Your credit score and your credit card

A good credit score supported by a strong credit history is the key to getting a credit card. The stronger your credit history is, the better your chances of being approved for credit and getting a higher credit limit.

Credit scores 101

A credit score is a numerical indication of your credit risk. In other words, it shows how likely you are to make your payments on time.

Credit history overview

Your credit history contains a record of relevant transactions that summarizes all the types of credit you have, and whether or not they’re in good standing. For example, each time you apply for credit, whether it’s a credit card or loan, it will appear on your credit history. Your creditors and lenders will also report on your payment history, so your on-time payments as well as late or missed payments will be represented.

Credit card options with a limited or poor credit history

In the event your credit score is low, you may not be approved for a credit card. Young people who have a very limited credit history tend to have lower scores. Many of the people who fall into this category are students, so a student credit card could be the answer. These cards take into account your short credit history.

If your credit score is low you could look into secured credit cards. These cards require a cash deposit which allows you to get a credit card with a credit limit that equals your cash deposit. This card can then be used to build your credit history.

Ways to raise your credit score

A strong credit score is key to financial success. It will make getting approved for credit cards and loans for large purchases such as homes and cars much easier. In order to keep your score strong or improve it, pay your bills on time all the time. You can get free copies of your credit history from one of two credit bureaus in Canada, Equifax or TransUnion. Should you spot mistakes, you can have those taken care of. Also, take note of where you’ve performed poorly so you can focus on rectifying those issues. For example, if you consistently pay your bills late, make it a point to start paying on time.

Apply for a credit card with CIBC

If you’re ready to apply for a credit card, CIBC offers a variety of credit cards to choose from. In fact, if you’re not sure which one is right for you, you can use our credit card selector to compare your options. You can also reach a customer care specialist at 1-800-465-4653.

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