Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

Upgrading your credit card

Applying for a new credit card may not be your only option.

Did you know you could get a better card than the one you currently own without having to apply for it? This is known as a credit card upgrade. Most common upgrades happen when you own a secured credit card and the bank offers you an unsecured version of the same card. But you could also ask for a card with rewards or with a higher rewards rate than what you already earn.

The drawback? You may not be eligible to earn a second signup bonus.

How to upgrade your credit card

There are typically two ways to switch credit cards with the same company:

  • Automatically. Some credit card providers will review your card activity and upgrade your card automatically. This is often the case with secured credit cards where the provider decides to refund your secured deposit but lets you keep the card. You might also receive an “upgrade” if your card’s benefits and terms are refreshed by the issuer.
  • Product change. The other way to upgrade is to ask your provider. Asking specifically for an upgrade on your credit card is referred to as a product change. Most credit card companies do place some limitations on your upgrade options. For example, if you have an airline card with an issuer, you might only be able to upgrade or downgrade among other similar airline cards in the catalog. The most common reason to request an upgrade is to seek out better rewards or terms on your spending.

What to consider before you make an upgrade

Keep the following in mind if you are the one requesting the upgrade:

  • Weigh the benefits. See whether you’ll pay an annual fee, higher interest rates or if you get features such as rewards programs on your new card. If the value of the extra features doesn’t outweigh the annual cost, you might want to reconsider.
  • Mind any welcome offer limitations. If your bank offers a 0% intro APR on balance transfers or a signup bonus on a card, remember that these features are usually only available to new customers, not existing ones. As someone upgrading their card, you’re unlikely to qualify for the offer.

Is a credit card upgrade treated as a new account?

Yes and no. If your card upgrade is automatically performed by your issuer — such as in the event of a product refresh or an issuer switching networks — your new card is not treated as a new account.

If you choose to upgrade (or downgrade) through a product change, however, your issuer will treat this as though you’re applying for a new product. In this case, they’ll likely perform a hard pull on your credit report and open a new account for you if approved.

Take note that a product change does not necessarily close your old account. This means you may be able to continue to use your old card, even after you’ve “upgraded” to the new one.

Getting a credit card with a new provider

If you can’t find a more appealing credit card with your current provider, you can apply for a better card from another bank or credit union. In this case, you’ll have to fill out a new card application and the company will do a hard pull credit check.

Credit card application tips

What to consider before getting a credit card with a new bank

Providers are often more generous to new clients, so if you’re looking to upgrade your credit card by switching to a new company, keep in mind the following:

  • If you want to make a balance transfer, you could get a 0% intro APR period. Card providers offer this perk to clients coming from other, non-affiliated banks or credit unions.
  • If you want to earn a signup bonus offer, getting a card from another provider could be the right choice.
  • Applying for a new credit card often comes with a hard pull on your credit. This can slightly affect your credit score.
  • Make sure you compare the standard costs and features of the card before you apply for a card with a new provider.

Things to be aware of before upgrading your credit card

Think about features, price, access to promotional offers and eligibility before you upgrade your credit card.

  • Do you have debt?
    Unless you want to make a balance transfer, pay down as much of your credit card debt as possible before applying for a new card. A high debt might reduce your chances of approval when the bank is assessing your ability to repay.
  • How will this impact your credit score?
    Too many applications for credit in a short space of time is a red flag for creditors. Make sure you apply only for the card you really want to get.
  • What are the costs?
    If you’re upgrading to a rewards credit card with an annual fee, make sure you’ll be using these value-adding features enough to warrant the extra cost.
  • Will you close your old account?
    If you’re upgrading to a credit card with a different issuer, make sure you decide whether you want to close the account after you’ve made the switch. If you have debt remaining on the card, you’ll have to keep it open until you’ve paid it off. If you’ve conducted a balance transfer or paid your debt off, you could consider closing it. Keep in mind, closing your oldest credit card will shorten your credit history and could affect your credit score.

