How to Build a Credit Score in Canada: A Guide for Teens

We know you have a bright future ahead of you. Whether it’s going to post-secondary school, living on your own, or following your career ambitions. 

But what you might not know is that having a good credit score may be essential when it comes to getting a car loan, being offered a job or renting an apartment when you’re ready to leave home. Here we’ll explain what a credit score is, why it’s important and the steps you can take as a teen to build a good credit score in Canada.

What is a credit score?

A credit score is a three-digit number that lenders use to assess how reliable an individual will be in paying back the money they borrow. A credit score can range anywhere between 300 to 900 and the higher the number the better. 

Here is how it breaks down:

800 to 900 (Excellent)You probably have very few (or no!) late payments in your credit report, you pay off credit card balances in full, and you have a low ratio for the credit you use against the credit available.
740 to 799 (Very good)You rarely make late payments, and you probably have a low ratio of credit used compared to what’s available to you.
670 to 739 (Good)You may have made multiple late payments to more than one lender, and you may have defaulted on a loan.
580 to 669 (Fair)You have a below-average credit score, so you’re looking at higher interest rates for any credit approvals.
300 to 579 (Poor)You may have defaulted on multiple loans, have a high ratio of credit used compared to credit available, or have declared bankruptcy.

The higher your credit score rating, the more likely you’ll be considered low-risk and someone trusted to pay their bills on time. 

Say you’re looking to get a new cell phone plan. The service provider will request your credit score from one of the credit bureaus, either Equifax or TransUnion. You want to achieve a decent credit score since it’ll be easier to get approved for the plan. While someone with a poor credit score may be declined. 

Is a credit score the same as a credit report? 

A credit score is a number that lenders will use to see how likely you are to pay off your debts on time. A credit report shows a summary of all types of credit you have along with a history of your payments. Think of a credit score as receiving a mark in math (whether that’s a D or A+). Whereas a credit report is like having your teacher comment on your performance in your math class.  

What credit score do you start with in Canada? 

As a teen, you won’t have access to credit products or loans, so you won’t have a credit score at all. However, once you reach the age of majority (18 or 19 based on the province or territory you live in), then a credit score will be calculated for you using a special formula—that will most likely land you somewhere in the middle of the fair range.

Typically, when you become a young adult, you haven’t had time to ruin your credit score or prove yourself. So, it will take some time to boost your credit score.

Why do you need a credit score? 

There are several reasons why young adults need a credit score. For instance, when you think about your future lifestyle, you’ll most likely purchase a cell phone plan, rent your first apartment, or get a car loan. Also, believe it or not —a credit score can be important when applying for a job because some employers (especially in the finance industry or the federal government) will ask for a credit check as part of the hiring process. 

Not only that, but a good credit score typically means you’ll get more competitive lending rates (which saves you money!). If you want your financial future to be bright, then getting a head start on building your credit score will help set you up for success. 

6 steps to build a credit score in Canada 

Even as a teen, it’s never too early to start managing credit responsibly before you become an adult. Plus, it’s better to make mistakes now when the stakes are low. This way you can learn and improve as you take on more responsibilities as a young adult. To help you get started, here are 6 steps on how you can build a good credit score.

1. Understand what affects your credit score 

The formulas that the credit bureaus use to calculate your credit score are a secret. However, here’s an example of the five factors that affect a person’s credit score. 

Payment history (35 per cent): This reflects your payment records which includes any outstanding debts and credit card balances. 

Credit utilization: (30 per cent): This is the amount of credit you have access to versus how much you actually use. Ideally, you want to keep this ratio at 30 per cent or less.  

Credit history (15 per cent): This looks at how long you’ve had credit accounts for. When starting out, you probably won’t have any credit history as you’re too young to apply for credit (like a credit card or car loan). 

Credit inquiries (10 per cent): Every time you apply for credit, the lenders will request to view your credit score. This is known as a “hard inquiry” and it will impact your credit score. Applying for multiple credit cards or loans could hamper your credit score.

Public records (10 per cent): When bills go unpaid, they can be sent to a collection agency or if you have to file for bankruptcy, this will have a negative impact on your credit score.

