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Published May 1, 2024

16 Best Student Credit Cards in Canada for May 2024

The best student credit cards in Canada have low fees and interest rates while still providing some perks and strengthening your credit profile.

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Finding a student credit card with the right combination of features for your lifestyle can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time choosing a card. But spending a few minutes with the information below — consider it a mini cram session — should have you ready to compare the best student credit cards and confident that you can make a decision about which one is right for your needs.

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TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card

Intro offer details: Earn up to $1,200 in value†, including up to 50,000 Aeroplan points† (enough for a round trip to New York City†), and additional travel benefits. Account must be approved by June 3, 2024.
†Terms and conditions apply.

Best student credit cards in Canada

Best overall student card

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students


$0

20.99% / 22.99%

0.5%–5%

Up to $125
Our take
Why we like it

The BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students has impressive earn rates — including 3% on groceries — and valuable perks, all without an annual fee.

Pros
  • Earn flexible and easy-to-redeem cash rewards on everyday purchases.
  • There’s no minimum threshold for redeeming your cash-back rewards. Redeem as little as $1 if you want.


Cons
  • Accelerated earn rates for groceries and recurring bills are capped at $500 per billing cycle.
  • Insurance is limited to extended warranty and purchase protection.
Card details
  • Welcome offer: Get 5% cash back in your first 3 months.*
  • Then get 3% cash back on grocery purchases, 1% cash back on recurring bill payments and 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases!*
  • Now earn the highest cash back on groceries in Canada without paying an annual fee!†
  • Get cash back every time you spend, plus start building a healthy credit history.
  • Want to get your cash back ASAP? Now you can redeem your cash back anytime through direct deposit, as a credit on your statement or into your BMO InvestorLine account.*
  • No Annual fee.*
  • Extended Warranty.*
  • Purchase Protection.*
  • Receive a discount on car rentals.*
  • *Terms and conditions apply.
  • †Statement based on a comparison of the non-promotional grocery rewards earn rate on Canadian cash back credit cards as of January 4, 2023.
  • BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the Apply now link for the most up to date information.
Other credit cards to consider

If this card doesn’t seem like a good fit for your wallet, take a look at NerdWallet’s selection of the best credit cards to help find the right option for you.

Best for: Points on restaurants

American Express Cobalt® Card


$155.88

21.99% / 21.99%

1x-5x Points

Up to 15,000 Points
Our take
Why we like it

The American Express Cobalt Card boasts high rewards rates on everyday spending, a generous welcome bonus, comprehensive travel insurance coverage, flexible point redemption and plenty of specialty perks to keep things interesting all year long.

Pros
  • Earn 150,000 points in the first year by spending up to $30,000 on eats, drinks and groceries. Combined with the 15,000 point intro offer, you could earn 165,000 points in your first year, which you could redeem for travel and more.
  • Easily transfer the points you earn to popular airline and hotel loyalty programs, such as Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy.


Cons
  • Airport lounge access isn’t provided, which may disappoint some frequent travellers.
  • No travel medical coverage for cardmembers over the age of 65.
Card details
  • In your first year as a new Cobalt Cardmember, you can earn 1,250 Membership Rewards® points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in net purchases on your Card. This could add up to 15,000 points in a year. That’s up to $150 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
  • Earn 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks in Canada, including groceries and food delivery. Spend cap applies.
  • Earn 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada.
  • Earn 2X the points on eligible ride shares, transit & gas in Canada.
  • Earn 1 additional point on eligible hotel and car rental bookings via American Express Travel Online.
  • Earn 1X point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else.
  • Enjoy access to hotel bookings, a room upgrade (when available), 12pm check-in and late check-out (when available), and up to $100 USD hotel credit to use on amenities when charged to the room for a stay of 2 or more consecutive nights through The Hotel Collection from American Express Travel
  • Transfer points 1:1 to several frequent flyer and other loyalty programs.
  • Cobalt Cardmembers receive regular Perks such as bonus reward offers and access to great events.
  • Access Front Of The Line® Presale & Reserved Tickets to some of your favourite concerts and theatre performances and special offers and events curated for Cardmembers with American Express® Experiences.
  • *Effective August 15, 2023, Cobalt Cardmembers will earn 5x the points on all eligible eats & drinks charged to their Card up to $2,500 monthly, for the same total of $30,000 annually already in place today. Cardmembers will also continue to earn 3x on streaming subscriptions, 2x on eligible transit, gas & travel purchases and 1x on everything else. T&Cs apply. While the annual earn does not change, the new monthly construct intends to curb gaming activity. The change should have little to no impact on the majority of Cardmembers who utilize the Card and Membership Rewards program as it was intended.
  • American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information, click the Apply Now link. If you apply and get approved for an American Express Card, NerdWallet may receive compensation from American Express, which can be in the form of monetary payment.

Best for: Bad or no credit

Neo Secured Credit


$0

19.99%-29.99% / 22.99%-31.99%

$50

$10,000
Our take
Neo Secured Credit is a no-fee card that earns cash back rewards and offers access to high-interest savings.

Pros
  • A small $50 minimum deposit makes this card accessible to consumers of all budgets.
  • Earn up to 15% cash back on purchases with select Neo partners.


