If you've recently immigrated to Canada, you may think of Canadian banks and credit cards as similar to your country of origin. Canada's banking system is relatively unique, and it's widely regarded as among the world's safest. Each of the ”Big Five” banks in Canada offer welcome programs and credit cards for recent immigrants. With careful planning, you can establish your new life as an immigrant to Canada and get a credit card that's right for you.

Can I Trust Canadian Banks and Credit Cards As a New Immigrant?

Recognized by the World Trade Organization and other international financial institutions, Canadian banking and financial policies are widely regarded as among the world's safest and most forward-looking. The risk-averse, prudent approach of Canadian banks during the world financial downturn in 2008 resulted in minimal impact on Canadian finances, credit markets, and mortgages.

Unlike some countries, Canada's banks are not operated by the Canadian government.

You may find that Canadian credit cards offer different interest rates than you've seen advertised in other countries. Be wary of offers that "seem too good to be true" or individuals promising instant financial establishment. An individual won't be able to get you a credit card. Focus on public, reliable sources to compare credit card terms and rates.

I Have Assets In Canada But No Credit History: What Should I Do?

Surveys conducted by major Canadian banks found that 88 percent of new Canadians had a top priority to establish themselves financially in Canada within a year after moving. Almost half of recent immigrants surveyed didn't know how to achieve this goal, however. Getting credit is an important financial tool, but without a Canadian credit history, it can be a challenge.

The good news is that all of Canada's "big five" banks and other national and regional banks have programs for recent Canadian immigrants. Some banks have zero-interest or low-fee accounts for newcomers. All of them offer access to credit, including unsecured credit cards.

No matter what, you can use your assets to back a secured credit card. In as little as six months, you may qualify for an increased credit limit and no security deposit requirement.

How Can I Build Credit to Buy a Home Or a Car?

Using credit well and managing your finances wisely will provide opportunities for a mortgage or auto loan. You will also benefit from the good choices that other immigrants to Canada have made.

Lenders report that newcomers to Canada are good customers: they are quick to pay off charges on credit cards, are reliable about their finances, and want to become financially established.

To get started with credit cards and other financial products in Canada, look into a newcomer program at your local bank branch. Get to know the branch personnel. Each bank offers credit cards and other financial products designed for recent immigrants. You can also take advantage of financial education programs that can orient you to Canada's banking and credit systems.

After you have become oriented to your Canadian life, finding the best credit card for you and your family can help you continue to reach your personal and financial goals.


The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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