Best credit cards for bad credit

5 Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in Canada

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Last updated on May 26, 2023 Comments: 322

In Canada, anything under around 560 is typically considered to be a bad credit score. Canadian credit scores range from 300 all the way up to 900, so if yours falls on the wrong side of 600, you may have trouble borrowing money. But don’t worry: it’s definitely possible.

Poor credit can make a lot of things more difficult, but we’re here to help you get a credit card. After all, they can be important credit-building tools and provide a safer way to spend, and everyone deserves a shot at a credit card if they want one.

Here are five of the best credit cards in Canada for people with bad credit including secured credit cards and even a prepaid option.

Best Secured and Unsecured Credit Cards for Bad Credit

  • Best Overall: Plastk Secured Credit Card
  • Best for Bankruptcy: Home Trust Secured Visa
  • Best for Low Interest: Home Trust Secured Visa (Low Interest Rate)
  • Best for No Credit: Capital One Guaranteed Mastercard®
  • Best Prepaid: KOHO

Best Overall: Plastk Secured Credit Card

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  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 3 months from account opening
  • Lower regular interest rate for purchases (in addition to a 25-day interest-free grace period)
  • 1 point per dollar on all purchases
  • New customers who sign up for a Plastk Secured Credit Card can earn 5,000 Plastk Bonus Reward Points (≈ $20.00) redeemable after 3 months*. Terms & Conditions Apply.


  • $120 ($48/annual fee + $6/maintenance fee per month) annual fee
  • 3.5% foreign transaction fee


The Plastk Secured Credit Card is a popular secured credit card for poor credit borrowers in Canada, and we have to say we understand why. For one thing, it earns unlimited points on all spending. That’s one point for every dollar you spend where 250 points are worth $1 whether you redeem them for a statement credit, online purchase, flight, gift card, or something else. This is hardly the best earning rate ever, but it isn’t bad for a card without minimum credit score or income requirements.

This card is also ideal for building credit because it reports all of your payment activity to one of the two major credit bureaus, Equifax, and allows you to track your credit score at any time from the app. We recommend the Plastk Secured Credit Card to young borrowers and new Canadians as well because all you need to do to qualify is be the age of majority in your province and a citizen of Canada.

Finally, another reason to love the Plastk Secured Credit Card is the deposit and credit limit range. With a minimum security deposit requirement of just $300, this is an accessible option for those without much money to put down. But if you want a higher credit limit, you can put down up to $10,000. The only thing we don’t like about this card is the annual fee, which is really high even for a secured card. You can think of this as an investment in your credit or just go with another option from this list.

Read our full review.

Best for Bankruptcy: Home Trust Secured Visa

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  • No annual fee
  • 21-day interest-free grace period after monthly statement due date


  • Higher purchase interest rate


Your credit takes a serious hit after declaring bankruptcy, but some credit cards will still approve you if you’re able to meet certain conditions. The Home Trust Secured Visa is just one example of a credit card with a very high approval rate.

This secured credit card does not have strict income requirements (you just have to earn an income) and will consider your application as long as you’re not currently in bankruptcy. So if you’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past and since had it discharged from your credit report, you’ll be eligible to apply. Many cards, even some credit cards for bad credit, will automatically throw out your application if you’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past two or three years.

The Home Trust Secured Visa accepts most applicants who are at least the age of majority in their province. For the security deposit, you can put down anything from $500 to $10,000 and this sets your borrowing limit. If you don’t want to pay the 19.99% interest rate on purchases, you can opt to pay a $59 (or $5/month) annual fee for a 14.90% interest rate on purchases. We’ll cover the Home Trust Secured Visa (Low Interest Rate) version next.

Read our full review.

Best for Low Interest: Home Trust Secured Visa (Low Rate)

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  • Lower purchase interest rate
  • 21-day interest-free grace period after monthly statement due date


  • $59 (or $5/month) annual fee


As much as we like to recommend against carrying a credit card balance every month, we understand that things happen and sometimes you don’t feel like you have any other option. When this is the case, a low-interest credit card can provide a small safety net. You’ll still get charged interest if you can’t pay off your balance, but it’ll cost you less and help to keep your debt a little more manageable in the long run.

The low-interest rate version of the Home Trust Secured Visa works the same way as the regular rate version discussed above. Except in this case, you swap a 19.99% interest rate on purchases for a 14.90% interest rate and pay a $59 (or $5/month) annual fee in exchange. The difference in rates may not seem huge but can make a significant difference when you miss due dates, experience income interruptions, or are otherwise unable to make payments.

This secured credit card requires a minimum deposit of at least $500 and allows a maximum deposit of $10,000. There is no hard income requirement and you may be able to qualify with poor credit and a very limited history.

It’s important to be realistic with yourself when choosing a credit card. If you can see yourself struggling to keep your card paid off from time to time, give this somewhat safer Home Trust Secured Visa (Low Rate) a shot.

Read our full review.

Best for No Credit: Capital One Guaranteed Mastercard®


  • Almost guaranteed approval
  • Secured or unsecured (depending on credit)
  • Travel Accident Insurance, Baggage Delay, and Travel Assistance benefits (for Gold card)


  • Higher purchase, balance transfer, and cash advance interest rates
  • $59 annual fee


If you’re brand new to borrowing and your score is poor because you don’t have much of a credit history yet, guaranteed approval credit cards can be your friend. These can give you somewhere to start on your credit-building journey and improve your chances of approval for future credit accounts.

For beginners including young adults and newcomers to Canada, the Capital One Guaranteed Mastercard® could be a great fit. Approval for this card is guaranteed as long as you’re at least the age of majority in your province or territory, you haven’t applied for another Capital One card or account in the past 30 days, you don’t have a Capital One account, and you haven’t had a Capital One account that was closed in the past year.

There are two versions of the Capital One Guaranteed Mastercard®: the unsecured version (called the Gold card) and the secured version. When you apply, Capital One will check your credit to see if you qualify for the unsecured card and, if you don’t, approve you for the secured card. Only the unsecured card includes travel benefits and purchase protection.

You won’t know whether you’re approved for the unsecured or secured version until after you’ve applied. If your credit history is really limited, you may only qualify for the secured version and be required to make a deposit of between $75 and $300, determined by Capital One.

If your history is okay, you may be approved for the unsecured version of this credit card even if your credit rating is very poor. But if not, this is a beneficial secured card for those rebuilding their credit or building their history from scratch.

Read our full review.

Best Prepaid: KOHO

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  • Sign up and get a $20 instant cash bonus (once you load your account and make your no minimum first purchase within 30 days) right to your KOHO account with GREEDYRATES referral code.
  • 0.25% to 2% cash back on eligible category purchases; up to 6% cash back extra at partnered merchants
  • Earn saving interests on your entire KOHO account balance (up to 2%; no minimum deposit requirement)
  • Easy subscription is free
  • Optional credit-building feature for additional fee with free financial coaching services


  • Credit building costs $7-$10 a month extra
  • Annual fee ranges from $0 to $84 (or $9/month) depending on your subscription plan
  • 1.5% foreign transaction fee (for Easy and Essential subscriptions)


While not technically a credit card, we wanted to include a prepaid card on our list because this is another legitimate option for those with bad credit scores.

But first, the term “prepaid credit cards” is actually a bit of a misnomer. When people refer to prepaid credit cards, what they’re referring to are prepaid debit cards. These are debit cards that you can continuously reload and use. You can spend only up to the total amount loaded and add more funds to the card from a bank account, ATM, or even store. Normally, prepaid cards don’t build credit because your payment activity wouldn’t be reported to the credit bureaus. But in the case of KOHO, you actually can build credit with debit.

The KOHO Prepaid Mastercard® does not require a hard credit check and gives you the choice to add on Credit Building by KOHO for an extra fee of $10 a month for 6 months ($7 for KOHO Extra). KOHO helps you build credit by opening a line of credit on your behalf and setting aside dedicated funds, completely separate from your account, to pay toward this line of credit. All you have to pay is the fee to use the tool and KOHO will make small repayments for you that will show up on your report. Credit Building is optional, but we recommend it for the opportunity to boost your score.

In lieu of an annual fee, this debit card comes with a monthly subscription fee unless you go with the free Easy plan. Each level includes different features and benefits. For example, the free Easy subscription earns 1% cash back on your spending on groceries, transportation and 0.5% interest on your balance while the Extra subscription earns 2% on Eating & Drinking, Groceries, Transportation (0.5% on other categories) and 2% interest on your balance. Easy also lets you earn up to 5% extra cash back at partnered merchants while with Extra you can earn up to 6%. The three subscription plan options are:

  • Easy – Costs $0 a month, earns 1% cash back on groceries + transportation and 0.5% interest on your balance. Earn up to 5% extra cash back at partnered merchants. Added fee of $10 a month for Credit Building.
  • Essential – Costs $48 (or $4/month), earns 1% cash back on eligible grocery spending, transportation, eating/drinking and 0.25% cash back on everything else, plus 1.5% interest on your balance. Partnered merchant discounts earn up to 5% extra cash back. Added fee of $7 a month for Credit Building in-app subscription.
  • Extra – Costs $84 (or $9/month), earns 2% cash back on eligible grocery spending, transportation, eating & drinking and 0.5% cash back on everything else with the potential to earn more at select partnered merchants (up to 6% extra), plus 2% interest on your balance. Added fee of $7 a month for Credit Building by KOHO, no foreign transaction fees, and one free international withdrawal per month.

As you can see, the Extra subscription is packed with the most perks. But since you can build credit with any plan, it’s really up to you what you’re willing to pay. Another benefit of KOHO is that you can enable RoundUps to have your transactions rounded up to the nearest dollar and the extra sent automatically to a linked savings account.

If you’re looking for a credit card alternative with some of the benefits of credit and none of the associated risks, we highly recommend KOHO.

Read our full review.

What Is Bad Credit?

In Canada, bad credit is most often defined as a credit score below 560. Depending on your borrowing history, your credit score can fall anywhere from 300 to 900 points. The average credit score is around 650, which would be considered fair credit. This is about the middle ground of what lenders are looking for.

There are a lot of different ways to land yourself in Bad Credit Territory. Carrying balances on your credit cards without paying them off, missing bill payments for so long that they’re sent to collections, putting too much of your income toward debt repayment, and borrowing too close to your overall credit limit can all dig your score into a hole that can be tough to dig yourself out of.

This is just one possible way to end up with bad credit, but limited history can also be a pitfall. If you don’t have a Canadian credit history yet because you don’t have any credit accounts, you won’t have a credit score at all. This is true of new immigrants to the country who have to start from the beginning. Then, after a few months of borrowing and making payments, you will start to generate a credit history. The majority of lenders won’t check your report to determine your creditworthiness until you have at least 18 months’ worth of credit.

Most people with new credit do not start off with a bad score. More often, they fall somewhere in the “fair” range. But if you aren’t careful from the beginning, you may find yourself with a bad credit score not long after you’ve started borrowing. Setting good habits from the start is crucial.

How To Choose a Credit Card When You Have Bad Credit

Choosing from different cards for bad credit means compromising on features you’re willing to be flexible on in the interest (get it?) of getting the ones that really matter to you. Here are the main things to look for if you’re thinking about applying for a credit card.


None of us want to pay credit card interest, but it’s better to be prepared for this possibility than to be blindsided by interest rates. Always, always, always find out the interest cards for any credit card you consider signing up for.

If you’ve struggled to stay on top of your credit card debt in the past, consider low-interest cards such as the Home Trust Secured Visa (Low Rate). These can provide some form of protection if you slip up, but they’re not a solution to the problem. Long-term, you’ll want to teach yourself to borrow responsibly and figure out a system for making your minimum payments on time every month.


Are you willing to pay an annual fee for more benefits or would you rather save now and try applying for a different credit card later? The fact of the matter is, a lot of credit cards for bad credit have an annual fee, but this can be avoided if it’s a dealbreaker for you.

Other fees to be aware of are foreign currency conversion fees you’ll pay if you take your card out of the country, late fees if you ever miss a payment due date, balance transfer fees, and cash advance fees.

Credit Reporting

If your goal is to build your history and improve your score, make sure to choose a card that will help you do this. Look into how your activity will be reported on your credit for any given card.

Almost all unsecured credit cards show up on your credit report, and many secured credit cards report all of your payments to the two major credit bureaus in Canada too. But some cards may report only to one credit bureau or to none at all. Or in some cases, report only some of your activity. And prepaid “credit cards” – or, more accurately, prepaid debit cards – almost never show up on your credit (with the exception of the KOHO, obviously).

Just remember that while credit reporting can help you, it can also hurt you. Card issuers will report what you’re up to whether you’re paying your balance off in time each month or not, so your credit can either soar or suffer as a direct result of your activity. Let this motivate you to make. Those. Payments.

Approval Requirements

Credit cards for bad credit have requirements that are easier to meet than those for good or excellent credit, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still there. Consider minimum income and credit score requirements before submitting applications to sidestep the awkward (and damaging) experience of being denied. Some cards will be firmer on what they’re looking for than others, but it’s always good to know what their ideal applicant looks like on paper.

Credit Limits and Deposits

Another big factor to consider when comparing credit cards is the credit limit. If you get an unsecured credit card with bad credit, you’ll likely be approved for one of the lowest credit lines available. This is because you’re riskier to loan money to than an applicant with good credit.

If you choose a secured credit card, you may be able to determine your own credit limit by choosing how much you’re going to put down for your security deposit. If you go this route, make sure the minimum accepted deposit works for you as a credit limit or the maximum accepted deposit is enough for your borrowing needs. 

And when making your deposit on a secured card, keep in mind that you’ll need to come up with the money upfront. You can get it back if you pay your balance every statement period, but you’ll have to be willing to part with the cash for as long as you have the card or transition it into an unsecured one.

And remember that lower limits can be a great thing if they get you to where you need to go.

How To Improve Bad Credit

If your credit score is lacking, one of your number one financial priorities should be to improve it. You won’t be able to leap straight to a good credit score if yours is very poor, but it’s never a bad time to get to work. Good credit can unlock so many financial opportunities for you from lower interest rates for things like loans and credit cards to better, more favourable borrowing terms.

To figure out what to do first, think about how you got here. Is your credit poor because you’ve made some mistakes or is it poor because you don’t have much borrowing history?

Working your way up from bad credit after a series of missteps — such as defaults, delinquencies, and missed payments — should be about fixing your file. Go into credit repair mode by reporting inaccuracies in your credit file, getting errors removed by disputing them, and correcting your own mistakes by changing your habits. And once you’ve made it off of thin ice, pretend you’re still on it and don’t look back!

Building credit from scratch, on the other hand, is about baby steps. Make sure to only apply for the credit accounts you need and use them some but not so much that lenders worry about your cash flow. Find a balance between borrowing and repaying that works for you and shows responsibility and experience. And click the link below for more tips.

Read more: This Hack Can Raise Your Credit Score By 100 Points in 6 Months

Best Ways To Use Credit Cards If You Have Bad Credit

Credit cards, both unsecured and secured, can be incredibly helpful tools for improving your credit score, but it’s important to use them wisely — especially if your credit score is not where you want it to be. Otherwise, you risk knocking it down even further. Not the move.

Here are a few tips for improving your credit with a credit card.

Pay your bills in full and on time – Payment history plays a significant role in your credit score, so keep on top of any bill payments. If it helps, you can make multiple smaller payments throughout the month instead of one big chunk at the end. Create those reminders, use those finance apps, and set automatic payments if needed.

Keep your balance low (but not nonexistent)– The more space you have on your card, the better it looks. Ideally, you shouldn’t be using more than 30% of the credit available on your credit card. And using some of your available credit and paying it back makes you look good.

Don’t apply for too many credit cards at once Too many attempts to borrow is a red flag. Lenders may worry that your income doesn’t support your lifestyle or that you’re taking on more debt than you can realistically repay. It’s always a good idea to wait at least six months between any kind of credit application if you can.

Keep your cards — and use themRemember, your credit score is based on credit history, so if you cancel any of your credit accounts, you lose both good and bad proof of borrowing background. Cancelling cards can also bring down the overall age of your accounts, which makes your credit file appear thinner and make you seem less experienced than you are.

Use your credit cardsYou want to be active with the credit cards you do have to show that you can manage your payments responsibly. Letting cards sit untouched can call into question your ability to make repayments. Lenders want proof that you can handle credit, which means letting your credit file do the talking for you.

Secured vs. Unsecured Credit Cards: Which Is Best for Poor Credit?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both secured and unsecured cards for borrowers with bad credit, so how do you choose? Here are the pros and cons of both.

Unsecured Cards

An unsecured credit card is a traditional credit card. With these credit cards, there is no collateral, so the issuer has no guarantee that the money they lend you will be paid back. This requires issuers to trust applicants to repay their debt and approve them based on creditworthiness. They look for evidence of on-time payments, borrowing experience, and more in your file.

Therefore, the better your credit, the more likely you are to be approved for an unsecured card. Many unsecured credit cards offer perks and benefits and may also earn rewards.

If you can’t qualify for an unsecured credit card, it’s typically because you present too much risk to lenders. This could be because you have things in your credit history such as defaults, bankruptcies, or delinquencies that show that you’ve struggled to repay your debt in the past. No credit history (which could be the case if you’re a new immigrant to Canada) can also be a major cause for concern that prevents you from getting approved. 

And with that, let’s move on to secured cards.

Secured Cards

In cases where you’re seen as too risky, a secured credit card is often your best bet. These require you to put down a security deposit when signing up that then (very often) becomes your credit limit. This deposit serves as collateral for the credit card issuer. As long as you continue making your payments, you can get this deposit back if/when you close the credit card. If you can’t make payments, the issuer will keep your deposit and very likely close your card. They don’t lose the money they loaned you because they kept some of yours just in case.

Both unsecured and secured credit cards require to you make regular monthly payments and report your payment history to the credit bureaus. But unsecured credit cards tend to have much higher credit limits than secured cards, making it easier to rack up debt. With a secured card, you know you’re at least covered up to your credit limit because of your deposit.

Many secured cards let you increase your credit limit after a certain number of on-time bill payments. Some even allow you to graduate to an unsecured credit card over time and get your money back.

The security deposit required for a secured credit card could be anything from $300 to $10,000, and you usually get to decide how much you’re going to put down. But sometimes, the credit card issuer will look at your file to decide what they need you to deposit in order to approve your application. Often, your deposit equals your credit limit. So if you deposit $2,000, you can spend up to $2,000 each period and borrow up to this line again after paying it off. Rinse and repeat.

