Our Disclosure

The content on this website includes links to our partners and we may receive compensation when you sign up, at no cost to you. This may impact which products or services we write about and where and how they appear on the site. It does not affect the objectivity of our evaluations or reviews. Read our disclosure.

The Best RBC Student Credit Cards in Canada for (2024)

Updated:

Fact Checked

Students can use an RBC student credit card to build their credit history during their time in college or university.

My first credit card was an RBC Rewards Visa Card in 2011 when I was a post-grad student at the University of Manitoba. While this card is now discontinued by RBC, it served me well back in the day, even though I had to secure it with a $1,000 deposit.

In addition to building your credit history and score using a student credit card, it can also help you develop good financial habits.

Using your credit card responsibly is very crucial as a student. If you don’t, you can damage your credit profile and be unable to apply for personal loans, car loans, or a mortgage in the future.

Read on to learn about RBC’s student credit cards, the rewards and protection they offer, alternative student credit cards, and how to apply for one.

RBC Student Credit Cards in Canada

The Royal Bank of Canada has three credit cards that are specifically designed for students:

  • RBC ION Visa
  • RBC ION+ Visa
  • RBC Cash Back Mastercard

The RBC Rewards+ Visa and Signature RBC Rewards Visa are no longer advertised on their website.

RBC ION Visa Card

RBC ION Visa

Entry-level RBC rewards credit card

Annual fee: $0

Welcome offer: Get 3,500 bonus Avion points following approval.

Rewards: Earn 1.5x Avion points per $1 spent on groceries, rides, gas, streaming, subscriptions, digital gaming, and EV charging; 1 Avion point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Interest rates: 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances.

Minimum income requirement: None

Recommended credit score:
660
900

Good or better

rbc ion visacard-img

On RBC’s website

  • Earn 1.5 Avion points for every dollar you spend on groceries, rideshare, daily public transit, gas, streaming, subscriptions, and digital gaming.
  • Earn 1 Avion point for every dollar you spend on all other qualifying purchases.
  • Save 3¢/L on fuel purchased at Petro-Canada when you link your credit card to your Petro-Canada Card.
  • Redeem your points for air travel, gift cards, merchandise, statement credits, dining, etc. The minimum redemption is only $10.
  • Get a 3-month complimentary DashPass subscription, valued at almost $30.
  • Includes Purchase Security and Extended Warranty Insurance.

Competitive purchase APR at 19.99%

Attractive point redemption options

No minimum income threshold

Limited insurance benefits

The conversion rate for points is not as enticing

The RBC ION Visa is an excellent choice if you are a student or newcomer looking to get approved for a credit card with little to no credit history. It has no annual fees, and the Avion points you earn are easy to redeem.

The RBC ION Visa has no annual fees and is one of RBC’s entry-level credit cards for students and newcomers.

You earn 1.5x Avion points per $1 spent on groceries, gas, digital gaming, subscriptions, EV charging, daily transit, and rideshares. On all other purchases, the earn rate is 1 Avion point per dollar spent.

Avion points can be redeemed to pay your bills or credit card balance and for gift cards, merchandise, Apple products, and other rewards.

The RBC ION Visa Card includes purchase security and extended warranty insurance. When linked with your Petro-Canada Card, you earn 3 cents per litre on fuel purchased at Petro-Canada gas locations.

New cardholders also benefit from welcome bonus points and a complimentary 3-month DashPass subscription.

RBC ION+ Visa Card

RBC ION+ Visa

Entry-level RBC credit card

Annual fee: $48

Welcome offer: Get 3,500 bonus Avion points following approval, and earn 3,500 bonus points when you spend $500 in the first 3 months.

Rewards: Earn 3x Avion points per $1 spent on groceries, rides, gas, streaming, subscriptions, digital gaming, and EV charging; 1 Avion point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Interest rates: 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances.

Minimum income requirement: None

Recommended credit score:
660
900

Good or better

rbc ionplusvisacc-img

On RBC’s website

  • Earn 3 Avion points for every dollar you spend on groceries, rideshare, daily public transit, gas, streaming, subscriptions, and digital gaming.
  • Earn 1 Avion point for every dollar you spend on all other qualifying purchases.
  • Save 3¢/L on fuel purchased at Petro-Canada when you link your credit card to your Petro-Canada Card.
  • Redeem your points for air travel, gift cards, merchandise, statement credits, dining, etc. The minimum redemption is only $10.
  • Get a 3-month complimentary DashPass subscription, valued at almost $30.
  • Offers mobile device insurance and optional travel insurance coverage.
  • Includes Purchase Security and Extended Warranty Insurance.

Competitive purchase APR at 19.99%

Attractive point redemption options

No minimum income threshold

Limited insurance benefits

The conversion rate for points is not as enticing

The RBC ION+ Visa is a step up from the RBC ION Visa, with double the points on specific purchases. It is an excellent choice for students or newcomers looking to get approved for their first credit card in Canada.

