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What You Need to Get a Credit Card in Canada

If you want to increase your purchasing power while building your credit history at the same time, consider getting a credit card. Credit cards can be great financial tools as long as you use them wisely. They’re also usually easy to apply for. While your financial track record is taken into account to determine your eligibility, there are other basic requirements to consider.

January 25, 2021 in Learn

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At what age can I get a credit card?

To get a credit card, you must be of legal age in the province or territory where you reside. Depending on your province or territory’s age of majority, you can apply for a credit card at the age of 18 or 19 in Canada.

Is there an income requirement?

Many credit cards come with a minimum income requirement. However, some do not, or may give leeway depending on your circumstances and your credit score.


If you already have a bank account, loan or other financial product with the same bank, you may have a better chance of getting qualified for a credit card with them. You may also be able to use your combined household income on your application. Another possible option could be a secured credit card, which requires putting down a security deposit as collateral.

Can I get a credit card if I am unemployed?

Even if you are unemployed, you may still be eligible for a credit card. Other sources of household income may be accepted by the issuing lender, even if they’re not related to a fixed annual salary. This could include unemployment benefits, income from your investments, or your spouse’s wages.


Keep in mind that your employment status is only one of the factors that will be considered on your application. Additional criteria could include your other debts and financial obligations.

Is there a minimum credit score for credit card approval in Canada?

When a credit card issuer decides whether to approve your application, they look at your credit history. Your credit score is an important part of that, but it’s not the only factor being considered. Even if you have low or no credit, you could still be eligible for certain types of credit cards. However, if you’re hoping to qualify for competitive interest rates, rewards or other premium benefits, you may have to demonstrate a higher level of creditworthiness. This would be reflected in a higher credit score.


When you apply for an American Express® Card, your application will undergo a credit assessment. This is an evaluation of your credit history, which includes looking at criteria such as:


● Your ability to make payments on time and repay what you borrow

● Your current financial responsibilities, such as rent or mortgage payments

● Your likelihood to default on your debt

Select the right credit card for you based on your needs

There are many different types of Cards. To narrow down the best Card for your needs, consider what you would use it for.


Are you drawn to earning points for your next trip? If so, a travel rewards card can offer benefits on flights and hotels and more.


If you want cash back from your purchases instead of points, cash back cards offer that on qualified purchases.


Or are you looking to build your credit history so that you can apply for a bigger loan in the future, like a mortgage? Standard cards that feature no annual fee have one less fee, so it can make timely repayments easier (and this might help you boost your credit score!). Assess your financial goals before you apply so that you can choose the best card to help you achieve them.


You should also understand any card’s interest rate and fees before committing to a card. If the annual fee is greater than the value you earn back through rewards, then you may want to look at cards without annual fees. To understand American Express Cards’ fees, check out our Cardmember Agreements.

How to get a credit card

Once you’ve narrowed down the American Express Card you’d like to apply for, simply click on the “Apply Now” button. You’ll be asked to read the terms and conditions. You will also need to provide at a minimum:


● your full legal name,


● current address and


● employment and income information.

How long does it take to get a credit card

After you’ve submitted all the required information, which should take you less than 10 minutes to complete, you will receive a response almost immediately. If your application is approved, your credit card will be sent to you via mail.

How to use your new credit card

Once you have earned approval for a credit card, using credit-healthy strategies can help you sustain or even improve your credit history while earning valuable rewards from your spending.


First, know how credit cards work: understanding the effects of annual percentage rates (APR) on your debt and how you can build your credit score can help you use your card strategically instead of haphazardly.


Next, if your card includes a rewards program, know how and when any bonus points are applied to your expenses and target those categories for your credit card to maximize your rewards.


Then, make a regular habit of reading through your monthly billing statement. Check to be sure there are no unauthorized charges and see how the card’s APR is applied to any unpaid balances – trying to limit those interest charges as best as your budget allows.


Finally, take advantage of any additional benefits from your card. Some American Express Cards include travel benefits, cash back programs, and/or access to American Express® Experiences where you can find memorable experiences created for Cardmembers.


You will soon understand that a credit card’s benefits don’t stop at the cash register: to make the most from your card, try to find and use cards that bring you rewards, protection, and financing for your life’s biggest goals.

Explore Our Cards

American Express Offers a range of Cards with different rewards and benefits tailored to your lifestyle and interests.