Secured cards may or may not include perks and benefits. Often, they have higher annual fees and interest rates than other cards. This is part of the deal for the opportunity to build credit.

Read more: What Credit Card Should You Have at Your Income Level?


Having bad credit can be discouraging, to say the least. But knowing that there are many great credit cards out there for bad credit should help. 

Even with a not-so-great credit history, you can still enjoy a lot of the same benefits that come with other cards and make progress on fixing, building, or improving your credit. 

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Article comments

Cindy says:

Hi what is the best unsecured credit card i could get approval on..? I have literally no credit score, as i saw last night. I believe unsecured will boost my credit alot more than a secured one. Perhaps i am mistaken. But here is the problem i was denied capital one last night, i think even for a secured one. Well how the hell do i build my credit if i cant even get approved..?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Cindy,
Someone in your position with literally no credit score needs to start with a secured credit card before they can get an unsecured card. Secured cards report your payments back to credit bureaus so you can begin to build credit again. By consistently paying the card off every month over a length of time determined by the issuer, they will eventually offer you an unsecured card. In order to get a secured card you need to apply, have consistent income, have employment, be a Canadian citizen and resident and provide secured funds that act as collateral for your credit limit. This amount can range anywhere from $300 to $1,000) and beyond. If you don’t have the money to pay upfront. you can’t get a secured card. Another option would be to become an authorized user on soneone else’s credit card. This does not build your credit, but it does give you the use of credit card and is good practice for using and paying off a credit card that could help you get the hang of it. Someone can also co-sign a credit card or line of credit for you, but if you default, they are on the line to pay it back. This is the same for authorized users.

daniel says:

can you apply for a secured credit card while you are in the bankruptcy process?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Daniel,
Yes you can, but it’s ill-advised. Most financial counsellors and bankruptcy trustees will tell you to try to live without a credit card unless you absolutely need it. If you do need one do these three things:

Use your card as a substitute for cash, not a substitute for borrowing;
Make sure that you are disciplined about making your monthly payments and don’t carry a balance;
Replace the high interest card with a less expensive one once you have rebuilt your credit.

The source for these tips comes from Hoyes Michalos Bankruptcy Trustees in Toronto

PS says:

I am from Toronto. I have Capital One Secured MasterCard from July 2019 limit is $300. I am paying my balance in full from the last 4-5 months. Now I notice that my score is the same for the last 4-5 months. It’s not increasing nor decreasing. Even they have not increased my limit. Do you think I should try to apply for Capital One Guaranteed Mastercard, and would it make a difference in my credit score and credit limit?

Are there any other suggestions you want to provide to increase my credit score?

Thank you,


Aaron Broverman says:

Hi PS,
My approach here would be to have patience and stay the course. It’s not uncommon for clients on secured cards to wait one or two years before their credit limit is raised or they graduate to an unsecured card. Plus, at this point we’re living in a COVID world, so it may take even longer, as I can’t imagine banks will want to take on more risk when the financial bottom could fall out for any client at anytime, as they may be affected by rolling lockdowns and possible layoffs that may result. Again, I would say, be patient, stay the course, but also keep calling your secured card provider on occasion and remind them that you’ve paid every balance on time and in full and you’d really like to graduate to an unsecured card. Know that credit scores are difficult to raise in a short amount of time, but you can do so by increasing your credit utilization and paying more than the minimum on time and in full.

PS says:

Thanks for your information. I want to know that I have Capital One Secured MC with $300 limit. Is it a good idea to apply for another secured card for eg. HomeTrust Secured card $500 or should I pay $500 security deposit to Capital One to increase my limit?

What is better one card for $800 limit which is my deposit or 2 cards one $300 deposit and the other $500 deposit?

Secondly, should I go for any credit rebuilding program like a loan or something? What are your views on credit rebuilding programs and your suggestion.

Wishing you a great New Year

Thank you,


Aaron Broverman says:

Hi PS,
To increase your credit score it’s better to have a diverse credit mix of different lines of credit, but that’s only if you can manage more than one due date and pay both on time and in full, so I suggest getting two credit cards as long as you can manage paying them off simultaneously. (it also increases your credit utilization which also ups your credit score) However, I can’t recommend Home Trust. People on this very website constantly complain that they don’t even answer the phone, have horrible customer service and charge you for things for no reason. These are all unconfirmed allegations, but I don’t want the same thing to happen to you, so pick another secured card.

Kwididi says:

Can you get multiple secure cards (Toronto, ON) to pay bills for online stores if you have a credit score of 550? If the answer is yes, can you recommend card issuers to apply?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Kwididi,
It’s recommended by financial experts to get a maximum of two secured cards and not any more as it’s likely 3 to 4 secured cards won’t actually make a difference for your credit. The only thing you can really do is get one to two secured cards and for about a year to six months pay your balance in full that you charge to it every month and your credit score SHOULD (hopefully) go up. If you’re looking for recommendations, there’s no better place to start than the secured cards in this article.

Jj says:


Id like to start off by thank you for the great information and advice on your website.
My situation currently is that im looking into starting a consumer proposal to clear my debts. My credit score is at 467. I maxed out my capitol one. I have a stable income and good relation with my bmo bank.

I have a few questions:

1. Would it be wise for me to get a refresh secured card before i go into CP? (This is so i can start as soon as possible to build any type of credit)

2. Does refresh send credit info to credit bureau, considering it doesnt check for credit?

3. Should i get a car loan before my CP or wait till ive started the payment plan?

4. What is my chance of getting approved for a car loan while repaying my CP?
5. Once payments for my cp is withdrawn should i use another bank other then my bmo? Will this make a difference in how they see me financially today?

6. How much points will drop from 467 once i file?
Any information is much appreciated

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi JJ,
These are all questions for a credit counsellor or whoever is going to help you set up your consumer proposal. You should certainly pose them to that person even if I answer them here, particularly the last two questions.

!. Yes, get a secured card before you start your consumer proposal in case it becomes harder to get approved once you start the consumer proposal.
2. Yes, the whole point of any secured card is to report your payment habits to credit bureaus to help raise your credit score.
3. You should wait until you’ve started a payment plan, as you don’t know how much money you’ll already be committed to paying back so why overstretch yourself when you have so much debt to pay back already? When you need a consumer proposal, you probably shouldn’t go for a car loan. You likely won’t qualify anyway until you can significantly boost your credit score.
4. Your chances are highly unlikely and near nil. I would be very surprised if you were approved because you are going to be seen as a very high-risk borrower.
5. You already have a positive history and a good relationship with BMO. If you start with a new bank, you have to rebuild that history. They also won’t see you as positively at the new bank because they will see your credit score and your consumer proposal, so stick with the bank you know, not the bank you don’t.
6. There’s a very individual secret alchemy made up of a lot of different factors that determines your credit score. Since how a credit score is determined has never been actually disclosed, I don’t know how much your score will go down by, I just know it will likely go down.

Hope that helps.

PS says:


I have been discharged from Bankruptcy in March 2020. I got Capital One Secured MasterCard with a $300 limit. It’s been 1 year and 3 months my credit limit is still $300.

I am paying my balance in full every month. Should I pay my balance in full and leave the current month balance below 30% which report to the credit bureau that I owe some amount?
Or should I pay my balance in full every month and current month balance making it $0 before generating my bill which will report to the credit bureau $0 every month? What are the best practices?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi PS,
In your case, it’s more important that you pay the balance on your secured card on time and in full every month, so each month your balance shows zero. This is because if you maintain a balance you are still paying interest on that balance and since the main thing you are trying to demonstrate with a secured card is responsible credit card use in order to graduate to an unsecured card, maintaining a balance is not responsible or ideal credit card use. Besides, what factors into determining your credit score more than credit utilization is credit and payment history. Since you are just coming out of bankruptcy, your payment history and credit history is negative and the best way to re-establish a positive credit history and payment history is to pay your balance on time and in full consistently for a long period of time, so for the forseeable future, avoid carrying a balance.

PS says:

Hello Aaron,

Thanks for your response. I am sorry I didn’t clear my point. I will try again.

I do pay my balance in full and on time. What I mean to ask is for eg. My bill generates on August 15 and shows that I have to pay $100 by September 10th. As soon I get the bill I pay $100 which means no interest.

Now if I make any purchase from August 16th to September 10th the bill will generate on September 15 and will due on October 10.

For this period if I purchase anything for $50 and pay off $50 before generating my bill on September 10 is a good practice which will show to Bureau that my bill is $0 or should I pay this $50 after the bill generates to show Bureau that I am using my card and owe $50 only.

I hope I made it easy to understand.

Thank you.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi PS,
Thanks for your clarification. I would say that it’s okay to wait for the bill to be generated and you get it in the mail before you pay off the balance. Every card has a grace period — usually 21 days — between the bill cut off and the due date for payment. I would say that it does not improve your credit score to pay your bill faster than the due date or before the next bill is generated. All of your payments and charges within the billing period will be recorded on your bill either way, so I would say whether you pay as you charge it (right away) or wait until you get the bill and pay by the deadline makes no difference, both count as paying on time and in full. It literally gives you know advantage or disadvantage either way.

D says:

I had a capital one for like 2 yrs used it all month and paid the balance in full .it NEVER WENT UP in credit limit I called a few times and they just kept saying wait for an offer

Aaron Broverman says:

Yeah D,
Sometimes that is the way the cookie crumbles. You just have to stay patient. Unfortunately, if you put yourself in a position where you only qualify for a secured card, you are more at the mercy of the credit card issuer to grant you an unsecured card. (obviously, in their eyes, you are more of a risk given your credit history)

The best advice I can give is to continue to lobby your credit issuer directly by continuing to ask them when or if you may get an unsecured card and reminding them of your good history with the secured card. Just stay on them and remind them you would like an unsecured card one day.

Tinta says:


First of all thanks for a great article. Last year in June 2019 I filed for bankruptcy, and on the same day, I applied for Capital One secured card which was approved for a $300 credit limit. This year in March 2020 I got discharged from my bankruptcy. I am using the same Capital One card with a $300 limit. I know that the best practice is to utilize 30% of the credit limit. My question is:

1. Is it necessary to utilize 30% what if I utilize 20% or 10% will this improve my credit, or will it improve credit score faster?
2. How soon can I accept credit limit increase from Capital One as I am using for almost 1 year and my limit is the same which I deposit $300? I started to pay in full from last month.
3. How does 30% utilization work? Does it work per credit account or total credit we have on file? For eg. If I have 2 credit card. One from Capital One with $1000 limit the 30% is $300, and another card we say from Scotia with $2000 limit which is 30% limit is $600. So should I use $300 on Capital One and $600 on Scotia to utilize 30% per card, or can I use $900 on Scotia, $0 on Capital and it will consider 30% of total credit on both cards? I hope I was able to explain my question.

4. Most important point. After bankruptcy, I took out my Transunion Consumer Disclosure. What I have to look at that for credit accounts? All my credit balance should mention $0, closed, and status bankruptcy discharged?
5. Is Consumer Disclosure the same as a credit report without a credit score? Which one should I check after bankruptcy Consumer Disclosure which I got for free or should I pay and check credit report?

Thank you.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Tinta,
Thanks for reading and liking what we do. Let me tackle your questions in order:
1. The goal is always 30% utilization or under, but just because you utilize less doesn’t mean your credit score will increase faster, it’s just better for you because you have less debt. So once you get under 30 it doesn’t make much of a difference between a person who utilizes 10% vs. someone who utilizes 20% besides less debt.

2.) You can accept a credit increase from capital one as soon as they offer you one. It’s up to you. Usually it takes up to a year before they offer you an increase or an unsecured card, but once they do, it’s your decision. Think you can handle it?

3.) 30% utilization applies to the total credit you have on file so that means you have to keep 30% utilization cumulatively between all your credit products.

4) Even if all your balances say $0 and closed, the fact that your bankrupt will be on your credit report for 7 years so it still may affect your ability to obtain credit.

5) No, though the information on a consumer disclosure and a credit report sometimes overlap, your creditors cannot request a consumer disclosure. It can only be requested by you and shows you everything on your credit report, even closed accounts.It’s basically the long version of your credit report. So you should look at your actual short version credit report with your credit score since this is what potential creditors see. However, you don’t have to pay. Sign up for free with a service like credit karma and borrowell and you can see both your report and your score for free.

Kay Kam says:

Nice article…

Can you tell which one are available for Quebec residents?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Kay,
The Capital One Guaranteed Low Rate Mastercard, The Refresh Financial Secured Card, The Capital One Guaranteed Secured Card and The RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option are all available to Quebec residents.

Jason says:

Good day,

After reading the article, perusing respective website and reading comments below, I’m looking for some sound advice. I’ve been discharged from bankruptcy Nov.2019 and have been approved in February for a 5000$ unsecured CC from CapitalOne. This issue is I need to increase my score quickly so getting a second form of credit seems necessary.

First, I notice you mention Home Trust (mainly) and Refresh Financial. My first question is, do you work and/or receive compensation from either firm?

Secondly, Home Trust isn’t offered in Québec which doesn’t help me. I’ve contacted RBC but seems they offer no solutions for credit revamping whether it is secured CC or a loan with co-signee until a 24-month discharge period.

Seems Refresh is 1 of few options. Refresh offered me 2 options;
1) obtaining a secured CC which would increase my score from 20-40 points per year
2) obtaining a Credit Builder Loan which would increase my score +120 points per year. Based on a 2500$ open loan over 12 months, I would pay out ~109$/month (~1300$/year) and receive back ~650$…so the cost of the loan is ~650$ for the year at 19,99%.

Obviously, the credit upscaling would be relevant on many personal factors such as my own credit use of my current card, monthly payments, etc. etc. However, they do not offer a guarantee on their Loan program.

My question is, if I act 100% according to good credit practices, is the status that Refresh offers (+120 score points) viable for the actual money it will cost me?? How do I know, if I’m 100% on par with my personal use of credit, that my score will not increase only by 40 points for 650$ ?


Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Jason,
I would be suspicious of any company that requires you to spend money to increase your credit score. While I understand it may sound like an appealing quick fix, these credit builder loans have extremely high interest and will likely put you in more debt that will be difficult to pay off and may lower your credit score even further. I would not do this, especially when you can increase your credit score with patience and diligence over a longer period of time for free. Banks like RBC also offer secured cards. I would try to talk to one of their advisors to see if they can set you up with a secured card with much less daunting terms. Remember though, a secured card will likely still charge annual interest above 19.99% (but not as high as Refresh in all likelihood) and you will need to put down a security deposit that will act as your credit limit. However, if you pay your balance in full and on time every month, it won’t belong before RBC can offer you an unsecured card and this deposit is returned to you.

Walter says:

Secured credit card … how do I get my security deposit back? Can the cc company drop the security requirement after a period of good payment history with them? (i.e. will they convert a secured card to an unsecured one?)

Nate Siegel says:

Hi Walter,

Thanks for the comment. If you want to close a secured card then you can do so at any time, just make sure it’s in good standing first. Good standing means you’ve paid your balance and made good on all the requirements they have for cardholders, and once your account is closed in this way, you’ll get your security deposit back. Closed “in good standing” also makes these entries removable from your credit report if you so choose.

As for the deposit itself, we’ve had reports from some readers that their credit limits were raised just a few months after they opened (and started responsibly using) their secured cards, with no requirement to deposit additional funds. This essentially amounts to a strategy used by banks to convert their secured cardholders to technically unsecured cardholders easily, and it’s good if you prefer unsecured cards in the first place. Otherwise, you can always say no if they offer to raise your limit.


Walter says:

Hello Greedy Rates:
I was discharged form bankruptcy in Sept of 2017. I currently don’t have a cc or any debt and I would like to re-build my credit. I make approx $85K per year and ideally would like an unsecured, no-fee card. Which company in your opinion would offer me a card. I am afraid of applying and being rejected as it would negatively impact my credit score, which I am trying to improve.

Nate Siegel says:

Hi Walter,

Thanks for providing us with detail about your situation. If you were discharged from a bankruptcy in 2017 then it’ll stay with you for a little while longer, even if your credit, debt, and financial situations are as healthy as can be. We know this is frustrating to hear, but with solid annual income and good financials, despite your past, there’s still a chance you’ll be approved for unsecured credit. If you haven’t gotten a secured credit card, however, then that should be first on your list. Even with an unsecured card, pairing it with a secured card which is backed up by a cash deposit will look good to lenders, and help boost your score.

Keep in mind that you may not need to match your approved credit limit one-to-one with your security deposit. If you apply for a Home Trust Secured or Capital One secured card, for example, they might tell you initially to put down as little as $500 and then give you a $500 limit, only to raise it up past $2,000 with no further deposit. It depends on your responsibility using the card, your initial deposit, other assets you hold with the bank, and probably other variables too. Either way, start secured and then go unsecured when your score has recovered, especially if you’re worried about denting it with a rejected application.


Brad says:

Hi Greedy Rates Team, thanks for your advice! 6 months ago I opened up a Capital One secured MasterCard after filing a CP. I only got $500 secured credit limit to keep myself in check. After 5 months I got a congratulations letter from CapOne on staying within limit. After my 6th month paying balance in full Capital One offered me me a $4000 limit increase with no further security funds required. I am very pleased and I think they are doing a great job helping folks rebuild their credit!

Nate Siegel says:

Hey Brad,

Thanks for your encouraging comment, and congratulations on both your awesome progress with the secured card and your new credit limit. It’s true that for many secured cards, there’s no rule where your security deposit is always on a one-to-one ratio with your credit limit. In fact, some people from the beginning are told to make a deposit as little as $75 for their limit and will find it can scale upwards over time with good standing and reliable payback. That goes for your card as much as it does for the two others we’re always recommending, Home Trust’s Secured Visa and the Refresh Financial Secured Visa as well. Thanks again and keep on building your credit—just don’t let that larger limit tempt you into a situation where making a monthly payment is a stretch.


Miriam says:

I was discharged from bankruptcy in 2018. I have had a F/T job for a long time, yearly income $48.000. I have a Home Trust secured card that I pay on time. I would like to have $5000 for emergency. Is it possible to get a personal loan in my situation, and where? Thank you.