Knowing how credit scores are calculated will help you focus your attention on what matters most, especially when you want to raise your credit score from fair to excellent.

2. Apply for a secured credit card or student credit card 

You may wonder, how do you build your credit score quickly (like trying to be the fastest athlete in a track-and-field competition!). One way is by getting a secured credit card or a student credit card. Basically, a secured credit card requires you to put in a cash deposit, which acts like a security deposit, but it works just like a regular credit card and allows you to build your credit history. 

If you plan to attend a college or university, you could qualify for a student credit card. You’ll want to look out for a credit card that offers no annual fees, a low Annual Percentage Rate (APR), and perks such as cash back or travel rewards.

3. Pay bills on time 

Now that you know that your payment history is the single most important factor in calculating your credit score, consider setting up automatic payments to pay your bills on time. This way you don’t have to worry about late or missed payments that could hurt your credit score.

4. Keep your balance low

Just because you have a credit card doesn’t mean you should max it out. Start out with small purchases that you can comfortably pay off such as buying movie tickets or a lunch. Ideally, you should keep your credit utilization ratio low with an ideal ratio below 30 per cent. So, if you have a $1,000 credit card limit, you’ll want to keep your monthly spending below $300. 

5. Limit your credit applications 

Avoid making excessive credit card or loan applications (whether they are approved or denied), as too many hard inquiries will dampen your credit score. Doing this may look like you have financial issues or are in serious need of cash. It’s good practice to only apply for the credit that you need and have the ability to pay back. 

Read more: How to pay off debt fast.

6. Monitor any inaccuracies on your credit report

Lastly, one way to learn how to improve your credit score is to check for any inaccuracies or errors on your credit report. When you receive your credit report, you’ll want to verify your personal information is correct. Also, check that no “late” payments have been documented if you’ve paid on time. Don’t forget to confirm that no accounts have been opened without your knowledge (which could be an indication of identity theft). 

Generally, it’s a good idea to check your credit report at least once a year from both credit bureaus to ensure that it’s accurate and up to date. If you find any errors, you can report them so they can be corrected.

How long does it take to build a good credit score? 

Typically, it takes anywhere from 30 to 90 days for data to be updated in your credit report and you may see an increase or decrease in your credit score during that time. Although, when you’re starting out, it could take longer as you gradually add more forms of credit and pay more bills. Keep in mind that there are numerous factors that go into calculating your credit score (such as your credit utilization), so your credit score will fluctuate from time to time. 

How to check your credit score in Canada 

When you reach the age of majority, you can check your credit report and credit score from Equifax or TransUnion either for free or for a small fee. Another simple way to monitor your credit score is through one of the big bank’s online banking apps, such as RBC

Patience is key in building your credit score 

As a teen, you have plenty of time to start building your credit score. When you’re old enough to apply for a credit card, a secured credit card can help you learn how to manage your money using credit. Meanwhile, ask your parents to show you how they pay their monthly bills so you can understand how “adulting” life really is! 

With practice and patience, you should be able to gradually build your credit score so you can land that new job, finally move out of home and rent an apartment or have access to the best interest rates when you’re ready for a car loan. When you’re older, you’ll look back and thank yourself for taking the time to learn and build your credit score. 

Download Mydoh and help build the foundation of financial literacy for your kids and teenagers.

How to Become a Professional Gamer

Video games have been around for decades and its popularity skyrocketing since COVID, as more and more people began looking for indoor hobbies. There are currently over three billion active video game players around the world,  and the gaming industry is worth over 385 billion dollars!

The popularity and increase of the gaming industry gave birth to esports (short for electronic sports), a scene for gamers to play competitively. This new industry created the chance for hundreds and thousands of people to make money playing video games. These people are often known as professional gamers.

Interested in becoming a professional gamer? This article will explain how to become a professional gamer—even if you’re still a teen—and how to make money at League of Legends.  

What is a professional gamer?

A professional gamer is someone who plays video games competitively for a living. Just like there are major leagues for hockey, baseball, and basketball there are also leagues for video games.

