17.1 C
New York
Monday, September 25, 2023

Canada’s greatest pupil bank cards for 2023

The 6 greatest pupil bank cards in Canada

Researching bank cards between courses? Whereas a grade on a paper perhaps its solely reward, having the precise bank card can imply the distinction between a free tank of fuel 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 massive gig, paying off your pupil bank card each month might enable you to purchase a house or card extra simply. That’s what having a historical past with a bank card and an excellent credit score rating can do. Now, let’s take a look at your choices. 

Greatest pupil bank card for money again

BMO CashBack Mastercard*


At a look: This bank card offers you plenty 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 kids, the charges on these classes are spectacular. Plus, you possibly can redeem your money again while you really want it—sure, even earlier than winter break vacation purchasing.

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn price: 3% money again on groceries (as much as $500 per 30 days), 1% on recurring payments (as much as $500 per 30 days) and 0.5% money again on all the things else.
  • Rate of interest: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances
  • Welcome bonus: You may earn 5% money again in your first 3 months


  • It affords 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 just $1, so you possibly can redeem your money again while you really want it (fairly candy while you don’t need your subsequent meal to be KD or ramen noodles).
  • Gadgets you buy utilizing the cardboard obtain double the producer’s unique guarantee safety, as much as one yr.
  • Rise up to 25% off base charges at eligible Nationwide and Alamo automotive rental places.


  • There are not 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 per 30 days, with all the things 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 fuel, because it’s within the “all the things 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, fuel, transportation and recurring invoice funds, after which earn 0.5% money again on all the things else. However a cool bonus is entry to SPC+, which is a pupil low cost program, with offers from Apple Music to Zaful fashions.

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn price: Earn 2% on groceries; 1% on fuel, 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 inside the first 4 months.


  • Cardholders eligible for an SPC membership and get free entry to SPC+, which affords larger reductions and particular experiences.
  • The incomes on spend class caps are excessive: $80,000 in internet purchases or $20,000 on grocery, fuel, transportation, eating and recurring funds.
  • On high of incomes factors, you too can save $0.10 per litre at choose Pioneer, Fas Fuel, Ultramar and Chevron fuel stations while 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 applications. 
  • So is the 0.05% money again price for the rest.

Greatest pupil bank card for Air Miles

BMO Air Miles Mastercard*

At a look: Not residing at residence? Learning overseas? Why not use your bank card rewards on a visit again residence by incomes Air Miles while you use your card. 

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn price: Earn 1 mile for each $25 spent and 3 times the rewards at collaborating 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 collaborating Air Miles companions.
  • Plus, you possibly can earn Air Miles twice: As soon as while you use your BMO Air Miles Mastercard, and a second 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 lots of of shops.
  • Earn bonus Air Miles from eligible purchases from a lot of retailers, with as much as 5 occasions the factors from retailers equivalent to Adidas, Amazon, Aldo and others.
  • Rise up to 25% off base charges at eligible Nationwide and Alamo rental places.


  • Air Miles will be much less versatile than money again, as you’ll have to redeem by way of Air Miles companions. So if you happen to don’t repeatedly store at Sobey’s, Shell, and so forth., it might be inconvenient to earn rewards.
  • Journey redemptions are much less simple, too. For instance, you possibly can’t redeem for any airline and you have to use the Air Miles journey portal when reserving.
  • Regardless of being a journey card, there isn’t any journey insurance coverage connected to this card. So if you happen to 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 forth.

Greatest pupil bank card for grocery purchasing

PC Monetary Mastercard*

PC Financial Mastercard

At a look: Cooking at residence is an effective monetary play if you happen to’re residing away from the fam whereas in school. This card lets you earn factors on each buy, however you possibly can earn bonus factors while 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 Consumers Drug Mart, 10 factors per $1 at Loblaw banner shops, and in all places else. Get 20 factors per $1 when reserving by way of PC Journey, and get at the very least 30 factors per litre while you fuel 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 Consumers Drug Mart and 30 factors per litre of fuel at Esso. That’s equal to a 2.5% and three% return, respectively. These are spectacular returns for a pupil card.
  • This bank card earns you a base earn price of 1 level per $1. Most different pupil playing cards have a base earn price of simply 0.5%.
  • You may redeem PC Optimum factors at Loblaw-affiliated shops, which implies you possibly can put a significant dent in your on a regular basis payments. Sure, that features groceries on the nook Consumers Drug Mart. You may 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 possibly can earn.


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

Greatest pupil 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 reward card, which means you don’t have to fret about getting accepted. Plus, it’s made to assist cardholders maintain inside their funds whereas constructing a credit score rating with monetary teaching and helpful app instruments, equivalent to spending insights. Once you open a Koho account, you’ll be mechanically 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 quicker. However in order for you extra, you possibly can improve to Koho’s Important or Additional paid plans for higher earn charges and extra perks.

