OFII Canada

Getting Your First Credit Card as a New Immigrant to Quebec

Newcomers have more limited options available when it comes to credit cards, loans, and other types of financing. One of the main reasons is no credit exposure which makes them risky customers for banks, unions, and other financial establishments.

Options Available

Some financial institutions offer credit cards to immigrants, including big banks such as the Royal Canadian Bank and TD Canada Trust. In fact, Toronto-Dominion offers a range of financial solutions to newcomers, including loans and cards, checking accounts, saving accounts, and investment solutions. When it comes to credit cards, the main benefit for customers is that a credit card allows them to build and maintain good credit. What is more, some cards offer rewards and other perks. There are certain eligibility criteria to meet, and one is that you are of legal age. Only temporary and permanent residents who have been in Canada for 2 years or less meet the criteria. Toronto-Dominion recommends that recent immigrants choose a secured card as a way to build a credit history.

RBC also offers credit cards to newcomers, with benefits such as no annual fee and no credit history required to qualify. There are two products to choose from, one being a cashback MasterCard that goes with 1 percent cashback on all purchases and 2 percent on purchases at grocery stores. The fact that the card goes with no annual fee is an added benefit. Another option is the rewards Visa card, which offers bonus points on daily purchases and extra points on drugstore and grocery store purchases and gas. Again there is no annual fee. The bank also offers a range of products to new immigrants, including no fee accounts, mortgages, international money transfers, and others.

Dividend Visa by CIBC is a third option for immigrants and goes with no annual fee and 2 percent cashback. An added benefit is that customers are not required to offer a security deposit. Other options to look into include CIBC Aero Platinum, Aventura Visa, and Aventura Gold, among others. The CIBC Aventura Visa, for example, offers the option to earn bonus points on daily purchases which can be used toward travel. The first purchase on the card earns a welcome bonus of 15,000 points. The CIBC Classic Visa Card is still another option for new immigrants which offers basic amenities such as extended protection and purchase security. The bank usually requires that customers provide an authorizing letter or a permanent resident card. This goes for immigrating applicants only.

Other Options for Newcomers

Newcomers to Canada can choose from different types of cards offered to customers with limited and no credit exposure and poor credit history. One solution is to apply for a secured credit card and make timely monthly payments to prove that you are a low-risk customer. This is a good way to build credit over time. Some cards offer additional perks such as no foreign transaction fees, complimentary car rental insurance, cell phone insurance, and others. Applying for a department store card is yet another option to look into, but keep in mind that the interest rate can be considerably higher. Customers usually benefit from major discounts and incentives such as extra rewards, free alterations and shipping, free gift wrapping, bonus coupons, and more.

Small banks also offer unsecured and secured cards which can be a good fit for new immigrants. In some cases, small financial institutions offer better conditions to build a customer base and keep customers happy.