Despite the many warnings, we believe student credit cards play an important role in helping you establish a Canadian credit history and a good credit score by the time you graduate (essential for car leases, mortgages, retail financing and more).
Credit cards are essential for many online transactions and reservations (hotel, car rental) and offer richer rewards than debit cards.
The best student credit cards will have no annual fee and give you the chance to earn great rewards that suit you. But even more importantly, every student credit card should provide easy approval for students with no credit history (sounds obvious, but not every bank makes it as easy as the next). That means not requiring part-time income, or your parents to co-sign your application.
To help you choose the right student credit card for you, we’ve put together a list of our 4 top rated Canadian student credit cards currently available, based on fees, rewards and ease of approval.
Top Canadian Student Credit Cards
1. BMO SPC®** CashBack® Student MasterCard®*
BMO has elevated the student credit card game with the SPC CashBack MasterCard. It has no annual fee, 1% cash back on ALL purchases, a $60 cash back welcome bonus (limited time offer) and a FREE SPC membership – a value of $10 every year! Unlike RBC’s cash back student visa card or Scotia’s L’Earn Visa card, there are no tiers, caps or small print to worry about. You get 1% cashback on everything.
Through the SPC student loyalty program, you’ll get an additional 10%-15% student discount at hundreds of merchants across Canada (McDonald’s, Pizza Pizza, Gap, Old Navy, Thai Express, The Source, Petro Canada, Forever 21, Aldo, etc…).
The SPC MasterCard also automatically doubles your manufacturers warranty for up to 1 year and has purchase protection, which insures you against theft or damage for purchases made with the card for 90 days. Imagine buying an iPhone and within 90 days it drops and your screen cracks – you’re covered.
But a student card only qualifies as such if it caters to students looking to establish credit. BMO does not require a reference letter, parent’s signature or part-time income to be approved. Just be a student enrolled in college or university with no previous credit blemishes, and you’ll get your first credit card with a $500 credit line with no problem. Within 6 months, you could be offered an increase in your credit line if you make all your payments on time.
With a $60 sign-up bonus, no annual fee, 1% cash back, free SPC membership giving you 10%-15% student discounts and easy approval, this card is a no brainer.
2. StudentAwards MBNA Rewards MasterCard®
MBNA, now owned by TD Canada Trust, offers a great student credit card. It has no annual fee, a flexible rewards program that gives the equivalent of 1% value for every dollar spent, and there are no limits to the amount of points you can earn. Plus earn 1,000 points on sign-up ($10) and another 1,000 points ($10) each year on your account anniversary.
What we love about this card is that you can redeem for anything from cash back, travel, merchandise to gift cards from top retailers. You’re best value is in cash back, where you’ll get 1% value.
The MBNA StudentAwards MasterCard is also a great card to help students establish a credit history and credit score early. There is no credit history, part-time income or co-signor required – MBNA understands that not all students have the option to hold down a part-time job during the school year. MBNA is also known to increase student credit lines pretty quickly once a history of responsible repayments has been demonstrated – making that $500 credit line grow to something a little more convenient sooner rather than later.
3. Scotiabank Scene Visa Card
The Scene Visa card from Scotiabank is a great card for students. It’s the fastest and simplest way to watch free movies. With just 1,000 points you can see a movie at any Cineplex, Scotia, Famous Players, Silver City or Galaxy Theatre. Scotia is offering a 4,000 point sign-up bonus – 4 FREE movies – with no annual fee, when you make your first purchase (Limited time only). All you have to do is make one purchase, a pack of gum will do, and you get 4 free movies, with no annual fee, making it 4 free nights on the house, no strings attached.
Earning is simple. You get 1 Scene point for every dollar you spend on the card, plus 5 Scene points for every dollar you spend at Cineplex theatres. You can redeem for free movies, popcorn & soda, combos, WWE events, music downloads and more. The only thing we don’t love about the Scene Visa card for students is that it does require students to either have a part-time job earning a minimum of $251 before taxes per month, or you’ll have to get a co-signor. Either way, you’ll get a $500 line of credit to start, and 4 free movies of course!
4. BMO SPC®** AIR MILES®† Student MasterCard®*
This is actually one of the most popular student credit cards in Canada, primarily because of the popularity of the Air Miles program. It has no annual fee, just increased its welcome bonus to a wild 500 AIR MILES (for a limited time only), earns students 1 AIR MILES reward mile for every $20 in spend and gives students 10%-15% off through SPC at 100’s of Canada’s best retailers and restaurants (McDonald’s, Burger King, GAP, Aldo, The Source, Petro Canada, etc…) autmatically applied to their purchase. With a 500 AIR MILES sign-up bonus , no annual fee, and a free SPC membership, it’s a great rewards card for students who collect Air Miles.
The other nice feature of this card is that it automatically doubles your manufacturers warranty for up to 1 year and it insures you against theft or damage for purchases made with the card for 90 days. Imagine buying an iPad and within 90 days it drops and your screen cracks – you’re covered.
But as with most of our student credit cards, it’s designed to get students started on their road to a healthy credit history and credit score. Students don’t need a credit history, part-time income, reference letter or parents signature to be approved – just be a student with no credit blemishes and with no annual fee you’ll get your 500 AIR MILES welcome bonus and a minimum $500 credit line.
There are some fantastic student credit card options available in Canada. First and foremost, find one you think you’ll have a good chance getting approved for. Second, find one with a good offer – welcome bonus and ongoing rewards. Third, make sure to pay off your balance every month.
We do have one recommendation to ensure you use your credit card responsibly and build a healthy credit history. If you’re not the most organized person, schedule pre-authorized automatic payments from your bank account to pay off your credit card – don’t leave anything to chance. You can do this by either paying the monthly minimum payment (prevents you from being late), or by automatically paying off the entire credit card bill, every month (prevent you from accumulating debt or being late).
Summary of the Best Student Credit Cards in Canada 2017
|Credit Card||Rewards||Annual Fee||Bonus|
|BMO SPC CashBack MasterCard||1% cashback||$0||$60 welcome bonus, plus free SPC membership|
|Student Awards MBNA Rewards MasterCard||1% cashback||$0||$10 welcome Bonus, $10 annual anniversary bonus|
|Scotiabank Scene Visa Card||1 Scene pt per $1||$0||4 free movie welcome bonus|
|BMO SPC Air Miles MasterCard||1 Air Mile per $20||$0||500 Air Miles welcome bonus, plus free SPC membership|
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