There are quite a few good secured credit cards out there, but some stand out above the rest for their low security deposits and credit score requirements, as well as their monthly reports to credit card bureaus. I constantly keep up with all the changes in the credit card landscape and make my recommendations below based on years of experience.
I recommend the Capital One Guaranteed Approval Secured Mastercard as the #1 secured credit card in Canada due to its low annual fee and its very low minimum security deposit. It also has no credit score requirement, allows you to add authorized users at no additional cost, and reports monthly to TransUnion and Equifax.
What Is A Secured Credit Card?
Secured credit cards are a type of credit card for individuals with a bad credit history looking to rebuild their credit score. Credit card issuers can’t take the chance with someone with low credit because they risk not receiving their money back – that’s why secured credit cards require a security deposit before you can start using your card.
Secured cards have a limit built-in – you can’t spend more than you deposited, and you will only get your deposit back if your account is in good standing when you close it. Secured cards usually have low annual fees, and anything above $50 is considered a high fee. Secured cards don’t offer much in terms of perks and benefits other than reporting monthly to the biggest credit card bureaus in Canada, like Equifax and TransUnion. They’re a good option to build your credit, but if you’re looking for the best perks, you may want to look at some premium cards.
Without further ado, here are the best secured credit cards Canada has to offer:
The Best Secured Credit Cards In Canada
- Capital One Guaranteed Approval Secured Mastercard: Best for low minimum security deposit
- Home Trust Secured Visa: Best for flexibility, choose between no annual and annual fee with better rates
- KOHO Mastercard Prepaid Card: Best for earning cash back on all purchases
- Plastk Secured Credit Card: Best for generous welcome bonus and interest grace period
- Refresh Financial Secured Visa Card: Best for instant approval
How Do Secured Credit Cards Work?
Secured credit cards require new users to provide a security deposit before using the card. This deposit is used to offset the lending risk that credit card companies take by issuing a card to someone with low credit. It also works as collateral and a credit limit; cardholders can never spend more than the deposited money. In general, these cards have no minimum annual income and approve almost all applicants.
Pros & Cons Of Secured Credit Cards
Pros: Why A Secured Credit Card May Be Worth It
- Great for rebuilding your credit score
- You can only spend as much as you deposit, no risk of overspending
- Low-to-no credit score requirements
- Reports monthly to credit card bureaus
Cons: Why A Secured Credit Card May Not Be Worth It
- High minimum deposits
- Very limited perks and benefits
- Your security deposit is locked in the account until you close it
How To Choose A Secured Credit Card In Canada
Choosing a secured credit card is easy – as long as you know what to look for. Consider all these factors before you choose one:
Credit bureau reporting
The main reason for getting a secured credit card is to build your credit score. First, you should check if the secured credit card reports to the credit card bureau in Canada. The two biggest bureaus in Canada are Equifax and TransUnion – look for a secured card that reports to both.
Most secured credit cards are very limited regarding rewards, as most people looking for secured cards are usually trying to reduce their spending. Secured cards that offer cash back benefits usually have an annual fee and incentivize spending, which can be counterproductive. Since it’s very unlikely you will make enough from the rewards to pay for a hefty annual fee, make sure to choose a secured credit card that doesn’t charge (or charges a low) annual fee. Anything above $50/year is considered a high annual fee for a secured credit card.
Low minimum deposits
Another limiting factor is the minimum deposit. Secured credit cards provide you with a line of credit that matches your security deposit, but some issuers have very high minimums that can go as high as $500. You may want to look for a card with a low minimum deposit.
Upgrade to an unsecured card
Most secured credit card issuers offer the option to upgrade your secured card into an unsecured credit card after you build up your credit to an acceptable level. When choosing a secured credit card issuer, plan ahead and keep this in mind.
How To Apply For A Secured Card In Canada
In Canada, the minimum age to request a credit card is the age of the majority. Teens under that age can’t get approved for credit cards but can be added as authorized users to one of their parent’s credit cards. For reference, the age of the majority in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan is 18 years old. In all other provinces, the age of the majority is 19.
Canadian credit cards are available to residents and non-permanent residents. However, most premium credit cards require you to be a Canadian resident. You don't even need a credit history for other card types like prepaid and secured credit cards. At the end of the day, residency requirements will depend on the specific credit card issuer and the type of card.
Minimum Security Deposit
Make the minimum security deposit to activate your account. This amount is usually between $200 and $500, and you will get it back after you close your position.
Secured Credit Card FAQs
Are Secured Credit Cards Worth It?
Secured cards might be worth it for you:
- If you have a low credit score and are looking to rebuild it
- If you want to limit your spending and are looking for a card that can help you manage your budget
Secured cards might not be worth it for you:
- If you are looking for a credit card with lots of perks and benefits
- If you have a high credit score and can apply for cards with better rewards
What Is The Best Free Secured Credit Card In Canada?
The best free secured card in Canada is Neo Financial Secured Card. It offers a very generous 5% cash back and a promotional 15% cash back when you make your first purchase at Neo partners stores.
How Do I Rebuild My Credit Score In Canada?
Secured credit cards are one of the best ways to rebuild your credit if you make your payments on time. Other ways to rebuild your credit are to limit your number of credit card applications (hard checks will hurt your credit score in the short term), keep your utilization percentage on your credit cards low (less than 35%), and use different types of credit.
Can I Get More Than One Secured Credit Card?
Yes, you can have more than one secured credit card. Usually, having more than one credit card can help you build your credit score by reducing your credit utilization ratio, but it might be harder to keep track of all your payments.
Is A Secured Credit Card Better Than An Unsecured Card?
Not necessarily. Secured and unsecured credit cards are completely different types of credit cards that will be more or less useful depending on your specific needs. Secured credit cards are good if you don't have a credit history or you have a bad credit score and can't apply for some of the best cards in Canada. These cards will help you build up your credit to the point when you0'll be able to apply for a good unsecured card.