Credit cards for first timers

Just getting started with credit cards and have no idea where to begin? Compare credit cards for first timers with low fees and rates, giving you a good starting point to build your credit history.

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 2 Jan 2024

As seen on

Media - Forbes
Media - Yahoo Finance
Media - MSN
Media - Fox News
Media - Daily News
Media - Vox

Comparing credit cards for first timers

Neo Credit Card

On website

Featured

Neo Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

From 19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn up to 15% cashback on your first purchase at participating partners.
  • Earn enormous bonuses — like 15% cashback — on your first purchase at most partners. Plus an average 5% cashback at Neo partners.
  • Boost your cashback by choosing a flexible, monthly rewards plan.
  • No annual fee.

Bank promo

  • Receive $25 when you signup today. Terms and Conditions apply.

Pros

  • Earn an average of 4% cashback at thousands of local and national gas, grocery stores, and more.
  • Get up to a $10,000 credit limit.
  • You can cash out anytime with just one tap.
  • $0 p.a. annual fee.
  • Get up to 4% cashback on all purchases at Shell gas stations and convenience locations. T&Cs apply.

Cons

  • There is a 2.5% Foreign Exchange Fee.
Refresh Secured Card

On website

Refresh Secured Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

17.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$12.95 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Low annual fee of $12.95 p.a. (with $3 monthly maintenance fee).
  • Get a credit limit starting at $200 up to $10,000. Secure your credit limit with a required deposit then build your credit by making the same everyday purchase you already make.
  • No credit check is required.

Pros

  • No credit check is required.
  • The minimum deposit starts at $200.
  • Comes with an interest-free period of 21 days.

Cons

  • There is no rewards program on this card.
National Bank ECHO Cashback Mastercard

National Bank ECHO Cashback Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$30.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn 1.5% cashback on most online purchases, in grocery stores, and on gas. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • Get unlimited 1% cashback on all other purchases.
  • Apply your cashback as soon as you accumulate $10. You can even access your cashback on the go from any tablet or mobile device.

Pros

  • Get up to 1.5% cashback on eligible online purchases, grocery stores and gas. 1% cashback on all other purchases.
  • Includes Purchase protection and Extended warranty.
  • Low annual fee of $30.

Cons

  • There is no introductory balance transfer offer on this card.
National Bank Mycredit Mastercard

National Bank Mycredit Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • $0 ongoing annual fee.
  • Earn 1% cashback on restaurant transactions and recurring automatic transfers. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • Get 0.5% cashback on all other purchases.

Pros

  • $0 annual fee.
  • Earn up to 1% cashback.
  • Get insured against theft or damage for up to 2 years following the purchase of your mobile device using your Mycredit Mastercard.

Cons

  • There is no introductory balance transfer offer on this card.
Neo Card™ (Secured)

On website

Neo Card™ (Secured)

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn up to 15% cashback on your first purchase at participating partners.
  • No annual fee to pay — ever.
  • Decide your own credit limit to meet your needs. $50 minimum.
  • Get a 0.5% guaranteed cashback and an average of 5% cashback at partner retailers.

Bank promo

  • Receive $25 when you signup today. Terms and Conditions apply.

Pros

  • Guaranteed approval.
  • No hard credit check.
  • Earn up to 6% at restaurants.
  • Get up to 4% cashback on all purchases at Shell gas stations and convenience locations. T&Cs apply.

Cons

  • Since this is a secured card, you will be required to deposit cash upfront.
KOHO Easy Prepaid Mastercard

On website

KOHO Easy Prepaid Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

N/A

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • $0 annual fee.
  • 0% interest rate.
  • Earn 1% cashback on groceries, billing, and services.

Pros

  • No credit check required.
  • Earn cashback on eligible transactions.
  • Get up to 5% additional cashback with KOHO merchant partners.
  • Optional Credit Building for $10/month
  • You can earn 0.5% interest on your balance. 

Cons

  • There is a 1.5% foreign transaction fee.
  • Since it is a prepaid card, you need to fund the account to use the card.
National Bank World Mastercard

National Bank World Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$115.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn 2 reward points per $1 spent on all transactions. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • Enjoy up to 60 days of comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Includes extended warranty on your purchases.

Pros

  • The 2 reward points per $1 spent on all purchases.
  • Comes with comprehensive insurance coverage, trip cancellation/interruption, flight delay, baggage insurance, and rental vehicle insurance.
  • Use accumulated points to get new electronics, vacation packages, travel tickets, and more.

Cons

  • There is no sign-up bonus offer on this card at the moment.
  • The $115 p.a. annual fee.
KOHO Essential Prepaid Mastercard

On website

KOHO Essential Prepaid Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

N/A

Annual fee

$48.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • 0% interest rate.
  • Enjoy an affordable $48 annual fee (comes with a 30-day free trial).
  • Earn 1% cashback on groceries, bills & services, eating & drinking.

Pros

  • No credit check required.
  • Earn 0.25% cashback on all other purchases
  • Get up to 5% additional cashback with KOHO merchant partners.
  • Optional Credit Building for $7/month
  • You can earn 1.5% interest on your balance. 

