Credit Cards

Credit Card for new immigrant (no credit history)

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  • Mar 19th, 2022 11:08 pm
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Newbie
May 27, 2021
45 posts
17 upvotes

Credit Card for new immigrant (no credit history)

Could someone please suggest best credit card for a new immigrant that does not have credit history yet.

Credit card will be used for groceries, shopping (no travel).
17 replies
Sr. Member
Mar 25, 2015
784 posts
711 upvotes
A lot of banks have newcomer programs, I highly recommend to evaluate those and pick the best one.

If you qualify for Scotiabank StartRight as newcomer, you might get a lot of perks including potentially unsecured credit card like regular Visa Momentum with 2% groceries cashback
https://startright.scotiabank.com/

Considering Scotia is quite picky for applying credit cards, it might be good start if you decide to bump credit limit and upgrade to their Visa Infinite Momentum in the future (4% recurring, 4% groceries)
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jan 9, 2011
15244 posts
20521 upvotes
Vancouver
lookatami wrote: Could someone please suggest best credit card for a new immigrant that does not have credit history yet.

Credit card will be used for groceries, shopping (no travel).
If you are in BC, you can get any Vancity Credit Union Visa as a secured card. No credit history? Deposit the funds. Even its Infinite and infinite Privilege cards are available as secured cards if you meed the income threshold. https://www.vancity.com/CreditCards/Car ... ecuredVisa

The Infinite card ($60k income required) is nice, 2.5% on groceries, 5% on transit and ferries, 1.25% on everything else. $120 AF. Infinite Privilege: 3% / 5% / 1.5%. I'm not aware of any other card this good for people with no credit history.
Member
Jun 9, 2020
206 posts
148 upvotes
As a newcomer in 2018, I started with the Capital One Guaranteed card, you can go to their site and see if they pre-qualify you. After 3 or 4 months of having it, I was approved for PC Financial MC. I closed the Capital One card after a year before the Annual Fee was charged and moved on to better cards.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2019
2687 posts
4373 upvotes
BC
Kiraly wrote: If you are in BC, you can get any Vancity Credit Union Visa as a secured card. No credit history? Deposit the funds. Even its Infinite and infinite Privilege cards are available as secured cards if you meed the income threshold. https://www.vancity.com/CreditCards/Car ... ecuredVisa

The Infinite card ($60k income required) is nice, 2.5% on groceries, 5% on transit and ferries, 1.25% on everything else. $120 AF. Infinite Privilege: 3% / 5% / 1.5%. I'm not aware of any other card this good for people with no credit history.
FWIW TD gave me a secured Visa Infinite when I opened an account with them a few months after getting my PR. I suspect any bank can do this.

Also National Bank gave me a $1500 unsecured card as a brand new PR.
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 7, 2017
1126 posts
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rhw123 wrote: FWIW TD gave me a secured Visa Infinite when I opened an account with them a few months after getting my PR. I suspect any bank can do this.

Also National Bank gave me a $1500 unsecured card as a brand new PR.
Yep. All banks can do this. TD gave me free AI account for 6 months. $5000 limit on Cashback VI (not secured). I didn’t need any of it in the end since I was already setup with HSBC premier but was useful in some cases.

Banks have varying time limits too. So for example TD had a 6 month after landing limit. RBC a year, CIBC slightly longer than that. You can apply for all these without problems. You score will take a bit short term but it works out well after two or three years.
Sr. Member
Feb 28, 2014
964 posts
1141 upvotes
There's really no reason for a newcomer to get a secured card seeing that all banks and some select credit unions offer credit cards via their New to Canada programs.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2019
2687 posts
4373 upvotes
BC
deltatux wrote: There's really no reason for a newcomer to get a secured card seeing that all banks and some select credit unions offer credit cards via their New to Canada programs.
In my situation with TD mentioned in my previous post, they would either approve me for a basic card with low unsecured limit or for a premium card (FCT Visa Infinite) with $5k secured against my chequeing account. The premium card came with a sign up bonus, travel insurances and the ability to rack up points using the card for reimbursable work travel. Also the $5k deposit qualified me at the same time for the All-Inclusive account with annual fee waiver for the premium CC, safety deposit box etc. It worked for me going with the secured option. Also the higher limit probably helped build my credit a little faster.

Funny anecdote: a couple of years later when I wanted to change the secured limit into unsecured, the TD rep had the hardest time figuring out how to do it and ended up closing the card and immediately applying for a new one (maybe he just wanted to earn a commission). I noticed I received the sign-up bonus again on the new card and my churning career had officially started, lol.

Also worth mentioning: in the meantime National Bank had closed my oldest card for inactivity (beginner mistake) so the first two cards on my credit report were inadvertently closed within a few years from opening them. I never noticed any negative effect from this and had no issues getting approved for more credit.
Sr. Member
Apr 25, 2019
868 posts
1509 upvotes
YXE, Sask.
Another option is the Chatr Secured Mastercard. You can get 0.5% cashback on everything (though there's a $5 monthly fee) and when Rogers Bank deems you eligible for the regular Chatr Mastercard. you can upgrade and get 1% cashback on everything and there's no monthly/yearly fee.
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Deal Addict
Nov 29, 2006
2003 posts
1329 upvotes
Is there a particular card you really wanted? You might suprise yourself and be accepted. If you want to be as efficient as possible, sign up for credit cards that you will never cancel (to increase your average age of accounts). It sounds like you don't travel or want travel cards, but if you did, your strategy on which cards to carry might change. Everybody is different in what they want but some basic ones:

Canadian Tire credit cards like Triangle (or Triangle WE if you meet the income requirement) or Cash Advantage. These credit cards are inherently crappy but it's good to get them as early as possible because they have a superpower that no other credit cards have (ability to bill pay companies that don't usually accept credit cards). It's good to build some history with them as you can slowly increase your credit limit with them making it much more convenient to pay your much larger bills and not having to jump through hoops cause you're credit limit on the card is too little. HUGE fan of this card... I think it's a must for anybody that has to pay property taxes, utilities, etc...

AMEX SimplyCash is a good no fee credit card. It's usually much easier to get than the more premium ones. 1.25% back for everything is solid for a no-fee card. You'll never need to cancel it unless you're churning AMEXs and have too many at one time (I think it's 5)? Otherwise, it's pretty solid.

The Brim MC is also a no fee 1% back on everything. It also has no forex fees which is a good plus. I'm not a churner but it doesn't seem like they have many options to churn anyways, so you're not really missing out by holding this card long term.

Store Cards like PC Financial, Amazon MC, or whatever store you shop at seem generally easier to get approved also. If you actually shop there, chances are, it might be a keeper for you regardless.

If all else fails, get a no annual fee secured card and build up from there... however, I would try to apply for the ones mentioned above before going the secure route...
Newbie
Mar 13, 2022
2 posts
2 upvotes
ktkn wrote:
Canadian Tire credit cards like Triangle (or Triangle WE if you meet the income requirement) or Cash Advantage. These credit cards are inherently crappy but it's good to get them as early as possible because they have a superpower that no other credit cards have (ability to bill pay companies that don't usually accept credit cards). It's good to build some history with them as you can slowly increase your credit limit with them making it much more convenient to pay your much larger bills and not having to jump through hoops cause you're credit limit on the card is too little. HUGE fan of this card... I think it's a must for anybody that has to pay property taxes, utilities, etc...
Newcomer here, sorry to resurrect this old thread.

A few days after landing, I went to Canadian Tire because I learned that it was straightforward to get a CC to start building your credit score with.
I was surprised to learn that I need a driver's license to get their CC.
Work contract didn't matter to them, or SIN, or work permit.
Deal Addict
Nov 29, 2006
2003 posts
1329 upvotes
phanteon wrote: Newcomer here, sorry to resurrect this old thread.

A few days after landing, I went to Canadian Tire because I learned that it was straightforward to get a CC to start building your credit score with.
I was surprised to learn that I need a driver's license to get their CC.
Work contract didn't matter to them, or SIN, or work permit.
They possibly need a picture ID? Maybe a Passport would work in place of a driver's licence?
Newbie
Mar 13, 2022
2 posts
2 upvotes
ktkn wrote: They possibly need a picture ID? Maybe a Passport would work in place of a driver's licence?
no, they were adamant about driver's license
Newbie
Oct 2, 2018
93 posts
55 upvotes
phanteon wrote: no, they were adamant about driver's license
Maybe, your SIN number is a temporary one (starting with 9) due to work permit?
For PR holders with regular SIN no., CT accept passport, PR card as identity documents.
Deal Addict
Dec 7, 2011
2992 posts
1426 upvotes
Whitehorse
If the immigrant is from a country that participates in the Amey Global Transfer program, they should get an Amex card in their home country, use it for the required time, then transfer it to a Canadian Amex card.

Get the nicest Amex card in the home country you can get (fyf) - it will determine the nicest card you can get in Canada. Then take a Canadian Amex card that is fyf, and Bob's your uncle.

A couple months after that, it should be easy to get proper Canadian credit cards from other financial institutions.
Jr. Member
Dec 31, 2021
106 posts
57 upvotes
Coquitlam, BC
BMO no fee cash back - 3% groceries
Credit card portfolio:
Amex Cobalt; Amex Marriott Bonvoy; BMO Cash Back WEMC; HSBC Premier WEMC; HSBC Premier Mastercard; Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite; TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite; RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum

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