Nate Siegel says:

Hi Miriam,

Thanks for the question! First of all, you don’t want to take out a loan if all you need is an emergency fund “just in case”. While this is a great idea, it’s not worth getting a loan and being subjected to interest on money you don’t already need for something: If you do need the $5,000 now then online lenders like Borrowell can help you out, as can a local credit union. Just. Be aware of high interest. For access to cash that you don’t need to pay for if you aren’t using, we’d recommend an unsecured credit card or a line of credit.

One piece of information we’re missing from your post is your current credit score. If you’ve been using the secured card responsibly since the bankruptcy, then your credit may be in fair shape. Alongside a fulltime job record and good salary, there’s a reasonable chance that you’d be approved. Try the bank most familiar with you—the one where you have a chequing account that your salary is deposited into. Inquire about their entry-level credit products and ask for an application. Best of luck!


Mike says:

I just applied for the Scotiabank card because I read that they only use TransUnion. My score with TransUnion was 664.. it was immediately denied. Is there any other card that you suggest? I only used this one because I am about to remortgage and my mortgage company uses Equifax so I did not want a hard hit on my Equifax file

Nate Siegel says:

Hey Mike,

Appreciate the comment. We’re not sure how effective it is to apply only to lenders that use an Equifax or a TransUnion score, because the nitty gritty of your report will largely be the same regardless. Though they may have two different scores, consider that they’re looking at the same details, with different results, meaning your overall creditworthiness doesn’t change by much between Equifax and TransUnion. This may be why your application was denied, but have no fear.

We think you’d be a good fit for the Amex Essential credit card, which is one of most very basic entry level cards. It has a low regular interest rate on everything—purchases, balance transfers, cash advances etc.—making it much more forgiving if your finances are in rough shape. Another suggestion is to pick up a secured credit card, as they are easy to access (given a cash collateral deposit) and indeed help you to boost your score just as an unsecured card might. Our favorite is the Home Trust Secured Visa, with a $500 minimum security deposit.

GreedyRates Staff

Doug says:

Please advise for wife. I have good credit with Visa and MC however I have health problems and I need my wife to establish her credit. She has very little personal income and 20 plus years ago had poor credit. Is there anyway we can piggyback her onto my credit so when I’m gone she is ok?

Nate Siegel says:

Hey Doug,

Thank you for the post. If your wife wants to improve her personal credit score so that she can apply for cards and loans in the future without you, then she can start with a secured credit card. It will be easy for her to apply for and obtain alone, as she’ll simply need to provide a security deposit of at least $200 (for example) when applying for the Refresh Financial Secured card. There’s also Home Trust’s Secured Visa which has a minimum deposit of $500, for a credit limit of at least this much. With this as collateral, secured cards offer easy credit access and the ability to use the card responsibly (with smart utilization) to develop a better score over time.

You can also apply for financial products together now as joint accountholders, as if you’re married then your higher credit score is what the bank finds relevant. If you pass and she has the account open, we assume your finances will go to her in turn and the bank will also realize this and allow the account to remain open. This is pretty much the same idea you described regarding her piggybacking onto your credit, and it works well. Best of luck.

GreedyRates Staff

Natasha says:

Advise needed. My husband and I are in the process of filing for consumer proposal. We were advised to get a credit card before going through with the proposal, just as a means to have a credit card in case of an emergency but to not carry a balance on it. My question is, if our credit rating isn’t the greatest at the moment and even with a secured credit card is it possible for us to get approved? Or should we wait until we are in the process of actually paying the debt through consumer proposal?

Nate Siegel says:

Hi Natasha,

Thanks for the post, and don’t worry—we’ll help give a clear answer. Once you go through with the consumer proposal it’s stuck on your credit report for up to 3 years after your last payment, which can be quite a long time when you’re in need of a loan or extra cash. For this reason, if you can get unsecured credit before doing the proposal then it may be a good idea, as your creditworthiness will look a lot better now than it will next year. Just don’t use the card until the proposal has started, or else it’ll look like you were racking up debt with the intention of consolidating it beforehand. Also be sure to pay it very responsibly during the proposal itself.

A secured credit card could be a good option as well but consider that it’s likely more impactful to get unsecured credit as it doesn’t require a deposit. You’ll also find it easier to get a secured card even in the middle of a consumer proposal, so regardless of when or if you succeed in getting an unsecured card, pick up a Home Trust Secured Visa. Why? It’s more flexible than cash, and helps you boost your credit score when you need it most. If you have any other questions about how to navigate this situation, just comment back or email us at [email protected]. Thanks!


D K says:

I have a score of 613. I’ve never claimed bankruptcy or agreed to a consumer proposal, however two things have happened that concerns me. 1. I still have an outstanding debt I haven’t been able to touch for two years and 2. I already had a capital one secured card with a 1000 dollar deposit for a 1000 dollar limit, and had it maxed out while I was separating from my ex. So in order to not pay the interest rate I called and asked them to use my deposit to pay the balance and cancel the card. However when I read my credit report, it says Bad Debt Write Off, Account Cancelled by Credit Grantor with Derogatory Rating
With a pay status stating in collection, write off. My first question is 1. Are they saying that the credit card company cancelled my card and not myself, while justifying their cancellation stating it was in collection and therefore writ it off? 2. Isn’t a secured card suppose to help your credit rating if you are responsible by cancelling it using the deposit for situations like I had, to solve a short unreliable financial (3months) hiccup? Also because I cancelled the card wouldn’t it be false to say the grantor cancelled and i would have to notify Equifax concerning this? 3. Because I cancelled a secured card or my report says I had a secured card writ off, will this affect me getting another secured credit card in a profound way? 4. Are there unsecured credit cards that accept 614 as a fair credit rating with only one outstanding debt (3000 old phone bill that demands it paid in full but I’d rather make active payments which they rebut that I make large unrealistic payments) so that I could possibly use that credit card to help pay off their large payments my only debtor wants and then paying off the credit card to increase my credit score? I know it’s a lot. I hope it makes sense. Any suggestions or guidance would be greatly appreciated

Nate Siegel says:

Hey DK,

Thanks for the thorough comment. To address your questions in order, the debt was likely written off as bad by Capital One because your final balance was larger than your initial deposit. If you max the card out then can still accrue interest, so that may have gone unpaid and accordingly considered a write-off of more than $1,000. Second, regular monthly balances and payments you make with a secured credit card aren’t deducted from your deposit, and you’re expected to make minimum monthly payments. If you do so, then secured credit cards (emphasis on credit) will indeed help your score go up.

This shouldn’t affect your chances of getting another secured card too heavily, but it’s not good for your credit overall. We suggest you get your once-yearly free credit report from Equifax and try to call the creditors and see if they’ll change the entry if you pay any extra interest you owe, and then get another secured card which you won’t max out. Use it wisely while paying off your old phone bill and that outstanding debt you’ve had for 2 years (the one mentioned at the beginning of your comment). A debt consolidation loan from a local credit union could help you manage everything better as well, or perhaps a balance transfer promotion from a card like the MBNA True Line (0% for 10 months).


Matt says:

Thank you for all the great advice, I’m currently rebuilding my credit after a CP that I paid to completion 1 1/2 years ago. TU score 634 EQ 611 at the moment, I have 2 unsecured credit cards and want to add a 3rd but was recently denied. My question is regarding the removal of the CP on my credit report, I was told it’s 3 years after your satisfy your proposal that it comes off your report, not the 7 years you’ve mentioned in your replies, also my credit reports say the same, that bankruptcy is 7 but CP is 3. Can you clarify?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Matt,

Thanks for the comment about consumer proposals and which cards you’re eligible for. Here’s how it works: TransUnion and Equifax will remove the consumer proposal from your credit report 6 years after you enter into the agreement or 3 years after you’ve paid off your obligation: whichever is sooner. In that case, since you’ve already paid the consumer proposal to completion 1.5 years ago, you’ve got another 1.5 years to go until the report is “clean”. You should be sure to rebuild your credit in the meantime, which we see you’ve been doing well up until this latest denial.

Getting two unsecured credit cards amid a consumer proposal isn’t easy, and speak to your creditworthiness. If you want another unsecured card, then the best place to go is either to the bank helping you through the proposal or with another lender who’s familiar with you. Extending your credit limit achieves with either of your two current banks accomplishes the same goal. Another idea would be to pick up a secured credit card. It may not make a huge difference in your daily life, but incorporating a card like the Home Trust Secured card into regular bill payments is good for your credit.


Chris says:

Beware the RBC option. I paid off a consumer proposal last october, have a credit score of 620, make 75k a year and was declined.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Chris,

Sorry to hear that you were denied for the RBC card. Truth be told, the consumer proposal on your credit profile is a largely unpredictable variable when it comes to how creditworthy you are for different banks. In some cases, your decent credit score of 620 and income will make a positive enough impact, but in some cases it won’t. The only thing that we know will work reliably in your situation is a secured card.

We know it might not be as much of an advantage, but you can put that great income to work by depositing $1,000 or so on the Home Trust Secured Visa to get a matching credit limit (or as little as $500). With a bit of work getting your debts in line and using this card to utilize your credit optimally, it’s only a matter of months until your score rises along with the chance at approval for your applications. Good luck!


Randi says:

Hi there, I’ve read many of the comments and responses, they’re great, thank you.
I do however feel a little confused about something though. In some responses, the GreedyRates Team says to utilize a credit card using the 30% rule, and then to pay it off each month because it isn’t necessary to pay interest to rebuild credit, while in other comments, I’ve seen the team recommend the same but with a twist: carrying a small bit over from month to month. Which is best for rebuilding credit? If the latter, then could we please have an example of what amount would work well? Eg. $1000 limit, spend $300, and pay not quite the whole balance, say $200? Then next month, spend $200 (total balance owing $300), and pay $200? Thank you!

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Randi,

Thanks for your comment. If we’ve ever indicated that it was OK to carry a balance month to month, then that’s one thing and may have depended on the commenter’s circumstances, but to say that carrying a balance is always the ideal thing to do in every situation isn’t true. If possible, it’s a good idea to pay your balance, and this will result in a better overall credit score. The system that credit bureaus use to determine your credit score is a complicated formula, and it’s still being evolved as the financial world changes, but today we know that there isn’t any model that rewards higher credit for neglecting to repay debt—which is as it should be.


Marie says:

I got scammed and since I don’t know about this things, I was force to apply for bankruptcy. Done paying it off last 2017 or 2018. Now I need to rebuild my credit score but scared to apply for any kind of credit card because of the bankruptcy. Can you help me which credit card is best for me with low interest. I have a steady job since 2015. Thank you


The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Marie!

Essentially, you have two options to pursue in your current financial state. Since the bankruptcy is paid off your chances of getting unsecured credit are higher than if it wasn’t paid; but remember that it appears on your credit report for some years afterwards. For this reason, if you were to venture an application for a very basic unsecured credit card then the best place to apply is with the bank that already knows you best. For many in a bankruptcy or consumer proposal this will be the bank that handled it from the outset.

Whether or not you choose to apply for unsecured credit, using your income as collateral for secured credit is a great idea. Secured cards like the Refresh Financial Secured Visa are credit cards that extend as much credit to you as you deposit in cash initially. For example, the minimum $200 will get you a card with a $200 credit limit. By managing your balance well, the credit bureaus will take notice and your score will improve over time. For more on how to utilize your credit ratio and other tips, check out our credit scores vlog. Thanks!


Lis says:

I have a credit score with transunion of 640 and I’m a end client. I was thinking of applying for the rbc visa classic but wondering if I would get approved. I had some hard times a few year ago with my capital one and my account was closed and the account is almost paid in full. Should I apply for the end visa.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Lis,

Good question! Your credit score is right on the cusp of taking a jump upwards, so we’d likely wait until the account is paid in full before attempting to take out new debt. A 640 credit score is on the lower side, so you’re risking an application denial and a temporary dent which will take it lower, while if you had just waited for the Capital One debt to fall off your account (how long by the way?) then your chances would have been greater. Ultimately, the RBC Visa Classic Low-Rate Option is still unsecured credit, so if you’re in dire need of funds and cash won’t cut it, then a secured card may work wonders.

With a card like the Home Trust Secured Visa, you can make a security deposit for as low as $500 and get the same credit limit. Use this responsibly until the 7-year window for your defaulted debt is closed (we assume that the Capital One balance has been labeled R9), then do a clean sweep of your credit by disputing entries (if the Capital One balance hasn’t fallen off by itself) and only then should you really apply for the Classic Visa. If you don’t have cash and need credit before you can reasonably expect the Capital One debt to be settled, then an application won’t be the end of the world if it’s denied. Do keep the risks in mind, though. You’re close to being able to improve your score from solid ground, so you may not want to compromise it just yet.

GreedyRates Staff

Rob says:

Thanks for this … !

Looking for a little advice. Went through some bad times 2011-13, and am finally working my way out of it. May 2018, I applied for a Cap1 guaranteed card, and was given one with a $300 limit (I was surprised). EQ 477, TU 575. It’s my only card right now, and I use it a lot. I usually make multiple payments on it a month, and I’ve only been caught twice where the statement balance was over 30%. I always pay the full balance (I’ve never paid them interest) and in Jan.2019 they increased my limit to $500(not a lot, but better)

I’ve been working with the credit bureaus to clean up my reports, Equifax has been a nightmare though, and now they’re sitting at EQ 578, TU 668. Am I using my card right? Should I actually be allowing a little to carry over and pay Cap1 interest? I’m not in desperate need for credit right now, so probably won’t apply for anything until I get the reports cleaned up. Just want to know if I’m using the card effectively.


The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Rob!

Thanks for the awesome comment: your report card looks like an A+ to us, and we commend you for being so responsible with the Guaranteed card you received. The Capital One Guaranteed card is one of the best for those with low credit scores, as it’ll do what it did for you: give you a small credit limit and a chance to boost your score. That $300 isn’t a lot, but you’re doing the absolute best thing possible with it, which is to buy things as you want but make sure not to let the statement come due with more than 30% of the credit limit utilized.

If it comes due with more than 30% once or twice, that’s no big deal, and there’s no need to pay interest to increase the trajectory of your score. Always avoid interest if you can. That said, we think your progress is great, as you’ve managed to raise your score around 100 points in a year or so. Give it another year or likely less, and you’ll be able to get unsecured credit cards with awesome rewards. That said, it couldn’t hurt to get a secured card from Home Trust or Refresh Financial in the meantime.

These cards won’t risk your score, as all they require is a security deposit, and using them alongside your Capital One card will give you more credit (though you said you don’t need it) and more importantly more evidence for the bureaus that you’re back on the right track. Thanks for the appreciation and for showing us that solid credit guidance, in the right hands, is priceless!


Alex says:

I have been rejected by Scotia. Went to my branch. Regardless, they told me credit card application is centralized and automated, so they can not influence approval.
So, Capital One again.

Alex says:

To rebuild my credit score you said I should utilize close to 30% of credit limit on my card. Does it mean I should keep those funds on card balance month over month? Can I just pay the balance every month?

Also, I just finished pay my proposal. I am in Ontario and banking at Scotia. My credit sccore is 613. What would be my chance of approval for Scotia credit card?
What would be my best choice in your opinion?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Alex,

Good question—and it’s always better to pay your full balance each month. Usually what we mean by utilizing only 30% of your credit is that you shouldn’t let more than 30% of your credit limit come due. If your credit limit is $1,000 and you build up a balance of $700 before the end of the month, and that’s what’s on your statement, you’re showing the credit bureau keeping an eye on the account that you need to use 70% of your credit to get by—even if you pay the entire balance before interest is accrued. For many people this is the case, but it’s important that even if you use ALL your credit that it’s paid off before the issuer reports to their credit bureau.

You can find out when this is by placing a quick call to customer service. In your case it would be Scotia, so give them a ring. Scotia may tell you that they report to Equifax three days before the end of the official billing cycle. This means you’d need to pay your utilization down under 30% at least three days before the bank sends your bill! It takes work, but you’ll be rewarded by a better credit score, so it’s worthwhile.

If you finished your consumer proposal recently, then it’ll still be on your credit report for up to 6 more years. That doesn’t mean you won’t be approved for any credit cards—a 613 score isn’t the worst in the world, and if you want a credit card from your own bank anyway, we say go for it. Instead of applying, however, go into the branch and explain your situation to a banker. Ask them for any credit solutions that fit your current needs. If you apply for a Home Trust Secured Visa, then it also does a lot to show the bank you’re working hard to fix your credit from every angle possible. You don’t need to worry about approval as long as you can make a small security deposit, either. Best of luck on your journey!


Alex says:

Initially I posted my reply in a wrong tread:
“I have been rejected by Scotia. Went to my branch. Regardless, they told me credit card application is centralized and automated, so they can not influence approval.
So, Capital One again.”
Today my new Capital One card arrived in mail.
With $75 security deposit I got $2500 credit limit.

Olivia says:

Hi. Great article and great info! Is there a way to possibly dispute hard credit checks? One day I was in Walmart buying baby formula and I was approached by a 3rd party employee offering the Walmart credit card. I specifically asked the representative if this would be a hard credit check and he said no. I then proceeded with the application. Couple weeks later I see the hard check on credit karma. I don’t appreciate credit card companies’ representatives lying about information regarding the process just for some commission. A lot of us had jobs like that once in our life. Everyone needs to pay bills…have their family to care for etc etc but that is harming my credit also preventing me from building my credit to offer my baby a better quality of life. My score lowered by 3 points because of that. I went back to Walmart then said they can’t help because it’s a 3rd party that offers the cards. I know it’s only a few points but you know how hard of a set back is when working to build your credit back up. Especially when a couple points from being in the “Good” range

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Olivia,

Wow, what an unfortunate story! It’s a shame that the employee was either uninformed or blatantly lied and you were subjected to a hard credit check despite being assured this wasn’t the case. Sometimes this happens when banks are allowed to obfuscate in their marketing language, and even “pre-approval” must come with a hard check in many cases. This is why we’re here—to stay aware of these tricks.

Fortunately, you should be able to recover from those 3 lost points quickly. Don’t cancel the card immediately though, because that will also penalize your score slightly. Just use it occasionally and pay it off consistently and it should be fine to cancel at a later date once you have a) another card or b) more of your total balance paid off. Fortunately, in the meantime you can absolutely lodge a dispute with your credit bureau, whether it be TransUnion or Equifax.

