The 8 Best Student Credit Cards Canada 2021

Are you a student trying to build an excellent credit history? Then you are on the right path. This is the time to begin taking financial responsibility seriously. With a simple no-fee card, you can get generous rewards and low or even zero annual fees. Amazing right? All you have to do is spend responsibly and pay off your monthly balance promptly. 

Then you can start looking towards a financially secured future. So, if you are considering picking up a credit card upon university or college admission, here you have the list of the best student credit cards Canada has to offer.  

An Overview of the Best Student Credit Cards Canada

Credit CardCategoryBonus
BMO CashBack Mastercard Best Student Credit Card5% cashback during the first 3 months.
BMO Air Miles MastercardBest for Air Miles Collectors800 Air Miles
Tangerine Money-BackBest for Students with IncomeNil
SCENE Visa CardBest for Movie Lovers 2500 SCENE points equivalent to two free movies
CIBC Dividend Visa CardBest for Groceries$30 cash back after making your first purchase
PC Financial MastercardBest for Reward PointsPC Optimum points worth $20.
KOHO Prepaid VisaBest Prepaid Credit CardAdditional 1% cash back for the first three months when you sign up with the code CCGBONUS.
Stack Prepaid MastercardBest for No Fx FeesNil
Best Student Credit Cards Canada- Overview

#1. Best Student Credit Cards Canada 

Overall Best: BMO CashBack Mastercard 

Our top-rated best credit cards for students is the BMO CashBack Mastercard. It sits pretty in this position because of its remarkable features and cash back rewards. You also get to choose when you get your rewards, whether when you reach a specific amount, once a year, or in a huge lump sum.

The BMO CashBack MasterCard requires no annual fees or minimum income requirements from students. It offers constant cash back on purchases. In addition, this card also has a promotional balance transfer offer. If you opt for this offer, you can get up to 1.99% interest for nine months. 

This is an enticing feature for someone who has a balance on another card and wants to avoid paying high-interest rates.

Perks

  • No minimum income requirements or annual fees.
  • It offers purchase property insurance as well as an extended warranty.
  • A welcome bonus of 5% cash back on purchases for the first three months (up to $2,000 in purchases).
  • After the welcome bonus, you’ll get 1% cash back on recurring bills (up to $500 per month), 3% cash back on grocery (up to $500 per month), and 0.5% unlimited cash back on every other purchase. 
  • Any item you purchase with the card gets twice the manufacturer’s original warranty up to one year.
  • You can get up to 25% off National Car Rental and Alamo rental cars.
  • 15% off Cirque du Soleil shows admission in Canada and 20% off for shows in Las Vegas.
  • You can choose when you want to get your rewards, so you don’t necessarily have to wait for a year to get your rewards like other cash back credit cards.
  • The 1.99% promotional balance transfer rate for the 9 months that we mentioned earlier is an added advantage.

Downsides

  • It has a base earn rate of 0.5%, which is a bit unsatisfactory. 

Overall, this credit card is a great way you can start building your credit score. This is fantastic if you are a student that’s just beginning. It deserves to be our top pick for best student credit cards Canada with all the perks.


#2. Best Student Credit Cards Canada

For Air Miles: BMO Air Miles Mastercard

If you are an Air Miles collector, an air miles credit card will considerably boost your Air Miles rate. Our pick out of the best credit cards for students for air miles collection is the no-fee BMO Air Miles Mastercard. It is an excellent student travel card that is accepted almost everywhere. This card is not limited to just Air Miles partners; it earns you Air Miles on all of your purchases. The interest rates are 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash.

Perks

  • No annual fee or minimum income requirement.
  • You get an incredible welcome bonus of up to 800 bonus air miles after spending a thousand dollars in the first three months. 
  • You earn one reward mile per $20 you spend on all purchases and twice the miles at select partners. 
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty.
  • It is great for collecting air miles at each place you shop. You’ll love this if you are an air miles collector.
  • 1.99% balance transfer promo rate for nine months.
  • You get up to 25% car rentals discount.
  • You can double your reward by presenting your air miles card where accepted and making your purchase with it. 

Downsides

  • It doesn’t offer any travel insurance benefits.

It deserves the spot as one of the best student credit cards Canada for air miles with all the perks.


#3. Best Student Credit Cards Canada

For Students with Income: Tangerine Money-Back

Saving money is essential as a student. However, most high-yield cashback credit cards requires you to earn a high income. This is where the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card comes in. It is ideal if you want to save on several of your common purchases, but you don’t earn a high income.  

