Refresh Financial Review (May 2024) – Pros, Cons, Features, & Pricing

This Refresh Financial review might be just what you’re looking for. Especially if you’re trying to figure out how to raise your credit score or establish a payment history.

Your credit score determines much of what you can and cannot accomplish. It’s unlikely that a traditional lender will approve an application for a mortgage or credit card if you have no or bad credit. Alternative lenders are a possibility, but you can also work on improving your credit score.

Refresh Financial is a credit-improvement or credit-building alternative financing solution. Their services include providing credit building loans that work in the same way as a savings account. They also offer a secured card you can use to make credit purchases. They report payments and deposits to the major credit bureaus in Canada for both of their services.

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Last Updated: May 13, 2024

Refresh Financial

  • Trusted by 100,000+ Canadians since 2013
  • Quick credit-building techniques
  • Credit builder loans + secured card

Boost your credit the safe way with a card + loan - Get started now

In this Refresh Financial review, I will walk you through their services, packages, and programs. I will also cover the advantages and disadvantages of using their products.

Let’s get started with our Refresh Financial review.

What Makes Refresh Financial a Good Option?

The consumer focus Refresh Financial employs in all of its services is one of its endearing qualities. Their products, packages, and programs are built around the philosophy of opening more doors with better credit.

What they offer isn’t a quick fix. Instead, it’s a stepping-stone for more extensive credit commitments like an unsecured credit card or a mortgage.

Qualifying for their products is easy. You don’t need a co-signer, excellent credit, or a high income to get started.

If you’ve no credit history, bad credit or a bankruptcy filing on your record, their services can help you get your credit back on track.

Pros & Cons of Refresh Financial

The following section of our Refresh Financial review looks at the pros and cons of the service.

The Pros

Here’s some great things about working with Refresh Financial to build your credit.

Easy Qualification

You don’t need excellent credit or a high income to qualify for Refresh Financial’s services. Anyone with a bad to average credit score or a low to medium income might benefit from their cash savings loans and secured visa cards.

Direct Reporting to Credit Bureaus

They send credit reports to Equifax and TransUnion, Canada’s two major credit bureaus. These are submitted at the end of every month.

Widespread Usage of the Secured Card

Digital Commerce Bank distributes the Refresh Secured Card under license by Visa International. This means you can use the card anywhere in Canada and abroad.

Lower Costs Compared to Competitors

Refresh Financial charges an APR of 19.99% for credit builder loans, while for the secured card, it’s 17.99%. This is cheaper compared to the 26.99% APR Capital One charge on its secured MasterCard.

In addition, their $48.95 annual rate for their secured card compares favourably to Plastk’s $120 annual fee.

The Cons

While Refresh Financial provides a great service, there’s always room for improvement.

Possible Negative Impact on Credit Score

You could still damage your credit score if you don’t pay amounts due on your Refresh Secured Card.

Compulsory Monthly Loan Payment

You must make a monthly payment on the credit builder loan. If you don’t, you’ll be charged a $25 non-sufficient fee. You have the option of missing one payment per year, although this may not be practical.

Services Offered by Refresh Financial

This section of our Refresh Financial review deals with the services offered and their associated costs.

There is a solution whether you are just starting your credit-building journey or need to repair a damaged record.

According to Refresh Financial, their services can help you build credit quickly. They provide two types of non-cash financing: secured visa cards and cash savings loans.

They also have a mobile app with various features that might help you develop good financial habits.

I’ll go over Refresh Financial’s offerings in depth below.

Refresh Credit Builder Loan

Contrary to its name, the credit builder loan is not a loan in the traditional sense.

It’s similar to a savings account blended with an ordinary bank loan.

It eliminates borrowing money from a lender and paying it back. But what remains are the reports sent to the credit bureaus whenever you repay a loan.

In this case, the payments are deposits made into a secured account.

You have access to the money you’ve put aside at any time, as with a savings account.

How It Works

Once Refresh Financial approves your credit builder loan, they open a savings account for you.

Then, depending on the payment cycle you select, you will make deposits of any amount. For example, you may make a monthly payment of $100. You can set up pre-authorized transfers to deposit funds into your account instead of making manual payments.

When you make a deposit, it’s considered repayment for an installment loan. As a result, it will establish a payment history with the major credit bureaus. This will help boost your credit score because a ‘loan payment’ has a favourable impact.

You will make payments for the term of your loan. Once the term is up, you will have the benefit of a higher score and savings.

During the loan term, you can access your cash at any moment. However, they will charge you a fee if you withdraw before the end of your loan term. Once you put in a withdrawal request, you will receive your funds within 10 to 15 days.


