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What credit score is needed for a credit card in Canada?

Learn about the minimum credit score for credit card approval in Canada, and compare cards for your credit score.

The minimum credit score for credit card approval in Canada depends on the card you want. Generally, you need a good score (660+) to apply for most cards with rewards and benefits, but there are options for bad and fair credit applicants. Find out what credit score is needed for a credit card in Canada, and review cards for bad, fair, good and excellent scores.

Minimum credit score for popular Canadian credit cards

CardMin. credit score
Home Trust Secured No Fee VisaHome Trust Secured Visa300
Neo credit cardNeo Credit Mastercard600
Picture not describedTangerine Money-Back Credit Card600
BMO CashBack MastercardBMO CashBack Mastercard660
AMEX cobalt credit cardAmerican Express Cobalt Card700
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite PrivilegeBMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege760

What credit score is needed for a credit card in Canada?

There is no minimum credit score for credit card approval in Canada—you can apply with any score. But you won’t get approved for most cards unless your score is at least 660 (good). Many credit cards come with rewards points, cash back and free insurance. Credit cards for bad and fair credit are easier to get but may come with lower limits and less benefits.
Very Good Credit Score Rating

  • Poor (300-559). Your credit needs work, but you might qualify for credit builder programs.
  • Fair (560-659). You can qualify for basic credit cards with little/no perks. Improve your score to qualify for cards with more benefits and higher limits.
  • Good (660-724). You can apply for most credit cards but may not get the lowest rates.
  • Very good (725-759). You can apply for most cards.
  • Excellent (760-900). You should have few problems getting a credit card, loan or mortgage. You can qualify for luxury cards with valuable benefits.

What credit card can I get with my credit score?

No matter what your credit score is, there’s a credit card in Canada for you. Check out these options:

Credit card for all credit scores

Neo Credit Mastercard

Neo Credit Mastercard logo
Credit recommended (600-)
Apply now
on Neo Financial's secure site
600
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 4%
Cash back
Get $25.00
Welcome offer
Get $25.00 when you apply for the Neo Credit Mastercard. Plus, get up to 15% cashback on your first purchase. Plus, you'll earn a solid cash back return on your everyday spending. Earn an average cash back of 5% at thousands of local and national Neo partners including most major gas and grocery stores, restaurants, gyms, coffee shops and more. Earn a guaranteed 0.5% cash back on all spend at non-partners. You can sign up for 3 different Neo credit card plans: Standard, Plus and Ultra. The card you choose will depend on how much cash back you want to earn and how much you're willing to pay for your monthly fee.
  • Rewards. Average 5% cash back
  • Choose between 3 card types. The Standard, Plus and Ultra.
  • Annual fee. You'll have to pay a monthly fee if you opt for the Ultra or Plus cards
  • No insurance. You won't get any additional perks like travel insurance, roadside assistance or purchase protection.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR
Cash Advance Rate 22.99% - 28.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer Get $25.00 when you apply for the Neo Credit Mastercard. Plus, get up to 15% cashback on your first purchase.
Rewards Earn an average cash back of 5% at thousands of local and national Neo partners including most major gas and grocery stores, restaurants, gyms, coffee shops and more. Earn a guaranteed 0.5% cash back on all spend at non-partners.

Credit card for bad credit (300-559)

Home Trust Secured Visa

Home Trust Secured Visa logo
Credit recommended (300-)
Read review
300
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to x
N/A

Welcome offer
Use the Home Trust Secured Visa up to the amount of the security deposit you provide in advance. Make purchases, get cash advances and make payments like you would with an unsecured credit card, and build your credit score at the same time.
  • No annual fee. Enjoy a $0 annual fee
  • Easy to qualify. The minimum credit score is 300
  • Potentially high limit. Secure your card with a deposit of $500-$10,000.
  • Build credit score. Use your card and make payments on time to establish good credit.
  • Digital wallet. Use with Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.
  • CDIC insured. Your deposit is insured in the unlikely event Home Trust fails.
  • Few benefits. No rewards points, cash back, miles or travel discounts.
  • Security deposit. You can't use this card without providing a deposit, which becomes your credit limit.
  • Credit check. Home Trust conducts a hard credit check but has a very high approval rate (bankrupt applicants are not eligible).
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 19.99%
Cash Advance Rate 19.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer
Rewards

Credit card options for poor credit

Raising your credit score will help you qualify for more cards. In the meantime, here are your credit card options for bad credit:

  • Prepaid credit cards. Provide a deposit, which becomes your spending limit. Prepaid cards are good for controlling your spending, and just about anyone can qualify. Unlike secured credit cards, prepaid card activity isn’t reported to credit bureaus and won’t impact your credit score.
  • Secured credit cards. This type of card also requires a deposit that becomes your credit limit. Secured credit card activity is reported to credit bureaus and can impact your credit score. Your deposit is returned when you close the account unless there’s an outstanding balance.
Need money right now for an emergency? Ask friends or family for help, or get a short-term personal loan (this can lead to a cycle of debt and should be a last resort). If you’re really struggling, consider joining a credit counselling program to help you consolidate debt and get your finances back on track.

