New to Canada?

Start building your credit history.

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The Scotiabank StartRight® Program1 for Newcomers offers you all the help you need to make setting in Canada easier. At Scotiabank®, we can help you with the right solutions and advice – from setting up your bank account and managing your money to investing for your future.

With this program, a credit history in Canada is not required to be eligible for credit. You can start building your credit history with an unsecured credit card2 that meets your needs.

What newcomers need to know about credit cards

A credit card allows you to make purchases using money the bank lends you rather than paying cash.

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:


No-Fee VISA*Card

Up to 1% cash back on eligible purchases

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American Express® Card

American Express Card

Scotiabank American Express Card

Travel Rewards with no annual fee

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Visa Card

Enjoy free movies, and more

Get started
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.

What is a credit report?

A “snapshot” of your credit history – one of the main tools lenders use to decide whether or not to lend you money.

A credit report contains:

  • personal information
  • credit information
  • public records
  • collection information
  • credit report inquiries

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 customers
  • 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

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

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