The card allows members to automatically deposit their cash back in a Tangerine savings account to make saving easier. Doing this will enable you to earn a third cash back category, further boosting your savings. The requirement is a minimum yearly income of $12000. 

Your credit history and credit-to-income ratio also matter. So, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card might be better suited for older or graduate-level students who have been able to build credit. 

When you get approved, as a new card holder, you can choose categories like gas, restaurants, grocery, pharmacy and drugstore, entertainment, and more, where you’ll earn 2% cash back on purchases. If you choose the wrong category, you can always make changes to your cash back strategy. 

Other purchases outside your chosen categories will earn 0.5% cash back, so all your expenses will be offset to a degree. Now let’s look at the perks that make this card our pick for students with an income out of the best student credit cards Canada.

Perks

  • No annual fee.
  • You get 2% cash back on every dollar you spend in two different spending categories you select from a total of 10 options, and 0.5% cash back on every other purchase.
  • Opening a no-fee Tangerine savings account earns you another 2% cash back in an additional spending category. 
  • There’s no limit in the amount of cash back rewards you can earn.
  • The card offers free purchase assurance and extended warranty.
  • Budget conscious students can benefit from the low rate balance transfer of 1.95% for 6 months.
  • You can decide how you want to redeem your cash back, whether to deposit in your Tangerine savings account or as a credit card statement to pay your credit card balance down.   

Downsides

  • A minimum personal income of $12000 is required.
  • You need a good to excellent credit score to be eligible.

Although this card was not made specifically for students, it suits their needs, and that’s precisely what makes it one of the best credit cards for students. 


#4. Best Student Credit Cards Canada 

For Movie Lovers: SCENE Visa Card

Are you a movie lover? If you are, then the SCENE Visa card from Scotiabank would be a fantastic choice for you. It is more than a no-fee credit card; you can earn rewards in the form of points. Earning points is easy. For every dollar spent at cineplex theatres, you earn 5 Scene points, as well as 1 Scene point for every dollar spent on the card. 

You can redeem your points for free movie tickets, popcorn & soda, music downloads, live events, concessions, and more. The redemption rate is pretty low. For 1,250 points, you can see a movie at Scotia, Silver City, Famous Players, Galaxy, or Cineplex Theatres

Apart from these, you can also exchange 1,000 points for $10 off meals at affiliated restaurants.  Therefore, you can use your card for daily purchases and redeem your points for fun stuffs like meals and movies. To be eligible, you need a fair-good credit score.

Perks

  • No annual fees.
  • You’ll get 2,500 welcome bonus points on your first $500 purchase in the first 3 months. This is enough for 2 free movies. 
  • You can redeem your SCENE points to see free movies or get discounts at affiliated stores and restaurants including Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, and Bier Markt. 
  • Every dollar you spend at cineplex theatres earns you 5 SCENE points, and every dollar spent on other credit card purchases earns you 1 SCENE point.
  • You can get up to 25% off base rates at afilliated Avis and Budget locations and save money on car rentals.

Downside

  • The one downside of the Scene Visa card for students is it requires students to have either a part-time job earning a monthly minimum of $251 pre-tax or get a co-signor.

Overall, with the constant rise of tickets, drinks, and popcorn prices, it can’t hurt to have a credit card that’ll help you cut costs on your movie nights, and make your next study break further enjoyable. With the perks of the SCENE visa cards, it’s no wonder it our pick out of the best credit cards for students who are movie lovers. 


#5. Best Student Credit Cards Canada 

For Groceries: CIBC Dividend Visa Card

Are you stocking up on groceries? If you are, then you should have the CIBC Dividend Visa Card added to your wallet. Not only does this card give 2% cash back on grocery purchases, it also offers up to 1% cashback on daily purchases like movies, books,food, and more. 

You need at least a good credit score to be eligible. The annual interest rates on purchases and cash advances are 19.99% and 22.99% respectively. Let’s look at the perks that makes it one of the best student credit cards Canada has for students stocking up on groceries.

Perks

  • No annual feel or minimum income requirement.
  • As a welcome bonus, you get $30 cash back after you make your first purchase.
  • Added benefits are extended warranty on most purchases, cash back on card purchases, and purchase protection. 
  • 2% cash back on grocery purchases up to a $6,000 limit; 0.5% cash back on every other purchases (also up to $6,000); and 1% cash back on every purchase that exceeds $6,000.
  • The total cash back you can earn is limitless, making it one of the best credit cards for students. 

Downsides

  • The earned cash back only gets applied once yearly.

#6. Best Student Credit Cards Canada

For Reward Points: PC Financial Mastercard

The PC Financial Mastercard is an incredible store credit card that allows students to earn points and redeem them as free grocery rewards. It is especially beneficial if you shop at Shoppers Drug Mart and the Real Canadian Superstore regularly. The perks below give it its spot as one of the best credit cards for students looking to earn reward points.

Perks

  • No annual fee
  • $20 worth of PC points as a welcome bonus.
  • Earn 25 PC Optimum points on every dollar spent shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart or Pharmaprix, and 10 points per dollar spent at Superstore.
  • Earn 20 points for every dollar spent on PC Travel.
  • Get at least 30 points per liter when you buy gas at Mobil or Esso stations. 
  • Every dollar spent with your card elsewhere earns you 10 points.
  • Low rate balance transfer.
  • Get purchase protection and free extended warranty.
  • The number of points you can earn is limitless.
  • You can redeem your points at Loblaw-affiliated stores and reduce your daily bills considerably. 

Downsides

  • Minimal insurance coverage.
  • You can only redeem your points at participating stores (Loblaw affiliated stores).

Overall, if you are looking for one of the best student credit cards Canada has for students who want to earn reward points, the PC Financial Mastercard is a fantastic choice.


#7. Best Student Credit Cards Canada

 For Prepaid Credit Card: KOHO Prepaid Visa

Are you worried about getting into some credit debt? Perhaps you’d love to earn rewards for free, but you fear you might not remember to pay off the bill every month. In that case, a prepaid credit card might be what you need. Our top pick is the KOHO Prepaid Visa

With this card, you can earn all the rewards and avoid any of the risks. How? The KOHO prepaid visa is not particularly a credit card. You don’t borrow money. Rather you preload your money onto the card and spend.

However, you still get the perks and rewards associated with a good student credit card. So, it’s a win-win situation. If you sign up using code “CCGBONUS”, you’ll get 1% cash back on all your purchases for the first 90 days.

You can also get an additional 1% cash back for the first 90 days if you refer your friend, and 0.5% extra cash back if your paycheques are deposited into your account directly for the first 3 months as well.

Perks

  • No annual fee or income requirements
  • You get an extra 1% on every purchase for the first 3 months if you sign up with the “CCGBONUS” code.
  • You are free from the worries of credit card debts or ruining your credit score.
  • Foreign exchange fee is 1.5% which is quite low when compared to the standard 2.50% rate most credit cards charge.
  • You also earn cash when you use your card at participating retailers.
  • Your cash back is rewarded within 2 to 3 days after your purchase. That’s the fastest a cash back reward can go.
  • Adding to your balance is easy, either through direct payroll or free Interac e-Transfers.
  • Earn 0.50% cash back on all purchase.
  • You get the chance to choose from 4 designs. 

Downsides

  • It is not great for travelling.
  • Your purchases or payments don’t build your credit.

What if you want more rewards? Then you can upgrade to the premium card. That is the KOHO Premium Prepaid Visa.


KOHO Premium Prepaid Visa

With an  $84 annual fee, you get 2% cash back on grocery, restaurants, gas, and transits. For other categories, you get a 0.5% cash back. The KOHO Premium Prepaid Visa card has some bonus perks,

Perks

  • It comes with price protection insurance. If you find an item you bought within the last 30 days at a cheaper price, you’ll get a refund of the difference into your account from KOHO. 
  • No foreign exchange fees, so you can save money (up to 2.5%) when you travel or shop online in a currency different from CAD.
  • You can switch back to the no fee KOHO Prepaid Visa at any time if you change your mind later on. 
  • 2% cash back on groceries, gas, and transit purchases. 
  • It also comes with purchase protection insurance. This protects you if an item you buy gets stolen or lost.

Downsides

  • The 0.5% cash back flat rate leaves something to be desired. 
  • You have to pay an annual fee of $84.
  • If you are looking to start building your credit, this card like other prepaid card won’t be of help.

Overall, if you are looking to earn all the cash back rewards and avoid the credit debt risks, you need a prepaid card, and our top pick of the best student credit cards canada is the KOHO Premium Prepaid Visa. However, if you still want added perks and you don’t mind paying $84 a year or $9 a month, then the premium version may be your “best credit cards for students”.


#8. Best Student Credit Cards Canada 

For No Fx Fees: Stack Prepaid Mastercard

If you love to shop online, you must have been hit with the 2.5% foreign transaction fee several times. The good thing is the Stack Prepaid Mastercard waives this fee.

The Stack Mastercard is a no fee prepaid card that allows you to earn rewards with afilliated retailers. What’s more? It comes with no foreign exchange fees. So, you’ll not only earn bonus rewards but also save money on fees. 

Perks

  • No annual fee or minimum income requirement.
  • No foreign transaction (FX) fee.
  • You can earn discounts and rewards with more than 140 select partner stores.
  • ATM withdrawals worldwide comes at no fees.
  • Earn up to $15 for every friend you refer.
  • You are spending your preloaded money so you are free from the risk of accumulating credit card debt.

Downsides

  • Stack has pretty limited rewards and may not be the best choice for you if you are looking for rewards.

Shopping online is super convenient, so you may do it frequently. However, if you’re buying in a different currency from CAD, the extra 2.5% charge in foreign transaction fees can be annoying.

So if you are looking for the best credit cards for students that helps you want to avoid spending that extra money for no reason, no fx cards may be the best fit for you. The Stack Prepaid Mastercard is our pick out of the best student credit cards Canada has for that purpose.


Best Credit Cards for Students in Canada – Supplemental Information

Why Should a Student Get a Student Credit Card? 

Although the idea of a student credit card may bring up concerns about credit card debt and interest payments, a credit card is the best tool a young adult can use to establish his ir her credit history.

This will in turn help you to prepare for several future responsibilities as you transition into financial independence. How? When you pay off a credit card bill promptly every month, you establish a positive payment history leading to a good credit score. 

To top this, student credit cards are usually no fee credit cards i.e. they come with no annual fees, and low credit limits. However, you should have it in mind that missing payments or carrying over a balance can lead to high interest charges and a lower credit score.

Therefore, it’s vital for students to only buy things they can pay for in full at the end of each billing cycle.


How Should You Use Your Student Credit Card?

Since a student credit card’s major purpose is to develop and start building up your credit history, it’s vital to use the card responsibly. The first thing you should have in mind is to never spend above your credit limit (usually $500-$1,000 for most cards). 

Also, pay your monthly bills on time, preferably the complete balance. Last, if you think you’ll later want to switch to a rewards credit card, you should start paying for more of your daily expenses slowly. 

When it’s comfortable or if you are experienced with managing and budgeting money, you can pay for all your purchases using your credit card. However, only do this if you can afford to pay the complete balance. 

Remember that student credit cards have expensive interest rates on cash advances and outstanding balances, and they come with fewer rewards than the standard credit cards. So, before you make your decision, research and read more about student credit cards.


How to Choose the Best Student Credit Card For You

There are several fantastic options for student credit cards in Canada. The best credit cards for students have zero annual fees and offer you great rewards. They should also provide easy approval for students that have no credit history.

 However,  not every bank does this so when choosing between the best student credit cards canada, go for one you think you’ll have a high chance of getting approved for. 

Also, consider your lifestyle and interests. For instance, if you love travelling, you’ll benefit from a card that offers a big welcome bonus as it could help you cover your next trip. If you’re a movie lover, the Scene Visa Card might suit you best.  

Overall, there are several options for best student credit cards Canada, but your individual circumstances will decide the one for you.


FAQs on Best Student Credit Cards Canada

Is it worth getting a student credit card?

Student credit cards usually come with lower credit limits, fewer rewards, and higher APRs. But, if you use them the right way, the best credit cards for students can help you manage your finances and build up your credit score.

Can a student with no income get a credit card?

Yes, if you have no income, you can have a family member co-sign when you open your credit card account. Another option is to open a joint account with a family member so you can build your credit and also get the rewards offered ny student credit cards.

How many credit cards should a student have?

Managing payments on more than one credit card can be challenging and overwhelming for a student. Therefore, having just one is usually best. Just make sure you choose the one that fits your situation best out of the best student credit cards Canada has.

Should I get a student credit card or regular credit card?

If you are eligible, a student credit card is usually the better choice. Many of the best student credit cards Canada has offers no annual fees and the minimum income requirement. You can choose from any of the best student credit cards Canada has according to your needs.

Can I keep my student credit card after I graduate?

If you like your credit card’s rewards program, fee structure, or APR, you can decide to keep using it after graduation. However, let the card issuer know that you’ve graduated from college. They may simply reclassify it so that it’s no longer regarded as a student card.


Final Thoughts – Best Student Credit Cards Canada

Now that you know the best student credit cards Canada has, what’s next? Regardless of the card you choose from the best credit cards for students, the most important thing is to use your credit card responsibly and build a good credit history.

You can schedule pre-authorized automatic payments from your bank account to pay off your credit card so you don’t forget.

To avoid late payments, you can either pay the monthly minimum payment or pay off the entire credit card bill automatically every month. Doing any of these prevents you from accumulating debt or paying late. In-depth knowledge of your personal finance and how to maintain it would help.

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