If you didn’t authorize the credit inquiry, then this is a legitimate reason to request that your bureau remove the entry from the credit report. You can file a dispute online with either bureau, but mailing it in is just as effective. Good luck!


Fabio says:

Unfortunately, it seems that Refresh has recently changed their terms from a $200 minimum deposit up to a $1000 minimum. I just applied and called them and that’s what they told me over the phone.
Then they attempted to instead push a “savings plan/investment loan” in order to build up my credit score.
Which was unfortunate, be a small $200 limit would have been perfect with it being both affordable AND enough for what I need.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Fabio,

Thanks for the comment. All we’ve seen or heard about Refresh recently indicates that they’ve kept the $200 minimum, so if you could provide us with some sort of email or written notice of the increase then that would help. Remember that banks always reserve the right to tweak the ratio of deposit to credit limit on an applicant-to-applicant basis, so this may be what you encountered.

For example, we’ve seen some readers put down as little as $75 for a $300 credit limit on Home Trust’s Secured Card, and this was probably because their credit is on the healthier side, their income is higher, or because their collective creditworthiness (made up of several extraneous factors) is better. Try going to Home Trust and seeing what kind of deposit you’ll need to make with them—we’re willing to bet that their $500 minimum won’t hold either.


Rhodora says:

I just got rejected. I was trapped in a scam so I ended up doing bad decision after another

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Rhodora,

If you’re not getting approved for unsecured credit due to a series of financial mishaps, first know that it’s ok—you’ll recover—and second, it’s likely a better idea at this point to pick up secured credit cards only (at least until you’re back above water). Unsecured cards do hard checks on your credit and scrutinize your credit report and financial history very strictly, while secured cards are the exact opposite. As long as you’re able to make the minimum security deposit, you’ll get access to credit quickly and easily.

Our recommendation is to go for the Refresh Financial Secured Visa card, which has a lower minimum security deposit of $200, as opposed to the Home Trust Secured Visa card’s $500. If you’re planning to pay bills online, book travel, or do anything that favors credit over cash, then a secured card is your solution. It will also help you to improve your score over time, but you need to ensure that you also use the card in a financially responsible manner. If you need any further guidance on how to best use secured cards, let us know and we can give a few pointers. Thanks!

GreedyRates Staff

Ralph says:

Do I need to give out my SIN number when applying for secured credit card? it says “optional” on the card application but how would they report it to Credit Bureaus without my SIN #? thanks for info

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Ralph,

Some banks will request your Social Identification Number using a secure website or form, and in these cases it’s fine to give it out. Banks are held to strict data sharing regulations and take them seriously, so even if it’s optional there’s no harm in making the application process easier for them. Also, make no mistake that even without providing a SIN they’re able to identify you (they’re extending you credit after all), and so credit bureaus will be looped into your financial habits regardless of what you put on the application.


Kayer says:


Glad to find this article.

I am currently in a consumer proposal 2nd year with 3 years left to pay off some old cards. My credit is bad. These are no longer with the bank as the bank sold them on and I keep paying off the new company that owns it.
I didn’t plan to get any credit cards until I finish the proposal but I started a new job which requires me to travel few times a year and I need a card to be able to buy flight, hotels etc before company reimburse. My salary is very decent but due to the consumer credit proposal I have a tight monthly budget until I pay it off so secured card wouldn’t do me much good.

Do you think it would be impossible for me to get a unsecured card with about $5000 limit in my situation? I don’t want to miss on these opportunities with my job. I told my boss about my situation and he offers to help with any letters I might need to apply.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Kayer!

What an interesting comment, we’ll do our best to help you out. First, understand that bad credit happens, and your situation is totally fixable. It’s super encouraging that your boss is willing to vouch for you with a letter of recommendation, and also that you have an excellent job and salary on which to lean. Due to this unique circumstance, you may have a chance at getting unsecured credit if you do it right. This means going into a bank that is familiar with your situation and applying in person with someone who you can personally provide proof of your income and a letter from your boss. In this situation you have a better chance of getting approved.

We also understand your need for a credit card due to the fact that you’ll be travelling. Booking and ordering things online isn’t possible without plastic these days, but it doesn’t need to be an unsecured card. If you find unsecured credit too difficult to obtain, then opt for a secured credit card instead. These won’t deny you based on the same credit history and income criteria. With that salary of yours, you’ll just make a deposit for $5,000 (if that’s the credit limit you need) on a card like the Home Trust Secured Visa and then use it as you would any other card. Let us know how the search goes!


Moises says:

Hi there,
I have a credit score of 529 in transunion, looking to rebuild my credit i apply for a secured Mastercard and got approved with a credit limit of $300 with a secured deposit of $75.
How long will it take me to get my credit score higher that what I have now and be able to get a unsecured credit card.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hello Moises,

Great question, thanks for coming to GreedyRates. Your score is definitely on the lower side, but it’s a very encouraging sign that you’ve been approved for a secured credit card and were able to make a small deposit to obtain credit. If you put that credit to use frequently and responsibly, you’ll be able to boost your score faster. Just make sure to utilize around $100 of your credit each month, meaning you shouldn’t let any more than this amount (30% of your credit limit) be carried to the next statement.

Use the full credit limit if you want—just avoid months where you’ve paid your entire balance before it comes due, or not at all. Creditors will pay attention to this balancing act and we’d say that within a year, your score should be in the shape required to obtain unsecured credit. Finally, make sure you’ve checked out our video on credit scores. Best of luck!


Gabriel. Tatchell says:

I hope you have a good card for me

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Gabriel,

Appreciate the comment—thanks for posting. If you’re looking for a good card, regardless of your credit score or income, then a secured credit card is the best bet. If you’re wary of making too big a security deposit, know that excellent secured credit cards such as the Refresh Financial Visa only requires a minimum of $200. The Home Trust Secured Visa is similar, but imposes a minimum security deposit of $500. Both cards will allow you to pour thousands into them as a security deposit and then get a matching credit limit, so as long as you have the cash, you’re able to transfer it to plastic and use it more flexibly. Keep in mind that if you want your security deposit back, you’ll just need to close your account in good standing.

Not only this, but the cards will also help you recover your credit score over time. If you apply the same responsible spending habits that we recommend such as 30% credit utilization, making prompt minimum payments, and more, you’ll see your score rise. Need anything else? Don’t hesitate to ask or email us at [email protected].


MP says:

I was so glad to come across your site and I am hoping for some advice. I filed for bankruptcy in 2017 for 9 months and then was discharged Jan 1 2018. My bankruptcy was mostly for student loans (all government) and one small credit card balance. I was told that bankruptcy was my best option for the amount of student loans, which I was making payments on monthly but they were not large enough for the government.
I have had a car loan with Scotiabank since before my bankruptcy and have maintained it since without defaulting on any payments.(I am less than 9,000 to paying it off). My trustee advised me this will be to my benefit for rebuilding my credit later on since I can maintain the car loan. Is this true? The car loan is currently my only debt besides my cell phone that I pay monthly.
I havent started to rebuild my credit otherwise and I am wondering what the best way is to start? I am seeing here it would be best to apply for a secured credit card or would it be beneficial to go into the bank and see what they can do?
It looks like I shouldnt charge more than 30% of the balance on the card each month? Is it more beneficial to make payments bi monthly or monthly? Do you have any other tips for rebuilding? I was hoping in the next couple years to get another car loan and eventually long term a mortgage. Will I have to wait until the bankruptcy is off my credit to apply for any small personal or car loans? Anything else I should be aware of? I have also been working full time throughout and continue to but I have been using either cash or visa debit, paypal online.
Thank you for your help, your articles and feedback are appreciated.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey MP,

Great comment! Thanks for posting. If you were discharged from bankruptcy in January of last year, you’ve got a little less than 5 more years before it will drop from your credit statement. That means practicing excellent financial responsibility until then, so that when it gets wiped off your report, your credit will zoom up towards the higher end instantly. That said, your last remaining debt obligation (the car loan) will indeed aid your credit quest, and as long as you keep paying it on time and in full, banks will look upon it favorably. However, if you struggle to make payments and end up missing one or two, it’ll do just as much bad as good for your credit.

It seems like you’re already aware of the 30% rule when it comes to credit utilization, with one exception. You’re free to charge 100% of your credit limit each month, just don’t carry more than 30% of your balance month-to-month. This means that if your limit is $5,000, feel free to buy a $5,000 TV but make sure you pay off at least $3,500 before the end of the month. As for the payment schedule, just make sure you don’t miss monthly minimums and you’ll be fine.

Finally, the best thing to do at present is to use your full-time income to get a secured credit card. These have extremely low applicant requirements, and so it shouldn’t be an issue to get approved for the Home Trust Secured Visa, for example. With a low minimum security deposit of $500, you can deposit this much and instantly have a card with a $500 limit to use online, in stores, for bills and more. A maximum limit and deposit of $10,000 makes it appropriate for daily use even for high spenders, and the card will report your behavior to credit bureaus regularly, helping to boost that score further. Good luck!


Marianne says:

I applied for the Refresh Secured Visa but I was not approved because I should be a Canadian Citizen to be eligible so they say. It was just frustrating because when I filled up the application and then talked to them and answered their questionnaires I stated that I am a permanent resident and even sent them my PR card as proof of ID. They then asked me for a 2nd proof of ID. First, I gave them my BC ID since I don’t drive. They replied and said its not a valid ID because it doesn’t show any issue date. I told them I have my passport and BC Service card which is a photo ID. They told me to send my passport and proof of billing. After sending those two documents they emailed me that they need a Canadian passport. I don’t know why they only accept Canadian citizen. When I called Home Trust they said as long as your a Permanent Resident or Canadian Citizen they will process the application.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Marianne,

We’re sorry Refresh Financial isn’t working out as planned! It’s unfortunate they had to see you through the entire application process before giving a transparent answer regarding non-citizen eligibility, but there are other options. You mentioned the Home Trust Secured card—this is the best alternative for you even though it has a greater minimum security deposit ($500 vs. $200 on the Refresh card). Unlike the Refresh card, you won’t be paying an annual fee, and will be the customer of what is arguably a more mature and supportive financial institution. Just go with Home Trust if you know they accept Permanent Residents (make sure to confirm again before risking a declined application), and good luck.


Deryl-Anne says:

Dear Greedyrates:
I have a credit score of 580. I have applied to those “Gauranteeing” instant approval and to those with zero credit checks.
I am refused every time! I don’t know why I can never seem to get a credit card. Not even a “secured” card. What are these companies looking at that seem to make them instantly refuse me no matter what I try?
P.S.: I work at a bank and even my own bank won’t help me rebuild.
I’m totally perplexed here.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Deryl-Anne,

Appreciate the comment. It can be confusing to wrap your mind around the 4D chess that banks are playing to justify the “guaranteed” that they throw up on their secured and unsecured credit card advertisements. However, they’ve found a way to do it in a compliant manner, so now it’s up to us to navigate their language. We’ve tried to explain it as well as we can to our readers, and something you’ve now noticed is that it’s entirely possible to be denied for a guaranteed card. How?

Well, even though these cards are advertised as though the issuer will simply guarantee all applicants, in reality it means that they won’t check your income and many other common factors inherent in creditworthiness. They still check your credit, and while a low score is no obstacle to one of these secured cards, if the score is low because of a bankruptcy or consumer proposal, it could be a problem. These are extenuating circumstances that will require you to work personally with a banker, who will be more understanding and sympathetic if a) you’re face-to-face asking about your options and b) if they’re from a bank or another lender that is familiar with you.

You saying that you’re “refused every time” is also worrying because you shouldn’t be applying and reapplying for credit just to be denied. This hurts your credit and makes it less likely that the following application will be accepted. Take a break from the applications, get a full credit report (free once yearly), and explore some alternative loan options if it’s truly urgent. Feel free to email us at [email protected] if you need more personal guidance.


Don & Barb says:

My wife and I filed bankruptcy in April of 2017. My wife was discharged in February 2019 and wants to apply for a credit card in order to re-build her credit score. She is willing to supply a Deposit of whatever amount is required.
I have one year before I am discharged in April 2020.
Our question are:
1. What is the best credit card to apply for given we would prefer a Limit of $750.00 to $1000.00?
2. How long will it take for us to re-build our Credit?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Don and Barb!

Thanks for the comment. We understand that your position feels precarious, but you’re on the right track and with a bit of hard work your credit will be back in decent shape relatively soon. It’s good that you recognize a secured credit card is the best tool for such an endeavor, and we have a couple suggestions to look at that match your preferences. First, it’s important to know that if you’re just now getting discharged, that doesn’t mean you can put your bankruptcy behind you. It’ll stay on your credit report for a good 6 years, and so when you apply for a loan or credit card during this time, it will impact your chances at approval.

To offset this notion, a secured card offers you financial flexibility and fast reflection on your credit score. If you need a specific credit limit, then this is entirely controllable by you and how much you decide to give as an initial security deposit. If you get the Refresh Financial Secured card, for instance, then your minimum deposit, and therefore credit limit, is $200. If you need a credit limit of $1,000 or more, it just means you need to deposit more. When you need to close the card in good standing, this money is returned to you. Another good secured card is from Home Trust—the Home Trust Secured Visa ($500 minimum).

We aren’t prepared to give any estimates on how long it’ll take to build your credit this way. Why? Because we don’t know what your score is right now, what your balance sheet looks like, your income level, or what score you consider “recovered”. If your score is 500 right now and you want it to reach 700, then with diligent and optimized use of your secured card and credit limit (30% utilization, ideally) then it could take a year or more. Best of luck!


Be-me says:

I filed Consumer Proposal in 2011 and discharged in Oct 2015, I received a call from the bank asking to repayment my student loan in early 2016, I found out I had to repay the student loan if it was not 7 years old and I further found out I missed the student loan payments during the CP periods, I was very surprise and frustrated, it was not advised nor given any options with regards to the student loans during the CP consultation. My credit score is 655 now, I have got denied from an unsecured credit card from one of the big 6 banks, the only credit card I have now is Capital one gold master card with $3500 limit where I applied for secured CC in 2016 with $300 limit and Capital one refunded $300 and switched it unsecured cc in 3 months later, and then switched it to gold MC. My questions are: 1 – was it my false for not checking how CP deals with student loan which I believe it has big negative impact on my credit score? 2 – does Capital one gold master card alone help me to improve my credit score? if not how can I improve my credit score?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Jasmine,

Thanks for coming to GreedyRates. We’re glad that you’ve finished your consumer proposal and are sure it’s a relief to put it behind you. However, that’s quite the mistake to leave your student loan debts out of the equation, and regardless of the 7-year rule on when these debts get lumped into the proposal, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is for being unaware. Perhaps your consumer proposal trustee didn’t do a great job at explaining it, but nevertheless, you should put it behind you and start the repair process.

A credit card, secured or not, is the tool you can use to raise your credit–as long as you use it responsibly! Follow the 30% utilization guidelines, which is a rule of thumb that has you carry only 30% of your balance and pay monthly minimums promptly. You should consider yourself lucky that Capital One upgraded your secured card despite your lax student loan payments, and now you can start paying down these loans and using your credit in an optimized manner. Getting a secured card could help, as that would show lenders you’re capable of balancing multiple obligations better than you did pre-proposal.

Check out the Refresh Financial secured card, which has a low $200 deposit minimum, and is easy to let sit in your wallet for occasional, responsible use. Home Trust has another great option, but the $500 minimum security deposit is a bit more intimidating if you aren’t in a healthy financial position. Let us know your thoughts.


Jasmine says:

Thank you very much GreedyRates, is it possible to do a goodwill adjustment relating to the student loan because I also like to pay off the loan as well. Thanks, Jasmine.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Jasmine,

Appreciate the comment, but you’re looking in the wrong place! We have only the furthest-removed relationship with banks, which is necessary if we’re to scrutinize their products fairly. This means we don’t know internal bank procedures and have no control or information about their systems, so if you’re looking to get a “goodwill” adjustment on your outstanding obligation we’d ask your bank. Best of luck in this endeavor!

GreedyRates Staff

N.M. says:

Me and my wife are joint account. We had previously high credit rating of 780 and 786 but due of financial struggling, we ended up in Orderly Payment Debt better known as O.P.D. for 69 months.
Our credit score down to 540 2 years ago but now turns 565. Super slow moving of credit. I tried to apply for a secured credit card from Capital One. A great blessing, I got approved for $1000 with only $75 of secured deposit.
I was really surprised due of my situation and still have 45 months left of repayment. When will our record clear in credit bureau? They’ve said, once we finish our repayment, then we still have a 2 years before we start to rebuild our credit. But why Capital One approved me for $1000 with only $75 of secured deposit since they knew my current situation? Also, do I need to wait for a billing period letter before I pay my credit card? I heard from a friend that much better to wait for a billing period letter before I pay my owe from credit card so it can rebuild a credit than paying right away after I use it. Please advise. Thanks

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey N.M.,

Great series of questions, thanks for bringing your issue to our attention. If your credit has suffered because of unpaid debts, a secured card is your greatest ally. You’re one of the Alberta, Saskatchewan, PEI, or Nova Scotia residents who’ve taken advantage of the great OPD program, so you should know that this program is generally lumped alongside bankruptcy and consumer proposals when it comes to your credit report—but it largely depends on the creditor when you’re still repaying. This could be an issue for you, as some creditors report the debt as R9 (removed 7 years from repayment) rather than R7 (after 2 years).

Any way you look at it, you’ll have the Orderly Repayment of Debts on your report for a number of years still, so use the secured card you’ve received in an optimized manner. This is the best strategy to keep your score on an upward trajectory: Make minimum monthly payments always but use the credit you’ve been given. Ideally at a 30% utilization ratio. Your friend was right, but you don’t need to wait for the letter to arrive before making a payment, just do it after the monthly balance has been officially tallied by Capital One (so it’s not always at zero as far as they’re concerned). We’re not surprised that you were approved for a secured card either, as most banks don’t scrutinize applicants as harshly if they’re putting down collateral. Keep on doing what you’re doing and be confident that in a couple years your credit will be much better. Good luck!


Bob says:

I have a low 540 credit score, just finished our debt repayment program 2 months ago. Applied to the No fee Scotia bank credit card and was not approved.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Bob,

Thanks for reaching out. If you’ve just finished a debt repayment program like a consumer proposal, then all the banks you apply to will be more skeptical of your creditworthiness. In our opinion, your score is low at 540 and since your proposal ended just 2 months ago–years before it will be removed from your credit report—a secured credit card is the best option. You can use your cash to gain instant access to credit, and the bank won’t look at your score or your income regarding eligibility.

