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What is the minimum credit score for credit card approval?

Find out about the minimum credit score required for credit card approval in Canada and how your credit score is impacting your financial health.

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Have poor credit? Compare cards for bad credit

Our guide below shows the minimum credit score for credit card approval in Canada for a number of popular cards. Your credit score will affect your chances of approval for any credit card, whether it’s for a first or second card.

Read on to learn about credit scores, how to find out your credit score before applying for a credit card, what credit score is needed for a credit card in Canada and several ways you can improve or rebuild it.

Minimum credit score for approval of popular credit cards in Canada

Card nameMinimum credit score
Picture not describedHome Trust Secured Visa (No Annual Fee)300
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Picture not describedRefresh Financial Secured Card300
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Picture not describedNeo Financial Credit Card600
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Picture not describedHSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®630
Apply now
Picture not describedScotiabank SCENE Visa Card660
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Picture not describedBMO AIR MILES Mastercard660
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Picture not describedTangerine World Mastercard680
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Picture not describedSimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express700
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Picture not describedAmerican Express Cobalt Card700
Apply now
Picture not describedScotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card750
Apply now

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

Credit scores in Canada range from 300 to 900 points, but most credit bureaus say a decent score starts at around 650. Generally, you can consider 650 to be the minimum credit score cutoff for credit card approval. Anything around that should qualify you for a standard loan or credit card, while anything below 650 might make it difficult to take advantage of credit.

CACCF Credit Score Range And Ratings

Where you sit on the scale will determine your general ability to qualify for lending or credit requests. When applying for a credit card, you can expect the following based on your credit rating:

  • Poor. Your credit needs work, but you can potentially qualify for credit builder programs.
  • Fair. You may need to build up your score before you can get some forms of credit.
  • Good. You could still apply for most cards but may not be eligible for the lowest interest rates.
  • Very good. Your score is good enough to be approved for most credit cards.
  • Excellent. You should have very few problems getting a credit card, loan or mortgage.

What’s my credit score and why is it important?

What credit cards are available for my credit score?

No matter what your credit score is, there is a credit card option for you. These are some credit cards you could be eligible for depending on your credit score:

Card for poor credit scores

Home Trust Secured Visa (No Annual Fee)

Home Trust Secured Visa (No Annual Fee) logo
Credit recommended (300-)
Apply now
on Home Trust's secure site
300
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
19.99% fixed
Purchase APR
From $500
Min. deposit
Home Trust offers a secured visa card that acts as a revolving line of credit. You submit a security deposit at the time of application, and, if approved, your deposit becomes your credit limit. Charge purchases to your card, get cash advances and make payments just like a non-secured credit card. You'll be charged an interest rate ranging from depending on which annual fee tier you want to pay. Your security deposit will be returned if you close your account, after all purchases and fees have cleared.
  • Interest rate options. The no annual fee Home Trust Secured card comes with a standard 19.99% purchase and cash advance rate. Apply with any credit score and start rebuilding your credit.
  • Credit limit flexibility. The amount of security deposit you offer up will determine your monthly credit limit. Credit limits range from $500 to $10,000.
  • Your money is safe. Home Trust is a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), so your security deposit is safe even if the company fails.
  • Authorized user. Cardholders have the option of adding one authorized user to their account.
  • Credit check required. Home Trust will check your credit report for this card, however the approval rate is quite high.
  • Withdrawal fee. Every time you withdraw funds from an ATM, you'll be charged a small percentage fee. Different fees apply for withdrawals in Canada, the US and other countries.
  • Qualification limits. This card is not available in Quebec. You also don't qualify if you're currently in bankruptcy, however, you can qualify once you're discharged.
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 19.99% fixed
Balance transfer APR N/A
Recommended minimum credit score 300
Credit cards for poor credit

Card for good credit scores

Neo Financial Credit Card

Neo Financial Credit Card logo
Credit recommended (600-)
Apply now
on Neo Financial's secure site
600
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 4%
Cash back
n/a
Welcome offer
The Neo Financial Credit Card lets you earn a solid cash back return on your everyday spending. Earn an average cash back of 4% at thousands of local and national Neo partners including most major gas and grocery stores, restaurants, gyms, coffee shops and more. Earn a guaranteed 1% 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 4% 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 19.99% fixed
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards Earn an average cash back of 4% at thousands of local and national Neo partners including most major gas and grocery stores, restaurants, gyms, coffee shops and more. Earn a guaranteed 1% cash back on all spend at non-partners.

