Canada's best instant approval credit cards for 2022

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Best instant-approval credit cards in Canada

CardFeaturesAnnual fee
Best for instant use: 
Canadian Tire Triangle Mastercard
• 4% back in CTM on spending at Canadian Tire and partner stores
• 1.5% cash back in CTM on groceries†
• 5¢ per litre back on gas from participating Gas+ and Essence+ locations
$0
Best for overall rewards: 
American Express Cobalt*
• 5 pts/$1 on groceries & dining
• 3 pts/$1 on streaming services
• 2 pts/$1 on travel, gas & transit
• 1 pt/$1 on everything else
$155.88
Best for no fee rewards: 
PC Financial Mastercard*
• 25 pts/$1 at Shoppers Drug Mart
• 30 pts/$1 at Esso/Mobil
• 10 pts/$1 on everything else
$0
Best for cash back: 
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express*
• 2% cash back on all purchases
• 4% on gas and groceries
$119.88
Best secured card: 
Plastk*
• 1 pt per dollar
• 1 pt = 0.04% cash back
$ 48 (plus $6 monthly fee)
Best for low APR: 
BMO Preferred Rate*
• 12.99% APR on purchases$20
Best for guaranteed approval: 
Neo Financial Mastercard*
• Average of 5% cash back at select partner stores$0
Best for online approval: 
Tangerine Money-Back*
• 2% cash back in up to 3 spending categories
• 0.5% on everything else
$0

† On first $12,000 per year, excludes Costco and Walmart.

Canada’s best instant approval credit cards 2022

If you’re applying for a credit card, chances are you want it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, you often have to wait several days to see if you were approved, and then wait some more while the card makes its way to you in the mail. The good news is many credit cards now offer instant approval. You simply fill out an online application and the credit card provider runs automated checks—you know within minutes if your application has been approved or rejected. 

As banking processes become increasingly digital, online credit card applications are becoming more common, and more issuers are offering instant approval credit cards. Here are the best ones available in Canada right now. 


Best credit card for instant use

Canadian Tire Triangle Mastercard

At a glance: With this card, Canadians who regularly shop at Canadian Tire and partner stores will appreciate generous earn rates on purchases and the ability to easily redeem their Canadian Tire Money (CT money). For a no-annual-fee card, it includes some valuable perks like car rental collision insurance and access to Canadian Tire Services Limited’s Roadside Assistance Gold Plan. If you apply at a Canadian Tire store and are approved, you may use the card immediately. And if you apply online and are approved, you’ll be able to proceed to checkout right away. You can also use your card through the Apple Pay or Google Pay apps to make purchases before you receive your physical card in the mail.

  • Earn rate: 4% back in CT Money on almost everything at Canadian Tire and partner stores; 1.5% at grocery stores (excluding Costco and Walmart); 0.5% everywhere else; 5¢ per litre back in CT Money every time you fill up at Gas+ and Essence+ locations
  • Interest rates: purchases at 21.99%, cash advances at 19.99%, balance transfers at 19.99%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Income requirements: None
  • Welcome offer: None
  • The generous 4% earn rate makes this a card to consider for those who shop with CT Money at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Mark’s, L’Équipeur, Atmosphere, Party City, Pro Hockey Life, Sports Rousseau, Hockey Experts, L’Entrepôt du Hockey, and participating Sports Experts stores.
  • This card has no annual fee.
  • With $1 in CT money equalling CAD$1, the rewards program is simple to understand.

  • CT Money can only be redeemed at Canadian Tire and partner stores, so you’ll have to shop there to benefit from its rewards.
  • The 1.5% earn rate on groceries excludes purchases at Walmart and Costco, and is only available on the first $12,000 per year.
  • The participating gas partners, Gas+ and Essence+, aren’t nearly as ubiquitous as some other brands so it’s unclear whether the ability to earn 5¢ per litre back on fuel will beat out competitor loyalty programs.


