transfers for the first six months, so you can transfer debt and pay it off for less.

You can also earn 1% cash back on selected categories like grocery, gas, drug stores, and recurring payments, and 0.5% cash back on everything else.

Scotiabank Value Visa Card

Scotiabank Value Visa Card

Rewards: Save up to 25% off car rental rates at AVIS and Budget car rental locations.

Welcome offer: 0% balance transfer for 10 months; the annual fee is waived in the first year.

Interest rates: 12.99% on purchases and cash advances.

Annual fee: $29

If you carry a balance from month to month, the Scotiabank Value Visa’s low-interest rate can help you save on fees. It also offers a 0.00% promotional balance transfer rate in the first 6 months.

The minimum credit limit for this credit card is $500, and supplementary cards are free.

Cardholders can save up to 25% on car rentals at participating AVIS and Budget locations.

PC Financial Mastercard

PC Financial Mastercard

Rewards: 25 points/$1 at Shoppers Drug Mart, 10 points/$1 at Loblaw-banner grocery stores; 30 points/litre of gas at Esso/Mobil, etc.

Welcome offer: N/A.

Interest rates: 20.97% on purchases; 22.97% on cash advances.

Annual fee: $0

The PC Financial Mastercard is a card with no annual fee. It has an APR of 20.97% on purchases and 22.97% on cash advances.

You can use the card to earn PC Optimum points. For example, you will earn 10 points for every $1 you spend on groceries at Loblaws and partner stores.

It has a minimum personal income requirement of $80,000 or a minimum household income of $150,000. Eligibility is subject to credit approval, but it is sometimes easier to get approved for store cards.

Other Credit Cards to Rebuild Credit

Capital One Guaranteed Secured Mastercard

Capital One Guaranteed Secured Mastercard

Annual fee: $59.

Interest rates: 19.8% for purchases and balance transfers; 21.9% for cash advances.

Security deposit: $75 or $300.

Rewards: N/A.

This guaranteed approval card can help you rebuild credit or establish one.

To qualify, you must:

  • Be at least the age of the majority in your province
  • Not have applied for a Capital One credit card more than once in the last 30 days or have had a Capital One account that was not in good standing in the last year
  • Not have an existing Capital One account or a pending application for one
  • Provide a security deposit ($75 or $300)

Read this review of Capital One credit cards.

Home Trust Secured Visa (Low Rate)

Home Trust Secured Visa (Low Rate)

Annual fee: $59.

Interest rates: 14.90% for purchases and 19.80% for cash advances.

Security deposit: $500 to $10,000.

Rewards: Purchase protection.

The low-interest-rate version of the Home Trust Secured Visa Card has a $59 annual fee that is counterbalanced by a 14.90% purchase APR.

You can apply for a credit limit of up to $10,000.

Cardholders enjoy purchase security which protects eligible items against theft or damage for up to 90 days following purchase.

RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option

RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option

Annual fee: $20.

Interest rates: 12.99% for purchases and cash advances.

Security deposit: None.

Rewards: Purchase protection and extended warranty; save on fuel at Petro-Canada.

This card requires a good credit score; however, if you are trying to pay off your credit card debt, it can help you save on interest.

You pay a $29 annual fee (free supplementary cards) and a low 12.99% interest rate (compared to 20% or more).

Cardholders can save 3 cents per litre of gas purchased at Petro-Canada while also earning more Petro-Points.

Capital One Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard

The Capital One Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard is great for building credit. The annual fee is $79, but it has guaranteed approval. It does, however, state that it may require security funds.

It regularly reports credit card activity to the credit bureaus, so you can build your credit if you make your payments on time. It also has a few extra benefits, like travel accident insurance coverage.

With a low APR of 14.9% for purchases and balance transfers, but 21.9% for cash advances, it may be a suitable option if you carry a balance.

ATB Alberta Mastercard Secured

This is a secured card that you can use to rebuild your rating. It has a $49 annual fee and an APR of 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances.

The ATB Alberta Mastercard Secured requires a $500 minimum for security. It has very few perks, including the chance to save 25% on car rentals at Avis and Budget. The main goal of this card is to get access to a credit card and improve your credit score.

Plastk Secured Credit Card

Plastk Secured Credit Card

Interest rates: 17.99% on purchases; 21.99% on cash advances.

Annual fee: $48, plus a $6 monthly maintenance fee.

Credit limit: $300 to $10,000.

Credit score required: Poor or bad credit score.

The Plastk Secured Visa* Credit Card is one of the top secured cards for those with bad credit.

You can apply for a credit limit of up to $10,000 and easily make payments to settle your balance using Interac e-Transfer.

It offers the following perks:

  • 0% APR for the first 3 months
  • Rewards points when you pay with your card
  • 25 days interest-free grace period for purchases and 3 days for cash advances

This card has a $48 annual fee. After adding the $6 monthly maintenance fee, it costs $120/year. Read my Plastk Secured Credit Card review for more details.

Methodology:

Savvy New Canadians ranks the best credit cards to rebuild credit in Canada based on their credit score requirements, interest rates, annual fees, welcome bonuses, rewards, top features, categories, insurance coverage, and other perks. We carefully evaluate each credit card and place more weight on the value of the long-term rewards it offers. Visit the credit card issuer’s website using the links to confirm each product’s terms and conditions before applying.

Best Credit Cards To Rebuild Credit Comparison

CardsAnnual FeeInterestRewards
KOHO Prepaid Mastercard$00%Up to 5% cashback at partners
Neo Secured Mastercard$019.99% to 26.99% for purchasesUp to 5% cash back
Plastk Secured Credit Card$48 plus $6 monthly maintenance fee17.99% purchases, 21.99% cash advancesEarn points to redeem for cash
Home Trust Secured Visa$5914.90% purchases, 19.80% cash advancesEarn points to redeem for cash
Capital One Guaranteed Secured Mastercard$5919.8% purchases, 21.9% cash advancesN/A
Home Trust Secured Visa$5914.90% purchases, 19.80% cash advancesPurchase protection
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card$019.95% purchases and cash advancesUp to 2% unlimited cash back
Scotiabank Value Visa Card$2912.99% purchases and cash advancesUp to 25% off car rentals
RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option$2012.99% purchases and cash advancesPurchase protection and extended warranty
Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa$019.99% purchases, 22.99% cash advancesUp to 1% cash back
Capital One Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard$7914.9% purchases, 21.9% cash advancesN/A
ATB Alberta Mastercard Secured$4919.99% purchases, 22.99% cash advancesN/A
PC Financial Mastercard$020.97% purchases, 22.97% cash advances10 points for every $1 spent on groceries

How to Choose a Credit Card to Rebuild Credit in Canada

Start by exploring the cards in this guide. These are all cards that we think are some of the best cards for rebuilding credit.

What is your credit score? You may be able to apply for one that accepts applicants with fair scores. Or you may have to apply for a secured credit card that accepts people with poor or bad scores.

Once you have found some suitable cards, compare their features, including the APR and the annual fee. 

Look at the rewards offered, too, including cash back. Explore the categories of spending that provide the most cash back (e.g. gas, groceries, entertainment, etc.). You may find that some cards are more suitable than others.

How to Apply for a Credit Card for Bad Credit

Applying for a credit card for bad credit is a simple process. Once you have chosen a credit card, simply visit the website, where you will normally find an application section, and fill out all your details.

The issuer usually carries out a credit check and will either approve or deny your application, which could happen immediately.

If you apply over the phone or in person, you may have to present more documents, and a decision may take longer.

Once accepted, the issuer will send your card to your address, and you can start using it.

Alternatives to Credit Building Credit Cards in Canada

If you want to build your credit score, there are other options to consider aside from using a credit card.

Debt Consolidation Loans

These are loans where you convert all your loans into one payment at the same interest rate. This makes it easier to track and pay back your debt and gives you more control over your finances.

Credit Builder Loans

These are where you borrow a small amount of money and pay it back each month. The payments are then reported to credit bureaus to help improve your score.

Rental Payments

Some services like Billi and Borrowell report your rental payments to the credit bureaus, so you can build your score without borrowing any money.

Other Ideas

There are other things you can do to improve your credit score. For example, you can apply for a higher credit limit from your credit card but don’t use it. This increases your credit utilization rate, which is good for your score.

You could also apply for different types of loans, including car loans. As long as you can afford them, having a mix of loans can help your score.

What Is a Bad Credit Score in Canada?

You may hear about good and bad credit scores. But what exactly does this mean?

Everyone has a credit score in Canada once they start using credit. Your credit score improves as you borrow money and repay your debts on time. However, when you miss payments, your credit score takes a hit.

There are five different ratings, and each of these corresponds to numerical scores. Scores start at 300 and go up to 900, 300 being a very poor score and 900 being the best you can get.

  • Poor: 300-559
  • Fair: 560-659
  • Good: 660-724
  • Very Good: 725-759
  • Excellent: 760-900

These may differ slightly depending on where you see them, but anything below 660 is usually considered a bad credit score. To be approved for a credit card, you will normally need to score 660 or above.

Your credit score summarizes the information on your credit report.

How To Improve a Bad Credit Score

It is difficult to get credit approval when you have a poor or bad credit score. When you get credit, the interest rates are significantly higher, and you may need to provide collateral (security deposit).

To improve your credit score, you must understand how your credit score is calculated.

The main factors impacting your score are:

  • Your payment history
  • Your credit utilization, i.e. what you owe compared to your credit limit
  • Length of your credit history
  • Recent hard inquiries on your credit profile
  • Type of credit you have

Your payment history has the most impact on your credit score and makes up about 35% of the calculation.

To increase your score, you should make payments on time. If you have delinquent accounts or those that have gone to collections, it lowers your credit score.

Aim to keep your credit utilization below 35%. For example, if your credit limit is $1,000, your outstanding balance should not exceed $350 on average.

The longer you have had a credit facility (e.g. credit card or line of credit), the bigger the influence they have on your score.

When lenders pull your credit records to assess a new credit application, it may impact your credit score.

You can check your credit score for free.

Benefits of Building Credit

Building a good credit score has several important benefits:

  • Apply to more credit cards with better rewards.
  • Get better rates on car loans and other loans.
  • Enjoy larger loan limits.
  • Get more negotiating power to find better deals.
  • It can help when renting a property.

Secured vs. Unsecured vs. Prepaid Credit Cards

You can use different credit cards in Canada to rebuild your credit. The three most common are secured, unsecured, and prepaid credit cards. Here’s what you need to know about each:

Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards require you to deposit before you can use the card. You may be able to deposit different amounts, and there will often be a minimum and maximum. You can then borrow up to the amount that you have deposited.

You are not using your own money with these cards. Instead, you are borrowing money like a normal credit card.

The card issuer has your deposit, and this provides extra security. They know they can recoup their money if you fail to pay it back.

Secured credit cards can be very useful for people with bad credit scores who find it difficult to get normal credit cards.

They don’t require good credit, and you can then use your credit card as normal and make your payments on time every month to build your credit score.

Unsecured Credit Cards

Unsecured credit cards are standard credit cards that do not require a deposit like secured credit cards. As such, there is more risk for the lender, which is why they may not accept your application if you have a fair or poor credit score.

Most credit cards require a good credit score. However, some will accept applications from people with fair credit scores.

Prepaid Credit Cards

Prepaid credit cards operate more like debit cards. You deposit money into your card’s account, and you can then spend this money using your card. However, when the money runs out, you must deposit more.

Because you are not borrowing money, you do not need a good credit score. But you can still enjoy all the convenience of spending on your card in all the same places where credit cards are accepted.

In addition, some card issuers offer optional credit-building tools. These are usually paid additional services where you borrow a small amount of money and make a monthly payment, which is then reported to the credit bureaus.

What Are the Easiest Credit Cards to Get Approved For?

If you want to get a credit card with bad credit in Canada, there are several cards that are easier to apply for than others.

While most standard unsecured credit cards will not accept your application, some may do so, and there are secured cards that are easier to apply for too.

For example, we have named the Neo Secured Mastercard the best credit card for bad credit. It is a secured card that offers up to 5% cash back and has guaranteed approval.

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is a good choice if you want an unsecured credit card. This is available if you have fair credit of 600 or higher, as long as you have an annual income of $12,000 or more.

Store cards like the PC Financial Mastercard are often more lenient. While eligibility is subject to credit approval, you can still apply for this card if your score is below average.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do authorized users build credit?

No, authorized users of credit cards do not build credit for using the card. Instead, only the cardholder builds credit.

Can I get approved for a credit card with no credit history?

Getting approved for an unsecured credit card can be harder, but you may find it easier to get approved for a secured or prepaid credit card.

Which secured credit card is the best to rebuild credit in Canada?

We recommend the Neo Secured Card as the best credit card to rebuild credit in Canada.

What is the fastest way to rebuild your credit?

Applying for a secured credit card and making your monthly payments on time is one of the quickest ways to rebuild your credit.

Can I use a store credit card to rebuild credit?

Yes, if you use a store credit card like the PC Financial Mastercard, you can rebuild your credit as you make your monthly payments.

How does a credit card help rebuild your credit?

As long as you make your monthly payments on time, any credit card will help you to rebuild your credit.

Best Credit Offers in December 2023

Enjoy up to 5% cash back at over 10,000 retail locations ($25 Bonus)

Get a $25 bonus when you are approved for the Card.

Earn unlimited average 5% cash back at 10,000+ participating stores.

No annual account fees.

Guaranteed instant approval credit card with 600+ credit score.

Get this guaranteed approval credit card for any credit score ($25 bonus)

Get an instant $25 welcome bonus.

Earn 5% unlimited average cash back at thousands of locations.

Guaranteed approval for poor and bad credit scores. Takes 3 minutes.

No monthly fees and up to 15% cashback on your first purchases.

Earn up to 5% cashback and grow your savings + $20 bonus

Best free prepaid reloadable Mastercard plus a $20 welcome bonus.

No credit check and free budgeting app with automatic savings features.

Increase your credit score with an optional credit building add-on.

Earn up to 2.00% interest on your entire balance.*

Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu, personal finance expert, author, and founder of Savvy New Canadians, has written about money matters for over 10 years. Enoch has an MSc (Econ) degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. His expertise has been highlighted in major publications like Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC News, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CTV News, TD Direct Investing, Canadian Securities Exchange, and many others. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances. You can read his full author bio.

About Savvy New Canadians

Savvy New Canadians is one of Canada's top personal finance platforms. Millions of Canadians use our site each year to learn how to save for retirement, invest smartly, maximize rewards, and earn extra cash. We have been featured in prominent finance media, including Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC, MSN, Wealthsimple, and TD Direct Investing. Learn more about Savvy New Canadians.

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1 thought on “13 Best Credit Cards to Rebuild Credit in Canada (2023)”

  1. Gravatar for Steve Bridge

    Very useful, thanks Enoch!
    Steve

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