The 7 very best pupil bank cards in Canada for August 2023


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MoneySense is an award-winning mag, serving to Canadians navigate cash issues since 1999. Our editorial workforce of skilled newshounds works intently with main non-public finance mavens in Canada. That will help you to find the most productive monetary merchandise, we evaluate the choices from over 12 primary establishments, together with banks, credit score unions and card issuers. Be told extra about our promoting and relied on companions.

Canada’s 7 very best pupil bank cards

Researching bank cards as you intend for going again to college? Whilst a pupil ID has its perks (like meal plans and reductions at native shops), the suitable pupil bank card can get you even higher perks (like a unfastened tank of fuel or dinner out on the finish of the semester)—all when you’re development a credit score historical past. By the point you graduate and get your first large gig, paying off your pupil bank card each and every month may just let you ultimately purchase a house or automobile extra simply. Now’s the time to get a excellent card, so you’ll reap the rewards all through the college 12 months—when cash is tight for college students. That’s what having a historical past with a bank card and a excellent credit score ranking can do. Now, let’s have a look at your choices. 

Easiest bank cards for younger adults in Canada

Easiest pupil bank card for money again

BMO CashBack Mastercard*

BMO-Cash-Back-Mastercard

At a look: This bank card will give you a lot of alternative to make money again, particularly for getting groceries, paying expenses and different purchases. And in contrast to different money again playing cards for college students, the charges on those classes are spectacular. Plus, you’ll redeem your money again while you really want it—sure, even prior to vacation buying groceries on iciness damage.

  • Annual commission: $0
  • Earn charge: 3% money again on groceries (as much as $500 per 30 days), 1% on ordinary expenses (as much as $500 per 30 days) and nil.5% money again on the whole thing else.
  • Rate of interest: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances
  • Welcome bonus: You’ll earn 5% money again to your first 3 months

Professionals:

  • It provides a wholesome 3% money again charge on groceries as much as a most of $500 a month. No different no-fee money again bank card earns this charge.
  • The minimal redemption requirement is handiest $1, so you’ll redeem your money again while you really want it (lovely candy while you don’t need your subsequent meal to be KD or ramen noodles).
  • Pieces you buy the use of the cardboard obtain double the producer’s authentic guaranty coverage, as much as 12 months.
  • Rise up to twenty-five% off base charges at eligible Nationwide and Alamo automobile apartment places.

Cons:

  • There aren’t any commute insurance coverage or comparable perks with this card. Nevertheless it’s no longer ordinary of alternative no-fee playing cards.
  • There are caps at the bonus spend classes: 3% at the first $500 you spend on groceries per 30 days, with the whole thing over that incomes the bottom 0.5% earn charge. That mentioned, it’s a per thirty days cap, so that you get started once more the primary of the month. 
  • No boosted =earn charge for transportation or fuel, because it’s within the “the whole thing else” pile at 0.05%. That suggests Ubers, too.

Additionally imagine:

CIBC Dividend Visa for Scholars

At a look: Earn 2% on groceries, then 1% eating, fuel, transportation and ordinary invoice bills, after which earn 0.5% money again on the whole thing else. However a fab bonus is get right of entry to to SPC+, which is a pupil bargain program, with offers from Apple Song to Zaful models.

  • Annual commission: $0
  • Earn charge: Earn 2% on groceries; 1% on fuel, EV charging, transportation, eating and ordinary bills; and nil.5% money again on all different purchases.
  • Rate of interest: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances, 22.99% on steadiness transfers
  • Welcome bonus: You’ll Earn $60 in money again after you’re making your first acquire inside the first 4 months. Be offering no longer to be had to QC citizens. Stipulations practice..

Professionals:

  • Cardholders are eligible for an SPC club and get unfastened get right of entry to to SPC+, which provides larger reductions and particular stories.
  • The spending class caps are prime: $80,000 in internet purchases or $20,000 on grocery, fuel, transportation, eating and ordinary bills.
  • On height of incomes issues, you’ll additionally save $0.10 according to litre at choose Pioneer, Fas Gasoline, Ultramar and Chevron fuel stations while you hyperlink your card with the Journee rewards program from CIBC.

Cons: 

  • At a most of one% money again, the earn charges for all spend classes are modest in comparison to different money again bank card techniques. 
  • So is the 0.05% money again charge for anything.

