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The best instant approval credit cards in Canada for 2024

Jordan Lavin, Personal Finance Contributor

June 4, 2024 | Fact checked by: Natasha Macmillan, Business Unit Director - Everyday Banking

The days of waiting for your credit card approval are no more. Find out immediately if your credit card application has been approved. Here is our selection of the best instant approval credit cards in Canada.

Canada's best instant approval cards at a glance

Compare credit cards side-by-side

Finding a new credit card just got easier. Instantly compare up to 3 credit cards side-by-side to see how their rewards, features, perks, and rates stack up.

Our methodology: how we choose the best credit cards

Best instant approval credit cards by category

Best rewards instant approval credit card

featured

4.5 Ratehub rated

Best for Groceries & dining

First year reward
$660/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $156 annual fee

Earn rewards

1pt – 5pts / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

15,000 bonus points (a $150 value)

Annual fee

$156

The American Express Cobalt is one of the highest-earning rewards cards out there, offering up to 5 points per $1 on groceries, restaurants, and food delivery. Points are worth up to 1.75 cents each when redeemed for travel via Amex’s Fixed Points Rewards chart or 1 cent each if you want to keep things simple and use Amex’s straightforward Flexible Points program (1,000 points always equals $10 in travel rewards). The card has no specific income requirements, and when you apply online, you can get instantly approved in minutes if you qualify.

The PC Financial Mastercard is one of Canada's strongest no-fee rewards credit cards and store credit cards for everyday essentials. Approval decisions come within minutes of submitting your application online. You can earn 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. Other PC Financial cards to consider include the PC Financial World Mastercard and the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard. With these cards you can 30 PC Optimum points (the equivalent of 3% in store credit) at Loblaws-owned grocery stores. While that obviously includes Loblaws chains, it also includes several other locations - from No Frills and Fortinos to Real Canadian Superstores, and more. 

Best cash back instant approval credit card

featured

4.5 Ratehub rated

Best for Everyday spending

First year reward
$712/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $120 annual fee

Earn rewards

2% – 4% earn rate

Welcome bonus

$400

Annual fee

$120

The SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express credit card lets you earn cash back equally across all categories - removing the complexity of some cash back reward credit cards and making it one of the best no fee credit cards in Canada. With SimplyCash Preferred, cardholders can earn 2% cash back on all purchases. Overall, this cash back credit card is a great option for those looking for an easy to understand rewards structure with no restrictions. 

Best online instant approval credit card

featured

4.5 Ratehub rated

Best for Flexible spending

First year reward
$856/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $0 annual fee

Earn rewards

0.5% – 10% earn rate

Welcome bonus

$100

Annual fee

$0

While the fact that the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is a no annual fee card is a big reason behind its popularity, what really sets this card apart is its customizability. With this card, you can choose your bonus categories (which will earn you a strong cash back rate of 2% per $1 spent). This is rare in the credit card market and means you can avoid being locked into a bonus category that you can’t take full advantage of or that doesn’t align with your spending habits. On top of that, your cash back is refunded every month instead of the standard annual reimbursement. 

Best instant approval credit card for students

featured

Best for Groceries

First year reward
$331/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $0 annual fee

Earn rewards

0.5% – 3% earn rate

Annual fee

$0

The BMO CashBack Mastercard - Student is a no annual fee, instant approval rewards credit card that offers particularly strong returns on everyday essentials from grocery stores and supermarkets. It earns 3% cash back on the first $500 you spend on groceries every month and 1% on recurring bills up to $500 every month (0.5% cash back after that). For all your other everyday purchases, you’ll net 0.5% cash back without limits.

While there are rewards caps on the card’s two bonus categories, they do reset with the start of every new 30-day billing cycle. And at $500 per month in each category, they’ll be hard to max out, especially on a student’s budget.

This credit card has the trio of features that most appeal to students: 1. no annual fees 2. the ability to earn straightforward rewards, and 3. no income requirement.

Honourable mention instant approval credit card

featured

3.0 Ratehub rated

Best for Everyday spending

First year reward
$132/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $0 annual fee

Earn rewards

0.5% – 15% earn rate

Annual fee

$0

The NEO Credit is an instant approval credit card that will provide you with a digital card that be used immediately through Apple Wallet or Google Pay even before your physical card arrives. You can use the app to view rewards by location and get cash back when you shop. 

Instant approval credit card that have no credit check

featured

First year reward
$141/yr

based on spending $2,200/mo after $48 annual fee

Earn rewards

0.5% – 1% earn rate

Annual fee

$48

The Koho Essential is a prepaid credit card that is a great option for individuals with no or bad credit scores. The Koho Essential allows you to earn cash back rewards for every purchase and offers a credit building service helping you build or rebuild your credit history. 

FAQ

How can I apply for an instant approval credit card?


What is the easiest credit card to get approved for in Canada?


Can I get an instant approval credit card if I have bad credit?


Our guide to instant approval credit cards

What is credit card instant approval?

Instant approval is exactly what it sounds like. After providing the necessary information (more on that below), the card issuer’s underwriting algorithm will automatically look at your application in real time and decide whether you meet the qualification requirements and are approved. 

Because the entire process takes place automatically online and there’s no need for a human underwriter to examine your application, you'll find out whether you’re approved for the card at the same time you apply.

This feature proves helpful in several situations. If you’re not sure whether your application will be approved, instant approval will spare you weeks of waiting. Additionally, if you plan to use a credit card for a specific purpose, like for an upcoming vacation, being instantly approved will also get the card in your hands faster.

However, it is important to note that instant approval doesn’t mean guaranteed approval. You’ll still need to meet the card’s application requirements and undergo a credit check. Instant approval just makes it easier and faster (we’re talking a matter of minutes) to get approved in cases when you do satisfy the qualification requirements.

How does my credit score affect a credit card instant approval?

The better your credit score, the more likely you are to be instantly approved for a credit card. 

A great strategy is to check your own credit score beforehand. Many websites, including Transunion, let you check your credit score for free. It's important to note that checking your own credit score isn’t the same as when banks do it and won’t hurt your score in any way.

Even if your credit score falls below the threshold for instant approval, you may still be approved for the card you want. The process might just take longer, and you might have to provide additional details, make a security deposit, speak with the card issuer in person or over the phone, and/or have a guarantor co-sign for the card. 

Additionally, you’ll need to meet other minimum requirements for these cards. Most notably, many premium credit cards have a minimum requirement for personal income – typically around $60,000-$80,000. 

What else can I do to increase my odds of being instantly approved?

One of the best ways to increase your chances of being instantly approved for the card you want is to do your research and make sure you meet its income requirements before hitting apply. Most credit card application pages will explicitly mention how much you need to earn in order to get approved.

Also read: Best credit cards for low income in Canada

As a long-term strategy, you’ll also want to maintain good personal finance habits to keep your credit score in good standing. Borrowing only what you can afford and paying all of your bills on time are two of the biggest things you can do to improve your creditworthiness. It also helps to stay well under your credit limit on the cards you already have.

After I’m instantly approved, can I use my credit card right away?

Unfortunately, just because the approval process is instant, that doesn’t mean you can start spending immediately. After you’re approved, you’ll have to wait until your new card arrives in the mail, which usually takes anywhere from 5-7 business days. However, some cards (which we have covered above) provide information enabling you to add it to your digital wallet, allowing you to start using it immediately. 

Some caveats to instant approval credit cards

In some cases, instant approval credit cards are only available to permanent residents, eligible work visa holders or citizens of Canada. If you’re new to Canada, you’ll likely have to step into a bank branch or call over the phone for a more detailed conversation with a banking specialist to get a card.

Instant approval credit cards may not offer as many rewards or benefits as other cards on the market. Some cards may also come with higher interest rates as well.

Instant approval vs. guaranteed credit cards

Remember, instant approval isn’t the same as guaranteed approval. You’ll still need to meet the card’s application requirements and undergo a credit check – and you can still get rejected.

If you have bad credit and are looking for a card that’s super easy to get, you’ll want to set your sights on what’s known as a secured card. A secured card is a credit card made for people with bad credit and have little to no real application requirements. Designed for people who are looking to rebuild their credit history, secured cards come with trade offs like the fact you’ll need to pay forward a deposit and typically won’t earn rewards.

How do I find the right credit card with instant approval for me?

With lots of credit card offers on the market, the choices can be overwhelming. Ratehub’s CardFinder tool can match you with the best credit card for you, based on your particular spending habits and approval likelihood, in under two minutes.