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Starter Credit Cards Are Not One-Size-Fits-All

Aug. 3, 2021
18 mins
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Compare the best credit cards on RATESDOTCA

Find the best credit card for your lifestyle today!

Depending on the circumstance, those with thin credit profiles may have one of the following options:

  • Secured credit card: This type of card is more widely available and has high approval rates. Cardholders can set their credit limit, usually ranging from $200 to upwards of $10,000, since a deposit determines it.
  • Prepaid credit card: Applicants can usually get instantly approved for this type of card. However, since cardholders use their own money to pay for purchases, not a lender’s, no payment history is reported to the credit bureaus. Therefore, prepaid cards will not help build or increase your credit score — unless the issuer provides an additional credit building program.
  • Student credit card: This type of card is generally available to those attending post-secondary education, and proof of enrollment may be required. In terms of income requirements, scholarships and grants often count toward eligibility.

Click on the profile that you identify with the most to compare starter credit cards:

Or click here for helpful credit card tips for beginners.

Best credit cards for students

A student credit card can help young scholars build their credit score as they pay for everyday purchases like textbooks and lunch with friends. With each payment made by the due date, the issuer relays positive information to the two main credit bureaus in Canada, Equifax and TransUnion.

To qualify for this type of card, applicants not only have to be the age of majority in their province or territory but must also be within an age range, typically 18-24. Additionally, they must be enrolled in a post-secondary program at a recognized school.

Once a student ages out of this requirement, the issuer will automatically upgrade the card or offer the cardholder a new selection.

While many students choose to have part-time jobs, attending classes and studying is time-consuming. For those without employment, scholarships and grants or student loans may also count toward eligibility.

Our top picks for students

Credit card

Top features

Annual fee

First-year value*

1. BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*

  • Redeem cash back whenever you want.

$0

$364

2. BMO AIR MILES Mastercard* for Students

  • Earn AIR MILES on all purchases.

$0

$302

3. SCENE®* Visa* Card-Student

  • Earn free movies.

$0

$337

4. Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

  • Earn 2% cash back on up to three Money-Back Categories of your choice.

$0

$409

*The RATESDOTCA Best of Finance methodology assumes the cardholder spends an average of $2,000 a month on their card to determine the first-year value. The calculation includes all welcome bonuses and promotional offers at the time of publishing.

1. BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$76
+ Annual rewards
$288
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$364
BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for students

card image
Welcome bonus
$76
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$288
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Student Credit Card 
No fee card that offering an attractive sign-up bonus
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$76
Annual rewards
$288
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$76
+ Annual rewards
$288
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$364
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Student Credit Card 
No fee card that offering an attractive sign-up bonus
Details at a glance Collapse details

Best of Finance Winner: Best Student Credit Card

Apply for the BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for students to get up to 5% cash back in the first three months on qualified purchases up to $2,500 ($500 in groceries, $500 in recurring bill payments, and $1,500 on all other purchases). You could earn up to $125 cash back.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Earn 3% cash back on your first $500 in grocery purchases monthly.
  • Earn 1% cash back on your first $500 in recurring bill payments monthly.
  • Earn 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

This card also features basic shopping coverage and digital financial insights to help you stay on top of your spending and check your credit score. Redeem cash back whenever you want for statement credits or cash deposits into your BMO chequing, savings or InvestorLine account.

Offer expiry date: October 31, 2021

2. BMO AIR MILES† Mastercard* for Students

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$137
+ Annual rewards
$165
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$302
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard* for Students

card image
Welcome bonus
$137
AIR MILES Rewards
Annual rewards
$165
AIR MILES Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
Great starter card to build up credit score in hopes of future travel
Basic purchase insurance included
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$137
Annual rewards
$165
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$137
+ Annual rewards
$165
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$302
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
Great starter card to build up credit score in hopes of future travel
Basic purchase insurance included
Details at a glance Collapse details

New cardholders of the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard* for Students can earn 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles when they spend at least $1,000 on the card in the first three months.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Earn one Mile for every $25 spent on purchases.
  • Earn 3X the Miles for every $25 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners.

Get financial insights to monitor your spending and credit score and access basic shopping coverage.