Credit cards for fair credit (560-659)

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card logo
Credit recommended (600-)
Apply now
on Tangerine's secure site
600
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
6 months
1.95% intro transfer APR
Up to 2%
Cash back
If you're looking for a $0 annual fee credit card with unlimited cash back rewards and a competitive balance transfer offer, then the Tangerine Mastercard could be right for you. 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.
  • Annual fee. This card has a $0 annual fee.
  • Earn rewards. 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.
  • Balance transfer. Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months. To take advantage of this offer, you must complete the Balance Transfer request within 30 days of account approval and activate your card within 45 days of approval. A balance transfer fee equaling the greater of 3% or $5 will be charged on each transferred amount (fee is waived by Tangerine if you're a resident of Quebec).
  • Foreign transaction fee. You'll face a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% every time you use your card overseas or online with international retailers.
  • Limited travel benefits. Though this card offers some nice travel perks, it doesn't come with many of the travel benefits offered by more premium credit cards such as complimentary travel insurance, free flight and hotel upgrades and discounted car rentals.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 19.95%
Balance transfer APR 1.95% intro for the first 6 months (then 19.95% )
Balance transfer fee $5 or 1% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Rewards 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.

Credit cards for good credit (660-724)

BMO CashBack Mastercard

BMO CashBack Mastercard logo
Credit recommended (660-)
Apply now
on BMO's secure site
660
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
9 months
0.99% intro transfer APR
Up to 3%
Cash back
Earn cash back at a standard rate of 3% on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases. Plus, earn up to 5% cash back as a welcome bonus and get a balance transfer offer.
  • Earn cash back. Earn cash back at a standard rate of 3% on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.
  • Balance transfer rate. For the first 9 months, new customers can get a 0.99% introductory interest rate with a 2% fee on balance transfers from non-BMO credit cards. After that, balance transfers are subject to a 22.99% cash advance interest rate.
  • No annual fee. This card comes with a $0 annual fee.
  • Signup bonus. Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months (up to a maximum spend of $2,500).
  • Balance transfer offer. A 2% fee on balance transfers from non-BMO credit cards.
  • Low return on other purchases. Receive only 0.5 cash back on all other categories of spending.
  • Currency conversion. You'll pay a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% on all overseas purchases.
  • Balance transfer fee. You'll pay a balance transfer fee.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 20.99%
Balance transfer APR 0.99% intro for the first 9 months (then 22.99% )
Balance transfer fee 2%
Rewards Earn cash back at a standard rate of 3% on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.

Credit cards for very good credit (725-759)

American Express Cobalt Card

American Express Cobalt Card logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$155.88
Annual fee
Up to 5x
Membership Rewards
15,000
Welcome offer
The American Express Cobalt Card offers a generous return on points for everyday purchases. You can collect points for every dollar you spend on dining out plus 2 points for gas and transit purchases and 1 point for everything else. This card also comes with up to a 15,000 points welcome bonus if you spend a certain amount of money each month. You'll also get a full suite of travel insurance and purchase protection when you sign up.
  • Welcome offer Earn up to 15,000 points in your first few months when you spend a certain amount of money.
  • Accelerated rewards Collect a higher return on rewards when you make dining, gas and transit purchases.
  • Comprehensive benefits Take advantage of benefits such as travel medical, flight and baggage delay insurance, car rental coverage and purchase protection.
  • Annual fee You'll have to pay $155.88 per year to maintain this card.
Annual Fee $155.88
Purchase APR 20.99%
Cash Advance Rate 21.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer Earn up to 15,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 1,250 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases. That’s up to $150 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
Rewards Earn 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks in Canada, including groceries and food delivery (spend cap applies), 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada, 2x points on eligible ride shares, transit & gas in Canada, 1 additional point on eligible hotel and car rental bookings via American Express Travel Online, and 1x point for every $1 in purchases everywhere else.

Credit cards for excellent credit (760+)

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege logo
Credit recommended (760-)
Apply now
on BMO's secure site
760
Min. credit score
$499
Annual fee
Up to 5x
Points
90,000
Points welcome offer
From everyday purchases to travel plans, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege benefits every area of your lifestyle. To begin, you'll get a $200 lifestyle credit annually, which you can spend however you like. Earn 5x the BMO Points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining in and out, drugstore purchases, gas and travel. You'll earn 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. The card also comes with and impressive sign up bonus: Get up to 90,000 welcome points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend a minimum of $6,000 within the first 3 months after the account open date, and get 40,000 points on your first anniversary after you spend a minimum of $100,000. You'll also have access to a a host of travel insurance coverage and benefits like airport lounge access and Visa Infinite Privilege Concierge services.
  • Earn accelerated rewards. Earn 5x the BMO Points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining in and out, drugstore purchases, gas and travel. You'll earn 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.
  • Annual lifestyle credit. You'll receive a get a $200 lifestyle credit annually to spend however you like.
  • Sign up bonus. Get up to 90,000 welcome points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend a minimum of $6,000 within the first 3 months after the account open date, and get 40,000 points on your first anniversary after you spend a minimum of $100,000.
  • Annual fee. You'll have to pay an annual fee of $499 to maintain this card.
  • Currency conversion fee. You'll be charged a currency conversion rate of 2.5%.
  • Minimum income requirement. In order to be eligible for this card, you'll need a personal income of $150,000 or a household income of $200,000.
Annual Fee $499
Purchase APR 20.99%
Cash Advance Rate 23.99%
Balance transfer APR 23.99%
Welcome offer Get up to 90,000 welcome points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend a minimum of $6,000 within the first 3 months after the account open date, and get 40,000 points on your first anniversary after you spend a minimum of $100,000.
Rewards Earn 5x the BMO Points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining in and out, drugstore purchases, gas and travel. You'll earn 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.