Card for fair credit scores

HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®

HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® logo
Credit recommended (630-)
Apply now
on HSBC's secure site
630
Min. credit score
$25 ongoing
Annual fee
Up to 2x
Points
30,000
Points welcome offer
The HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® comes with a low annual fee of $25, a low interest rate of 11.9% and rewards for recreational spending. Earn 2 Points for every $1 on eligible dining or entertainment purchases and earn 1 Point for every $1 spent on all other everyday purchases. You'll also get a nice sign up bonus. Get 30,000 Points (up to $150 in value) when you spend $2,000 in the first 6 months. Plus, get the 1st year annual fee waived for the primary cardholder ($25 value). Apply by January 31, 2022.
  • Low interest rate. The HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® comes with a standard low interest rate of 11.9%.
  • Earn rewards. Earn 2 Points for every $1 on eligible dining or entertainment purchases and earn 1 Point for every $1 spent on all other everyday purchases.
  • Signup Bonus. Get 30,000 Points (up to $150 in value) when you spend $2,000 in the first 6 months. Plus, get the 1st year annual fee waived for the primary cardholder ($25 value). Apply by January 31, 2022.
  • Extended warranty. Double the original manufacturer’s warranty for up to one additional year.
  • Complimentary insurance coverage. If you find a lower price within 60 days of your purchase the difference, of up to $500, will be refunded, up to a calendar-year maximum of $1,000 per account. You'll also get 90-day purchase assurance coverage in the event of loss, damage or theft. Conditions apply.
  • Balance transfer fee. You'll have to pay the standard 11.9% interest rate on balance transfers, but unlike other cards, the balance transfer fee is 0%.
  • Optional travel insurance coverage. By paying an additional $69 per year (including taxes), you'll get Emergency Travel Medical insurance as well as Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption and Baggage Delay/Loss coverage.
  • Annual fee. The annual fee for this card is normally $25, but is $0 in the first year.
  • Additional cardholder. Any additional cards will cost $10.
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($25 thereafter)
Purchase APR 11.9% fixed
Balance transfer APR 11.9% fixed
Welcome offer Get 30,000 Points (up to $150 in value) when you spend $2,000 in the first 6 months. Plus, get the 1st year annual fee waived for the primary cardholder ($25 value). Apply by January 31, 2022.
Rewards Earn 2 Points for every $1 on eligible dining or entertainment purchases and earn 1 Point for every $1 spent on all other everyday purchases.
Best credit cards for fair credit

Card for very good credit scores

Tangerine World Mastercard

Tangerine World Mastercard logo
Credit recommended (680-)
Apply now
on Tangerine's secure site
680
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 World Mastercard could be right for you. Earn unlimited 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and unlimited 0.5% cash back on everything else. Conditions apply.
  • Annual fee. This card has a $0 annual fee.
  • Additional cardholders. Add up to 5 additional cardholders for $0.
  • Earn rewards. Earn unlimited 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and unlimited 0.5% cash back on everything else. Conditions apply.
  • Earn even more. You can unlock cashback offers while travelling outside of Canada and get rebates which you can apply to your statement with Mastercard Travel Rewards by using your card at select merchants.
  • 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 1% balance transfer fee will be charged on each transferred amount (the fee is waived by Tangerine if you're a resident of Quebec).
  • Travel perks. You'll get complimentary membership to Mastercard® Airport Experiences Provided by LoungeKey, which comes with exclusive dining, retail and spa offers in over 400 airports around the world and access to over 1,000 lounges at $32 USD per visit. Plus, never be without internet since your card gives you access to over 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world with Boingo Wi-Fi.
  • Rental car. Charge the full cost of a rental vehicle to your card, and get complimentary damage and theft protection for up to 31 consecutive days.
  • Apps and subscription access. As a cardholder, you'll have access to special benefits and offers from on-demand apps and subscription services.
  • Minimum income requirement. You need a minimum personal income of $60,000 or a combined household income of at least $100,000 to apply for this card.
  • 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% fixed
Balance transfer APR 1.95% intro for the first 6 months (then 19.95% fixed)
Balance transfer fee $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Rewards Earn unlimited 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and unlimited 0.5% cash back on everything else. Conditions apply.