Easiest pupil bank card for Air Miles

BMO Air Miles Mastercard*

At a look: Now not residing at house? Finding out out of the country? Why no longer use your bank card rewards on a go back and forth again house by way of incomes Air Miles while you use your card. Plus, get perks like reductions on apartment automobiles for highway journeys, and the facility to redeem your issues to shop for baggage and different equipment.

  • Annual commission: $0
  • Earn charge: Earn 1 mile for each and every $25 spent and 3 times the rewards at collaborating Air Miles spouse shops (together with Metro, Sobeys, Foodland, Staples and extra), double the issues at Air Miles companions.
  • Rates of interest: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances, 22.99% on steadiness transfers
  • Welcome bonus: You’ll earn 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles price $80 against purchases with AIR MILES Money

Professionals:

  • Earn 3 times the miles when spending at collaborating Air Miles companions.
  • Plus, you’ll earn Air Miles two times: As soon as while you use your BMO Air Miles Mastercard, and a 2d time while you use your Air Miles loyalty card. 
    For flexibility, redeem your rewards for reward playing cards and reductions at Air Miles companions, in addition to on the airmilesshops.ca retailer for offers and bonus rewards from loads of outlets.
  • Earn bonus Air Miles from eligible purchases from shops, with as much as 5 instances the issues from shops equivalent to Adidas, Amazon, Aldo and others.
  • Rise up to twenty-five% off base charges at eligible Nationwide and Alamo apartment automobile places for those who’re taking a go back and forth with pals.

Cons: 

  • Air Miles can also be much less versatile than money again, as you’ll have to redeem thru Air Miles companions. So for those who don’t ceaselessly store at Sobey’s, Shell, and many others., it can be inconvenient to earn rewards.
  • Commute redemptions are much less easy, too. For instance, you’ll’t redeem for any airline and also you should use the Air Miles commute portal when reserving.
  • Regardless of being a commute card, there is not any commute insurance coverage hooked up to this card. So for those who do want some, you’ll have to pay for the insurance coverage your self or forgo it and pay out of pocket for such things as misplaced baggage or neglected flights, and many others.

Easiest pupil bank card for grocery buying groceries

PC Monetary Mastercard*

pc financial mastercard

At a look: Cooking at house is a superb monetary play for those who’re residing clear of the fam whilst in class. This card means that you can earn issues on each and every acquire, however you’ll earn bonus issues while you store for groceries at Loblaw banner shops (together with Loblaws, No Frills, Actual Canadian Superstore, Fortinos and Valu-mart). 

  • Annual commission: $0
  • Earn charge: Earn 25 Optimal issues for each and every $1 spent at Customers Drug Mart, 10 issues according to $1 at Loblaw banner shops, and far and wide else. Get 20 issues according to $1 when reserving thru PC Commute, and get a minimum of 30 issues according to litre while you fuel up at Esso or Mobil. Redeem your PC Optimal issues on the check-out of those puts. Redemptions get started at 10,000 issues for $10 price.
  • Rate of interest: 21.99% on purchases, 22.97% on money advances, 22.97% on steadiness transfers
  • Welcome bonus: earn 20,000 PC Optimal issues

Professionals:

  • You might be incomes 25 issues according to $1 at Customers Drug Mart and 30 issues according to litre of fuel at Esso. That’s equivalent to a 2.5% and three% go back, respectively. Those are spectacular returns for a pupil card.
  • This bank card earns you a base earn charge of one level according to $1. Maximum different pupil playing cards have a base earn charge of simply 0.5%.
  • You’ll redeem PC Optimal issues at Loblaw-affiliated shops, this means that you’ll put a significant dent to your on a regular basis expenses. Sure, that incorporates groceries on the nook Customers Drug Mart. You’ll redeem issues at Canada’s biggest pharmacy and grocery chain, in addition to Joe Contemporary, for a complete of over 4,500 places throughout Canada. You aren’t limited to a small selection of area of interest places like maximum different retail playing cards or loyalty playing cards.
  • There’s no cap at the selection of PC Optimal issues you’ll earn.

Cons: 

  • Now not as versatile as a money again program, as you’ll handiest redeem your rewards at sure shops. 
  • There’s a minimal redemption requirement of $10.