What is a good credit score in Canada?

Credit scores in Canada range from 300-900 points. A “good” credit score is considered to be 660+. Scores ranging from 725 to 759 are considered “very good,” while “excellent” scores are 760 and above. If you have a good credit score, you can qualify for most credit cards.

What is the average credit score in Canada?

In Canada, the average credit score is around 650-750. Most borrowers in Canada have a good credit score between 660-724.

How can I check my credit score?

Every year, you can get a free copy of your credit report, which shows your credit score and details of your borrowing history, from Canada’s two main credit bureaus: Equifax and TransUnion. You can apply online or via the mail, and there’s no fee unless you order subsequent copies.

  1. Choose a credit bureau. Apply on the bureau’s website.
  2. Fill out a request. Provide personal information like your name, address and previous addresses from the last 3-5 years.
  3. Provide proof of ID. Submit a copy of two pieces of government-issued ID like a driver’s license or passport.
  4. Choose a delivery method. View your credit report online or receive a hard copy in the mail.

You can also get an approximation of your score through third-party platforms like Borrowell, Credit Karma, Credit Verify or the Marble Financing Score-Up program. Some banks and financial institutions let customers view their credit scores.

How to improve your credit score

  • Use credit often. It might seem counterintuitive, but the more you use your card, the faster your credit score will rise if you keep up with payments.
  • Make payments on time. Your payment history accounts for roughly 35% of your credit score, so it’s important to be consistent.
  • Pay off your balance monthly. Pay off your balance fully every month to improve your score and avoid interest charges.
  • Use different types of credit. Using different types of credit products like credit cards, mortgages, loans and leases provides multiple opportunities to boost your score. But don’t take on more debt than you can handle.
  • Avoid applying for too much credit. Make sure you only apply for credit you absolutely need, since every credit check on your account will drag down your score.
  • Keep your balance low. Your credit utilization ratio affects your credit score. Ideally, you shouldn’t use more than 30% of your available credit.
  • Don’t cancel old credit cards. Instead of cancelling a card you no longer use, freeze your account but keep it open. Having unused (or underused) credit makes you look financially responsible to creditors.
  • Correct errors in your credit report. Promptly contact the credit bureau if you notice an error to ensure an accurate score.

Other factors that affect your credit card application

Credit card issuers weigh a range of other factors before approving or denying your request for credit, including:

  • Credit history
    Make debt repayments on time and in full, avoid carrying a balance indefinitely and use varying forms of credit responsibly.
  • Utilization
    This is the proportion of your available balance that you’re currently using on your credit card. good rule of thumb is to avoid using more than 30% of your spending limit.
  • Employment status
    Credit card issuers typically prefer full-time employed applicants, but you can still get some cards if you work part-time, are self-employed or have non-employment income like a pension.
  • Income vs. expenses
    When you apply for a credit card, you must provide information about your income and credit history to help card issuers determine if you can handle more credit.

Compare minimum credit scores for credit cards in Canada

Take a look at minimum credit scores needed for credit cards available through Finder.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
BMO CashBack Mastercard
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
20.99%
$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 0.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 2% fee applies to transferred balances.
Neo Credit Mastercard
Get $25.00 + up to 15% cash back
Average 5% cash back
19.99% - 29.99%
$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 0.5% cashback guaranteed.
American Express Cobalt Card
15,000 points
Up to 5x points per $1 spent
20.99%
$155.88
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 15,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 1,250 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases. That’s up to $150 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
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) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months. Valid until April 30, 2024. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months.
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
0.99% rate on balance transfers for 9 months
N/A
13.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($29 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 2% transfer fee. Plus, get the $29 annual fee waived in the first year.
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) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months. Valid until April 30, 2024. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months.
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Canadians planned to get a new credit card in 2023

Credit cards are popular among Canadians. Results from two 2023 surveys show that Canadians were consistently looking for new credit card options. Between January and March, 14% of Canadians planned to apply for a new credit card. This didn’t change from quarter to quarter, as another 14% of respondents planned to open a new credit card account between April and June.

FAQs: Credit score needed for credit card approval in Canada

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