You can apply for the RBC ION+ Visa Card to get a higher earning rate for Avion points. It comes with a $48 annual fee.

This card earns 3x Avion points for every $1 spent on groceries, food delivery, rideshares, gas, daily transit, digital gaming, streaming, and EV charging.

On all other purchases, you earn 1 Avion point per dollar spent.

In addition to providing purchase security and extended warranty protection, the RBC ION+ Visa Card offers mobile device security, with coverage up to $1,000.

Like the RBC ION Visa, cardholders earn more points at Petro-Canada and Rexall when paying with their card. They also get a 3-month complimentary DashPass subscription.

The annual fee is rebated at $4 monthly if you have an RBC Signature No Limit Banking or RBC Advantage Banking for students account.

RBC Cash Back Mastercard

RBC Cash Back Mastercard

Entry-level RBC cash back card

Annual fee: $0

Rewards: Earn up to 2% cash back on high-spend categories.

Interest rates: 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances.

Minimum income requirement: $0

Recommended credit score:
660
900

Good

On RBC’s website

  • Earn up to 2% cash back on grocery store purchases.
  • Earn up to 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases, including recurring payments.
  • Save 3 cents per litre on fuel and earn 20% more Petro-Points at Petro-Canada.
  • Earn extra Be Well points at Rexall when you link your card with your Be Well card.
  • Save on delivery fees through Doordash with a complimentary three-month DashPass subscription.
  • Access purchase security and extended warranty insurance for up to 90 days after making a purchase.

No annual fee

Unlimited cash back

Competitive purchase APR at 19.99%

Limited travel benefits

Limited insurance benefits

The RBC Cash Back Mastercard offers competitive rates and a strong cash back program. With no annual fee, it’s a great card for those just starting out or those looking to build their credit score.

The RBC Cash Back Mastercard is great for grocery shopping. For a no-fee card, its level of cash back rewards makes it one of the best no-fee cash back credit cards in Canada.

You get 2% back on grocery purchases (on up to $6,000; 1% after) and up to 0.50% cash back on all other purchases up to $6,000 in spending (and 1% after that).

Cardholders also enjoy a 3-cent discount per litre of fuel purchased at Petro-Canada and 20% more in Petro-Points.

The RBC Cash Back Mastercard offers purchase protection for up to 90 days and extended warranty coverage that doubles the original manufacturer’s warranty for up to one extra year.

Alternative Student Credit Cards in Canada

These non-RBC student credit cards are great alternatives if you want your first credit card.

1. Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

The Tangerine Money-Back credit card is my top choice for students with a personal income of approximately $12,000 per year.

This card offers unlimited 2% cash back rewards on up to three spending categories, including popular purchases like gas, groceries, pharmacy, and entertainment.

You earn 0.50% on all other purchases, and your cash back is paid out monthly, unlike other cards that pay it out once in the following year.

In addition, the card offers free purchase protection and extended warranty coverage.

The Tangerine credit card does not have an annual fee. Get more details.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Rewards: Earn up to 2% unlimited cash back in up to 3 spending categories and 0.50% on all other purchases.

Welcome offer: Get an extra 10% cash back on up to $1,000 in spending in the first 2 months ($100 value); 1.95% balance transfer rate for 6 months.

Interest rates: 19.95% for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.

Annual fee: $0

2. Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card

Students looking for free movies and food would love the rewards offered by the Scotiabank Scene+ Visa.

To start, you get 5,000 points when you spend $750 in your first three months. This is worth four free general admission or 3D tickets.

The card offers 1 Scene+ point per $1 spent on everyday purchases and 5 points per $1 spent at Cineplex theatres or Cineplex.com.

You can also use the card to save up to 25% when renting a car at AVIS or Budget. Learn more in this SCENE Visa Card review.

Scene+ Visa Card

Rewards: Earn 2x Scene+ points /$1 at participating grocery stores and Cineplex; 1x points/$1 for everything else.

Welcome offer: Get up to 5,000 points ($50 value).

Interest rates: 19.99% on purchases; 22.99% on cash advances.

Annual fee: $0

3. BMO CashBack Mastercard

The BMO credit card reward rate was recently changed, and it now offers 3% cash back on grocery purchases on the first $6,000 spent, 1% cash back on recurring bills (first $6,000), and 0.50% on everything else.

Cardholders also enjoy purchase protection, extended warranty, and up to 25% off car rentals at participating National and Alamo locations.

Learn more in this BMO Cash Back Mastercard review.

Student Credit Cards Explained

Student credit cards are credit cards designed for use by post-secondary students who are getting their first cards.

Similar to regular credit cards, you can use a student credit card to make payments and grow your credit score.

Generally, a student credit card has no or low annual fees, and the rewards are basic compared to a premium credit card. The credit limit is also “limited.”

Lastly, student credit cards are easy to qualify for since they have a very low personal income requirement.

Benefits of an RBC Student Credit Card

If you have a chequing account with RBC, e.g. RBC Student Banking, you get an RBC student debit card you can use for everyday purchases.

However, a chequing account rarely impacts your credit score because you are spending your money and not credit.

A credit card helps students build a credit history. Over time, this credit history or report translates into a three-digit number known as a credit score which lenders use to assess your ability to use credit responsibly.

In Canada, credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax, compute your score periodically using information reported to them by banks and lenders.

A very good to excellent credit score means that ceteris paribus, you can borrow money at a lower interest rate. Find out your credit score for free.

You can increase your credit score by paying your card balances on time, keeping a low balance of no more than 20% to 30% of your limit, correcting errors on your credit report, and not making too many credit applications at once.

Other benefits of an RBC student credit card include the following:

Rewards: You earn rewards in the form of cash back or points you can redeem for gift cards, travel, and merchandise.

Consumer protection: Some student credit cards offer insurance coverage for your purchases through purchase protection and extended warranty coverage.

Discounts: Enjoy discounts at select retailers, e.g. the RBC Cash Back Mastercard offers 3 cents per litre on fuel at Petro Canada stations.

Downsides of an RBC Student Credit Card

The no-annual-fee RBC student credit cards offer limited rewards, and you won’t get much for travel perks or benefits.

They also lack comprehensive insurance coverage.

RBC Overview

The Royal Bank of Canada is one of the biggest banks in the world and has over 86,000 employees in 36 countries, including Canada and the U.S.

RBC was founded in 1864 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The bank offers a complete suite of financial products and services to its customers, including chequing, savings, credit cards, loans, investments, insurance, and mortgages.

RBC was named the 2020 Celent Model Bank of the Year and is one of the Best Workplaces in Canada. The financial institution is traded under the ticker symbol “RY” on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

The main bank competitors to RBC are CIBC, TD, BMO, and Scotiabank.

Student Credit Card FAQs

Which RBC credit card is best for students?

I prefer earning real cash back to points and would choose the RBC Cash Back Mastercard over the RBC ION Visa. Both cards do not have an annual fee.

If your chequing account is with RBC, you may be able to waive the fee on the RBC ION+ Visa.

What is the best credit card for students in Canada?

While not designated as a student card, students who meet the $12,000 minimum personal income (e.g. if you earn roughly $1,000 per month) can apply for the Tangerine Money-Back card.

It offers up to 2% unlimited cash back in various categories, and you can also open no-fee chequing and savings accounts simultaneously.

Can I get a credit card if I’m a student?

If you are a post-secondary student who has reached the age of the majority in your province, you can apply for a student credit card.

The age of the majority is 18 in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, PEI, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. It is 19 years old in British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories.

In some cases, a credit card issuer may require you to get a co-signer before they approve your credit card application. If you have no income, you can also apply for a secured credit card.

What Canadian bank is best for students?

The Big Five banks have bank accounts for students that waive the monthly account maintenance fees and provide free transactions.

You can also opt for online bank offerings like Tangerine and Simplii Financial to enjoy unlimited free transactions.

Related: No Fee RBC Chequing Accounts.

Best Credit Offers in June 2024

Get the top savings and spending account and stop paying costly bank fees ($20 Bonus)

Save on fees and access unlimited transactions, eTransfers & bill payments.

Get a $20 instant bonus after completing your first purchase.

Earn up to 5% unlimited cash back and up to 5% interest on your balance.

Guaranteed instant approval with any credit score + free budgeting app.

Get this guaranteed approval credit card for any credit score ($25 bonus)

Get an instant $25 welcome bonus.

Earn 5% unlimited average cash back at thousands of locations.

Guaranteed approval for poor and bad credit scores. Takes 3 minutes.

No monthly fees and up to 15% cashback on your first-time purchases.

Stop paying monthly fees with a free chequing account + $400 bonus

Get a $400 cash bonus when you set up a qualifying direct deposit.

Unlimited debits, online bill payments and Interac e-Transfer transactions.

No monthly or annual account fees.

Earn a high interest rate on your savings (6.00% interest rate offer).

Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu, personal finance expert, author, and founder of Savvy New Canadians, has written about money matters for over 10 years. Enoch has an MSc (Econ) degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. His expertise has been highlighted in major publications like Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC News, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CTV News, TD Direct Investing, Canadian Securities Exchange, and many others. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and recently created a practical investing course for beginners. You can read his full author bio.

About Savvy New Canadians

Savvy New Canadians is one of Canada's top personal finance platforms. Millions of Canadians use our site each year to learn how to save for retirement, invest smartly, maximize rewards, and earn extra cash. We have been featured in prominent finance media, including Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC, MSN, Wealthsimple, and TD Direct Investing. Learn more about Savvy New Canadians.

Free financial education

Expert advice

Free resources

Detailed guides

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.