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2021's Student Credit Cards for Canadians

Compare the best student credit cards to find the one that matches your needs.

2021's Best Student Credit Cards in Canada

Find the best credit card for your student life!

Card Annual fee First year value
BMO®* CashBack Mastercard $0 $364
SCENE®* VISA Credit Card $0 $337
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card $0 $409

Student credit cards 101

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:

  • What is the interest rate on the card? - Some students use credit as a way to live above their means during what can be a financially stressful time. As a student, it’s important to note that no rewards are worth the interest charges you will see on your credit card statement. Also, carrying a large unpaid balance is not the type of credit history you want to build.
  • Is there an annual fee? – Most student credit cards have a zero annual fee – for good reason, as fees are usually associated with cards that offer luxury rewards or insurance, features that not many students would benefit as much from as a young professional might (you will get there though!)
  • How beneficial is the rewards program? – Student credit cards generally don’t carry the best rewards programs, but remember these cards are more about the flexibility to pay with “plastic” and building your credit history, rewards and perks are an added bonus! However, some student credit cards like the Scotiabank SCENE® Visa Card-Student allow you to earn free movies throughout the year, saving you money as a student.

BMO®* CashBack Mastercard

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for students

card image
Welcome bonus
$76
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$288
BMO Cash Back Rewards
Annual fee
$0

Winner – Best Credit Card for Student
Attractive sign-up bonus
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$76
Annual rewards
$288
Winner – Best Credit Card for Student
Attractive sign-up bonus
Details at a glance Collapse details

The BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®* lets students earn cash back on their necessities, including groceries, recurring bill payments and everything else they buy like textbooks and pub grub. For a limited time, students can earn 5% cash back for the first three months. Conditions apply. According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will earn $364 back in the first year.

Credit score requirement for approval:

Good: You’ve had a credit card or loan for at least six years. You’ve had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven’t opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You’ve made the minimum payments on any existing credit cards for the past three months.

Annual fee:

$0

Limited time offer/bonus:

New cardmembers can get 5% cash back for the first three months. You will earn the regular 3% cash back rate on grocery purchases, up to $500 per billing cycle, with a bonus rate of an additional 2% back on your first $500 spend over the first three months. You will also receive the regular earn rate of 1% cash back on recurring bill payments up to $500 per billing cycle, with a bonus rate of an additional 4% cash back on your first $500 spend over the first three months. For all other purchases, you will receive the regular earn rate of 0.5% cash back, with a bonus of an additional 4.5% back on your first $1,500 spend over the first three months.

Offer expiry date: October 31, 2021

Rewards:

  • Get 3% cash back on grocery purchases, up to $500 in total purchases per month.
  • Get 1% cash back on recurring bill payments, up to $500 spent per billing cycle.
  • Get 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

Earning potential:

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

Rewards earned over a 12-month period = $364

Annual fee = $0

Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $364

You can redeem your points for:

  • Deposit your cash back into your BMO chequing or savings account.
  • Deposit your cash back into your BMO InvestorLine account.
  • Apply your cash back as a statement credit.

Insurance:

  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Zero Liability

Other perks:

  • Get up to 25% off car rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations.
  • Receive 15% off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows touring Canada, and 20% resident shows in Las Vegas.

SCENE®* VISA* Credit Card

SCENE®* VISA* Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$25
SCENE Rewards points
Annual rewards
$312
SCENE Rewards points
Annual fee
$0

Perfect no-fee card for regular movie-goers looking to save
Attractive entry level card for students and young adults
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$25
Annual rewards
$312
Perfect no-fee card for regular movie-goers looking to save
Attractive entry level card for students and young adults
Details at a glance Collapse details

Students can earn free movies with the SCENE®* Visa* Card. Receive 2,500 bonus SCENE points when you make $500 in everyday purchases within the first three months. Regularly earn one SCENE point per dollar spent on everyday purchases and work your way to free movie tickets or movie rentals. This card gives students the chance to take a study break and relax with friends in between hitting the books. According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will have $337 in SCENE points within the first year.

Credit score requirement for approval:

Good: You’ve had a credit card or loan for at least six years. You’ve had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven’t opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You’ve made the minimum payments on any existing credit cards for the past three months.

Annual fee:

$0

Limited time offer/bonus:

New cardmembers can earn 2,500 bonus SCENE points when they spend at least $500 within the first three months.

Offer expiry date: July 1, 2021

Rewards:

  • Earn one SCENE point per dollar spent on everyday purchases.
  • Earn five SCENE points per dollar spent at Cineplex theatres and cineplex.com.

*A maximum of 300 points can be earned per transaction, up to a daily maximum of 600 points. When redeeming SCENE points at the theatre, additional SCENE points are earned, up to a maximum of one adult ticket and two child tickets per transaction and two transactions per day.

Earning potential:

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

  • Rewards earned over a 12-month period = 33,700 SCENE points
  • Monetary value= $337
  • Annual fee = $0
  • Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $337

You can redeem your points for:

  • Use 1,000 points to get $10 off at participating restaurants.
  • Redeem 1,250 points for a General Admission or 3D movie ticket in a regular auditorium.
  • Redeem 2,000 points for a free Enhanced movie ticket, including UltraAVX, IMAX, DBOX, and the 3D versions of these experiences.
  • Redeem 2,500 points for a VIP Cinemas ticket.

Insurance:

  • Feel reassured (optional protection)
  • Other perks:
  • Get an additional supplementary card for free.
  • Save on car rentals at participating AVIS and Budget locations across the U.S. and Canada.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$0
Money-Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$309
Money-Back Rewards
Annual fee
$0

Bonus: $100 e-Gift card upon approval
Flexible no-fee cashback card with ability to choose what categories earn you the most cash back
No limits to cash back that can be earned
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$0
Annual rewards
$309
Bonus: $100 e-Gift card upon approval
Flexible no-fee cashback card with ability to choose what categories earn you the most cash back
No limits to cash back that can be earned
Details at a glance Collapse details

Apply for the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card and earn 2% cash back in up to three categories of your choice. Start with two Money-Back categories and earn the third when you decide to deposit your rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account. Earn 0.50% back on all other purchases.

You may have to make a choice when it comes to your degree, but as for your Money-Back categories, you can change your mind over and over again. Switch the categories to match your spending habits so that you can earn the most.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will earn $309 back in the first year.

Credit score requirement for approval:

Good: You’ve had a credit card or loan for at least six years. You’ve had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven’t opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You’ve made the minimum payments on any existing credit cards for the past three months.

Annual fee:

$0

Limited time offer/bonus:

Take advantage of the 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers made within the first 30 days, for six months. A 1% balance transfer fee does apply.

Offer expiry date: N/A subject to change without notice

Rewards: Earn 2% cash back in up to three categories of your choice. Start with two categories and earn the third when you decide to deposit your Money-Back Rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account.

The 10 Tangerine Money-Back Rewards categories:

  • Grocery
  • Furniture
  • Restaurants
  • Hotel-motel
  • Gas
  • Recurring bill payments
  • Drug store
  • Home improvement
  • Entertainment
  • Public transportation and parking

Earning potential:

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

  • Rewards earned over a 12-month period = $309
  • Annual fee = $0
  • Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $309

*Assuming the cardholder chooses to deposit their rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account, earning the third Money-Back category. The categories selected were groceries, gas and recurring bill payments.

You can redeem your points for:

  • Deposit your rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account each month.
  • Cash back can be applied as a statement credit monthly.

Insurance:

  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty

Other perks:

  • Get free supplementary cards for authorized users.

*Rates, product information and rewards estimates are subject to change at any time and do not constitute financial advice.

The benefits of having a student credit card

A student credit card is a must have for post-secondary students. Here are the reasons why you need a student card:

  • Student credit cards come with no annual fee, student-friendly rewards programs, and additional ways to help you save money as a student.
  • Student rewards programs can come with great perks like free movie tickets and retail discounts. What’s not to like?
  • Credit card lenders also provide you with protection from any unauthorized purchases and fraud.

Frequently asked questions about student credit cards

Looking for a student credit card? Here’s what you might be wondering.

What do I need to be eligible for a student credit card?

To be eligible for a student credit card, you must have the following:

  • Proof of enrollment in a full-time college or university program
  • Student visa (if you’re an international student)

What are credit scores?

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.

What is the best way to use a student credit card?

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.

What is the best 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.

Ready to apply for student credit card?

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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