As with a traditional loan, the credit builder loan has an amount, a term, and an annual percentage rate (APR). However, there’s no credit check required.

The loan amounts offered by Refresh Financial are $1,250, $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, or $25,000.

The loan term can be 36 to 60 months, and it’s open-ended. The APR is 19.99%.

You can choose to make bi-weekly or monthly payments.

Refresh Secured Card

This card is a possible choice because lenders are unlikely to approve you for an unsecured credit card if you have poor or no credit.

Your own cash backs the secured visa card. As a result, the amount of money you deposit restricts your activities. This is an excellent way to cut down on unnecessary expenditure.

The major credit bureaus are notified of any payments made. These will aid in establishing a payment history and the creation of entries on your credit report.

You can use the card for everyday purchases. After a 21-day grace period, you will make repayments to Refresh Financial for the credit you use, as with any other credit card.

How It Works

Before they approve your card, you will need to make a security deposit. This can be the total amount of credit you applied for or a percentage of it.

If a customer defaults on a payment, the deposit provides Refresh Financial security. It also means they won’t need to run a credit check because your own funds secure the card.

Your credit transactions are limited to your deposit amount, which is also the credit limit. But you can increase your credit limit over time by making another deposit.

If you want to deactivate your card, you must first pay off your debt. Once you’ve done that, they’ll notify the main credit bureaus that your account has been cancelled, and your balance has been resolved. This contributes to a positive credit history and a higher credit score.

Refresh Financial will return your deposit to you after closing your account. However, if you don’t pay off what you owe, they will use it to settle your debt, and any remaining funds will be returned to you.


You can deposit any amount between $200 and $10,000, which will be your credit limit.

Unpaid amounts incur interest of 17.99%.

Black Tier

With Refresh Financial’s Black Tier mobile app, you may get rapid real-time access to your credit score and credit report from your credit bureau. You’ll also get alerts to help you keep track of your credit score.

You can track your credit-building journey and financial goals. Also, use the credit simulator to run simulations to see how different circumstances will affect your credit score.

Black tier includes a financial literacy section called Refresh Academy. You can learn about building wealth or escaping debt from their library of over 60 financial education videos.

The app is available for Android and IOS users, and it’s $16.95 per month.

Refresh Financial Service Packages

They offer the services we explored above in packages. The content is determined by the rate at which you want to build your credit. That is, if you’re going to walk, jog, or sprint.

‘Walk’ is the entry-level and budget-friendly package that includes the Refresh secured card and black tier app.

‘Jog’ is another bundle that works well if you don’t have a lot of money to invest in a credit-building program. The credit builder loan and the black tier are included in this mid-tier package.

In some ways, ‘jog’ is comparable to ‘walk’, except it does away with the secured card’s deposit requirement. If you can’t afford to put down the required $200, this is the best option.

‘Sprint’ is a comprehensive package designed for people who wish to establish credit quickly and have some additional cash. The credit builder loan, secured card, and black tier are all included.

With the ‘Sprint’ package, you go all-in on two fronts to develop your credit.

Additional Costs of Using Refresh Financial Services

Besides the interest charges for the secured card and the credit builder loan, they charge other fees. These fees are grouped below according to the applicable service.

Credit Builder Loan

  • Non-sufficient funds fee: $25
  • Early processing fee: $20 (excluding Quebec)

Refresh Secured Card

  • Annual fee: $48.95 (including monthly maintenance of $3.00)
  • Cash advance/ATM fee: $5.00
  • Over limit fee: $5.00 (The card is charged once, then cancelled a second time)
  • Foreign POS transactions: $3.50

Is it Safe to Use Refresh Financial’s Services?

Guaranteed privacy and security are crucial when working with any financial service provider. That is why we’ve included this safety-related section in our Refresh Financial review.

Refresh Financial is an associate of the Canadian Lender’s Association.

They have been in business since 2013 and have since built a customer base of over 100,000 Canadians. Furthermore, the loans they have financed total more than $100 million.

Refresh Financial also implements several effective security measures, including restricting entry to data centers, limiting access on a need-to-know basis, and using passwords and encryption.

In the next part of our Refresh Financial review, we’ll explore the level of customer support you can expect from this provider.

Refresh Financial Customer Support

You can reach Refresh Financial by phone and email. You can also send a message to customer support online or use the chatbot feature on their website for basic information.

If you want to investigate a problem on your own, their help center might be pretty helpful. Also, check out their blog for financial education and valuable insights.

Qualification Requirements for Refresh Financial’s Services

Your credit score will have no bearing on your ability to use their services. Instead, they base their decision on a variety of variables, including your financial status.

To qualify for either service, you must:

  • Be older than 18 or 19 years old.
  • Provide proof of employment
  • Have a minimum income of $1000.
  • Be a resident in a province or territory where Refresh Financial offers its services (everywhere except New Brunswick and Saskatchewan).
  • Provide valid banking details.
  • Be able to make a security deposit of at least $200 for the secured card.

How to Apply for Refresh Financial’s Products

In this section of our Refresh Financial review, we’ll deal with the process of applying for their services.

Refresh Financial has a four-phase online application process. The steps to apply for a secured card or a credit-building loan are outlined below.

Step 1

Enter your personal information into the online form.

This information includes your full legal name, date of birth, physical and email address and cell number. You will also have to provide information about your financial goals.

Step 2

Verify your application via email.

Step 3

Choose the service bundle that best suits your needs. You can build credit slowly (walk), gradually (jog), or quickly (sprint).

Refresh Financial will provide recommendations depending on the information you filled out.

Step 4

Submit your documentation using the online form. These documents include:

  • A government-issued ID
  • Your banking details (the institution, transit and account numbers)
  • Residential information (a utility bill or government-issued mail)

Alternatives to Refresh Financial You Can Consider

You might be looking for a secured visa card with a smaller deposit amount. Or perhaps the fees charged by Refresh Financial are too high for your credit-building budget. Below are some alternatives to think about.

Capital One

Capital One is a bank investment trust based in the United States. They have offices in Canada as well.

They provide a guaranteed secured MasterCard as one of their services. This card has no annual fees, which is a plus. You also don’t have to put down a large sum of money. You can start with as little as $49 or $99 upfront.

However, when compared to the Refresh Secured Card, their other fees and charges are significantly greater. Late payments might cost you up to $40. The annual percentage rate (APR) for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances is 26.99 percent.

The maximum credit limit on their secured MasterCard is $1000.


Plastk is a Canadian company that offers solutions for consumers to improve their credit scores.

Their primary service is a secured credit card with a 100% approval rate. That is, as long as you meet the minimum conditions for eligibility.

You can earn rewards points that can be used to get cashback or book flights when you use their secured card. Interac e-Transfer can also be used to make quick balance payments.

The $300 minimum deposit is slightly higher compared to Refresh Financial’s. But there’s an exception to the interest charged.

Purchases are interest-free for the first 3 months when you sign up. Afterwards, you will be charged 17.99% in interest.

The annual fee is $48, with an added cost of $6 per month for maintenance.

Refresh Financial Review Conclusion

Building credit or re-establishing credit after a financial setback should not leave you with obstacles, yet that’s the reality. Fortunately, companies such as Refresh Financial exist to eliminate lenders’ perceptions of you as a credit risk.

Refresh Financial has developed products that can assist anyone in repairing or establishing credit.

Their services are aimed at improving your credit as well as educating you about your finances.

If you didn’t get a loan or a credit card from other lenders, I recommend their services. Also, if you have previously declared bankruptcy or are just starting with building your credit.

To conclude my Refresh Financial review, I’ll offer one bit of advice. Before you go ahead with them, make sure you have enough additional cash to help you establish your credit.

If you can’t make regular payments, getting their loan version or a credit card would be counterproductive. This could affect your credit score and cause you to fall behind on your credit-building goals.

Our Refresh Financial review examines their cash savings loans & secured credit cards, as well as the costs & benefits of these & much more.

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FAQs about Refresh Financial

How long does it take for my credit rating to improve?

The build up of your credit score will depend on your current credit rating, your credit report and your commitment on increasing your credit rating. Refresh Financial can help you improve your credit by

How long does it take for Refresh Financial to appear on my credit report?

It can roughly take 90 days for Refresh Financial to show on your credit report due to the billing and reporting cycle. Keep in mind that paying the amount due can damage your credit score as well.

What fees are included with my Secured Card?

The annual fee for the Secured Card is $12.95 as well as a $3 monthly fee. If you go over your card limit, there is a $5 fee. If you want a full detailed of fees associated with your Secured Card, please read through:

Will I get charged by Refresh Financial I take my available funds out?

Yes, Refresh Financial can charge you a $20 fee if you decide to withdraw your available funds. You can start to take out your equity after 8-12 months in with Refresh Financial.

Can I cancel my Secured Card from Refresh Financial at any time?

Yes, if you wish to cancel your card, you can do so at any time. According to Refresh Financial, cancelling credit cards may lower your credit score.


Refresh Financial

September 5, 2022
Co-authored by

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