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 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 that first large gig, paying off your scholar bank card each month might assist you to purchase a house or card extra simply. That’s what having a historical past with a bank card and a superb 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 provides you numerous 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’ll be able to redeem your money again if you really 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 part else.
  • Rate of interest: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances, % on stability transfers
  • Welcome bonus: You possibly can 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’ll be able to redeem your money again if you really want it (fairly candy if you don’t need your subsequent meal to be KD or ramen noodles).
  • Gadgets you buy utilizing the cardboard obtain double the producer’s authentic guarantee safety, as much as one 12 months.
  • Stand up to 25% off base charges at eligible Nationwide and Alamo automobile 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 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 “every part 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 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: Welcome Supply: Get $60 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 web purchases or $20,000 on grocery, fuel, transportation, eating and recurring funds.
  • On high of incomes factors, it’s also possible to save $0.10 per litre at choose Pioneer, Fas Fuel, Ultramar and Chevron fuel stations if 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 anything.

Greatest scholar 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 if 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 accomplice shops (together with Metro, Sobeys, Foodland, Staples and extra), double the factors at Air Miles companions.
  • Rate of interest: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances, 22.99% on stability transfers
  • Welcome bonus: You possibly can earn 1,500 AIR MILES Bonus Miles! That’s sufficient for $150 in direction of purchases with AIR MILES Money. Should apply by July thirty first, 2023.


  • Earn 3 times the miles when spending at collaborating Air Miles companions.
  • Plus, you’ll be able to earn Air Miles twice: As soon as if you use your BMO Air Miles Mastercard, and a second time if 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 tons of of shops.
  • Earn bonus Air Miles from eligible purchases from numerous retailers, with as much as 5 instances the factors from retailers corresponding to Adidas, Amazon, Aldo and others.
  • Stand up to 25% off base charges at eligible Nationwide and Alamo rental places.


  • Air Miles could be much less versatile than money again, as you’ll have to redeem by way of Air Miles companions. So should you don’t repeatedly store at Sobey’s, Shell, and so on., it might be inconvenient to earn rewards.
  • Journey redemptions are much less easy, too. For instance, you’ll be able to’t redeem for any airline and you need to use the Air Miles journey portal when reserving.
  • Regardless of being a journey card, there isn’t a journey insurance coverage connected to this card. So should 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 should you’re residing away from the fam whereas in school. This card permits you to earn factors on each buy, however you’ll be able to earn bonus factors if 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 if 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 stability transfers
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 20,000 PC Optimum™ factors with a brand new PC® Mastercard®


  • 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 possibly can redeem PC Optimum factors at Loblaw-affiliated shops, which suggests you’ll be able to put a significant dent in your on a regular basis payments. Sure, that features groceries on the nook Consumers Drug Mart. You possibly can 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’ll be able to earn.


  • Not as versatile as a money again program, as you’ll be able to 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, that means you don’t have to fret about getting authorized. Plus, it’s made to assist cardholders maintain inside their finances whereas constructing a credit score rating with monetary teaching and useful app instruments, corresponding to spending insights. While 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, corresponding to “rounding up” your transactions so it can save you quicker. However if you would like extra, you’ll be able to 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, companies, and groceries; as much as 5% again at choose retailers 
  • Rate of interest: N/A
  • Welcome supply: 1% money again on groceries, payments & companies
  • 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 earnings 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’ll be able to spend it. That is nice for anybody seeking to persist with a finances 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’ll want to construct up your credit standing, you’ll be able to 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 maintain observe of your funds. And, for individuals who want a bit extra hands-on assist, Koho affords monetary teaching.


  • To benefit from Koho’s credit score constructing instrument, 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 12 months) and $9 monthly (or $84 per 12 months), respectively. You possibly can join a 30-day free trial to see if the additional charges are price it.

Greatest scholar bank card for weak credit

Plastk Secured Visa Credit score Card*

At a look: Not everybody goes to highschool with a clear slate, and that’s okay. If that’s you, a secured bank card is a greater possibility. You set cash on the cardboard, which might then be used should you default on any funds. Why we selected this one: The deposit is simply $300.

  • Annual charge: $120
  • Rate of interest: 17.99% on purchases, 21.99% on money advances, 17.99% on stability transfers
  • Earn price: Earn 1 level for each $1 spent
  • Welcome bonus: earn 5,000 factors ($20 worth), redeemable after 3 months.


  • It affords rewards on on a regular basis purchases, in contrast to most barebones secured playing cards.
  • The welcome bonus is aggressive. 
  • It’s accessible for a lot of college students.


  • Annual charge of $48, as nicely a $6 month-to-month charge.
  • There’s a minimal deposit of $300, nevertheless it’s higher than the common secured bank card requiring deposits of $500 and better.

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 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
  • 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 12 months. Supply ends 31 October 2023.


  • Scene+ factors are fairly versatile for a factors program. For instance, you’ll be able to ebook flights with any airline with out having to depend on a selected journey company or portal. Plus, you’ll be able to redeem for different journey objects, corresponding to Airbnbs. It’s probably the greatest factors applications accessible 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 faculty through the use of the rewards on issues like films, takeout, present playing cards from retailers, flights, inns and extra.
  • It can save you 25% off base charges for automobile 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 right down to two-times the factors at cinemas. The excellent news, although, is that factors will likely be doubling for choose grocery shops. 
  • There are bonus factors for different widespread spending classes, like fuel or eating, that means fewer methods to maximise your returns. So, you would need to go to the films repeatedly to essentially benefit from the bonus earn price.
  • Not as versatile as a money again program, however redeeming is easy for journey objects.

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

The MoneySense editorial crew selects one of the best bank cards by assessing the worth they supply to Canadians throughout varied classes. Our greatest scholar bank cards rating relies on an intensive listing of card particulars and options—with a concentrate on those who matter to college students—together with annual charges, rates of interest, welcome affords, rewards earn charges, annual earnings necessities, and perks corresponding to insurance coverage protection, rebates and reductions. We’ve 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 kids

You recognize you’ll want 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. Examine your fee due dates
    You most likely 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 will depend on if you find yourself authorized for the account, and it might be any day of the month. Make be aware of the due date and be sure you pay on time.
  2. Repay your stability in full
    When you’re going to be accountable together 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 should additionally assist you to keep away from pricey curiosity expenses.
  3. Heed the minimal stability
    When you do overspend, you’ll nonetheless must repay a few of your stability. Your invoice will present a complete stability and a minimal fee. You will need to pay at the very least the minimal fee, 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 signifies that you’re accumulating curiosity on the unpaid stability. At a mean of round 20%, this may add up rapidly. 
  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. When you 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 can have a credit score restrict; that’s the sum of money you’ll be able to technically borrow on it. However spending all the best way 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, at the very least initially, and think about using debit for nearly every part else.

—Keph Senett

Incessantly requested questions

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).
  • When you don’t earn an earnings, chances are you’ll want to offer proof that you just obtain some type of monetary help, corresponding to allowances from your loved ones or a scholarship.

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

Extra of Canada’s greatest bank cards:

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