We’re particularly fond of the Refresh Financial Secured Visa, which has a low minimum security deposit of $200. This means you can deposit $200 with them and get a card with the same limit, which you can raise at any time by depositing more with Refresh. Use this card, or one with a higher minimum limit like the Home Trust Secured Visa, to raise your credit score over time. By keeping a balance and making prompt payments, your score will go up and eventually put you in the range of unsecured credit.

Another alternative is to consult with the institution that helped you through the debt repayment program. Your own bank will know you better than any other and might be willing to give you a more flexible credit card. Let us know what you’re thinking, and best of luck.

GreedyRates Staff

Marty says:

I had previously extremely high credit rating of 790. for over 25 years but due to extreme situations I had to declare bankruptcy. Fast forward 9 +months later I have just been discharged from bankruptcy a few months ago and was told by my trustee to apply for a secured credit card to rebuild my credit. After reading the information on your site I decided my best bet might be capitol one MasterCard. I was approved with a $300. security deposit and within a few days of paying I’ve been offered a $300. limit. I’d been hoping I may receive a slightly higher limit but realize unless I put down any extra money they won’t give me more at this time. I was also surprised that my credit score was 580. on credit karma. As I’d expected it to be even lower. I’d like to know how long building my credit will it take before I can expect to see an increase in my limit? Thanks so much ?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Marty!

Thanks for the thorough comment and request for help. It sounds like you’ve experienced quite the financial rollercoaster, with the highs of a near-800 credit score and the lows of bankruptcy. However, you should be encouraged by the fact that it won’t be this way for long, and in as little as 6 months, a secured card can help you push your score into the 600s and perhaps even higher. Despite that you now have a bankruptcy on your credit report, which won’t fall off organically for up to 6 years, you can still accomplish any financial feat you used to be able to do with unsecured cards. If you need a higher credit limit, the only way to raise it is to deposit more security funds. Even if your credit is perfect, a secured card is only given a higher limit if you match it with cash.

With your new secured credit card, make sure you don’t overutilize your credit (a good reason to deposit more security funds, as your max utilization ratio should be 35%). You should also make minimum payments monthly but keep a bit of balance to shuffle month-to-month. Having zero debt and not utilizing your credit is not what banks want to see. They want to see that the bankruptcy inspired you to handle debt more responsibly, but not to be scared to use it! Good luck and let us know if you need any other guidance.


Curt says:

Do all of these secured cards that you suggest report to the Credit bureaus? Is there any chance of an unsecured card after completing a CP 5 years ago. No debt. Decent income. Thanks!

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Curt!

Secured credit cards help new immigrants and those with low credit establish and boost their scores because credit bureaus like TransUnion and Equifax are aware of them and can associate them with your Canadian identity. This is the best strategy if you’ve got a consumer proposal on your credit report, which stays on there for at least 6 years in Canada. Before applying for an unsecured credit card try to ensure that you’ve used a secured card until your efforts towards responsible financial habits have reached a point where they experience diminishing returns, usually around the 600-700 range. Until the consumer proposal drops off the report, it’ll be tough to reach 800.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get an unsecured card, it’s just a slight risk to your credit as your chances of denial are higher. If you truly have a good income and no debt, even with a decent credit score and a consumer proposal on your report, there’s a chance for some banks to help you obtain a low-to-mid-tier unsecured card. Your own bank is where your chances are best, because they’re most familiar with you and how much collateral you have. You’re nearing the end of the window where your proposal affects your credit, so just be patient and careful when applying with new lenders! Good luck.


MB says:


I entered a consumer proposal 2014 and paid it out in Oct. 2017. I got a card with Capital one for 2500. in one year they increased my limit to 6,500 and then 6 months later, increased to 9,500.00. Oct. 2019 will make two years since i paid out my proposal. I bank with Scotiabank and my credit score with Equifax is 668. I am wondering if I apply for the Scotiabank Value® No-Fee Visa* Card would they approve me, knowing that I was on the proposal. I notice they say that if you claim for bankruptcy within the last 7 years then you will be decline. Do they consider the proposal the same as a bankruptcy ?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey MB,

We appreciate your comment about the Scotiabank card and your chances for approval, given past financial obstacles. Consumer proposals will stay on your credit report for as long as a bankruptcy in Canada (7 years) because they’re considered very similar. In our experience banks lump them together when considering a new applicant. Nevertheless, it’s encouraging that Capital One increased your credit limit so much within a year after paying out the proposal. In our opinion, since Scotiabank already knows you well, you have a chance at being approved for the Value No-Fee Visa card regardless of the negatives on your credit report. However, applying with an impersonal online form may not be in your best interests.

Instead, try going into a local branch and speaking with a banker about your unique circumstances. Explain that you’d like to move your banking back “home” to Scotia and that Capital One has treated you well regardless of your proposal. We think that when faced with the facts, they’ll be more willing to exercise flexibility in their standards, and you’ll also collect more information on your chances of approval instead of simply being denied and taking a temporary hit to your credit score. If you still run into obstacles, it’s time to consider a secured card to get more credit using cash. Regardless of what happens, return to us and let us know how it went! We can go from there. Thanks again.


Joan MacGillivary says:

How do you get a guaranteed credit card..with no credit checks and guaranteed approval…

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Joan,

We assume you’re referring to the Low Rate Guaranteed card, and the reason that the bank can call it “guaranteed” is because virtually every Canadian above the age of 18 can get one. There is no minimum credit score, income level, or other preliminary requirement that you’ll have to fulfill other than your age and your residence status. Keep in mind, however, that the card has a relatively steep annual fee for the benefits it provides, at $79. In exchange, all you really get is a decently competitive interest rate of 14.9% on balance transfers and purchases, a couple admittedly nice perks such as Price Protection, and of course guaranteed approval is baked into the price as well. If you’re considering this card, it might benefit you to email us at [email protected] with further details about your situation, and we can try to provide you an array of suggestions that give you a little wiggle room in terms of choice. Best of luck!


Trish says:

Hey there! I have a secured capital one card diligently building credit also with limited means at times. I’d love to have an unsecured card and my score is 608 so just fair. Do I have any good odds with any other places besides waiting on Capital one? Or should I keep building?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Trish,

Great questions! We’re glad you’re making progress with your secured card, but think you still have a little way to go before being eligible for most unsecured cards. We usually recommend a credit score of at least 670 before attempting to apply for cards that offer unsecured credit, rewards, and other benefits above base level. If you apply for a card and aren’t accepted, it could dent your credit score temporarily and make it a bit harder to get ahead (but not by much).

If you want to give it a try, apply for some of the more entry-level unsecured cards. You’ll also likely have better luck with your own bank, because they’re more familiar with your financial picture and can see how much you’ve improved in their own system, so trust has already been established. If your bank doesn’t offer entry-level unsecured cards, there are some issuers which offer low-rate cards that are still guaranteed. Let us know how it goes and continue checking back in with us every few months with your progress—you’ll continue moving up the ladder and will be able to get better credit products as time goes by, and we’ll be there to help. Best of luck!


Gavin says:

Having come from a lower income family – credit was considered a luxury and not something we would ever benefit from. As it wasn’t a necessary I just didn’t care about my credit score for the longest time – prepaid services, or month-to-month agreements were the norm. I didn’t let myself fall into a “debt” trap and kept myself from having collections matters by living within my means. In today’s economy, however, good credit is less a “want” and more a “need”, with everything being tied to it now. As such, I’ve started since to build an actual credit history with a secured credit card and hit a score of around 640 on both credit bureaus.

I’m looking to move away from my secured card as my sole credit vehicle and trying to further improve my credit score. What would be your suggestion?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Gavin,

Thanks for the inspiring comment. It’s great to hear how you avoided debts despite low income, by living within your means and using discipline to avoid the consumer traps that might have easily ensnared someone else. However, you’re right that there is a significant amount of weight behind one’s credit score, and having good credit is a must even if you don’t plan on borrowing large sums of money. This requires some action, meaning that avoiding debt entirely can be detrimental. Nowadays, credit is less of a financially-exclusive bar for lenders, and more of a social signifier.

Thankfully, there are many ways to build and maintain a good credit score even if you don’t have a high income or spend much money. We were glad to hear that your first step was a secured credit card, because it represents the safest and most accessible tool around. However, it does suffer from some diminishing returns as you reach the low bounds of a “good” score (around 650).

We recommend going for a basic unsecured credit card, and then starting to make use of your credit each month. This means utilizing 30% or less of your approved credit limit, which should be easy since you’ve already told us you don’t need to borrow money. Just carry a small amount of debt and make timely payments on it—this is the best way to show the banks and credit bureaus that you’re creditworthy.

Check out some basic cards from your current bank, and others like the BMO Rewards Mastercard, which has no annual fee, a low credit requirement (a flexible 670) and more. You’ll get 20,000 BMO Rewards points as a welcome bonus and 1 point for every $1 spent, as well as other peripheral perks like discounts at car rental dealerships, extended warranties and purchase protection. We’d be happy to make other suggestions that fit your criteria as well. Thanks!


MCU says:

Hello! I’m currently in a consumer proposal. It’ll be 18 more months until I’m discharged. I’ll be renewing my mortgage in March 2019. I’ve never missed any payments with either my mortgage nor with the consumer proposal. Is there a chance that my mortgage lender will not renew the loan?


The GreedyRates Team says:


Great to hear from you! Congratulations on being so close to the finish line on your consumer proposal. Even though it typically takes 6 years for a proposal to drop from your credit history, you can still get loans and be judged fairly by lenders, so don’t worry about them making life doubly hard for you by imposing unfair borrowing conditions while you’re already disadvantaged. If you’ve had a mortgage all through your proposal and you haven’t heard a peep from them, it’s likely that your prompt payments trump the gravity of your debt situation. Either way, lenders can’t change the terms of your mortgage anyway, and consumer proposals deal with unsecured debt while a mortgage is secured by your residence.

In the leadup to March 2019, you should work hard to pay off your proposal. Banks may refuse a new mortgage to someone who hasn’t paid off their consumer proposal in advance of the loan, and this likely applies to mortgage renewals as well. However, you’ll need to double check with your bank. They already know about your proposal anyway, so it can’t hurt, and it pays to be prepared. Even if they say they’ll approve it, we’d also be prepared for them to possibly raise your rates. Good luck—and keep us in the loop as the situation progresses! Thanks.

GreedyRates Staff

T says:

I am so happy I came across this article. My credit card was closed last year due to non-payment, I was unemployed at the time I could not make my payments on time. TD closed my account without me knowing. I am currently a student and have made a few mistakes, however I am extremely motivated to build my credit. I currently have 633$ left to pay it down. On Equifax my credit score is 639, while my credit score on Transunion is 671. I currently don’t have credit since the acocunt was closed, should I apply for another card at TD to build my credit back up? I got the credit card at 19 with no knowledge about credit. Now I am aware of the dangers of bad credit. Would a new card help with my credit score?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey T,

We’re also glad you dropped in! It sounds like you’ve had a rough time financially with a previous non-payment card closure, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with bad credit forever. Regardless of the situation you were once in, there is a way out as long as you’re willing to work diligently and keep vigilant control over your finances. The first thing to figure out is if you have any debts. If your card was closed for non-payment of your balance, then your previous bank might have sent it to collections. You can find out with a free credit report.

Regardless, it’s possible to build credit even as a low-income student. You’ll need credit first, however, or else how will banks know how responsible you are with it? These banks therefore offer many different SPC products (Student Price Cards) which are essentially unsecured credit cards with some basic perks for students exclusively. If you have little or no debt and a credit score like yours (around 650 isn’t bad at all), you should be easily eligible. The BMO SPC CashBack Mastercard, for example, is a student card with 1.00% flat cash back and no annual fee. It’s introductory promotion currently offers 4.00% cash back for 4 months as well, and you’ll also obtain 10-15% discounts at hundreds of stores across Canada (for being a student).

Another option would be to pick up an unsecured card. These have virtually no requirements for applicants, because you’ll be using some of that $600 you have to make a security deposit. The Refresh Financial Secured Visa has a minimum security deposit of just $200. This ends up being your new credit limit, which you’ll need to utilize every month to boost your score. If you need any help with the application, or on what purchase or payment behavior to engage in after you’ve received either card, just let us know! Consider us your personal knowledge bank, and we’re reachable by email too at [email protected] anytime.


Bernard says:

I have a capitol one credit card to rebuilt credit since 4 years. After 3 years paying my card full every months of maximum of 1200.00$ I apply for a regular card with Capitol one and was refused. I have a guaranty pension net income after tax of of 9000.00 a months from the government. No mortgage, no car. I had financial problem 17 years ago after sickness for 3 years . Now every time I ask to get a new card I am declined.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Bernard,

Thanks a lot for the question about why your applications are being denied. We understand it’s super frustrating but have some idea of what the problem could be. Long story short, you may need to go into a bank for a one-on-one consultation or call and get connected to a customer service manager with the authority to approve an application. Regardless, there are a few reasons why this could be happening.

Banks might not see a pension the same way as a salary. Their main concern is your financial stability, and if you don’t really utilize debt, don’t spend much, and don’t have a large income, they won’t see you as a lucrative customer. Another issue may be that your credit report isn’t updated and needs to have erroneous entries removed, that long ago should have been. The first can be remedied simply by going into the bank branch and making your situation clear. The second issue can be done with the help of a credit repair service, but make sure they’re simply researching entries to remove, and not offering loans themselves.

If you have money and need credit, the short-term option is to get a secured card and load it up as much as possible. A card like the Home Trust Secured card gives you up to $10,000 in credit if you match it with a security deposit. The long-term option is to consult with a bank personally. Let us know how it plays out and good luck.


KL says:

I am in consumer proposal and is accepted. My major owing was with Scotiabank. Can I apply for a low value card with same institution OR I can never have any banking relationship with the same bank due to this situation. Thank You and kindly suggest.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Greetings KL!

We’re glad that you entered a consumer proposal if your debt situation was getting out of control. Consumer proposals are a healthy, common way to repair an unlucky financial situation and start fresh. If your debt was with Scotiabank, then your best bet is to apply for a secured or very low-tier unsecured card with Scotiabank also. This is because they know you personally, and don’t just see a scarred credit history and consumer proposal. We usually recommend that people in bankruptcy and consumer proposals rely more on the bank that’s been with them through the hard times, because other banks that aren’t familiar with you will look at your application with more scrutiny. Scotiabank also has great, understanding customer service agents and a wealth of financial products—many of which you’ll come to appreciate during your upcoming credit journey. Best of luck!


Wayne says:

Hello GreedyRates! Thank you for having such a great up-to-date site. And your comments are recent too! I had bad credit.. mainly due to carelessness and ignorance, and then I moved out of the country. But then decided that I do want to eventually return to Canada so I better rebuild my credit. So in March this year, applied for a secured credit card with Capital One. At the time, I had a credit rating of 533 with Transunion and 0 with Equifax! I got my $300 limit card with a $75 secured guarantee. Every month I almost maxed up my credit limit but I pay it off entirely whenever I receive my billing notice. Then I read somewhere that I should make multiple payments so that when the billing statement is due, my credit usage wouldn’t show that I’ve maxed up everything! Anyway, after 6 months of paying up in full and on time, my Transunion rating is now 669 and Equifax is 683. I haven’t asked for a credit increase but I suddenly receive an offer from Capital One that they’re increasing my limit to $2800. I accepted the offer through their phone in acceptance. I intend to continue putting only minimal amounts on the card and not use up my limit but will continue to paying every statement in full every month.

My questions are.. will this credit increase affect my credit rating? Would it affect me getting another credit card later with the intention of transferring my balance over from Capital One (since their interest rates aren’t exactly low). I do have a company but there’s nothing going on at the moment but I hope that with my new credit rating I may be able to apply for a company card. Would the banks use my credit rating or my business expense movements to determine if I’m eligible for a business card? Thank you!

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Wayne!

Thanks very much for your appreciation, and many congratulations on returning to Canada and reviving your once-dead credit score. Your new, greater credit limit won’t have any effect on your credit score, but how you take advantage of it will. You should continue to follow the rule for 30% utilization and make payments on time, while also using your credit every month. Essentially, demonstrate to the bank that you’ll be a more valuable customer as your credit increases, and use it well instead of irresponsibly.

To address your second question about the new increase affecting your chances of getting a balance transfer—you’re thinking as if you still have bad credit. That your current bank offered a credit limit increase signals that others will see you in the same light. When applying for credit at another bank, you can use it as an educated guess about what kind of credit you can reasonably expect to get. Accordingly, if you were to apply for a balance transfer with MBNA’s True Line Gold card, for example, then you can do so confidently.

Finally, business credit cards often require personal credit and business cash flow information, so be prepared to disclose your full financial picture if you want to apply. If you’d like a few suggestions about which business cards to look at, feel free to get back to us. There are some strong cash back options, such as the BMO CashBack Business Mastercard. You’ll get 1.50% back on gas, office supplies, and cell phone and internet bills, 1.75% back at Shell, and then 0.75% cash back on everything else your business needs.


Wayne says:

Hi again… Just a day after I wrote in, Transunion increased my credit rating to 675 but Equifax is still at 683. I like your suggestion of the MBNA True Line Gold Card with 1% transfer with 6 months to pay it off at 0% interest. This offer I read is only if I apply before the end of 2018. So I guess I better get a move on it. After the transfer though, do I still get to keep the Capital One card or do I have to close it down entirely? Thanks again

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hello Wayne,

Thanks for keeping the correspondence going—and welcome back! First, congratulations on getting your credit score updated and increased with TransUnion, this will help you significantly when applying for new credit in the future. If you’re still interested in the MBNA True Line Gold card, your score should be more than enough to get approved, and you’re still in time to get the 0.00% promotion (it expires on December 31st, 2018).

The transfer works like this: you’ll be assigned a credit limit with MBNA once they approve you for the card, and you can do the transfer online or simply advance cash to your Capital One card from MBNA. The 1.00% transfer fee is added onto the balance that you transfer, instead of being charged immediately in cash, which is nice. You’re also not obligated by any means to cancel your Capital One account once you wipe out its balance, and in fact we often recommend that people keep their other accounts open.

