Best Credit Cards for Newcomers to Canada for April 2024

This Page's Content Was Last Updated: February 27, 2024
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What You Should Know

  • Getting a credit card as a newcomer in Canada is the first step to building your credit history, which you need to get other loans in the future.
  • Most Canadian banks offer newcomer credit cards as a part of their newcomer banking packages.
  • Newcomer credit cards usually don’t have an annual fee, but they also do not have valuable rewards. Some credit cards may require a deposit that defines the credit card limit.
  • Immigrants who have lived in Canada for less than 5 years usually can qualify for newcomers credit cards.

About Newcomer Credit Cards

travel-card-benefits

Newcomers to Canada do not have a credit history, so they may not be approved for the best credit cards, but the banks still offer the newcomers credit cards and banking packages that allow them to build their credit history. The newcomers also have an option to get a credit card for bad credit, which may provide better perks than credit cards for newcomers. International students can get a student credit card, which is usually just as good as regular credit cards.

Credit cards allow newcomers to Canada to start building their credit history as soon as they arrive to get better mortgage rates and loan terms in the future. These credit cards usually offer a limit of up to $15,000 and basic insurance benefits such as purchase protection and extended warranty.

Best 5-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates in Canada CanadaLeaf
Mortgage Term:
Fixed
Variable

Best Credit Cards for Newcomers

Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back

Best Cash Back Credit Card

Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back Img
Key Features
Annual Fee IconAnnual Fee

$99.00

Interest Rate IconInterest Rates

Purchase: 19.50%

Cash: 21.99%

Min Income IconMin. Income

Household: $100,000

Individual: $60,000

Credit Score IconCredit Score

580

or More


Cash Back
  • 4% Cashback for each $1 spent on: gas and grocery.
  • 2% Cashback for each $1 spent on: utility and drugstores.
  • 1% Cashback for each $1 spent on: everything else.

Insurance Included
  • Baggage Loss/Delay
  • Car Rental
  • Common Carrier
  • Travel Emergency Medical
  • Trip Delay/Cancellation
  • Trip Interruption
  • Extended Warranty
  • Mobile Device
  • Price Protection
  • Purchase Assurance
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

Best Rewards Credit Card

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Img
Welcome Bonus
  • Receive 25000 Scene+ points when you spend $1,000.00 during the first 3 months.
  • Receive 10000 Scene+ points when you spend $40,000.00 during the first 12 months.

Key Features
Annual Fee IconAnnual Fee

$150.00

Interest Rate IconInterest Rates

Purchase: 20.99%

Cash: 22.99%

Min Income IconMin. Income

AUM: $250,000

Household: $100,000

Individual: $60,000

Credit Score IconCredit Score

580

or More


Rewards: Scene+ Points

1 Scene+ Point ≈ ¢0.7

  • 3 Scene+ Points for each $1 spent on: grocery.
  • 2 Scene+ Points for each $1 spent on: gas, transit, restaurants and entertainment.
  • 1 Scene+ Point for each $1 spent on: everything else.

Other Perks
  • No FX Fees

Insurance Included
  • Baggage Loss/Delay
  • Car Rental
  • Flight Delay/Cancellation
  • Hotel/Motel Burglary
  • Travel Accident
  • Travel Emergency Medical
  • Trip Delay/Cancellation
  • Trip Interruption
  • Extended Warranty
  • Purchase Assurance
Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa

Best No-Fee Credit Card

Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Img
Key Features
Annual Fee IconAnnual Fee

$0.00

Interest Rate IconInterest Rates

Purchase: 19.99%

Cash: 22.99%

Min Income IconMin. Income

Household: $15,000

Credit Score IconCredit Score

580

or More


Cash Back
  • 4% Cashback for each $1 spent on: restaurants.
  • 1.5% Cashback for each $1 spent on: gas, grocery, drugstores and recurring bills.
  • 0.5% Cashback for each $1 spent on: everything else.

Insurance Included
  • Extended Warranty
  • Purchase Assurance
Capital One Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard

Best Low-Interest Credit Card

Capital One Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard Img
Key Features
Annual Fee IconAnnual Fee

$79.00

Interest Rate IconInterest Rates

Purchase: 14.90%

Cash: 21.90%

Transfer: 14.90%

Min Income IconMin. Income

No Income Required

Credit Score IconCredit Score

No Minimum
Credit Score


Insurance Included
  • Baggage Loss/Delay
  • Car Rental
  • Common Carrier
  • Extended Warranty
  • Price Protection
  • Purchase Assurance
AMEX Cobalt

Best Student Credit Card

AMEX Cobalt Img
Welcome Bonus
  • Receive 1250 AMEX points every month you spend at least $750.00 for the first 12 months.

