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5 Best credit cards for improving your credit score in 2018

Have you been inundated by debt and missed payments? Or perhaps you’re new to Canada and have no credit history in the country at all? It’s pretty important to have a good credit score; this can limit your ability to take our a loan, get a credit card or make larger purchases.

No matter what the reason behind your poor credit slump, there’s always a way to improve things and get back to the top. Turns out, you can still have a credit card while boosting your credit score simultaneously. How? By choosing a secured credit card.

The difference between secured and non-secured credit cards

Traditional credit cards are known as “non-secured” credit cards. In basic terms, this means that the lender is borrowing the money to you and trusting that you will pay it back by your bill date, based on your pristine credit score. If you miss the payment date, you will be charged whatever your agreed upon interest rate is.

Secured credit cards, on the other hand, are used to extend credit to people who don’t have the best credit score, or who have no history for a bank to go on. If a customer has poor or no credit score, they represent a risk to potential lenders. At the end of the day, your lender or bank wants to get their money back in the time frame specified-if it looks like you can’t manage that, they aren’t going to favour you.

A secured credit card allows a customer to prove their reliability, and built up their credit score. Sometimes this only takes a couple of months if you make your payments on time. Secured credit cards usually require an upfront payment which acts as collateral in exchange for the card. This amount stays on the card, and cannot be withdrawn as long as the card is in use. Usually a bank will then grant you a credit limit of equal amount, or sometimes a little higher. The only way to get back the money you put towards the card is to pay off the card’s full balance, and close the account.

When it comes to traditional credit cards, it can be quite straight forward to raise your credit limit, however this can be a challenge with secure cards. Billing will occur monthly, although interest rates may be slightly higher than those on regular credit cards. You will be charged interest if you do not make your card payment on time.

Our top 5 favourite secured cards

1. Refresh Financial Secured VISA

This secured card from VISA Refresh Financial is new to the market, and is targeted directly at those with poor or no credit history, and can really help in boosting your existing score. The minimum deposit for the Refresh card is $200, and is usually matched by your credit limit, which can slowly be increased to a maximum of $10,000 over time. You are required to pay an annual free of $12.95, plus a monthly fee of $3, however you don’t require a credit check to qualify for this card. This makes it one of the most accessible cards on the market right now. Another perk of the card is it’s low declined transaction fee, only $0.10.

Plus card holders can get some added help getting their finances in order, thanks to the free online financial training provided by the in-house Refresh financial intelligence training.

2. No-Fee Scotiabank Value VISA Card

Another card from VISA, but this time with Scotiabank, is one of the few that don’t have an annual fee, and allows you to transfer existing balances. For the first six months the card has a balance transfer rate of just 3.99% (this increases to 16.99% after the period is up). The introductory rate is applicable to credit card checks, balance transfers, and cash advances.The interest-free period lasts 21 days. The card also has some special perks including credit card protection coverage, and discounts on rental cars from participating providers.

3. Home Trust Secured VISA Card

Federally regulated trust fund, Home Trust, offers a specialist credit card to help customers on a mission to improve their credit score. Once again, the network provider is VISA, and it’s another one that is pretty straightforward to get approved for. The card offers no annual fee with a 19.99% interest rate, or there is the option of a slightly lower interest rate, 14.9%, with an annual fee of $59. Your credit number will be reflective of the security deposit you paid, and there is no minimum income to qualify for this card. In fact, even customers who have a history of bankruptcy, but are now discharged, can apply at any time. In addition to all of these perks, there is the option to add an authorized user and your credit limit can be as high as $10,000 should you choose. The minimum limit is $500.

4. DC VISA Platinum Secured Credit Card

Not-for-profit financial union DC offers a secured card, in partnership with VISA, with rates below the national average. There is no annual fee and an interest rate of just 11.5%, plus balance transfers and cash advances are completely free. There is a penalty charge of 18%, though.  The card offers perks like travel insurance coverage, car rental and warranty benefits . It is also embedded with an EMV chip ensuring your card protection remains safe.

5. Vancity enviro Secured VISA

Financial co-operative Vancity offers a secured card, with VISA, that only asks for a $500 security deposit and no annual fee. The card carries an interest fee of 19.5%. However, if customers want to lower their interest to 11.25%, there is a $50 annual fee payable. One perk is the great system of rewards offered by this card, where points are collected from spending. Plus, card holders can also benefit from travel insurance coverage, auto rental collision damage waiver, and extended warranty.


If improving your credit score, or establishing one is in your plans, then why not make the process easier and faster by opting for one of these brilliant secured credit cards? Most of them can be used online, at ATMs and over the phone, plus offer a whole range of advantages, all the while smoothing things over in the world of credit. Just be sure to use it wisely!