The Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in Canada for 2024

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You may have heard that having a good credit score is something you should strive for, but what does that mean? Well, our credit score is a number between 300 and 900, the higher the number, the better our credit score is. This is important since we require a high credit score if we ever plan on getting a major loan in the future such as a mortgage or car financing. If you’re not sure what your credit score is, check it for free with Borrowell.

Having a low credit score will also mean that we won’t qualify for some of the best travel credit cards in Canada or the best cash back credit cards in Canada. In fact, we’ll likely have limited access to any type of credit which could be problematic. The good news is that if you want to rebuild your credit score, all you need to do is get one of the best credit cards for bad credit.

Credit CardGuaranteed approvalAnnual fee
Home Trust Secured Visa Card95%+$0
Scotiabank Value Visa CardNo$29
Wealthsimple Cash CardYes$0

Home Trust Secured Visa Card

  • No annual fee
  • $500 minimum deposit
  • 19.99% interest rate
  • 95%+ approval rate

What’s appealing about the Home Trust Secured Visa Card is that it comes with no annual fee. There’s a $500 minimum deposit required, but having funds secured is typical for the best credit cards for bad credit in Canada. These security funds can’t be used to pay your monthly balance, but you would get that money back if you ever close your account.

As you make payments on a regular basis, your credit score will slowly go up. Don’t expect it to go from poor to excellent overnight, think of it as more of a slow burn as you learn to use your credit responsibly. When applying for this card, there is a hard check done on your account, but your credit score is not the only factor in determining if you’re approved. This card has an approval rating of over 95% so it’s a great choice if you’re looking to take control of your credit.

Scotiabank Value Visa Card

  • $29 annual fee – First year free
  • 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 10 months
  • 12.99% interest rate after the promotional period ends
  • Up to 25% off at participating Avis and Budget car rental locations

The Scotiabank Value Visa Card is meant for people who have a credit score in the fair to good range but are still struggling to be approved for higher tier cards. You don’t get many benefits, but you do have an optional balance transfer that comes with an interest rate of 0.99% for six months. Once the promotional period ends, you’ll be paying 12.99% interest which is still relatively low and one of the reasons why this card is one of the best balance transfer credit cards in Canada. As you can imagine, this is a great opportunity to eliminate any outstanding credit card debt you may have.


  • No annual fee
  • $20 for free when signing up with a referral link
  • Earn up to 5% cash-back
  • 1% cash back on groceries and transportation
  • 0.5% interest on your spending and savings accounts with direct deposit set up

KOHO is an interesting choice as one of the credit cards for bad credit in Canada. Although it’s an excellent no fee credit card in Canada and it earns you cash back, you won’t be able to rebuild your credit with the card. Why do you ask? Because KOHO is a prepaid credit card, it doesn’t report to any of the credit bureaus in Canada. It’s still a good choice as it’s easy to apply for and once you load up your funds, you can use them for any purchases where Visa is accepted. To be clear, with KOHO, you can spend any money that you’ve loaded onto the card. There’s no security deposit required.

Wealthsimple Cash Card

  • No annual fee
  • Up to $3,000 welcome bouns
  • 1% back in cash, stocks, or crypto on all purchases
  • 4% interest on deposited funds
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases or ATM withdrawals
  • CDIC insurance protection

The Wealthsimple Cash Card is another prepaid credit card. That means you won’t be able to rebuild your credit score, but you’re guaranteed to be approved if you apply for the card. This is ideal for people who just need access to a credit card to make purchases.

What makes the Wealthsimple Cash Card stand out is that it has no foreign transaction fees on purchases or ATM withdrawals. That’ll save you 2.5% – 3.5% whenever you make a purchase in a currency other than Canadian dollars or withdraw cash from a foreign ATM. The card has no annual fee, and you’ll get $10 for free when you sign up with my referral link.

Why credit cards for bad credit matter

The reality is that we don’t live in a cash only society. Having access to credit is vital to everyone even if they have a bad credit score. You can’t make an online purchase without a credit card. There are also many services such as hotels that require a credit card for temporary charges.

Just because you have a bad credit score doesn’t mean you don’t deserve access to a credit card. It definitely makes sense for credit card providers to ask for a security deposit or to give you a low limit. But, to cut you off completely doesn’t make sense. Many lenders want to work with you as they know a good customer experience can lead to future business.

How to rebuild your credit score

First off, check your credit score for free with Borrowell on a regular basis so you know how you’re doing. I don’t mean every day, but you want to check your progress. After checking your credit score, you should get one of the credit cards for bad credit because it’s the easiest way to improve your credit score.

Your credit score is a number between 300-900. The higher your number, the better your credit score is. The majority of your credit score is based on how you spend with your credit cards. By having one of the best credit cards to rebuild credit, you can slowly improve your credit score over time. There’s no set time of when your credit score will increase, but know that if you’re responsible with your spending, your credit score will go up. Check out my guide on building a good credit score for additional tips.

Final thoughts

Getting one of the best credit cards for bad credit makes perfect sense if you want to improve your credit score. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed if you’ve made money mistakes in the past. Recognizing that you need improvement is the start, now it’s time to get things back on track.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi


  1. James Ingles on May 30, 2020 at 4:21 PM

    Does Canada have a card similar to the “Discover it” secured they have in the USA? The cashback on that card looks pretty awesome for a secured card.

    Discover it:

    • Barry.Choi on May 30, 2020 at 5:31 PM


      Nothing like that up here.

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