Key Features
Annual Fee IconAnnual Fee

$155.88

Interest Rate IconInterest Rates

Purchase: 20.99%

Cash: 21.99%

Min Income IconMin. Income

No Income Required

Credit Score IconCredit Score

580

or More


Rewards: AMEX Points

1 AMEX Point ≈ ¢1

  • 5 AMEX Points for each $1 spent on: grocery, restaurants and food delivery.
  • 3 AMEX Points for each $1 spent on: streaming.
  • 2 AMEX Points for each $1 spent on: gas, travel and transit.
  • 1 AMEX Point for each $1 spent on: everything else.

Insurance Included
  • Baggage Loss/Delay
  • Car Rental
  • Flight Delay/Cancellation
  • Hotel/Motel Burglary
  • Travel Accident
  • Travel Emergency Medical
  • Extended Warranty
  • Mobile Device
  • Purchase Assurance
Neo Financial Secured Credit

Best Secured Credit Card

Neo Financial Secured Credit Img
Key Features
Annual Fee IconAnnual Fee

$0.00

*$50 minimum deposit required.

Interest Rate IconInterest Rates

Purchase: 29.99%

Cash: 31.99%

Min Income IconMin. Income

No Income Required

Credit Score IconCredit Score

No Minimum
Credit Score


Cash Back
  • 15% Cashback for each $1 spent on: select merchants.
  • 6% Cashback for each $1 spent on: restaurants.
  • 2% Cashback for each $1 spent on: gas and grocery.

Newcomer Banking Packages

All major banks in Canada offer banking packages that provide incentives for newcomers. The banking programs usually include bank accounts and credit cards. Banks usually also offer mortgages, car loans, personal loans, and other financial products for newcomers, depending on their financial and employment situation. Many banks offer cash incentives, free international transactions, and other perks to newcomers for opening an account with them.

Newcomer banking packages usually include a credit card with a credit limit of up to $15,000 without having a credit history in Canada and without having to pay a security deposit. Getting approved for a credit card with a newcomer banking package is also easier than getting approval for the same credit card on its own.

Which Bank Is Best For Newcomers in Canada?

The following list shows the best banking packages available for newcomers to Canada in each Canadian bank:

Newcomer Credit Card Considerations

A credit card can help a newcomer to Canada build their credit history and get some basic perks like cash back and purchase insurance. A good credit history translates into a good credit score that helps you qualify for other credit cards and get the best interest rates for other loans. The following considerations may help find the best credit card and bank.

  • Banking Package: All large banks provide a banking package that usually includes a chequing account, a savings account, and a credit card. Banking packages can offer different perks that may value in thousands of dollars. Choosing a credit card with a banking package that benefits you the most may help you save on monthly fees and provide additional perks.
  • Rewards: Most credit cards offer reward points or cash back. The value of reward points may vary depending on what you purchase. For example, Aeroplan reward points may be valued at 1 cent/point for merchandise and 2.8 cents/point for business class flights. Different rewards points allow you to maximize your rewards value depending on your lifestyle. Cashback is more straightforward than points because you have a clear return on purchases scheme. If your credit card offers 5% on a purchase in a category, you will receive 5 cents for every dollar spent on that category.
    Rewards and cashback may differ for different spending categories. You should get a card that maximizes the value of the rewards based on your spending patterns. Credit cards for newcomers to Canada may have low rewards, but future credit cards may offer better opportunities to earn points and cashback.
  • Type of Card: The two common kinds of credit cards are secured and unsecured. Unsecured credit cards don’t require you to make a security deposit, while secured credit cards require a deposit equivalent to your credit limit. Newcomers may also consider getting a prepaid credit card with a credit-building option.
  • Credit Card Fee: Most premium credit cards in Canada have an annual fee that may reach hundreds of dollars. Credit cards with annual fees may offer great rewards, insurance, and perks that make it worth for people who spend and travel a lot. On the other hand, many newcomers to Canada may be better off with a no-fee credit card. These credit cards do not have many perks, but they do not require a hefty annual fee, and they are often available to people with no credit history.
  • Sign-Up Bonuses: Many credit cards offer bonus rewards, especially in the first year. These could be annual fee waivers, extra rewards, statement credits and more. Many people in Canada even use a credit card churning strategy to maximize the sign-up bonuses they get. Credit cards for newcomers in Canada may not have good sign-up bonuses, but some banking packages offer thousands of dollars of value in bonuses.
  • Additional perks: Some credit cards available to newcomers come with additional perks, such as travel insurance, purchase protection, airport lounge access, discounts, and others. These perks can be very useful, especially if you travel frequently. Most basic credit cards usually have a purchase protection and extended warranty that may insure your purchases in case they get stolen, lost or broken.
  • Minimum Income Requirements: Some credit cards, especially the premium ones, may require you to meet the minimum income criteria to get approved. Some credit cards may have a low requirement, such as a $15,000 annual household income, while some others may require you to have an annual income of $60,000 or more.

While credit cards usually require you to meet minimum credit score requirements, the credit cards for newcomers waive this requirement. Before applying for a credit card, you should confirm with your lender to ensure that the credit score requirement is waived for you.

The calculators and content on this page are provided for general information purposes only. WOWA does not guarantee the accuracy of information shown and is not responsible for any consequences of the use of the calculator.