Card for excellent credit scores

BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard

BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard logo
Credit recommended (760-)
Apply now
on BMO's secure site
760
Min. credit score
$120 ongoing
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
10%
Welcome offer
This card offers a wide range of benefits including an attractive signup bonus and the chance to earn cash back on eligible everyday purchases. Get up to 10% cash back in your first 3 months and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year. After the promotional period ends, continue to enjoy rewards at the regular rate. Earn 5% cash back on groceries, 4% on transit including ride sharing, taxis and public transportation, 3% on gas and electric vehicle charging, 2% on recurring bill payments and 1% unlimited cash back on all eligible purchases. Plus, cardholders can enjoy a host of travel and entertainment perks.
  • Signup bonus. Get up to 10% cash back in your first 3 months and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year.
  • Earn rewards. Earn 5% cash back on groceries, 4% on transit including ride sharing, taxis and public transportation, 3% on gas and electric vehicle charging, 2% on recurring bill payments and 1% unlimited cash back on all eligible purchases.
  • Rental car. You'll get rental car discounts. Get up to a 25% discount at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations with complimentary Collision Damage Waiver benefits (MSRP of up to $65,000).
  • Discounts. Get 15% off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows touring Canada, and 20% off resident shows in Las Vegas.
  • Travel coverage. You'll get up to $2 million Out-of-Province/Out-of-Country Emergency Medical benefits.
  • Annual fee. This card has an annual fee of $120.
  • Minimum redemption value. You'll need to accrue at least $50 in cash back before you can redeem.
  • Currency conversion. This card has a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%. This will apply on any overseas purchases or any purchases made online with an international retailer.
  • Minimum income. You'll need to earn a personal income of at least $80,000, or a combined household income of at least $150,000 annually to apply.
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Purchase APR 20.99% fixed
Balance transfer APR 22.99% fixed
Welcome offer Get up to 10% cash back in your first 3 months and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year.
Rewards Earn 5% cash back on groceries, 4% on transit including ride sharing, taxis and public transportation, 3% on gas and electric vehicle charging, 2% on recurring bill payments and 1% unlimited cash back on all eligible purchases.
Best credit cards for excellent credit

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.
    Issuers like to see that you have a history of good credit. This includes making debt repayments on time and in full, avoiding carrying a balance for too long and using varying forms of credit responsibly.
  • Utilization.
    This is the balance that you’re currently using on one single credit card compared to that card’s credit limit. A general rule of thumb is to keep your credit card debt to 30% or less of your spending limit.
  • Employment status.
    While credit card issuers typically prefer people to have full-time employment, you could still be eligible for some cards if you work part-time, are self-employed or if you have a pension or other source of steady income.
  • Income vs expenses.
    When you apply for a credit card, you will have to provide information about your current income, spending habits and any existing debts to help issuers determine whether you can manage more credit.

Compare minimum credit scores for credit cards available in Canada

In the table below you can compare minimum credit scores needed for credit cards available through Finder.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®
30,000 Points
2x points per $1 spent
11.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($25 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 630
Get 30,000 Points (up to $150 in value) when you spend $2,000 in the first 6 months. Plus, get the 1st year annual fee waived for the primary cardholder ($25 value). Apply by January 31, 2022.
Neo Financial Credit Card
N/A
Average 4% cash back
19.99% - 24.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn an average cash back of 4% at thousands of local and national Neo partners including most major gas and grocery stores, restaurants, gyms, coffee shops and more. Earn a guaranteed 1% cash back on all spend at non-partners.
Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card
2,500 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 2,500 bonus SCENE points when you spend a minimum of $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months as a new SCENE Visa cardholder. Apply by November 21, 2021.
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
0.99% rate on balance transfers for 6 months
N/A
12.99%
$29
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by November 21, 2021.
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
50,000 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 50,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (that's up to $500 towards travel) and no annual fee in the first year, including supplementary cards. Plus, get a 0.00% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (A 1% balance transfer fee applies). Apply by November 21, 2021.
Tangerine World Mastercard
15% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Earn an extra 15% cash back (up to $150) on up to $1,000 of everyday purchases in the first 2 months Until November 30, 2021. 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 $2,000). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
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How can I check my credit score?

Checking your credit score is the first step to improving your credit, since it will give you an idea of where you stand. It’s also important to find out what your credit score is to avoid rejected applications which can lower your score. The process for applying for your credit score can be done online or through the mail and you shouldn’t have to pay a fee.

  1. Choose which credit bureau you want to use. Canadian credit scores are calculated by two major credit bureaus: Equifax and TransUnion. You can apply using their websites.
  2. Fill out a request to obtain your credit score. You’ll need to fill out some personal information, including your full name, address and previous addresses held in the last 3-5 years. Make sure to provide proof of your current address.
  3. Provide proof of identity. The credit bureau will need you to supply a photocopy of two pieces of government-issued ID, including driver’s licence, health card, birth certificate, passport or bank statement.
  4. Choose delivery method. The most common way to receive your credit score is by mail. You can also request to see your score online for a fee. If you live in Eastern Canada, you may be able to visit a credit bureau in person.

