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After you graduate from high school at age 18, you are now considered an adult in many of the provinces and you should start taking your finances seriously if you are not already doing so. Now is the time to start building an excellent credit profile, avoiding debt, saving money, and planning for a great financial future.

And, if you are looking to pick up a credit card upon entry into university or college, this list of the best student credit cards in Canada is a great place to start.

The best student credit cards in Canada

What Are Student Credit Cards?

Student credit cards are specifically designed for those pursuing post-secondary education and who are at least 18 years of age or the age of the majority in their province of residence.

While you may not be earning a significant income as a college student, a credit card is handy for building your credit history so it is easier for you to access credit facilities when you want to buy your first car or home in the future.

Student credit cards are easier to qualify for, however, the funds they make available to you should not be considered as ‘free’ money. You need to be responsible with your use of credit and pay off your entire balance every month if you want to enjoy the benefits that come with an excellent credit profile.

In addition to building your credit history, the best credit cards offer you rewards, such as cash back and travel benefits. Student credit cards can also serve as a starter credit card for first-time credit card users or newcomers to Canada.

The Best Student Credit Cards for 2019

These credit cards fit the bill for best student cards and offer no- or low-fees, everyday rewards, and they have no- or low-minimum income requirements.

1. Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

If you earn up to $12,000 per year, you can apply for the Tangerine 2% Money-Back Card which also makes my list of the best cash back credit cards in Canada. It offers:

  • $0 annual fee
  • $12,000 minimum annual income requirement
  • 2% unlimited cash back on up to 3 categories of spending including groceries, entertainment, public transportation, recurring bill payments, etc. A 4% cash back bonus is being offered for a limited time.
  • 0.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • Extended warranty and free purchase assurance
  • Balance transfer at a low rate

You get to choose how you want to redeem your cash back, whether as a credit card statement to pay down your credit card balance or as a deposit in your Tangerine Savings Account. The latter option ups your 2% cash back categories from two to three. 

You can also read my Tangerine Money-Back Card review here.

Apply Now

2. BMO SPC Cash Back Mastercard

The BMO SPC Cash Back Mastercard is a no-annual-fee credit card that comes on top in the student cash back rewards category. It offers:

  • $0 annual fee
  • Bonus 5% cash back offer in your first 3 months on up to a maximum of $2,000 in spending
  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases after the bonus period
  • Exclusive Student Price Card (SPC) discounts from 10% to 15% at hundreds of participating stores
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Access to exclusive deals through BMO Extra Deals

Apply Now

bmo-spc-mastercard

3. Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card

The SCENE Visa Card for students is a nice starter card and great for getting free movies. It offers:

  • $0 annual fee
  • $12,000 minimum income requirement
  • Earn 1 SCENE point on every $1 spent on everyday purchases
  • Earn 5 SCENE points for every $1 spent at Cineplex theatres or cineplex.com
  • Earn 1,250 bonus SCENE points after your first purchase (worth 1 free general Admission or 3D movie ticket)
  • Save up to 25% when you rent a car at participating AVIS and Budget locations

You can redeem your SCENE points for free movies or at participating restaurants including Swiss Chalet and East Side Mario’s at a rate of 1,000 points for $10 off your food/drink purchase. See how the SCENE point system works at redemption.

Apply Now

SCENE Visa Card

4. PC Financial Mastercard

The PC Financial Mastercard is a great store credit card for students to earn points and claim free grocery rewards, especially if you regularly shop at the Real Canadian Superstore and Shoppers Drug Mart. It offers:

  • $0 annual fee
  • Earn 25 PC Optimum points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent at Superstore and 20 points per $1 spent on PC Travel
  • Earn 3 cents per litre when you buy gas at Esso or Mobil stations
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent elsewhere
  • Free extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Balance transfer at a low rate

You can redeem 10,000 PC Optimum points for $10 worth of rewards in-store.

Read my PC Financial Mastercards review.

Apply Now

PC Financial Mastercard

5. BMO SPC AIR MILES Mastercard

The BMO SPC Air Miles Student Mastercard is a great student travel care and offers:

  • $0 annual fee
  • $0 income requirement
  • Welcome bonus of up to 800 Air Miles bonus miles
  • Get 1 reward mile per $20 spend
  • Earn double the miles at participating retailers
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Claim SPC discounts from 10% to 15% at participating stores
  • Exclusive access to BMO Extra Deals

You can redeem your Miles for travel or merchandise.

Apply Now

bmo-spc-mastercard

Conclusion

The bottom line with these student credit cards is that they are easy to qualify for, charge no annual fees, and offer some level of free rewards.

To qualify, you must be the age of the majority in your province which is 18 years in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and PEI; and 19 years in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, and Yukon.

Use your credit wisely by paying off your full balance within the 21-day grace period and avoid using your credit card for cash advances like the plague. An excellent credit score comes in handy later in the future when you need financing for significant monetary undertakings such as when you decide to buy a home in Canada.

If you are responsible with credit now, your future self will thank you when you are able to qualify for the best rates possible and save on fees!

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