Why? Because you want to maintain a balanced credit utilization ratio, and not use 100% of the credit extended to you. If you have a $10,000 limit with one bank and then double your limit by getting a balance transfer deal with another bank, your utilization is at 50% (which is healthier than 100%). If this is the case for you as well, then keep your Capital One card alongside the new MBNA card. Make prompt payments to the new balance held with MBNA but rely on your other card for everyday purchases. If you have other credit cards and un-utilized credit, however, it might be best to cancel the Capital One card.


Wayne says:

I just realised after replying above that input in my surname! Can you please edit that out please and to not publish this response! Thanks

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Wayne,

Thanks for your comment. We’ve gone ahead and removed your surname from your previous post. Anonymity preserved! Have a good one.


Wayne says:

I don’t want to sound ignorant but this will be the first time I get to utilise a balance transfer and I want to make sure I understand how it works. So if I am to get the MBNA card, will I have to tell them the amount I want to transfer? Which could be a combination of several cards, or just one card? I would have a credit balance of around $2500 on my Capital One card, but I have another card (from overseas) that I am also trying to pay off . I know it has nothing to do with Canada, I was wondering if I can use this as a total balance transfer. Like its effectively it is like a 0% loan right? So will they set the same credit limit as the amount I ask for, or will it be a totally different amount? Will this also be as a cash deposit to my bank account and I pay off whatever as I wish? I am also wondering about the other two cards I have in mind – the RBC Visa Platinum Card, and the American Express Essential Credit Card.. Do you think I would qualify for either? Sorry for my asking the same question over again…

Wayne says:

Oh crumbs. I got declined for the MBNA Gold Mastercard. Wonder if its because TU downgraded my credit score from 675 to 661 due to a large credit usage, though my Equifax score is 725. Used $2200 of a $2800 limit. I am in the process of applying for American Express’s Simply Cash creditcard now and they said they’ll let me know in 10 days. Doesn’t sound too good. Oh well.

Tee says:

In a Consumer Proposal (balance of $3,990) and neither capital one or home trust will approve me for a secured card. What are my options?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Tee,

If you’ve been denied for a secured credit card, it can come as a bit of a shock considering that you’re basically paying the bank for credit, yet they still don’t want to approve you. This can sometimes happen because banks that don’t know you still need to check your credit history, and if they determine it doesn’t meet their standards they’ll deny your application. When your credit is in question like this, it’s therefore always better to go to the bank that you’re already a customer of, because they’re likelier to give you a more favorable appraisal. Approach them and let them know your situation, and good luck.


Carol says:

Hi, I have applied for an MBNA card as well as a walmart mastercard and both were denied. I checked my score on credit karma and it was very high. I asked for my credit reports and there was no issues on them at all. The only reason I’m getting denied must be that I haven’t had a credit card in my own name in about 5 years. I’ve been using my business credit cards which offer very good perks/points. I need to reestablish my own credit and was wondering if you could recommend any cards that are easier to get approved for and also offer points. I don’t want to keep trying random cards and drive my credit score down. I don’t mind getting a secured card or unsecured, but I would really like points, otherwise it’s hard to stop using my business cards because I enjoy using the points for travel.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Carol,

The situation you describe is interesting—so, you have a business credit card that is maintained based on the success of your company, yet your personal credit has been neglected. It’s possible to have a high credit score and be denied for a credit card, because banks take a very holistic approach to determining creditworthiness. If you haven’t been entrusted with credit for half a decade, then it’s only logical that they don’t know how you’ll behave should they extend credit your way.

The best solution here is to get a secured credit card, which you’ll use on the side to slowly boost your score (use it every month and let it collect a balance), while also relying on the business card you have for everything else. You’ve accurately diagnosed the situation so there’s no productive reason to keep applying for unsecured cards. Within 6 months to a year of using the secured card, you should see that banks are once again familiar with you, and that unsecured credit options begin opening up.

In our experience, readers have been very happy with the Refresh Financial Secured card, but the Home Trust Secured Visa is another great option. They’re both basic secured cards that do what you need, but the Refresh one simply has a lower minimum security deposit ($200 vs. $500). Good luck with your application!


Sherry says:

I am still paying for my consumer proposal, do I have any chance to get no- fee scotiabank value visa?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Sherry,

There’s definitely a chance that you’re eligible for an unsecured card from Scotiabank, even though you’re in the midst of a consumer proposal. There is a plethora of relevant factors, however, which will determine if you’ll be approved or not. How long have you been in your consumer proposal? Is your credit score recovered yet or is it in need of recovery? What other loans do you have?

Scotiabank will look at these factors and more to determine if you’re worthy of an unsecured card like the No-Fee Value Visa, despite that you’re currently in a consumer proposal. We recommend doing an honest fact-finding about your situation (get an updated credit report) and then if your credit is good, going from there. Best of luck!


Marie-Eve says:

Good afternoon!
My credit situation is a bit unusual and as a result I have been having a hard time finding matching advice online. (I am also located in Quebec, which is making it harder to find advice that I can put into action). Back when I was a student in 2013/14, I ended up defaulting on two credit cards – an RBC Visa of $2000 and a Desjardins Visa “Loan” (the financing of my Lasik) of $3500. They ended up in collections and I couldn’t afford to do anything about it. Interest mounted and my credit score sunk to ~500. Made wary by this first experience with credit, I now pay for everything with debit/cash, which has likely further damaged my credit. About a year ago, I was finally in a financial position that I could afford to do something about it, did some math and determined that a Consumer Proposal was the best way to go forward, beginning in May 2018. Now in September 2018 I have only ~$6500 left to pay back, my credit score has risen to 625 (and has jumped ~20 points a month since May). I am paying double my monthly minimum and I should be done in 14 months. My salary is now $65K/year and my living expenses only take up about 1/3 of my income after taxes.

My problem is that I still seem to be toxic to credit card companies. I have a $300 Unsecured Capital One MasterCard, but they won’t raise my limit. The result is that I’m paying it off completely at least twice a month – and I only use it for purchases that cannot be made by debit. I don’t know if this is also damaging my credit, or if the 30% rule only counts if I’m carrying a balance. It also means that when I need to make a big purchase (airfare, hotels, etc), I have to etransfer my parents the money and use their card which is both tedious and embarrassing. Getting a cosigner, unfortunately, is not an option.

What was a personal annoyance, however, now has a greater urgency. I just started a new job where I need to expense things (travel, departmental expenses, event expenses). For anyone with a credit card, this is no problem – however without one I am paying for things out of pocket to the tune of $500+/month. Work knows my situation and is trying to be as helpful as possible (reimbursement every paycheck instead of twice a month, advancing me cash when possible for purchases we can plan ahead, etc) but when I start travelling for events, conferences, etc, it’s going to get unwieldy.

Beyond saving up to secure a card, do I have any options? Also, is it possible with a secured card to start with a smaller limit and increase the security deposit monthly? How long do you have to keep the card secured: indefinitely or is it a defined period? Is there a creative solution I haven’t thought of here?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hello Marie-Eve,

Thanks for the incredibly thorough comment and outlining of your financial situation, which, despite its complication, is much more encouraging than you’d think. We’re glad that you concluded that a consumer proposal was best to rebuild your credit, and you’ll now need to learn to use credit as much as possible if you want to raise the score to the 7-or-800s level. This means trusting it over cash or debit to pay for things. The 30% utilization rule is key here as it shows the bank that you’re capable of paying interest on a balance that makes sense for your credit limit. Thankfully, you’re still early in the consumer proposal process, but with a decent credit score in the mid 600s and a great salary (plus a solid history of paying your bills on time), you should be in a great position by this time next year.

The first step is to realize that you aren’t stuck with your bank. Money and debt can be easily transferred these days, and if your current bank isn’t raising your credit limit, this could be an option. At the very least it will show your current bank that they’ll lose business (and no offense—points on the balance sheet) if they don’t comply with your reasonable request. If you’re travelling for work often, you’ll need that bigger balance so you can expense client dinners and not get declined. If going to a different bank (or threatening to) doesn’t work, then you already know a secured credit card is the best alternative.

Remember that just because the advertised minimum security deposit is $500 on the Home Trust Secured card doesn’t mean you can’t increase it and get a matching credit limit. The Home Trust card has a maximum deposit of $10,000 (which can be achieved in increments). You also asked about how long you’d keep the card secured. The answer is that it is always secured—you’ll never be able to use credit—for that the bank would just refund your security deposit and issue you an unsecured card.

We hope these answers helped you out a bit. Just apply some leverage with your current bank, explore other options, and begin saving for a security deposit with a bank like Home Trust. Secured cards will help you boost your score faster anyway, so even if you can’t get a $2,000 limit immediately, you will eventually.

GreedyRates Staff

Matt says:


Thank you for your great site. It’s been very informative and helpful.

I am a Canadian Citizen that has lived overseas for more than 20 years and will be returning this year to resume residency with my wife and son. As I have been gone so long I’m sure that I will be starting with a 0 credit score so will need to build it up for a year or more using secured credit cards before I can qualify for any unsecured credit cards.

We have plenty of savings so paying a deposit to get a secured card is no problem. The Refresh Secured Visa sounds interesting. However, I did see some negative comments about Refresh Financial on a few websites(such as, and the forum). Most of the complaints were in regards to their Financial Secured Loan but there were several complaints about the Secured Visa as well.

The complaints on the Visa state that their Secured Visa card shows up as a prepaid card(not as a credit card) and that it can take 2-3 months before Refresh reports payments to the credit bureaus. In their reply on Sep 17, 2018 to one of the complaints, Refresh stated “our card is not a Visa Debit. When they were originally printed the cards showed up as a gift card VISA. We are currently working on getting this issue fixed, in addition to this our card reports to both credit bureaus after two months of usage so that we can backtrack the history for the client.”

Based on this, should I avoid Refresh until they get this issued resolved and go for a Home Trust Secured Visa instead?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Matt,

We appreciate that you’ve approached the situation with such deep consideration, and will do our part to help as well. First of all, welcome back to Canada! You’re correct that you’ll begin with a nil credit score after 20 long years abroad, so you’ll have to work a bit to get your score up to a healthy point (where you’ll be eligible for credit and general financial acceptance). Second, remember that having no credit doesn’t mean you start at zero, only to work your way up from the bottom. Credit bureaus know nothing about the new you, so they haven’t even assigned you a number. They’re waiting to see how you engage with the financial system and then where to go from there.

In this regard, secured credit cards are a great tool, because you don’t need credit to get them yet bureaus pay close attention to what you do with them. The Refresh Financial card you mentioned is only remarkable for its lower minimum security deposit, which isn’t relevant to you anyway. If you’re seeing problems with it in your research, then you can safely ignore it and go for the Home Trust secured card instead. Use either one responsibly and we think you’ll be able to qualify for an unsecured card within 6 months.

As always, let us know how your credit journey plays out. You can get back to us via the comments section here, or by email for any further questions. Thanks!


Lucy says:


I was discharged from bankruptcy in March of 2014, and have a joint car loan that reports to my bureau. Current credit score is 639. I have not applied for anything aside from the car since the discharge. I’m wondering if it is worth it to try for an unsecured card and risk the rejection, or just go with the secured for now? Hubby and I are looking to buy a home soon, hopefully. Would it look bad to a lender to have a secured card as opposed to unsecured?

Also, a huge thank you for doing what you do. Solid, free advice is hard to come by, and I know I am usually scared to ask for fear of judgement. Thank you for making this a safe place to ask, and for being so respectful of everyone’s very different situations.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Lucy!

Great to hear from you. Congratulations on being discharged from your bankruptcy as well. The path to better credit and the house you want is getting shorter with every passing day, and we’ll help you make the final push. You may be able to get ahold of an unsecured card if you need it, and in our opinion it’s worth a try because the upside is greater than the downside (a temporary and tiny ding to your credit score). We’ve heard from many readers who were approved for unsecured cards, even with a bankruptcy or consumer proposal on their credit history, so there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work for you as well.

However, consider that a secured credit card has its own benefit, namely that it helps boost your score more quickly due to frequent reports to your credit bureau. Because you and your husband are thinking of buying a home soon, which means a mortgage, you’ll want to get your credit in the best shape possible before then, so you can get the best possible rate. Do it in this order: get an secured card like the Refresh Financial Visa and start using it frequently, paying it off responsibly to show the bureau you’re back on track. Then after a month or two, you can apply for an entry-level unsecured card such as the American Express Essential card, which gives greater flexibility than an unsecured card but also requires you to keep your ducks in a row. Having both a secured and an unsecured card will look great to any lender, however, having just the secured card doesn’t mean any points against you.

As always, we appreciate your awesome feedback. We’re glad to help, and definitely try to make this an unbiased and non-judgmental environment to get solid guidance on credit cards. Happy to hear that it’s working!


Jane says:

I live in Québec, I have been looking for secured credit cards to help rebuild my credit, beside Capital One (i had an issue with them in the past), their are not many choices. I saw Opitmax Visa, but they charge 145.00 to have the credit card, plus they offer to finance the minimum deposit of 500.00 over 15 months, with high interest and many fees. Can you suggest a secured credit card that is available in Quebec?
Thank you!

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Jane!

Nice of you to come by and comment about potential secured cards. We’re familiar with many of Canada’s best secured credit cards, which will surely help you rebuild your credit, mostly by reporting responsible financial behavior to your credit bureau more frequently. One of the best that we know of, especially if you don’t want to pay a high security deposit or annual fee, is the Refresh Financial Secured Visa card.

Refresh doesn’t require $500 as a minimum security deposit. Their minimum is just $200, and with an annual fee of $48.95 (calculated by adding the $12.95 annual fee to a $3 monthly charge) it’s an inexpensive way to obtain purchasing power and start rebuilding your credit score. You’ll get approved as soon as your deposit is with the bank, even as a resident of Quebec. We checked the application form to ensure that Quebec was listed as an eligible province, and it is. Good luck and please keep us informed of your progress!


Jenny says:

Refresh Financial doesn’t offer it to Quebec residence. I already tried it , here the best option is Peoples trust, 500 deposit or Optimaxcredit 500 deposit . i have tried and called all the others in the list, some dont do it anymore. some are not doing it for Quebec residence

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Jenny,

You’re correct about the ineligibility of Quebec residents to apply for the Refresh Financial card, but also that the Home Trust card is just as good. The main difference is that Refresh has a minimum security deposit of just $200 to get a credit limit, while Home Trust makes it $500. This might not be ideal for some individuals, but in terms of interest rates and the ability to get credit and boost your score, regardless of your credit history, the Home Trust card is equally effective.


John says:

Hi GR Team, I just wanted to jump in and point out that according to their site “the Home Trust Secured Visa Card is not available to residents of Quebec.”

I think I’m facing a similar situation as the other two posters: as a resident of Quebec, it seems very difficult to rebuild bad credit as these types of cards are not available here. Do you have any other suggestions *besides* the two you’ve already discussed?

Thanks in advance for your help,


The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi John,

Thanks for your comment. We’re sorry that the secured cards we recommend aren’t available to residents of Quebec and make sure to mention this unfortunate fact in our articles and reviews. Quebec residents get the short end of the stick when it comes to financial services in some cases, but there is surely a plethora of options available to you with your own bank. Often, it’s much easier to get a secured card or similar deal via the financial institution you already bank with, or even at a local credit union. Beyond these options we’re unaware of any secured cards available to people in your area—many apologies!


Maureen says:

I’ve been in a consumer proposal since October 2014. I should be done with the proposal by June 2020. Can you tell me when will the proposal stop showing on my credit history? I was told that it would only show for 6 years from the time I started with my consumer proposal. So by the end of 2020, it shouldn’t show at all, is that correct?


The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Maureen,

Great of you to come by. If you’re in a consumer proposal currently, then you should see the proposal removed from your credit history once 6 years have passed since you started. June 2020 is a solid estimate but remember that it might take a month or so for Equifax and TransUnion to get your records updated. Once June 2020 rolls around, make sure to get a credit report as soon as possible, and to call Equifax and TransUnion if you see any issues.

In the meantime, it’s crucial for you to get a head start on improving your credit. One of the most vital tools you can get is a secured credit card, which lets you make purchases and sends you a monthly bill just like any other card. However, your credit limit is a direct result of your initial security deposit, which also means that you’ll get automatically approved for the card, pending your deposit. Secured cards report your financial behavior (payments, spending etc.) to credit bureaus more frequently, so by the time your proposal is over, your score will be ready for more advanced credit tools.

Check out the Refresh Financial Secured card first. You can make a deposit as small as $200 and get instantly approved, and then work on pushing that score up before 2020. Best of luck!

GreedyRates Staff

Clint says:

I am in the process of going through a consumer proposal. My trustee mentioned if I need a credit card to apply for a secured card and it will help rebuild. Is there a timeline when this should be done? Too early now? After discharge?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Clint,

Thanks for your comment about consumer proposals and the best way to make a new, healthy start to your financial life. Your advisor is absolutely correct: A secured credit card will help you rebuild your credit score more quickly than other options, and you can use it for all the same things you would any unsecured card.

It’s never too early to get a secured card, as they pose no risk to your financial picture regardless of when you get it or how you use it. You’ll be automatically approved for a card like the Refresh Financial Secured card, which requires only a security deposit before receiving your matching credit limit. Using the card a few times every month for small bills is recommended and paying it off in full on a prompt schedule will demonstrate to credit bureaus that you’re back on track. This is a crucial part of secured cards—they report your behavior more frequently to bureaus like Equifax or TransUnion.

We have a few secured cards that we recommend, and they can all be found here. Best of luck! If you need any further assistance, feel free to get in touch.


Johner says:

Hello, i currently have a maxed credit card at CIBC – the dividend VISA @$7,000.00. A OSAP loan of roughly $2,000.00 left. A easy financial loan of $3,200.00 that i have been paying on time for the past 4 pay periods. My credit score is 540. How do i proceed with rebuilding my score and gaining traction. My current salary is $55,000.00. What do you suggest is the best card in my situation and how do i move forward with my CIBC credit card.

Thank you.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hello Johner,

It seems like you have two missions you want to accomplish: move your high-interest balance(s) to a lower-interest shelter and raise your credit score. It’s probably best to raise your score first and keep paying off your debts as they stand currently. You can do it on your salary of $55,000, but it will be crucial to add another credit card into the mix first. A secured card like the Refresh Secured Visa is a great tool to quickly boost your credit score. Just use it a few times each month and make timely payments, and you’ll soon see your score rise into the 600s, thanks to its more-frequent reporting to credit bureaus.

