The 7 greatest scholar bank cards in Canada for August 2023

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MoneySense is an award-winning journal, serving to Canadians navigate cash issues since 1999. Our editorial staff of skilled journalists works carefully with main private finance specialists in Canada. That will help you discover the most effective monetary merchandise, we examine the choices from over 12 main establishments, together with banks, credit score unions and card issuers. Be taught extra about our promoting and trusted companions.

Canada’s 7 greatest scholar bank cards

Researching bank cards as you propose for going again to high school? Whereas a scholar ID has its perks (like meal plans and reductions at native shops), the appropriate scholar bank card can get you even higher perks (like a free tank of fuel or dinner out on the finish of the semester)—all whilst you’re constructing a credit score historical past. By the point you graduate and get your first huge gig, paying off your scholar bank card each month might allow you to finally purchase a house or automotive extra simply. Now’s the time to get card, so you possibly can reap the rewards in the course of the faculty yr—when cash is tight for college kids. That’s what having a historical past with a bank card and credit score rating can do. Now, let’s take a look at your choices. 

Greatest bank cards for younger adults in Canada

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 purchasing 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 whenever you really want it—sure, even earlier than vacation procuring on winter break.

  • 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 part else.
  • Rate of interest: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances
  • Welcome bonus: You’ll be able to 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 simply $1, so you possibly can redeem your money again whenever you really 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 unique 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 part over that incomes the bottom 0.5% earn price. That stated, it’s a month-to-month cap, so that you begin once more the primary of the month. 
  • No boosted =earn price for transportation or fuel, because it’s within the “every part else” pile at 0.05%. Which means 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 every part 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 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 stability transfers
  • Welcome bonus: You’ll be able to Earn $60 in money again after you make your first buy throughout the first 4 months. Supply not accessible to QC residents. Circumstances apply..


  • Cardholders are eligible for an SPC membership and get free entry to SPC+, which affords greater reductions and particular experiences.
  • The spending 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 may also save $0.10 per litre at choose Pioneer, Fas Gasoline, Ultramar and Chevron fuel 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 house? Learning overseas? Why not use your bank card rewards on a visit again house by incomes Air Miles whenever you use your card. Plus, get perks like reductions on rental automobiles for highway journeys, and the power to redeem your factors to purchase baggage and different gear.

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn price: Earn 1 mile for each $25 spent and thrice the rewards at taking part Air Miles associate 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 stability transfers
  • Welcome bonus: You’ll be able to earn 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles price $80 in direction of purchases with AIR MILES Money


  • Earn thrice the miles when spending at taking part Air Miles companions.
  • Plus, you possibly can 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 retailer for offers and bonus rewards from lots of of outlets.
  • Earn bonus Air Miles from eligible purchases from retailers, with as much as 5 occasions the factors from retailers resembling Adidas, Amazon, Aldo and others.
  • Stand up to 25% off base charges at eligible Nationwide and Alamo rental automotive places when you’re taking a visit with pals.


  • Air Miles might be much less versatile than money again, as you’ll have to redeem by way of Air Miles companions. So when you don’t commonly 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 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 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 house is an effective monetary play when you’re dwelling away from the fam whereas in school. This card means that you can earn factors on each buy, however you possibly can 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 Consumers Drug Mart, 10 factors per $1 at Loblaw banner shops, and all over the place else. Get 20 factors per $1 when reserving by way of PC Journey, and get not less than 30 factors per litre whenever 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: 21.99% on purchases, 22.97% on money advances, 22.97% on stability 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 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’ll be able to redeem PC Optimum factors at Loblaw-affiliated shops, which implies you possibly can put a serious dent in your on a regular basis payments. Sure, that features groceries on the nook Consumers Drug Mart. You’ll be able to redeem factors at Canada’s largest pharmacy and grocery chain, in addition to Joe Contemporary, 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 $10.

Greatest scholar bank card for cash administration

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 present card, which means you don’t have to fret about getting authorised. Plus, it’s made to assist newbie bank card holders maintain inside their price range whereas constructing a credit score rating with useful app instruments, resembling spending insights. If you open a Koho account, you’ll be routinely enrolled into Simple, Koho’s free entry-level subscription plan, and obtain a digital pay as you go Mastercard. Koho Simple already comes with a ton of nice options, resembling “rounding up” your transactions so it can save you quicker. However if you need 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 groceries and transportation (together with transit, transit card top-ups, fuel and Ubers or Lyft)
  • Rate of interest: N/A
  • Welcome supply: 1% money again on groceries and transportation
  • Further advantages: Entry to budgeting instruments, RoundUp, monetary teaching and credit score constructing for a charge ($10 monthly); earn 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 stability. You set cash in your account earlier than you possibly can spend it. That is nice for anybody trying to follow a price range whereas constructing a credit score rating. 
  • It additionally affords 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’s good to construct up your credit standing, you possibly can enrol for Credit score Constructing with Koho for an extra $10 monthly; it’s going to report your spending habits to the credit score bureaus.
  • It options spending insights that can assist you maintain monitor of your funds. And, for many who want a bit extra hands-on assist, Koho affords monetary teaching (for $10 a month with the credit score constructing plan).
  • You’ll be able to join a 30-day free trial to see if a paid plan is price it. Plus, you may get a $25 money bonus as soon as authorised for the Additional plan.


