What plastic is fantastic???

703535895There are 74.5 million credit cards in circulation in Canada for a 34.5 million population. There are plenty of them for a simple reason: using them is fast and convenient.

Whether you like it or not, if you do not have any credit history in Canada, most likely, you will have to get a secure credit card.
I have been with TD for about 5 years now, and only got my card in 2011 (I have a Green Visa from TD Canada Trust). Even though I had my paychecks constantly deposited into my account semi-monthly for 2 years prior, in absence of the credit score I could only qualify for a “secure” Visa, which meant I had to freeze $500 in my savings account for 3 years thus getting a credit limit of $500. This card has a chip for more secure transactions and an integrated PayWave technology (an analogue to MasterCard’s PayPass) to be able to simply tap to make a payment.

In order to get a card, I came in to the bank branch for an appointment. After a 15-minute conversation about how much do I get paid, how much do I pay for rent and similar issues, I left my e-mail and contact phone number for a representative to call me back in 3-5 business days. IMPORTANT! You need to be 19 or older to qualify for a card. However, there is a loophole: if you are a university/college student, make sure to bring a your study permit and a student ID, as you can qualify for a $2000 credit limit without having to “freeze” any permanent balance.

Click here for information on improving your credit score

A smart way to use a credit card is to pay off your purchases as soon as possible. Credit bureaus recommend using less than 30% of your credit to keep your score healthy – even if you pay off your debt in full each month. Once you have worked a good credit score, you can re-apply for a better credit card with higher limit and more advantages (such as cash-back, air miles or extended warranty on electronics purchases.