Best Credit Building Credit Cards 2023

Best Credit Building Credit Cards 2023

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated December 5, 2022

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 Canadian consumers:

 Neo CardTM (Secured)Capital One Guaranteed Secured MasterCard Home Trust Secured No-Fee VisaNo-Fee Scotiabank Value VisaTD Cash Secured Credit Card
Annual fee$0$59$0$0$29
Annual interest rate19.99% – 26.99%19.8%19.99%16.99%22.99%
Minimum credit limit$50$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
neo financial credit card

Neo Card (Secured)

The Neo Card (Secured) is a secured Mastercard that offers users the benefits of both a secured and unsecured credit card. The Neo Card guarantees approval, so long as you’re able to provide the minimum security deposit of $50. There are no credit checks or income requirements for this card, making it ideal for those with poor credit. This is especially true as the Neo Card is also designed to help users build their credit. Moreover, it has no annual or monthly fees and users can earn enormous bonuses – like 15%1 cashback for first purchases – at some Neo Partners, an average of 5%1 cashback with select partners.

  • Guaranteed approval
    • Must be the age of majority in your province or territory of residence
    • Must be a Canadian resident
    • Must provide security funds
  • Credit score required: no credit check required
  • Minimum income required: $0
  • Annual fee – None
  • Interest rate –  19.99% – 26.99%
  • Cash advance rate – 22.99% – 28.99%
  • Credit limit – $50 – $10,000
  • Rewards – Get an average cashback rate of 5%1 with participating retailers and earn up to 15%1 cashback on first-time purchases with Neo partners.

$25 Welcome Bonus

Neo is offering new customers a $25 welcome bonus, sign up by clicking the button below and receive your $25.

Neo Card Perks

Neo CardTM holders can customize their cards by adding perks. Neo perks are stackable and reward you for spending by boosting cashback offers for different categories. Neo perks are flexible and come with no commitment. You can easily add a perk to your card via the Neo app and cancel it at any time.

Everyday Essential Perks 

Valued at over $170 a year, Everyday Essentials perks can be added to your Neo Card for a low fee of $8.99 a month. With it, users can earn 1.5x more cash back when they shop at participating grocery stores and gas stations.

  • 1.5x more cashback at grocery and wholesale stores like Costco and Walmart
  • 1.5x more cashback at specialty food and liquor store partners
  • 1.5x more cashback at gas station partners
  • Access to exclusive offers from grocery stores and gas stations 
  • Have your card balance covered with life insurance protection
Travel Perks 

Neo Travel perks cost $4.99 a month and have a value of over $360 a year. Users who travel regularly will benefit from the added perks.

  • 1.5x cashback boost at all airline, hotel, and car rental travel partners
  • 2% cashback on all foreign transactions
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access 
Premium Access Perks 

Premium Access perks is a great option for all Neo Card holders, as the price tag is so affordable at $0.99 a month with a value of over $100 a year. 

  • Up to 20% cashback on first-time purchases
  • Exclusive monthly cashback bonus offers
  • Priority phone line with customer support
  • Purchase protection with extended warranty
Note: Neo is currently working through some reporting issues with TransUnion. Your data is being recorded and shared with TransUnion and will be reflected on your credit profile in due course, once the process is finalized between both parties.

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 cashback 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% cashback 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 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.

Pros

  • Easy to qualify for
  • Limited income required
  • No credit score is 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

Cons 

  • 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. 

Card issued by ATB Financial pursuant to license by Mastercard International Inc.

1Average based on current offers at select partners. Cashback varies per plan, offer and partner.


Rating of 5/5 based on 1 vote.

Lisa has been working as a personal finance 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.

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