The 6 Best Credit Cards to Build Your Credit in Canada in 2024

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Did you know that all Canadians can get a credit card regardless of their credit score or financial situation? Obtaining a credit card not only opens doors for you as a consumer, but also helps to improve your credit score. This is an attractive solution for consumers who have previously gone bankrupt and those with poor credit. To help you choose a credit card, we did some research and came up with the best credit cards to build credit in Canada.

Credit Cards
Best For
People Seeking a Secured Card
Coffee Lovers
Savings

1. KOHO Prepaid Mastercard

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I don’t have enough good things to say about the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard, so here’s the skinny on why I love KOHO. It’s a prepaid card that uses money you already have. That means you can use it for all your regular, day-to-day purchases without going into debt. There is no credit check to sign up and you don’t have to provide a security deposit either. 

KOHO offers 1% cashback rewards on groceries and transportation with its free plan called Easy. Now for the best part! If you need to build your credit score you can sign up for their Credit Building program. This is a monthly subscription service that costs $10 a month with the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard Easy plan for a duration of 6 months. As long as you make that $10 payment on time, KOHO will report that payment to the credit bureaus each month. All you have to do is open an account, sign up for the credit-building program, and make sure there is at least $10 in the account every month. They take all the work and cringeworthy upfront costs out of fixing your credit score.

Eligibility Requirements KOHO Prepaid Mastercard
Credit ScoreNot required
Annual Income N/A
Additional Resident of Canada
Provincial age of majority

2. Neo Secured Card

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We love the NEO Secured Card because it has no annual fee, the minimum deposit is only $50 and you earn cash back. What more do you want?

Neo Financial claims to approve a range of credit scores, with guaranteed approval for the NEO Secured Card. You only need a minimum security deposit of $50, making it a very accessible card for people with a tight budget. There is no annual fee, yet it still offers incredible cash back rewards of up to 5% at affiliate retailers and guaranteed 0.5% cash back rewards on all purchases. Their current welcome offer provides 15% cash back on your first purchase at most of their partnered retailers. There is also an unsecured version of this card, which comes with the same advantages.

Eligibility Requirements Neo Secured Credit Card
Credit ScoreNot required
Annual Income N/A
Additional Resident of Canada
Provincial age of majority

3. Tims Credit Card

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The Tims Credit Card is available for no annual fee and if you do not pass a credit check, there is a secured version of the card they can offer you.

Another perk to the Tims Credit Card is that it can help you get our daily cup of coffee absolutely free. Tims Rewards points can be cashed in at any Tim Horton’s location for anything on their menu, and right now they’re offering a sign-up bonus of up to 5,000 points just for making your first purchase within 30 days of approval and meeting low monthly spending goals of just $200.

You can keep earning points at the pump and at the grocery store, plus 15 reward points for every $1 you spend at Tim Horton’s when you pay with this card.

Eligibility Requirements Tim’s Credit Card
Credit Score600 for the regular card
Not required for the secured card
Annual Income N/A
Additional Resident of Canada
Provincial age of majority

4. Neo Credit Card

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The Neo Credit Card is an unsecured version of the previously mentioned Neo Secured Credit Card. It offers the same generous cashback rewards that you can deposit straight into a savings account that has one of the highest interest rates in Canada; 4%!

The app has several features that can help you manage your finances better and continue building good credit like automatic bill payments so you never miss one, Neo Insights to help you track your spending habits and identify where you can afford to save, and a map to help you find retailers where you can take advantage of offers available exclusively to Neo customers. If you want to build your savings account, the Neo Credit Card is the way to go.

Eligibility Requirements Neo Credit Card
Credit Score (estimated)600
Annual Income N/A
Additional Resident of Canada
Provincial age of majority

5. Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card

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New Canadians will have a lot of reasons to like The Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card. It’s available for no annual fee and offers 4% cash back at select restaurants and bars, plus you can earn cash back when you use your card to send money abroad. It also offers purchase protection insurance and an extended warranty and is backed by CIBC Travel and Medical Insurance.

New Canadians can take advantage of a $10,000 credit limit by applying through Simplii’s New to Canada Banking Program. A limit this high can be very helpful when it comes to moving expenses and bills, but be careful to only charge your card if you know you can pay it off in full in order to establish good credit. When used carefully and properly, the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card is a great tool for helping people build good credit in Canada.

Eligibility Requirements Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card
Credit Score (estimated)600
Annual Income N/A
Additional Resident of Canada
Provincial age of majority

6. Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

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The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is a good choice for consumers who are on their way to re-establishing a fine credit score. You need a score of at least 600 to qualify, there are no minimum income requirements, and it’s available for absolutely free. Plus, you can add additional cardholders to the account for no charge. If you’ve previously filed for bankruptcy and done the work to start building your score back up, the Tangerine Money-Back card is a good choice if you want to raise your score even further.

This card also helps you squirrel away savings by offering 2% cash back in up to 3 personalized categories of your choice. Cashback rewards can be automatically deposited into a Tangerine high-interest savings account or a Tangerine TFSA.

Eligibility Requirements Tangerine Money-back Credit Card
Credit Score (estimated)600
Annual Income N/A
Additional Resident of Canada
Provincial age of majority

Quick and Easy Ways to Increase Your Credit Score

There are many things that influence your credit score, some would even surprise you. Both Equifax and TransUnion use slightly different scoring models to calculate your score. However, there is some overlap between them. Both credit bureaus look at the following six behaviours, and how they impact your score:

Check your credit score often

There could be reporting errors or inaccuracies that are dragging down your credit score. Companies like Borrowell help you spot mistakes so you can dispute them and give your credit score a boost. Many companies let you check your credit score for free and you can use them as many times as you want without hurting it.

Make your payments on time

Your payment behaviour has the biggest impact on your credit score. Missing a payment could cost you as much as 150 points off your credit score. Making your payments on time every month without fail is the easiest way to give your credit score a boost.

Pay down your debt

The more money you owe on your credit cards and lines of credit, the more it drags down your score. The quickest way to give your credit score a boost is to pay off your credit balances. The best way to pay off your debt is with either the snowball or avalanche method. The method that’s right for you will depend on your goals and needs.

Keep your credit accounts open

The older your credit accounts are, the better. Try not to close things like your credit cards or lines of credit, even if you don’t use them anymore. Use old accounts once or twice a year to keep them active, and pay the balance off in full.

Stop applying for new accounts

Every time you apply for credit such as a credit card, loan, or even open a cell phone account, you’ll need to submit to a credit check. It’s called a hard credit check and it can damage your credit score if you have too many of them in a short period of time. If you’re trying to increase your credit score, stop applying for credit unless absolutely necessary.

Meagen Seatter is a freelance journalist for Hardbacon. She's been using credit cards to travel-hack her way around the world since 2019. In addition to freelance work, she writes for Investing News Network, a global publication reporting on the latest investment news, developments, and trends. She studies online at Athabasca University and currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia.