Updated: Sep 13
Navigating the world of credit cards can be challenging, especially for students with little or no credit history. But fear not!
We've extensively researched and compared the best student credit cards Canada, providing an in-depth analysis to help you make an informed decision.
I was a student myself and never really thought about choosing the right credit card because it didn't seem like a priority at the time.
But I could have saved over $300 per year had I done some research and found student credit cards that worked well for me.
Let's dive into some of the best student credit cards Canada and why they stand out.
1. The All-Rounder: BMO Student CashBack Mastercard
The BMO Student CashBack Mastercard is a top choice for students seeking a well-rounded credit card. The card offers a straightforward 1% cashback on all purchases, allowing students to accumulate rewards without worrying about categories. And not to mention there's a 3% cash back on groceries!
There's no annual fee, making it budget-friendly for students. A standout feature of this card is the included Student Price Card (SPC) membership, granting access to exclusive discounts at a variety of popular retailers, restaurants, and services across Canada. This card can easily be crowed the title of best student credit card Canada.
2. The Movie Lover's Dream: Scotiabank SCENE+ Visa Card
If you're an avid movie-goer or traveler, the Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card should be on your radar. For every dollar spent, you'll earn 1 SCENE point. These points can be redeemed for free movie tickets at Cineplex theaters or discounts on travel through the SCENE rewards program.
The card has no annual fee, making it cost-effective for students. Plus, new cardholders can earn 2,500 bonus SCENE points after spending $500 in the first three months - equivalent to two free movie tickets. This card is perfect for students who love entertainment and seek a unique rewards program.
3. The Customizable Cashback Champ: Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
Tangerine's Money-Back Credit Card is perfect for students seeking a tailored cashback experience. With this card, you can choose two categories (like groceries, gas, or dining) to earn 2% cashback, while earning 0.5% on all other purchases.
There's no annual fee, and if you opt to deposit your cashback rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account, you can select a third 2% cashback category. The card's online banking interface is user-friendly, making it ideal for tech-savvy students who prefer managing their finances digitally.
4. The Perks Galore: CIBC Dividend Visa Card for Students
The CIBC Dividend Visa Card for Students is designed for those who value rewards and perks. The card offers a generous 4% cashback on gas and groceries for the first four months, reverting to 1% cashback on eligible purchases thereafter.
With no annual fee, this card is accessible to students on a budget. Cardholders also gain access to exclusive CIBC events, offers, and experiences, adding an extra layer of excitement to their credit card journey.
An in-depth comparison:
When comparing these cards, it's essential to consider your spending habits and lifestyle.
The BMO SPC CashBack Mastercard and Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card cater to students who want a simple, no-fuss cashback program. The BMO card shines with its SPC membership, while the Tangerine card stands out with its customizable cashback options.
If your spending is more focused on specific categories, like gas and groceries, the CIBC Dividend Visa Card for Students may be a better choice. The higher cashback rate on these categories during the first four months and access to exclusive events make this card a strong contender.
For students who prioritize entertainment and travel rewards, the Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card is the clear winner. The unique SCENE rewards program sets it apart from the competition, offering valuable benefits for movie enthusiasts and travelers alike. With the bonus SCENE points offer for new cardholders, you can quickly accumulate enough points for movie tickets or travel discounts.
Beyond rewards, it's important to consider other factors when selecting a student credit card:
Interest Rates: All four cards have similar interest rates, hovering around 19.99% for purchases and 22.99% for cash advances. As a student, it's essential to be aware of these rates and aim to pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges.
Foreign Transaction Fees: If you plan to study abroad or travel internationally, be mindful of foreign transaction fees. Both the BMO SPC CashBack Mastercard and Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card charge 2.5% on foreign transactions, while the Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card and CIBC Dividend Visa Card for Students charge 2.99%. To minimize fees, consider using a card with lower foreign transaction fees or explore additional credit cards designed for travelers.
Credit Building Features: As a student, establishing a solid credit history is crucial. Look for cards that report your payment history to major credit bureaus, offer free credit score tracking, or provide educational resources on credit management.
Selecting the right student credit card is a personal decision based on your unique needs, lifestyle, and financial goals. By carefully considering the rewards programs, fees, interest rates, and credit-building features of these top student credit cards in Canada, you can find the perfect match for your situation.
Remember that responsible credit card use is essential for building a strong credit history, which will benefit you in the long run as you pursue future financial milestones, such as renting an apartment, buying a car, or securing a mortgage. With the right credit card in hand, you're well on your way to achieving financial success.