The Best Credit Cards For Newcomers to Canada (2024)

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Written by SnappyRates Team

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New immigrants to Canada have a lot to think about – getting a job, finding a place to live, opening a bank account, and more on top of settling into an entirely new lifestyle.

It can be difficult to be approved for a credit card, especially if it’s your first time getting a credit card with no credit history in Canada.

However, some banks offer programs for newcomers to Canada along with a few credit cards that are easy to qualify for.

The 13 credit cards listed below are our top picks of the best credit cards for newcomers to Canada.

Some don’t have annual fees, some are great for earning rewards, and others are some of the best credit cards for challenged credit.

Keep in mind that we excluded prepaid cards from this list, as they don’t help build your credit score. As a newcomer, one of the first things you should do is build your credit score.

Keep reading to find out which ones we recommend.

Best No-Annual Fee Credit Cards For Newcomers

Moving to another country is expensive, and you don’t want to pay additional fees for a credit card on top of everything else.

These are the 5 best no-fee credit cards with a low minimum credit score and income requirement.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

  • Interest rate: 19.95%
  • Income requirement: $12,000 personal
  • Top features: 2% cash back

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is one of the best credit cards for earning cash back with no annual fee.

You earn 2% unlimited cash back on 2-3 categories of your choice, including restaurants, entertainment, and groceries.

On everything else, you get 0.5% cash back.

Besides that, it offers a 1.95% introductory balance transfer interest rate for the first six (6) months.

With the Tangerine mobile app, you can track and categorize your spending, enabling you to see exactly where your money is going.

Each authorized user gets an additional card for free.

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Neo Mastercard

  • Income requirement: N/A
  • Top features: earn up to 15% cash back at Neo partners

The Neo Card requires a fair credit score to apply, making most newcomers eligible for this credit card.

Neo also offers a secured card, discussed in more detail below.

With this credit card, you get instant, unlimited cash back on all purchases.

You get an average of 5% cash back at select Neo partners, plus 15% cash back when you make your first purchases at these retailers.

On everything else, you get 0.5% cash back.

The Neo Financial mobile app allows you to track your spending, balance, and cash back offers near you.

Learn more about the card: Neo Financial Mastercard review.

Scotiabank SCENE+ Visa

  • Interest rate: 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Income requirement: N/A
  • Top features: earn & redeem Scene+ points

The Scotiabank SCENE+ Visa card is a great first Scotiabank credit card for newcomers.

You don’t need to have a high credit score or a minimum income to apply.

With this credit card, you earn Scene+ points on every purchase, which can be redeemed for movie tickets, restaurant purchases, groceries, statement credits, and more.

You earn 2 Scene+ points for every $1 spent at participating grocery stores and Cineplex, and 1 Scene+ point for every $1 spent on everything else.

Cardholders also get savings of up to 25% off at participating Avis and Budget car rental locations across Canada and the US.

BMO CashBack Mastercard

  • Interest rate: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Income requirement: N/A
  • Top features: earn up to 3% cash back on groceries

The BMO CashBack Mastercard is a top rewards credit card, as you can earn up to 3% cash back on essential purchases.

You earn:

  • 3% cash back on groceries (up to $500 monthly)
  • 1% cash back on recurring bill payments (up to $500 monthly)
  • 0.5% cash back on everything else

Cash back can be redeemed for as little as $1 at bmocashback.com.

This BMO credit card includes extended warranty and purchase protection, 15% off admission to Cirque du Soliel shows in Canada, and 20% off shows in Las Vegas.

You also get savings of up to 25% off car rentals at Alamo and National car rental locations.

Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa card

  • Interest rate: 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Income requirement: N/A
  • Top features: earn up to 1% cash back

The Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa card is one of the best Scotiabank credit cards for newcomers, as you are rewarded for your everyday spending.

This credit card rewards you with 1% cash back on all purchases at eligible drug stores, grocery stores, gas stations, and recurring bill payments.

On everything else, you’ll earn 0.5% cash back.

Scotiabank offers Scotia SelectPay, a new way to finance purchases over $100 with no interest rate and a low fee.

