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What is the minimum credit score for credit card approval in Canada?

Learn the minimum credit score for credit card approval for popular cards and how your credit score impacts your financial health.

Our guide below shows the minimum credit score for credit card approval in Canada for a number of popular cards, plus a list of credit cards available by credit scores from poor to excellent ratings.

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 credit card approval of 6 popular cards in Canada

CardMin. Credit Score
Picture not describedNeo Financial Mastercard600
Apply now
Picture not describedTangerine Money-Back Credit Card600
Apply now
Picture not describedRBC Cash Back Mastercard650
Apply now
RBC ION Visa660
Apply now
Picture not describedBMO AIR MILES Mastercard660
Apply now
Picture not describedAmerican Express Cobalt Card700
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 (300-559). Your credit needs work, but you can potentially qualify for credit builder programs.
  • Fair (560-659). You may need to build up your score before you can get some forms of credit.
  • Good (660-724). You could still apply for most cards but may not be eligible for the lowest interest rates.
  • Very good (725-759). Your score is good enough to be approved for most credit cards.
  • Excellent (760-900). 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:

Credit card for all credit scores

Neo Financial Mastercard

Neo Financial 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 Financial Mastercard. 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 19.99% fixed
Cash Advance Rate 22.99% - 28.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer Get $25.00 when you apply for the Neo Financial Mastercard.
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 cards for all credit scores

Credit cards for 600 credit score in Canada (Fair Credit Scores)

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.
  • Additional cardholders. Add up to additional cardholders for .
  • 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% 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 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.

Best credit cards for fair credit

Credit cards for 660 credit score in Canada (Good Credit Scores)

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 of card membership (up to a maximum spend of $2,500, after which standard cash back rates apply).
  • 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% fixed
Balance transfer APR 0.99% intro for the first 9 months (then 22.99% fixed)
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 725 credit score in Canada (Very Good Credit Scores)

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
30,000
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 30,000 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 30,000 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% fixed
Cash Advance Rate 21.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer 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). That’s up to $300 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
Rewards Earn 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks in Canada, including groceries and food delivery, 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada, 2x points for every $1 spent on eligible transit & gas purchases in Canada and eligible travel purchases, and earn 1 point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else.

Credit cards for 760+ credit score in Canada (Excellent Credit Scores)

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 in your first year. 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 in your first year.
  • Additional cardholder benefits. Primary cardholders that add a supplementary card to their account will receive a 25% bonus earn rate.
  • Travel and entertainment benefits. You'll get Priority Pass membership with 6 annual airport lounge visits, Priority Security Lane/airport parking/valet service discounts at select Canadian airports, use of the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection including exclusive benefits like free breakfast and access to the Visa Infinite Privilege Concierge. You can also take advantage of special dining and wine events with Visa Infinite Dining Series and Visa Infinite Wine Country, and get Troon Rewards Golf benefits including discounts at over 95 resorts and courses worldwide and access to some private clubs.
  • Purchase coverage. Get up to 120 days of coverage from the date of purchase for eligible items against theft or damage. Plus, your Extended Warranty Insurance will triple the manufacturer’s warranty of items purchased on the card up to a maximum of 2 additional years.
  • Travel insurance. Get a comprehensive suite of travel coverage including Out-of-Province/Country Emergency Medical Insurance, Common Carrier Insurance, Car Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance, Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Flight Delay coverage, Baggage Delay/Theft/Damage Insurance and even more.
  • Annual fee. You'll have to pay an annual fee of $499 to maintain this card.
  • Additional cardholder fee. Each additional cardholder will cost a $99 fee.
  • Currency conversion fee. You'll be charged a currency conversion rate of 2.5%.
  • Purchase interest rate. The purchase interest rate for this card is relatively high at 20.99%.
  • 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% fixed
Cash Advance Rate 23.99%
Balance transfer APR 23.99% fixed
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.

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
EXCLUSIVE
Neo Financial Mastercard
Get $25.00
Average 5% cash back
19.99% - 26.99%
$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.
OFFER
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
15% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 15% cash back (up to $150) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months Until December 29, 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
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.
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). That’s up to $300 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
Tangerine World Mastercard
15% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 15% cash back (up to $150) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months Until December 29, 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 Preferred Rate Mastercard
0.99% rate on balance transfers for 9 months
N/A
12.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($20 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 $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
SimplyCash Card from American Express
$100 in statement credits
Up to 2% cash back
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
In your first 10 months, earn a $10 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $300 in purchases. This could add up to $100 in statement credits in the first 10 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 or using our credit score guide here. You can learn more in out
  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

1 - 3 of 3
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
$1 for 7 day trial
$34.95
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

How to repair your credit score

1 - 2 of 2
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
$10
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.
  • 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.

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.

Minimum credit score for credit card approval in Canada FAQs

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