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Published February 1, 2023

18 Best Student Credit Cards in Canada for 2023

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.

As a post-secondary student, you may not have the mature credit file or annual income of older Canadians, but it’s still possible to get a credit card specifically designed for your financial needs.

With many student credit cards to choose from in Canada, finding one 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.

 

All cards Best Overall Cash Back Cards Travel Cards Fair Credit Low Rate Cards Student Cards No Foreign Transaction Fee Cards Bad Credit

Best overall

Best student credit cards in Canada

Best premium American Express card for students

American Express Cobalt® Card

American Express Cobalt® Card
  • Annual Fee
    $155.88
  • Interest Rates
    20.99% / 21.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1x-5x Points
  • Intro Offer
    Up to 30,000 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 30,000 point intro offer, you could earn 180,000 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.
  • Product Details
    • In your first year as a new Cobalt Cardmember, you can earn 2,500 Membership Rewards® points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in net purchases on your Card. This could add up to 30,000 points in a year. That’s up to $300 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
    • Earn 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks in Canada, including groceries and food delivery.
    • Earn 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada.
    • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible transit & gas purchases in Canada and eligible travel purchases. That's 2X the points on purchases that get you from point A to B.
    • Earn 1 point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else. We won't tell you where to spend, we'll just reward you on your Card purchases.
    • 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.
    • American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details, current product information and Terms and Conditions, click the Apply now link. Conditions Apply.

Best secured card for students

Neo Card™ (Secured)

Neo Card™ (Secured)
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    19.99%-26.99%
  • Min. Deposit
    $50
  • Maximum Deposit
    $10,000
  • Our Take
    The Neo Card™ (Secured) 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 26.99% for some users.
    • While Neo plans to report card activity to TransUnion, the company has confirmed that this function isn't fully operational yet, so the credit-building benefits of this card will be delayed.
  • Product Details
    • Earn a 0.5% cash back guarantee, an average of 5% unlimited cash back at thousands of Neo partners, and up to 15% cash back on your first purchase at participating partners.
    • No annual fee for the Standard rewards plan.
    • $50 minimum security fund deposit required.
    • $10,000 maximum security fund deposit.
    • To apply, visit member.neofinancial.com and create an account. Select “Credit”, pick either the Neo Card™ or the Hudson’s Bay Mastercard, and then choose “Secured Card” as the type of credit you are looking for.
    • Hard credit checks are not made on applications.
    • Guaranteed approval, as long as you meet eligibility requirements.
    • Ability to upgrade to an unsecured rewards credit card.
    • Link your account to a Neo Money™ account and earn 2.25% interest on savings.
    • Purchase rates range from 19.99%-26.99%. The standard rate on purchases and cash advances is dependent on Neo Financial’s assessment of your credit application, credit profile, and your province.
    • To be eligible, you must be able to provide security funds and be a Canadian resident of the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.

Best Mastercard for students

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    19.99% / 22.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    0.5%–5%
  • Intro Offer
    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.
  • Product 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.
    • †Based on a comparison of the non-promotional grocery rewards earn rate on cash back credit cards with no annual fee as of June 1, 2022.
    • 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.

Best AIR MILES card for students

BMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®* for Students

BMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®* for Students
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    19.99% / 22.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    0.04x-0.12x Miles
  • Intro Offer
    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 19.99% 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.
  • Product 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.

Best no-fee points card for students

American Express® Green Card

American Express® Green Card
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    20.99% / 21.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1x-2x Points
  • Intro Offer
    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.
  • Product 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 student card for gas

SimplyCash® Card from American Express

SimplyCash® Card from American Express
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    20.99% / 21.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1.25%-2%
  • Intro Offer
    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.
  • Product 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 student card for cash back on pre-authorized debits

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    19.95%
  • Rewards Rate
    0.5%-15%
  • Intro Offer
    Up to $150
  • 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.
  • Product 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 prepaid card for students

KOHO Standard Prepaid Mastercard

KOHO Standard Prepaid Mastercard
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Rewards Rate
    0.5%-6%
  • Min. Deposit
    $0
  • Maximum Deposit
    $200,000
  • Intro Offer
    N/A
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    KOHO offers two tiers of prepaid cards: a standard card and a premium card. Both combine the benefits of a debit card and a credit card with cash back rewards, limited fees and the ability to build credit. Plus, KOHO doesn’t charge interest — instead, they let you earn interest on every dollar you save in your KOHO account.

    Pros
    • An app that tracks your spending, helps with budgeting, offers free financial coaching, and the ability to earn 1.2% interest on your entire account.
    • Access to a credit building service that reports your payments for only $10 per month — a rare feature for a prepaid card.


    Cons
    • KOHO is a tech-focused company, so if you’re uncomfortable with digital banking, it may not be the right choice.
    • KOHO isn’t a credit card, which means you can’t borrow any money. You can only access the funds already in your account.
  • Product Details
    • Up to 5% cash back at select KOHO Partners.
    • 0.5% cash back on all purchases.
    • Cash back is instantly added to your KOHO Savings account.
    • $0 annual fee.
    • Choose from one of four card colours.
    • Receive both a physical and virtual card. For new users, you can start adding funds and shopping online while you wait for your physical card to arrive in the mail. No need to budge from your couch to make online Purchases! Just use your virtual card instead of getting up to find your wallet. Plus, it uses a different card number to help protect your physical card number when you’re shopping or booking services online.
    • Add your KOHO card to Apple, Samsung or Google Pay.
    • Access your payroll up to 3 days early with the Early Payroll feature.
    • Automate your savings with Goals and RoundUps. Rounding up every Purchase lets you stash away some savings, while Goals make it easier to save for whatever it is that makes you happy.
    • Lock in savings with Vault that keeps the funds you don’t want to spend separate from your spendable balance.
    • Create custom budgets and track your spending habits. Know where you're at in real time with instant notifications every time you spend.
    • To be eligible, you must be a Canadian resident of the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.

Best credit card for international students + our pick for Scene+ points

Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card for Students

Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card for Students
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    19.99% / 22.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1x-2x Points
  • Intro Offer
    1,250 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.
  • Product Details
    • 2x Scene+ points per dollar spent at Cineplex and at cineplex.com, up to 300 points per transaction and a maximum of 600 points per day.
    • 1x Scene+ point per dollar spent on everyday credit card purchases.
    • You’ll earn 2X Scene+ points for each dollar charged to your account on all eligible purchases¹ at Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Foodland, FreshCo, Voilà by Sobeys, Voilà by IGA, Voilà by Safeway, Chalo! FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, IGA West, Les Marchés Tradition, Rachelle Béry and Co-Op.
    • Scene+ points can be redeemed for points for travel, shopping, dining, statement credits, Cineplex entertainment, and more.
    • $0 annual fee.
    • Save up to 25% off base rates at participating AVIS locations and at participating Budget locations in Canada and the U.S. No insurance included.
    • No insurance included.
    • Preferred rates: 19.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances.
    • 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 travel card for students + our pick for gamers

RBC ION+ Visa Credit Card

RBC ION+ Visa Credit Card
  • Annual Fee
    $48
  • Interest Rates
    19.99% / 22.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1x-3x Points
  • Intro Offer
    12,000 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.
  • Product Details
    • Enjoy 12,000 Avion points upon approval. Apply by April 3, 2023.^
    • 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 balance transfer card for students

Scotia Momentum® Visa* Card

Scotia Momentum® Visa* Card
  • Annual Fee
    $39
  • Interest Rates
    19.99% / 22.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1%-2%
  • Intro Offer
    N/A
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    For a low annual fee, the Scotia Momentum Visa Card provides competitive cash back rewards on both everyday purchases and recurring bill payments.

    Pros
    • Earn 2% cash back on everyday purchases and recurring bill payments.
    • Interest-free balance transfers for six months.


    Cons
    • If you don’t pay off your balance transfer within six months, you’ll start paying 22.99% interest.
  • Product Details
    • Intro offer: Get a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (22.99% after that) Offer ends April 30, 2023.
    • Earn 2% cash back for every $1 you spend on all eligible gas stations, grocery store, drug store purchases and recurring bill payments.
    • Earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
    • 19.99% interest rate on purchases.
    • $39 annual fee for the first card, $15 for each supplementary card.
    • $500 minimum credit limit.
    • Save up to 25% off base rates when renting a car from participating AVIS and Budget locations in Canada and the U.S. when you pay with your Scotia Momentum Visa Card.
    • Purchase security: Most items purchased with the Scotia Momentum Visa Card are insured against theft, loss or damage for 90 days.
    • Extended warranty protection: The manufacturer’s warranty is doubled for up to one year on items purchased with a Scotia Momentum Visa Card.
    • Access to Scotia SelectPay, a new, flexible way to pay off your eligible Scotiabank Visa credit card purchases of $100 or more, with no interest rate on your plan and a low fee.
    • Terms and Conditions Apply. Click 'Apply Now' for complete details.

