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A quick review of credit building products in Canada

Rounding it up

  • Credit building — and rebuilding — takes time. Fortunately, various financial companies offer products to help you improve credit faster than the old-fashioned way.

  • For a modest monthly fee, these offerings report your good repayment habits to the credit bureaus while offering some cool perks too.

  • We’ve rounded up some credit building products for you, but it’s best to assess your personal financial scenario to see which one is best for you.

5 min read

Chrissy Kapralos
#credit#credit building#credit card#cash back

Credit functions like trust. It takes time to build up, and any pitfalls or breaks can take a lot of work and time to recover from. And with household debt on the rise (Canadians now owe an average of $1.71 for every dollar earned!) it’s more important than ever to build a strong credit history.

If you’ve damaged your credit score, you become a riskier endeavour in the eyes of a lender. There are many ways you can start (re)building your credit score, and decrease your perceived risk to a lender. However, financial institutions across the country have recognized that the traditional methods don’t always cut it. That’s why many companies have introduced credit repair products, because people need faster ways to build back their credit scores.

Let’s take a look at some credit building products from various financial companies, including KOHO’s very own Credit Building.

Rogers

When you think of Rogers, you also think on-demand cable, data-packed phone plans, and long customer service wait times. However, they make up for those wait times through their Chatr Secured Mastercard, designed to help people build back their credit in a secure manner. For $5 a month, this card offers:

  • Wide eligibility; anyone can apply as long as they don’t have an undischarged bankruptcy.

  • 0.5% cash back on all purchases.

  • Extra cash back on Rogers products and services.

Benefit: Cash back on all purchases and increased cash back on Rogers products.

Drawback: Requires security funds up front.

Refresh Secured Credit Card

The Refresh Secured credit card is a simple credit building product that also relies on a customer’s security deposit to provide credit. For around $4.80 a month,Refresh offers:

  • Guaranteed approval with deposit.

  • $10,000 credit limit.

  • Insight into how your spending and repayment behaviour is affecting your credit score.

Benefit: High credit limit for big spenders.

Drawback: High credit limit can be dangerous for spenders who lack restraint.

Capital One

Capital One offers a similar product to Rogers, as they are both secured credit cards that require security funds, and have an almost guaranteed approval. Although Capital One doesn’t offer cash back on purchases, they win points for their high security features, including:

  • Extended warranty on purchases.

  • Price adjustments to customers within 60 days of purchase. This saves you the trouble of going to a store for a price adjustment, as Capital One will do the work for you.

  • Purchase insurance; Capital One guarantees insurance on all products purchased with the card for 120 days. So, if you use this card to buy a new television and someone steals or damages it, Capital One will assess the situation and may cover the cost of the loss.

All this for $6.50 a month.

Benefit: Extensive security features for people those of us who want extra protection.

Drawback: No cash back perks.

Home Trust Secured Visa

The Home Trust Secured Visa offers a choice on fees and interest rates. The card offers:

  • Customer choice on monthly fees and interest rates - you can opt for a $59 annual fee and 14.90% interest rate, or a $0 fee and 19.99% interest rate. If you plan to use the card frequently, you might save more with the 14.9% interest rate, which is a strong selling point of this card.

  • Visa branding, which makes this card more widely accepted across merchants.

  • Insurance within 90 days of purchasing items.

Benefit: The Visa logo, communicating reliability to all merchants.

Drawback: No cash back perks.

KOHO Credit Building

KOHO’s Credit Building tool is a super simple and hassle-free way to boost your credit score. After you provide a bit of information, KOHO conducts a soft check on your credit score and issues you a balance accordingly — but it’s not for you to spend. Instead, KOHO reports this small amount of money each month to the credit bureaus as repayment history, creating a positive impact on your credit score. You can even track changes to your credit score on KOHO’s app. Having poor credit is stressful enough; let KOHO alleviate some of that strain by rebuilding your credit for you while you sit back and watch! Let’s round up the main benefits:

  • Hands-off convenience.

  • No deposit required.

  • Ability to track changes to your credit score.

  • Better credit in just six months.

Benefit: The ability to grow your credit score without lifting a finger.

Drawbacks: $7 monthly fee (if we had to name a drawback).

Hang on, why are most of these products secured credit cards?

Unsecured credit cards, or credit cards that don’t require a security deposit, are great for building your credit. However, eligibility is tighter than that of a secured credit card, making it more difficult to acquire if you have a subpar credit history. We recommend building back your credit with one of the products outlined in this article, and then applying for an unsecured credit card.

So, which one’s the best?

That depends on your individual financial scenario. KOHO’s Credit Building tool is stress-free and hands-off, but you might be more attracted to Capital One’s extensive purchase insurance and price adjustments, or Rogers’ cash back program (though remember, KOHO offers cash back too!). With debt becoming more ubiquitous in today’s financial climate, it’s great to see so many financial companies creating specific products to help people build up their credit.

As you’ve seen, there are many ways to improve your credit score. Explore the options presented, or even consider searching for others we may have missed. Ultimately, it is important to do the research and find out which is the right credit building product out there for you!

Chrissy Kapralos

Chrissy is a freelance writer and editor who is passionate about making financial education accessible. She is also a communications advisor for the Ontario Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. When she isn't writing, you can find her practicing yoga or watching horror movies.

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