Professional gamers are the players in these leagues, competing in regional and international events for glory, titles, and even big sums of money. These leagues are called esports leagues, with professional gamers often referenced as esports gamers. These individuals put countless hours of training and practice into every day.

Most popular multiplayer video games such as Fortnite, League of Leagues, DOTA, Overwatch, Super Mario Smash Bros and Mario Kart have professional leagues and each league has hundreds of teams from across the globe. Multiple esports organizations (like sports teams) are put together to compete in the esports world. But before reaching the world stage, many professional gamers start on much smaller stages.

Read more: How kids and teens can make money playing video games

Who can become a professional gamer?

It’s not just adults who can become professional gamers, kids can too. However, many official leagues have set age requirements. Requirements tend to start at 17 or 18 years old, but it depends on the game.

Many games that these formal leagues take part in are rated ‘M’ for mature or ‘T’ for teens and understandably they don’t allow younger players to participate. However, one of the youngest professional gamers is eight-year-old Joseph Deen who was signed on to Team 33 as a Fortnite pro. This is because Fortnite is a game geared towards kids.

Regardless of gender or race, just about anyone can become a professional gamer with the right skills, time, and mindset.

Asian teen girl wearing pink headphones sits at computer in colourful bedroom playing video games

Steps to becoming a professional gamer

While just about anyone can become a professional gamer, it’s still quite hard to do. It takes more than a love for gaming or being better than your siblings or friends when it comes to games.

For starters, you can’t just be good at a game. You must be one of the best. Over 600 million people under the age of 18 play video games, that’s 20 per cent of all gamers. Are you the best gamer in your household? Your school? Your city? You will be competing against all these people for your spot as a professional gamer. Skill is the biggest factor in becoming a pro.

Maybe you’re not all talk. You put in lots of hours and you’re ready to compete. With your parents’ permission, it may be time to start looking for local gaming tournaments.

Most tournaments are online now. Nearly every major city has an esports community and finding them is usually easy. Google, “City Name – Game Title – Esports Tournaments.” For example, in the last few years Toronto’s CNE has held multiple esports tournaments.

This will be a way to start to build more experience and get your name, or gamer tag, out there. Another great way to be noticed is to live stream or start a YouTube channel.

The next step to becoming a professional gamer is to get noticed and join or start a team. Most games are multiplayer, and you will have teammates. The best way to succeed is to have teammates you know, trust and can communicate with.

Joining a team gives you this benefit and you will all be able to grow, participate in tournaments and win together. Starting your own esports team means starting from the bottom. Joining a pre-existing team that has already launched into the esports scene will make this transition a little easier. It also means you may see some money a bit sooner too.

Professional teams are often ranked in tiers:

  • Tier 1 teams are the favourite to win, they’re household names of the esports world.
  • Tier 2 teams are the runner ups, it wouldn’t make people upset if they won a massive event, but they’re more likely to be the favourite team in a bit of a smaller tournament.
  • Tier 3 teams are lesser known, and usually the underdogs.
Four esports players sit at their computer celebrating their win and highfiving each other.

How can I make money as a professional gamer?

People who meet all the requirements needed to become a professional gamer may still not make much money from it.

Here are just a few ways professional gamers can make money:

Win tournaments

One way for local tournaments to get people to sign up is by offering a cash prize. One of the largest overall prize pools was from the DOTA 2 world championship in 2021 with a whopping $40 million USD. To get to these world championships teams would have had to compete at several qualifier tournaments to earn their spots.

While the world stage may be a bit out of your reach for now, there is still the chance to earn cash prizes at local tournaments as well. Small tournament winnings range from $50 to $500, with the amount of money multiplying with the size and importance of the tournament. The recent esports competitive tournaments hosted by Toronto’s CNE had over $22,000 total in cash prizes to be won.

Join an esports organization

Esports organizations, also known as orgs, are created to house and field multiple professional gamers and teams. They work in a similar fashion to agents in the way that they are responsible for their gamers and in charge of finding tournaments and events for them to play. Organizations often give their gamers a salary and sometimes this includes housing and food. These orgs make their money through sponsorships and selling merchandise.