Best rewards credit card 

American Express Cobalt Card*

amex-cobalt-review

At a glance: The American Express Cobalt card fixes many of the drawbacks of some other rewards programs. It offers healthy accelerated earn rates and defines its spending categories extremely broadly. It makes redemptions easy and extremely flexible, even allowing you to transfer points to other programs. And it adds in a bunch of perks like an annual hotel voucher to make sure you want to keep it in your wallet.

  • Earn rate: 5 points per $1 spent on restaurants, coffee shops, bars, grocery stores and food delivery services; 3 points per $1 spent on streaming services; 2 points per $1 spent on gas, transit, rideshare services and travel; and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else
  • Interest rates: purchases at 20.99%, cash advances at 21.99%
  • Annual fee: $155.88
  • Income requirements: None  
  • Welcome offer: In the first year, you can earn 2,500 points when you spend $500 per month on eligible purchases—earning you up to 30,000 points. That’s up to $300 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
  • Welcome reward lets you earn up to 30,000 membership rewards points, a $300 value when you use points for purchases.
  • Flexible redemptions let you use your points towards almost anything and you can even transfer them 1:1 to several frequent flyer and other rewards programs.
  • Outstanding accelerated earn rates and broadly defined spending categories mean you’ll rack up points quickly.
  • This card includes perks like up to $1,000 in new mobile device insurance, an annual USD$100 hotel credit, and some travel and car rental insurance coverage.

  • The accelerated earn rates have an annual cap of $30,000 in purchases. Anything after that earns at 1 point per $1.
  • The travel coverage is incomplete and doesn’t include emergency medical protection.
  • The annual fee is $12.99, billed monthly, adding up to a total of $155.88, slightly higher than other cards in this category. 
  • American Express cards are less widely accepted than Visa or Mastercard.


Best no-fee rewards credit card

PC Financial Mastercard*

PC Financial Mastercard

At a glance: The PC Financial Mastercard is one of Canada’s strongest no-fee rewards credit cards for everyday essentials, and since it’s a store card, eligibility is often more lenient than with traditional bank credit cards. Approval decisions come within minutes of submitting your application online, and PC Financial reviews your income as consideration for the PC Financial World Mastercard ($60,000 personal or $100,000 household) and World Elite Mastercard ($80,000 personal or $150,000 household) credit cards which offer accelerated earn rates. 

  • Earn rate: At least 25 points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart; 30 points per $1 spent at Esso and Mobil gas stations; and 10 points per $1 spent everywhere else
  • Interest rates: purchases at 20.97%, cash advances at 22.97%, balance transfers at 22.97% (21.97% for Quebec residents)
  • Annual fee: None
  • Income requirements: None
  • Welcome offer: Get 20,000 PC Optimum points (a $20 value).
  • The welcome offer for new cardholders gets you 20,000 PC Optimum points (a $20 value).
  • Ability to “stack” points by showing your PC Optimum points card and paying with your PC Optimum Mastercard allows you to build up your points balance quickly.
  • With the wide range of stores under the Loblaw/President’s Choice umbrella—including Loblaws, No Frills, Fortinos, Real Canadian Superstore, Shoppers Drug Mart and Joe Fresh—you’ll have plenty of opportunities to earn and redeem. 

  • This card doesn’t offer much in the way of extras or perks.
  • It does not include travel insurance.


Best cash back credit card 

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express*

At a glance: With a 2% unlimited cash back earn rate on everything you buy on this card, the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express will appeal to those looking for an easy-to-understand rewards structure without charts or restrictions. If you shop at retailers who accept American Express cards, this is a cash back card to consider.

  • Earn rate: 4% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases up to $1,200 annually; 2% cash back on everything else.
  • Interest rates: purchases at 20.99%, cash advances at 21.99%
  • Annual fee: $119.88
  • Income requirements: None
  • Welcome offer: Earn a $40 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 on purchases. This could add up to $400 in your first 10 months of having the card.
  • The 2% cash back flat earn rate keeps things simple so you don’t have to worry about spending categories or bonus limits. Plus, you can earn this rate without any caps or annual limits.
  • Comes with some travel and car rental insurance.