You also get a 0% introductory balance transfer interest rate for the first 6 months, making this an ideal card for those with a large balance.

image showing credit cards and a newcomer to canada

Best Rewards Credit Cards for Newcomers

The following 4 credit cards offer cash back and travel rewards – perfect for newcomers who plan to use their credit card often and want to be rewarded for it.

Tangerine World Mastercard

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Interest rate: 19.95%
  • Income requirement: $60,000 personal or $100,000 household
  • Top features: earn up to 2% cash back, travel benefits and insurance

The Tangerine World Mastercard has all the benefits of the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, but with elevated features.

You still get 2% cash back in up to 3 categories of your choice and 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.

This credit card comes with access to Mastercard Travel Rewards, Mastercard Travel Pass by DragonPass, and Boingo Wi-Fi for Mastercard.

Mobile device insurance up to $1,000 and rental car collision, loss, or damage insurance are also included for free.

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

  • Annual fee: $120 (first year free)
  • Interest rate: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Income requirement: $60,000 personal or $100,000 household
  • Top features: earn up to 4% cash back

The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card is perfect for those who want to get cash back for their everyday spending.

You get 4% cash back on groceries and recurring bill payments, 2% cash back on gas and transit purchases, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Note that the 4% and 2% cash back categories are subject to a spend cap of $25,000 annually, after which you’ll earn 1% cash back.

This credit card might be harder to qualify for than others on this list, but you have a good chance of approval if you meet the income requirements.

As this is a Visa Infinite card, you get access to one-of-a-kind Visa Infinite benefits, like a 24/7 concierge service and exclusive hotel benefits.

8 types of travel insurance are included with this credit card, including travel emergency medical insurance, new mobile device insurance, and flight delay insurance.

Learn more about Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card here.

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

  • Annual fee: $150
  • Interest rate: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Income requirement: $60,000 personal or $100,000 household
  • Top features: earn & redeem Scene+ points, no FX fees, 6 free airport lounge visits

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card allows you to earn Scene+ points at an accelerated rate. You earn:

  • 3x the points at eligible grocery stores
  • 2x the points on dining, other grocery purchases, entertainment, and daily transit
  • 1x the points on everything else

This Scotiabank credit card is great for those who want to travel and spend money abroad, as it does not charge any foreign transaction fees.

You get 6 complimentary airport lounge visits per year, can book and redeem your Scene+ points with Scene+ travel, and you get an Avis Preferred Plus membership.

Along with Visa Infinite benefits, this credit card comes with various travel benefits, including delayed and lost baggage insurance, flight delay insurance, travel emergency medical insurance, and travel accident insurance.

BMO AIR MILES Mastercard

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Interest rate: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Income requirement: $15,000 personal
  • Top features: earn & redeem Air Miles

The BMO AIR MILES Mastercard is a great option for newcomers who travel often and participate in the Air Miles loyalty program.

You get 3x the Miles for every $25 spent at Air Miles partners and 2x the Miles for every $25 spent on groceries.

Plus, if you show your BMO Mastercard and Air Miles card, you’ll get the Miles twice at participating partners.

Air Miles can be redeemed for almost anything, including travel bookings, merchandise, gift cards, entertainment, and more.

This BMO credit card gets you access to up to 25% off at Alamo and National car rental locations, along with 15% to 20% off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows.

Extended warranty and purchase protection are also included for free.

Best Credit Cards For Challenged Credit

These are our top picks of the best credit cards for newcomers with no credit history or poor credit.

They are easy to apply for and generally require a low to no minimum income and credit score.

Neo Secured Card

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Interest rate: 21.99% to 28.99%
  • Income requirement: N/A
  • Top features: earn up to 15% cash back

The Neo Secured Card has all the features and benefits of the regular Neo Card, but with guaranteed approval. You’ll be approved no matter your credit score.

A security deposit of at least $50 is required. This is your credit limit, so however much you submit determines your credit limit.

You earn an average of 5% cash back at Neo partners, plus 15% cash back on most first purchases with those retailers.

You earn 0.5% cash back on everything else.

Scotia Momentum Visa Card

  • Annual fee: $39
  • Interest rate: 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Income requirement: N/A
  • Top features: earn up to 2% cash back

The Scotia Momentum Visa Card is a cash back credit card that helps build your credit history if you make at least the minimum payments on time each month.