  • To make the most of Koho’s credit score constructing device, you need to spend $10 monthly. For a scholar on a restricted price range, that may actually add up.
  • If you wish to entry Koho’s greatest perks and options, you need to subscribe to Koho Important or Additional, which include month-to-month charges of $4 monthly (or $48 per yr) and $9 monthly (or $84 per yr), respectively.

Greatest scholar bank card for credit score constructing

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 great selection. House Belief reviews your cost historical past and different data to the credit score bureaus (like Equifax and TransUnion, who decide your credit score rating) every month. With no annual charge, the House Belief Secured Visa is a strong possibility. You set your individual spending restrict, wherever from $500 to $10,000—so that you gained’t threat spending past your means. You can too 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 supply: This card doesn’t have a welcome bonus presently.


  • 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). Having a decrease rate of interest will help you save on curiosity costs when you carry a stability.
  • The Visa card is accepted on-line and in over 200 international locations. 
  • 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 supply any perks like money again or rewards.
  • College students in Quebec will not be eligible for the cardboard.

Greatest secured card for college kids

Neo Secured Credit score*

At a look: The Neo Secured Credit score Mastercard offers entry to advantages like limitless money again and boosted rewards whilst you’re constructing a credit score historical past. Plus, with opt-in perks and bundles, you possibly can tailor the cardboard to your particular wants. 

  • Annual charge: $0
  • Earn price: A minimal of 0.5% minimal money again and a median of 5% money again on purchases at companions
  • Rate of interest: 19.99% on purchases (19.99% to 25.49% for Quebec residents), 24.99% on money advances
  • Welcome bonus: You’ll be able to earn $25 money again.


  • You need to use a Neo card even you probably have no credit score historical past, with only a low $50 minimal deposit—which is nice for college kids who’re simply beginning out.
  • Though you get a bodily card within the mail, you should use the Neo app to make purchases utilizing your telephone.
  • Non-compulsory perks and bundles will let you buy upgrades on a subscription foundation to speed up your earn charges and entry advantages on an as-needed foundation. For instance, when you’re heading house for the vacations, you possibly can spring for the “journey bundle” and earn boosted money again in your journey spends, however—and that is good—you may also sit back within the airport lounge. 
  • Neo Insights has a great deal of instruments that can assist you price range, monitor your spending, and maintain tabs in your money again.


  • For those who don’t store at Neo companions, you’ll be incomes a noncompetitive 0.5% base price.
  • The Neo card doesn’t include included insurance coverage.
  • You’ll be able to solely use the cardboard for the amount of cash that you just placed on the cardboard, so for these needing further credit score (with cash, not the educational form), a secured card isn’t for them.

Greatest scholar bank card for leisure perks

Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card for college kids*

scotiabank scene visa card for students

At a look: In case your protected 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: 2 Scene+ Factors per $1 spent on groceries at shops owned by Sobeys, 2 factors per $1 spent at Cineplex theatres or; 1 level per $1 spent on every part else;
  • Rate of interest: 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances, 22.99% on stability transfers
  • Welcome bonus: earn 5,000 bonus Scene+ factors inside your first yr. Should apply by October 31, 2023.


  • Scene+ is a fairly versatile factors program. For instance, you possibly can ebook flights with any airline with out having to depend on a selected journey company or portal. Plus, you possibly can redeem for different journey gadgets, resembling Airbnbs. It’s the most effective factors packages accessible to Canadians.
  • One other bonus, the rewards are nice for issues outdoors of a typical scholar price range. 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, motels and extra.
  • It can save you 25% off base charges for automotive leases at taking part Avis and Funds rental places in Canada and the U.S.


  • There aren’t any bonus factors for different widespread spending classes, like fuel or eating, which means fewer methods to maximise your returns. So, you would need to go to the films commonly to actually make the most of the bonus earn price.
  • Not as versatile as a money again program, however redeeming is simple for journey gadgets.