Compare credit cards

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®
20,000 Points
2x points per $1 spent
11.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($25 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 630
Get 20,000 Points (up to $100 in value), plus get a 1st year annual fee waiver. Apply by September 27, 2021.
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.
Tangerine World Mastercard
10% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Earn an extra 10% cash back (up to $100) when you spend $1,000 on everyday purchases within the first 2 months. Until August 16, 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).
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
3.99% rate on balance transfers for 9 months
N/A
12.99%
$20
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
American Express Cobalt Card
30,000 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$120
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 30,000 bonus Membership Rewards points in your first year as a new Cobalt Cardmember.
Brim Mastercard
Up to $200 worth of bonuses
1 point per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to $200 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time through the Brim mobile app.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
10% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Earn an extra 10% cash back (up to $100) when you spend $1,000 on everyday purchases within the first 2 months. Until August 16, 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).
SimplyCash Card from American Express
4% cash back
Up to 1.25% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn 4% cash back on purchases (up to $200 cash back) for the first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Choice Card from American Express
10,000 points
1 point per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn 10,000 Bonus Membership Rewards points within the first 3 months as a new Cardmember.
BMO Rewards Mastercard
10,000 points
Up to 2 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 725
Get a bonus of 10,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Apply by October 31, 2021 . Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Balance Transfer Rate Balance Transfer Fee Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
0.99% for the first 6 months (then 12.99%)
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 August 31, 2021.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
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.
Tangerine World Mastercard
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Earn an extra 10% cash back (up to $100) when you spend $1,000 on everyday purchases within the first 2 months. Until August 16, 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).
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
3.99% for the first 9 months (then 12.99%)
1%
12.99%
$20
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Earn an extra 10% cash back (up to $100) when you spend $1,000 on everyday purchases within the first 2 months. Until August 16, 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).
BMO Rewards Mastercard
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 725
Get a bonus of 10,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Apply by October 31, 2021 . Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard For Students
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred.
BMO CashBack Mastercard For Students
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get up to 5% cash back in the first three months (up to max. spend of $2,000). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months (with a 1% transfer fee).
Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card
1.99% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
N/A
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months. Apply by October 31, 2021.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®
20,000 Points
2x points per $1 spent
11.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($25 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 630
Get 20,000 Points (up to $100 in value), plus get a 1st year annual fee waiver. Apply by September 27, 2021.
American Express Cobalt Card
30,000 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$120
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 30,000 bonus Membership Rewards points in your first year as a new Cobalt Cardmember.
BMO World Elite Mastercard
30,000 points
Up to 3 points per $1 spent
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($150 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 30,000 points and the $150 annual fee waived in the first year. Apply by October 31, 2021
American Express Aeroplan Card
75,000 points
Up to 5x points
30% annual interest rate applies to balances not paid in full each month
$120
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 75,000 Aeroplan Points. Plus, earn a total of 5X the points on eligible eats & drinks purchases in Canada for the first 6 months of Cardmembership (up to a maximum of 25,000 points). New Cardmembers can earn up to $1,600 in value within the first year. Spend applies to bonus point offers valued at up to $1,500. Apply by August 3, 2021.
American Express Business Edge Card
57,000 points
Up to 3 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$99
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 57,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year.
American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card
2,000 Miles
Up to 1 Air Mile per $5 - $10 spent
20.99%
$120
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES within the first three months. That’s enough to redeem for $200 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash.
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
150,000 points
Up to 10x points
19.99%
$599
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 150,000 Aeroplan Points. Plus, earn a total of 10X the points on eligible eats & drinks purchases in Canada for the first 6 months of Cardmembership (up to a maximum of 50,000 points.) New Cardmembers can earn up to $3,800 in value within the first year. Spend applies to bonus point offers valued at up to $3,000. Apply by August 3, 2021. Spend at least $10,000 in qualifying net purchases by November 30, 2021 and you’ll earn, step up, or jump start your Aeroplan Elite Status. Apply by October 1, 2021.
Shell AIR MILES Mastercard from BMO
800 Miles
Up to 3x Air Miles for every $25 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege
50,000 points
5 points per $1 spent
20.99%
$499
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 50,000 welcome points in your first year.
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
70,000 Points
Up to 6 points per $1 spent
19.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get a Welcome Bonus of 20,000 Points ($100 travel rewards). Plus, earn an additional 50,000 Points and get a 1st year annual fee waiver. Apply by September 27, 2021.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Welcome Offer Cash Back Rate Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Reward Description
BMO CashBack Mastercard
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.
Tangerine World Mastercard
10% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Earn 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 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
10% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Earn 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 0.5% cash back on everything else.
SimplyCash Card from American Express
4% cash back
Up to 1.25% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn 1.25% cash back on all eligible purchases.
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express
10% cash back
2% cash back
19.99%
$99
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases
BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard
Up to 10% cash back
1% cash back
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 760
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.
Shell CashBack Mastercard from BMO
$50 in cash back + 1% cash back
Up to 1.5% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 1.5% cash back at participating Shell locations in Canada (up to a maximum spend of $2,500 in any monthly billing period), and get 0.5% cash back everywhere else.
BMO Cashback Business Mastercard
10% cash back
Up to 1.75% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Earn 1.5% cash back on eligible gas purchases, office supplies and on cell phone and internet recurring payments, earn 1.75% cash back at participating Shell stations, and earn 0.75% on all other eligible card purchases.
BMO CashBack Mastercard For Students
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.
Shell CashBack World Mastercard from BMO
N/A
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$79
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get 3% cash back per $1 spent at Shells stations, 1.25% cash back on all other spend.