Live streaming and YouTube

Live streaming and making YouTube videos are two of the easiest ways to make money from gaming. It can be increasingly difficult to become successful and can be quite expensive to set up. We’ve got an article on how to set up a YouTube channel that breaks this down for you as well as addressing the criteria for success.

Read more: How to become an influencer as a teen.

Professional young female gamer sitting at computer playing esports

How much money do professional gamers make?

The average amount of money a professional gamer can expect to make annually in Canada is $65,000. Your salary will greatly depend on your skill level. Low ranking professionals fall into a salary of $8,000 to $40,000 while high-ranking professional could potentially make upwards of $300,000. These salaries do not include tournament winnings or sponsorships.

In a recent YouTube video, YouTuber Jordan Welch interviewed multiple professional Fortnite gamers at one of the largest gaming tournaments in the world about how much money they make.

Read their answers and you’ll see the amount professional gamers make can vary:

Twitch streamer, Ripraraa streams 250 ours a month (about one-and-a-half weeks) and makes over US$10,000 per moth. She says it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to reach these numbers.

Seventeen-year-old Tkay made over US$140,000 in the past two years as a professional Fortnite gamer.

Ex Fortnite pro turned content creator Sceptic admitted he brought home over $60,000 from the two tournaments he played in professionally. Now as a content creator he makes over US$100,000 a year.

Professional Fortnite coach Arab opened up about earning over US$10,000 a month through his teams’ YouTube and Twitch views.

Fortnite professional FaZeBizzle is part of one of the biggest esports organizations, FaZe clan. The organization has a current revenue of a staggering $49 million. The most money he’s won playing tournaments was US$200,000 at PAX East. He averages out at over $100,000 a year.

Tips from the professionals on how to become a gamer

Here are a few tips some of the biggest professional gamers have said about breaking into their profession:

 “You’re not gonna get on a Tier 2 or Tier 1 team off the bat if you’re plat/diamond/immortal (high ranks in Valorant but not the highest), you gotta work your way up. Everyone works their way up. So, you gotta start from the bottom and build that experience.” – Professional Valorant player @DerrekOW

 “Keep a balance between gaming and other parts of your life, like school, social and health.” – Professional CS:Go player @oBocsgo

 “It’s a lot harder going pro than most people think. And even more stressful after you make it. You can’t really force going pro, but if you do plan on trying, prepare to put in a lot of time and focus on improving as an individual.” – Professional Valorant player @s0mcs

 “I was open to constructive criticism and tried to be a teammate that people could vouch for.” – Professional Valorant player @TenzOfficial.

Excited Black teen girl and white teen boy sitting on the couch gaming.

What are the drawbacks of being a professional gamer?

It costs lots of money to get into the professional scene. Gaming consoles, computers, and the video games themselves cost money. Some tournaments have an entry fee, and you need to consider travel expenses such are gas, tickets, hotel, and food during these tournaments.

The road to becoming a professional gamer can be a tricky one without the right guidance, so your parents should always be monitoring and setting healthy limits of gaming. Young people can face the risk of a video game addiction, which can cause lasting damage to your health and well-being.

It is a full-time commitment. Outings with friends, other sports, or hobbies and even time for homework may to fall behind because of the number of hours put into gaming. It’s very important to make sure any homework or chores are done before hopping on the game. Respect the boundaries your parents put in place and play responsibly.

Enjoy the journey!

Becoming a professional gamer will not but an easy path, but as long as you’re enjoying the journey, you’ll end up where you need to be. And while you may not be making money through video games yet, ask your parents about Mydoh and how you can earn money through chores or receive an allowance.

Parents, download the Mydoh app so your kids can start earning money, save for a gaming console, and spend responsibly with their Smart Cash Card.

What Parents Need to Know About Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Long before the Avengers’ Ultron came on the scene or Netflix’s The Mitchells were forced to go up against the machines, pop culture has been obsessed with artificial intelligence (AI).

In ancient times (1968) there was HAL, an AI robot who takes control of a spaceship mid-voyage in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Blade Runner, The Matrix, and I, Robot all pitted humanity against AI-powered machines. Back then, real-world artificial intelligence seemed like a long way off. Now it’s here, and will probably be landing on toy shelves very soon, in the form of teddy bears that run on ChatGPT.