Easiest pupil bank card for cash control

Koho Pay as you go Mastercard with an Simple subscription*

At a look: Koho’s pay as you go Mastercard works like a debit or reward card, that means you don’t have to fret about getting authorized. Plus, it’s made to lend a hand amateur bank card holders stay inside of their finances whilst development a credit score ranking with to hand app equipment, equivalent to spending insights. Whilst you open a Koho account, you’ll be mechanically enrolled into Simple, Koho’s unfastened entry-level subscription plan, and obtain a digital pay as you go Mastercard. Koho Simple already comes with a ton of significant options, equivalent to “rounding up” your transactions so you’ll save quicker. But when you need extra, you’ll improve to Koho’s Crucial or Additional paid plans for higher earn charges and extra perks.

  • Annual commission: $0
  • Earn charge: 1% money again on groceries and transportation (together with transit, transit card top-ups, fuel and Ubers or Lyft)
  • Rate of interest: N/A
  • Welcome be offering: 1% money again on groceries and transportation
  • Further advantages: Get admission to to budgeting equipment, RoundUp, monetary training and credit score development for a commission ($10 per 30 days); earn 0.5% hobby for your account; get right of entry to to joint accounts
  • Annual source of revenue requirement: None

Professionals: 

  • As a pay as you go bank card, you don’t pay hobby because you don’t if truth be told elevate a steadiness. You place cash to your account prior to you’ll spend it. That is nice for somebody having a look to stick with the cheap whilst development a credit score ranking. 
  • It additionally provides a “spherical up” characteristic, which tallies up purchases to the nearest quantity of your opting for ($1, $2, $5 or $10) and places that cash into your financial savings.
  • If you want to building up your credit standing, you’ll enrol for Credit score Development with Koho for an extra $10 per 30 days; it is going to document your spending conduct to the credit score bureaus.
  • It options spending insights that will help you stay observe of your budget. And, for individuals who want slightly extra hands-on lend a hand, Koho provides monetary training (for $10 a month with the credit score development plan).
  • You’ll join a 30-day unfastened trial to look if a paid plan is worthwhile. Plus, you’ll get a $25 money bonus as soon as authorized for the Additional plan.

Cons: 

  • To benefit from Koho’s credit score development software, it’s a must to spend $10 per 30 days. For a pupil on a restricted finances, that may truly upload up.
  • If you wish to get right of entry to Koho’s very best perks and contours, it’s a must to subscribe to Koho Crucial or Additional, which include per thirty days charges of $4 per 30 days (or $48 according to 12 months) and $9 per 30 days (or $84 according to 12 months), respectively.

Easiest pupil bank card for credit score development

House Consider Secured Visa*

At a look: When you’re new to bank cards and wish the risk to building up your credit score ranking, a secured card is a great selection. House Consider stories your fee historical past and different data to the credit score bureaus (like Equifax and TransUnion, who resolve your credit score ranking) each and every month. With out a annual commission, the House Consider Secured Visa is a cast choice. You put your personal spending restrict, any place from $500 to $10,000—so that you received’t possibility spending past your approach. You’ll additionally choose from two rates of interest: 19.99% without a annual commission or 14.90% with a $59 annual commission. 

  • Annual commission: $0
  • Rates of interest: 19.99% on purchases, 19.99% on money advances
  • Earn charges: None
  • Welcome be offering: This card does no longer have a welcome bonus at the moment.

Professionals:

  • You put your credit score restrict and will make a selection both a 14.90% rate of interest (with the $59 annual commission) or a 19.99% rate of interest (without a annual commission). Having a decrease rate of interest will let you save on hobby fees for those who elevate a steadiness.
  • The Visa card is approved on-line and in over 200 international locations. 
  • Cardholders are safe from fraud with the 0 Legal responsibility Coverage (in case your card is stolen, you received’t pay for fraudulent purchases.) 

Cons: 

  • When you don’t make a selection the decrease rate of interest of 14.90% for an annual commission of $59, the rate of interest is quite prime at 19.99%. 
  • The cardboard doesn’t be offering any perks like money again or rewards.
  • Scholars in Quebec aren’t eligible for the cardboard.

Easiest secured card for college students

Neo Secured Credit score*

At a look: The Neo Secured Credit score Mastercard offers get right of entry to to advantages like limitless money again and boosted rewards when you’re development a credit score historical past. Plus, with opt-in perks and bundles, you’ll tailor the cardboard on your particular wishes. 

