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Having a credit card in your wallet makes things like shopping online or booking travel easy. But credit cards can be tough to qualify for. Especially if you don’t earn a high income or have a decent credit score. 

Luckily, there are many great credit cards available to Canadians that are relatively easy to get approved for. Plus, most don’t have an annual fee either.

What Is A Low Income Credit Card?

A low income credit card is a basic credit card that is used for daily spending but doesn’t have a high income requirement or annual fee. Most options don’t come with all the perks and benefits that premium cards may come with. But, there are still some good options with welcome bonuses and even a few extra perks. 

Best Low Income Credit Cards In Canada

If your income isn’t strong enough to qualify for a premium credit card, there are plenty of other credit cards available that are easy to qualify for, even with a low income. Here are the best low income credit cards available to Canadians:

Credit CardMin. Income Required
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card  $12,000
Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card$12,000 
MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus® Mastercard®$0
Walmart Rewards™ World Mastercard®$0
CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card$15,000 
BMO CashBack® Mastercard®$15,000
SimplyCash® Card from American Express$0
President’s Choice Financial® Mastercard®$0
Brim Financial Mastercard$15,000
Note: Want to cancel your credit card for a new one? Make sure you know the consequences click here.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card 

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

You don’t have to qualify for a premium card in order to take advantage of a credit card that allows you the opportunity to earn points with every dollar you spend. The Tangerine Money-Back lets you earn 2% cash back in up to 3 categories of your choice, such as groceries, entertainment, or gas, among others. 

In all other categories, you’ll earn 0.5% cash back on every dollar spent. Plus, there’s no limit on earning potential. 

Special Offer

Apply for a Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card by October 31, 2023. If you’re approved, you’ll earn an extra 10% back on up to $1,000 in everyday purchases made within your first 2 months.*

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card Main Features

Minimum income requirement: $12,000

Annual fee: $0

Purchase rate: 19.95%

Cash advance rate: 19.95%

Earn rate:

  • Earn 2% cash back in up to 3 categories.
  • Earn 0.50% cash back on all other purchases.

Extra features:

  • Unlimited cash back rewards.
  • Authorized users get free cards.
  • Mastercard Zero Liability.
  • Have your cash back reward deposited in a Tangerine Savings Account and receive a third 2% Money-Back Category.

Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card

Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa Card Snapshot

The Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card is a great option for consumers who want to earn points for their groceries. Especially at stores like IGA, Sobey’s, Safeway, Foodland, etc. This card offers no annual fee and is a great option for anyone looking to help build their credit history through on-time payment. Ultimately, this Scene+ Visa* Card is a great addition to anyone’s wallet. 

Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card Main Features

Minimum income requirement: $12,000 (household or personal)

Annual fee: $0

Purchase rate: 19.99 %

Cash advance rate: 22.99 %

Earn rate:

  • Earn 2 Scene+ points for each dollar spent at eligible grocery stores and at Cineplex™ theatres or at cineplex.com.
  • Earn 1 Scene+ point for each dollar spent on other purchases.

Extra features:

  • Save up to 25% off base car rental rates at participating AVIS and Budget locations.

MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus® Mastercard® is another great option for those who spend a lot on gas and groceries. For example, a large family or anyone who drives long distances to their job.  This card has no annual fee and offers a 5% cash back welcome offer. It also comes with several extra features, something that is rare for a no annual-fee credit card. 

Welcome Offer

Earn 5% cash back on eligible gas and groceries purchases for the first 6 months ($500 monthly spend cap). 

MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus® Mastercard® Main Features

Minimum income requirement: $0

Annual fee: $0

Purchase rate: 19.99% (20.99 % for residents of Quebec)

Cash advance rate: 24.99% (20.99 % for residents of Quebec)

Earn rate:

  • Earn 2% cash back on gas and groceries ($500 monthly spend cap).
  • Earn 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

Extra features:

  • Save at least 10% off base car rental rates at participating AVIS and Budget locations.
  • Trip Assistance and Legal Assistance.
  • Emergency Services.
  • Purchase Assurance.
  • Mastercard® Zero Liability.

Walmart Rewards™ World Mastercard®

Walmart Rewards World

Do you often shop at Walmart? Then this card is for you! Earn Walmart Reward Dollars every time you shop at Walmart or any other store. Then you can redeem your Walmart Reward Dollars for purchases made at Walmart. While there are no extra perks with this card, you can earn a welcome bonus of $50 when you spend $500 within 90 days of opening the account.

Walmart Rewards™ World Mastercard® Main Features

Minimum income requirement: $0

Annual fee: $0

Purchase rate: 19.89%

Cash advance rate: 21.49%

Earn rate:

  • Earn 1.25% Walmart Rewards Dollars on Walmart purchases in-store and online.
  • Earn 1% Walmart Rewards Dollars on all other purchases.

Extra features:

  • Extended warranty plan
  • Purchase assurance protection
  • Balance protection plan

SimplyCash from American Express

SimplyCash from American Express

With no annual fee and no minimum income requirement, the SimplyCash from American Express makes a great option. You’ll earn 1.25% or 2% cash back in just about every spending category, making the card incredibly flexible in terms of earning potential. 