You’ve probably never envisioned our robot overlords arriving in the form of a Furby bent on world domination or worried about a tech takeover by a network of Tamagotchis tricked out with AI capabilities, but concerns about artificial intelligence are real.

At the same time AI is a powerful tool that we can use to our benefit—it’s not “good” or “bad” but the way that we use it can certainly have positive and negative outcomes and effects. 

For kids, AI can help with homework, language learning, and research. It can spur creativity and increase accessibility while getting young people interested in science and technology. But there are downsides including privacy concerns and the proliferation of harmful misinformation.

It’s important for parents to be informed about AI so they can ensure that the experiences kids have with this rapidly developing technology can be positive and safe ones.  

What is artificial intelligence or AI?

Good question. Let’s ask one of the most popular AI tools: ChatGPT.

Chat GPT says that artificial intelligence is “the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems” and that it “enables machines to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as understanding natural language, recognizing patterns, solving complex problems, making decisions, and learning from experience.”

But that’s just a sliver of the big picture and it doesn’t tell us anything about where AI comes from. Back in 1950 Alan Turing, known as the father of computer science, put it quite simply when he asked “Can machines think?” The Turing Test was used by humans to try to differentiate between machine responses to questions and human responses. Early so-called AI consisted of chatbots equipped with a set of predetermined responses that created a narrow window in which they were able to engage with humans. Their abilities weren’t anywhere close to actual thinking.

Today, however, the answer to that old question is yes. Using a type of program called a large language model which operated by scraping vast amounts of text from the internet, Google’s AI passed the Turing Test in 2022. Now the debate over AI centres on whether it is actually “thinking” or whether it’s just really good at fooling us to believe that it is.

In short, we need a new test! 

How are teens and students using AI?

Whether it’s truly thinking or not, what’s remarkable about this current wave of AI development is its facility with natural language processing and its capabilities in terms of learning alternate “languages” like the ones used to program code or understand molecular biology.

For teens and students, AI can be a powerful learning tool that gives them access to resources from across the globe and delivers these resources in an accessible way, no matter where they live.

Some of the common ways that teens are using artificial intelligence include:

Smiling teen girl sitting on bed doing homework next to a white dog

Help with schoolwork or to learn new skills

AI offers homework assistants and other personalized learning tools that can support students in self-directed, extra-curricular learning (for example, studying a new language) or give them extra help in school subjects where they might struggle (like assisting them with a physics assignment).

Tweak or enhance their social media content

Teens are using AI programs to apply filters to photos or to edit images and videos destined for TikTok or Instagram.

Improve their writing and editing skills

AI can be used to point out spelling and grammar errors in essays and school assignments. It can also show students how to correct these errors.

Do research for school assignments

AI tools can pull together research from all across the internet and collect it in a single document or article. It’s a faster (though sometimes less reliable) method than conducting repeated search engine queries.

What are some common AI tools for teens?

It’s likely that your teen is already using AI in some shape or form (whether they recognize this fact or not). These are some of the tools they might be engaging with.


This is the AI tool making headlines right now. ChatGPT exists online as a standalone tool but it’s also used to power external chatbots and other programs. Teens can use ChatGPT by providing it with simple prompts like “What is ChatGPT?” or by giving it more specific requests like “Tell me about the early life of the green sea turtle in the voice of David Attenborough” or “Write me a poem about SnapChat that sounds like a Taylor Swift song.” The levels of success with which the program completes these tasks vary. Widely. 

However, ChatGPT can be a great tool for kids looking for a jumping off point or a little bit of direction when they’re starting an essay or research project. It can help them to structure an essay or explain a math problem they aren’t quite grasping. It can also encourage self-directed learning since kids can type in almost any prompt and get a mini lesson on the subject in return.

Google AIY

For kids who want to get hands-on with AI, Google’s AIY Projects are a great entry point. These DIY hardware kits allow kids and teens to build their own working AI-powered speaker or camera that connects to Google Assistant or Cloud Speech-to-Text. These projects can be put to practical use, allowing kids to use them to play games or perform internet searches.

