Everyone has to start building their credit somewhere, and for most people that happens with the help of a student credit card. Not all of these cards are equally helpful in this task, though. Determining what the best student credit cards Canada are means looking at cards that are easy to get and provide a lot of basic flexible value for relatively little spending. The cards below are some of the ones we feel are most promising for students in terms of helping them kick off their life with credit with rewards they can actually use.
What We’re Taking Into Account
As we said before, Canadian students need certain things from a credit card that the common consumer does not. Their finances are more constrained and they may also be dealing with the spectre of student loan debt (which isn’t yet active and can’t affect their credit, but remains a looming issue all the same). They need a quick and easy acceptance process that does not necessarily require a credit history, rewards that they can actually use and that they will get enough of even without massive unsustainable spending, and preferably no annual fee to strain their budget further.
The BMO SPC Cards
Our first entry in this list is the only one explicitly intended for students, and it’s actually two different cards to boot: the BMO SPC Cash Back Mastercard and the BMO SPC Air Miles Mastercard. The SPC part of these names stands for ‘Student Price Card,’ a discount program that makes it easy to spend far less on things like restaurant food, apparel, fitness subscriptions and electronics. Both of these cards come with a complimentary membership to that program, which is great all on its own. People who make a point of shopping where it gets them a discount will be able to achieve massive savings with it.
As for the cards themselves, they reward you with 1% cash back on all purchases or 1 Air Mile per $20 spent, respectively. Cash back is the version with more general utility for most people, but frequent travellers will enjoy having the Air Miles version available to them. Air Miles can also be spent on more than flights: they have their own rewards catalogue that gives you access to things like event tickets and merchandise, as well as store credit and even cash back options. You won’t get the best value out of them this way, but the option is there. Neither has any associated annual fee, so you don’t have to worry about that.
The Scotiabank Scene Visa
Students work hard and play hard, and many of them appreciate a credit card that allows them to stretch out their fun money even more. The Scotiabank Scene Visa is one such card, and it has no annual fees to be concerned about either. Charging purchases to it entitles you to 1 SCENE point per dollar under normal circumstances and 5 SCENE points on the dollar for anything you buy at a Cineplex location, concessions included. These are just the initial rates that apply when no bonus offers are active, though – eating at any of the Scene program’s partner restaurant chains (some possibilities include East Side Mario’s, Harvey’s and Milestones) can sometimes get you 15-30 times the points or even more.
Students are notorious for living on takeout and the chains listed here are inexpensive fast-casual eateries that many young people will be able to afford to go to often. If you’re one of those people, your points could add up far more quickly than you might have originally expected. Once you have enough of them, you can redeem them for free movies, snacks, or money off your next bill at any of the same partner restaurant locations that run the bonuses. All of these things are sure to be appreciated by cash-strapped but fun-loving students and can be redeemed relatively frequently with moderate spending.
The Tangerine Money-Back Card
The other three cards we’ve talked about have been relatively predictable and easy to use, but if you want one that asks for more finesse on your part and offers greater rewards, you can try out the Tangerine Money-Back Card. This card can earn you an excellent 2% cash back on up to 3 purchase categories of your choice with a base rate of 0.5% back for all other purchases. Will you earn extra cash on dining and transportation, or on recurring bills and drug store purchases? It’s up to you, but be sure to choose categories you will make use of often. The base rate for non-bonus purchases is so low that you’re best to use a different card for those and maximize your cash yield that way.
This free card is hard to beat on rates and flexibility, but there’s just one big drawback to it: it generally requires applicants to have a decent credit history before they can get it. This means that students who are acquiring their first cards are out of luck here. However, not all students are without any credit to speak of at all. If you have any credit to your name, you might try applying for this card. The requirements aren’t that high, just specific enough to exclude pure beginners.
Get Any of These Best Student Credit Cards Canada and More With Our Help
As good as this selection is, these aren’t the only cards out there that are potentially worthy of being called the best student credit cards Canada. There are plenty of cards available to people without much of an established credit history, and you might even like one of them better than the ones we’ve shown you. You can check out more information on the ones listed here and many others like them at Bonsai Finance’s website. Compare cards at a glance and apply for them with a few clicks – it’s all as simple as can be and perfect for those who have never been through this process before. Try it out and see for yourself!