Best Credit Card for Bad Credit in Canada

Building credit is a tricky process for many people for a variety of reasons. Many people grew up with financial hardships, immigrated to Canada, or filed bankruptcy. Whatever the reason for your bad credit, there are credit cards for bad credit Canada banks and institutions offer.

By getting a good card for bad credit, you can build your credit back up with proper use. In fact, getting a credit card is the fastest way to build your credit. Having a good credit score is important for many reasons. You’re more likely to qualify for better credit cards in the future and secure loans with lower interest rates.

If you’re wondering how to get a credit card with bad credit, Canada has several companies offering instant approval, no credit checks, or guaranteed cards. To figure out what kind of credit card is best for you, let’s look at the different available options. Read our other article about the best credit cards in Canada once you improve your credit with the options below!

Secured Credit Cards

These credit cards are a great option for those with low or damaged credit scores. Secured credit cards have high approval ratings and low fees associated. When obtaining a card, you’re required to put down a security deposit that the institution uses as collateral for lending you credit. There is typically a $200 to $300 minimum fee which then becomes your beginning credit line. Depending on the card, you can put down more which then adds to the amount of credit you get each month. If you begin missing payments, the institution takes your deposit away to use as payment.

If you have paid off your card in full each month, you will begin to rebuild your credit score. If you decide you want to cancel your account you can obtain your full deposit back.  These are some of the easy credit cards to get in Canada if you’re looking to rebuild your credit.

Guaranteed Credit Cards

Many credit card providers offer cards that you’re guaranteed to get if you meet the application requirements. These cards are great for those looking for a credit card with bad debt in Canada. Often, companies that offer these cards will require a security deposit, but the stipulations are different than secured credit cards. Rather than the deposit corresponding to your monthly limit, guaranteed cards can give you limits greater than your deposit. The credit limit on these cards varies widely depending on the company offering them.

These are great cards for those looking to rebuild their credit. When you pay off your full balance each month on your card, you’re sure to boost your credit score each month.

Prepaid Credit Cards

These credit cards require no credit checks when applying. This means these cards are available to everyone. However, prepaid credit cards will not rebuild your credit. Rather, they are good for educating and getting people ready for a typical credit card.

When you purchase a prepaid credit card, you load a certain amount of money on it each month. Every time you use it, that amount lessens. It’s a good tool to track your spending as it functions like a gift card. You can refill the amount on it at any time. If you’re looking to get a credit card with bad credit, Canada has many prepaid credit card options.

Unsecured Credit Cards

An unsecured credit card is the type of credit card most people think of when they hear “credit card”. You must apply and qualify for these depending on various factors determined by the company for each card. They do not require any security deposit for collateral as secured cards do. Depending on how you qualify, you get different credit limits. The better your score, the more credit you’re allowed.

There are unsecured credit cards for individuals with bad credit scores. These typically have higher interest rates and offer low lines of credit. They’re best to use minimally to avoid paying interest and to use for building your credit score. There are some guaranteed unsecured cards that are easy to get for individuals with bad credit.

Canadian Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Credit CardAdvantageCredit TypeFeaturesFees
Home Trust Secured VisaNo annual fee option, instant approvalSecured14.99% interest with annual fee, 19.99% and no fee, $500-$10,000 credit limitOptional $59 fee or $0
Scotiabank Momentum No-Fee VisaNo annual fee, no credit check, cashback dealsSecured7.99% interest for the first 6 months, 19.99% after for purchases, 22.99% interest for cash advances1% cashback on qualifying purchases$0
Refresh Financial Secured VisaNo credit check, high credit limitSecured17.99% interest rate, $200 – $10,000 credit limit$12.95 annually plus $3 monthly maintenance fee
Guaranteed Secured MasterCard by CapitalOne  Guaranteed approvalSecured19.8% interest rate, $300-$2,500 credit limit$59 annual fee,
Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard by CapitalOne *Guaranteed approval, high credit limitUnsecured14.9% interest rate on purchases and balance transfers, 19.8% interest on cash advances, $300 – $7,000 credit limit$79 annual fee
Guaranteed Mastercard by CapitalOne *Guaranteed approval, High credit limitUnsecured19.8% interest rate, $300-$7,000 credit limit$59
Scotia Bank Value VisaNo credit history needed, low interest rate, various benefitsUnsecured0.99% interest for first 6 months, 12.99% after, $500 minimum credit limit  $29 annual fee

* The two unsecured, guaranteed Mastercards are guaranteed as long as you meet requirements. If you do not meet them, you will be approved for the secured card instead.

Easiest Credit Card to Get Approved for Canada

Refresh Financial Secured Visa

As the easiest credit card to get in Canada, you’re ensured to get the Refresh Financial Secured Visa. There is no credit check required. Depending on how much you put down as security, you can obtain a credit limit from $200 to $10,000. The annual fee only comes out to $12.95. Unfortunately, there is a $3 monthly maintenance fee associated with this card. If you hold this card, you get access to Refresh Dashboard which assists in tracking your credit and gives tips for credit building. You even get benefits with this Refresh card at over 600 retailers around Canada. These range from entertainment to shopping.

