Best Credit Building Credit Cards 2021

Best Credit Building Credit Cards 2021

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated September 15, 2021

Have you tried to apply for a credit card but got turned down? Odds are it’s because your credit history isn’t up to par. But how are you supposed to build good credit if you’re not given the financial tools to do so?

Luckily, there are certain types of credit cards available for Canadians with no credit or low credit scores. By using them responsibly, you can steadily build up good credit to the point where more financial products will be available to you, including traditional unsecured credit cards.

In the meantime, you’ve got to build your credit, and secured credit cards are the perfect financial product to help you do that. Rather than being allotted a specific credit limit for you to spend within, you are responsible for fronting a security deposit, which would essentially become your credit limit. Basically, you’d only be spending money that you already have. 

It’s important to make sure your secured credit card provider is reporting your payments to the credit bureaus. This way, by using it for necessary expenses, like recurring monthly bills and making timely payments each billing cycle, you’re credit score will be positively affected. 

Eventually, you can build your credit enough so that when the time comes to take out a car loan, personal loan, unsecured credit card, or mortgage, you’ll have the financial strength to get approved.

The question is, what are some of the best credit building credit cards available to Canadians? In this article, we’ll give you a run-down to help make your decision on which product to use. 

Criteria Used to Evaluate The Top Credit Building Credit Cards

Our list of the best credit building credit cards was collected by using specific criteria to assess each card, including the following: 

  • Minimum security deposit
  • Annual fees
  • Reports to the credit bureaus
  • Rewards
  • Perks
  • Welcome bonus
  • Eligibility

Summary of The Best Credit Building Credit Cards

The following table outlines the best credit building credit cards for Candian consumers:

Refresh Financial Secured Visa Capital One Guaranteed Secured MasterCard Home Trust Secured No-Fee VisaNo-Fee Scotiabank Value VisaTD Cash Secured Credit Card
Annual fee$12.95$59$0$0$29
Annual interest rate17.99%19.8%19.99%16.99%22.99%
Minimum credit limit$200$300$500$500$500
Maximum credit limit$10,000Not specified (increases can be made every 6 months)$10,000Not specified$5,000
Income requirement$0$0$0$12,000Not specified
EligibilityGuaranteed approval with minimum depositGuaranteed approvalCredit check requiredCredit check requiredApplication required
Refresh Financial Secured Visa

Refresh Financial Secured Card

When you have bad credit, it’s nice to be able to apply for a credit card that guarantees approval, regardless of what your credit score is. And that’s exactly what you’ll get with the Refresh Financial Secured Card. Since the card is secured, you’ll be responsible for making a security deposit that will act as your credit limit. No credit is extended to you, so any money you spend on the card will be money you already have. 

There’s no credit check involved, and you’ll receive your credit card shortly after filling out a short application. Plus, you’ll be granted a 21-day grace period during which interest fees on outstanding purchases will be waived. 

  • Guaranteed approval
  • Credit score required: Low
  • Minimum income required: $0
  • Annual fee: $12.95 + $3/month
  • Interest rate: 17.99%
  • Minimum credit limit: $200 
  • Maximum credit limit: $10,000

Capital One Guaranteed Secured MasterCard 

If you’re just starting to establish credit or have a low score that you’re trying to improve, then the Capital One Guaranteed Secured MasterCard may be a great card to consider. Approval is guaranteed, and interest rates are comparable to traditional unsecured credit cards, so you’re not paying any more than you need to. If you continue to make timely payments every month, you may be able to increase your credit limit and eventually upgrade to the unsecured card version.

  • Guaranteed approval
  • Credit score required: Low
  • Minimum income required: $0
  • Interest rate: 19.8% 
  • Annual fee: $59
  • Minimum credit limit: $300
  • May increase credit limit to $2,500
  • 24/7 telephone access 
  • Emergency card replacement and cash advance
Home Trust Secured No-Fee Visa

Home Trust No-Fee Secured Visa

Not only does the Home Trust No-Fee Secured Visa make it easier to get approved for a credit card with low or no credit, but it also comes with no annual fees, making it an affordable option for Canadians looking to build their credit score. While a credit check is required, the vast majority of applicants of the Home Trust No-Fee Secured Visa are approved. Once you get your hands on it, you can use it like any other conventional unsecured credit card and build your credit with every timely payment you make. 

