What newcomers need to know about credit cards
A credit card allows you to make purchases using money the bank lends you rather than
Why use a credit card:
- To build your credit history and credit rating in Canada
- Provides access to money in case of emergency
- Reduces the need to carry large amounts of money
- Allows you to make purchases online and by telephone
- Earn rewards while you spend (cash back, free movies, travel points)
Finding the right card is easier than you think.
Our most popular credit cards:
Up to 1% cash back on eligible purchases
American Express® Card
American Express Card
Travel Rewards with no annual fee
Enjoy free movies, and more
Up to 2% cash back on eligible purchases
Very low interest rate
American Express Card
Earn travel rewards faster
What is a credit history?
A collective report showing how you’ve historically paid your bills. It
begins the first time you get a credit card, loan or line of credit in your name, from the bank.
It takes about six months to establish a credit history.
Your credit rating contains a
number and a letter. The number - between 0 and 9 - shows how fast you pay your bills. “1” means
you pay your bills within 30 days of billing date and you’ve had no more than one late payment,
while “9” means a bad debt, for example, a debt been placed with a collection agency. Credit
history is recorded in les (Credit Reports) maintained by one of Canada’s two major credit-
reporting agencies – Equifax and TransUnion Canada.
Credit score/rating = Actual financial health
- a judgment about your financial health, at a specific point in time
- indicates the risk you represent for lenders (such as banks) compared with other
- it's used to set the interest rate you will pay when borrowing money
Scores range between
300 to 850
The higher your score, the lower the risk for the lender
Do’s and Don’ts of building good credit
- Get a credit card to build your credit history
- Try to pay your bills in full
- Make sure your monthly account statement is correct
- Pay your bills on time
- Limit yourself to a maximum of one or two credit cards
- Know what your credit report says about you
- Don’t accept or use any form of credit until you understand and are comfortable
with its terms and conditions
- Don’t go over the credit limit on your credit card
- Don’t wait to report any unauthorized transactions on your account
- Don’t use your credit card to supplement your monthly cash flow
- Don’t spend more than your budget allows for
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are local agencies that provide free and
confidential credit counseling
- 1 The Scotiabank StartRight Program, created for Canadian Permanent residents from 0-3 years in Canada, International Students and Foreign Workers.
- 2 To be eligible, you must be a participant in the Scotiabank StartRight Program. Your application for credit and the credit limit assigned (up to $5,000) will be determined based on Scotiabank’s credit criteria, including your verifiable income and credit history (if available). A credit history in Canada is not required in order to be eligible for credit under the Scotiabank StartRight Program. To qualify for a credit card, you must be a resident of Canada and the age of majority.