  • Does not include travel medical emergency insurance or new mobile device insurance.
  • As an American Express card, this card is not as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard.


Best secured credit card

Plastk Secured Visa*

plastk secured visa

At a glance: Secured credit cards don’t typically offer anything in the way of perks, so with a points program in place, the Plastk Secured Visa is a stand-out. Pay a deposit (minimum $300) to get started and earn 1 point per $1 spent on the card while building up your credit. 

  • Earn rate: 1 point per $1 spent
  • Interest rates: purchases at 17.99%
  • Annual fee: $48, plus a $6 monthly maintenance fee (total of $120 in fees)
  • Income requirements: None
  • Welcome offer: 0% interest rate for the first 3 months and 5,000 rewards points (a $20 value)
  • When your application is approved, you’ll get 5,000 points (a value of $20).
  • It has a promotional interest rate of 0% for the first three months and reverts to a below-average interest rate of 17.99% after that.
  • Allows you to build up your credit by reporting monthly to Equifax.

  • At 250 points equalling $1, the points value is comparably low.
  • On top of the $300 deposit to secure the card, you’ll pay $48 annually plus a $6 monthly maintenance fee (for a total of $120 in fees). 
  • This card is not available to those in Quebec.


Best low-interest credit card 

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard*

BMO-Preferred-Rate-Mastercard

At a glance: Those looking for a low-interest credit card to help them pay down debt will want to check out the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard. A low $20 annual fee, a regular interest rate of 12.99% on purchases, free additional cardholders and an appealing welcome offer all make this a strong package. 

  • Earn rate: None
  • Interest rates: purchases at 12.99%, cash advances at 15.99%
  • Annual fee: $20
  • Income requirements: None
  • Welcome offer: Earn a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 2% transfer fee for the first 9 months.
  • The welcome offer of a 0.99% interest rate on balance transfers for nine months (2% transfer fee) and first-year annual fee waiver makes this a smart choice if you’re looking to pay down debt.
  • You can have the annual fee waived every year if you also have a BMO Performance chequing account.
  • Annual fee of $20 is affordable and you can add an additional cardholder for free.

  • This card doesn’t come with any perks like insurance.


 

Best credit card for guaranteed approval

Neo Financial Mastercard*

Links to Neo website

At a glance: Not only is instant approval available with the Neo Financial Mastercard, but you can start using your “card” through Apple Wallet or Google Pay even before your physical card arrives in the mail. You can use the app to view rewards by location and get cash back when you shop. Optional subscription-based Bundles allow you to customize your card to maximize rewards in various sectors, such as travel or food and drink.

  • Earn rate: Varies, but averages at 5% or more at partner stores.
  • Interest rates: purchases at 19.99% to 26.99%, cash advances at 22.99% to 28.99%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Income requirements: None
  • Welcome offer: Earn 15% cash back on your first purchase at most Neo partners
  • The welcome offer gets you up to $335 in bonuses.
  • It comes with a minimum 0.5% guaranteed cash back rate should your monthly rewards fall below that level.
  • You can earn unlimited cash back annually and there’s no annual fee.
  • Even those with a poor credit rating can get a Neo card. The company offers a secured version with a minimum deposit of $50.

  • A large portion of the bonus money ($300) comes from signing up your contacts.
  • If you don’t tend to shop at chain or big box stores, you might have trouble finding Neo partners.
  • There is no insurance included, not even extended warranty or purchase protection.
  • You don’t earn anything (except the guaranteed 0.5%) at non-partner retailers, and the guaranteed cash back is capped at $50 per month.
  • There are often limits to the amount of cash back you can earn, even when shopping at a partner retailer.


