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Published May 8, 2024

6 Best Credit Cards to Rebuild Credit in Canada for 2024

Check out the best cards to rebuild your credit in Canada, according to NerdWallet’s analysis.

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Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

While you may need good or excellent credit scores to apply for a traditional credit card, secured cards and prepaid cards are less restrictive. Plus, when used responsibly, these cards can help rebuild your credit

There are also cards specifically designed for newcomers to Canada. If you’ve just moved to the Great White North and want to rebuild the credit you had in a previous country, these cards can help. 

Best credit cards to rebuild credit in Canada

Best secured credit cards

Secured credit cards do not require credit checks. Instead, issuers require a security deposit to guarantee the card, often the same amount as the credit limit. Here are three of the best secured credit cards, according to NerdWallet’s analysis. 

Best for: Cash-back rewards

Neo Secured Credit


19.99%-29.99% / 22.99%-31.99%


Our take
Neo Secured Credit is a no-fee card that earns cash back rewards and offers access to high-interest savings.

  • A small $50 minimum deposit makes this card accessible to consumers of all budgets.
  • Earn up to 15% cash back on purchases with select Neo partners.

  • Interest rates could be as high as 29.99% for some users.
Card details
  • Build credit history with on-time payments.
  • Set your credit limit and get started with as little as $50.
  • Guaranteed approval with no credit score needed to apply.
  • Earn 1% cashback on all gas and grocery purchases.
  • 0.5% guaranteed monthly minimum cashback.
  • No monthly or annual fees.
  • Upgrade to Premium and earn exclusive benefits and boosted rewards, like 3% cashback on all gas and grocery and free credit monitoring.
  • Personalized Insights AI generates tailored information and recommendations designed specifically for you.

Best for: Low interest

Home Trust Secured Visa Card

$0 / $59

14.90% / 19.99%


Our take
Why we like it

The Home Trust Secured Visa offers a straightforward, no-frills experience for credit builders. Plus, there are two secured credit card options to fit a variety of needs: a no-fee card, and a low-interest card with a $59 annual fee.

  • Low interest rate.
  • Payments are reported to both credit bureaus.

  • You’ll need to budget for the annual fee.
  • No ability to earn rewards on purchases.
Card details
  • $59 annual fee.
  • No fee option available with a higher interest rate.
  • $500 minimum security fund deposit required.
  • $10,000 maximum security fund deposit.
  • Hard credit checks are made on Home Trust Secured Visa applications.
  • Credit activity, including every payment, is reported to TransUnion and Equifax, the two major consumer credit bureaus in Canada.
  • Ability to upgrade to an unsecured credit card.
  • Manage your account and billing with online banking.
  • Cardholders can choose between a card with no annual fee and 19.99% interest or an annual fee of $59 and 14.90% interest.
  • Protection against fraud through Visa’s Zero Liability Policy.
  • Preferred rates: 14.90% for purchases, 19.80% for cash advances.
  • To be eligible, you must have a source of income and cannot currently be in bankruptcy. You must be able to provide security funds and be a Canadian resident of the age of majority in the province or territory where you live. The Home Trust Secured Visa Card is not available to Québec residents.
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Best prepaid card

Activity on prepaid cards isn’t typically reported to the credit bureaus, which means they don’t build credit. However, KOHO offers a credit building service that you can add to its prepaid Mastercard. You can choose from four different plans, ranging in perks and price. It costs $10 a month to add the credit building service to the Easy plan below.   

Best for: Prepaid card

KOHO Prepaid Mastercard (Essential Plan)




Our take
Why we like it

With Cashback on eligible purchases, the ability to earn interest on your balance and discounted rates for credit building add-ons, this is not your typically prepaid card.

  • Low annual fee of $48 ($4 per month).
  • Ability to earn 5% interest on your balance.
  • Ability to earn between 1% and 5% cashback on eligible purchases.

  • Credit-building option is not included for free.
  • No insurance coverage.
Card details
  • Sign up for a KOHO account with code NERDWALLET and get $40 when you make your first purchase!*.
  • Earn 1% cash back on groceries, eating & drinking, and transportation. Plus, up to 50% extra cashback from select merchants.
  • Earn 5% interest on both your spending and savings account. Your funds will also be eligible for CDIC insurance. Interest rates are per year, calculated daily, paid monthly, and can change at any time without notice.
  • Choose from one of four exciting card colours. Receive both a physical and virtual card.
  • Start adding funds and shopping online while you wait for your physical card to arrive in the mail. No need to budge from your couch to make online purchases. Just use your virtual card!
  • Card Security – KOHO provides a different card number to help protect your physical card number when you’re shopping or booking services online
  • Add your KOHO card to Apple, Samsung or Google Pay
  • Automate your savings with Goals and RoundUps. Rounding up every purchase lets you stash away some savings, while Goals make it easier to save for whatever it is that makes you happy
  • Lock in savings with Vault that keeps the funds you don’t want to spend separate from your spendable balance
  • Create custom budgets and track your spending habits. Know where you’re at in real time with instant notifications every time you spend.
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Best credit cards for newcomers

You can’t bring your credit history with you when you move to Canada. This can be disappointing if you have excellent credit in your home country. The good news is that there are credit cards open to newcomers, such as the three listed below.

