Saturday, March 25, 2023

Canada’s greatest scholar bank cards for 2023

Canada’s greatest scholar bank cards for 2023

Researching bank cards between courses? Whereas a grade on a paper perhaps its solely reward, having the correct bank card can imply the distinction between a free tank of fuel or dinner out on the finish of the semester–all whilst you’re constructing a credit score historical past. By the point you graduate and get that first large gig, paying off your scholar bank card each month may make it easier to purchase a house or card extra simply. That’s what having a historical past with a bank card and a superb credit score rating can do. Now, let’s have a look at your choices. 

Our greatest scholar bank card picks

How we decide the most effective playing cards

The MoneySense editorial crew selects the most effective bank cards by assessing the worth they supply to Canadians throughout varied classes. Our greatest scholar bank cards rating relies on an intensive checklist of card particulars and options—with a concentrate on people who matter to college students—together with annual charges, rates of interest, welcome provides, rewards earn charges, annual revenue necessities, and perks reminiscent of insurance coverage protection, rebates and reductions. We have now additionally thought-about the professionals and cons of every card that will help you decide which of them greatest fit your monetary wants. Our rankings are an unbiased supply of knowledge for Canadians. The addition of hyperlinks from affiliate companions has no bearing on the outcomes. Learn extra about how MoneySense makes cash.

Greatest scholar bank card for money again

BMO CashBack Mastercard*


At a look: This bank card provides you a number of alternative to earn money again, particularly for getting groceries, paying payments and different purchases. And in contrast to different money again playing cards for college kids, the charges on these classes are spectacular. Plus, you’ll be able to redeem your money again whenever you really want it—sure, even earlier than winter break vacation buying.

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn fee: 3% money again on groceries (as much as $500 per thirty days), 1% on recurring payments (as much as $500 per thirty days) and 0.5% money again on every part else.
  • Rate of interest: Purchases 20.99%, money advances 22.99%, steadiness transfers %
  • Welcome bonus: You may earn 5% money again in your first three months and get a 1.99% introductory rate of interest on steadiness transfers for 9 months.


  • It provides a wholesome 3% money again fee on groceries as much as a most of $500 a month. No different no-fee money again bank card earns this fee.
  • The minimal redemption requirement is barely $1, so you’ll be able to redeem your money again whenever you really want it (fairly candy whenever you don’t need your subsequent meal to be KD or ramen noodles).
  • Gadgets you buy utilizing the cardboard obtain double the producer’s unique guarantee safety, as much as one yr.
  • Rise up to 25% off base charges at eligible Nationwide and Alamo automotive rental areas.


  • There aren’t any journey insurance coverage or associated perks with this card. Nevertheless it’s not atypical of different no-fee playing cards.
  • There are caps on the bonus spend classes: 3% on the primary $500 you spend on groceries per thirty days, with every part over that incomes the bottom 0.5% earn fee. That stated, it’s a month-to-month cap, so that you begin once more the primary of the month. 
  • No earn fee for transportation or fuel, because it’s within the “every part else” pile at 0.05%. Meaning Ubers, too.

Additionally contemplate:

CIBC Dividend Visa for College students

At a look: Earn 2% on groceries, then 1% eating, fuel, transportation and recurring invoice funds, after which earn 0.5% money again on every part else. However a cool bonus is entry to SPC+, which is a scholar low cost program, with offers from Apple Music to Zaful fashions.

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn fee: Earn 2% on groceries; 1% on fuel, transportation, eating and recurring funds; and 0.5% money again on all different purchases.
  • Rate of interest: Purchases 20.99%, money advances 22.99%, steadiness transfers 22.99%
  • Welcome bonus: Welcome Provide: Get $60 money again after you make your first buy throughout the first 4 months!†


  • Cardholders eligible for an SPC membership and get free entry to SPC+, which provides larger reductions and particular experiences.
  • The incomes on spend class caps are excessive: $80,000 in internet purchases or $20,000 on grocery, fuel, transportation, eating and recurring funds.
  • On prime of incomes factors, you may as well save $0.10 per litre at choose Pioneer, Fas Gasoline, Ultramar and Chevron fuel stations whenever you hyperlink your card with the Journee rewards program from CIBC.


  • At a most of 1% money again, the earn charges for all spend classes are modest in comparison with different money again bank card applications. 
  • So is the 0.05% money again fee for the rest.

Greatest scholar bank card for Air Miles

BMO Air Miles Mastercard*

At a look: Not dwelling at dwelling? Learning overseas? Why not use your bank card rewards on a visit again dwelling by incomes Air Miles whenever you use your card. 

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn fee: Earn 1 mile for each $25 spent and 3 times the rewards at collaborating Air Miles associate shops (together with Metro, Sobeys, Foodland, Staples and extra), double the factors at Air Miles companions.
  • Rate of interest: Purchases 20.99%, money advances 22.99%, steadiness transfers 22.99%
  • Welcome bonus: You may earn 1,500 AIR MILES Bonus Miles and save 25¢ per litre off gasoline purchases at Shell. Should apply by March 3, 2023.