Cons

  • There is a 1.5% foreign transaction fee.
  • Since it is a prepaid card, you need to fund the account to use the card.
KOHO Extra Prepaid Mastercard

On website

KOHO Extra Prepaid Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

N/A

Annual fee

$84.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • 0% interest rate.
  • Enjoy an affordable $84 annual fee (comes with a 30-day free trial).
  • Earn 2% cashback on groceries, bills & services, eating & drinking.

Pros

  • No credit check required.
  • No foreign exchange fees.
  • Get 1 free international withdrawal a month.
  • Optional Credit Building for $7/month
  • You can earn 2% interest on your balance. 

Cons

  • Since it is a prepaid card, you need to fund the account to use the card.
  • The $84 annual fee.
Plastk Secured Credit Card

Plastk Secured Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

3 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$48.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Upon sign-up, new customers get 5,000 Reward Points ≈ $20.00 redeemable after 3 months. Terms & Conditions apply.
  • Enjoy 0% on purchases for the first 3 months (17.99% p.a. thereafter).
  • Get a 25-day interest-free grace period on purchases.

Pros

  • The 5,000 Reward Points.
  • Get 3 days grace period on cash advances.
  • Earn more points with Plastk's referral program.
  • Instant Balance Payments via Interac e-transfer

Cons

  • There is a $6 monthly maintenance fee.
  • If you miss 2 consecutive payments, the interest rate will increase to 29.99% p.a.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Balance transfer

6 months at 1.95% p.a.

Purchase rate

19.95% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • 1.95% p.a. for 6 months on balance transfers (3% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to cash advance rate of 19.95% p.a.
  • Earn 2% Money-Back Rewards on your everyday purchases in two 2% Money-Back Categories of your choice, and 0.50% Money-Back Rewards on all your other everyday purchases.
  • Get your Rewards deposited into your Tangerine Savings Account and get a 3rd 2% Money-Back Category.
  • No limit on the amount of Money-Back Rewards you can earn on your everyday purchases. Conditions apply.

Pros

  • Get up to 2% cashback on 2 categories (up to 3 categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account).
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Up to 21 interest-free days.

Cons

  • There is a 3% balance transfer fee.
Scotiabank SCENE+ Visa Card

Apply by February 29, 2024

Scotiabank SCENE+ Visa Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn 5,000 bonus SCENE+ points when you spend $750 in everyday purchases in the first 3 months. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • No annual fee.
  • Earn 1 SCENE point for every $1 you spend on your everyday credit card purchases.

Pros

  • Earn 5,000 bonus SCENE points when you meet the criteria.
  • Earn 5 Scene+ points for every $1 you spend on credit card purchases at Cineplex theatres or at cineplex.com.
  • Save on car rentals.
  • $0 p.a. annual fee.

Cons

  • There is no special balance transfer rate for this card.
Student BMO CashBack Mastercard

Apply by 31 May 2024

Student BMO CashBack Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Get up to 5% cashback on eligible purchases in the first 3 months. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • No annual fee.
  • Earn 3% cashback on grocery purchases, 1% recurring bill payments and 0.5% cashback on all other purchases.

Pros

  • Get up to 5% cash back in your first 3 months.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Includes extended warranty and purchase protection.

Cons

  • There is no balance transfer offer on this card.
Student BMO AIR MILES Mastercard

Apply by 31 May 2024

Student BMO AIR MILES Mastercard

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn 800 Bonus Miles when you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from the Credit Card open date. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • No annual fee.
  • Earn 3 AIR MILES Reward Miles for every $25 in purchases at participating AIR MILES Partners and 1 Reward Mile for every other $25 you spend on eligible credit card purchases.

Pros

  • Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles when you meet the criteria.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Earn 2 AIR MILES Reward Miles for every $25 spent at any participating grocery store.

Cons

  • There is no balance transfer offer on this card.
SimplyCash Card from American Express

On website

SimplyCash Card from American Express

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn up to $100 in Statement Credits when you spend $300 in each monthly billing for the first 10 months of Cardmembership. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • Earn 2% cashback on gas and grocery.
  • Earn 1,25% cashback on other eligible transactions.

Pros

  • Earn up to $100 in statement credits in the first 10 months when you meet the criteria.
  • No annual fee.
  • Enjoy Travel-Related and Shopping Insurance Coverage.

Cons

  • There is no balance transfer offer on this card.
Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card

Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

6 months at 9.99% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn 4% cashback on restaurants, 1.50 % on gas, groceries, drugstore and .50% on all other purchases (cashback cap applies except for other purchases).
  • No annual fee.
  • Enjoy 9.99% introductory annual interest on purchases for the first 6 months (19.99% p.a. thereafter).
  • Add up to 3 additional cardholders and earn cashback faster.

Pros

  • Enjoy the 9.99% introductory annual interest on purchases for the first 6 months.
  • No annual fee.
  • Includes Purchase Security and Extended Protection Insurance.

Cons

  • You can only spend your reward dollars at Walmart Canada.