Best for: Travel rewards

BMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®*


20.99% / 22.99%

0.04x-0.12x Miles

800 Miles
Our take
Why we like it

It’s rare to find a 0.99% balance transfer offer on a dedicated travel rewards credit card, especially with a low 2% balance transfer fee. Sure, the introductory period is only for nine months, but the BBMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®* makes it worth its while by adding an extra introductory perk: 800 bonus AIR MILES.

  • No annual fee.
  • Ability to earn unlimited rewards.

  • The introductory APR period for transfers is only nine months, so make sure you can pay off your balance during that window of time.
Card details
  • Welcome offer: Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles!* That’s enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash.*
  • Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on Balance Transfers for 9 months, 2% fee applies to balance amounts transferred.*
  • Get 3x the Miles for every $25 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners and 2x the Miles for every $25 spent at any eligible grocery store.*
  • Get 1 Mile for every $25 spent everywhere else.*
  • Use your BMO AIR MILES Mastercard and AIR MILES Collector Card at an AIR MILES Partner to earn Reward Miles from both.*
  • No annual fee.*
  • Receive a discount on car rentals.*
  • Extended Warranty.*
  • Purchase Protection.*
  • *Terms and conditions apply.
  • BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the Apply now link for the most up to date information.

Best for: Cashback

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*


20.99% / 22.99%


Up to $125
Our take
Why we like it

The BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* offers attractive earn rates on everyday purchases like groceries and utility bills, making it easy to quickly rack up rewards that you can turn into cold hard cash.

  • Attractive introductory offer, especially if you’re interested in a balance transfer.
  • No minimum threshold for redeeming your cash-back rewards. Redeem as little as $1 if you want.

  • Accelerated earn rates for groceries and recurring bills are capped at $500 per billing cycle, a ceiling that might be easy to hit if you have a family or higher monthly balances.
  • Offers fewer travel perks and types of insurance than some other cards.
Card details
  • Welcome offer: Get 5% cash back in your first 3 months.*
  • Then get 3% cash back on grocery purchases, 1% cash back on recurring bill payments and 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases!*
  • Now earn the highest cash back on groceries in Canada without paying an annual fee!†
  • Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on Balance Transfers for 9 months, 2% fee applies to balance amounts transferred.*
  • No Annual fee.*
  • Want to get your cash back ASAP? Now you can redeem your cash back anytime through direct deposit, as a credit on your statement or into your BMO InvestorLine account.*
  • Extended Warranty.*
  • Purchase Protection.*
  • Receive a discount on car rentals.*
  • *Terms and conditions apply.
  • †Statement based on a comparison of the non-promotional grocery rewards earn rate on Canadian cash back credit cards as of January 4, 2023.
  • BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the Apply now link for the most up to date information.

Best for: Optional insurance add-ons

Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa* card


19.99% / 22.99%


Up to $100
Our take
Why we like it

The Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card doesn’t provide any bells or whistles, but it also doesn’t charge an annual fee, making it an option for people looking to build credit while earning cash back on everyday purchases.

  • No annual fee.
  • Benefit from a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (22.99% after that).
  • Earn up to 1% cash back on eligible purchases and recurring bill payments.
  • Opportunity to earn 5% cash back for a limited time with new cards opened by October 31, 2024.

  • No premium perks or benefits.
  • The balance transfer promotional period cannot be used to transfer a balance from another Scotiabank Account.
Card details
  • Special Offer: Earn 5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, get 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (22.99% after that; annual fee $0). Offer expires Oct. 31, 2024.
  • No annual fee.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all eligible gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores purchases and recurring payments.
  • Earn 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
  • Save up to 25% off base rates at participating AVIS locations and at participating Budget locations in Canada and the U.S.
  • Preferred rates: 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances.
  • To be eligible, $12,000 (individual) annual income is required. Also, you must have a Canadian credit file and be a Canadian resident that is the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
  • Terms and Conditions Apply. Click ‘Apply Now’ for complete details.
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Methodology: How we evaluate cards

NerdWallet Canada selected the best cards to rebuild credit based on overall consumer value and their suitability for specific kinds of consumers.

Our evaluation is weighted by several factors, which depend on the card type. For unsecured credit cards: 50% rewards value, 25% intro offer, and 25% fees and interest. For secured cards: 50% features specific to secured credit cards, 30% fees and interest, 12% rewards and 8% intro offer. For prepaid cards: 60% features specific to prepaid cards, 15% fees, 15% rewards, and 10% intro offer

Rewards value considers earning rates, rewards structure, promotional rates and spending categories.

The intro offer considers the welcome bonus value, promotional interest rates, and any waived fees.

Fees and interest consider the annual fee, additional costs such as foreign transaction fees, and interest rates for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.

Features specific to secured credit cards include minimum and maximum deposit, ability to upgrade to an unsecured credit card, credit checks and credit reporting.

Features specific to prepaid cards include minimum and maximum deposit, maximum reload amount in any 24-hour period, ATM access, insurance benefits, digital wallet compatibility, and more.

Only reloadable prepaid cards that are available online and secured credit cards with online applications were considered for this list. We only assessed cards available to consumers in multiple Canadian provinces and territories.

    Summary of the best credit cards to rebuild credit in Canada

    Neo Secured CreditBest secured card for: Cash-back rewards.$0.
    Home Trust Secured Visa CardBest secured card for: Low interest.$0 / $59.
    KOHO Standard Prepaid Mastercard - Essential Subscription PlanBest prepaid card.$132 ($4 per month for the Essential Plan and $7 per month for KOHO's Credit Building feature).
    BMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®*Best newcomers card for: Travel rewards.$0.
    BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*Best newcomers card for: Cash back.$0.
    Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa* cardBest newcomers card for: Optional insurance add-ons.$0.

    How to rebuild your credit in Canada

    If your credit has taken a hit, don’t panic. You can safely rebuild your credit and restore your score to its former glory. If used responsibly, credit cards are one way to do this. 

    How long does negative information stay on your credit report?

    In general, negative data, such as missed credit card payments, can live on your credit report for up to six years. Bankruptcies can stay on your report for up to seven years, depending on where you live. 

    When you apply for a credit card, the bank or financial institution runs your credit. They then use this information to determine your eligibility, credit limit and interest rate, among other things. Negative information can lower your score, which makes lenders wary of working with you. This can lead to declined applications or higher interest rates. 

    But it’s not all doom and gloom. By rebuilding a string of positive information, you can balance out the negative, until it finally drops off the report. This process may take some time, but a little effort can go a long way.

    Factors that can influence your score

    According to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, the following factors may have positive or negative impacts on your credit score: 

    It’s wise to keep all of these factors in mind when rebuilding your credit. While a credit card can help boost your score when used responsibly, it may not garner the results you want if one or more of the above factors is dragging down your score. 

    How to use a credit card to rebuild credit

    A credit card is a type of revolving credit, which means you can borrow up to a set amount (the credit limit), pay it back and then borrow it again. You can use this system to your advantage by showing lenders you are a responsible borrower and can repay loans in a consistent fashion. 

    Important: If you fail to pay your credit card bill, the balance is often subject to very high interest rates, which can plummet you into debt and worsen your score. So, only use a credit card to rebuild your credit if you are certain you can use it responsibly. 

    5 tips for rebuilding your credit with a credit card

    1. Get a credit card with a low credit limit. Keeping the limit low can help you avoid racking up large bills you can’t afford to pay. 
    2. Only use the card for manageable purchases you know you can afford. Think of this card as your path to rebuilding credit, not a payment tool. You’re only using it to show your creditworthiness, not to buy superfluous items. 
    3. Always pay your credit card bill on time and in full. While paying the minimum payment due technically has a positive impact on your score, you want to avoid accumulating debt. If you have a high percentage of debt compared to your credit limit, it can look bad to lenders.  
    4. Aim to use no more than 30% of your total credit limit each month. For example, if you only have one credit card with a limit of $1,000, try to use no more than $333 per month. This is the sweet spot for lenders. It shows you are using credit responsibly and not living beyond your means. 
    5. Set up automatic payments to help you stay on top of your bills. It’s all too easy to lose track of time or get too busy and forget to pay your credit card bill. Unfortunately, credit bureaus aren’t very forgiving about missed payments. With auto-pay, money is taken automatically from your bank account each month so you don’t have to worry about remembering to pay. 

    Types of credit cards for bad credit

    For many people with bad credit, getting a credit card can be hard. Issuers look at your score to determine your eligibility and may not want to give you a card if your score is low. But you often need a line of credit to help rebuild it — a catch 22. 

    There are specific types of cards that can help in this situation: 

    Nerdy tip

    Some issuers may take into account your credit history from another country, so it’s worth asking them before you apply.


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