  • Credit check required
  • Credit score required: Low
  • Minimum income required: $0
  • Annual fees: $0
  • Interest rate: 19.99% 
  • Minimum credit limit: $500
  • Maximum credit limit: $10,000
  • Insures eligible damaged or stolen goods for 90 days after purchase

No-Fee Scotiabank Value Visa 

The No-Fee Scotiabank Value Visa can help Canadians save money with no annual fee and a very competitive interest rate of 16.99% while building credit. Plus, you’ll be able to take advantage of certain unique perks while building your credit, such as discounts on car rentals and card protection. And if you apply today, you can benefit from a super-low introductory interest rate of 3.99% for the first 6 months. 

  • Credit score required: Good
  • Minimum income required: $12,000
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual interest rate: 16.99%
  • Minimum credit limit: $500 
  • 25% discount as participating car rental locations
  • Card protection in the event of job loss, disability, or illness
TD Cash Secured Credit Card

TD Cash Secured Credit Card

Build or improve your credit score while earning cash back on purchases with the TD Cash Secured Credit Card. You can use it just like any regular credit card to buy goods while earning rewards. And with every on-time payment that you make, you can effectively build good credit over time and eventually upgrade yourself to a conventional unsecured TD credit card of your choice. 

  • Credit score required: Not specified
  • Minimum income required: Not specified
  • Annual interest rate: 22.99% APR
  • Annual fee: $29
  • Minimum credit limit: $300
  • Earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases

Why Apply For a Credit Building Credit Card?

If you’re just starting to build credit, it can be tough to develop a credit score that will open the doors to various credit and loan products. After all, credit is built by making sound financial decisions using financial products. But if you don’t have a financial product available to you to use, such as a credit card, then it can be tough to establish your credit and keep your credit score up. 

Secured credit cards are much easier to get approved for compared to conventional credit cards. While the traditional cards involve having credit extended to you, credit building credit cards involve the use of your own money that you put up front in the form of a security deposit and credit limit. Since you’re essentially spending your own money, there’s little risk to the creditor, so accessing a credit building card like this is easy.

If you are financially responsible and have the funds needed to make a security deposit and are disciplined enough to spend within that limit, then it may be time for you to apply for a credit building credit card to help you establish credit. Eventually, you should be able to bring your credit score up to a level that will afford you with many other credit products at attractive terms. 

Pros and Cons of a Credit Building Credit Card

When it comes to choosing any type of financial product, there are always going to be both pros and cons that you need to weigh. Consider the following information when deciding if a credit building credit card is right for you.


  • Easy to qualify for
  • Limited income required
  • No credit score required in many cases
  • Establish and build your credit score with responsible financial habits
  • Use them like conventional credit cards
  • Tough to fall into debt


  • Higher interest rates with some cards
  • Spending limits are much lower than conventional unsecured credit cards

How to Choose the Right Credit Building Credit Card

Considering how many credit building credit cards are available, it can be difficult to choose just one. But based on certain criteria, you can make that decision a bit easier. When shopping for a credit building credit card, keep the following factors in mind:

  • The creditor reports payments to the credit bureaus
  • Interest rate
  • Annual fee
  • Eligibility (income requirements, credit score, etc)
  • Rewards or points earned with each dollar spent
  • Minimum and maximum security deposit

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a way to establish credit and build it, a credit building credit card may be the perfect solution. By using it responsibly, you can build the credit needed to make more financial tools available to you in the future. 

Rating of 5/5 based on 1 vote.

Lisa has been working as a writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same. She's used a variety of financial tools over the years and is currently growing her money with Wealthsimple, while stashing some capital in a liquid high-interest savings account so that she always has a financial cushion to fall back on. She's also been avidly using her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect as many Aeroplan points as possible to put towards her travels!

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