Best intro offer for students

RBC Avion Visa Platinum

RBC Avion Visa Platinum
  • Annual Fee
    $120
  • Interest Rates
    19.99% / 22.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1x Point
  • Intro Offer
    Up to 55,000 points
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    Travellers looking for a no-frills credit card may find what they’re looking for in the RBC Avion Visa Platinum. The perks are relatively few, but the travel insurance offered is well-rounded and the ability to book flights without seat restrictions can bring reliability and convenience to travel planning.

    Pros
    • A generous welcome bonus upon approval.
    • Extensive travel insurance.
    • Savings on gas purchases and food delivery.


    Cons
    • Limited perks and few opportunities to earn extra points.
    • No travel medical insurance offered.
    • Cashing in on the introductory offer may require more spending than what some cardholders find comfortable.
  • Product Details
    • 55,000 bonus points (a value of up to $1,1000). Apply by January 31, 2023 and get 35,000 Welcome Points on approval, plus earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 in your first six months.
    • Earn 1 Avion Rewards point for every dollar spent on qualifying purchases.
    • Earn bonus points through purchases at selected retailers when using an Avion Rewards credit card.
    • No blackouts or seat restrictions when redeeming points, even during peak travel seasons.
    • Points can be converted for use with multiple partner airline loyalty programs.
    • Avion members get access to exclusive travel, food, wellness and entertainment offers.
    • Annual fee: $120. Additional card: $50.
    • 19.99% interest rate on purchases; 22.99% on cash advances (21.99% for cardholders residing in Quebec).
    • Travel insurance includes travel accident coverage (up to $500,000), auto rental insurance (up to the value of the rental car damaged or stolen), trip cancellation insurance (up to $1,000 per covered person per trip), trip interruption insurance (up to $2,500 per covered person per trip), emergency purchase coverage (up to $500), flight delay insurance (up to $250 per day, or a $500 maximum p per flight), extended warranty insurance (up to $50,000) and coverage for belongings stolen from a hotel or motel (up to $2,500).
    • Linking an RBC Avion Visa Platinum card at Petro Canada allows cardholders to save three cents per litre on fuel, earn 20% more Petro-Points and earn 20% more Avion Rewards points.
    • Avion cardholders receive 20% off and 2x the points at Hertz Rent a Car.
    • Link the RBC Avion Visa Platinum to a Rexall Be Well card and earn 50 Be Well points for every dollar spent on eligible products at Rexall.
    • Add an eligible RBC credit card to a DoorDash account and enjoy no delivery fees for 12 months.

Best overall student card + best Visa card for students + our pick for cash back

Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa Card

Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa Card
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    19.99% / 22.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    0.5%-10%
  • Intro Offer
    Up to $50
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    The $0-annual-fee Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card earns bonus cash-back on the purchases you make almost every day.

    Pros
    • New cardmembers can earn a 9.99% introductory annual interest on purchases for the first six months.


    Cons
    • The 0.5% base rate isn’t exactly impressive, but it only applies after you hit the annual spending limits of bonus categories.
    • It only includes purchase security and extended protection insurance.
  • Product Details
    • 4% on restaurant, bar and coffee shops, up to $5,000 per year.
    • 1.5% on gas, groceries, drugstores and pre-authorized payments, up to $15,000 per year.
    • 0.5% on everything else.
    • Plus, for your first 4 months, enjoy 10% bonus cash back at restaurants and bars up to $500 spend. Get 4% cash back after that.
    • Redeem cash back as a statement credit in December.
    • No annual fee.
    • Cash back when you send money abroad with a Simplii Financial Global Money Transfer. No transaction fees and no interest charges.
    • Purchase security and extended protection insurance provided.
    • Preferred rates: 19.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances.
    • To be eligible, a $15,000 (individual) annual income is required. Also, you must have a Canadian credit file and be a Canadian resident (excluding Quebec) that is the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.

