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How to get a credit card when retired or on a pension

Am I eligible to apply for a credit card if I am retired or collecting a pension? Yes you are. Learn how in this guide.

Being a retired senior doesn’t have to stop you from getting a credit card. Whether you want a credit card geared to your reduced income, or one with extensive travel insurance perks, there are plenty of credit cards for retirees on the market.

Can you get a credit card as a retiree?

Yes! The majority of Canadian credit card issuers just want to see that you have some form of annual income and are able to make repayments on what you borrow. So if you can show proof of a pension or some other kind of retirement income, you’re likely eligible to apply.

Some of the best credit cards for seniors in Canada

Credit cardMin. incomeInterest rateAnnual feeWhat makes it good for seniors?Apply now
American Express Cobalt Card$020.99%$155.88
  • Low minimum income requirement:

With cards like this one that don’t list a minimum income requirement, you just have to be able to prove you can afford repayments with typical types of retirement income.

Apply now
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card$12,00019.95%$0
  • Earning cash back rewards with no annual fee:
Earn 2% cash back in two Tangerine credit card categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Apply now
American Express Green Card$020.99%$0
  • Applying with a low credit score:

With no listed minimum credit score requirement, it’s possible to get approved even with a lower score.

Apply now
Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card$12,00019.99%$399
  • Travel insurance coverage with low income requirement:

Enjoy travel medical, trip cancellation or interruption, flight delay, lost or delayed baggage, rental car collision loss or damage and accident insurance. Emergency travel medical up to $2 million.

National Bank World Mastercard$60,00020.99%$115
  • Extensive travel insurance coverage:
You'll receive travel medical, trip cancellation, trip interruption, flight delay, baggage delay and baggage insurance (theft or damage). Emergency travel medical coverage includes Up to $5,000,000 per person.
Apply now

Finding the right credit card as a retiree

If you’re retired, your income may be limited to a pension and Old Age Security (OAS). Some retirees may also have income from investments, part time work or self-employment endeavours. Whatever the case, it’s likely that you’ll be able to find a credit card that suits your income, financial needs and spending habits.

In fact, you can apply for a variety of different types of credit cards as a senior, including:

What to consider when comparing credit cards for seniors

Before applying for a credit card, compare different cards to find the best one for your needs. When making your comparisons, consider the following factors:

  • Purchase interest rate. This is the rate you will be charged if you don’t pay off your balance in full each billing cycle. Some credit cards offer low rates on purchases, while others may have rates sitting around 19.99%.
  • Fees. Some credit cards come with annual fees, while others are $0 annually. Some providers may waive the annual fee for the first year of the card, while others may not.
  • Cash advance rate. If you withdraw cash using your credit card, you will face the cash advance rate, which is usually higher than the purchase interest rate. What’s more, this rate is charged from the moment you withdraw the funds, whereas the interest rate for purchases is charged after the grace-free period, which is typically 21 to 55 days later.
  • Rewards. Depending on the card you choose, you may be offered rewards including points per dollar spent, cash back rewards, concierge services and more. Choose a card that offers rewards that you will actually use.
  • Insurance coverage. Many credit cards offer complimentary insurance, including travel insurance coverage, purchase protection, fraud protection and more. Cards with an annual fee usually offer more comprehensive insurance packages.

Compare credit card options for retired seniors

We’ve rounded a selection of different types of credit cards you may be eligible for as a retiree.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
EXCLUSIVE
Neo Financial Mastercard
Get $25.00
Average 5% cash back
19.99% - 24.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Get $25 when you sign up for the Neo Financial Mastercard. Plus, earn bonuses like 15% cashback on your first purchase at most partners, and earn an average of 5% cashback at thousands of partners and at least 1% cashback guaranteed.
RBC Rewards+ Visa
3,500
Up to 2 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Earn up to 3,500 RBC Rewards points by going digital in the first 60 days.
OFFER
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
10% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 10% cash back (up to $100) on up to $1,000 of purchases in the first 2 months Until July 31, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
BMO CashBack Mastercard
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,500). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
American Express Cobalt Card
30,000 points
Up to 5x points per $1 spent
20.99%
$155.88
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 2,500 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in net purchases on your card (up to 30,000 points).
Walmart Rewards Mastercard
Up to $25 in Reward Dollars
Up to 1.25% cash back
19.89%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get up to $25 in bonus Walmart Reward Dollars.
Tangerine World Mastercard
10% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 10% cash back (up to $100) on up to $1,000 of purchases in the first 2 months Until July 31, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
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Compare up to 4 providers

Here’s what you’ll need to apply for a credit card as a retiree

Once you’ve compared different credit cards and have found the one you’d like to apply for, you will need to make sure you’re eligible for the card and gather the necessary documents. You can then apply online via the provider’s secure website. The application process usually takes between 10 to 15 minutes if you have all of the necessary documents on hand.

Eligibility criteria

  • Age. You will need to be at least 18 years of age, or the age of majority in your province or territory.
  • Residency. You will need to be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident with a valid Canadian address.
  • Credit score. Meet any minimum credit score requirements. Many providers require you to have a score of 650 or higher.
  • Income. Your pension, OAS payments and other income may need to amount to a minimum amount in order to qualify for the card.

Documents required

  • Personal information. You’ll need to provide your personal information, including your full name, address, phone number, contact information, SIN number and provide a copy of your Government-issued ID.
  • Financial information. Provide details about your assets, liabilities and expenses. Assets include property, land, vehicles, etc.
  • Income documents. You will need to provide proof of your pension and OAS payments, as well as any other income documents. If you have any investment or self-employment income, be sure to list it on your application.

2 mistakes to avoid when applying for a credit card as a retiree

1. Applying without researching

Rejected applications can negatively affect your credit report, so be sure to confirm the information you’ll need to increase your chances of approval. Read the terms and conditions or contact the provider to answer any questions you have before applying.

Tips to increase approval for your credit card application

2. Applying for several cards quickly

If you are rejected for a credit card, don’t immediately apply for another one. Instead, consider why your application was denied. If you didn’t submit the required documents, research and find which ones you’re missing. If you were rejected because of your credit report, you’ll need to take some time to improve your credit score before applying again.

Learn how to improve your credit score

Frequently asked questions about credit cards for retirees

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