The Best Credit Cards for Students in Canada 2021
Getting approved for credit cards in Canada as a student can be tricky since you don’t have a full-time job, and your housing expenses will be relatively high.
That said, it’s a smart idea to have a credit card as a student because they help you start building credit, let you make online purchases, and can be a good source of short-term emergency cash.
Fortunately, most financial institutions are sympathetic to the economic hardships of being a student, which is why they created student credit cards, which are designed specifically for students who aren’t able to work full-time while studying. Here are our top picks for the best student credit cards in Canada.
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The Best Student Credit Cards in Canada in 2021
When used properly, a student credit card can open a world of cashback advantages that can provide a bit of extra wiggle room in for your spending and savings targets.
Here are the best student credit cards in Canada, at a glance.
1. Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
Welcome bonus: 1.95% interest for six months on balances transferred in the first 30 days
One of our favorite credit cards for students is the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card. Although this credit card wasn’t explicitly designed for students, it’s an excellent first credit card, as it has a low minimum income to qualify at just $12,000.
If you maintain a full-time job during the summer and a part-time job while you’re a student, you should be able to qualify. There is no annual fee for this credit card, but you earn rewards if you use it responsibly for your everyday purchases.
With the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, you’ll earn 2% cashback rewards in two spending categories of your choice and 0.5% cashback on everything else.
The spending categories to choose from include: groceries, furniture, restaurants, hotel-motel, gas, recurring bill payments, drug store, home improvement, entertainment, and public transportation.
Plus, if you designate your cashback into a Tangerine savings account, you can choose a third spending category to earn 2% rewards.
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2. BMO CashBack Mastercard
Possibly the best student card in Canada, the BMO Cashback Mastercard has an excellent welcome bonus.
With this credit card, you’ll earn 5% cashback on all spending, up to a maximum spend limit of $2,500 in the first three months. That welcome bonus is worth up to $125. After that, you’ll earn 3% cashback on groceries, 1% cashback on recurring bills, and 0.5% cashback on everything else.
There is no annual fee to use the BMO CashBack Mastercard, and the minimum income to apply is $15,000, which is accessible for most students.
3. HSBC + Rewards Mastercard
Sometimes, as a student, you need to carry a credit card balance. Maybe your student loans haven’t come in yet, or you need to purchase textbooks that were more expensive than expected.
In these cases, carrying these purchases on a credit card could result in hefty interest charges. The HSBC +Rewards Mastercard has a low-interest rate of just 11.9%, which can help keep those interest charges as low as possible.
This credit card is one of the few on this list with an annual fee, but it is low at $25. There is no minimum income to qualify for this credit card, and you’ll also earn rewards points for your spending.
4. CIBC Dividend Visa Card for Students
The CIBC Dividend Visa Card for Students is an excellent choice for those earning less during the school year since there is no minimum income or annual fees. This card can help you establish your credit history while helping you earn cashback for your responsible spending.
With this credit card, you’ll earn 2% cashback on grocery spending and 1% cashback on everything else.
The CIBC Dividend Visa Card for Students also has some additional perks and benefits, including doubling the manufacturer’s warranty up to one year on most purchases and a free SPC membership that gives you access to over 450 deals in-store and online.
5. BMO Air Miles Mastercard for Students
If you’re looking for a rewards credit card that helps you earn AIR MILES, the BMO Air Miles Mastercard for Students is a good place to start.
This credit card has no annual fee and a low-income requirement of $15,000.
When you start using this card, you’ll earn 800 AIR MILES right away, which is worth about $80.
After that, you’ll earn 3 AIR MILES for every $25 spent at approved partners and 1 AIR MILE for every $25 spent elsewhere.
Frequently Asked Questions
One of the best ways to build credit is to have multiple credit types and make your monthly payments on those credit types faithfully.
If you’re a student, you may already have student loans, but a credit card will help you diversify your credit types. It’s crucial to make your monthly payments on time. Otherwise, a credit card will do more harm to your credit score than good.
A credit card can be a useful tool for a student. You may need to make online purchases, such as booking flights home to visit family, which you can’t do with a debit card.
Credit cards also make a good source of short-term emergency cash. If you live on your own for the first time and need access to money quickly, a credit card can be an excellent first line of defense and even tide you over while you access the funds to cover the emergency.
If you’re a graduate student looking for a credit card, then the Tangerine Money-Back Card is a good choice for you.
This no annual fee credit card encourages saving money. Once you graduate and begin full-time employment, you can easily convert the card to the Tangerine World Mastercard, which offers even greater rewards for the same $0 annual fee.