Our methodology: How we decide the most effective playing cards

The MoneySense editorial staff selects the most effective bank cards by assessing the worth they supply to younger grownup Canadians throughout varied classes. Our greatest scholar bank cards rating is predicated on an intensive record of card particulars and options—with a deal with people who matter to college students—together with annual charges, rates of interest, welcome affords, rewards earn charges, annual revenue necessities, and perks resembling insurance coverage protection, rebates and reductions. We now have additionally thought-about 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 knowledge for Canadians. The addition of hyperlinks from affiliate companions has no bearing on the outcomes. Learn extra about how MoneySense makes cash.

Steadily requested questions

Not like for a summer season job, making use of for a scholar bank card is fairly easy, though there are just a few eligibility necessities to remember.

  • You’ll should 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, you might want to supply proof that you just obtain some type of monetary help, resembling allowances from your loved ones or a scholarship.

As a brand new bank card holder, it’s a sensible concept to overview your choices earlier than you apply. Try what completely different banks are providing and select a card that greatest matches your way of life 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 study the ropes and begin constructing your credit score historical past. 

Sure, they’ll. Banks, bank card corporations and monetary establishments acknowledge the ability of your corporation, in order that they’ve created “newbie” bank cards for younger adults and college students in Canada. These are typically stripped down variations of bank cards loaded with perks. However, as you possibly can see above, there are nonetheless rewards available with secured and unsecured bank cards for college kids. Really, having a bank card is the way you construct a credit score historical past, which is a part of how a credit score rating is calculated. Right here’s how:

  • Credit score historical past: An extended historical past exhibits lenders you’ll be able to repay debt, and finance specialists advocate to apply for a card as a younger grownup, and use it responsibly.
  • Debt load: That is the overall amount of cash you owe collectors—together with bank cards, loans and mortgages, However mortgages will not be usually a difficulty for college kids, so your low debt load can work in your favour.
  • Fee historical past: That is about the way you nicely you pay your payments, which means in full and on time, in addition to when you missed any funds and the way for lengthy you carried any debt. At this level in your life, maintain your payments low and pay them off on time.
  • Sorts of credit score you carry: The extra collectors you owe cash to, the upper threat you can pose to lenders. Persist with one bank card to keep away from wanting dangerous to lenders

Can a highschool scholar apply for a bank card?

Bank cards have an age restriction and, usually, revenue necessities that prime faculty college students might not have the ability to meet. Nonetheless, that doesn’t put all bank cards fully out of attain. If a highschool scholar is the age of majority (18 or 19 years previous, relying on their province or territory) there are some choices. 

Bank card candidates in highschool ought to search for playing cards that don’t require a credit score historical past and have low or no revenue necessities. They’ll think about beginning with a secured card, the place they apply a deposit that they’ll spend, as these assist construct a credit score historical past. A strong possibility is the Neo Secured Mastercard or one other secured bank card.

What does a highschool scholar want to use for a bank card? Basically, candidates will want a bit of presidency ID, a social insurance coverage quantity, mailing deal with, employment standing, and revenue info to use for a bank card. 

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

For those who have been declined for a card, it could should do along with your credit score historical past or your revenue. Think about a secured card or a bank card that’s geared toward folks with a bad credit score, as their necessities can be extra modest. Whilst you gained’t get the perks and advantages hooked up to different playing cards, accountable use will help you construct up your credit score rating so you possibly can entry higher merchandise sooner or later.

Bank card ideas for college kids

You understand it’s good to be accountable in how you employ your bank card—however what, precisely, does that imply? Learn on for recommendations on utilizing your bank card to beef up your credit score rating and avoiding any issues. 

  1. Test your cost due dates
    You in all probability know that bank card payments arrive each month, however that doesn’t imply the due date in your cost is on the primary day. The date that begins your billing cycle is dependent upon when you’re authorised for the account, and it could possibly be any day of the month. Make be aware of the due date and ensure you pay on time. Why not add these dates to your faculty calendar, too.
  2. Repay your stability 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 observe to repay your invoice in full, on time, each month. Not solely will this increase your credit score rating, however it’s going to additionally allow you to keep away from pricey curiosity costs.
  3. Heed the minimal stability
    For those who do overspend, you’ll nonetheless must repay a few of your stability. Your invoice will present a complete stability and a minimal cost. It’s essential to pay not less than the minimal cost, on time and each month, it doesn’t matter what. Lacking funds is likely one of the worst issues you are able to do in your credit score rating. Paying solely the minimal implies that you’re accumulating curiosity on the unpaid stability. 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 should 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 may have a credit score restrict; that’s the amount of cash 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. It is going to be tougher to repay your stability. Use your card selectively for smaller purchases, not less than initially, and think about using debit for nearly every part else.

Extra of Canada’s greatest bank cards:


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