There are also some additional perks that come with the card, including Front of the Line and American Express Experiences without the high annual fees that come with other Amex cards. There’s also travel accident insurance and purchase insurance when you charge these expenditures on your SimplyCash card.

You’ll also receive a welcome offer of $10 per billing cycle for 10 months when you spend $300 each cycle.

SimplyCash from American Express Main Features

Minimum income requirement: $0

Annual fee: $0

Purchase rate: 20.99%

Cash advance rate: 21.99%

Earn rate:

  • Earn 2% cash back on gas and groceries.
  • Earn 1.25% cash back on all other purchases. 

Extra features

  • Travel accident insurance.
  • Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan.
  • Purchase protection plan.
  • Fraud protection Guarantee.
  • Amex special offers.

President’s Choice Financial® Mastercard®

President’s Choice Financial Mastercard

If you do a lot of your grocery shopping at supermarkets under the Loblaws umbrella, like No Frills or Fortinos. Then the PC Financial Mastercard may be a card to consider adding to your wallet. There are no annual fee or minimum income requirements. 

When you shop at a Loblaws-owned grocery store, you’ll earn 10 PC Optimum points for every dollar spent. Elsewhere, you can earn 25 points per dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart, 30 points per litre at Esso and Mobil gas stations, and 20 points for every dollar spent on travel booked through PC Travel. For all other purchases, you’ll earn 10 points per dollar spent. 

President’s Choice Financial Mastercard Main Features

Minimum income requirement: None

Annual fee: $0

Purchase rate: 20.97%

Cash advance rate: 22.97% (21.99% for residents of Quebec)

Earn rate:

  • Earn 10 points for every $1 spent.
  • Earn 25 points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart.
  • Earn 30 points/L at Esso and Mobil gas stations.
  • Earn 20 points for every $1 spent on travel booked through PC Travel.
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent.

Extra features: 

  • Complimentary purchase assurance and extended warranty on products you purchase with your PC Financial Mastercard. 

Brim Financial Mastercard

Brim Card

Another no-annual fee, rewards-based card to consider is the Brim Financial Mastercard. You’ll earn 1 point for every dollar spent on all purchases made. You can boost your earning potential anywhere from 3% to 30% when you shop with specific retailers. You can also speed up the time needed to accumulate points earned the more often you spend at participating merchants.

When you first sign up, you’ll receive over $500 in bonus points.

Brim Financial Mastercard Main Features

Minimum income requirement: $15,000

Annual fee: $0

Purchase rate: 19.99%

Cash advance rate: 21.50%

Earn rate:

  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all purchases.

Extra features:

  • Installment Pay feature for purchases over $500 with payback terms ranging from 12 to 24 months. 
  • Interactive budgeting tool to track your spending. 

What Income Level Qualifies As “Low”?

Generally speaking, you’d be considered on the low-income side if you earn no more than $15,000 per year. Conversely, premium credit cards typically require a hefty minimum annual income of $60,000, or a combined household income of at least $100,000, to be eligible.

What Is A Minimum Income For Credit Cards? 

Each credit card issuer has its own minimum income requirements. For basic low income credit cards, the minimum annual income is usually $12,000. Though some credit cards may not have any income requirements, they may simply require a credit check. For premium cards, that increases to at least $60,000. 

In some cases, credit cards may not specify income requirements, though you’ll likely have to prove your income at some point in the application process to show that you’re financially capable of handling monthly credit card payments. 

What Type Of Income Is Accepted By Credit Card Companies? 

While some credit card companies accept all sources of income, others may be more strict. The following sources of income may be considered as proof that you meet income requirements:

How Do Credit Card Companies Verify Income?

Most credit card providers don’t actually verify income, especially for cards with a low credit limit. Instead, credit card companies might use your credit report information to estimate your income. If you apply for multiple credit cards within a short time period, they may conduct a financial review. 

Credit card issuers that offer credit cards to consumers with bad credit might require access to your bank account to verify the balance.

To gauge your income, you may be asked a series of questions throughout the application process. While this doesn’t provide solid proof of your exact income, it will give the credit card company a good idea of your ability to manage a credit card balance. 

Final Thoughts

You don’t need a high income to get qualified for any of the above credit cards. Even part-time income will do. And you’ll even have the chance to earn points with every dollar you spend, allowing you to redeem your points for free products and services. 

Low Income Credit Card FAQs

Can I get a credit card if I have no income? 

There are some credit cards that do not require a specific income to qualify, such as the PC Financial Mastercard and SimplyCash from American Express card. That said, the credit card provider might still check your income or expect that you earn a certain amount. Get in touch with the credit card provider to verify the income needed to qualify for their card. 

Do credit cards verify income? 

Most credit card companies don’t verify income since income isn’t detailed on your credit report. Instead, credit card issuers might use “income modelling” by using information from your credit report to gauge your income or review your finances if you apply for many credit cards in a short period of time.

What will happen if I lie about my income on a credit card application? 

Lying on your credit card application is considered fraud. If the credit card issuer finds out that you lied about your income, you could face fines of up to $1 million and as much as 30 years in jail. 
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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