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The 6 Best Credit Cards for Low Income in Canada 2021

As our world leans further towards an economy of online shopping and cashless transactions, owning a credit card is becoming increasingly important. 

But what if you’re on a fixed income? Lots of credit cards feature excellent rewards and attractive signup offers, but come with prohibitive minimum income requirements and high annual fees, making them difficult or outright impossible to get if you’re living on a tight budget.

Thankfully, many providers offer cards with those needs in mind. If you’ve got good credit but want a low-fee card that will match your income level, we’ve picked some of our favourites below:

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The best credit cards for low income in Canada

Credit Card Card Details
Tangerine Money-Back Credit CardMin. income requirement: $12,000
No annual fee
Earn 2% cash-back in any 2 categories of your choice
Welcome offer: 15% cash back in first 2 months
SimplyCash from American Express No minimum income requirement
No annual fee
Earn 1.25% cash back across all spending categories
Welcome offer: 4% cash back in first 6 months
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MastercardNo minimum income requirement
No annual fee
Welcome offer: earn 4 points per $1 on groceries, digital media, membership, household utilities in first 90 days
Flexible point redemption options
PC Financial MastercardNo minimum income requirement
No annual fee
Earn 10 PC Optimum points per $1 spent at any Loblaws-owned grocery store
Welcome offer: earn 50,000 bonus points after first purchase at any participating business ($50 cash value)
Free purchase assurance/extended warranty coverage
BMO Cash Back MastercardMinimum income requirement: $15,000
No annual fee
Earn 3% cash back on groceries
Welcome offer: 5% cash back on all purchases for first 3 months, plus promo balance transfer rate of 1.99%
Brim Financial MastercardMinimum income requirement: $15,000
No annual fee
No FX fees 
Brim Open Rewards program
Free purchase assurance/extended warranty coverage
Flexible security features

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Card details

  • Min. income requirement: $12,000
  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash-back in any 2 categories of your choice
  • Welcome offer: 15% cash back in first 2 months

If your spending typically falls into one or two categories, Tangerine’s Money-Back Credit Card may be worth looking into. 

With a low minimum income requirement of $12,000 and no annual fee, the Money-Back card offers users the ability to get 2% cash back in two spending categories of their choice (purchases in all other categories will get 0.50% cash back). Not only that, but there’s currently no limit to how much you can earn, allowing you to grow your money-back balance until you can take a sizable chunk out of your statement.

Plus, if you apply by November 30, 2021, you can take advantage of their current welcome bonus which offers 15% cash back (up to $100) when you spend $1000 in the first two months of card ownership.

 

SimplyCash from American Express

Card details

  • No minimum income requirement
  • No annual fee
  • Earn 1.25% cash back across all spending categories
  • Welcome offer: 4% cash back in first 6 months

For those who spend across many categories and want the best bang for their buck, the SimplyCash card from American Express could be a pretty great option.

Featuring no minimum income and no annual fee for primary and additional cards, the SimplyCash card lets users earn a flat rate of 1.25% across all purchase categories. 

Not only that, but cardholders still have access to the expected American Express benefits (Front of the Line, American Express Experiences) without having to pay the higher annual fees of other Amex cards such as The Platinum Card or the Gold Rewards Card. You’ll also receive travel accident and shopping insurance when you fully charge these items to your SimplyCash card.

The card also features a generous welcome offer of 4% cash back (up to $200) in your first six months of ownership.

 

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

Card details

  • No minimum income requirement
  • No annual fee
  • Welcome offer: earn 4 points per $1 on groceries, digital media, membership, household utilities in first 90 days
  • Flexible point redemption options

Interested in a card with a flexible points-based reward system? The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard has a lot to offer.

There is no minimum income or annual fee for this card, and it also features a great signup bonus: new users can earn four points per dollar spent on eligible grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases during the first 90 days of card ownership (the card’s standard two points per dollar applies thereafter). In addition, you can earn an extra 5000 bonus points ($25 cash value) if you make $500 or more in eligible purchases within the first 90 days and another 5000 bonus points if you sign up for paperless billing in the same time period. 