Cons
  • Interest rates could be as high as 29.99% for some users.
Card details
  • Build credit history with on-time payments.
  • Set your credit limit and get started with as little as $50.
  • Guaranteed approval with no credit score needed to apply.
  • Earn 1% cashback on all gas and grocery purchases.
  • 0.5% guaranteed monthly minimum cashback.
  • No monthly or annual fees.
  • Upgrade to Premium and earn exclusive benefits and boosted rewards, like 3% cashback on all gas and grocery and free credit monitoring.
  • Personalized Insights AI generates tailored information and recommendations designed specifically for you.

Best for: Customizable spending categories

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card


$0

19.95%

0.5%-10%

Up to $100
Our take
Why we like it

You can earn unlimited cash back at a 2% rate in up to three categories of your choice — all while earning 0.50% back on everything else.

Pros
  • You can tailor the 2% rewards to your spending by choosing up to three categories from Tangerine’s list of 10, which includes basics like gas and groceries as well as unusual picks like furniture and home improvement.
  • Transfer balances within your first 30 days and pay only 1.95% interest on the transferred balance for the first six months (19.95% after that).


Cons
  • 2% cash back is a competitive rate, but many cards offer double the rewards on specific categories.
  • Tangerine is a virtual bank with no physical bank branches.
Card details
  • 2% on two categories of your choice: grocery, furniture, restaurants, hotel-motel, gas, recurring bill payments, drug store, home improvement, entertainment, or public transportation and parking.
  • Get a third cash-back category by choosing to have your rewards deposited into a Tangerine Savings Account.
  • 0.50% on everything else.
  • Redeem cash back monthly as a statement credit or deposited into a Tangerine Savings Account.
  • No annual fee.
  • Transfer balances within your first 30 days and pay only 1.95% interest on the transferred balance for the first six months (19.95% after that). 1% balance transfer fee applies to the amount transferred.
  • Get free cards for any authorized users on your account.
  • It only includes purchase assurance and extended protection insurance. For more insurance, consider the Tangerine World Mastercard which requires a minimum personal income of $60,000. If you meet this requirement, you will automatically be considered for the World card if you apply for the Money-Back card.
  • Preferred rates: 19.95% for purchases and cash advances.
  • To be eligible, a $12,000 (individual) annual income is required. Also, you must have a Canadian credit file and be a Canadian resident of the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.

Best for: Flat-rate reward points

American Express® Green Card


$0

21.99% / 21.99%

1x-2x Points

10,000 Points
Our take
Why we like it

The American Express Green Card has a simple rewards program with an accelerated earn rate on hotel and rental car bookings, and it’s easy to transfer your points to other loyalty programs for maximum redemption value. Oh, and the card itself is made from 99% recycled plastic.

Pros
  • No limits on rewards spending, and more ways to redeem your points than other no-fee rewards credit cards on this list.
  • Cardholders who enjoy VIP treatment will enjoy access to a multitude of perks through American Express Experiences.


Cons
  • Reward earn rates are lower than some other no-fee credit cards.
  • Lacks some of the travel perks and insurance options offered by other cards.
Card details
  • Get the Card that lets you live in the moment while getting ready for the future.
  • The American Express® Green Card lets you go for it with every swipe or tap of your Card.
  • As a new American Express® Green Cardmember, you can earn a Welcome Bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards® points when you charge $1,000 in purchases to your Card in the first 3 months of Cardmembership. That’s $100 towards groceries or concert tickets.
  • Earn 1x the points on Card purchases.
  • Charge an eligible purchase to your Card and redeem your Membership Rewards points for a statement credit (All eligible purchases: 1,000 points = $10 statement credit).
  • With American Express Experiences and Front Of The Line®, American Express Cardmembers get access to amazing events in Canada.
  • Transfer points 1:1 to several frequent flyer and other loyalty programs.
  • American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.

Best for: Points on Expedia bookings

TD Rewards Visa* Card


$0

19.99% / 22.99%

1x-4x Points

15,152 Points
Our take
Why we like it

With robust earn rates on a variety of purchases and flexibility in how points can be redeemed, the TD Rewards Visa provides an impressive amount of value for a card with no annual fee.

Pros
  • No annual fee.
  • Offers some flexibility in how TD Rewards Points can be redeemed.


Cons
  • While points can be redeemed for travel purchases, the TD Rewards Visa Card lacks many of the perks typically associated with travel credit cards.
Card details
  • Earn 15,152 TD Rewards Points† (a value of $50 on Amazon.ca†) by keeping your Account open, active and in good standing for the first 90 days†, plus no Annual Fee. Account must be approved by June 3, 2024.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Earn 4 TD Rewards Points for every $1 you spend when you book travel through Expedia® For TD†.
  • Earn 3 TD Rewards Points for every $1 you spend on Groceries and Restaurants†.
  • Earn 2 TD Rewards Points for every $1 you spend on regularly recurring bill payments set up on your Account†.
  • Earn 1 TD Rewards Points for every $1 you spend on other Purchases made using your Card†.
  • Your Points are worth more when you redeem through Expedia For TD: Search over a million flights, hotels, packages and more! When you’re ready to book, you can redeem† your TD Rewards Points towards your travel purchase right away.
  • Or Book Any Way†: You can also choose to book your trip through any other travel agency or website. This gives you the flexibility to use your TD Rewards Points towards all kinds of travel expenses – including excursions and taxes – within 90 days of your purchase.
  • No travel blackouts†, no seat restrictions† and no expiry† for your TD Rewards Points as long as your account is open and in good standing.
  • Shop online through TDRewards.com Redeem your TD Rewards Points for great deals on a wide selection of merchandise and gift card.
  • Redeem your TD Rewards Points towards making purchases at Amazon.ca with Amazon Shop with Points. Conditions apply.
  • Pay With Rewards: Redeem TD Rewards Points to help pay down your credit card balance.
  • Cardholders must be Canadian residents of the age of majority in their province/territory of residence.
  • †Terms and conditions apply.
  • This offer is not available for residents of Quebec.
  • The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete and current information on any TD product, please click the Apply Now button.

Best for: Intro cash-back rate

Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa* Card (for students)


$0

19.99% / 22.99%

0.5%-5%

Up to $200
Our take
Why we like it

The Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa* Card (for students) is a solid choice for students looking for a cash-back card with no annual fee and a low introductory rate on balance transfers.

Pros
  • 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 6 months.
  • No annual fee.
  • Rental car discounts.


Cons
  • Low cash-back rate (0.5% to 1%).
  • Insurance coverage not included.
Card details
  • 5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases).
  • 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months.
  • Earn 1% on gas, groceries, drug stores, and recurring payments. Earn 0.5% on everything else.
  • $500 minimum credit limit.
  • Free supplementary cards.
  • Get 25% off at Avis and Budget car rentals.
  • Optional insurance coverage available, such as life, critical illness and hospitalization coverage.

Best for: Low annual fee

RBC ION+ Visa Credit Card


$48

20.99% / 22.99%

1x-3x Points

Up to 7,000 Points
Our take
Why we like it

One of RBC’s newest offerings, the RBC ION+ Visa is a solid, low-fee rewards card with generous earning rates on daily spending.

Pros
  • Earn unlimited 3x on a variety of common spending categories, like groceries, gas, food delivery, and even digital gaming.
  • Get a monthly fee rebate every month when you have an RBC Signature No Limit Banking or RBC Advantage Banking for students account.


Cons
  • Limited insurance offerings, but mobile device insurance is included.
Card details
  • Get 3,500 Welcome Points on approval and earn 3,500 bonus points when you spend $500 in your first 3 months.*
  • Earn 3X Avion points for every $1 spent¹ on:
  • Grocery, Dining & Food Delivery – Satisfy your taste buds by earning points on groceries, dining out, food delivery.ⁱ
  • Rides, Gas & EV Charging – Enjoy earning points on gas, rideshare, daily public transit, electric vehicle charging.ⁱⁱ
  • Streaming, Digital Gaming & Subscriptions– Stay entertained while earning points on streaming, gaming, eligible digital subscriptions, eligible digital downloads, and in-game purchases.ⁱⁱⁱ
  • Earn 1 Avion point for every $1 spent on all other qualifying purchases.¹
  • Annual Fee $48² ($4 charged monthly).
  • Pay With Points – Redeem your Avion points to pay bills, your credit card balance or even send money to friends with Interac e-Transfer⁴. Minimum redemption is only $10, so you can use your points where you need them most.
  • Save at Petro-Canada – Save 3¢/L on fuel and earn 20% more points when you pay with a linked RBC card.⁶
  • Earn more Be Well points at Rexall – Earn 50 Be Well points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases at Rexall when you pay with your linked RBC card and scan your Be Well card.⁷
  • Save Big on Delivery with DoorDash – Get a 3-month complimentary DashPass subscription – a value of almost $308. Enjoy unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees on qualifying orders of $15 or more when you pay with your eligible RBC credit card⁹. See how to save with DoorDash.
  • Enjoy a Monthly Fee Rebate – Get a $4 rebate¹⁰ each month ($48/year) on the monthly fee of your credit card when you have an RBC Signature No Limit Banking or RBC Advantage Banking for students account.
  • Mobile Device Insurance⁵ Included – Get 2 years of coverage up to $1,000 in the event your mobile device such as your cell phone is lost, stolen, accidentally damaged or experiences mechanical failure when you purchase your mobile device with this credit card.
  • Purchase Security and Extended Warranty Insurance⁵ – Automatically protects eligible card purchases against loss, theft or damage within 90 days of purchase, and doubles the manufacturer’s original Canadian warranty by up to one additional year, to a maximum of five years.
  • Corresponding legal references and product terms are available on the RBC website, which will be available and agreed upon in the customer onboarding process.

Best for: AIR MILES points

BMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®* for Students


$0

20.99% / 22.99%

0.04x-0.12x Miles

800 Miles
Our take
Why we like it

Students can start earning AIR MILES rewards on everyday purchases with this no-fee and easy-entry Air Miles card.

Pros
  • Better-than-usual intro offer for a student card, plus the ability to earn rewards on everyday purchases.
  • Your AIR MILES membership will help you earn miles twice as fast at AIR MILES Partners when you pay with your BMO AIR MILES credit card.


Cons
  • The 20.99% interest rate may be an industry standard, but it could feel high for first-time cardholders. If a lower rate is important to you, consider the nearly-identical BMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®*, which comes with a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for nine months.
Card details
  • Welcome offer: Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles!* That’s enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash.*
  • Get 3x the Miles for every $25 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners and 2x the Miles for every $25 spent at any eligible grocery store.*
  • Get 1 Mile for every $25 spent everywhere else.*
  • Use your BMO AIR MILES Mastercard and AIR MILES Collector Card at an AIR MILES Partner to earn Reward Miles from both.*
  • Get AIR MILES back every time you spend, plus start building a healthy credit history.
  • No annual fee.*
  • Receive a discount on car rentals.*
  • Extended Warranty.*
  • Purchase Protection.*
  • *Terms and conditions apply.
  • BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the Apply now link for the most up to date information.

Honourable mention for: Cash back on everyday spending

SimplyCash® Card from American Express


$0

21.99% / 21.99%

1.25%-2%

Up to $100
Our take
Why we like it

Take advantage of an accelerated earn rate of 2% cash back on gas and groceries, then enjoy a flat rewards rate of 1.25%, which makes it easy to earn cash back on every purchase.

Pros
  • An easy-to-understand rewards structure.
  • Cardholders enjoy exclusive access, special offers and events, and more through American Express Experiences and Front of the Line Reserved tickets and presales.


Cons
  • The accelerated 2% earn rate won’t earn you more than $300 in cash back annually.
Card details
  • In your first 10 months as a new SimplyCash® Card from American Express Cardmember, you can earn a $10 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $300 in purchases on your Card. This could add up to $100 in statement credits in the first 10 months.
  • Earn accelerated earn rates on eligible gas and grocery purchases.
  • Earn 2% cash back on eligible gas purchases in Canada, 2% cash back on eligible grocery purchases in Canada (up to $300 cash back annually), and 1.25% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
  • Access events and special offers curated for Cardmembers with American Express® Experiences.
  • Insurance coverage and 24/7 Customer Service.
  • American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.

Best for: Aeroplan points

CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Card for Students


$0

20.99% / 22.99%

0.67x-1x Points

10,000 Points
Our take
Why we like it

Credit card beginners can use the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students to accumulate travel rewards thanks to a solid earn rate and a generous welcome bonus.

Pros
  • The welcome bonus has no strings attached or hoops to jump through — simply make a purchase a receive 10,000 Aeroplan points.
  • Your Aeroplan membership will help you earn points twice as fast at Aeroplan partners and retailers in the Aeroplan eStore when you pay with your Aeroplan credit card.


Cons
  • The higher 20.99% interest rate could be a problem for students learning how to use their first credit card.
  • To get the best value, you’ll have to be loyal to Air Canada and the Aeroplan rewards program.
Card details
  • 1x Aeroplan points per dollar on gas, electric vehicle charging, groceries and Air Canada travel purchases, up to $40,000 annual spend.
  • 1x Aeroplan points per $1.50 spent on all other purchases, including gas, electric vehicle charging, groceries and Air Canada travel purchases that exceed the $40,000 threshold.
  • Earn points twice at over 150 Aeroplan partners and 170+ online retailers through the Aeroplan eStore.
  • Aeroplan Points never expire and can be redeemed for a variety of travel, merchandise, gift card, and other rewards offered by Aeroplan’s participating partners and suppliers.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Get three free months of Uber Pass for discounts on rides, meals and more. Offer ends September 8, 2022.
  • Earn 1 Aeroplan point for every $6 spent on CIBC Global Money Transfer, with no transaction fees or interest as long as you pay your balance on time. Offer ends June 30, 2022.
  • Maximize your points by adding up to three additional cards and giving them to your spouse or other family members. Points can be shared with other Aeroplan members in your household.
  • Earn points by using your CIBC Aeroplan Visa to automatically make recurring bill payments.
  • Receive preferred pricing when paying for flights with your Aeroplan points.
  • Save up to 25% on car rentals at participating Budget and Avis locations worldwide when paying with your card.
  • Save up to 10 cents per litre at participating Chevron, Ultramar and Pioneer gas stations if you link your card with Journie Rewards.
  • Use the CIBC Pace It feature to make installment payments on large purchases.
  • Four types of insurance are provided: auto rental collision and loss damage insurance, purchase security, extended protection insurance, and $100,000 in common carrier accident insurance.
  • Preferred rates: 20.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances.
  • To be eligible, you must have full-time status in a college or university.

Best for: Points on entertainment

Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card for Students


$0

20.99% / 22.99%

1x-2x Points

Up to 7,500 Points
Our take
Why we like it

The Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card for Students is a great no-fee starter-card for students who want to earn rewards for movies, meals and entertainment.

Pros
  • Use your Scene+ points for travel, shopping, dining and more.
  • Intro offer is equal to a free General Admission or 3D movie ticket in a regular auditorium.


Cons
  • Cinema-lovers will get the most from this card. If you don’t enjoy going to movies, or are nervous about frequenting the theatre during COVID-19, this card won’t be worthwhile.
Card details
  • Earn up to 7,500 bonus Scene+ points within your first 3 months¹
  • No annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards¹
  • Earn 2x Scene+ points¹ on every $1 you spend at Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, participating Co-ops, Freshco and more
  • Earn 2x Scene+ points¹ for every $1 you spend on Home Hardware, Home Building Center, Home Furniture locations in Canada and online at homehardware.ca
  • Earn 2x Scene+ points¹ for every $1 you spend at Cineplex theatres or online at cineplex.com
  • Plus earn 1 Scene+ point for every $1 spent on all other eligible everyday purchases
  • Rates, fees and other information are effective as of Mar 1, 2024. Subject to change.
  • To be eligible, you must be a resident of Canada and the age of majority in the province or territory where you live. Credit history is not required and international students can apply.