  • Earn 3 times the miles when spending at collaborating Air Miles companions.
  • Plus, you’ll be able to earn Air Miles twice: As soon as whenever you use your BMO Air Miles Mastercard, and a second time whenever you use your Air Miles loyalty card. 
    For flexibility, redeem your rewards for present playing cards and reductions at Air Miles companions, in addition to on the retailer for offers and bonus rewards from tons of of outlets.
  • Earn bonus Air Miles from eligible purchases from numerous retailers, with as much as 5 occasions the factors from retailers reminiscent of Adidas, Amazon, Aldo and others.
  • Rise up to 25% off base charges at eligible Nationwide and Alamo rental areas.


  • Air Miles might be much less versatile than money again, as you’ll have to redeem by means of Air Miles companions. So when you don’t recurrently store at Sobey’s, Shell, and so forth., it could be inconvenient to earn rewards.
  • Journey redemptions are much less simple, too. For instance, you’ll be able to’t redeem for any airline and you could use the Air Miles journey portal when reserving.
  • Regardless of being a journey card, there isn’t a journey insurance coverage hooked up to this card. So when you do want some, you’ll have to pay for the insurance coverage your self or forgo it and pay out of pocket for issues like misplaced baggage or missed flights, and so forth.

Greatest scholar bank card for grocery buying

PC Monetary Mastercard*

PC Financial Mastercard

At a look: Cooking at dwelling is an effective monetary play when you’re dwelling away from the fam whereas in school. This card lets you earn factors on each buy, however you’ll be able to earn bonus factors whenever you store for groceries at Loblaw banner shops (together with Loblaws, No Frills, Actual Canadian Superstore, Fortinos and Valu-mart). 

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn fee: Earn 25 Optimum factors for each $1 spent at Buyers Drug Mart, 10 factors per $1 at Loblaw banner shops, and in every single place else. Get 20 factors per $1 when reserving by means of PC Journey, and get no less than 30 factors per litre whenever you fuel up at Esso or Mobil. Redeem your PC Optimum factors on the check-out of those locations. Redemptions begin at 10,000 factors for $10 worth.
  • Rate of interest: Purchases 20.97%, money advances 22.97%, steadiness transfers 22.97% 
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 20,000 PC Optimum™ factors with a brand new PC® Mastercard®


  • You might be incomes 25 factors per $1 at Buyers Drug Mart and 30 factors per litre of fuel at Esso. That’s equal to a 2.5% and three% return, respectively. These are spectacular returns for a scholar card.
  • This bank card earns you a base earn fee of 1 level per $1. Most different scholar playing cards have a base earn fee of simply 0.5%.
  • You may redeem PC Optimum factors at Loblaw-affiliated shops, which suggests you’ll be able to put a significant dent in your on a regular basis payments. Sure, that features groceries on the nook Buyers Drug Mart. You may redeem factors at Canada’s largest pharmacy and grocery chain, in addition to Joe Recent, for a complete of over 4,500 areas throughout Canada. You aren’t restricted to a small variety of area of interest areas like most different retail playing cards or loyalty playing cards.
  • There’s no cap on the variety of PC Optimum factors you’ll be able to earn.


  • Not as versatile as a money again program, as you’ll be able to solely redeem your rewards at sure retailers. 
  • There’s a minimal redemption requirement of $20.

Greatest scholar bank card for cash administration

Koho Pay as you go Mastercard*

At a look: You might be just about accepted with a pre-paid card like this one. It’s like a debit/present card with the accessibility of a bank card. Plus, it’s made to assist cardholders preserve inside their funds whereas constructing a credit score rating with monetary teaching and its useful app instruments, together with spending insights. Plus Koho Pay as you go Mastercard provides a “rounding up” function for added financial savings.

  • Annual charge: $
  • Earn fee: Earn 0.5% money again with the Koho account. Whenever you store at associate shops, you’ll rise up to five% money again on purchases (plus a further 2% again for Koho Premium account holders). 
  • Rate of interest: Money advances %
  • Welcome bonus: None


  • As a pay as you go bank card, you don’t pay curiosity because you don’t truly carry a steadiness. You set cash in your account earlier than you’ll be able to spend it. That is nice for anybody seeking to stick with a funds whereas constructing a credit score rating. 
  • It additionally provides a “spherical up” function, which tallies up purchases to the closest quantity of your selecting ($1, $2, $5 or $10) and units that cash into your financial savings.
  • If it’s good to construct up your credit standing, you’ll be able to enroll with Koho; it would report your spending habits to the credit score bureau. 
  • It options spending insights that will help you preserve monitor of your funds. And, for individuals who want a bit extra hands-on assist, Koho provides monetary teaching.


  • The minimal deposit is $500, so this might be tight for some college students throughout the college yr. 
  • There isn’t any welcome provide to benefit from proper now.
  • Utilizing the instruments to assist construct up your credit standing will value $7 a month.
  • There aren’t any bonus classes.

Greatest scholar bank card for low credit score

Plastk Secured Visa Credit score Card*

At a look: Not everybody goes to high school with a clear slate, and that’s okay. If that’s you, a secured bank card is a greater choice. You set cash on the cardboard, which might then be used when you default on any funds. Why we selected this one: The deposit is simply $300.

  • Annual charge: $120
  • Rate of interest: Purchases 17.99%, money advances 21.99%, steadiness transfers 17.99%
  • Earn fee: Earn 1 level for each $1 spent
  • Welcome bonus: Clients get 5000 Rewards Factors ≈ $20.00 redeemable after 3 months*.


  • It provides rewards on on a regular basis purchases, in contrast to most barebones secured playing cards.
  • The welcome bonus is aggressive. 
  • It’s accessible for a lot of college students.


  • Annual charge of $48, as nicely a $6 month-to-month charge.
  • There’s a minimal deposit of $300, but it surely’s higher than the typical secured bank card requiring deposits of $500 and better.

Greatest scholar bank card for leisure perks

Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card for college kids*

scotiabank scene visa card for students

At a look: In case your protected place is a film theatre to get away from dorm drama or to get some headspace away from studying, contemplate this card. What you spend on the cinema can flip into some good perks. 

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn fee: 1 Scene Level for each $1 spent; 2 Scene Factors for each $1 spent at Cineplex theatres or
  • Rate of interest: Purchases 19.99% money advances 22.99% steadiness transfers 22.99%
  • Welcome bonus: Obtain as much as 10,000 bonus Scene+ factors inside your first yr.


  • Scene+ factors are fairly versatile for a factors program. For instance, you’ll be able to e-book flights with any airline with out having to depend on a particular journey company or portal. Plus, you’ll be able to redeem for different journey gadgets, reminiscent of Airbnbs. It’s top-of-the-line factors applications accessible to Canadians.
  • One other bonus, the rewards are nice for issues exterior of a typical scholar funds. Deal with your self for managing the stresses of college by utilizing the rewards on issues like motion pictures, takeout, present playing cards from retailers, flights, accommodations and extra.
  • It can save you 25% off base charges for automotive leases at collaborating Avis and Price range rental areas in Canada and the U.S.


  • The earn fee will quickly be modified on Oct. 1, 2022. So you’ll discover that the earn fee is dropping from five-times the factors all the way down to two-times the factors at cinemas. The excellent news, although, is that factors shall be doubling for choose grocery shops. 
  • There are bonus factors for different frequent spending classes, like fuel or eating, which means fewer methods to maximise your returns. So, you would need to go to the flicks recurrently to essentially benefit from the bonus earn fee.
  • Not as versatile as a money again program, however redeeming is easy for journey gadgets.

Bank card ideas for college kids

You recognize it’s good to be accountable in how you employ your bank card—however what, precisely, does that imply? Learn on for tips about utilizing your bank card to beef up your credit score rating and avoiding any issues. 

  1. Test your cost due dates
    You in all probability know that bank card payments arrive each month, however that doesn’t imply the due date in your cost is on the primary day. The date that begins your billing cycle relies on when you find yourself accepted for the account, and it might be any day of the month. Make word of the due date and be sure to pay on time.
  2. Repay your steadiness in full
    If you happen to’re going to be accountable together with your bank card, you received’t use it to spend cash you don’t have. Don’t go into debt. It’s greatest follow to repay your invoice in full, on time, each month. Not solely will this increase your credit score rating, however it would additionally make it easier to keep away from pricey curiosity expenses.
  3. Heed the minimal steadiness
    If you happen to do overspend, you’ll nonetheless have to repay a few of your steadiness. Your invoice will present a complete steadiness and a minimal cost. You could pay no less than the minimal cost, on time and each month, it doesn’t matter what. Lacking funds is without doubt one of the worst issues you are able to do in your credit score rating. Paying solely the minimal implies that you’re accumulating curiosity on the unpaid steadiness. At a mean of round 20%, this will add up shortly. 
  4. Don’t overspend
    In case it’s not clear: Don’t overspend! Credit score is borrowed cash, and a bank card isn’t a debit card. All the cash you cost to your card have to be paid again. If you happen to don’t or can’t, you’ll end up racking up curiosity expenses along with wrecking your credit standing. 
  5. Don’t max out your bank card
    Your bank card can have a credit score restrict; that’s the sum of money you’ll be able to technically borrow on it. However spending all the way in which as much as your restrict—that’s, maxing out your card—is reckless. Will probably be tougher to repay your steadiness. Use your card selectively for smaller purchases, no less than initially, and think about using debit for nearly every part else.

—Keph Senett

Continuously requested questions

Making use of for a scholar bank card is fairly simple, though there are a couple of eligibility necessities to remember.

  • You’ll must be the age of majority in your province. That’s both 18 (in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan) or 19 (in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut and Yukon).
  • If you happen to don’t earn an revenue, it’s possible you’ll want to supply proof that you just obtain some type of monetary help, reminiscent of allowances from your loved ones or a scholarship.

As a brand new bank card holder, it’s a sensible concept to evaluate your choices earlier than you apply. Try what totally different banks are providing and select a card that greatest matches your way of life and spending habits. Every utility does have an effect on your credit score rating, so that you’ll wish to keep away from making use of for a number of bank cards needlessly. Follow one card as you be taught the ropes and begin constructing your credit score historical past. 

Extra of Canada’s greatest bank cards:

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