You earn 2% cash back on gas, groceries, drug stores, and recurring bill payments, and 1% cash back on everything else.

As a Scotia Momentum cardholder, you get up to 25% off at participating Avis and Budget car rental locations.

Purchase security and extended warranty protection is also included.

Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Interest rate: 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Income requirement: $15,000 household
  • Top features: earn up to 4% cash back

The Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card is owned by Simplii Financial, an online-only bank.

Using this credit card and paying your balance each month will help build your credit score.

You get cash back on every purchase, as per the following:

  • 4% cash back on restaurant, coffee shop, and bar purchases (up to $5,000 yearly)
  • 1.5% cash back on groceries, drugstore, gas, and recurring bill payments (up to $15,000 yearly)
  • 0.5% cash back on everything else with no limits

Additionally, you can earn $50 if you refer a friend and they sign up.

Check out the detailed review of Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card here.

Home Trust Secured Visa Card

  • Annual fee: $0 or $59
  • Interest rate: 19.99% or 14.90%
  • Income requirement: N/A
  • Top features: low interest rate

With the Home Trust Secured Visa Card, you can either pay $0 yearly and get a 19.99% interest rate, or pay $59 per year and get a lower interest rate of 14.90%.

Newcomers to Canada can apply and should be approved for this credit card.

You’ll need to put down a security deposit from anywhere between $500 to $10,000, which will be your credit limit.

Each month, your credit history is recorded and sent to the credit bureaus.

Ensure you pay off your balance on time so you can start to build your credit score.

Our Methodology:
The Snappy Rates team assesses the best credit cards for newcomers based on their annual fees, interest rates, security deposit amounts, rewards, top features, categories, insurance coverage, and other perks. We carefully evaluate each credit card and place more weight on the long-term rewards value each card offers. Only credit cards we would personally use are recommended. While these credit cards are some of the best on the market, but may not be right for you. Always do your own research before choosing a credit card.

Pros of Credit Cards For Newcomers

The credit cards mentioned on this list should all be relatively easy to apply and be approved for.

They don’t have a super high interest rate or annual fee, and they earn you cash back or other rewards.

In particular, secured credit cards offer newcomers a chance to build their credit score by sending a security deposit and paying their balance on time each month.

Cons of Credit Cards For Newcomers

None of the credit cards on this list give you the rewards and benefits as credit cards that require a higher credit score.

You’ll only get an average of 2% to 4% cash back with some of these cards, and with others, the rewards program isn’t the greatest.

Some of these credit cards have an interest rate up to 24.99%, which is quite high.

If you’re not careful and can’t pay off your balance, you’ll be faced with a high interest rate.

FAQs

Which bank credit card is easiest to get for newcomers?

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card and World Mastercard are some of the easiest credit cards to be approved for, as long as you meet the minimum income requirements. Secured credit cards like the Neo Secured Card and Home Trust Secured Visa Card are also easy to be approved for, as you need to put down a security deposit.

How can I get a credit card for the first time in Canada?

As a newcomer, you can get a credit card for the first time either through a “newcomer to Canada” program from a bank or you can apply for a secured credit card. You could also look for a financial institution that will recognize your credit history from outside of Canada.

Which bank is best for newcomers in Canada?

Many of the big banks offer programs for newcomers to Canada, so you should do your research and choose which is best for you. Some of the popular newcomer programs include the BMO NewStart Program, Scotiabank StartRight Program, and the RBC Newcomer Advantage program.

Can you get a credit card in Canada if you are not a resident?

Yes, you can get a credit card if you are not a resident in Canada. You can sign up for a secured credit card or prepaid credit card. You may also be able to apply for a credit card from one of the big banks if you are part of a newcomer program.

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SnappyRates Team

The SnappyRates Team comprises personal finance writers who have reviewed and personally tested hundreds of financial products in the Canadian space. With over 20 years of combined experience to draw from and expertise in all things credit cards, banking, insurance, and mortgages, our goal is to provide you with the most comprehensive guides and resources to help you on your financial journey.

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  • Earn 6.00% interest rate* on every dollar.
  • One of the best savings rates in Canada.
  • Access to free unlimited chequing account with $400 bonus.
*Terms and conditions apply. Limited time offer.