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Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa Card Review
8 Jan 2019

Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa | Credit Card Review

Everyone has to start somewhere with credit cards, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to settle for a less-than-satisfying option. Keep reading our Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa review to learn more about an accessible student credit card that doesn’t feel like a compromise at all.

Enjoy great rewards and excellent benefits, all for free and before you even graduate.


General Information

You Are Interested If You’re a student just starting to manage your own money and want a great introduction to what credits cards can do.
Brief Description The Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa card provides young people still in school with the chance to earn reasonable cash back rewards and take advantage of excellent, highly applicable benefits.
Main Requirements Apart from needing to be a current student when you apply, there are no real requirements for this card. Decent existing credit might help, though.

Card Details

Network Visa.
Provider Desjardins.
Card Type You’ll get cash back rewards from this card.

Fees and Interest

Purchase Interest Rate This card charges the expected 19.99% interest rate on all your purchases.
Cash Advance The 19.99% rate also applies to cash advances.
Balance Transfer Even for balance transfers, you’ll still pay 19.99% in interest.


Income Requirements As a student card, this card’s income requirements are quite low, so don’t be afraid to apply even if you don’t make much money.
Household Income Requirements Household income is not factored separately into approval decisions for this card.
Annual Fee This card is free to have and to use, so there’s no downside to getting it.


Welcome Bonus This card does not have a welcome bonus active at this time.
How To Earn Points Using this card to pay gets you 0.5% cash back normally, but you can bump that up to 1% when dealing with preauthorized payments or using contactless technology to pay.
Benefits Aside from the two standard benefits of credit cards (extended warranties and purchase protection), you’ll also get $1,000 of mobile device insurance, 3 day’s worth of emergency travel medical insurance, free Transunion credit reports, plus varying discounts on Hertz, Thrifty and Dollar Car Rental purchases.

About Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa

Main Features

The first and most important thing to talk about in this Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa review are this card’s interest rates. In this case, it’s simple – this card charges the same rate 19.99% interest rate for normal purchases, balance transfers and cash advances alike. This is common for cards provided by credit unions in general (Desjardins, of course, being one), but it’s particularly nice in this case because it allows credit newbies to try out different options on their cards while paying as little as possible to do it. Make no mistake – 19.99% interest is not cheap, and prudent financial behaviour is still important. The only difference is that the small discount you’ll get on the latter two credit options will make the full financial toll a little less scary if you do happen to run into trouble.

This Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa review wouldn’t be complete without checking in on the reward rates. The usual cash back rate is a simple 0.5%, but as with most cards, there are certain circumstances under which you can earn points at a higher rate. The nice thing about this card is that those conditions are extremely easy to meet on most purchases with a little effort. You can double that rate (a 1% cash back rate) by setting up the purchase as a preauthorized debit expense if possible, or by using contactless technology to pay if you aren’t.

These reward rates aren’t the highest out there – in fact, 0.5% in particular is about as low as cash back rates will ever usually go. Since you’re probably using this card just to get a feel for how the world of credit works, though, this is more than satisfactory for the time being. It’s also easy to make most of your payments qualify for the doubled bonus rate in one way or another. If you can set up any usual bills you have as recurring payments, that easily moves those expenses into the doubled category and takes the stress of worrying about paying them off your mind too. For every other purchase you might make, you just have to remember to try using the contactless payment feature first when you check out. Most of the time, you’ll be able to use it successfully and therefore will get the 1% cash back rate on that purchase.

Covering what you can expect to earn on a typical budget would usually be a part of this Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa review, but in this case, most of the work has been done for us. Desjardins provides a helpful breakdown of what the average family can expect to earn with this card right on their website, based on their own estimates of what a typical family budget is (about $1,258 per month with half of expenses in the 0.5% earnings category and half in the 1% category). Their projection is that that spending pattern will result in $123 in cash back by the end of they year. As a student, you may not yet have a family to buy for and this might not be exactly in line with your true budget. What matters, though, is that it shows the potential that this card has in terms of earnings. Pay all your bills and buy all your groceries with it, and you’re sure to come up with at least enough for a nice dinner out by the end of the year.

Now, for the benefits. Believe it or not, this will probably be the most exciting part of this Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa review for you. This card offers more high-quality benefits than most mid-tier credit cards, let alone free ones. The most immediately useful part of the benefits package is the $1,000 of mobile device coverage, especially given the young applicants that this particular card is likely to attract. Most students are young people who are known to be especially attached to their mobile devices, but they are also commonly on the road a lot and may not always be as careful with their things as they should be. A problem with their devices is often a bigger deal to them than it would be to most, and their ability to pay to fix the issue is lower than most as well. This makes this insurance absolutely perfect for them, and maybe for you too.

Incredibly, though, there are even more premium benefits to cover in this Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa review. One of the most useful yet also unusual ones included here is a free monthly credit report distributed through Transunion. Since most students are just getting started in terms of building a credit score, this is an extremely useful perk to have that will directly help them with this task. You’ll be able to see the credit score impacts of anything you do with this card from month to month, and by the time you graduate and have to leave this card behind, you might have achieved a score that’s good enough to move up to some higher-tier options. You’ll also enjoy having a higher credit score if you ever need to take out a car loan or buy a house, so it’s really nice to be given the tools you need to get started on this task now.

Rounding out this set of stellar benefits is 3 days’ worth of emergency medical coverage when you’re travelling across provinces or internationally (up to $5,000,000 to cover direct medical expenses, transportation, dental care, and anything else you might need). This kind of coverage is perfect for the quick day trips that many students take to shop across the border or get away for the weekend, and while you might not think it’ll be of much use to you at first, you’ll be glad to have it if something ever does happen to you while you’re away. Be careful, though! If you’ll be away for longer than 3 days, the insurance will not apply unless you purchase extended insurance from the same provider. This means you can count on it for short trips only, and you should bear that in mind when making any of your plans. Beyond that, you’ll also be able to pay a slightly lower price for car rentals at Dollar, Hertz, or Thrifty Car Rental outlets if that’s something you’re interested in, and you’ll also get the purchase protection and extended warranties that come standard with most cards.

There’s one more important thing to note before we close out the main portion of this Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa review. This is a student card, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that that means you can’t have it if you’re an older scholar. You don’t necessarily have to be a young person in order to be a student, and this card is available to all students regardless of their age. The only perk you’ll lose out on as a mature cardholder is the free credit report, which Transunion has only agreed to provide to those between the ages of 18 and 25. Apart from that, everything is still applicable to you regardless of how old you are, and considering that you can get free credit reports from other sources if you really need to, that’s a very small concession to make. Be happy – you’re still getting a deal that many people would be jealous of!


You may have noticed that this is an extremely positive Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa review, but that’s not without reason. This is possibly the most well-rounded free cash back card on the market today. It is limited in its availability (i.e. for students only), but that is likely one of the things that makes it possible for Desjardins to make it such a solid offer. It is relatively easy to get if you qualify, provides just the kind of benefits that cardholders are likely to want, and even provides the very most sought-after of all rewards – cash. The only real criticism to be made of it is that by tying bonus rewards to a certain payment method, it may occasionally inconvenience certain customers. However, this is a small price to pay for all the value this card brings in other aspects of its profile.

About Desjardins

Desjardins is a smaller financial corporation based in Montreal, but don’t think that that means that they don’t have anything to offer; they have a long history of forward-thinking behaviour and an impressive ability to keep up with the time. They have recently been voted the coolest financial institution by Millennials, which makes them a perfect fit for a product like this. They also maintain a Youth Advisory Board as part of their corporate counsel to ensure that they understand the needs and concerns of young people. Basically, you have every reason to believe that they know how to cater to a student client base.

What We Think

To end our Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa review, we’d like to reiterate a sentiment that shouldn’t surprise you by this point in your reading: this is an incredible student card, and anyone who can qualify for it should take a serious look at it. It has lower-than-average interest rates, fair reward rates, and extremely high-quality benefits considering the type of card it is. There’s very little you could reasonably ask for to make it better, and on top of all that, it’s completely free. Not everyone will be able to get it, which is a shame, but those who can should not be passing it up. Get out there and apply for it now!