It’s at this point that you’ll want to consider a balance transfer promotion like that offered via the MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard. MBNA will get you a deal for 0.00% interest for 6 months, and then the rate will rise to just 8.99% afterwards. This should give you enough breathing room to take a big bite out of that balance with CIBC, because interest won’t be accumulating and compounding constantly. We think that 6 months at 0.00% might be enough to help you rid yourself of that $7,000 balance and begin working on the other balances from a more solid position.

If you want to risk an application denial (not the end of the world) and get started with the balance transfer now, just apply through our link! Good luck!


Roy Quinto says:

Hi my name Roy I recently finish my program in Consumer Proposal at MNP. And I received my Certificate by Completing the program, Now Question is how can I get a Credit Cards to Start rebuilding my Credit once’s again, But I’m having issue with I try to apply for new card I get declined right away.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Roy!
We’re so glad that we’re your first stop after completing your consumer proposal.
Congratulations on getting discharged! We know it can be a difficult time, but we’re here to put
you on the right path, and it’s possible to begin improving your financial picture right now. First,
know that your proposal will stay on your credit history for 6 years, so any unsecured credit
cards that you apply for in this period will be hard to get.

You’re better off applying for a secured credit card, which not only gives you access to more
flexible purchasing power and “cash on plastic”, but allows you to improve your credit score
more quickly. Cards like the Refresh Secured Visa or the Home Trust Secured Visa Low-RateOption are excellent choices, and report your payments and general fiscal habits to credit
bureaus frequently. You’ll need to supply an initial security deposit, usually no more than a few
hundred dollars, but will then get a matching credit limit in return.

With responsible use, you’ll be able to improve your score over time. You might even be eligible
for a few lower-tier unsecured cards by demonstrating diligent payment habits.

Best of luck,
The GreedyRates Team

Anna says:

Hello, I was discharged from bankruptsy back in 2012 & so 5yrs ago I got approved for a secured capital one M/C which I ended up cancelling 2yrs ago because I got approved for both a unsecured Costco Capital One M/C & an unsecured Canadian Tire Options M/C so I thought that was impressive!..BUT I still cant get any other credit cards or through Scotiabank whom I bank with as I recently tried.. & so I wish to rebuild my credit.. the 2 cards I currently have continue to raise the credit limits as Im on top of making the payments!. My question is though, should I apply for a secured credit card again to help rebuild my credit a little more faster since they report my payments activity often? Any tips.. thanks in advance 🙂

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Anna,

Great questions. We’re here to help and will give you a few key tips. First, you should know that debt sent to collections, bankruptcies, and consumer proposals will stay on your credit report for 6 years. This means that at the end of this year, you’ll finally start to see the benefits of a clean credit history, but for now it’s still an inconvenient entry that’s stuck on there. If you’re paying your bills on time and have received approval for unsecured credit cards, that is encouraging, but amassing more than 2 or maybe 3 credit cards before the bankruptcy clears may not be the best idea.

Our advice, if you don’t need more credit and simply want to improve your score, is to go ahead and get a secured credit card. Issuers like Home Trust and Refresh don’t have to do a credit inquiry on applicants for their secured cards, so there’s no risk involved. As long as you put a small amount on the card every month and pay it off entirely, then it will only be healthy for your credit. We’re big fans of the Refresh Secured Visa for its low minimum deposit of $200, which is all you need. If you are looking to expand your credit limit and your credit score as well, Home Trust’s Secured Low-Rate Option card will be suitable. It has a higher minimum deposit (and matching limit) of $500 up to $10,000, plus a lower interest rate on purchases of 14.90%.

Thanks for your comment!
GreedyRates Team

Christa says:

I was discharged from a first bankruptcy in July 2014. I have 2 collections amounts still active on my credit reports since 2013 because I found out about them after my discharge and my trustee said he sent them a note about 3 years ago… I guess they stay there for 6 years….
Based on the new Scotia/Transunion partnership, my Credit score with Transunion is 690.
I have a Secured Capital One since Fall 2015 which started with a security deposit of $75.00 and a limit of $1,000.00 and now I am at $3,500.00 limit always paying on time. I don’t have anything else under my name.
I live in Quebec so Refresh Credit Card is not available in my area. Does that mean the only other option is Home Trust? Any suggestions? I am planning to get a mortgage in 2 years and by that time the bankruptcy would have fallen off the credit report (yay).

Oh and to everyone, there is a light at the end of the tunnel…. Patience 

Thank you in advance

GreedyRates says:

Hi Christa, thanks for the thorough questions–we’ll do our best to address them all. First, we agree that it’s unfortunate to be stuck with a bankruptcy on your credit report for 6 years, but there are still solutions. This goes double for you, as your credit score hasn’t sufferedd too badly, with 690 firmly in the ‘good’ range. Another secured card will get that score up more quickly in combination with your Capital One card. Unfortunately, as a resident of Quebec, you are ineligible for the Home Trust card, as well as the Refresh card.

You should be able to get that score into the 800s if you keep on this path. Given your timely payments, by the time you’re looking for a mortgage you’ll be in great shape. Good luck–and good job!

GreedyRates Staff

Lynn says:

Hey ,
I’m going to be filing for bankruptcy this week because I’m.literally drowning in my debt. Nothing has gone to collections but I fear if I keep going the way I am it will.
What’s killing me is my fairstone loan of almost 600.00 a month (24k with interest ) , my TD visa is maxed (2200) I have 2 pay day loans from 2 different places , plus my student loan. I literally can’t catch up and my cell phone is twice the amount because its behind . Life came at me fast .
My question is the 9 months I’m paying bankruptcy should I leave it at that and save money or attempt a credit card in the meantime. I know my credit score is around the 630 mark as of last summer. But I want to keep building it.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Lynn, thanks for confiding in us and asking for help! We’ll do our best. It sounds like your situation is extremely difficult to deal with, and that bankruptcy is the best way out. There’s no shame in that, but it doesn’t have to mean you put your financial life on pause for 9 months. While you’re in bankruptcy, it’s more important than ever to understand the source of your financial problems and work hard to fix them. Half of this effort will be to identify areas where you can cut down and practice discipline, and the other half will be to practice what you’ve learned.

The best tool for the job is a secured credit card, because you’ll be able to get purchasing power and a method for boosting your credit score as well. Secured credit cards require no annual income or minimum credit score. Just put down a security deposit in cash (you’ll get it back) and get an equivalent credit limit in return. Use it every month and pay it off in full, and your usage will be reported frequently to credit bureaus like TransUnion and Equifax. Therefore, by the time you’re out of bankruptcy, you’ll already be able to get a good unsecured card–and moreoever, be prepared to use it responsibly.

If you’d like to contact us via email for more details, feel free. We can provide more relevant guidance that way. Thanks a lot and good luck! You can do it.

GreedyRates Staff

Kittin says:

Also I have a capital one unsecured card for $4000, I have never gone over $800 that was due to christmas and 2 deaths in the family I pay in full every month. I am just trying to increase my credit rating. It’s a sight climbing as long as there’s a balance due when the bill is printed. I pay it before leaving the store but i noticed if when it prints if i owe nothing it goes down. I use it to pay my cell bill leave it about 2 days as those bills are just days apart Between 509 and 638. Any suggestions

GreedyRates says:

Hi Kitten! Thanks for coming to GreedyRates with your questions. We’ll do our best to address them satisfactorily. About the RBC Visa Classic Low Rate card, if the fine print specifies that you need to be a permanent resident of Canada, then that’s what it means. However, the term ‘permanent resident ‘ is tricky here, because how can the bank know if you plan on staying in Canada forever, regardless of how long you’ve been here? That’s why they’ve outlined rules for attaining ‘permanent resident status’ which are relatively lax, with the government only requiring you to have stayed in Canada for a consecutive period of 2 years, within each 5 year period. If you’ve been in Canada for 2 years without leaving, you can become a permanent resident, even if you leave right afterwards.

Concerning your issue of bankruptcy, if you were discharged from bankruptcy in September of 2016, then it will stay “on file” until Septemer 2022. In Canada, your first bankruptcy stays on your credit history for 6 years after being discharged. We’re going to suggest that you get a secured credit card, some of which don’t have any credit score requirements at all. These cards only require a security deposit and will help you boost your score faster. If you’re worried about your phone bill disrupting your minimum payments, then we suggest setting it up as a recurring bill payment. This way, you’ll always have it taken care of, so it won’t be tacked on last minute and cause undue interest to collect.

GreedyRates Staff

Jeff says:

Hello I am wondering. I am going through credit counselling right now and have a Bankruptcy on my credit file from years ago as I filed for Bankruptcy twice. Plus I had a Capital One credit card that I screwed up. I don’t see the Capital One card on my credit profile anymore. I think it has been past the 6 years. The Credit Counselling Society has told me that I should get a credit card but not sure if I should go through Capital One or if they will say I still owe but nothing is on my credit report. I have been to RBC, BMO,TD Canada Trust. All don’t give secured cards anymore. Seems like know bank does unless you have just come in to the country or are a international student.

So my question is who should I get secured card from and should I try Capital One again.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Jeff, thank you very much for your thorough comment and questions. We’re glad that you’re seeking help for your outstanding debt and will try to recommend the best credit tools to aid in these efforts. If Capital One previously approved you for a credit card, but it went unpaid and eventually was transferred to collections, that doesn’t mean you’ll never be approved for a card with them ever again. You can still apply for a secured credit card, which has very low requirements, and expect a fair application process.

Alternatively, you can try the Refresh Financial Secured Visa, which is a secured credit card that doesn’t do a credit check on you. As a secured card, it will assuredly report all your repayments and behavior to the credit bureaus. We’re familiar with the Refresh card, and despite its lack of flash or pomp, it’s a solid card that we’re confident you will like. You can learn more about the card by reading our full Refresh Financial Secured Visa card review. Check it out and let us know what you think. Thanks again.

GreedyRates Staff

Farla says:

Hello, I was discharged from my bankruptcy in September 2016. I then got two secured credit cards in October and November 2016, one Home Trust for $2000, and one People’s Trust for $500. I recently financed a used vehicle (at a very bad rate, 14.9%, which I was told I can look in to refinancing for a better rate after about a year). I also recently applied for a Capitol One credit card to see if I could qualify for an unsecured credit card, and I was approved for $3,500. My question is, should I close both of my secured credit cards and just keep the one unsecured card? Or should I keep them all open? What’s the best way to continue building my credit?
Thank you in advance for your advice!

GreedyRates says:

Hey Farla, great questions. We’ll tackle the issues one by one. First, it helps your score to have multiple older lines of credit that have been open and in use. If you’re charging a few things to each card every month and paying it off consistently, it’ll benefit you to keep both secured cards open. Secured cards report your performance more frequently to bureaus, so you’re effectively harnessing that power!

It might be simpler to cancel one of them and use the security deposit to increase the other’s credit limit, but it’s up to you. It doesn’t matter much now that you’ve been approved for a $3,500 limit with Capital One, and unsecured no less. We’d say you’re well on your way towards improving your credit. Keep it up!

GreedyRates Staff

Farla says:

Thanks so much for your advice! I think I’ll keep them all open for now then. Thanks again 🙂

Kat Summerlin says:

Will I be able to apply in both mine & my husband’s name? Since we’re both on disability we make more money together than separately, monthly & yearly.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Kat, thanks a lot for your interesting inquiry! If you and your husband are looking at secured credit cards, and need to boost or establish credit in Canada, then there’s no reason to apply for the card together. One of you can get the card and the other can simply get a supplementary card attached to the same account. Since there’s no income or credit requirement for secured cards, there is also no advantage to combining your application. You’ll still be able to combine your money and make a greater initial security deposit, however, which both of you can enjoy with your own separate cards. A supplementary card has the same purchasing power as the main account holder’s card. If you need any further assistance, let us know!

GreedyRates Staff

Darren says:


I filed a consumer proposal as of Jan 2013. I applied and got a secured credit card with Capital One in Feb 2013. I paid my consumer proposal off a year early Feb 2017. My Capital One card was then upgraded from a Secured Credit card to a Unsecured Credit card last June. I also got a car loan to help rebuild my credit. I have been excellent in all my payments and keeping credit card paid off all these years, and car payments always made on time. My credit has barely been improving this past year and maintaining between 640-665 depending on Equifax or Trans Union or Credit Keeper.
I applied for a mortgage and was told I was only approved for the 20% deposit rather than 10% as I needed a full two years of good credit reporting from closure of consumer proposal. I was then told I should get a second unsecured credit card for re-building purposes. Equifax also told me as of Jan 2019 my consumer proposal reporting debts will drop off.

I applied to TD Canada trust bank as that is my bank of choice for my chequing account as was denied a credit card. So I am not sure what to do now? Any suggestions. Should I apply for one of these cards you have listed or now wait as I already was denied credit? Any suggestions would be helpful. Or should I just wait and continue with the capital one credit card and car loan?

GreedyRates says:

Hi Darren, thanks for your comment! We’re admiring your dedication to financial responsibility and hope you continue to fight for your credit. With another few months, or maybe a year, you should be in the 700s and able to get just about any unsecured credit card you want (pending income requirements, of course). Now that you’ve entered the realm of mortgages, banks will likely look at your financials with greater scrutiny, as they’ll potentially be lending you a lot of money.

If your consumer proposal will drop off Equifax and TransUnion’s records in January 2019, perhaps you should wait until then before applying for another credit card. We understand you’d like to get your 10% downpayment right now, but if this isn’t possible without a better credit score, and you can’t get one immediately even with another credit card, there’s little reason to push the envelope.

The way we see it, you have a better chance of being approved once the consumer proposal drops off your credit report, so either wait until then to add more debt to your car payment and Capital One card, or get another secured card. Another secured card might help improve your chances before January 2019, but it’s no guarantee. For now, continue being a responsible bill payer and exercise patience. Good luck.

GreedyRates Staff

Amber says:

Okay so my credit score is in the 500s, i was young and I truly had no education on how important credit was. Long story short , I now have a judgement on my report and a 5 collection items that im paying off one by one . i got approved for a $300.00 limit on capital one card. was wondering if i should take a chance to apply for another card to try and build my credit? I don’t seem to know any other way to see my credit go up I had one instalment loan that I finished paying off last month and I haven’t seen a significant change. i need tips !!!!

GreedyRates says:

Hi Amber, thanks for your honesty and for being descriptive in your question. It doesn’t matter how poor your finances were in the past, there is always a chance to get back on your feet with the right tools. Is the Capital One card you mention a secured card? If so, then we recommend using it for a few months, pay your bills on time, and in full and display some general financial responsibility until your score is in the 600s or higher. Secured cards make this easier than most, because you can’t accrue debt with them, and they report your behavior more frequently to credit bureaus like TransUnion.

Once you’ve raised your score and gotten rid of some of those judgements, we’d say you’re ready for an unsecured card. When that time comes, let us know and we’ll give you some great suggestions. Good luck!

GreedyRates Staff

Stacey says:

My husband was in oil, ended up having to change employment and then that business filed bankruptcy. I always had work and my credit had always been great. Then one thing after another happened in life. We had a child with health struggles and I could not go back to work. After 1-2 years of treading water and trying to stay afloat, we finally filed for bankruptcy as it would be the quickest solution to get us a disposable income to deal with medical/family costs. We have been out of bankruptcy about a couple months now. 2 questions; Do my husband and I apply for secured cards separately or together. We have a small, Mortgage under his name. I have nothing in my name. Also, need a card for medical expenses such as parking. Our goal is to get into a house that will be easier to call home and fit us better. Also, can you explain the difference between Capital One and Home Trust? We were going to apply for Scotia, however, after reading all the comments here it sounds like it will be a waste of time to go to Big Banks as we are fresh out of Bankruptcy. Is this correct? I guess I have one more question, Is there a benefit to our credit when we can switch from secure to unsecured? Does our credit standing appear different if we switch from unsecured to secured or is it just that we can get our deposit back should everything stay on track? We want the most efficient way to get back on track.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Stacey, thanks for coming to GreedyRates with your questions. We’ll try to sort them out and handle it all one by one. First, we’re sorry to hear about your child’s health struggles and the bankruptcy, but hopefully things are looking a bit brighter now that you’ve been released. Now that bankruptcy is in your past, the best thing you two can do is to establish a strong credit score and work hard to keep it going continually upwards. You’re correct that a secured credit card can do that for you, and it doesn’t matter whether you apply or your husband applies–you can both be authorized users and enjoy the card regardless. However, if you’re using it as an emergency fund as well, you’ll likely have to ensure that your security deposit is significant enough to cover the expenses you expect (medical bills, etc.).

There are a few small differences between Capital One and Home Trust, but not enough to make a big impact on your finances. Finally, to address your last question, though Capital One is a larger entity than Home Trust, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean more strict when it comes to approving applicants post-bankrupcy. A secured card is the best way to get back on track, and will help you revive your credit more quickly than any normal unsecured alternative. Thanks again for stopping by, we wish you the best! Stay in touch.

GreedyRates Staff

Victor says:

Hi! Great Site! I filled consumer Proposal in July 2017. My Credit score – 188. I have Secured Master Card from Capital One. Made first payment already. I was at my bank CIBC. I was told I come through 8 months to apply for CIBC Secured Visa Card. I will use 2 Secured Credit Cards. I also ask my National Bank. I was told I can apply on regular Master Card if my Credit score – 650 at least. Am I on right way? And when will R7 removed from my Credit file? And I am not sure how long take to reach 650 score using 2 Credit Cards from Capital One & CIBC.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Victor! Thanks for the appreciation, and for your comment as well. It sounds like you’re still in the midst of a consumer proposal, if you filed in July of last year. In that case, the best thing to do is to work on improving your score by applying for the best secured cards available in Canada–but you’ve already done so! Nice job. While we don’t know how long it will take to bring your score from 188 to 650+, we can say with confidence that you’ll likely need to stay with the secured cards for 6 or more months before seeing any positive impact on your report. Also, remember that this will only be the case should you demonstrate awesome payment habits on your bills. Secured cards report good behavior (and bad) with more frequency to credit bureaus like Equifax or TransUnion, so you should try your hardest in this next year or so.

With frugal spending, diligent payment of bills (don’t let your balance carry!) and more, there’s a good chance you’ll see that 650 score this year or early next. However, you don’t need to wait until your score is 650 to get a reasonable unsecured credit card. Once you’re in the 500s, let us know, and we’ll make some suggestions. Good luck!

GreedyRates Staff

Ayla says:

Hi there, My husband completed a consumer proposal 18 months ago and has made significant steps in improving his financial situation since this time. He has been rebuilding his credit score with a secured credit card and it now stands at 688 with Equifax. He initially used Affirm secured credit card and then closed that account and went over to Home Trust secured as they have no fees attached whereas Affirm’s monthly charges was too high. He has rebuilt his score very well, he also got a small RRSP loan which helped and now he would like to move to an unsecured credit card in order to get his score over 700 so that we can get a mortgage together after the consumer proposal comes off his credit report next summer. We are thinking of applying for the Scotiabank Value Visa as it is an unsecured credit card but we are worried he will get turned down due to the consumer proposal on his credit reports. Would you recommend applying for this card with a consumer proposal? Or are there any other unsecured cards you would advise applying for that he does not have to pay an annual fee for? Thank you for your time and expertise from both us!

GreedyRates says:

Hi Ayla, thanks for coming to GreedyRates–and congratulate your husband on his recent completion of the consumer proposal process. With a secured credit card and good habits, you’re well on your way to total financial health! We’re glad you’ve chosen the Home Trust Secured card specifically, and are impressed with your progress thus far. 688 is a good score. If you’d like to move to an unsecured card, we encourage you to do so, if you think that you can handle the extra responsibility of credit. Most banks are eager for new business, and though they might hesitate if you’re in the middle of a consumer proposal or bankruptcy, now that you’ve finished it, you should be in the clear.

The card you’ve set your sights on, Scotiabank’s Value Visa, is ideal. It’s simple and gives you access to credit, without imposing high fees or complicated rewards plans. You can learn more about the card by reading our full Scotiabank Value Visa card review.

Another card we recommend, if you don’t want to pay an annual fee, is the American Express Essential credit card. It has a low interest rate of 8.99% as well. You can learn more about that card by reading our full American Express Essential card review.

Nice job so far! Hang in there and let us know if you need any more assistance.

GreedyRates Staff

Isabelle charbonneau says:

Home trust visa do i have to give deposit of 500 to be in my visa if so cancel my application

GreedyRates says:

Hi Isabelle! Thanks for your comment. With the Home Trust Secured Visa, you’ll have to leave a minimum of $500 as a cash deposit to secure the same amount of credit. Most secured cards work like this, but there are those with lesser minimum deposits. Take the Refresh Secured card, for example, which has a $200 minimum amount. Note that your credit limit will only be $200 in this case, which is limiting. It’s also important to know that when you pay your balance in full, and want to cancel the card, that deposit doesn’t just disappear. The bank returns it to you in full. Good luck!

GreedyRates Staff

Don says:

We are looking into a credit proposal and 1 debt we are hoping to get wrought down is a unsecured line of credit with the same bank we have our mortgage with. My question is can the bank hit us with a big rate increase when it comes up for renewal?

GreedyRates says:

Hi Don. Let’s see if we understand this correctly. You’re going into consumer proposal currently, due to a delinquent line of credit that you had previously opened with the bank that holds your mortgage. You want to ensure that when the proposal is over, you’ll be able to renew your mortgage without a big increase in interest rates.

If this is correct, and you’ve been paying your mortgage religiously, you’ll have no trouble renewing it, especially with the bank that can look at its own records as proof of your good standing. You’ll also need to make sure to pay your proposal payments regularly, and if you can do this then afterwards the bank will likely allow you to return to your mortgage as usual. While the details are a bit hazy and in large part require you to maintain good performance, we’re sure you’re more than capable. Good luck!

GreedyRates Staff

Romana Dunham says:

When will this credit card be available to apply for? I want to start re-building my credit, as my husband and i have have filed a Consumer Proposal.

Michael says:

You can apply for the Home Trust Secured Visa via the link at the top of this page.

GreedyRates Staff

Linda says:

Are people outside of Canada allowed to apply with confidence of being treated fairly / equally?

GreedyRates says:

Hey Linda, we appreciate your question and thank you for reading GreedyRates. For non-Canadian citizens applying for Canadian credit cards, you’ll have to understand that every bank needs to see tangible evidence of your creditworthiness before extending you credit. In some cases, your bank’s manager will take your foreign credit reports into account, but this is always a special request.

Alternatively, you can find someone in Canada (a relative or friend) to co-sign with you on a credit card, allowing you to exercise your spending power and build credit at the same time. Secured cards are another great option if you want to go it alone, and the only requirement is that you deposit the equivalent of your limit in cash at the outset. These cards will also allow you to build credit in Canada. With more detail, we can gladly provide you a better answer and recommend which path is best. Looking forward to it!

GreedyRates Staff

Weng says:

Hi! Good Day!! As of now I am in consilidating counseling debt and I still have more than 2 yrs. To pay.. my credit score as of now is 514, I tried to apply for a CC in capital one ( secured) it was approved and still waiting for it in the mail. And I also tried to apply for a loan so that I can pay all my debts in 1 payment and not to wait for the 2 yrs. To paid it off but I change my mind and cancel it not knowing that it can affect my credit score or record because I just read somewhere here that loan inquiry may affect your CC app. In some banks. If I want to apply a scotiabank CC may i be get denied? I am scared to try it cause of my credit score or I might just stick to my Capital one CC for the mean time? My income per yr. Is $24K. What should I do with my debt? Do I need to wait for 2 yrs. More to paid it off? $3K balance from it.. as they say it took 4 yrs to get rid of the debt file in the credit bureau. Is it already a bankcrupcy? Thank you!!

GreedyRates says:

Hi Weng, thanks for the great questions!

First off, congrats on the progress you’ve made in completing your consolidation counseling. The application for a secured credit card was a smart move, and we imagine that you’ll receive it soon. Then you can begin your savvy spending plan and move the needle upwards from 514.

If you applied for a loan as well, but cancelled it, it might show up on your credit report temporarily, but it’s not something to worry about unduly.

As for your potential application for the Scotiabank credit card, we think your chances will be better once you wait a half year or so. This will give you ample time to move your credit score higher. If you’re worried about it turning into a bankruptcy abruptly, have no fears. Can you get your hands on $3,000 in cash to cover your credit limit with Capital One? If not, go ahead and apply to Scotiabank, because a temporary dip in your credit score wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if it means avoiding bankruptcy. Good luck!

GreedyRates Staff

Dwight Simpson says:

Hi just wondering, when I check my credit report with TransUnion I see my score is 542 in the poorand when I use my capital one credit score keeper I see 652 and says it’s good in the same day , and my Equifax score shows 461 and another site borrowel and shows my score 556, do you know why other site showing the different score ?

GreedyRates says:

Hey Dwight, thanks for asking us about credit bureaus.

We think there may be discrepancies between the entries on your report from each bureau. Sometimes this happens due to the different ways that these companies collect and update information. Do you know which is likelier to be correct? This is a wide range.

What we can suggest is that you wait to apply for any credit card until after you get your credit repaired. Even with one of the companies that do this professionally, you’ll still need to order each bureau’s report and uncover the discrepancies individually. This will help them to determine which are erroneous and which are real. Best of luck!

GreedyRates Staff

Dolphin says:


I was discharged from bankruptcy on August 2015. I am still learning how to improve my credit rating and all the stuff. It’s hard for me to understand as I am Deaf.

I am trying to rebuild my credit in order to get a car for my job. Before the bankruptcy, I had part time job and was on Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), then after the bankruptcy, I had full time job but it’s self-employed job. I had one mistake, I did not pay fedex and it went into collections, which may impact my credit. So how do I go about rebuilding my credit so I can get approved for a car loan?

Desperately, I need your help to get the right credit card to rebuild my credit so I can get my dream car.


GreedyRates says:

Hi Dolphin! Thanks for your comment. We think we can help. You’re discharged from bankruptcy, which is very good if you want a secured credit card. Not being in bankruptcy is just about the only requirement for applicants of banks like Home Trust, which have secured credit cards that make it possible to raise your score quickly and gain access to credit. It’s here on this page:

Your credit score isn’t important, you just need to put up a deposit in cash and receive a card with a matching credit limit. Your use of the card reflects quickly on your score, thanks to Home Trust’s frequent reporting to credit bureaus like TransUnion. Just be sure to pay everything on time and take care of your past due FedEx bills. With some time and effort, you’ll be able to qualify for better credit, get back on your feet and then work towards your dream car. Best of luck!

GreedyRates Staff

msmum1977 says:

People’s Trust has stopped issuing cards too…I believe they actually are the ones that issue the Affirm Card too.

From their website:

Peoples Card Services continually analyzes and refines its products to best meet the needs of our clients. While we work to reposition a number of existing and new products, we have decided to stop accepting new applications for the Peoples Trust Secured Card product effective July 31st, 2017.

The Peoples Trust Secured Card program remains unchanged for existing cardholders who will continue to enjoy the same program benefits and use their card anywhere MasterCard is accepted.

We thank you for your business and look forward to offering new tailored products and services to the market place.

GreedyRates says:

Hey Msmum, thanks for the comment! We appreciate you informing us and our other readers, and if you look at the article now, you’ll see that we’ve updated it to reflect this information. Current People’s Trust members have nothing to fear, as they state, but new applicants should look towards Home Trust if they need a solid secured credit card. Thanks again.

GreedyRates Staff

tikboy says:

Hello, I have a very bad credit rating (445), I am trying to rebuild my credit but I don’t have any credit cards. I have 3 derogatory reports on my file. 3 collections agency are constantly calling, but I know they really can’t do anything because the activity on all those credit cards have been 5 years and over the statute of limitations. My question is can I still apply for a secured credit card? Can I still rebuild my credit eventhough I have those reports on my file? I make good money now but am just too cheap to pay off those debts. And example if I go through insolvency and settle with the collections agency how long would it take for it to be taken off my file? and going thru insolvency, will they reveal my whereabouts or who I work for coz I really hate being harassed that’s why I did not deal with those collections people. thank you

GreedyRates says:

Hi Tikboy, thanks for your comment! First of all, we do not recommend leaving your debts to stew in collections. It is difficult to live life while looking over your shoulder, and if you make good money, it’s always worth it to free yourself of debt rather than keep a little extra cash in your pocket. The good news is that despite your situation, you will likely be approved for a secured credit card. These cards are designed for those with poor or nonexistant credit, and are not strict when accepting any and all applicants. You have money so it will be easy to put down a big security deposit and get a matching credit limit, allowing you to get the purchasing power you likely don’t have with cash (no matter how much).

We can’t say how long it would be before you’re solvent if you decided to make good on your obligations, but we can say that it would be worthwhile. Best of luck!

GreedyRates Staff

Mandy says:

is the affirm card back up and running? we are in a consumer proposal and are interested in that card.. Thanks

GreedyRates says:

Hey Mandy, thanks for your comment. We have a lot of interest in the Affirm card from other readers, not just yourself, but unforunately we don’t have an answer. To our knowledge, the card isn’t available, and we’re not sure if it will be again. There are other cards that could help you however, like the Home Trust Secured card. No matter the state of your credit, this card will help you maintain your financial flexibility and build a healthy standing with your credit bureau. If you need more help, just ask! Thank you.

GreedyRates Staff

Sarah says:

Don’t go with affirm I had my card compromised and they won’t do anything about it….worst credit card company

Dan says:


I appreciate how you address everyone, if feels like you’re genuinely ready and willing to help. I’m working on rebuilding my credit and was reading some of your responses. You mentioned that first bankruptcies are removed from credit files after 6 years. Is that 6 years from filing or from discharge? I filed April 2011 and it was discharged January 2012 but I can still see it on my Transunion credit report. Am I at the point where I can contact them to have it removed or do I need to wait until January 2018 for it to be 6 years from discharge?

Why do a lot of credit card applications say no record of bankruptcies within the last 7 years if I can have it removed after 6? Is that because some provinces are 6 years and some 7?

My current score is 689. Within the last 2 months I’ve applied and was approved for a unsecured Capital One card and an Amex card. I read having some credit cards on file with low utilization can improve my credit score.

Do student loans that are in repayment count towards the part of my credit score that takes my utilization into account? I have one on file that is at approximately 65%

Thank you for your time!! =)

GreedyRates says:

Hi Dan,

We really appreciate your kind words and are glad to help! To address your first question, the bankruptcy will be wiped from your record 6 years after the date of filing, not discharge. If you’re still seeing it one of the bureaus’ credit reports, it’s likely that they haven’t heard from your lenders or are still updating their system. It’s worth it to call and inquire.

Secondly, we’re not sure why the bank policies state that one must be 7 years from bankruptcy. Perhaps they want to see a year’s worth of responsible financial performance before deciding. Unfortunately, we can’t know.

Lastly, we don’t think that your student loans count toward your credit utilization ratio. Because loans are taken on single payments like tuition, and don’t involve flexible spending, it’s not exactly credit that one can utilize. We aren’t positive, but while you’re on the phone with TransUnion, clearing up the bankruptcy entry, you should ask! Best of luck.

GreedyRates Staff

Jammy says:

Student loans do fall into collections as you are in repayment status. I am dealing with all that right now.

Lala says:

I applied for a consumer proposal early June and have just been told it’s been approved. However my financial situation has changed and I am able to pay off my debts in full. I had asked the agency if I could cancel/withdrawal my proposal so I could pay in full and avoid have an R7 credit score for 3 years after completing a proposal. I still have about a week and a bit for the courts ruling on the proposal. But the firm I am working with said that even if I cancel and go ahead and paid in full that I would still have an R7 rating. Can you please advise if this is true or are they trying to get their commission out of my buy having me go through with the proposal. My transunion rating is currently 615. I called them and they said they couldn’t see a proposal on my credit score yet but that it could take 30 days and couldn’t give me a definitive answer on whether or not it would stay on my record if I had cancelled and paid in full. Do you have any advice? I would like to avoid the R7 rating and start working on improving my credit score as soon as possible.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Lala, thanks for coming to GreedyRates.

Congratulations on your newfound solution – we’re happy you were able to successfully cancel your consumer proposal. Many times, it is hard to do inside the 60-day window.

Regarding the effect on your credit, even for a cancelled proposal, we’re unfortunately out of our area of expertise. We understand that you want to avoid having that R7 on your credit report, but if TransUnion doesn’t know the answer, then we’re not sure where to turn. It might be that once the proposal is filed, you have to wear the R7 status for 3 years regardless, but if you caught it in time, it may not have been filed. Sorry we couldn’t be of more help. Good luck, and let us know how the situation progresses.

GreedyRates Staff

SJeka says:

I was a victim of identity fraud in 1996 and it has haunted me ever since. I have a judgment on my record that shows not satisfied however the debt has long since been paid even though i did not incur it (fraud) i was held responsible. I have tried many times to have it removed but the company that placed the judgment has ignored my every contact and the court even though i have proof of payment will not remove the record unless the company forwards them a letter of satisfaction. I have had no luck being able to get any kind of credit card and i do not want a secured card for a minimal limit of $300 that does not help me out with car repairs or incidentals such as that. Any recommendation as to what company may be willing to give me a whirl with an unsecured card?

GreedyRates says:

Hey Sjeka, thanks for coming to us with your inquiries.

We’re shocked to hear that your experience with identity fraud has left you in such a bad way, and can lend some advice that may help a bit.

Have you considered purchasing a few months’ subscription to a credit repair service? These are some of the best people at solving the problems you’ve described – removing erroneous entries on one’s credit report.

Unfortunately, without this removed from your report, getting an unsecured credit card is difficult. A secured card will lend you some purchasing power, more if you can add to the security deposit, and will also help you to build credit over time. This will at least demonstrate to issuers that you are working hard to improve your situation, and add to your score slowly. Best of luck!

GreedyRates Staff

Anne says:

Try Capital One Credit Card. They trying to rebuild your credit card. Even bankruptcy is accepted. Good Luck !

Tom says:

I currently have a Capital one (unsecured card 3750 limit, 3400 balance), a mortgage (Home Trust) with 1/3 down payment, and a merchant card (4500 limit-2600 balance). My Trans Union score is only 622. I’ve a recovery from Cable Company over a misunderstanding (paid in full). My debt to income ratio is only at 20%. I’ve been paying all bills exactly on time (always double the minimum payment or more) for the last year.

I’m retiring in 4 or 5 years. I expect to have 0 balances on everything by fall. What else can I do to boost my score before I retire? Would I qualify for a Home Trust Equity card and would that be the right move?

GreedyRates says:

Hi Tom, thanks for asking for our advice on your quest for a successful retirement!

We are impressed with your financial savvy, and are glad to hear that you are paying your bills on time. This is key in improving a credit score. Here is some advice however: a more important ratio for credit bureaus is not your debt to income, but rather your balance compared to your available credit limit, otherwise known as credit utilization ratio. Getting this metric below 30% is a great indicator to Equifax and the other credit bureaus that you are working on reducing your balances.

If you have 4 or 5 years until you plan on retiring, we think that adding another card to the mix is not a bad idea. The minute dent it may make on your credit will be quickly overtaken by responsible performance, reported frequently to the three bureaus by Home Trust. It will also help you to quickly reduce your outstanding balances, which is crucial.

Other than healthy use of multiple cards, we recommend that you continue as you have been, and perhaps also look into a credit repair service to remove any discrepancies on your report that refuse to go away. Good luck!

GreedyRates Staff

Steve Harper says:

Hi GreedyRates,
I like your blog. You provide excellent information, and treat the folks who write with dignity and respect. I do have one question, however. Are you affiliated with this Affirm Financial?You keep suggesting people deal with them, regardless of their high interest rates and fees; and of course, that they are no longer providing service.
Do you have something against Capital One? They offer good service for bad credit customers, including bankruptcy. They issue secured and non secured cards, even if the client has gone bankrupt. I spoke to them and asked about their “no security deposit” program and why it is offered to bankrupt customers. They told me that they look into the person’s credit history prior to the bankruptcy, and see if it was good; as well as his/her current financial situation. They acknowledged the obvious; that people sometimes end up filing bankruptcy for circumstances beyond their control, not that they were bad credit risks. They take this into consideration when deciding to impose a security deposit or no