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Canada’s best student credit cards for 2022


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The best student credit cards in Canada 2022

Best student credit card for cash back

BMO CashBack Mastercard*


At a glance: This credit card gives you lots of opportunity to earn cash back, especially for buying groceries, paying bills and other purchases. And unlike other cash back cards for students, the rates on these categories are impressive. Plus, you can redeem your cash back when you truly need it—yes, even before winter break holiday shopping.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: 3% cash back on groceries (up to $500 per month), 1% on recurring bills (up to $500 per month) and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
  • Interest rate: 20.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances and 22.99% for balance transfers.
  • Welcome bonus: You can earn 5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months up to $2,500, including up to $500 spend on grocery, up to $500 spend in recurring bill payments, and up to $1,500 qualified spend on all other purchases.


  • It offers a healthy 3% cash back rate on groceries up to a maximum of $500 a month. No other no-fee cash back credit card earns this rate.
  • The minimum redemption requirement is only $1, so you can redeem your cash back when you truly need it (pretty sweet when you don’t want your next meal to be KD or ramen noodles).
  • Items you purchase using the card receive double the manufacturer’s original warranty protection, up to one year.
  • Get up to 25% off base rates at eligible National and Alamo car rental locations.


  • There are no travel insurance or related perks with this card. But it’s not atypical of other no-fee cards.
  • There are caps on the bonus spend categories: 3% on the first $500 you spend on groceries per month, with everything over that earning the base 0.5% earn rate. That said, it’s a monthly cap, so you start again the first of the month. 
  • No earn rate for transportation or gas, as it’s in the “everything else” pile at 0.05%. That means Ubers, too.

Also consider:

CIBC Dividend Visa for Students

At a glance: Earn 2% on groceries, then 1% dining, gas, transportation and recurring bill payments, and 0.5% cash back on everything else. But a cool bonus is access to SPC+, which is a student discount program, with deals from Apple Music to Zaful fashions.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: Earn 2% on groceries, 1% on gas, transportation, dining and recurring payments; and 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Interest rate: purchases at 20.99%, cash advances at 22.99%, balance transfers at 22.99%
  • Welcome bonus: Earn $60 cash back when you make your first purchase within your first four months of having the card.


  • Cardholders eligible for an SPC membership and get free access to SPC+, which offers bigger discounts and special experiences.
  • The earning on spend category caps are high: $80,000 in net purchases or $20,000 on grocery, gas, transportation, dining and recurring payments.
  • On top of earning points, you can also save $0.10 per litre at select Pioneer, Fas Gas, Ultramar and Chevron gas stations when you link your card with the Journee rewards program from CIBC.


  • At a maximum of 1% cash back, the earn rates for all spend categories are modest compared to other cash back credit card programs. 
  • So is the 0.05% cash back rate for anything else.

Best student credit card for Air Miles

BMO Air Miles Mastercard*

At a glance: Not living at home? Studying abroad? Why not use your credit card rewards on a trip back home by earning Air Miles when you use your card. 

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: Earn 1 mile for every $25 spent and three times the rewards at participating Air Miles partner stores (including Metro, Sobeys, Foodland, Staples and more), double the points at Air Miles partners.
  • Interest rate: purchases at 20.99%, cash advances at 22.99%, balance transfers at 22.99%
  • Welcome bonus: Get a bonus 800 Air Miles when you spend at least $1,000 within the first three months.


  • Earn three times the miles when spending at participating Air Miles partners.
  • Plus, you can earn Air Miles twice: Once when you use your BMO Air Miles Mastercard, and a second time when you use your Air Miles loyalty card. 
    For flexibility, redeem your rewards for gift cards and discounts at Air Miles partners, as well as at the airmilesshops.ca store for deals and bonus rewards from hundreds of retailers.
  • Earn bonus Air Miles from eligible purchases from a large number of retailers, with up to five times the points from retailers such as Adidas, Amazon, Aldo and others.
  • Get up to 25% off base rates at eligible National and Alamo rental locations.


  • Air Miles can be less flexible than cash back, as you will have to redeem through Air Miles partners. So if you don’t regularly shop at Sobey’s, Shell, etc., it may be inconvenient to earn rewards.
  • Travel redemptions are less straightforward, too. For example, you can’t redeem for any airline and you must use the Air Miles travel portal when booking.
  • Despite being a travel card, there is no travel insurance attached to this card. So if you do need some, you will have to pay for the insurance yourself or forgo it and pay out of pocket for things like lost luggage or missed flights, etc.

Best student credit card for grocery shopping

PC Financial Mastercard*

PC Financial Mastercard

At a glance: Cooking at home is a good financial play if you’re living away from the fam while at school. This card allows you to earn points on every purchase, but you can earn bonus points when you shop for groceries at Loblaw banner stores (including Loblaws, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Fortinos and Valu-mart). 

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: Earn 25 Optimum points for every $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart, 10 points per $1 at Loblaw banner stores, and everywhere else. Get 20 points per $1 when booking through PC Travel, and get at least 30 points per litre when you gas up at Esso or Mobil. Redeem your PC Optimum points at the check-out of these places. Redemptions start at 10,000 points for $10 value.
  • Interest rate: 20.97% for purchases, 22.97% for cash advances and 22.97% for balance transfers 
  • Welcome bonus: Get 20,000 PC Optimum points (a $20 value).


  • You are earning 25 points per $1 at Shoppers Drug Mart and 30 points per litre of gas at Esso. That’s equal to a 2.5% and 3% return, respectively. These are impressive returns for a student card.
  • This credit card earns you a base earn rate of 1 point per $1. Most other student cards have a base earn rate of just 0.5%.
  • You can redeem PC Optimum points at Loblaw-affiliated stores, which means you can put a major dent in your everyday bills. Yes, that includes groceries at the corner Shoppers Drug Mart. You can redeem points at Canada’s largest pharmacy and grocery chain, as well as Joe Fresh, for a total of over 4,500 locations across Canada. You are not restricted to a small number of niche locations like most other retail cards or loyalty cards.
  • There’s no cap on the number of PC Optimum points you can earn.


  • Not as flexible as a cash back program, as you can only redeem your rewards at certain retailers. 
  • There’s a minimum redemption requirement of $20.

Best student credit card for money management

Koho Prepaid Mastercard*

At a glance: You are pretty much approved with a pre-paid card like this one. It’s like a debit/gift card with the accessibility of a credit card. Plus, it’s made to help cardholders keep within their budget while building a credit score with financial coaching and its handy app tools, including spending insights. Plus Koho Prepaid Mastercard offers a “rounding up” feature for additional savings.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: Earn 0.5% cash back with the Koho account. When you shop at partner stores, you’ll get up to 5% cash back on purchases (plus an additional 2% back for Koho Premium account holders). 
  • Interest rate: n/a
  • Welcome bonus: None


  • As a prepaid credit card, you don’t pay interest since you don’t actually carry a balance. You put money in your account before you can spend it. This is great for anyone looking to stick to a budget while building a credit score. 
  • It also offers a “round up” feature, which tallies up purchases to the closest amount of your choosing ($1, $2, $5 or $10) and sets that money into your savings.
  • If you need to build up your credit rating, you can enroll with Koho; it will report your spending habits to the credit bureau. 
  • It features spending insights to help you keep track of your finances. And, for those who need a bit more hands-on help, Koho offers financial coaching.


  • The minimum deposit is $500, so this could be tight for some students during the school year. 
  • There is no welcome offer to take advantage of right now.
  • Using the tools to help build up your credit rating will cost $7 a month.
  • There are no bonus categories.

Best student credit card for bad credit

Plastk Secured Visa Credit Card*

At a glance: Not everyone goes to school with a clean slate, and that’s okay. If that’s you, a secured credit card is a better option. You put money on the card, which can then be used if you default on any payments. Why we chose this one: The deposit is just $300.

  • Annual fee: $48 (plus $6 monthly fee)
  • Interest rate: n/a
  • Earn rate: Earn 1 point for every $1 spent
  • Welcome bonus: 0% interest rate for the first 3 months and 5,000 rewards points (a $20 value)


  • It offers rewards on everyday purchases, unlike most barebones secured cards.
  • The welcome bonus is competitive. 
  • It’s accessible for many students.


  • Annual fee of $48, as well a $6 monthly fee.
  • There’s a minimum deposit of $300, but it’s better than the average secured credit card requiring deposits of $500 and higher.

Best student credit card for entertainment perks

Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card for students*

scotiabank scene visa card for students

At a glance: If your safe place is a movie theatre to get away from dorm drama or to get some headspace away from reading, consider this card. What you spend at the cinema can turn into some nice perks. 

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: Earn 5 Scene points for every $1 spent at Cineplex theatres or cineplex.com. Earn 1 Scene point for every $1 you spend on regular credit card purchases. To redeem, it’s 1,250 points for a general admission or 3D movie ticket, or 2,000 points for a ticket to UltraAVX, IMAX, Prime seats and D-Box. 
  • Interest rate: purchases at 19.99%, cash advances at 22.99%, balance transfers at 22.99%
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 5,000 Scene points when you spend $750 in the first 3 months of having the card.


  • Scene+ points are pretty versatile for a points program. For example, you can book flights with any airline without having to rely on a specific travel agency or portal. Plus, you can redeem for other travel items, such as Airbnbs. It’s one of the best points programs available to Canadians.
  • Another bonus, the rewards are great for things outside of a typical student budget. Treat yourself for managing the stresses of school by using the rewards on things like movies, takeout, gift cards from retailers, flights, hotels and more.
  • You can save 25% off base rates for car rentals at participating Avis and Budget rental locations in Canada and the U.S.


  • The earn rate will soon be changing on Oct. 1, 2022. So you will notice that the earn rate is dropping from five-times the points down to two-times the points at cinemas. The good news, though, is that points will be doubling for select grocery stores. 
  • There are bonus points for other common spending categories, like gas or dining, meaning fewer ways to maximize your returns. So, you would have to go to the movies regularly to really take advantage of the bonus earn rate.
  • Not as flexible as a cash back program, but redeeming is straightforward for travel items.


Our methodology

For the Best Student Credit Cards ranking, we ran the numbers based on $1,000 in monthly spending using Ratehub.ca’s‡ credit card tool while also factoring in sign-up bonuses, income qualification requirements and student-oriented rewards. We made the following assumptions on monthly expenditures: grocery spend of $250, gas of $100, restaurants of $100, bill payments of $62.50, travel of $87.50, entertainment of $112.50, pharmacy purchases of $37.50 and other purchases of $250.


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