Best All-Around Secured Credit Card

Guaranteed Secured MasterCard by CapitalOne 

With a high credit limit and guaranteed approval, this card is the best-secured credit card available. All you need to do is apply and pay the minimum fee of $75 or $300 to start building your credit back up! Although there is a $59 annual fee, we feel as though this card is still your best option for bringing your credit back up. Also, as it’s a Mastercard, you’re protected against lost, stolen, or unauthorized charges on your account.

Best Low-Interest Secured Credit Card

Home Trust Secured Visa

The best low-interest rate secured card is the Home Trust Secured Visa. With an annual fee of $59, you’ll pay 14.9% interest. When you apply, you are instantly approved for this card. You can set your own limit ranging from $500 to $10,000. Additionally, you get purchase security for 90 days after making purchases on eligible items. This Visa card is a great option to build credit while paying low-interest rates for those with bad credit.

Honorable Mention Secured Credit Card for Bad Credit

Scotiabank Momentum No-Fee Visa

Although this card is an honorable mention here, it’s still a great card for building your credit. With no annual fee, no credit check required, and cashback deals, this credit card had to be included. When you get this card, you’ll pay 7.99% interest for the first 6 months and 19.99% after that for purchases. For cash advances you’ll pay a 22.99% interest rate. At gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores, and recurring bill payments you can get 1% cashback. In addition, there are other purchases where you can get 0.5% cashback. This card also offers deals for car rentals and no extra fees for added users an additional card.

Best All-Around Unsecured Credit Card

Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard by CapitalOne

Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed unsecured credit card Canada offers, but this is the next best. If you meet CapitalOne’s criteria, you’re guaranteed approval for this card. The card comes with a $79 annual fee but has a $7000 max credit limit and only a 14.9% interest rate for purchases and balance transfers. When it comes to cash advances, you’ll be paying a 19.8% interest rate. This is a great choice for an unsecured credit card if you’re looking to build your credit score. This card has a relatively low-interest rate compared to many credit cards for individuals with bad credit. As it’s a CapitalOne Mastercard, you get great protection against theft, purchase assurance, price protection services. You even get travel assistance, common accident travel insurance, and basic car rental accident coverage.

Best Low-Interest Unsecured Credit Card

Scotiabank Value Visa

Scotia Bank offers an unsecured credit card with a low-interest rate. If you have no credit history, this is a great card to get. It’ll help you build credit as long as you stay on top of your payments. For the first 6 months of holding this card, you’ll only pay 0.99% interest on balance transfers. With this low balance transfer interest rate, you can transfer a balance on a credit card with high interest to this one to lower interest payments. After the initial 6 months you’ll be paying 12.99% interest, which is still a very low rate. The annual fee of the Value Visa Card is only $29. Additionally, you get deals on various car rental companies. You can also add an authorized user to your account to give them another credit card with added benefits.

Honorable Mention Unsecured Credit Card for Bad Credit

Guaranteed Mastercard by CapitalOne

Although this is only an honorable mention, some may find this the best option in their case. If you’re someone who knows you have the money to pay off your balance in full each month, this might be the card for you. Although it has a higher interest rate, the annual fee is lower. This means if you’re paying your card off in full each month, you pay less over a year compared to a card with a higher annual fee but lower interest rates.

Again, you must meet the necessary criteria to qualify for this card. You get up to a $7000 credit limit with a 19.8% interest rate and an annual fee of $59. Just like the other unsecured cards, this is great for building your credit back up. Like the other CapitalOne Mastercards, this card has excellent benefits.

Other Bad Credit Credit Card Options

We’ve compiled a list of 7 great options for those with bad credit to consider. Some of the cards give instant approval, while some require applicants to meet certain criteria. All the cards have different strengths and weaknesses which each person must weigh individually. However, there is at least one card suitable for everyone.

We previously mentioned Pre-Paid Credit Cards as an option for those with bad credit. A couple of pre-paid options are the KOHO Prepaid Visa Card and the Scotiabank Prepaid Reloadable Visa. Both cards have minimal fees and are easily reloadable.

Store Credit Cards

Another option for those with bad credit is to go through a store for obtaining a credit card. Most stores that hold credit cards typically allow individuals with bad credit to qualify. With these cards you get great benefits for in-store purchases. However, they typically have high-interest rates along with annual fees. Check out a local store you shop out for more details!

For those with bad credit, finding a suitable credit card for your needs isn’t always easy. Even worse, you find a credit card you think fits but you get turned down. Here, we presented a list of credit cards with many companies offering guaranteed approval.

No matter the type of card you obtain, make sure to pay off at least the minimum balance each month to increase your credit score. When using your card, try to keep your balance around or below 30% of the credit limit you have for the best improvement results. Hopefully, this has helped you find a credit card suitable and give you some ideas on how to improve your credit!

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