How can I get a credit card with no Canadian credit history?

You have different options, for example you can apply for a secured credit card, a joint card, or a retail credit card.

Most banks in Canada will not give you a credit card, if you do not have any Canadian credit history. Even if you have many years of credit history with worldwide credit card companies, such as VISA and MasterCard, you might not be able to get a credit card in Canada right away.

First talk to the bank manager and ask if the bank will recognize your foreign credit history and give you a regular (unsecured) credit card. Make sure you bring any credit information you have from outside Canada.

Here is a list of some ways you can get credit and build a credit history in Canada:

  • Get a secured credit card: To get this type of card, you need to make a "security deposit" with the credit card company. This may be cash, furniture or something else that the company will accept.
  • Apply for a joint card: Find a friend or family member with good credit who will share the card with you. You would both be responsible for the bills and this would help you build a credit history.
  • Get a co-signer: It would be your credit card but the co-signer would be responsible if you were unable to pay your bills.
  • Take out a loan: Apply for a loan from a bank or any other lending institution and pay it off quickly.
  • Get a retail credit card: Apply for a credit card from a non-financial institution, such as a gasoline company or a department store. With these cards you can buy things at certain stores but you cannot borrow money. Usually these types of cards have a higher interest rate than cards from banks.
  • Join a credit union at work or in your community.

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Last updated: July 11, 2023 4000184