Two Black girls playing with machine learning

Machine Learning for Kids

A great one for gamers and budding game designers, this AI program skews towards younger kids. It’s a next step for kids who may have already used Scratch to learn simple coding. Here, they get practical experience and an understanding of machine learning. By building a game through this free online program, they’ll get to see how machines learn and how to create games based on this concept.


Quizlet is a collection of AI-enhanced tools designed to help kids study. There are several elements available to use. One takes class notes and turns them into flashcards and quizzes to help kids prepare for tests. Another element is a chatbot that can converse with users about the topic they’re studying, ask them questions, and provide help with concepts they’re struggling to understand. Students can enter prompts like “Can you explain this differently?” or “Can you give me a practice problem?” and the chatbot will comply. It’s like a tutor, only powered by artificial intelligence.

Bing AI Search

Microsoft says that the new Bing reinvents the search engine and while this might be a slightly grandiose claim, Bing does provide better organized and more relevant search results while also offering the option to chat with their bot about the subject you’re researching. Like ChatGPT, teens can use Bing to research school projects. (They can also use it to look up which new video game they should try next if their favourite game is Fortnite.) It operates like a search engine but with AI extras.

Midjourney & Dall-E

Both Midjourney and Dall-E take text prompts and produce images based on them. Unlike the tools we’ve talked about above, neither of these AI image generators are free. Midjourney has several subscription tiers ranging from $10 to $120 USD per month and Dall-E charges per image generated, operating on a credit system. The images that are produced from either program are based on images that already exist on the internet. In some cases these images may be inappropriate for kids and teens. However, the tools can also be used by teens to edit photos of their own.


Grammarly is a free writing assistant that can help teens correct errors in their writing, ranging from spelling mistakes to the clarity of their ideas and arguments. It can be used to write a professional email or put together a resume as well as for school work.

Attention students: Grammarly can also be used by educators to detect plagiarism!

Duolingo and Memrise’s MemBot

These two tools make new languages fun and engaging for teens by using AI to create personalized paths for learning and retention. Duolingo is a gamified way to learn to speak one of the 40 languages in its database while Memrise’s MemBot allows language learners to practice their conversation skills without a (possibly intimidating) audience.

What are the pros and cons of kids and teens using AI?

Like we said from the start, AI isn’t good or bad, it depends on the boundaries you set and the way kids and teens use it.

The pros of AI tools for students

  • Personalized and tailored educational experiences that support a student’s individual needs and learning style.
  • Increased accessibility for students who live with a disability (think: text-to-speech options for teens with visual impairment)
  • The ability to generate ideas or starting points for teens to build on, inspiring creativity
  • The use of AI can result in an increased interest in science and technology

The cons of AI tools for students

  • Like with so many of the tech tools that make our lives easier or more fun, AI comes with privacy and data protection concerns
  • Students might develop a dependency on AI to assist them with their school work which can steer them away from critical, independent thinking
  • Bias is inherent in AI tools and can lead users towards misinformation or feedback loops
  • Occasionally AI provides users with results that border on nonsensical, like when Microsoft’s AI-generated travel guide told visitors to Ottawa to go to the local food bank for a meal
Teen boy wearing headphones and holding a laptop with the letter "AI' on it

Tips to keep kids and teens safe using AI tools

If your teen is using AI tools for school or in their free time, be sure to talk to them about both the strengths and weaknesses of this rapidly evolving tech. Provide them with clear boundaries about when and where it’s appropriate to use AI (To help explain a math problem? Yes. To write your history essay for you? Probably not).

Advise them to keep their personal data and sensitive information protected (in the same way they do when they use social media) and let them know that images of their own face are part of that personal data and that giving AI access to their personal images may have consequences in the future.

Parents should try to keep up to date with new developments in AI (and in tech in general) because we know that our kids are doing just that. Mydoh aims to support parents in raising money-smart and tech-smart kids. By staying informed on the subject of artificial intelligence, parents can be in step with kids and teens as they embrace their digital future. 

Download Mydoh and help build the foundation of financial literacy for your kids and teenagers.