  • Annual commission: $0
  • Earn charge: No less than 0.5% minimal money again and a median of five% money again on purchases at companions
  • Rate of interest: 19.99% on purchases (19.99% to twenty-five.49% for Quebec citizens), 24.99% on money advances
  • Welcome bonus: You’ll earn $25 money again.

Professionals: 

  • You’ll use a Neo card despite the fact that you don’t have any credit score historical past, with only a low $50 minimal deposit—which is excellent for college students who’re simply beginning out.
  • Even supposing you get a bodily card within the mail, you’ll use the Neo app to make purchases the use of your telephone.
  • Not obligatory perks and bundles help you acquire upgrades on a subscription foundation to boost up your earn charges and get right of entry to advantages on an as-needed foundation. For instance, for those who’re heading house for the vacations, you’ll spring for the “commute package” and earn boosted money again for your commute spends, however—and that is excellent—you’ll additionally calm down within the airport front room. 
  • Neo Insights has plenty of equipment that will help you finances, observe your spending, and stay tabs for your money again.

Cons:

  • When you don’t store at Neo companions, you’ll be incomes a noncompetitive 0.5% base charge.
  • The Neo card doesn’t include incorporated insurance coverage.
  • You’ll handiest use the cardboard for the amount of cash that you just put at the card, so for the ones wanting further credit score (with cash, no longer the instructional type), a secured card isn’t for them.

Easiest pupil bank card for leisure perks

Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card for college students*

scotiabank scene visa card for students

At a look: In case your protected position is a film theatre to escape from dorm drama or to get some headspace clear of studying, imagine this card. What you spend on the cinema can change into some great perks. 

  • Annual commission: $0
  • Earn charge: 2 Scene+ Issues according to $1 spent on groceries at shops owned by way of Sobeys, 2 issues according to $1 spent at Cineplex theatres or cineplex.com; 1 level according to $1 spent on the whole thing else;
  • Rate of interest: 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances, 22.99% on steadiness transfers
  • Welcome bonus: earn 5,000 bonus Scene+ issues inside of your first 12 months. Will have to practice by way of October 31, 2023.

Professionals:

  • Scene+ is a beautiful flexible issues program. For instance, you’ll guide flights with any airline with no need to depend on a particular commute company or portal. Plus, you’ll redeem for different commute pieces, equivalent to Airbnbs. It’s one of the vital very best issues techniques to be had to Canadians.
  • Some other bonus, the rewards are nice for issues outdoor of an ordinary pupil finances. Deal with your self for managing the stresses of faculty by way of the use of the rewards on such things as motion pictures, takeout, reward playing cards from shops, flights, inns and extra.
  • You’ll save 25% off base charges for automobile leases at collaborating Avis and Price range apartment places in Canada and the U.S.

Cons: 

  • There aren’t any bonus issues for different commonplace spending classes, like fuel or eating, that means fewer tactics to maximise your returns. So, you would need to move to the flicks ceaselessly to truly benefit from the bonus earn charge.
  • Now not as versatile as a money again program, however redeeming is simple for commute pieces.

Our technique: How we resolve the most productive playing cards

The MoneySense editorial workforce selects the most productive bank cards by way of assessing the price they supply to younger grownup Canadians throughout quite a lot of classes. Our very best pupil bank cards score is in response to an intensive listing of card main points and contours—with a focal point on those who topic to scholars—together with annual charges, rates of interest, welcome provides, rewards earn charges, annual source of revenue necessities, and perks equivalent to insurance plans, rebates and reductions. We’ve additionally regarded as the professionals and cons of each and every card that will help you resolve which of them very best fit your monetary wishes. Our scores are an impartial supply of data for Canadians. The addition of hyperlinks from associate companions has no bearing at the effects. Learn extra about how MoneySense makes cash.

Regularly requested questions

In contrast to for a summer season task, making use of for a pupil bank card is lovely easy, even supposing there are a couple of eligibility necessities to remember.

  • You’ll wish to be the age of majority to 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).
  • When you don’t earn an source of revenue, it’s possible you’ll wish to supply evidence that you just obtain some type of monetary reinforce, equivalent to allowances out of your circle of relatives or a scholarship.

As a brand new bank card holder, it’s a wise concept to check your choices prior to you practice. Take a look at what other banks are providing and make a selection a card that very best suits your way of life and spending conduct. Each and every software does impact your credit score ranking, so that you’ll wish to steer clear of making use of for more than one bank cards needlessly. Persist with one card as you be informed the ropes and get started development your credit score historical past. 


