If you’re a post-secondary student, you may be eligible for a student credit card. Student credit cards help you build your Canadian credit history, which is necessary to become eligible for a car lease, mortgage and much more down the line. Student credit cards not only help you complete day-to-day financial transactions, but they also allow you to enjoy certain student advantages such as sign-up bonuses, low-to-no annual fee, and great rewards programs.
When applying for a student credit card, ask the following questions to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck:
Students are often overloaded with expenses and costly fees throughout their post-secondary education — tuition, expensive; student housing, expensive; textbooks, expensive. Not to mention the mile-long list of program requirements like laptops and any newfangled technology that is all the rage that year.
The list only continues with cost-of-living expenses like groceries or transportation. Fortunately, students have a few options to score some extra cash and save money. Many grocery stores and retailers provide student discounts, typically around 10% for groceries and possibly more at events.
Students can also get cash back or points with the right rewards credit card. Student credit cards usually have no fee and few eligibility requirements. Some cards require proof of enrollment in a post-secondary institution, but typically do not require a credit check and have high approval rates.
We compared the leading student credit cards using our Best of Finance methodology and ranked the cards that provided the highest value.
|First year value*||Credit score required||Top features|
|$364||Good||Earn cash back|
|$484||Good||Earn Aventura Points + Get a free SPC membership|
|$343||Good||Earn AIR MILES|
The BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for students rewards scholars at an accelerated rate for essential purchases like groceries and provides a straightforward introduction to credit. There is no need to decipher the value of rewards; you will get a percentage of each purchase back and have more money in your wallet.
Get up to 5% cash back for the first three months. Conditions apply. After your first three months, earn 3% cash back on your first $500 in grocery purchases and 1% cash back on your first $500 in recurring bill payments each month. Earn 0.5% unlimited cash back on everything else.
According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian could earn around $364 cash back in the first year.
BMO Cash Back Rewards:
BMO Cash Back Rewards:
The CIBC Aventura® Visa* Card for Students offers slightly more rewards than our 2021 winner; however, this value is based on travel redemption. If students redeem their rewards for statement credits (i.e. cash value), they will see around $132 in rewards instead. Additionally, the CIBC Rewards program is not as straightforward for new credit card users, although it provides excellent flexibility.
According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian could earn around $484 in points in the first year.
Limited time offer/bonus:
Earn up to 2,500 bonus Aventura Points, 500 points for completing each of the following activities within 60 days:
Offer expiry date: N/A subject to change without notice
The BMO AIR MILES† Mastercard* for Students offers flat-rate rewards. Get one Mile for every $25 spent on all purchases. Plus, earn additional Reward Miles at participating AIR MILES Partners, like Metro and Sobeys.
While AIR MILES offers one of the best redemption values for travel rewards, cardholders must spend more to start seeing their reward balance grow. Again, programs like these are not as straightforward as cash back, which is why this card ranks third on our list of starter credit cards.
According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian could earn around $343 in Miles in the first year.
Limited time offer/bonus:
Offer expiry date: December 6, 2022
As a student, having a credit card comes with a lot of great perks and benefits. But there are also some cons that you should be aware of. Here’s what you need to know about having a student credit card.
Pros of using a student credit card
Cons of using a student credit card
Looking for a student credit card? Here’s what you might be wondering.
To be eligible for a student credit card, you must have the following:
Your credit score is a three-digit score that reflects your Canadian payment history and the amount of debt you currently have. Credit scores can range from 300 to 900. If your credit score is anywhere between 660 to 900, you will be seen as having good credit. A higher credit score shows the lender that you are more likely to repay your debts.
As a post-secondary student who is applying for their first credit card, you don’t have to worry about having a comprehensive credit history prior to applying for your card. For many people, student credit cards are actually the first step to building your credit history and thus your credit score. Once your credit card is issued, ensure you pay the balances on your credit card on time so you can maintain a good credit standing. A credit score over 780 is a good target to have. Learn more about credit scores.
Your student credit card should be used responsibly to help you build your credit history. In order to build and maintain a good credit score, make sure you pay off your credit card balance before the due date. Also, be aware of your credit limit and never spend more than your limit. For most student credit cards, the limit is usually around $500-$1000. See the best five tips on using your student credit card.
The best student credit card is the one that meets all your student needs while also helping you save money through great rewards like discounts and freebies. As most student credit cards offer no annual fee, look for a credit card that offers you features that you’ll actually use. Some student credit cards also come with sign-up bonuses like free movie tickets. These sign-up bonuses can help you kick-start your benefits.
At RATESDOTCA, you can compare all the best student credit cards and see which one matches your student needs the most. See the best Canadian student credit cards today.
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