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Moving to Canada comes with a laundry list of to-do’s, and perhaps one of the most important things to take care of is your finances. In addition to opening a bank account, you might also want to look into applying for a credit card for newcomers in Canada.

Having a credit card is great for making convenient purchases, but more importantly, it’s an excellent tool to help you build good credit. 

Banks and lenders use your credit score to measure your creditworthiness. With a good credit score, you’ll have a better chance of getting approved for various financial products, including a mortgage to buy a house. And having a credit card — and using it responsibly — is a great way to start building solid credit. 

Certain credit cards are better suited for newcomers than others, especially when it comes to annual fees and approval requirements. Read on to find out some of the best credit cards for newcomers to Canada.

Best Credit Card For Newcomers In Canada 

Annual FeeRewards
Neo Secured Credit$0– 1% on gas and groceries.
– 0.5% monthly minimum cashback with Neo partners.
– 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.
– 2%+ at Neo retail partners (online and in-store).
Capital One Guaranteed Secured Mastercard®N/A
Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa Card$0– Earn 1% cashback on all eligible gas, grocery, and pharmacy purchases and recurring payments.
– Earn 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card$0– Earn 2% Money
-Back Rewards in 2 categories.
– Earn 0.50% Money-Back Rewards on all other eligible purchases.
BMO CashBack® Mastercard®$0– 3% cash back on grocery purchases.
– 1% cash back on recurring bills.
– 0.5% cash back on all other purchases
Home Trust Secured Visa– $0 with rate of 19.99%
– $59 with rate of 14.90%
N/A
Note: Want to cancel your credit card for a new one? Make sure you know the consequences click here.
Neo Secured Credit

Neo Secured Credit

Neo Secured Credit is a secured credit card offered by Neo Financial; a fintech company in Canada that aims to change the way Canadians spend, save and build credit. While Neo Secured Credit is a secured credit card, it comes with many perks of a traditional credit card, including cashback rewards and the ability to build credit.

The card also has no annual fees and low requirements for approval. There are no credit checks and the minimum deposit is $50. Users can also take advantage of Neo’s real-time notifications to help budget and track expenses.

Welcome Offer

Neo is offering new customers the opportunity to try Premium free for 3 months. Apply for a Neo Credit card, upgrade to Premium, and get your first 3 months free.

Annual fee: $0

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

Cash advance rate: 22.99% – 31.99% (QC: 19.99% – 25.99%)

Earn rate

  • 1% on gas and groceries.
  • 0.5% monthly minimum cashback with Neo partners.
  • 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.
  • 2%+ at Neo retail partners (online and in-store).

Perks:

  • Can help build or rebuild your Canadian credit history.
  • Guaranteed approval for all Canadians.
  • Change your limit at any time.
  • Updarge to the premium plan for $4.99 to earn extra cash back on spendings.
  • Customize cards by adding Neo perks.

Cap One Card

Capital One Guaranteed Secured Mastercard®

The Capital One Guaranteed Secured Mastercard is a great card for newcomers looking to build their credit. With a minimum deposit of $75, you are guaranteed approval for this card. Once approved, you can use the card to make purchases and establish your credit. 

While this card has no rewards system, there are numerous features that make this card beneficial including the low annual fee, travel benefits, and purchase protection. 

Annual fee: $59

Purchase rate: 21.9% 

Cash advance rate: 21.9%

Earn rate: N/A

Perks:

  • Unlike many other secured credit cards, this one offers travel benefits such as travel assistance, baggage delay insurance, car rental insurance, and common carrier travel accident insurance. 
  • All eligible purchases are protected with purchase assurance and extended warranty. 
  • You’ll be able to save money with the price protection service. If an item you buy on your credit card goes on sale within 60 days of you purchasing it, you’ll be reimbursed the difference (up to $100 per item with a $500 cap per year). 

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa Card

One of the best cashback credit cards available is the Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card. As the name suggests, there’s no annual fee to pay, which is a huge perk for those looking to keep costs to a minimum. 

You’ll earn 5% cashback on all purchases up to $2,000 for the first 3 months. Then, you’ll earn 1% cashback on all eligible gas, grocery, and pharmacy purchases, as well as recurring payments. And 0.50% on all other eligible purchases. 

Annual fee: $0

Purchase rate: 19.99% 

Cash advance rate: 22.99%

Earn rate

  • Earn 1% cashback on all eligible gas, grocery, and pharmacy purchases and recurring payments.
  • Earn 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

Perks:

  • 0.99% introductory rate of on balance transfers for the first 6 months.
  • Save up to 25% at participating AVIS locations and at participating Budget locations.

Tangerine credit card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Another great no-free credit card that offers cashback rewards is the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card. This card allows you to earn unlimited Money-Back Rewards on purchases.

You’ll earn 2% cashback on everyday purchases in 2 different categories of your choice, and 0.50% cashback on all other eligible purchases. And if you open a Tangerine Savings Account, you can get a 3rd category added.

Special Offer

Apply for a Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card by April 30, 2024. 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.*

Annual fee: $0

Purchase rate: 19.95% 

Cash advance rate:  19.95%

Earn rate

  • Earn 2% Money-Back Rewards in 2 categories, including groceries, pharmacies, home improvement stores, and more. 
  • Earn 0.50% Money-Back Rewards on all other eligible purchases. 