Best for: Aventura points

CIBC Aventura® Visa Card for Students


$0

20.99% / 22.99%

0.5x-1x Points

Up to 2,500 Points
Our take
Why we like it

The CIBC Aventura Visa Card for Students is a smart no-fee option that earns flexible travel rewards on everyday purchases.

Pros
  • Earn points on every purchase.
  • Access to personalized travel booking and trip planning through Aventura Travel Assistant.


Cons
  • The earn rate for gas station, electric vehicle charging station, grocery store and drugstore purchases is limited to a $6,000 annual spend.
  • The higher 20.99% interest rate could be a problem for students learning how to use their first credit card.
Card details
  • 1 Aventura point for every $1 spent at gas stations, electric vehicle charging, grocery stores and drugstores, up to $6,000 annual spend.
  • 1 Aventura point for every $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre.
  • 1 Aventura point for every $2 spent on everything else.
  • Redeem Aventura points to cover full airfare including taxes and fees, to pay down your balance, or for travel rewards from the CIBC Rewards Centre, such as hotel stays, vacation packages, cruises, merchandise, gift cards and one-of-a-kind activities. Aventura points do not expire as long as your account is in good standing.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Save up to 10 cents per litre on gas at Chevron, Ultramar and Pioneer gas stations by linking your card with Journie Rewards.
  • Enter the Student Life Network Full Ride Contest by December 31, 2022 for a chance to win $35,000 for tuition.
  • Qualify for a free SPC membership and get exclusive access to SPC+ for discounts and over 450 deals, special experiences and more.
  • Use the CIBC Pace It feature to make installment payments on large purchases.
  • Four types of insurance are provided: auto rental collision and loss damage insurance, purchase security, extended protection insurance, and $100,000 in common carrier accident insurance.
  • Preferred rates: 20.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances.
  • To be eligible, you must have full-time status in a college or university.

Best for: Prepaid card

Wealthsimple Card


$0

1%

$0

Unlimited
Our take
Why we like it

Beginner investors interested in learning more about building wealth will feel right at home with the Wealthsimple Card, a no-fee prepaid Mastercard that earns 1% cash back on purchases. Use the rewards to support your TFSA, invest in stocks, ETFs and crypto, or fund your linked spending (Cash) account, where you can send, spend and receive money instantly with the Wealthsimple Cash app.

Pros
  • Use a Visa or Mastercard debit card to instantly deposit up to $3,500 per day (up to a maximum of $35,000 per month).
  • Effortlessly build an investment portfolio by transforming cash back rewards into stocks, ETFs or cryptocurrency deposited directly into a trading account.


Cons
  • There’s no brick-and-mortar location for Wealthsimple customers, so you need to be comfortable managing your money with an online-only company.
  • $5,000 per day spending limit; ATM withdrawals are limited to $500 per transaction/$1,000 per day.
  • Cash rewards invested into cryptocurrency are subject to Wealthsimple Crypto’s 1.5-2% fee.
Card details
  • General fees and features: Wealthsimple does not charge any fees to use the Wealthsimple Card.
  • Currency conversion fee: Mastercard will determine the applicable exchange rate from the range of rates available in wholesale currency markets for the applicable processing date, which may vary from the rate Mastercard itself receives.
  • ATM withdrawals: Wealthsimple does not charge any fees for withdrawing cash, but you may see a standard ATM withdrawal fee (usually about $3.00) when you make a withdrawal at an ATM. ATM Withdrawal limits are $500 per transaction and $1,000 per day.
  • Reload methods: Add funds to your card by making a deposit via a linked bank account, a wire transfer, your Visa or Mastercard debit card, or an institutional transfer to move an account from another institution.
  • Rewards: Earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases. Cash back rewards can go directly into your Spend account, be added to the cash balance of a stock trading or crypto trading account, or be used to auto-purchase the cryptocurrency of your choice in your crypto trading account. Use the card anywhere Mastercard is accepted — in-store, in apps, or online. Pay bills, use direct deposit, and e-Transfer.
  • The Wealthsimple Card is available as part of the everyday spending account, which comes with both a digital and physical card that you can manage right from the Wealthsimple app.
  • Use the app to manage your rewards and spending preferences, or lock your card if something happens to it. Your balances are all updated in real-time, too — even if you’re using the physical card
  • Add your Wealthsimple Card to Apple, Samsung or Google Pay digital wallet.
  • Use the Wealthsimple Cash app to send and receive payments to anyone else who uses the Cash app without paying fees. You can also send money to people who don’t have the Cash app yet. They will receive a prompt to download the app and claim the money you sent them.
  • Your money is protected for up to $100,000 through CDIC.
  • To be eligible, you must be a Canadian resident with a Social Insurance Number of the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.

Best for: Cash back rewards

SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express


$119.88

21.99% / 21.99%

2%-4%

Up to $400
Our take
Why we like it

Get rewarded at the gas station and grocery store with 4% cash back, plus enjoy a high ongoing flat-rate of 2% cash back on everything else.

Pros
  • The unlimited 2% cash-back earn rate is among the highest we evaluated.
  • You can earn up to $400 in the first ten months.


Cons
  • The bonus rewards rate on gas and groceries drops down to 2% after a $30,000 annual spend.
Card details
  • In your first 10 months as a new SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express Cardmember, you can earn a $40 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases on your Card. This could add up to $400 in statement credits in the first 10 months.
  • Earn accelerated earn rates on eligible gas and grocery purchases.
  • Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas station purchases in Canada, 4% cash back on eligible grocery store purchases in Canada (up to $1,200 cash back annually) and 2% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Access events and special offers curated for Cardmembers with American Express® Experiences.
  • Extensive insurance coverage and 24/7 Customer Service.
  • American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.

Best for: Balance transfers

RBC® Cash Back Mastercard‡


$0

20.99% / 22.99%

0.5%-2%

N/A
Our take
Why we like it

Cardholders earn cash back on all purchases, with elevated rewards on groceries, for no annual fee.

Pros
  • No annual fee.
  • Cash back on all purchases.
  • Elevated cash-back rewards earned on eligible grocery store purchases.


Cons
  • Cash-back earn rate is lower than some other cards in its class.
  • Not a good fit for customers who want to earn elevated rewards in any category aside from groceries.
Card details
  • Unlimited cash back on your spending.*
  • 2% cash back on groceries.*
  • Up to 1% cash back on all other qualifying purchases and pre-authorized payments.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Link your RBC card with a Petro-Points membership and instantly save on fuel at Petro-Canada stations and earn 20% more Petro-Points.
  • Get $0 delivery fees for 3 months from DoorDash¹⁴ – Add your eligible RBC credit card to your DoorDash account to:
  • Get a 3-month complimentary DashPass subscription¹⁵ – a value of almost $30.
  • Enjoy unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees on orders of $15 or more when you pay with your eligible RBC credit card.
  • Corresponding legal references and product terms are available on the RBC website, which will be available and agreed upon in the customer onboarding process.
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Methodology: How we evaluate cards

NerdWallet Canada selects the best credit cards for university students based on overall value and their suitability for specific kinds of students. Factors in our evaluation methodology include annual fees, rewards programs (both earning rates and redemption options), promotional and ongoing APRs, bonus offers for new cardholders, incentives for responsible behaviour, free credit scores and other credit education, and availability to applicants with thin or no credit history, and other noteworthy features such as a path to upgrade to a different product later on. Only credit cards specifically marketed to university students are considered for this list.

    Summary of the best student credit cards in Canada

    CARD NAMEBEST STUDENT CARD FORANNUAL FEE
    American Express Cobalt® CardBest for: Points on restaurants.$155.88.
    American Express® Green CardBest for: Flat-rate reward points.$0.
    BMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®* for StudentsBest for: AIR MILES points.$0.
    BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for StudentsBest overall card for students.$0.
    CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Card for StudentsBest for: Aeroplan points.$0.
    CIBC Aventura® Visa Card for StudentsBest for: Aventura points.$0.
    Neo Secured CreditBest for: Bad or no credit.$0.
    RBC® Cash Back Mastercard‡Best for: Balance transfers.$0.
    RBC ION+ Visa Credit CardBest for: Low annual fee.$48.
    Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa* Card (for students)Best for: Intro cash-back rate.$0.
    Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card for StudentsBest for: Points on entertaiment.$0.
    SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American ExpressBest for: Cash back rewards.$119.88.
    Tangerine Money-Back Credit CardBest for: Customizable spending categories.$0.
    TD Rewards Visa* CardBest for: Points on Expedia bookings.$0.
    Wealthsimple CardBest for: Prepaid card.$0.
    SimplyCash® Card from American ExpressHonourable mention for: Cash back on everyday spending.$0.

    The best student cards from Canada’s big banks

    Consider these top choices if you prefer to bank with one of Canada’s big banks.

    BANKBest card
    Bank of Montreal (BMO)BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students.
    Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Card for Students.
    Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)RBC ION+ Visa Credit Card.
    ScotiabankScotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa* Card (for students).
    TD BankTD Rewards Visa* Card.

    Beginner’s guide to student credit cards in Canada

    How do student credit cards work?

    Student credit cards aren’t much different from regular credit cards. You charge purchases to your card and you don’t have to pay for them until your statement due date. Generally speaking, student credit cards are easier to qualify for than premium credit cards. They’ll also help you build your credit score.

    Although some financial institutions have official student-branded credit cards, most offer general entry-level cards that are suitable for students. In other words, even if a card isn’t called a student credit card, you may still have a chance at approval.

    However, if you have negative marks in your credit history or no credit history at all, make sure to check the eligibility requirements. If a credit history is required, consider a secured credit card or a prepaid card instead.

    Student credit cards vs. regular credit cards

    The main difference between student credit cards and all other credit cards can be found in the qualification requirements.

    And despite the name, very few student credit cards are limited to those who are enrolled in post-secondary education — the name simply acknowledges that the eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, and benefits are aimed at consumers of a certain financial profile.

    Types of student credit cards

    Cash-back student credit cards

    A particularly attractive option for students who might want a “discount” on their credit card bill every now and then, cash-back credit cards reward your spending with points that can be redeemed for cash. These cash rewards are most often provided in the form of a statement credit, but in some cases, can also be transferred to a savings account.

    Low-interest student credit cards

    Most credit cards in Canada carry a purchase interest rate around 20%, and student credit cards are no exception. Credit card interest rates on balance transfers or cash advances may be even higher. However, certain credit cards offer low interest rates as a way to attract cardholders who may not be as experienced with revolving credit products.

    No-fee student credit cards

    Many Canadian credit cards charge an annual fee that must be paid regardless of how much you spend or how often you use the card — it’s just the cost of being a cardholder. Students who are working with a tight budget will be pleased to learn that there are exceptions to this rule, however.

    No-fee credit cards waive the annual fee, allowing students to reap all the benefits of having a credit card — including bonuses and rewards — without an extra charge piled on top.

    Student travel credit cards

    Among the best options for students are travel credit cards, which allow cardholders to earn travel rewards — points or miles that can be redeemed for discounted fares, merchandise, gift cards, and other perks.

    Student reward credit cards

    Armed with a rewards credit card, students in Canada can earn valuable points by using their card to pay for everyday expenses, like gas, groceries and even furniture. Some student rewards credit cards even come with perks like purchase assurance or extended protection insurance on eligible purchases.

    How to compare student credit cards

    Before applying for one of Canada’s best student credit cards, you should compare everything available. Here’s what to keep an eye out for.

    How to get a student credit card

    Once you’ve compared your options and weighed the pros and cons, obtaining a student credit card is similar to relatively straightforward. There are generally three steps you’ll have to take:

    1. Check eligibility requirements. Make sure you meet whatever eligibility criteria have been laid out by the card provider.
    2. Submit your application. Provide the personal and financial information required by the credit card company you’d like to apply to. This can usually be done online or in person.
    3. Activate. Once you’ve received your student credit card, you’ll need to activate it. You can generally do this online or by calling your credit card provider.

    Student credit card eligibility requirements

    Like other cards, student credit cards come with certain eligibility requirements you’ll be expected to meet.

    Age

    Many student credit cards are limited to those aged 18-24. You must also be the age of majority in the province where you live. The age of majority is 18 in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan. It’s 19 everywhere else in Canada.

    Credit score

    Because student credit cards are designed for users who may not have a credit history, some do not have a minimum credit score requirement. If you’re applying for a card that does take your credit score into consideration, know that it may require a credit score of 660 or higher.

    Income

    Some cards come with specific income requirements, like the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card which requires proof of $12,000 annual income. Those that don’t will still require proof that you have money coming in — via student loans, grants, scholarships, or family allowances — to ensure you’ll be able to pay off your balance every month.

    Residency/student status

    To be eligible for a student credit card in Canada, you’ll have to be a Canadian resident and/or provide evidence that you are enrolled in a post-secondary education program. There are certain exceptions to the residency rules for international students.

    Can international students get a credit card in Canada?

    Yes, international students can get credit cards in Canada. And with school being so expensive for international students, getting access to a little credit can go a long way. But getting a student credit card as an international student requires you to do a little extra work.

    You’ll have to apply for a Social Insurance Number first, and you’ll only receive one if your study permit allows you to work while in the country studying. You may also have to provide government-issued identification, like a passport or a Canadian-issued driver’s license, as well as some form of proof that you’re actually enrolled at a post-secondary institution.

    How to apply for a student credit card

    1. Fill out an application. You can do this online or in person at your financial institution of choice. The application will ask for some basic information, such as your name, date of birth, address, social insurance number, employer and income.
    2. Your information is checked. The credit card issuer will check your credit history and verify the information you provided.
    3. A decision is made. If you apply online, instant approval (or disapproval) is possible, but there’s also a chance the credit card issuer will ask you to contact them to provide additional information.
    4. Your card is mailed out and will typically arrive within 14 business days.
    5. Activate your card. Once your card arrives, you’ll need to activate it by logging into your account or calling the number on your card. Once activated, you can use your card to make purchases.
    Rejected? Why your student credit card application was denied

    Even though credit card companies love to welcome new users, there’s no guarantee that your application for a student credit card will be approved. If you find yourself being denied by a credit card provider, it could be because:

    Is a student credit card a good idea?

    Even if you already have a joint credit card with your parents, getting a student credit card may still be worth it. A credit card can be a vital part of managing your expense and, when used correctly, it’ll help you build your credit score.

    Pros: When a student credit card may be worth it

    to build credit as a student

    As you use your student credit card, you’ll build a strong credit history and that will impact your credit score. Your credit score is a number between 300 – 900. The higher your credit score, the more creditworthy you are to creditors. If you ever want to get a loan in the future, lenders will often look at your credit score first.

    Your credit score doesn’t become excellent overnight. The credit bureaus want to see an established history of responsible credit use, which is why a credit card under your own name can help. Then, your credit history will grow as you make purchases and pay off your bills. Over time, you can expect your credit score to increase.

    to Earn rewards

    Another benefit of having a student credit card is earning valuable rewards that can make life a little less expensive.

    Not all student credit cards offer rewards, but those that do allow you to collect points or miles that can be put toward purchases, including flights and hotels, or redeemed in the form of cash-back rewards that help whittle down your credit card balance.

    To track spending

    If you’re living on your own for the first time, money management skills may not be something you’ve mastered yet. That’s okay. You have a lot on your plate.

    While not a perfect substitute for a thorough and thoughtful budget, some student credit cards offer budget tracking services that keep a tally of your spending and notify you if you’re at risk of exceeding your monthly spending limits.

    to gain financial flexibility

    Dealing with an unexpected expense when you don’t have much cash can be extremely stressful

    A student credit card can help fill in those gaps by giving you the financial flexibility to pay for necessities, like groceries and clothing, or sudden costs, such as car repairs or a flight home to tend to a family emergency, even if you don’t have all of the cash in your bank account.

    Even though student credit cards provide flexibility, it’s important to use them responsibly. Interest rates don’t get any lower just because your card’s being used for essentials and emergencies.

    Cons: When a student credit card might not be worth it

    if it has higher-than-usual interest rates

    All credit cards come with specific interest rates, usually around 19.99%, charged on top of your balance assuming you don’t pay it off within the allotted grace period, usually about a month. It’s not hard to see how this can cause your debt to expand quickly if you don’t stay on top of payments.

    Some cards offer much lower interest rates, which can be helpful if you’re not confident that you’ll be able to pay in full each month.

    if the spending limit is too low for your needs

    Student credit cards often come with lower spending limits than other credit cards. A low spending limit can prevent you from racking up a big credit card bill you can’t pay, but it can also leave you in the lurch if a major purchase becomes necessary and you’re already up against your maximum spending amount.

    if you’ll end up in Credit card debt

    A maxed-out credit card can take years to pay off if you’re only making minimum payments, and can damage your credit score in the process. Thinking more long-term, if a situation arises where you need to take out a loan, lenders aren’t likely to give you the best interest rates or friendliest terms if you have a lot of credit card debt in comparison to your income.

    Alternatives: When to consider other options

    If you’re not ready for your first credit card or think you may not qualify for a student credit card, there are other solutions available.

    Secured credit cards

    A secured credit card works like a regular credit card, but you must provide a security deposit that typically acts as your credit limit. That security deposit typically acts as your credit limit.

    For example, if you deposited $500 onto your secured credit card, you’d have a $500 spending limit. You can’t use that deposit to pay your credit card bill, but you’d get it back if you ever closed your account in good standing.

    The best secured credit cards allow you to build credit history. Once you have a good credit score, you can try applying for a student credit card.

    Which makes sense for you? Secured vs. Unsecured Credit Cards: How to Choose

    Prepaid cards

    A prepaid card is also worth considering as they provide the flexibility of cashless payment, but because you’re not borrowing money, there’s no interest or credit card debt to worry about.

    Some prepaid cards, like the Wealthsimple Card even earn interest. Some also claim to report to the credit bureaus so that you might be able to qualify for a student credit card in the future.

    How to make the most of your first student credit card

    Once you have your student credit card in hand, there are many things you can do with it. Use the following tips to ensure you’re making the most of your card.

    Understand minimum payment requirements

    When you receive your monthly statement for your student credit card, you’ll see that there’s a minimum payment requirement. Your account will be in good standing as long as you pay that amount. If you pay less than the entire balance, know that you’ll pay even more in interest on the remainder, which will increase your debt.

    It’s also worth mentioning that you can pay your bill whenever you want. Most people will wait for their bill to arrive and then pay it off all at once. Others will pay off their charges as they accumulate to help prevent overspending.

    Watch out for missed payment policies

    Besides accumulating debt and being charged interest, not much will happen if you miss a single payment. If you miss two or more payments in a row, your financial institution could increase your interest rate or consider your account delinquent. That would instantly have a negative effect on your credit score.

    If missing one payment was an honest mistake, make your payment as soon as you can. It’s also worth calling your financial institution to ask if they can waive the interest charges. To avoid missing a payment again, set up account reminders or auto payments.

    Can I pay tuition with my student credit card in Canada?

    Not all colleges and universities in Canada will accept credit cards as a form of payment for tuition. Even if your school does accept credit cards, you may not be able to use your student credit card to cover the cost. Why? Because student credit cards tend to come with much lower spending limits than traditional credit cards.

    Post-secondary institutions may also charge significant fees in exchange for the convenience of paying with a credit card, sometimes as much as 3% of the total transaction. If you needed to pay $5,000 in tuition, the fee would add an extra $150 to your bill. Before attempting to pay tuition with a student credit card, make sure you’re clear on what credit card fees you’ll be charged, and investigate alternative forms of payment, such as direct deposit or a cheque.

    What to do with a student credit card after graduation

    Many people hang onto their student credit card until they secure a full-time job. Once you have stable employment lined up, you could apply for a credit card with a higher minimum income requirement. Doing so could mean getting better perks, such as increased earn rates, travel insurance, no foreign transaction fees and more.

    With that new card in hand, you could cancel your student credit card since you won’t need it anymore. However, there are other steps you should consider before cancelling your card.

    Overall, hanging onto the card is a good idea since having a credit account open for a long time is good for your credit score. It can also serve as a backup credit card in case your new credit card is not accepted by a merchant for some reason.

    Frequently asked questions about student credit cards

    Can I apply for student credit cards with a low credit score?

    Yes. Even if you have a low credit score, or have not yet had the chance to build a robust credit history in Canada, it may be possible for you to get approved for a student credit card. You will still need to meet the issuer’s minimum eligibility requirements, which may include proof of some type of income and the existence of a Canadian credit profile.

    Can you get a student credit card with no income?

    Some student credit cards don’t require that you have an annual income to be approved. Obviously, you would need some kind of income to pay your bills. However, already having a bank account with the financial institution where you’re applying for a credit card can improve your chances of getting approved because as they’ll be able to see your assets.

    DIVE EVEN DEEPER

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    How to Choose a Student Bank Account

    How to Choose a Student Bank Account

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