Offer expiry date: October 31, 2021

3. SCENE®* Visa* Card-Student

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$25
+ Annual rewards
$312
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$337
SCENE®* VISA* Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$25
SCENE Rewards points
Annual rewards
$312
SCENE Rewards points
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
Perfect no-fee card for regular movie-goers looking to save
Attractive entry level card for students and young adults
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$25
Annual rewards
$312
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$25
+ Annual rewards
$312
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$337
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
Perfect no-fee card for regular movie-goers looking to save
Attractive entry level card for students and young adults
Details at a glance Collapse details

Earn 1,250 bonus SCENE points upon your first purchase using the SCENE®* VISA* Card.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Earn five SCENE points for every $1 spent at Cineplex and cineplex.com.
  • Earn one SCENE point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Redeem rewards for free movies at Cineplex and money off meals at participating restaurants.

Offer expiry date: October 31, 2021

4. Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$100
+ Annual rewards
$309
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$409
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$100
Money-Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$309
Money-Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.95% on purchases • 19.95% on cash advances
Flexible no-fee cashback card with ability to choose what categories earn you the most cash back
No limits to cash back that can be earned
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$100
Annual rewards
$309
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$100
+ Annual rewards
$309
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$409
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.95% on purchases
19.95% on cash advances
Flexible no-fee cashback card with ability to choose what categories earn you the most cash back
No limits to cash back that can be earned
Details at a glance Collapse details

While this card is not technically a student credit card, it only requires a minimum personal income of $12,000 to be eligible. Therefore, it is worth mentioning.

Apply for the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card by August 16, 2021, to earn 10% cash back when you spend at least $1,000 on the card within the first two months. That is up to $100 cash back.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Earn 2% in Money-Back Rewards in up to three categories of your choice. Start with two categories and earn the third when depositing your rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account. Money-Back Rewards Categories include grocery, furniture, restaurant, hotel-motel, gas, recurring bill payments, drugstore, home improvement, entertainment, and public transportation and parking. Switch your categories to match your spending habits and maximize your rewards.
  • Earn 0.50% cash back on all other purchases.

This card has a “left to spend” feature that offers insights into your spending habits. Plus, get basic shopping coverage and free additional cards for authorized users.

Offer expiry date: August 16, 2021

Jump back to the top.

Best credit cards for newcomers to Canada

Most of the major banks offer programs for newcomers to Canada. Many of these banking packages provide simple, no-fee financial solutions for saving and spending within a specific period, usually up to one year. Some even help international students get their study permits.

While these packages offer excellent value and access to professional advice, it is always beneficial to compare products to ensure you find the best match for your lifestyle.

You may find that a secured credit card offers a more significant credit limit as the deposit determines it.

Here are several credit cards that these programs may offer or that have less stringent application requirements.

Our top picks for newcomers to Canada

Credit card

Top features

Annual fee

First-year value*

1. BMO CashBack Mastercard®*

  • Redeem cash back whenever you want.

$0

$383

2. Scotia Momentum® No-Fee VISA* Card

  • Earn cash back on everyday purchases.

$0

$256

3. RBC® Cash Back Mastercard

  • There is no limit to how much cash back you can earn.
  • Plus, get instant fuel savings at Petro-Canada.

$0

$300

4. Scotiabank®*American Express®Card

  • Earn Scotia Rewards points.
  • Get basic travel insurance coverage.

$0

$290

5. No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa* Card

  • Set your credit limit with a deposit.

$0

$0

*The RATESDOTCA Best of Finance methodology assumes the cardholder spends an average of $2,000 a month on their card to determine the first-year value. The calculation includes all welcome bonuses and promotional offers at the time of publishing.

1. BMO CashBack Mastercard®*

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$95
+ Annual rewards
$288
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$383
BMO CashBack Mastercard®*

card image
Welcome bonus
$95
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$288
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner - Best No-Fee Cash Back Credit Card
Cash back rewards include the freedom to redeem anytime
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$95
Annual rewards
$288
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$95
+ Annual rewards
$288
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$383
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner - Best No-Fee Cash Back Credit Card
Cash back rewards include the freedom to redeem anytime
Details at a glance Collapse details

The BMO CashBack Mastercard®* offers 5% cash back in the first three months up to $2,500 in qualified purchases ($500 in groceries, $500 in recurring bill payments, and $1,500 on all other purchases).

Newcomers to Canada may qualify for this credit card through the BMO NewStart® Program, designed to help permanent residents, foreign workers, and international students access banking products easier.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Earn 3% cash back on your first $500 in groceries monthly.
  • Earn 1% cash back on your first $500 in recurring bill payments monthly.
  • Earn 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

Redeem cash back for as little as $1 for statement credits or deposits into a BMO chequing, savings, or InvestorLine account. Or, set up automatic deposits starting at $25. This card also features financial insights to track your spending habits and stay on top of your credit score.

Offer expiry date: October 31, 2021

2. Scotia Momentum® No-Fee VISA* Card

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$64
+ Annual rewards
$192
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$256
Scotia Momentum® No-Fee VISA* Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$64
Scotia Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$192
Scotia Cash Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
A flexible no-fee cash back for everyday spending
Enjoy low interest on balance transfers in your first 3 months
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$64
Annual rewards
$192
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$64
+ Annual rewards
$192
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$256
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
A flexible no-fee cash back for everyday spending
Enjoy low interest on balance transfers in your first 3 months
Details at a glance Collapse details

Apply for the Scotia Momentum® No-Fee VISA* Card to earn 5% cash back on all purchases for the first three months, up to $2,000 in total purchases. That is up to $100 cash back.

The Scotiabank StartRight® Program has banking solutions for newcomers to Canada and international students.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Earn 1% cash back on gas, groceries, drugstore purchases, and recurring bill payments.
  • Earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Get a free additional card for a family member and start earning cash back faster.

Offer expiry date: October 31, 2021

3. RBC® Cash Back Mastercard

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$0
+ Annual rewards
$300
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$300
RBC® Cash Back Mastercard

card image
Welcome bonus
$0
RBC Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$300
RBC Cash Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
A no fee card that rewards you unlimited cash back 
Good savings opprotuniities for daily communters
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$0
Annual rewards
$300
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$0
+ Annual rewards
$300
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$300
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
A no fee card that rewards you unlimited cash back 
Good savings opprotuniities for daily communters
Details at a glance Collapse details

Earn unlimited cash back using the RBC® Cash Back Mastercard and get instant savings on fuel at Petro-Canada when you link your card.

This card may be available under the RBC Newcomer Advantage program, helping newcomers navigate financial hurdles when they first arrive in Canada.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Earn 2% cash back on groceries.
  • Earn up to 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Get personalized deals through RBC Offers and basic shopping coverage with this card.

4. Scotiabank®* American Express® Card

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$50
+ Annual rewards
$240
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$290
Scotiabank®* American Express® Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$50
Scotia Rewards points
Annual rewards
$240
Scotia Rewards points
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
Flexible rewards can be redeemed for travel, statement credtis and more.
Includes strong travel perks for a no fee card, including full service travel agency
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$50
Annual rewards
$240
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$50
+ Annual rewards
$240
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$290
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
Flexible rewards can be redeemed for travel, statement credtis and more.
Includes strong travel perks for a no fee card, including full service travel agency
Details at a glance Collapse details

The Scotiabank®* American Express® Card offers 5,000 Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $500 in purchases in the first three months.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Earn one Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on purchases.

This no-fee credit card provides exclusive discounts with Scotia Rewards Travel Advantage. Plus, get special offers and access to events through American Express Invites®. This card also features basic travel insurance and shopping coverage.

Offer expiry date: N/A (Subject to change without notice)

5. No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa* Card

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$0
+ Annual savings
$0
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$0
No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$0
Annual savings
$0
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 19.99% on cash advances
Winner – Best Secured Credit Card for Rebuilding Credit
Great stater card for students, newcomers to Canada, or those looking to repair their credit score
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$0
Annual savings
$0
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$0
+ Annual savings
$0
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$0
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
19.99% on cash advances
Winner – Best Secured Credit Card for Rebuilding Credit
Great stater card for students, newcomers to Canada, or those looking to repair their credit score
Details at a glance Collapse details

Although the No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa Card does not offer rewards or cash back, it still provides value. Choose a credit limit that suits you means starting at $500 as a deposit determines it. You will begin to build and improve your credit score as long as you keep up to date with your payments.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Interest rate (purchases): 19.99%
  • Interest rate (cash advances): 19.99%
  • Interest rate (balance transfer): 19.99%

Use this card anywhere Visa is accepted to pay bills or shop in-store or online.

Jump back to the top.

Best credit cards for beginners

For young adults and those new to financial independence, a student credit card may not always be an option. In this case, all you’ll need is a steady income to qualify for a credit card.

We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of cards for beginners — most require a minimum personal income of around $12,000 to be eligible.

Our top picks for beginners

Credit card

Top features

Annual fee

First-year value*

1. MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

  • Earn MBNA Rewards Points.
  • Get mobile device insurance.

$0

$503

2. Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa* Card

  • Earn cash back on everyday purchases.

$0

$399

3. President’s Choice Financial® Mastercard®

  • Earn PC Optimum points.

$0

$320

4. Scotia Momentum® No-Fee VISA* Card

  • Earn cash back on everyday purchases.

$0

$256

5. Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

  • Get 2% cash back in up to three Money-Back Rewards Categories of your choice.

$0

$409

*The RATESDOTCA Best of Finance methodology assumes the cardholder spends an average of $2,000 a month on their card to determine the first-year value. The calculation includes all welcome bonuses and promotional offers at the time of publishing.

1. MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$163
+ Annual rewards
$340
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$503
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

card image
Welcome bonus
$163
MBNA Rewards points
Annual rewards
$340
MBNA Rewards points
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 24.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best No-Fee Travel Credit Card
Flexible rewards redeemable for travel or cash back
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$163
Annual rewards
$340
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$163
+ Annual rewards
$340
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$503
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
24.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best No-Fee Travel Credit Card
Flexible rewards redeemable for travel or cash back
Details at a glance Collapse details

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® offers four points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, subscription, and household utility purchases for the first 90 days until $10,000 is spent annually.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Minimum personal income: N/A
  • Earn two points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, subscription, and household utility purchases until $10,000 is spent annually in these categories.
  • Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

This card also features mobile device insurance, shopping coverage, and deals on rental cars. Plus, you will receive annual Birthday Bonus Points, equal to a percentage of the points earned over the previous 12 months, up to 10,000 points.

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For residents of Quebec, please click here.

Offer expiry date: N/A (Subject to change without notice)

2. Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa* Card

For the first four months, the Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa* Card offers 10% bonus cash back at restaurants and bars, up to $500 in total purchases. Get the regular rate of 4% cash back at restaurants and an additional 6% back during this time. That is up to an extra $30 cash back.

Plus, get a 9.99% interest rate on purchases for the first six months.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Minimum personal income: $15,000
  • Earn 4% cash back on eligible restaurant, bar, and coffee shop purchases until $5,000 is spent annually.
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on eligible gas, groceries, drugstore purchases, and recurring bill payments until $15,000 is spent annually.
  • Earn 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

This card also features basic shopping coverage and free additional cards for up to three authorized users. Plus, pay no transaction fees or interest on Simplii Financial Global Money Transfers when you use your Cash Back Visa Card, as long as you pay your balance by the due date.

Offer expiry date: October 31, 2021

3. President’s Choice Financial® Mastercard®

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$20
+ Annual rewards
$300
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$320
President’s Choice Financial® Mastercard®

card image
Welcome bonus
$20
PC Optimum Points
Annual rewards
$300
PC Optimum Points
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
20.97% on purchases • 22.97% on cash advances
Free and easy card for fans of PC Optimum Program
Some insurance included
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$20
Annual rewards
$300
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$20
+ Annual rewards
$300
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$320
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
20.97% on purchases
22.97% on cash advances
Free and easy card for fans of PC Optimum Program
Some insurance included
Details at a glance Collapse details

Get 20,000 PC Optimum points after your first purchase using the President’s Choice Financial® Mastercard®.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Minimum personal income: N/A
  • Earn 10 points for every $1 spent at Loblaw banner brands, including Loblaws, No Frills, Valu-mart, Zehrs, Real Canadian Superstore, Independent, Fortinos, Wholesale Club, and PC Express.
  • Earn 25 points for every $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart.
  • Earn at least 30 points per litre at Esso and Mobil gas stations.
  • Earn 20 points for every $1 spent on PC Travel.
  • Earn 10 points for every $1 spent everywhere else.

Earn rewards for your everyday purchases and redeem them for as little as 1,000 points, a $10 value. Get free groceries and merchandise for your family.

Offer expiry date: N/A (Subject to change without notice)

4. Scotia Momentum® No-Fee VISA* Card

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$64
+ Annual rewards
$192
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$256
Scotia Momentum® No-Fee VISA* Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$64
Scotia Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$192
Scotia Cash Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
A flexible no-fee cash back for everyday spending
Enjoy low interest on balance transfers in your first 3 months
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$64
Annual rewards
$192
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$64
+ Annual rewards
$192
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$256
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
A flexible no-fee cash back for everyday spending
Enjoy low interest on balance transfers in your first 3 months
Details at a glance Collapse details

The Scotia Momentum® No-Fee VISA* Card offers 5% cash back on all purchases for the first three months, up to $2,000 in total purchases. That is up to $100 cash back.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Minimum personal income: $12,000
  • Earn 1% cash back on eligible gas, groceries, drugstore purchases, and recurring bill payments.
  • Earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Add a supplementary card for free and earn more cash back with an authorized user.

Offer expiry date: October 31, 2021

5. Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$100
+ Annual rewards
$309
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$409
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$100
Money-Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$309
Money-Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.95% on purchases • 19.95% on cash advances
Flexible no-fee cashback card with ability to choose what categories earn you the most cash back
No limits to cash back that can be earned
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$100
Annual rewards
$309
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$100
+ Annual rewards
$309
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$409
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.95% on purchases
19.95% on cash advances
Flexible no-fee cashback card with ability to choose what categories earn you the most cash back
No limits to cash back that can be earned
Details at a glance Collapse details

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card offers 10% cash back for the first two months on up to $1,000 in total purchases. That is up to $100 cash back.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Minimum personal income: $12,000
  • Earn 2% in Money-Back Rewards in up to three categories of your choice. Start with two categories and earn the third when depositing your rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account. Money-Back Rewards Categories include grocery, furniture, restaurant, hotel-motel, gas, recurring bill payments, drugstore, home improvement, entertainment, and public transportation and parking. Switch your categories to match your spending habits and maximize your rewards.
  • Earn 0.50% cash back on all other purchases.

This card includes basic shopping coverage and free additional cards for authorized users so you can earn rewards faster as a family.

Offer expiry date: August 16, 2021

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Best credit cards for non-traditional credit users

Traditional credit cards are not for everyone. Whatever the reason, whether you had an unpleasant experience in the past or struggle with budgeting and managing money today, there are other options.

A secured credit card can help build and improve your credit score with a bit of added protection. The credit limit, determined by a deposit on the account, acts as a safety net if you can’t pay your credit card bill on time. As long as you keep up with payments, your credit rating will improve. Eventually, you should be eligible for other credit products and be able to get your deposit back.

If you choose to stick with a secured credit card, that’s okay too. While these cards typically don’t offer points or cash back — some fee cards do — improving your credit score can be more rewarding. Those with good credit scores can often access the best interest rates on mortgages and other products.

Related read: Secured Credit Card vs. Prepaid Credit Card: Which Is Right for You?

You also have the option of a prepaid card. Load funds to your account instead of using money from a lender and pay bills or shop online just like you would with any other credit card. However, since you are not borrowing money, there are no payments; therefore, there is no payment history. Unless you opt for a credit building program, like the one from KOHO, this type of card will not affect your credit score.

Our top picks for non-traditional credit users

Credit card

Top features

Annual fee

First-year value*

1. KOHO Standard Prepaid Visa Card

  • Access the Credit Building by KOHO feature.
  • Earn cash back.

$0

$180

2. Plastk Secured Visa Credit Card

  • Get a $0 interest rate for three months.
  • Earn flexible rewards points.

$48

$68

3. No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa Card

  • Set your own credit limit.

$0

$0

*The RATESDOTCA Best of Finance methodology assumes the cardholder spends an average of $2,000 a month on their card to determine the first-year value. The calculation includes all welcome bonuses and promotional offers at the time of publishing.

1. KOHO Standard Prepaid Visa Card

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$60
+ Annual rewards
$120
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$180
KOHO Standard Prepaid Visa Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$60
KOHO Money-Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$120
KOHO Money-Back Rewards
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
N/A on purchases • N/A on cash advances
A no fee prepaid card that earns you cash rewards on all purchases.
Enjoy low 1.5% foreign exchange fees.
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$60
Annual rewards
$120
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$60
+ Annual rewards
$120
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$180
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
0.0% on purchases
0.00% on cash advances
A no fee prepaid card that earns you cash rewards on all purchases.
Enjoy low 1.5% foreign exchange fees.
Details at a glance Collapse details

The KOHO Standard Prepaid Visa Card does not report payments to the credit bureaus in Canada since the money you spend is your own. However, Credit Building by KOHO is a budget-friendly feature to help you build your credit score subtly in the background. The service is a six-month subscription and can be repeated as needed.

Get an additional 1% cash back on all purchases for the first 90 days (about three months) when you sign up with a referral code and when you refer a friend.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Earn 0.5% cash back on all purchases.