Best no-fee travel card for students + our pick for Aeroplan

CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Card for Students

CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Card for Students
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    20.99% / 22.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    0.67x-1x Points
  • Intro Offer
    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.
  • Product Details
    • 1x Aeroplan points per dollar on gas, 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, 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 flat-rate cash back card for students

Capital One® Aspire Cash™ Platinum Mastercard®

Capital One® Aspire Cash™ Platinum Mastercard®
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    19.80% / 21.90%
  • Rewards Rate
    1%
  • Intro Offer
    N/A
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    Capitol One’s Aspire Cash™ Platinum Mastercard® offers a straightforward flat-rate cash back rewards structure, making it an easy introduction to credit card rewards for both students and beginners.

    Pros
    • Earn unlimited cash rewards with no expiry date.
    • No annual fee.


    Cons
    • You can earn rewards more quickly with other cards.
    • No welcome bonus.
  • Product Details
    • Earn 1% in cash rewards for every dollar you spend.
    • $0 annual fee.
    • 19.80% on purchases and balance transfers. 21.90% on cash advances.
    • There’s no limit to the amount of cash rewards you can earn.
    • Cash rewards don’t have an expiry date.
    • Choose how you want your cash rewards and redeem them as often as you like.
    • Add an authorized user for $0 and earn even more with their purchases.
    • Purchase Assurance.
    • Extended Warranty.
    • Car Rental Collision/Loss Damage Waiver.
    • Price Protection Service.
    • Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance.
    • Baggage Delay.
    • Travel Assistance
    • Mastercard Global Service™.
    • Zero Liability.

Best student card for groceries

CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for Students

CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for Students
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    20.99% / 22.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    0.5%-2%
  • Intro Offer
    $30
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for Students is a beginner-friendly cash back credit card that earns 2% on groceries and 1% on other daily essentials.

    Pros
    • Score cash back on groceries and other daily expenses with no limit to how much you can earn.
    • No annual fee.


    Cons
    • Limited insurance coverage.
  • Product Details
    • $0 annual fee.
    • 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances.
    • Earn 2% cash back on groceries (up to $20,000 per year).
    • Earn 1% cash back on gas, transportation, dining and recurring payments (up to $80,000 per year).
    • Earn 0.5% cash back on everything else, including after you’ve exceeded your annual spending limits.
    • Get up to 10 cents off per litre at participating gas stations with Journie Rewards.
    • No limit on the total cash back you can earn.
    • Get 0.5% cash back for every $1.00 spent on a CIBC Global Money Transfer™.
    • Get your cash back anytime through CIBC Online Banking® and the CIBC Mobile Banking® App.
    • $1,000 minimum credit limit.
    • Get a free SPC+ membership and save up to 30% on over 450 top brands when you shop online or in-store. Plus, get exclusive access to special experiences, cash prizes, giveaways and more – all for free, only with CIBC!
    • Visa’s Zero Liability Policy.
    • Fraud alerts.
    • $100,000 Common Carrier Accident Insurance.
    • Purchase Security and Extended Protection Insurance.

Best student card with no foreign exchange fees

Brim Mastercard

Brim Mastercard
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    Rates vary by card member
  • Rewards Rate
    1x-30x Points
  • Intro Offer
    Up to $200
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    The standard Brim Mastercard is a tech-savvy, no-fee rewards card. It offers an impressive mobile app with budget tracking, an eShop with hundreds of retailers, partnerships with five mobile wallets, free global Wi-Fi and no foreign transaction fees — even when shopping online.

    Pros
    • Rewards are easy to understand — each point is worth $0.01 — and you can earn up to 30x at select retail partners, including small local businesses and big brands.
    • There’s no fee for additional cardholders or a family card.


    Cons
    • Included insurance types are more limited than the Brim World or World Elite Mastercards.
    • Brim is a virtual bank with no physical bank branches, so you must be comfortable with a digital-first experience.
  • Product Details
    • 1x points per dollar on everyday purchases, with no annual spend limit.
    • Up to 30x points per dollar on retail partners in the eShop.
    • Points have a straightforward value of $0.01 and can be redeemed on transactions or as cash back. $1 minimum redemption required. Points do not expire.
    • No annual fee.
    • Brim’s Family Card option lets you add additional card members, set and adjust their spending limits, block types of transactions and track spending — perfect for teaching teens smart budgeting.
    • Enhanced security features allow you to lock your card and block online or foreign transactions instantly.
    • Stay connected with access to over 1 million Boingo Global Wi-Fi hotspots around the world.
    • Access to the Brim Installment plan.
    • Five types of insurance provided: common carrier accident insurance, mobile device insurance, event ticket protection, extended warranty and purchase security insurance.
    • Preferred rates vary by card member.
    • No foreign exchange fees.
    • To be eligible, 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 low interest card for students

Coast Visa Student Low Interest Rate card

Coast Visa Student Low Interest Rate card
  • Annual Fee
    $30
  • Interest Rates
    12.90%
  • Rewards Rate
    N/A
  • Intro Offer
    N/A
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    This student credit card offered by Coast Capital Savings comes with Hertz car rental discounts, insurance coverage and a low, 12.9% interest rate.

