Top 10 Of The Best Credit Cards For Canadian Students

James Rodriguez James Rodriguez  updated on 2021-07-26

A lot of students are starting to open a bank account when they enter the university system in order to manage their incomes and expenses. Almost all Canadian banks offer credit cards meant for students tight budgets (which require no income, with no annual fees and no minimum expenses...). But then, faced with the diversity of possibilities, which credit card is best when you're a student?

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Discover here 10 credit cards carefully selected by Hellosafe.ca's editorial team that might suit you. We've made 3 categories:

  • The best cash back credit cards
  • The best rewards credit cards
  • The best travel credit cards.

Here are the 3 main criteria that we applied in our ranking:
> Quality (the most beneficial deal for students)
> Possibilities (cards with fewer restrictions)
> Terms issued by the bank (annual fees; minimum expenses, etc.)

Our top 4 cash back credit cards for students

TANGERINE MONEY-BACK CREDIT CARD

Our number 1


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Why this Tangerine credit card?

  • No annual fees
  • Your earn 2% cash back in 2 spending categories that you choose from 10 options (and 0.5% in the others)
  • You can get a third category at 2% if you open a savings account in your name

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Our editors’ favourite

Choosing your cash back categories is a real advantage to benefit from discounts in what you prefer to buy on a daily basis. Also, the discount rate you get is among the highest on the market (for free cards). Finally, this Tangerine credit card deducts cash back from your monthly balance rather than once a year.

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Click here for for more details


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The Desjardins Credit Card "Cash Back"

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Positive Points:

  • No annual fees
  • Get up to 2% discount on Restaurant; Entertainment; Transportation and Pre-Authorized Payment (0.5% on other categories)
  • Desjardins bank offers an online calculator to estimate cash back amounts

This credit card also includes insurance to protect your phone/tablet and travel insurance (handy for students on the go). Finally, you can get an additional card at no cost for a family member.


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Scotia Bank Credit Card "L'Earn Visa"

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Positive points:

  • No annual fees
  • You get a cash rebate of up to 1%
  • The more you use your card, the more you get out of it

This credit card obligatorily gives you a cash rebate of up to 1% on the purchases you pay with your card. You can also pay your bills with this card, so you even get a discount on what you have to pay anyway. What's more, with this card, you get a direct discount of up to 20% on AVIS car rentals, which can be very useful.  


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CIBC Credit Card "Dividend"

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Positive points:

  • No annual fees
  • 2% cash back on the first 6,000$ of grocery purchases in the same year (the rebate increases to 1% after this amount)
  • Welcome offer by CIBC Bank that allows you to get a 30$ cash back on your first purchase with your card

This CIBC credit card also allows you to register for free with SPC (which will give you discounts at many merchants). It also includes a 100,000$ accident insurance on public transportation, purchase insurance and many other guarantees.


Our top 3 best rewards credit cards for students

SCOTIA BANK CREDIT CARD "SCENE"

Our number 1


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Why this Scotia Bank credit card?

  • No annual fees
  • A free movie from 1,250 points
  • Discount of 10$ in participating restaurants for only 1,000 points
  • 1$ spent = 1 Scene point and 1$ spent at Cineplex = 5 Scene points

The major benefit of this Scotia Bank credit card is that you will obtain Scene points for any purchase and not just when you consume at Cineplex. The Scene points you earn can be redeemed for movies or snack items in these cinemas. Plus, as Cineplex is the largest movie theatre chain in Canada, you will have no trouble finding a place to use your points. Finally, you can also use your Scene points at some of the restaurants that students love (Swiss Chalet, East Side Mario's...)


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Editor’s Favourite

You will earn 2,500 bonus points directly after making regular purchases of 500$ in the first 3 months. That's the equivalent of 2 free movies.

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number 2 1

The Laurentian Bank Credit Card "Reward Me"

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Positive points:

  • This credit card allows you to collect points exchangeable for gift cards at over 80 merchants
  • You will earn 1 point for every $ spent
  • Card accepted in more than 150 countries

Regarding this Laurentian Bank credit card, annual fees are about 42$ (3,50$/month). However, they're refunded if you make a minimum net purchase of 350$ during your billing month. This credit card includes 90 days purchase protection insurance against theft and accidental damage. It also extends the manufacturer's warranty for up to one year.


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The RBC Credit Card "Rewards +"

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Positive points:

  • No annual fees
  • Earn 1 RBC Rewards point for every 1$ spent at the drugstore, grocery store or gas station; otherwise it's 1 point for every 2$ spent
  • The points collected can be exchanged for many items (Apple, Bose...)

With this RBC credit card, you can take advantage of other benefits such as discounts on fuel; a 90-day protection against loss, theft or damage on some of your purchases.



Our 3 best travel credit cards for students

BMO CREDIT CARD "AIRMILES"

Our number 1


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Why this BMO credit card?

  • No annual fees
  • 1 mile = 25$ spent (which can be doubled or tripled if you consume at BMO Bank partners)
  • Miles earned can be converted into hotel stays, flights, cruises, vacation packages or car rentals

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Editor’s Favourite

BMO Bank offers you a welcome bonus of 800 AirMiles (32$ rebate). This credit card also allows you to get discounts of 10 to 15% in many stores (Burger King, Amazon...). In addition, it automatically doubles the manufacturer's warranty and protects against theft/damage for 90 days for the majority of purchases made.

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RBC Credit Card "WestJet"

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Positive points:

  • Welcome offer from RBC Royal Bank: with this credit card you get 50$ for your first purchase
  • You get a 1% WestJet rebate in WestJet dollars for each qualifying purchase

With this credit card, you can then purchase a WestJet ticket or any other airline vacation package. There are many other advantages with this card such as discounts on fuel, hotel protection,... However, the annual fees are about 39$.


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CIBC Credit Card "Aventura"

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Positive points:

  • No annual fees
  • Earn points for all your purchases (1$ = 1 point) spent at gas station, grocery stores and travel through the CIBC Rewards Centre
  • You can exchange your points for a flight (maximum value of 400$), a Petro-Canada gift card...

With this credit card, CIBC Bank registers you for free with SPC, which allows you to save money in many stores. It also includes various insurances that are useful on a daily basis (public transport accident; collision/damage with rental car...).



As you will have understood, the best credit card depends above all on what you are looking for. You can then perhaps choose among the 3 categories presented above according to your needs and consumption habits. Don't hesitate to talk to an advisor at one of these banks to make sure you're making the right choice and get professional advice.


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