This card also features low foreign exchange fees (1.5% of foreign currency purchases) and personalized financial coaching.

Offer expiry date: N/A (Subject to change without notice)

2. Plastk Secured Visa Credit Card

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$20
+ Annual rewards
$96
- Annual fee
$48
Total first year value
$68
Plastk Secured Visa Credit Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$20
Plastk Rewards Points
Annual rewards
$96
Plastk Rewards Points
Annual fees:
$48
Interest rates:
17.99% on purchases • 21.99% on cash advances
Re-build your credit while receiving premium rewards
Use your points to pay back your balance
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$20
Annual rewards
$96
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$20
+ Annual rewards
$96
- Annual fee
$48
Total first year value
$68
Annual fees:
$48
Interest rates:
0.0% on purchases
21.99% on cash advances
Re-build your credit while receiving premium rewards
Use your points to pay back your balance
Details at a glance Collapse details

Apply for the Plastk Secured Visa Credit Card to get 5,000 points upon approval (redeemable after three months). That is a $20 value. Plus, receive a $0 interest rate on purchases for the first three months.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $48 + $6 monthly maintenance fee
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $25
  • Interest rate (purchases): 17.99%
  • Interest rate (cash advances): 21.99%
  • Interest rate (balance transfer): 17.99%
  • Earn one point for every $1 spent on all purchases.

Use your points to pay your balance or buy merchandise, travel, gift cards, charitable donations, or tickets to events (250 points = $1). Plus, get a 25-day grace period on purchases, typically around 21 days on most cards.

Offer expiry date: N/A (Subject to change without notice)

3. No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa Card

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$0
+ Annual savings
$0
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$0
No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$0
Annual savings
$0
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 19.99% on cash advances
Winner – Best Secured Credit Card for Rebuilding Credit
Great stater card for students, newcomers to Canada, or those looking to repair their credit score
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$0
Annual savings
$0
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$0
+ Annual savings
$0
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$0
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
19.99% on cash advances
Winner – Best Secured Credit Card for Rebuilding Credit
Great stater card for students, newcomers to Canada, or those looking to repair their credit score
Details at a glance Collapse details

The No Fee Home Trust Secured Visa Card allows cardholders to set their own credit limit ranging from $500 to $10,000 as a deposit determines it. Use the card to pay for purchases and build your credit score as you keep up with payments.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Interest rate (purchases): 19.99%
  • Interest rate (cash advances): 19.99%
  • Interest rate (balance transfer): 19.99%

Shop online or pay in-store anywhere that Visa is accepted, just like a standard credit card.

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Helpful tips for beginners

Credit cards can help people build and improve their credit scores when used responsibly, setting them up for financial success. The best cards also offer shopping coverage and fraud protection, which can be particularly useful when shopping online.

Practicing healthy financial habits can ensure you benefit from the rewards or perks on your card without getting overwhelmed by debt or mounting interest charges.

Start by following these simple tips:

  • Compare credit cards. A common misunderstanding is that you can only get a credit card from your bank. This is false. Although it may be your inclination to accept an offer from your financial institution, the credit card may not be the best fit for your spending habits. Shop for credit cards and find your match.
  • Small purchases make for small payments. Avoid putting everything on your credit card, and make sure you have enough money in the bank to cover your balance. Experts recommend paying off your credit card on time and in full every month to avoid accruing costly interest charges on unpaid balances.

For more tips and tricks, check out the 7 Common Credit Card Mistakes You Should Avoid.

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Rates, product information and reward estimates are subject to change at any time and do not constitute financial advice. This post was not sponsored. RATESDOTCA may receive a referral fee from our partners or affiliate links featured on the site; however, our editorial choices are objective and free from bias. The opinions expressed in this article are purely those of RATESDOTCA; thus, the credit card issuers and partners are not responsible for any editorials or reviews that may appear. Please visit the associated website for complete and current terms and conditions on any product or service mentioned. The information in this article is accurate as of the date of this posting, August 3, 2021. Read our full disclaimer.

Hayley Vesh

Hayley Vesh is a creative, resourceful, and knowledgeable content producer who is passionate about financial literacy, storytelling, and generating ideas. She writes about credit cards, savings, debt management, and personal finance. In her spare time, Hayley can be found wandering in the woods, hunting for second-hand treasures, or curled up with a steeped tea and a good podcast.

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