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn price: 1% money again on payments, companies, and groceries; as much as 5% again at choose retailers 
  • Rate of interest: N/A
  • Welcome provide: 1% money again on groceries and transportation
  • Extra 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 really carry a steadiness. You set cash in your account earlier than you possibly can spend it. That is nice for anybody seeking to persist with a funds whereas constructing a credit score rating. 
  • It additionally affords a “spherical up” function, 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 you should construct up your credit standing, you possibly can enrol for credit score constructing with Koho for an extra $10 per 30 days; it’ll report your spending habits to the credit score bureaus.
  • It options spending insights that will help you maintain monitor of your funds. And, for many who want a bit extra hands-on assist, Koho affords monetary teaching.


  • To reap the benefits of Koho’s credit score constructing device, you’ll need to spend $10 per 30 days. For a pupil on a restricted funds, that may actually add up.
  • If you wish to entry Koho’s greatest perks and options, you’ll need to subscribe to Koho Important or Additional, which include month-to-month charges of $4 per 30 days (or $48 per yr) and $9 per 30 days (or $84 per yr), respectively. You may join a 30-day free trial to see if the additional charges are price it.

Greatest pupil bank card for weak credit

House Belief Secured Visa*

At a look: For those who’re new to bank cards and wish the possibility to construct up your credit score rating, a secured card is a brilliant alternative. With no annual charge, the House Belief Secured Visa is a stable choice. You set your personal spending restrict, wherever from $500 to $10,000—so that you gained’t threat spending past your means. Plus, you possibly can 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 right now.


  • You set your credit score restrict and may 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 nations. 
  • Cardholders are shielded from 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 aren’t eligible for the cardboard.

Greatest pupil bank card for leisure perks

Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card for college kids*

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 possibly can ebook flights with any airline with out having to depend on a particular journey company or portal. Plus, you possibly can redeem for different journey gadgets, equivalent to Airbnbs. It’s top-of-the-line factors applications accessible to Canadians.
  • One other bonus, the rewards are nice for issues outdoors of a typical pupil funds. Deal with your self for managing the stresses of faculty by utilizing the rewards on issues like films, takeout, reward playing cards from retailers, flights, inns and extra.
  • It can save you 25% off base charges for automotive leases at collaborating Avis and Price range 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 all the way 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 frequent spending classes, like fuel or eating, which means fewer methods to maximise your returns. So, you would need to go to the films repeatedly to actually reap the benefits of the bonus earn price.
  • Not as versatile as a money again program, however redeeming is easy for journey gadgets.

Our methodology: How we decide one of the best playing cards

The MoneySense editorial staff selects one of the best bank cards by assessing the worth they supply to Canadians throughout varied classes. Our greatest pupil bank cards rating relies on an in depth checklist of card particulars and options—with a deal with those who matter to college students—together with annual charges, rates of interest, welcome affords, 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 will help you decide which of them greatest fit your monetary wants. Our rankings are an unbiased supply of knowledge 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 kids

You realize you should 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. Examine your cost due dates
    You most likely know that bank card payments arrive each month, however that doesn’t imply the due date to your cost is on the primary day. The date that begins your billing cycle relies on when you’re accepted for the account, and it may very well be any day of the month. Make notice 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 apply to repay your invoice in full, on time, each month. Not solely will this increase your credit score rating, however it’ll additionally enable you to keep away from pricey curiosity expenses.
  3. Heed the minimal steadiness
    For those who do overspend, you’ll nonetheless have to repay a few of your steadiness. Your invoice will present a complete steadiness and a minimal cost. You have to pay at the very least the minimal cost, on time and each month, it doesn’t matter what. Lacking funds is among the worst issues you are able to do to your credit score rating. Paying solely the minimal implies that you’re accumulating curiosity on the unpaid steadiness. At a mean of round 20%, this may 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 should be paid again. For those who don’t or can’t, you’ll end up racking up curiosity expenses 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 possibly can technically borrow on it. However spending all the way in which as much as your restrict—that’s, maxing out your card—is reckless. Will probably be more durable to repay your steadiness. Use your card selectively for smaller purchases, at the very least initially, and think about using debit for nearly all the things else.

—Keph Senett

Steadily requested questions

Making use of for a pupil bank card is fairly simple, 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, it’s possible you’ll want to supply proof that you simply obtain some type of monetary assist, equivalent to allowances from your loved ones or a scholarship.

As a brand new bank card holder, it’s a wise concept to assessment 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 software 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. Keep on with one card as you be taught the ropes and begin constructing your credit score historical past. 

Extra of Canada’s greatest bank cards:

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles