Tuesday, June 25, 2024
HomeRetirementCanada’s greatest scholar bank cards for 2023

Canada’s greatest scholar bank cards for 2023

The 6 greatest scholar bank cards in Canada

Researching bank cards between courses? Whereas a grade on a paper possibly its solely reward, having the appropriate bank card can imply the distinction between a free tank of gasoline or dinner out on the finish of the semester–all when you’re constructing a credit score historical past. By the point you graduate and get that first large gig, paying off your scholar bank card each month might enable you purchase a house or card extra simply. That’s what having a historical past with a bank card and a great credit score rating can do. Now, let’s take a look at your choices. 

Greatest scholar bank card for money again

BMO CashBack Mastercard*


At a look: This bank card offers you a number of alternative to earn money again, particularly for getting groceries, paying payments and different purchases. And in contrast to different money again playing cards for college students, the charges on these classes are spectacular. Plus, you may redeem your money again whenever you actually want it—sure, even earlier than winter break vacation procuring.

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn price: 3% money again on groceries (as much as $500 monthly), 1% on recurring payments (as much as $500 monthly) and 0.5% money again on every thing else.
  • Rate of interest: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances
  • Welcome bonus: You possibly can earn 5% money again in your first 3 months


  • It gives a wholesome 3% money again price on groceries as much as a most of $500 a month. No different no-fee money again bank card earns this price.
  • The minimal redemption requirement is simply $1, so you may redeem your money again whenever you actually want it (fairly candy whenever you don’t need your subsequent meal to be KD or ramen noodles).
  • Objects you buy utilizing the cardboard obtain double the producer’s authentic guarantee safety, as much as one yr.
  • Stand up to 25% off base charges at eligible Nationwide and Alamo automotive rental places.


  • There aren’t any journey insurance coverage or associated perks with this card. However it’s not atypical of different no-fee playing cards.
  • There are caps on the bonus spend classes: 3% on the primary $500 you spend on groceries monthly, with every thing over that incomes the bottom 0.5% earn price. That mentioned, it’s a month-to-month cap, so that you begin once more the primary of the month. 
  • No earn price for transportation or gasoline, because it’s within the “every thing else” pile at 0.05%. Meaning Ubers, too.

Additionally think about:

CIBC Dividend Visa for College students

At a look: Earn 2% on groceries, then 1% eating, gasoline, transportation and recurring invoice funds, after which earn 0.5% money again on every thing else. However a cool bonus is entry to SPC+, which is a scholar low cost program, with offers from Apple Music to Zaful fashions.

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn price: Earn 2% on groceries; 1% on gasoline, EV charging, transportation, eating and recurring funds; and 0.5% 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: earn $60 in money again after you make your first buy throughout the first 4 months.


  • Cardholders eligible for an SPC membership and get free entry to SPC+, which gives larger reductions and particular experiences.
  • The incomes on spend class caps are excessive: $80,000 in web purchases or $20,000 on grocery, gasoline, transportation, eating and recurring funds.
  • On prime of incomes factors, you may as well save $0.10 per litre at choose Pioneer, Fas Fuel, Ultramar and Chevron gasoline stations whenever you hyperlink your card with the Journee rewards program from CIBC.


  • At a most of 1% money again, the earn charges for all spend classes are modest in comparison with different money again bank card packages. 
  • So is the 0.05% money again price for the rest.

Greatest scholar bank card for Air Miles

BMO Air Miles Mastercard*

At a look: Not dwelling at residence? Finding out overseas? Why not use your bank card rewards on a visit again residence by incomes Air Miles whenever you use your card. 

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn price: Earn 1 mile for each $25 spent and 3 times the rewards at taking part Air Miles companion shops (together with Metro, Sobeys, Foodland, Staples and extra), double the factors at Air Miles companions.
  • Rates of interest: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances, 22.99% on steadiness transfers
  • Welcome bonus:


  • Earn 3 times the miles when spending at taking part Air Miles companions.
  • Plus, you may earn Air Miles twice: As soon as whenever you use your BMO Air Miles Mastercard, and a second time whenever you use your Air Miles loyalty card. 
    For flexibility, redeem your rewards for present playing cards and reductions at Air Miles companions, in addition to on the airmilesshops.ca retailer for offers and bonus rewards from lots of of outlets.
  • Earn bonus Air Miles from eligible purchases from numerous retailers, with as much as 5 occasions the factors from retailers equivalent to Adidas, Amazon, Aldo and others.
  • Stand up to 25% off base charges at eligible Nationwide and Alamo rental places.


  • Air Miles may be much less versatile than money again, as you’ll have to redeem by Air Miles companions. So when you don’t usually store at Sobey’s, Shell, and so on., it could be inconvenient to earn rewards.
  • Journey redemptions are much less easy, too. For instance, you may’t redeem for any airline and you have to use the Air Miles journey portal when reserving.
  • Regardless of being a journey card, there is no such thing as a journey insurance coverage hooked up to this card. So when you do want some, you’ll have to pay for the insurance coverage your self or forgo it and pay out of pocket for issues like misplaced baggage or missed flights, and so on.

Greatest scholar bank card for grocery procuring

PC Monetary Mastercard*

PC Financial Mastercard

At a look: Cooking at residence is an effective monetary play when you’re dwelling away from the fam whereas at college. This card permits you to earn factors on each buy, however you may earn bonus factors whenever you store for groceries at Loblaw banner shops (together with Loblaws, No Frills, Actual Canadian Superstore, Fortinos and Valu-mart). 

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn price: Earn 25 Optimum factors for each $1 spent at Buyers Drug Mart, 10 factors per $1 at Loblaw banner shops, and in all places else. Get 20 factors per $1 when reserving by PC Journey, and get at the least 30 factors per litre whenever you gasoline up at Esso or Mobil. Redeem your PC Optimum factors on the check-out of those locations. Redemptions begin at 10,000 factors for $10 worth.
  • Rate of interest: 20.97% on purchases, 22.97% on money advances, 22.97% on steadiness transfers
  • Welcome bonus: earn 20,000 PC Optimum factors


  • You might be incomes 25 factors per $1 at Buyers Drug Mart and 30 factors per litre of gasoline at Esso. That’s equal to a 2.5% and three% return, respectively. These are spectacular returns for a scholar card.
  • This bank card earns you a base earn price of 1 level per $1. Most different scholar playing cards have a base earn price of simply 0.5%.
  • You possibly can redeem PC Optimum factors at Loblaw-affiliated shops, which implies you may put a significant dent in your on a regular basis payments. Sure, that features groceries on the nook Buyers Drug Mart. You possibly can redeem factors at Canada’s largest pharmacy and grocery chain, in addition to Joe Recent, for a complete of over 4,500 places throughout Canada. You aren’t restricted to a small variety of area of interest places like most different retail playing cards or loyalty playing cards.
  • There’s no cap on the variety of PC Optimum factors you may earn.


  • Not as versatile as a money again program, as you may solely redeem your rewards at sure retailers. 
  • There’s a minimal redemption requirement of $20.

Greatest scholar bank card for cash administration

Koho Pay as you go Mastercard with an Straightforward subscription*

At a look: Koho’s pay as you go Mastercard works like a debit or present card, which means you don’t have to fret about getting authorised. Plus, it’s made to assist cardholders hold inside their finances whereas constructing a credit score rating with monetary teaching and helpful app instruments, equivalent to spending insights. Whenever you open a Koho account, you’ll be robotically enrolled into Straightforward, Koho’s free entry-level subscription plan, and obtain a digital pay as you go Mastercard. Koho Straightforward already comes with a ton of nice options, equivalent to “rounding up” your transactions so it can save you sooner. However if you would like extra, you may improve to Koho’s Important or Further paid plans for higher earn charges and extra perks.

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn price: 1% money again on payments, providers, and groceries; as much as 5% again at choose retailers 
  • Rate of interest: N/A
  • Welcome provide: 1% money again on groceries and transportation
  • Further advantages: Entry to budgeting instruments, RoundUp, monetary teaching, and credit score constructing for a charge; 0.5% curiosity in your account; entry to joint accounts
  • Annual revenue requirement: None


  • As a pay as you go bank card, you don’t pay curiosity because you don’t truly carry a steadiness. You set cash in your account earlier than you may spend it. That is nice for anybody seeking to follow a finances whereas constructing a credit score rating. 
  • It additionally gives a “spherical up” characteristic, which tallies up purchases to the closest quantity of your selecting ($1, $2, $5 or $10) and places that cash into your financial savings.
  • If it is advisable to construct up your credit standing, you may enrol for credit score constructing with Koho for a further $10 monthly; it should report your spending habits to the credit score bureaus.
  • It options spending insights that can assist you hold observe of your funds. And, for individuals who want a bit extra hands-on assist, Koho gives monetary teaching.


  • To make the most of Koho’s credit score constructing software, you’ll should spend $10 monthly. For a scholar on a restricted finances, that may actually add up.
  • If you wish to entry Koho’s greatest perks and options, you’ll should subscribe to Koho Important or Further, which include month-to-month charges of $4 monthly (or $48 per yr) and $9 monthly (or $84 per yr), respectively. You possibly can join a 30-day free trial to see if the additional charges are value it.

Greatest scholar bank card for below-average credit

Dwelling Belief Secured Visa*

At a look: For those who’re new to bank cards and need the prospect to construct up your credit score rating, a secured card is a brilliant alternative. With no annual charge, the Dwelling Belief Secured Visa is a strong possibility. You set your individual spending restrict, anyplace from $500 to $10,000—so that you gained’t threat spending past your means. Plus, you may select between two rates of interest: 19.99% with no annual charge or 14.90% with a $59 annual charge. 

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Rates of interest: 19.99% on purchases, 19.99% on money advances
  • Earn charges: None
  • Welcome provide: This card doesn’t have a welcome bonus at the moment.


  • You set your credit score restrict and might select both a 14.90% rate of interest (with the $59 annual charge) or a 19.99% rate of interest (with no annual charge)
  • The Visa card is accepted on-line and in over 200 international locations. 
  • Cardholders are protected against fraud with the Zero Legal responsibility Coverage (in case your card is stolen, you gained’t pay for fraudulent purchases.) 


  • For those who don’t select the decrease rate of interest of 14.90% for an annual charge of $59, the rate of interest is comparatively excessive at 19.99%. 
  • The cardboard doesn’t provide any perks like money again or rewards.
  • College students in Quebec should not eligible for the cardboard.

Greatest scholar bank card for leisure perks

Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card for college students*

scotiabank scene visa card for students

At a look: In case your secure place is a film theatre to get away from dorm drama or to get some headspace away from studying, think about this card. What you spend on the cinema can flip into some good perks. 

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn price: 1 Scene Level for each $1 spent; 2 Scene Factors for each $1 spent at Cineplex theatres or cineplex.com
  • Rate of interest: 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances, 22.99% on steadiness transfers
  • Welcome bonus: earn 5,000 bonus Scene+ factors inside your first yr. Should apply by October 31, 2023.


  • Scene+ factors are fairly versatile for a factors program. For instance, you may ebook flights with any airline with out having to depend on a particular journey company or portal. Plus, you may redeem for different journey objects, equivalent to Airbnbs. It’s probably the greatest factors packages out there to Canadians.
  • One other bonus, the rewards are nice for issues outdoors of a typical scholar finances. Deal with your self for managing the stresses of college through the use of the rewards on issues like motion pictures, takeout, present playing cards from retailers, flights, inns and extra.
  • It can save you 25% off base charges for automotive leases at taking part Avis and Finances rental places in Canada and the U.S.


  • The earn price will quickly be modified on Oct. 1, 2022. So you’ll discover that the earn price is dropping from five-times the factors right down to two-times the factors at cinemas. The excellent news, although, is that factors might be doubling for choose grocery shops. 
  • There are bonus factors for different widespread spending classes, like gasoline or eating, which means fewer methods to maximise your returns. So, you would need to go to the films usually to actually make the most of the bonus earn price.
  • Not as versatile as a money again program, however redeeming is simple for journey objects.

Our methodology: How we decide the perfect playing cards

The MoneySense editorial crew selects the perfect bank cards by assessing the worth they supply to Canadians throughout numerous classes. Our greatest scholar bank cards rating relies on an in depth record of card particulars and options—with a give attention to those who matter to college students—together with annual charges, rates of interest, welcome gives, rewards earn charges, annual revenue necessities, and perks equivalent to insurance coverage protection, rebates and reductions. We’ve got additionally thought of the professionals and cons of every card that can assist you decide which of them greatest fit your monetary wants. Our rankings are an unbiased supply of data for Canadians. The addition of hyperlinks from affiliate companions has no bearing on the outcomes. Learn extra about how MoneySense makes cash.

Bank card ideas for college students

You realize it is advisable to be accountable in how you employ your bank card—however what, precisely, does that imply? Learn on for tips about utilizing your bank card to beef up your credit score rating and avoiding any issues. 

  1. Verify your fee due dates
    You in all probability know that bank card payments arrive each month, however that doesn’t imply the due date to your fee is on the primary day. The date that begins your billing cycle is determined by if you find yourself authorised for the account, and it could possibly be any day of the month. Make word of the due date and be sure to pay on time.
  2. Repay your steadiness in full
    For those who’re going to be accountable along with your bank card, you gained’t use it to spend cash you don’t have. Don’t go into debt. It’s greatest follow to repay your invoice in full, on time, each month. Not solely will this increase your credit score rating, however it should additionally enable you keep away from pricey curiosity costs.
  3. Heed the minimal steadiness
    For those who do overspend, you’ll nonetheless must repay a few of your steadiness. Your invoice will present a complete steadiness and a minimal fee. It’s essential to pay at the least the minimal fee, on time and each month, it doesn’t matter what. Lacking funds is without doubt one of the worst issues you are able to do to your credit score rating. Paying solely the minimal signifies that you’re accumulating curiosity on the unpaid steadiness. At a median of round 20%, this will add up shortly. 
  4. Don’t overspend
    In case it’s not clear: Don’t overspend! Credit score is borrowed cash, and a bank card isn’t a debit card. All the cash you cost to your card have to be paid again. For those who don’t or can’t, you’ll end up racking up curiosity costs along with wrecking your credit standing. 
  5. Don’t max out your bank card
    Your bank card could have a credit score restrict; that’s the sum of money you may technically borrow on it. However spending all the best way as much as your restrict—that’s, maxing out your card—is reckless. It will likely be tougher to repay your steadiness. Use your card selectively for smaller purchases, at the least initially, and think about using debit for nearly every thing else.

—Keph Senett

Incessantly requested questions

Making use of for a scholar bank card is fairly easy, though there are a couple of eligibility necessities to remember.

  • You’ll have to be the age of majority in 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).
  • For those who don’t earn an revenue, chances are you’ll want to supply proof that you simply obtain some type of monetary help, equivalent to allowances from your loved ones or a scholarship.

As a brand new bank card holder, it’s a wise concept to overview your choices earlier than you apply. Take a look at what totally different banks are providing and select a card that greatest matches your life-style and spending habits. Every utility does have an effect on your credit score rating, so that you’ll need to keep away from making use of for a number of bank cards needlessly. Persist with one card as you be taught the ropes and begin constructing your credit score historical past. 

Extra of Canada’s greatest bank cards:



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments