Avoid rejection and protect your credit score with one of the easiest credit cards to get in Canada. Qualifying for a new credit card can be tough. Whether you have insufficient credit history or a poor credit score, it can be difficult to determine exactly which cards you will be approved for. Plus, credit inquiries can negatively impact your credit score. Apply for too many cards and your score will dip, making it even harder to successfully open a new credit card.
Fortunately, certain cards are much easier to get than others. Some cards have very simple requirements. Others, such as prepaid and secured credit cards, essentially allow you to fund the limit upfront. This makes it significantly easier for your application to be approved. Some cards may even offer instant approval.
To help you choose your next credit card, we have compiled a list of the easiest credit cards to open. As always, we highly encourage you to compare options and see which card best fits your own spending habits.
- Canadian prepaid credit cards
- Canadian secured credit cards
- Easy-to-access traditional credit cards
- Frequently Asked Questions about the easiest credit cards to get in Canada
Canadian prepaid credit cards
If you can afford to fund your credit card upfront, prepaid cards are a great choice. They function similarly to a debit card: you load the money in advance and then spend it as you see fit. However, many prepaid credit cards come with better perks than debit cards, such as cash back rewards.
It is important to note that prepaid cards do not have any impact on your credit score. Some issuers, such as KOHO, may offer an optional credit-builder service for an additional fee, but you will have to manually request this if you would like to increase your credit score while using a prepaid card.
KOHO Prepaid Mastercard
KOHO’s Prepaid Mastercard is an extremely flexible prepaid card with guaranteed approval. The free Easy Plan offers a 1% cash back on certain purchases (including groceries and recurring bills) and 0.5% interest on your unused balance. There are also two paid plans, Essential and Extra, which provide higher cash back and interest rates.
Although prepaid credit cards cannot improve your credit score, KOHO has a workaround: the Credit Builder lines of credit. These are guaranteed approval products that cost $10/month on the Easy Plan, and $7/mo on the Essential and Extra plan. KOHO is also experimenting with offering secured lines of credit, though the program is currently invite-only and we cannot verify pricing at this time.
Credit Builder payments are reported to credit bureaus, thus positively impacting your score. However, if you qualify for a traditional or secured credit card, Credit Builder may be a comparatively expensive way to increase your credit score in the long run.
EQ Bank Card
If you need an incentive to save money, the EQ Bank Card is worth looking into. The card offers 0.5% cash back on purchases and an impressive 2.5% interest rate on any pre-loaded but unused funds. The difference in rates may be enough of a perk to make you think twice before tapping your card.
However, you can still find higher interest rates in some high-interest savings accounts. Depending on how frequently you are willing to reload your card, it may be more cost-effective to open a prepaid credit card with a higher cash back rate that you top up frequently.
In addition to their impressive interest rates, the EQ Bank Card has another major draw: it does not charge foreign currency conversion fees. If you are in search of a prepaid credit card to take abroad, this feature could save a lot of money. Since there are also no inactivity fees, you can enjoy the savings whether you are an occasional traveller or a frequent jet setter.
Canadian secured credit cards
In some ways, the process of setting up a secured credit card is incredibly similar to that of a prepaid card. In both cases, you open up the account without a hard credit check (which lowers your credit score) and must pre-pay a certain amount of money called a security deposit.
However, once you start using it, a secured credit card acts just like a traditional credit card. Most notably, you will receive a monthly statement that details your transaction history, balance owing, the minimum payment required, and the payment due date.
If you do not pay off the balance in full, you will be charged interest. Repayment history will be reported to credit bureaus. Therefore, responsible usage can improve your score while poor decisions can cause your score to drop.
NEO Secured Credit Card
The NEO Secured Credit Card is an extremely budget-friendly option. The minimum security deposit during setup is only $50, making it affordable to join and start rebuilding your credit.
NEO also offers cash back on purchases. The company partners with various retailers to offer different cash back rates. For instance, at the time of writing this, their rewards portal advertised 1% cash back at Ontario Walmart locations and 5% cash back at GreenHouse Juice Co.
If your cash back balance does not equal at least 0.5% of your total purchase value at the end of the month, NEO will add the difference to your account, up to $50/month. This makes it difficult to determine exactly how much cash back you will receive in advance. However, it is comforting to know that you are guaranteed at least 0.5% cash back in most cases.
