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The best instant approval credit cards in Canada for 2023

  • See Canada's best credit cards for all card types
  • Find out the cards you will be approved for, no SIN required
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Canada's best instant approval cards at a glance


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Best instant approval credit cards per category

Jordan Lavin

Once upon a time, applying for a credit card meant stepping into a bank branch to fill out a long form, meeting with the branch manager, and waiting the long six-to-eight weeks to find out if you were approved or rejected and when your new credit card would be sent to you.

Today, I don’t have the patience for that and neither do you. Fortunately, there are plenty of credit cards available in Canada that offer instant approval. You can find out immediately whether your credit card is approved and get your new card in short order. Here are the best ones in Canada right now. 

Instant approval doesn’t mean guaranteed approval. For cards that are super easy to get (even if you have bad credit), consider looking at secured credit cards.

Best rewards instant approval credit card

The American Express Cobalt is one of the highest-earning rewards cards out there, offering up to 5 points per dollar on groceries and restaurants. 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.

Best no-fee rewards instant approval credit card

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 online instant approval credit card

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 the customizability. With this card, you can choose your own bonus categories (which will earn you a strong cash back rate of 2% per dollar 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 on a monthly basis (instead of the standard annual reimbursement). 


Best cash back instant approval credit card

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 to an easy to understand rewards structure with no restriction. 

Honourable mention instant approval credit cards

The NEO Financial Mastercard 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. 

For those looking to earn rewards while building their credit, the Plastk Secured Visa Rewards Card offers the ability to earn one point for every dollar you spend on the card, earning yourself a dollar back for every 250 points you collect (although you won’t be able to redeem until you’ve amassed 2500 points). They also offer a signup promotion offering 5000 points (a $20 cash value) and 0% interest for the first three months. 

Their purchase interest rate of 17.99% and 25-day interest-free grace period are some of the best available right now, plus you’ll also receive monthly credit score updates via Equifax so you can monitor how you’re doing.

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 happens automatically online and there’s no need for a human underwriter to examine your application, you will find out whether you’re approved for the card at the same time you apply.

This is helpful to have in a few situations. If you’re not sure whether your application will be approved, instant approval will spare you weeks of waiting. If you’re planning 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.

Note though, instant approval doesn’t mean guaranteed approval. You’ll still need to meet the card’s application requirements and undergo a credit check – an 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 can I apply for an instant approval credit card?

The best way to apply is online, but you can also apply in person or over the phone. You’ll need to provide some information to prove your identity and employment, including your:

  • Employment status and place of work
  • Income
  • In some cases, your other debts and expenses
  • Social insurance number (though, your SIN usually isn’t required)
  • Finally, you’ll need to consent to a credit check

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. Contrary to what you might have heard, 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 give 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.

As a long-term strategy, you’ll also want to keep good personal finance habits to maintain 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.

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.

Additionally, you may not successfully complete an instant approval (even if you have good credit) if your credit profile has incomplete or inaccurate information.

Instant approval vs. guaranteed credit cards

Remember, instant approval isn’t the same as a 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.

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