Sure, they are able to. Banks, bank card corporations and monetary establishments acknowledge the facility of your small business, so that they’ve created “amateur” bank cards for younger adults and scholars in Canada. Those have a tendency to be stripped down variations of bank cards loaded with perks. However, as you’ll see above, there are nonetheless rewards available with secured and unsecured bank cards for college students. If truth be told, having a bank card is the way you construct a credit score historical past, which is a part of how a credit score ranking is calculated. Right here’s how:

  • Credit score historical past: An extended historical past presentations lenders you’ll be able to pay off debt, and finance mavens suggest to practice for a card as a tender grownup, and use it responsibly.
  • Debt load: That is the full sum of money you owe collectors—together with bank cards, loans and mortgages, However mortgages aren’t frequently a subject matter for college students, so your low debt load can paintings to your favour.
  • Cost historical past: That is about the way you smartly you pay your expenses, that means in complete and on time, in addition to for those who neglected any bills and the way for lengthy you carried any debt. At this level to your existence, stay your expenses low and pay them off on time.
  • Sorts of credit score you elevate: The extra collectors you owe cash to, the upper possibility you need to pose to lenders. Persist with one bank card to steer clear of having a look dangerous to lenders

Can a highschool pupil practice for a bank card?

Bank cards have an age restriction and, frequently, source of revenue necessities that prime faculty scholars won’t have the ability to meet. On the other hand, that doesn’t put all bank cards completely out of achieve. If a highschool pupil is the age of majority (18 or 19 years outdated, relying on their province or territory) there are some choices. 

Bank card candidates in highschool must search for playing cards that don’t require a credit score historical past and feature low or no source of revenue necessities. They are able to imagine beginning with a secured card, the place they practice a deposit that they are able to spend, as those lend a hand construct a credit score historical past. A cast choice is the Neo Secured Mastercard or every other secured bank card.

What does a highschool pupil wish to practice for a bank card? Typically, candidates will desire a piece of presidency ID, a social insurance coverage quantity, mailing cope with, employment standing, and source of revenue data to use for a bank card. 

I used to be declined for a pupil bank card—what can I do?

When you have been declined for a card, it should must do together with your credit score historical past or your source of revenue. Believe a secured card or a bank card that’s aimed toward other folks with adverse credit, as their necessities shall be extra modest. When you received’t get the perks and advantages hooked up to different playing cards, accountable use will let you building up your credit score ranking so you’ll get right of entry to higher merchandise sooner or later.

Bank card pointers for college students

You realize you want to be accountable in how you employ your bank card—however what, precisely, does that imply? Learn on for recommendations on the use of your bank card to make stronger your credit score ranking and heading off any issues. 

  1. Test your fee due dates
    You almost certainly know that bank card expenses arrive each and every month, however that doesn’t imply the due date on your fee is at the first day. The date that starts your billing cycle depends upon if you find yourself authorized for the account, and it might be any day of the month. Make notice of the due date and be sure you pay on time. Why no longer upload those dates on your faculty calendar, too.
  2. Repay your steadiness in complete
    When you’re going to be accountable together with your bank card, you received’t use it to spend cash you don’t have. Don’t move into debt. It’s very best observe to repay your invoice in complete, on time, each and every month. Now not handiest will this spice up your credit score ranking, however it is going to additionally let you steer clear of expensive hobby fees.
  3. Heed the minimal steadiness
    When you do overspend, you are going to nonetheless wish to repay a few of your steadiness. Your invoice will display a complete steadiness and a minimal fee. You should pay a minimum of the minimal fee, on time and each and every month, it doesn’t matter what. Lacking bills is among the worst issues you’ll do on your credit score ranking. Paying handiest the minimal implies that you’re collecting hobby at the unpaid steadiness. At a median of round 20%, this may upload up briefly. 
  4. Don’t overspend
    In case it’s no longer transparent: Don’t overspend! Credit score is borrowed cash, and a bank card isn’t a debit card. All of the cash you price on your card should be paid again. When you don’t or can’t, you’ll to find your self racking up hobby fees 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 amount of cash you’ll technically borrow on it. However spending the entire method as much as your restrict—this is, maxing out your card—is reckless. It’ll be tougher to repay your steadiness. Use your card selectively for smaller purchases, a minimum of first of all, and imagine the use of debit for just about the whole thing else.

Extra of Canada’s very best bank cards:

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