Plastk Secured Credit Card
The Plastk Secured Credit Card is the most expensive option on our list, but it is ideal if you want to make big purchases. The card allows you to deposit up to $10,000, providing users with the flexibility to purchase big-ticket items.
Plastk also offers a rewards program for cardholders. Points are accumulated on each purchase and may then be redeemed for merchandise, travel, gift cards, statement credits, and more.
Easy-to-access traditional credit cards
Generally speaking, most traditional credit cards require a credit score of approximately 650. If you do not meet this requirement, you may wish to increase your score via a secured credit card, and then apply for a traditional card later after your credit score has improved. Still, depending on your circumstances, some traditional cards may be easier to get approved for than others.
BMO CashBack® Mastercard®
- Annual fee: $0
- Interest rate on purchases: 20.99%
- Interest rate on cash advances: 22.99%
- 3% : Groceries;
1% : Recurring bill payments;
0.5% : Other purchases
With a 3% cash back rate on groceries, 1% cash back on recurring payments, and 0.5% cash back on everything else, the BMO CashBack® Mastercard® is a respectable entry-level cash back card. It is generally open to applicants with credit scores in or above the ‘fair’ range, which includes scores between 580-669. If you fall into this range, are not a student, and would prefer a traditional credit card, this is one of the easiest cards to get approved for.
CIBC Aventura Visa Card for Students
- Annual fee: $0
- Annual interest rate: 20.99% on purchases and 22.99% on advances (21.99% for Quebec Residents)
Share your email address with CIBC;
Sign up for eStatements for your new Aventura Visa card;
Add an authorized user on your new Aventura Visa card Hold any eligible CIBC Chequing Account;
Add your Aventura Visa card with Apple Pay® or Samsung Pay® or Google Pay™.
Student credit cards typically have simpler requirements than cards not targeted toward students. This makes them ideal for students to build credit.
Unfortunately, student credit cards generally do not offer impressive rewards. However, the CIBC Aventura® Visa Card for Students has one major advantage over its competitors: it comes with free Student Price Card+ (SPC+) membership.
SPC+ membership allows students to enjoy significant discounts at a wide variety of major retailers. As always, we highly recommend comparing the list of retailers that offer SPC+ discounts against your own shopping patterns to better understand how much money you might save long-term.
Frequently Asked Questions about the easiest credit cards to get in Canada
Do you have any concerns about obtaining a credit card in Canada? Check out our list of frequently asked questions for more information.
There is no single Canadian credit card that is the easiest to be approved for. However, if you are struggling to qualify for a credit card, you have a few options.
Prepaid and secured credit cards are relatively easy to obtain and do not require high credit scores. However, prepaid credit cards will not help build your credit rating and secured credit cards will be subject to interest rates and require a security deposit. Examples of prepaid credit cards include the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard and the EQ Bank Card. Examples of secured credit cards include the NEO Secured Credit Card and the Plastk Secured Credit Card.
Some traditional credit cards are also relatively easy to obtain. If you are currently in school, you may want to look into student credit cards, such as the CIBC Aventura® Visa Card for students. Otherwise, you can consider applying for a credit card that accepts applicants with fair scores, such as the BMO CashBack® Mastercard®.
You do not need to reach a certain credit score in order to qualify for a Canadian credit card. However, some lenders may set more strict requirements than others.
Generally speaking, a credit score of 600 will allow you to qualify for traditional credit cards specifically designed for low-credit individuals. A score of 650 will allow you to qualify for most standard credit cards. Prepaid and secured credit cards do not have a minimum credit score.
If you have poor credit, you may find it easiest to get approved for a prepaid or secured credit card. Generally speaking, you will have to fund these cards in advance. Be aware that secured credit cards can impact your credit score, while prepaid credit cards do not count toward your credit profile.
If you do not have enough money to fund a prepaid or secured credit card, you can still find some traditional credit cards that approve individuals with low credit. Our top picks are the BMO CashBack® Mastercard® and CIBC Aventura® Visa Card for Students.
The NEO Financial Hudson’s Bay Mastercard is one of the easiest store credit cards to get approved for in Canada. It is a traditional credit card (not a secured card), but does not have a minimum income requirement and accepts applicants with relatively low credit scores.
The BMO CashBack® Mastercard® is one of the easiest unsecured credit cards to get approved for — even with a low credit score. The card does not have a minimum income or credit score requirement. Likewise, there is no monthly fee.