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Best Low Income Credit Cards in Canada for 2023

Updated:

Fact Checked

What credit cards are best for low-income earners in Canada?

No one likes to start the application process for a credit card only to be denied shortly after because they do not meet the minimum income requirements.

While your credit score may be great and all, credit card issuers often set a personal or household income threshold you must meet to qualify.

You can avoid this hassle by applying for a credit card with low or no minimum income requirements.

This list of the easiest credit cards to get approved for includes entry-level and premium cards and may have no annual fees, which is great for your wallet.

What is a Low Income Credit Card?

Some credit card networks and brands have a minimum income requirement by default, regardless of the bank issuing the card.

For example, a World Elite Mastercard requires a minimum personal income of $80,000 or $150,000 for a household.

If you opt for a Visa Infinite branded card, the minimum personal income requirement is $60,000 or $100,000 for household income.

Low-income credit cards have a much lower income threshold such that the average income earner or student can apply for them.

Generally, you are good to go with a $12,000 to $15,000 annual income. Some even have no income requirements.

What qualifies as income?

In addition to your paycheque, eligible income includes investments, retirement income (e.g. CPP and OAS), government benefits like the CCB, child support, rental income, and employment insurance.

Best Low-Income Credit Cards in 2023

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Best travel credit card in Canada

Annual fee: $120

Rewards: Earn up to 6x Scene+ points on groceries, 5x pts. on dining, food delivery, & entertainment, 3x pts. on gas, and 1x pts. on everything else.

Welcome offer: Get up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points in the first 12 months.

Interest rates: 20.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances.

Minimum income requirement: $12,000

Recommended credit score:
660
900

Good

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

On Scotiabank’s website

  • Zero foreign transaction fees when travelling overseas or shopping abroad.
  • Earn 6x Scene+ points at select grocery stores, including Sobeys and Safeway.
  • Earn 5x points on dining or food delivery at select stores and restaurants as well as select movies, theatres and ticket agencies.
  • Earn 3x points on eligible gas and transit purchases.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 CAD spent on eligible purchases.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance benefits and extended warranty protection are included.
  • Priority Pass™ membership discount to access VIP lounges.
  • Amex Offers® including deals on shopping, travel and dining.
  • Access to Front Of The Line® presale tickets to concerts, restaurants and events.
  • Minimum annual income of $12,000 required.

Earn up to 6x Scene+ point

Lots of premium perks included

No foreign transaction fees

Low income eligibility at $12,000

Expensive annual fee

$29 fee for each additional card

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card provides a great opportunity to earn Scene+ points on all purchases and extra points on select purchases. Its zero foreign transaction fees and travel insurance coverage make it a good choice for travellers.

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is one of the best credit cards in Canada in several categories (travel rewards, no FX fees, and more).

While it is definitely a premium card, you can apply with a personal income as low as $12,000 per year.

It offers 5 points per $1 on eligible food and entertainment purchases, 3 points per $1 on gas and transit purchases, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

This card is one of a few credit cards to waive the 2.50% foreign currency transaction fees, and users enjoy comprehensive travel insurance benefits (8 types).

New cardholders also get 20,000 points ($200 value) after spending at least $1,000 in the first 3 months, and an extra 20,000 points when they spend $7,500 or more in the first year.

Apply for the Scotiabank Gold AMEX Card or read our review.

American Express Cobalt Card

Best for travel rewards and perks

Annual fee: $155.88 (in monthly payments of $12.99)

Rewards: Earn up to 5X points on high-spend categories.

Welcome offer: Earn as many as 15,000 bonus Membership Rewards points in the first year.

Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases and 21.99% on cash advances.

Minimum income requirement: No minimum income or credit limit requirements.

Recommended credit score:
660
900

Good

amex cobalt new card

On Amex’s website

  • Earn 5X points on food and drink purchases, including delivery.
  • Earn 3X points on streaming subscription bills.
  • Earn 2X points on travel and transit purchases.
  • Earn 1X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Get 1 additional point for every dollar you spend on hotel or rental car bookings through American Express Travel.
  • Redeem points on travel with 1:1 transfers to several frequent flyer programs.
  • Enjoy exclusive access to tickets, virtual events, live performances, and more through American Express Experiences.
  • Access various travel insurance benefits, including emergency medical ($5M), travel accident ($250K), flight delay, baggage delay, hotel burglary, and rental car insurance.
  • No minimum income or credit limit requirements.

Attractive point redemption options

Comprehensive travel coverages

No minimum income requirement

5x points category is limited

High purchase APR at 20.99%

The American Express Cobalt Card offers a competitive points system with attractive point redemption options. With no minimum income requirement, it is an accessible option for those interested in a strong rewards system with comprehensive travel benefits.

The American Express Cobalt Card is one of the most prestigious credit cards in Canada, which makes it surprising that it has no income requirement.

It has a reward rate of 5 points per $1 on food and drink purchases, 3 points/$1 for streaming services, 2 points/$1 on transit and gas purchases, and 1 point/$1 on everything else. You can easily redeem your points to cover eligible purchases with your card.

Cardholders enjoy premium perks, including comprehensive travel insurance coverage, car rental insurance coverage, and more.

You earn a bonus of 15,000 points in the first year when you spend at least $750 each month for 12 months.

This card has a $12.99 monthly fee and will cost you a total of $155.88 per year which places it in the premium category.

Apply for the American Express Cobalt Card or read our review.

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

The Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa is an entry-level credit card that is easy to qualify for. It offers 1% cash back on gas, grocery, drugstore purchases, and recurring bill payments.

All other purchases earn at a 0.50% rate.

New cardholders earn 5% cashback on all purchases in the first three months of account opening, and you can earn up to $100 from this alone.

This card has no annual fee, and a base income of $12,000 is all you need to qualify income-wise.

Apply for the Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa or read our review.

SimplyCash Card from American Express

Excellent credit card for students

Annual fee: $0

Rewards: Earn up to 2% cash back on eligible purchases and 1.25% unlimited cashback on other purchases.

Welcome offer: Earn up to $100 in statement credits over the first 10 months

Interest rates: 20.99% for purchases, 21.99% for cash advances.

Minimum income requirement: None

Recommended credit score:
660
900

Fair to Good

New SimplyCash_Card-img

On Amex’s website

  • Earn 2% cash back on gas.
  • Earn 2% cash back on groceries up to $300 annually.
  • Earn 1.25% unlimited cashback on other purchases.
  • Earn bonus cashback of up to $750 per year for referring a friend.
  • No annual fee for a primary card or additional cards.
  • Access to American Express® Experiences that provides exclusive bonuses for events, performances, dining, and shopping.
  • Coverage up to $100,000 for Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance.

Earn up to 2% cashback

No annual fee

Earn bonus cashback for referring a friend

Access to American Express® Experiences

Lower cashback than some other cards

$300 annual limit on 2% cashback rate for groceries

The SimplyCash Card from American Express provides you with the option to earn up to 2% cash back on gas and groceries plus 1.25% cash back on other purchases. It has no annual fee and comes with a few perks like access to American Express® Experiences.

The SimplyCash Card from American Express is one of the best no-fee cash back credit cards in Canada.

Like the Amex Cobalt Card, it has no minimum income requirements.

Cardholders earn 2% cash back on gas and groceries ($300 annual cap) and 1.25% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

This card offers travel accident insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty coverage.

You can also opt for its premium version, the SimplyCash Preferred Card from AMEX, and earn up to a 4% cash back rate ($119.88 annual fee).

Apply for the SimplyCash Card from AMEX or read our review.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Best no-fee cash back credit card

Annual fee: $0

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).

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

Minimum income requirement: $12,000

Recommended credit score:
600
900

Fair to Good

Tangerine Cash Back Credit Card

On Tangerine’s website

  • No annual fee.
  • Unlimited 2% cash back in two spending categories. Get an extra 2% cash back spending category when you deposit your rewards in a free Tangerine savings account.
  • Unlimited 0.50% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Cash back earned is paid out monthly.
  • 1.95% promotional balance transfer for first 6 months; 3% balance transfer fee applies ($5 minimum).
  • Purchase assurance to cover loss, theft or damage of new items purchased using the card for up to 90 days.
  • Works with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.
  • Extended warranty for up to one extra year.

No annual fee

High cash back rates

Low-income requirement

Cash back paid monthly

Low-interest balance transfer

No travel insurance coverage

3% balance transfer fee

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada. It’s great for students and those who have a limited credit history. Cardholders can also enjoy no-fee chequing and a high interest savings account.

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card has a minimum income requirement of $12,000/year.

Cardholders earn 2% unlimited cash back on 2-3 categories of spending, including groceries, gas, restaurants, entertainment, and recurring bill payments.

On all other purchases outside of your chosen 2% categories, you earn 0.5%.

For a limited time, new users of the Tangerine Credit Card earn an extra 10% cash back when they spend up to $1,000 in the first 2 months. This promo offer is valued at $100 in real cash back.

This card has no annual fees so you don’t need to worry about paying a hefty fee, and you can take advantage of a low balance transfer rate in the first 6 months.

Apply for the Tangerine Credit Card or read our review.

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

Good no-annual-fee cash back card

Annual fee: $0

Rewards: Earn 4 points on every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases during the first 90 day. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Interest rates: Purchases 19.99%, cash advances 24.99%.

Minimum income requirement: No minimum income is advertised.

Recommended credit score:
725
900

Very Good

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

On MBNA’s website

  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, digital media, and household utility bills.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Annual birthday bonus equivalent to 10% of points earned in the previous 12 months.
  • Redeem for merchandise, travel, gift cards, statement balances, or charitable donations.
  • Mobile Device insurance of up to $1,000.
  • Extended warranty and purchase assurance on items purchased through the credit card.

No annual fee

Wide variety of redemption options

Good insurance options for a no-fee card

Earn rates on the categories are capped annually at $10,000

Point redemption values are higher on other cards

Cash redemption rates are poor (200 points per $1)

This card works well as an entry-level cash back credit card without annual fees. Points earned can be easily redeemed for various rewards.

This MBNA credit card has no minimum income requirement.

You earn 2 points per dollar spent on grocery, restaurant, digital media, household utility, and membership purchases; and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.

Instead of 2 points per $1, new cardholders earn 4 points per dollar on eligible purchases in the first 90 days. You also get 5,000 bonus points after spending at least $500 in the first 90 days ($25 value).

This no-fee card offers a rare mobile device insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty coverage.

You can easily redeem your MBNA Rewards points for travel (100 points = $1) or cash (200 points = $1).

PC Financial Mastercard

Excellent store credit card

Annual fee: $0

Rewards: Earn 10 points per $1 spent at PC grocery stores. Earn 25 points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart. Earn 30 points per litre at Esso Mobil gas stations. Earn 10 points per $1 spent everywhere else.

Interest rates: 20.97% interest rate, 22.97% Cash advance rate

Minimum income requirement: None.

Recommended credit score:
600
900

Fair to Good

PC Financial Mastercard

On PC Financial’s website

  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent at No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Independent Grocer, and Wholesale Club.
  • Earn 25 points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart.
  • Earn 30 points per litre at Esso Mobil gas stations.
  • Earn 20 points per $1 spent at PC Travel.
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent everywhere else.
  • Redeem points for free products and groceries or at Esso gas stations.
  • Purchase Assurance and Extended warranty

No annual fees

Good earning rates for groceries

Offers useful insurance benefits

Points can only be redeemed at PC-branded stores

The PC Financial Mastercard is a great entry-level credit card for those who frequent PC-branded grocery and gas locations. It is easy to qualify for, and you can apply online or get one while at a Loblaw store location.

The PC Financial Mastercard is one of three credit cards offered by the President’s Choice Bank.

The other two are:

The entry-level PC Financial Mastercard is a great card option if you regularly shop at Loblaws stores, including No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Shoppers Drug Mart, and PC Express.

You earn PC Optimum points everywhere you use your card, including at Esso/Mobil gas stations and can redeem your points for free groceries.

Cardholders can also take advantage of a low balance transfer rate of 0.97% in the first 6 months.

This card has no annual fees or minimum income requirement and is a great student credit card.

Apply for the PC Financial Mastercard or read our review.

BMO Cash Back Mastercard

Good entry-level card for students

Annual fee: $0

Rewards: Earn up to 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on subscriptions and utilities, and 0.5% on all other purchases.

Interest rates: 20.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances.

Minimum income requirement: $15,000

Recommended credit score:
660
900

Good

BMO Cashback Mastercard

On BMO’s website

  • Earn 3% cash back on groceries ($500 monthly spend cap).
  • Earn 1% cash back on subscriptions and utilities ($500 monthly spend cap).
  • Earn 0.5% cash back on other purchases.
  • Redeem cashback at any time and set an automatic deposit.
  • Get extra cashback for additional cardholders.
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection included.
  • Get up to 25% off car rentals at Alamo and National Car Rental.
  • Save 15% on Cirque du Soleil shows in Canada.

Earn up to 3% cashback

Redeem cashback at any time

Includes extended warranty and purchase protection

No annual fee

Few extra perks included beyond cashback

Cashback rate of 0.5% for most purchases is on low end

$500 monthly spend cap on 1% and 4% cash back categories

The BMO CashBack Mastercard is a good way to earn up to 3% cashback without paying an annual fee. The ability to cash out your cashback at any time and set automatic deposits means no more waiting for your money.

The BMO Cashback Mastercard qualifies as an excellent low-income or student credit card.

You earn 3% cash back on grocery purchases, 1% cash back on recurring bill payments, and 0.50% on everything else.

To qualify, a minimum income of $15,000 per year is required.

This card has no annual fees, and you can learn about its features in our detailed BMO Cashback Mastercard review.

Prepaid Cards With No Income Requirements

The best prepaid credit cards in Canada have no income requirements, and they are handy if you want to spend cash and earn rewards simultaneously.

KOHO Prepaid Mastercard

Best prepaid card in Canada

Annual fee: $0 for KOHO Easy Card

Rewards: Earn up to 5% cash back on debit purchases, and earn interest on your balance.

Welcome offer: $20 using our CASHBACK promo code.

Interest rates: 0%

Minimum income requirement: None

Recommended credit score:
N/A

None

KOHO Prepaid Mastercard 1

On KOHO’s website

  • Free KOHO users earn 1% cash back on groceries and transportation
  • Earn up to 5% cashback on debit purchases at participating retailers.
  • Instantly cash out your cash back whenever you want.
  • Earn interest on the savings account.
  • No fees or interest charges.
  • No credit check is required to qualify.
  • Optional credit-building tool for $10/month.
  • Get spending insights and balance updates in the app.

No annual fee

Earn up to 5% cashback

Instantly cash out cashback

No fees or interest

$1.00 inactivity fee charged after 13 months of registering and 6 months of non-use

Credit-building service has a fee

The KOHO Prepaid Mastercard is the best rewards prepaid card in Canada. It also provides an option for people with a bad credit score or no credit history to enjoy the convenience of a credit card in the form of a prepaid card. There are no credit checks, and you can earn up to 5% cash back on purchases.

The KOHO Prepaid Card has no annual fee and earns up to 5% cash back on purchases.

You can reload your card anytime, and your balances earn a 0.50% to 2% interest rate. This makes KOHO both a great prepaid card as well as a high interest savings account.

New KOHO users who apply via our links get a $20 welcome bonus after completing at least one purchase using the card (use our referral code CASHBACK during signup).

You can also upgrade to a KOHO Premium account and pay $84 per year in fees while earning higher cash back rates (plus other premium perks).

