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Have you tried to apply for a credit card but got turned down? Odds are it’s because your credit score 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? That’s where credit cards to build credit come in. 

Finding the best credit building credit cards is a good first step! 

These credit cards are available to Canadians with no credit or low credit scores and are typically secured with a deposit. By using them responsibly, it can help you steadily build a healthy credit score. Ultimately, with the main goal of gaining access to good credit products. Including traditional unsecured credit cards, personal loans, and even mortgages. 

Best Credit Cards To Build Credit In Canada

Annual FeeMinimum Credit Limit
Neo Secured Credit$0$50
KOHO Card$0 $0 
Capital One Guaranteed Secured Mastercard®$59$75 or $300
Home Trust Secured Visa$0 or $59$500
Neo Secured Credit

Neo Secured Credit

The Neo Secured Credit card is a secured Mastercard that offers users the benefits of both a secured and unsecured credit card. The Neo Secured Credit 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 Secured Credit card is also designed to help users build their credit. Moreover, it has no annual or monthly fees and users can earn cash back on their everyday purchases.

Welcome Offer

Neo is offering new customers the opportunity to try Premium free for 3 months. With Neo Premium, you can earn extra cash back on your purchases. Apply for a Neo Credit card, upgrade to Premium, and get your first 3 months free.

Annual fee: $0 

Interest rate: 19.99% – 29.99% (QC: 19.99% – 24.99%)

Cash advance rate: 22.99% – 31.99% (QC: 22.99% – 25.99%)

Credit limit: $50 – $10,000

Card requirements 

  • Must be the age of majority in your province or territory of residence.
  • Must be a Canadian resident.
  • Must provide security funds.

Credit check: No credit check is required.

Perks:

  • Earn 1% on gas and groceries and 0.5% monthly minimum cashback with Neo partners. Moreover, get extra cash back with Neo partners. Earn 5% on average at Neo-partnered restaurants, bars, and cafes; 3% on Netflix, Disney+, Crave, Apple, Spotify, Uber, Lyft, UberEats, DoorDash, and Skip the Dishes; and 2%+ at Neo retail partners (online and in-store)

KOHO Prepaid Mastercard

KOHO is a full service account that comes with a prepaid Mastercard. This card acts like both a debit and credit card. With it, you can make regular transactions using the money in your account and like a credit card, you can use it to earn cash back. When you open a KOHO account, you’ll also get access to numerous services and features, including an optional credit building tool

There are two credit building options you can choose from: the Credit Building Program and the Flexible Credit Building Program. You can choose either option (for a fee) to help you build your credit. 

Annual fee: $0 (Easy plan) 

Interest rate: n/a

Cash advance rate: n/a

Credit limit: $0 – $50,000

Card requirements 

  • Must be the age of majority in your province or territory of residence.
  • Must be a Canadian resident.
  • Must provide security funds.

Credit check: No credit check is required.

Perks:

  • Earn up to 4.5% savings interest on your entire KOHO balance depending on the KOHO plan you choose. 
  • Earn a high cash back of up to 5% with KOHO participants and up to 2% cash back on various spend categories. Cash back amount varies by the account you choose.
  • The KOHO account has four different plans and depending on the one you choose, you can get a discount on the credit building tool. 

Cap One Card

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.

Annual fee: $59

Interest rate: 21.9%

Cash advance rate: 21.9%

Credit limit: $75 or $300 

Card requirements 

  • Must be the age of majority in your province or territory of residence.
  • Must be a Canadian resident.
  • Must provide security funds.

Credit check: No credit check is required

Perks:

  • This card comes with Purchase Assurance. With it, your purchases are protected for 120 days after purchase from theft, loss or damage. 
  • When you purchase an item, the manufacturer’s warranty period will be doubled, up to two years. 
  • Save money with Capital One’s price protection feature. If an item you purchase reduces in price within 60 days from when you bought it, you’ll be reimbursed the difference. 
  • Get access to various travel benefits including car rental insurance, travel assistance, baggage delay, and common carrier accident insurance. 

Home Trust Secured No-Fee Visa

Home Trust Secured Visa

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

Annual fee: $0 or $59

Purchase rate: 19.99% interest and $0 annually or 14.90% interest and $59 annually.

Cash advance rate: 19.80% or 19.99%

Credit limit: $500 – $10,000

Card requirements 

  • Must be the age of majority in your province or territory of residence.
  • Must be a Canadian resident (excluding Quebec).
  • Must have a source of income.
  • Cannot currently be in bankruptcy.

Credit check: Yes

Perks:

  • Helps build a healthy credit history.
  • Card comes with a Zero Liability policy to help protect you from fraud.
  • Add the card to your digital wallet (Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay).

Pros And Cons Of Credit Cards To Build Credit

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.

Credit Cards To Build Credit: 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

Credit Cards That Build Credit: Cons

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

How To Choose The Right Credit Cards To Build Credit?

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

  • Does the creditor report payments to the credit bureaus? If your payments aren’t being reported, your credit score will not improve. 
  • How much does the card cost? What’s the annual or monthly fee? Is the cost of the card worth it? Does it fit your budget? 
  • What’s the minimum security deposit? Secured credit cards require a security deposit. Do you have enough to meet the minimum amount? 
  • Can you earn cash back or points with each dollar you spend? 

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a way to establish credit or build it, you can find numerous credit cards to build credit. By using it responsibly, you can build the credit needed to gain access to more financial tools in the future.

FAQs On Credit Cards To Build Credit

Should you 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.  As such, applying for credit building credit cards is a good idea as they are much easier to get approved for compared to conventional credit cards.

What are credit building credit cards?

While any credit card, including traditional unsecured credit cards can be used to help you build credit, they’re not always accessible. As such, often times secured credit cards are referred to as credit building credit cards. While traditional cards involve having credit extended to you, secured credit cards involve the use of your own money that you put up front in the form of a security deposit, which then acts as your credit limit. 

Do I really need a good credit score? 

A good credit score can help you in many different aspects of your life. More commonly, it can help you gain access to various credit products at affordable rates. This is particularly important if you ever want to finance a major purchase like a car or house. Similarly, good credit can also help you rent, get a job and get lower insurance premiums. 

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.

Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

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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