Perks:

  • No limit to how many Money-Back Rewards you can earn.
  • Deposite your rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account and get a third money-back category.
  • For the first 30 days, you can take advantage of a 1.95% transfer balance rate for the first 6 months. 
  • Add authorized users onto your account for free. 
  • Mastercard Zero Liability

BMO CashBack Mastercard

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®

The BMO CashBack Mastercard comes with no annual fee and allows you to earn cashback on everyday purchases. This card is a good option for newcomers due to its low requirements and high cash back rates.

You can also take advantage of an introductory interest rate of 0.99% on transfer balances for 9 months, which gives you plenty of time to pay down any high-rate balances you might currently be carrying on other credit cards. 

Annual fee: $0

Purchase rate: 20.99%

Cash advance rate: 22.99% (21.99% for QC residents)

Earn rate

  • 3% cash back on grocery purchases.
  • 1% cash back on recurring bills.
  • 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Perks:

  • With this card, you’ll have an extended warranty and purchase protection. 
  • If you’re a fan of Cirque du Soleil, you can get 15% off the tickets. 
  • Get up to 25% off car rentals at Alamo Rent a Car and National Car Rental.

Home Trust Secured No-Fee Visa

Home Trust Secured Visa

Another secured credit card option is the Home Trust Secured Visa, which also requires that you make an initial deposit before you can start spending. Secured credit cards like the Home Trust Secured Visa are a great option for newcomers in Canada because approval is guaranteed as long as you make the required minimum deposit. After that, you can spend up to your deposit limit before you need to top up your account again.

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%

Earn rate: N/A

Perks:

  • With this card, you’ll get protection from unauthorized purchases and fraud through their Zero Liability policy. 
  • You can add the card to your digital wallet including Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay. 
  • You can manage your account balance and track your spending online. 

What Should You Look For In A Credit Card For Newcomers In Canada?

Before you set out to get yourself a credit card after immigrating to Canada, consider the following features of a financial product:

  • Annual fee. As a newcomer to Canada, you’re most likely looking to keep all your expenses to a minimum, and one way to do that is to look for a credit card that comes with a $0 annual fee, or at least a very low fee. If the card comes with a yearly fee, assess the rewards that it offers and make sure they’re worth the fee you have to pay each year. 
  • Rewards. Many credit cards offer some type of rewards system that allows you to earn points with every expenditure you make. Look for a card that offers high cashback rewards for the types of purchases you spend the most on.
  • Perks. Some credit cards offer other perks besides rewards points, including travel insurance, VIP airport lounge access, and purchase protection.
  • Eligibility requirements. Find out what you need to qualify for the credit card you’re interested in and make sure you meet these criteria before applying. 

How To Qualify For A Credit Card As Newcomers In Canada

In order to qualify for a credit card as a newcomer to Canada, you’ll first need to open a bank account. All big banks in Canada offer products specifically for newcomers and can help streamline the process of opening an account. At the same time, you may also be able to open a credit card account with the same financial institution, which might be the easier route to take. 

If you’re unable to get approved for an unsecured credit card, there are a few things you can do:

Apply For A Secured Credit Card

An unsecured credit card is a lot more difficult to get approved for and typically requires more stringent approval criteria. In this case, you might want to consider applying for a secured credit card, which is much easier to get access to. By using the card regularly and responsibly, you can build good credit to the point where you may eventually get approved for an unsecured card. 

Apply For A Prepaid Card

Another option available is a prepaid card. These types of financial products let you load money onto them and then use them for making purchases. Keep in mind, however, that a prepaid credit card will not help you build credit.

Get In Touch With Your Bank

If you have a bank account and other financial products with a bank in your home country, give them a call and ask if they offer credit cards in Canada. 

Are you PNP Immigrant? Here’s how to budget and save your money.

What You Need To Apply For A Credit Card For Newcomers In Canada

As a newcomer to Canada, you’ll need the following to apply for a credit card:

  • Residency status. You’ll need to provide information related to your residency status, including your visa details. 
  • Home address. You’ll probably require a residential address in Canada to secure a credit card.
  • Employment. Having a stable income and job is a requirement for credit card approval
  • Financial information. Different financial requirements may exist for newcomers to Canada compared to Canadian citizens. As such, you might need a certain amount of savings in your Canadian bank account for credit card approval.

Final Thoughts On The Best Credit Card For Newcomers In Canada

There are so many loose ends to tie up when immigrating to Canada, and dealing with your finances is a big one. Having a credit card in your wallet can afford you many perks, but some are better suited for newcomers than others. Look into each of the cards mentioned here and choose one that best suits your needs. 

FAQs - Credit Cards For Newcomers To Canada

What should I do if I can’t qualify for a credit card as a new immigrant?

If you can’t get approved for a traditional unsecured credit card, consider applying for a secured one. These cards are much easier to get approved for and can still be used much like a regular credit card, including to build credit.

Do I need a SIN card to apply for a credit card?

Most credit card issuers will require a SIN when you apply for a card. This will allow them to check your credit to help them determine whether or not you’re eligible to get approved. Having said that, some banks offer products that are geared specifically toward immigrants, which often do not require a SIN.

Do I need a bank account to get a credit card? 

Not necessarily. Having a bank account is often not a requirement. However, a bank account might make it easier to get approved for a credit card.

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.

2Age of majority in your province or territory of residence; Canadian resident; and must provide security funds.

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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