    Pros
    • With no transaction fees, the money you save adds up.
    • Access to the Accord D Desjardins program: a financing service that lets cardholders charge purchases to a second credit limit.


    Cons
    • No rewards program.
    • A no-fee option is available with a higher interest rate.
  • Product Details
    • $30 annual fee.
    • 12.9% interest on purchases and cash advances.
    • A no-fee option is also available but charges 19.90% interest.
    • Take advantage of Accord D Desjardins: a separate, secondary credit limit at participating merchants that won’t affect the existing credit limit on the card.
    • Receive a 5 to 10% discount on a short-term car rental at all participating Hertz counters worldwide.
    • Free additional card for a spouse or family member.
    • Offers mobile device insurance, accident insurance, and three-day travel insurance.
    • Optional credit balance insurance available.
    • Compatible with Visa payWave technology.
    • Zero liability policy offers protection from unauthorized purchases and fraudulent activity.
    • To be eligible, 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.
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Summary of our selections

CATEGORYCARD NAME
Best student cardSimplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa Card
Best intro offer for studentsRBC Avion Visa Platinum
Best credit card for international studentsScotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card for Students
Best rewards card for studentsSimplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa Card
Best cash back card for studentsSimplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa Card
Best flat-rate cash back card for studentsCapital One Aspire Cash™ Platinum Mastercard®
Best travel card for studentsRBC ION+ Visa
Best points card for studentsRBC ION+ Visa
Best no-fee card for studentsSimplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa Card
Best no-fee cash back card for studentsSimplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa Card
Best no-fee travel card for studentsCIBC Aeroplan® Visa Card for Students
Best no-fee points card for studentsAmerican Express® Green Card
Best Aeroplan card for studentsCIBC Aeroplan® Visa Card for Students
Best AIR MILES card for studentsStudent BMO AIR MILES® Mastercard®
Best student card for Scene+ pointsScotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card for Students
Best student card for gasSimplyCash® Card from American Express
Best student card for groceriesCIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for Students
Best student credit card for gamersRBC ION+ Visa
Best student card for cash back on pre-authorized debitsTangerine Money-Back Credit Card
Best low interest card for studentsCoast Visa Student Low Interest Rate card
Best balance transfer card for studentsScotia Momentum Visa Card
Best premium American Express card for studentsAmerican Express Cobalt® Card
Best Mastercard for studentsStudent BMO CashBack® Mastercard®
Best Visa card for studentsSimplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa Card
Best student card with no foreign exchange feesBrim Mastercard
Best secured card for studentsNeo Card (Secured)
Best prepaid card for studentsKOHO Standard Prepaid Mastercard

Methodology

NerdWallet Canada selects the best credit cards for university students based on overall value, as evidenced by star ratings, as well as their suitability for specific kinds of students. Factors in our evaluation 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. Learn more about how NerdWallet Canada evaluates and selects financial products.

Beginner’s guide to student credit cards in Canada

By Barry Choi and Clay Jarvis

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.

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.

See our cash-back student card picks.

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.

See our low-rate student card picks.

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.

See our travel rewards student card picks.

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.

Who should apply for a student credit card?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Canadian citizen or an international student studying in the country; both can apply for most student credit cards. Even if you already have a joint credit card with your parents, it may still be worth it to get your own student credit card. As mentioned, it’ll help you build your credit score. Plus, a credit card can be a vital part of managing your expenses.

How old do you have to be to apply for a student credit card?

In most cases, you must be the age of majority in the province where you live in order to apply for a credit card. In addition to meeting minimum age requirements — typically 18 or 19 years of age — student credit cards often may have age limits, meaning you can be too old to qualify.

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.