Get your credit score

Name Product Starting Price Price Per Month Credit Scores Credit Monitoring Credit Reports Update Frequency
MyMarble
$0
$0 - $29.99
TransUnion
Yes
TransUnion
Monthly
MyMarble’s AI technology gives you real-time recommendations to improve your finances. Get actionable steps to improve your finances by paying down your debt faster, adjust your budget and build your credit score. See results in just 30-45 days.
Mogo Credit Score
$0
$0
Equifax
Yes
Equifax
Monthly
Open a MogoAccount and access your credit score for free with no impact to your score. Receive your updated Equifax credit score every month.
OFFER
Credit Verify Credit Score
$1 for 7 day trial
$29.95
TransUnion
Yes
TransUnion
Monthly
Instantly access your credit score and report online and get daily alerts and updates. Plus, premium members get $25 in bonus rewards every month which can be used towards discounts on everything from shopping and entertainment to dining and travel.
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How to improve your credit score

  • Use credit often. It might seem counterintuitive, but the more you use your card the faster you can build up your score, so long as 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 your balance off each month. Pay off your balance in full every month to improve your score and save money on interest.
  • Mix up your credit types. Make on-time payments on a variety of debts, including credit cards, mortgages, loans and leases.
  • 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 a low balance on multiple cards. Avoid consolidating your debts onto one card because it can max out your limit and damage your score.
  • Don’t cancel old credit cards. Instead of cancelling a card you no longer want, you should freeze your account but keep it open. This maintains your total credit amount and the length of your credit history.
  • Correct errors in your credit report. Contact the credit bureau if you notice an error on your report and ask it to fix it.

How to improve your credit score

Repair your credit score

Name Product Price Per Month Credit Scores Credit Monitoring Credit Reports Update Frequency
MyMarble
$0 - $29.99
TransUnion
Yes
TransUnion
Monthly
MyMarble’s AI technology gives you real-time recommendations to improve your finances. Get actionable steps to improve your finances by paying down your debt faster, adjust your budget and build your credit score. See results in just 30-45 days.
Credit Building by KOHO
$7
Equifax
Yes
Equifax
Monthly
For a small monthly fee, KOHO will deposit a nominal sum of cash into your account. For six months, KOHO withdraws a portion of the deposited cash. It reports the withdrawal as a repayment to a major Canadian credit bureau, thereby helping you build and improve your credit score.
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Have a low credit score? Compare credit cards for bad credit

If you have no credit or bad credit and can’t meet the minimum credit score for credit card approval of typical cards, you still have options. There are things you can do to help build up your credit rating and some forms of credit that you’ll still be eligible for in the meantime.

  • Prepaid credit cards. If you want to spend only what you put down on your card, you can try a prepaid card. The only issue with these cards is your payments aren’t reported to the credit bureaus, so they won’t help you to rebuild your credit. The upside is just about anyone can qualify, so you’ll still be able to access the benefits of having a credit card, like being able to make purchases online.
  • Secured credit cards. For this type of card, you’ll need to put down a deposit. This becomes your credit limit and is used to secure the balance on your account. If you default on your payments, the bank can use your deposit to pay off your outstanding balance. Otherwise, you’ll get it back when you close down your account. Compare secured credit cards below.
  • Low-interest credit cards. These cards let you save money on interest rates. This can come in handy if you’re struggling to pay off your principal balance because most of your payments are going towards interest.
  • Credit builder cards. These cards are designed for those who want to rebuild their credit. They typically offer lower interest rates and report all of your on-time payments to the credit bureau. Every time they report a payment, you get another notch added to your credit score.
  • Store credit cards. Some store cards have more-relaxed requirements and may not even check your credit score. Even though these cards may seem like a good option, it’s important to note they often come with higher interest rates and fees, and some come with strict repayment guidelines in order to avoid even higher interest rates.

Credit card options for applicants with bad credit

If you can’t qualify for a card and you need money for an emergency, you might want to consider asking a friend or family member for help or consider a short term personal loan (but ensure you don’t get stuck in a cycle of debt). If you’re really struggling, the next step might be to look into a credit counselling program which can help you consolidate your debt and get your head back above water.

Compare prepaid credit cards

Name Product Monthly fee Cost per transaction Foreign transaction fee Rewards with this card
Mogo Visa Platinum Prepaid Card
$0
$0
2.5%
N/A
For every $1 you spend, 1 pound of CO2 will be offset for free through Mogos Amazon Rainforest project.
OFFER
KOHO Prepaid Visa card
$0
$0
1.5%
0.5% cash back
Use promo code FINDERCODE and receive a $20 cash bonus into your KOHO balance once you make your first purchase within 30 days of signing up.
OFFER
KOHO Joint Prepaid Card
$0
$0
1.5%
0.5% cash back
Use promo code FINDERCODE and receive a $20 cash bonus into your KOHO balance once you make your first purchase within 30 days of signing up.
OFFER
KOHO Premium Prepaid Card
$9/month or $84 annually
$0
0%
Up to 2% cash back
Earn 2% cash back on transportation, grocery and restaurant purchases. Plus, get a 30 day free trial. Use promo code FINDERCODE and receive a $20 cash bonus into your KOHO balance once you make your first purchase within 30 days of signing up.
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Bottom line

Understanding your credit score can give you a leg up when it comes to improving your credit situation. It can also help ease the stress of applying for new credit when the time comes, since you’ll know whether or not you’ll be able to qualify. Learn more by reading our comprehensive guide to credit scores.

FAQs about minimum credit score requirements

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