Canada's Best Student Credit Cards for 2018
Why Get a Student Credit Card?
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.
How to Choose the Best Student Credit Card
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 top rated Canadian student credit cards currently available, based on fees, rewards and ease of approval.
Top Canadian Student Credit Cards in 2018
|Credit Card||Rewards||Bonus||Card Review||Apply for Card|
|BMO SPC CashBack Mastercard||1% cashback||4% cash back in first 4 months||Read More||Apply Now|
|Scotiabank Scene Visa Card||1 Scene pt per $1||2,000 SCENE points = 2 free movies||Read More||Apply Now|
|BMO SPC Air Miles Mastercard||1 Air Mile per $20||500 Air Miles welcome bonus||Read More||Apply Now|
|Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card||0.5% cash back on all purchases||2% cash back on 2-3 purchase categories of cardholder's choice||Read More||Apply Now|
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, an accelerated welcome rate of 4% cash back in the first 4 months (valid until Oct. 31st, 2018), 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 (Applebee’s, Pizza Pizza, Gap, Old Navy, Thai Express, The Source, Petro Canada, Forever 21, Aldo, etc…).
The SPC Mastercard also automatically doubles your manufacturer’s warranty for up to 1 year and has purchase protection, which insures you against theft or damage for most 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 no annual fee, 1% cash back, free SPC membership giving you 10%-15% student discounts and easy approval, this card is a no brainer.
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 5,000 point sign-up bonus – 5 FREE movies – with no annual fee, when you spend $500 in everyday purchases in the first three months (Limited time only). You can also get $10 off at affiliated restaurants in exchange for 1,000 points. That way you can make it a complete night out.
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 5 free movies of course!
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. The SPC Air Miles Student Mastercard has no annual fee, a welcome bonus 500 AIR MILES, 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 (Booster Juice, Burger King, GAP, Aldo, The Source, Amazon CA, etc.) automatically 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 need to fly home for holidays or who simply love to travel.
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 most items purchased 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.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
Tangerine’s Money-Back credit card is especially beneficial for those who want to save on a variety of their most common purchases, but who don’t have the high income necessary to qualify for most high-yield cashback credit cards. To serve these customers, Tangerine’s only specific requirement from applicants is a minimum annual income of $12,000. They also consider other factors in their decision-making process like credit history and credit-to-income ratio. After being approved, new cardholders can choose 2 purchase categories where they’ll earn 2.00% cash back, with categories like grocery, gas, pharmacy and drugstore, entertainment, restaurants, and more available.
It’s important to save money as a student, and the card encourages it by allowing members to automatically deposit their cash back into a Tangerine savings account. Those who do so will earn a third cash back category, which boosts savings even further. Don’t worry about choosing the wrong category, because Tangerine will let you make changes to your cash back strategy upon request. Every purchase that doesn’t fall in your chosen categories earns 0.50% cash back, so students can expect that all their expenses are offset to a degree.
Finally, since students are often on a budget, it’s nice to not have an annual fee. We think it’s important to emphasize again, though, that the card does require that applicants show a credit history. This condition indicates that the Tangerine Money-Back card might be more suitable for older, or even graduate-level students who have had time to build credit. Regardless, the right candidate will find that the card readily competes with those in higher tiers.
How to Choose the Right Canadian Student Credit Card For You
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 – a generous 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 (prevents you from accumulating debt or being late).