Secured Credit Card With No Income Requirements

Neo Secured Credit

Best secured credit card for bad credit

Annual fee: $0

Rewards: Earn up to 15% cashback on first purchases at eligible partners, 5% cash back at partner stores, and 0.5% unlimited cashback on everything else.

Welcome offer: $25 bonus

Interest rates: 19.99%-22.99% for purchases, 22.99%-28.99% for cash advances.

Minimum income requirement: None

Recommended credit score:
N/A

None

neosecuredwithbanner

On Neo Financial’s website

  • Earn up to 15% cashback on first purchase at eligible partners.
  • Earn 5% unlimited cashback at partner stores.
  • Earn 0.5% unlimited cashback on everything else.
  • Create Subscription Bundles to get extra cashback, insurance, or subscriptions.
  • Choose your own credit limit.
  • Minimum security fund requirement of $50.
  • No overlimit fees.
  • Use auto-pay to avoid missing payments.
  • Guaranteed approval and no hard credit checks.

Earn up to 15% cashback

Good rewards for a secured card

No annual fee or overlimit fees

Guaranteed approval

High-interest rate

Few additional perks

If you have a bad credit score or no credit history, the Neo Secured Mastercard gives you a way to start improving your score while earning up to 15% cashback. We also like that it has no annual or monthly fees and offers guaranteed approval.

What To Look For in a Low Income Credit Card

While low or no income requirement credit cards are easy to be approved for, you should watch out for the following:

  • Interest Rates: Pay attention to how much interest you will be paying if you carry a balance from month to month or withdraw cash from an ATM. A low-interest credit card will save you money over time.
  • Reward Rate: Whether it is real cash back or points you can redeem for travel, merchandise or a statement credit, make sure you are getting the best rewards available.
  • Welcome Offer: Credit card promotions can be very rewarding and may even cover annual fees for a year or longer. Compare the welcome bonuses available and the eligibility requirements to qualify.
  • Annual Fees: If you are not a heavy credit card user and don’t need travel insurance, paying a hefty annual fee may not be worth it. Take a look at the no-fee cards on this list.
  • Income Requirements: Read the fine print to see whether you need a minimum income to qualify.

Benefits of a Low Income Requirement Credit Card

The main benefit of low income credit cards is that you don’t need to be a high earner to qualify. This makes it easy for students, newcomers to Canada, and those transitioning between jobs to qualify.

All the low income cards on our list offer rewards when you pay using the card.

Also, many of them offer insurance coverage and benefits that can be worth a lot when you actually need them. For example, comprehensive travel insurance coverage, purchase protection, extended warranty, and more.

Downsides of a Low Income Credit Card

The perks you enjoy are limited if you carry a no-fee credit card. With premium or VIP benefits, you are probably going to pay annual fees.

This also applies to the level of rewards you earn, although it should be noted that the cash back rates offered by some of the cards above rival some premium cards.

A low income credit card may have higher interest rates and could cost you if you don’t pay off your balance every month.

Lastly, while a card may have no minimum income requirement, you may still need a good credit score to qualify unless it is a secured credit card.

FAQs

Can I get a credit card with a low income?

Yes, there are many credit cards in Canada you can qualify for with a $12,000 to $15,000 annual income.

Can I get a credit card with poor credit in Canada?

There are credit cards designed specifically for people with bad credit. They are also known as secured credit cards, and you may qualify after depositing security funds or collateral.

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 while growing your balance + $20 bonus

Best free prepaid reloadable Mastercard with $20 bonus (after adding $50+).

Earn up to 5% unlimited cash back at over 10,000 stores.

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

Earn 2.25% 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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  • 10% cashback on $1,000 spent in first 2 months ($100 value).*
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*Limited time offer. Terms and conditions apply.
Best No Annual Fee Cash Back Credit Card
Best No Annual Fee Cash Back Card
Get 10% cashback on up to $1,000 spent in first 2 months ($100 value).* No annual fees!
*Limited time offer. Terms and conditions apply.