Also consider: 

Capital One Guaranteed Approval Mastercard

capital one guaranteed approval credit card

At a glance: Designed to help you build or repair credit, the Capital One Guaranteed Approval Mastercard is available to those who are in the age of majority in their province or territory, who haven’t applied for a Capital One account more than once in the past month, who don’t have an existing or pending Capital One account, or who haven’t had a Capital One account in bad standing in the last year. Those with a poor credit history are automatically approved for a secured Capital One card.

  • Earn rate: None
  • Interest rates: purchases at 19.80%, cash advances at 21.90%, balance transfers at 19.80%
  • Annual fee: $59
  • Income requirements: None
  • Welcome offer: None
  • The card’s Quick Check service lets you know if you qualify for a card in 15 seconds and doesn’t impact your credit score. 
  • Comes with common carrier accident protection, car rental collision/loss waiver, and baggage delay insurance.
  • The low $59 annual fee won’t break the bank. 

  • Doesn’t have a rewards or cash back program


Best online instant approval credit card

Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard*

At a glance: The no-fee Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard offers 2% cash back on two spending categories of your choice—including groceries, restaurants, gas, entertainment, recurring bill payments—plus a third category when you get your rewards automatically deposited into your Tangerine savings account. You also earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases and there are no limits on how much you can earn.

  • Earn rate: 2% cash back on purchases in up to three spending categories and 0.5% cash back on everything else
  • Interest rates: purchases at 19.95%, cash advances at 19.95%, balance transfers at 19.95%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Income requirements:  $12,000
  • Welcome offer: Earn 15% cash back (up to $150) when you spend $1,000 on everyday purchases within the first two months of having the card. Transfer your balance from another credit card to receive a low interest rate of 1.95% for the first six months (1% balance transfer fee applies). Must apply by December 29, 2022.
  • The welcome offer lets you earn 15% back on up to $1,000 (up to $150) within the first two months.
  • There are no caps to money you can earn.
  • Balance transfers made in the first 30 days get a promotional 1.95% interest rate for the first six months.

  • This card doesn’t include any travel insurance or other perks.


What is an instant approval credit card?

An instant approval credit card offers an expedited approval process—saving you time and stress. Unlike with many regular credit cards, when you apply, you’ll know almost immediately whether you’ve been approved or if your application needs to go to a manual review.

If your application is forwarded for manual verification, it can take an additional two to three business days before a final decision is made. If you’re approved, your application goes forward for credit checks while your card is printed and mailed. You can usually expect your card within five to seven business days, but some lenders allow you to start using your account even before it arrives.

Does instant approval mean guaranteed approval?

No. Even with an instant approval credit card, your application must be approved—but the process is super quick.

What do you need to get instantly approved for a credit card?

As with any credit card application, there are a few requirements you’ll need to meet in order to obtain an instant approval credit card. 

  • You must be a permanent resident or Canadian citizen. (If you don’t meet this requirement, there are credit cards that allow applications without this criteria, such as secured credit cards.)
  • You must be the age of majority. In Canada, the age of majority is 18 or 19 years old and older, depending on your province of residence.
  • You must not have a history of bankruptcy if you’re applying for an unsecured credit card. Most rewards and low-interest credit card options are unsecure, but there are secured credit cards that you can apply for even if you’ve declared yourself bankrupt.
  • No matter the kind of credit card you’re applying for, a good credit score will increase your chances of being approved.

Before you start an instant approval application, make sure you have the following information at hand: 

  • Your social insurance number
  • Your employment information
  • Your income information

The application form may ask for other information, and some of it may be optional. Bear in mind that the more details you provide, the more efficient the approval process will be. 

Once you’re approved, your application will still have to go out for proper credit checks. All cards require a credit check, except for secured cards and cards from an institution that you have an established relationship with. In some cases, you’ll be contacted for information or clarification. Shortly after, your card will be produced and mailed to the address on file.

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