  • With a regular credit card, a good credit score and verifiable income is a must, so students might be out of luck.
  • With a student credit card, income and credit score requirements are much more relaxed, or in some cases, non-existent.

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.

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.

See our picks for credit cards for students with fair credit, plus selections for those with bad credit.

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.

Student credit card pros and cons

Benefits of a student credit card

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, as you make purchases and pay off your bills, your credit history will grow. Over time, you can expect your credit score to increase.

Earn rewards

Earning valuable rewards is another benefit of having a student credit card 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.

The SimplyCash® Card from American Express, for example, allows users to earn accelerated cash back rates on eligible gas and grocery purchases and 1.25% cash back on other eligible purchases. The Brim Mastercard offers an eye-popping 30 times the points when shopping at certain retailers in the Brim eShop.

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, like the Brim Mastercard, 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.

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.

Student credit card drawbacks

High interest rates

All credit cards come with specific interest rates, usually around 19.99%,  that is 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, like the American Express Essential card, 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. Low spending limits

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.

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.

How to compare student credit cards

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

  • Eligibility requirements. Consider any requirements imposed, such as income, age, credit score or student status.
  • Annual fee. Many credit credits don’t have an annual fee, which is great for students on a fixed income. That said, credit cards with a yearly fee often come with better benefits.
  • Rewards. Cash back, travel, movie, grocery and store rewards are just some of the perks you can earn with your credit card.
  • Additional benefits. Some credit cards give you extra benefits, such as extended warranty, travel insurance, price protection and more.
  • Where you bank. You can apply for a credit card at any financial institution, but it can be easier to be approved if you go with an issuer you already bank with.

How to get a student credit card

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.

Steps for getting a student credit card

The process of acquiring a student credit card is similar to that of other cards. There are generally four steps you’ll have to take:

  1. Compare options. Explore the pros and cons of several cards and decide which one is the best fit for your finances.
  2. Check eligibility requirements. Make sure you meet whatever eligibility criteria have been laid out by the card provider.
  3. Apply. 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.
  4. 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.

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 make the most of your 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.

  • Always pay your bills in full and on time, so you don’t incur any interest charges.
  • Use your card whenever you can to earn rewards and build a credit history.
  • Read your credit card statement and pay attention to your purchases, so you know where your money is going. Some credit cards suitable for students even have an app that analyzes your spending for you.
  • Take advantage of any perks that come with your card (like free extended warranty or rental car discounts), as they could save you some money.
  • Make sure you select a PIN that’s not easy to guess. The last thing you want is to be a victim of credit card fraud.

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. As long as you pay that amount, your account will be in good standing. 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.

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:

  • You’re too young or too old to meet the age criteria.
  • You don’t reside in Canada.
  • You are unable to prove that you earn or receive some form of income.
  • The income you do earn is too low.
  • As an international student, you haven’t been given permission to work in Canada, which prevents you from obtaining a Social Insurance Number.
  • Your previous credit history has left you with a low credit score.
  • You failed to provide evidence of your enrollment status.

If you can’t get a student credit card, try these options

There’s always a chance that you may not qualify for a student credit card. Don’t worry, as there are other solutions available. One option is one of the best secured credit cards. These cards work like a regular credit card, but you need to provide a security deposit. 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.

Secured credit cards are a good option since they allow you to build credit history. Once you have a good credit score, you can try applying for a student credit card.

Another option is a prepaid card that helps you build credit, so that you might be able to qualify for a student credit card in the future. Prepaid cards 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 KOHO Standard Prepaid Visa and the KOHO Premium Reloadable Prepaid Visa even earn interest and report to the credit bureaus.

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.

  • Update your information with your credit card provider. If your income has increased, or housing has changed, or you have new contact information, share these changes with your provider. They may ask your permission to approve an increase to your credit limit.
  • Request a product change or credit card upgrade. You may be able to ask your provider to switch to a higher-tier credit card if you meet new eligibility requirements. If you have a secured credit card, you may be automatically approved for an upgrade to an unsecured card. If you have a student-branded credit card, your provider might switch you to the non-student version.

Overall, it’s a good idea to hang onto the card 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 at a merchant for some reason.

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  • FAQs for Canada's student credit cards

    • How old do I have to be to get a student credit card?

      The minimum age to get a credit card depends on the age of majority in your province or territory. In Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, and Manitoba, it’s 18. For all other provinces and territories, the minimum age is 19.

    • Do I need a job to get a student credit card?

      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.

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