Another benefit of this card comes from its flexibility in point redemption. Once ready, you can redeem your points for cash back, brand-name merchandise, gift cards from participating retailers, charitable donations, or travel. That’s a lot of options. Plus, as long as your account remains in good standing, your points will never expire.

 

PC Financial Mastercard

Card details

  • No minimum income requirement
  • No annual fee
  • Earn 10 PC Optimum points per $1 spent at any Loblaws-owned grocery store
  • Welcome offer: earn 50,000 bonus points after first purchase at any participating business ($50 cash value)
  • Free purchase assurance/extended warranty coverage

If you’re a frequent shopper at Loblaws-owned stores, the PC Financial Mastercard is one that should be on your radar. 

There’s no minimum income and no annual fee for this card, and you can earn 10 PC Optimum points for every dollar you spend at any Loblaws or associated grocery store. Plus, you’ll earn 25 points per dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart, at least 30 points per litre when you fill your tank at any Esso or Mobil station, and 20 points per dollar on any travel arrangements booked through PC Travel. And when you use it everywhere else, you’ll receive a generous 10 points per dollar. As an example, $3000 worth of monthly spending on the card could get you around $600 worth of points that you can use for future purchases. There’s also their current welcome offer of 50,000 bonus points after your first purchase with the card at any participating business (a cash value of $50).

Finally, you’ll get the added benefits of free purchase assurance and extended warranty on any items bought with the card, plus the ability to add up to four extra cards on your account for family members, making it easy to rack up lots of points quickly.

 

BMO Cash Back Mastercard

Card details

  • Minimum income requirement: $15,000
  • No annual fee
  • Earn 3% cash back on groceries
  • Welcome offer: 5% cash back on all purchases for first 3 months, plus promo balance transfer rate of 1.99%

But what if you’d rather get cash back than membership points? For those looking to save big on groceries with some added flexibility, the BMO Cash Back Mastercard is a great pick.

While its waived annual fee and low minimum income requirement of $15,000 make it accessible to those on a fixed income, it’s 3% cash back rate on grocery purchases really make it stand out. Plus, new users will receive a welcome offer of 5% cash back across all purchases for the first three months and a promotional balance transfer interest rate of 1.99%.

 

Brim Financial Mastercard

Card details

  • Minimum income requirement: $15,000
  • No annual fee
  • No FX fees 
  • Brim Open Rewards program
  • Free purchase assurance/extended warranty coverage
  • Flexible security features

If you’re someone who does a lot of shopping online or abroad, the Brim Financial Mastercard has one feature you’ll want to pay extra attention to.

Aside from having a low minimum income requirement of $15,000 and no annual fee, the Brim Mastercard offers no foreign transaction fees. Often, credit card companies will apply a fee when you use your card to make a purchase in a foreign currency. With this card, you’ll avoid that extra penalty when making applicable purchases.

While their base-level rewards aren’t the most eye-catching (you’ll earn one point per dollar spent), the Brim Mastercard has a unique feature: Brim Open Rewards. With this program, users can accelerate the points they earn the more times they spend at participating businesses. For example, the first time you use the card at a participating lunch spot may only net you one point per dollar, but you could be earning 4 points per dollar by the third or fourth visit. The card features plenty of other benefits as well: purchases are covered by extended warranty and purchase security insurance, and it’s convenient security features allow users to temporarily lock the card (or block online and foreign transactions) directly from the app. Not only that, but Brim allows you to add family members to your account at no cost.

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The bottom line

 

Being on a fixed income can sometimes pose challenges, but one of them shouldn’t be gaining access to a credit card. Take a look at the cards we’ve recommended above, and do your own digging to find the right match for you (use our Cardfinder tool linked at the top of this article). 

Got any other cards to recommend for fixed-income users? Share them below in the comments.

 

ALSO READ:

The 6 Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in Canada 2021

Canada's 8 Best No Fee Credit Cards for 2021

Credit Card Eligibility Explained

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