Best student credit cards in Canada

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Establishing strong credit from an early age is crucial for your financial future. For students with little to no income, there are excellent credit card options available that provide benefits including cash back, travel rewards and discounts.

Best credit card for students overall

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students

3% Earn 3% cash back on groceries

1% Earn 1% cash back on recurring bill payments like your mobile phone, streaming and subscription services

0.5% Earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases

$0 Annual Fee

20.99% Purchase APR

22.99% Cash Advance APR 21.99% for Quebec residents

Good Recommended Credit Score

$0 Required Annual Personal Income

$0 Required Annual Household Income

Welcome Offer

Get 5% cash back in your first 3 months.*

Learn more
  • Why we picked the BMO Cashback as the best credit card for students in Canada

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    The BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students lack of annual fee is a great catch for broke students who can’t add another expense into their budget. That, plus its generous welcome bonus points and easy-to-meet eligibility requirements make it a great starter credit card.

    It offers some fun and more practical discounts, too, like purchase protection* and entertainment offerings*, so there really is something for every student with this card.

    Key features:

    ◦ Welcome bonus: 5% cash back on all eligible purchases for the first 3 months.*

    ◦ Rewards structure: 3% cash back on grocery purchases*, 1% cash back on recurring bill payments and 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.*

    ◦ Additional perks: purchase protection*, extended warranties*, discount on National and Alamo car rentals*, and Cirque du Soleil shows in Canada and Las Vegas.*

    ◦ Annual fee: $0

    *Terms and conditions apply

Best RBC student credit card

RBC Cash Back Mastercard

2% Up to 2% unlimited cash back on groceries

1% Up to 1% unlimited cash back on everything else

$0.03 Link your card and instantly save 3¢/L on fuel and 20% more Petro-Points at Petro Canada

50 Get 50 Be Well points for every $1 spent on eligible products at Rexall

$0 Annual Fee No annual fee

20.99% Purchase APR

22.99% Cash Advance APR $3.50 fee

22.99% Balance Transfer Rate

3.50% Balance Transfer Fee

Good Recommended Credit Score

  • Why we picked the RBC Cash Back as a great student credit card

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    No annual fee and unlimited cash back with up to 2% on grocery store purchases are three big reasons we picked this as a great credit card for students.

    But there's more.

    You'll also get 1% cash back on all other purchases and pre-authorized payments.

    If you drive, you can link your card with Petro Canada to save 3 cents per litre and 20% more Petro points at Petro-Canada.

    For more rewards, use Rexall as your drug store of choice to earn 50 Be Well points for every $1 you spent on products there (25,000 Be Well points is worth $10).

    They even throw in a 3-month DashPass subscription meaning you'll enjoy unlimited deliveries with no fees on orders of $15 or more.

    Finally, they give you purchase security and extended warranty protection—which is great for your brand new laptop.

    If you're more of a traveller, check out the other RBC student credit cards like the RBC Ion with no annual fee.

Best CIBC student credit card

CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for Students

2% Get 2% cash back on eligible grocery purchases†

1% cash back on eligible gas, EV charging, transportation, dining purchases and recurring payments†

0.5% 0.5% cash back on all other purchases†

$0.10 Save up to 10 cents off per litre on gas with CIBC and Journie Rewards at participating Pioneer, Fas Gas, Ultramar and Chevron gas stations.†

$0 Annual Fee $0 for each additional card (3 card maximum)

20.99% Purchase APR non-Quebec residents†

22.99% Cash Advance APR non-Quebec residents†

22.99% Balance Transfer Rate non-Quebec residents†

Good Recommended Credit Score

$15,000 Required Annual Household Income

Welcome Offer

Get 5% cash back for the first 4 statements on net purchases of up to $2,000 (up to $100 cash back).†

Learn more
  • Why we picked the CIBC Dividend cash back card for students

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    There's no annual fee and no minimum income requirements, plus they'll give you a bonus cash back reward for signing up and making your first purchase within four months.

    Arguably the most valuable category for students, outside of tuition and text books, are groceries. With this card, you get 2% cash back on groceries no matter where you shop.

    You'll also earn 1% cash back on everyday purchases like gas, transit, dining and recurring bills. You'll get 0.5% cash back on everything else.

    Bundle this card with a CIBC student chequing account and they'll give you up to $130.

    And for your precious new electronic devices, CIBC gives you 90 day purchase protection and extended warranty insurance. Pretty sweet, right?

Best TD credit card for students

TD Rewards Visa* Card

4 Points Earn 4 TD Rewards Points for every $1 you spend on travel through ExpediaForTD.com†

3 Points Earn 3 TD Rewards Points for every $1 you spend on groceries and restaurants†

2 Points Earn 2 TD Rewards Points for every $1 you spend on recurring bills†

1 Points Earn 1 TD Rewards Point for every $1 you spend on all other purchases†

50% Earn 50% more TD Rewards Points and 50% more Stars at Starbucks†

$0 Annual Fee Additional cardholder is $0

19.99% Purchase APR APR for purchases 19.99%†

22.99% Cash Advance APR APR for cash advances 22.99%†

22.99% Balance Transfer Rate APR for balance transfers 22.99%†

Excellent Recommended Credit Score

$0 Required Annual Personal Income

$0 Required Annual Household Income

Welcome Offer Ends Jun 3, 2024

Earn a value of $50† in TD Rewards Points† to use on eligible Amazon.ca purchases plus, no Annual Fee. Conditions Apply. Account must be approved by June 3, 2024

Learn more
  • Why we picked the TD Rewards Visa

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    A no annual fee card that helps you rack up travel points for a weekend getaway with roommates.

    You'll quickly earn points, with 3 points for every $1 spent on groceries and restaurants, 2 TD Rewards Points for every $1 you spend on recurring bill payments and 1 TD Rewards point on all other purchases using your card.

    As a welcome bonus, earn a value of $50 in TD Rewards Points to use on eligible Amazon.ca purchases plus, no annual fee.

    Book your travel through Expedia® For TD† for the best prices and even more rewards potential.

    You'll also get a free 6 month† Uber One membership, a $60 value, to save on Ubers and Uber Eats fees—a big bonus for students.

    †Terms and conditions apply.

Best Scotiabank student credit card

Scotia Momentum® No-Fee Visa* Card (for students)

1% Cash back at gas stations, grocery stores, drugs stores, and on recurring payments.

0.5% Cash back on all other eligible purchases.

25% Off base rates at Avid and Budget locations in North America.

$0 Annual Fee $0 for each additional card

19.99% Purchase APR

22.99% Cash Advance APR

22.99% Balance Transfer Rate

2.50% Foreign Transaction Fee

Fair Recommended Credit Score

Welcome Offer Ends Oct 31, 2024

Earn 5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases); Plus, get a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (22.99% after that; annual fee $0)

Learn more
  • Why we picked Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card as a great student credit card

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    If you like cash back, look no further than Scotiabank's Momentum Visa (with no annual fee).

    For the first 3 months, you can earn a whopping 5% cash back on all purchases (up to $2,000 in total purchases), so Scotia is essentially paying you to use their card—that's something we can root for.

    After that, you'll earn 1% cash back on every day purchases from gas to groceries, drug store purchases and recurring bill payments. You'll earn 0.5% on everything else.

    If you're currently carrying credit card debt, the Momentum is one of the best balance transfer credit cards, too. You'll pay 0% interest for the first 6 months which makes paying off credit card debt much easier.

Best credit card for international students

Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card for Students

2x Scene+ points on every $1 you spend at Sobeys, Safeway, Foodland & Participating Co-ops, FreshCo and more.

2x Scene+ points4 for every $1 you spend at Home Hardware, Home Building Centre, Home Hardware Building Centre, Home Furniture locations in Canada and online at homehardware.ca.

2x Scene+ points for every $1 you spend at Cineplex◊ theatres or at cineplex.com.

1x Scene+ point for every $1 spent on all other eligible everyday purchases

25% Save up to 25% off base rates at participating Avis locations and participating Budget locations in North America.

$0 Annual Fee $0 for each additional card

20.99% Purchase APR

22.99% Cash Advance APR

22.99% Balance Transfer Rate

2.50% Foreign Transaction Fee

Good Recommended Credit Score

  • Why we love the Scotiabank Scene+ Visa for students

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    The Scene+ program is super flexible in its rewards where you can redeem for travel, shopping, dining and more.

    As a welcome bonus, earn up to 7,500 bonus Scene+ points within your first 3 months.

    Earning is easy, too. You earn 1 Scene+ point for every $1 you spend on everyday purchases and 2 Scene+ points per dollar when you spend at Cineplex theatres and at Sobey's brand grocery stores (FreshCo, Foodland, Safeway, IGA, etc.)

    For newcomers, Scotiabank has a StartRight® Program which approves newcomers for a credit card for up to $15k. They also have no-fee chequing accounts and high interest savings accounts which could prove useful.

Best travel credit card for students

CIBC Aeroplan® Visa* Card for Students

1 point for every $1 you spend on eligible gas, electric vehicle charging, groceries and with Air Canada directly, including through Air Canada Vacations®

1 point for every $1.50 you spend on all other purchases.

2x Earn points twice at over 150 Aeroplan partners and over 170 online retailers through the Aeroplan eStore.

$0 Annual Fee $0 for up to 3 additional cards

20.99% Purchase APR non-Quebec residents†

22.99% Cash Advance APR non-Quebec residents†

Fair Recommended Credit Score

$15,000 Required Annual Household Income

Welcome Offer

Earn up to 10,000 Aeroplan points (up to $200 in value)

Learn more
  • Why the CIBC Aeroplan Visa is a top credit card for students

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    A no-fee travel card that turns your everyday purchases into a dream vacation.

    Aeroplan is one of the best loyalty travel programs in Canada, so why not foray into it with CIBC's Aeroplan card which has no minimum income requirement.

    As a welcome bonus, get up to $200 in value in your first year.

    You earn 1 Aeroplan point for every $1 you spend on gas, groceries, and Air Canada flights. You can also earn points twice at over 150 Aeroplan partners and online retailers through the Aeroplan eStore (a great place to look for student discounts, too!)

    They're also throwing in purchase security and extended warranty protection insurance, travel accident insurance and rental car insurance.

Best credit card for foreign students

KOHO Mastercard

1% cash back on groceries and transportation

3% interest earned on your account balance

$0 Annual Fee Option to add credit building (price available in app)

0.00% Purchase APR

0.00% Cash Advance APR

Poor Recommended Credit Score

$0 Required Annual Personal Income

$0 Required Annual Household Income

  • Why we picked KOHO Mastercard for students

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    KOHO has 4 credit cards, some free, some you have to pay for, but all of them are prepaid meaning you have to put money on the card to use it.

    KOHO is more than just a prepaid card. It’s made up of multiple products that help you get a good overview of your finances, manage your money, and save more.

    Your KOHO Prepaid Mastercard® connects to a digital account that can be accessed via the KOHO app. The app breaks down your spending by showing you where your money is going so you can stay on top of your financial health.

    Not only that, but when you use KOHO you earn cash back. With KOHO Easy you earn up to 5% cash back at partnered merchants, and you can also earn saving interests on your entire KOHO account balance, up to 2% depending on your KOHO version. By upgrading to KOHO Extra for an annual fee, $84 (or $9/month), you can earn up to 2% cash back on select categories, like transportation, groceries, and eating and drinking, which has the potential to earn you a lot more each year.

    KOHO’s RoundUp feature is particularly helpful if you’re trying to save money on a student budget. If you choose to use this feature, every time you swipe your KOHO card and make a purchase, it will round up your bill to the nearest $1, $5, or $10 and put the difference into your savings account. It’s a really easy way to save money without having to monitor funds going in and out or transferring between accounts.

    With their paid programs, you can access their credit building product. So, while you may find it hard to get credit, KOHO helps you build credit so you can access an unsecured credit card and unlock more rewards faster.

Best Visa student credit card

RBC ION+ Visa Credit Card

3 Avion Ion points† per $1 on qualifying grocery, dining, food delivery, gas, rideshare, public transit, EV charging, streaming, digital gaming and online subscriptions

1 Avion Ion point per $1 on all other purchases

$48 Annual Fee $4 per month

20.99% Purchase APR

22.99% Cash Advance APR 21.99% for residents of Quebec

22.99% Balance Transfer Rate 21.99 for Quebec residents

Good Recommended Credit Score

  • Why we picked the RBC ION+

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    If you can afford the $48 fee (charged at $4 per month), the RBC Ion+ gives you enough Avion points to claim that money back in gift cards alone. If you sign up for an RBC Signature No Limit Bank account, they'll give you a $4 rebate each month of your credit card fee.

    You'll also enter the Avion program, one of Canada's best loyalty programs. With the Ion+ you'll earn 3x Avion points for every dollar you spent on groceries, dining, and food delivery as well as commuting (gas, transit, Ubers), and streaming, digital gaming, and other subscriptions.

    You'll earn 1 Avion point for every $1 you spend elsewhere.

    And don't forget to download the Avion app and browser extension to earn rewards and discounts wherever you shop.

    RBC gives you 2 years of coverage on your mobile device (so long as you purchased it with this card) and give you purchase security and extended warranty insurance which is invaluable for students' precious laptops with all your information.

Best student Mastercard

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

2% Earn 2% cash back on 2 categories of your choice (e.g. groceries, recurring bills, gas, drug stores, etc.)

3 Get a Tangerine Savings account and add a 3rd 2% cash back category.

0.5% Earn 0.50% on all your other everyday purchases.

$0 Annual Fee $0 for additional cardholders

19.95% Purchase APR

19.95% Cash Advance APR $3.50 within Canada, $5.00 outside Canada

1.95% Balance Transfer Rate 1.95% interest for first 6 months, 19.95% after that.

3.00% Balance Transfer Fee 3.00% of the amount transferred, or minimum of $5.00

2.50% Foreign Transaction Fee

Fair Recommended Credit Score

$12,000 Required Annual Personal Income

Welcome Offer Ends Apr 30, 2024

Get 10% cash back on up to $1,000 in everyday purchases made within 2 months. Pay only 1.95% balance transfer interest for the first 6 months.

Learn more
  • Why we picked the Tangerine Money-back credit card for students

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    Unlike other credit cards, the Tangerine student credit card allows you to earn unlimited Money-Back Rewards on everyday purchases — with no annual fee.

    You also choose which categories where you want higher cash back. You can get 2% cash back on groceries, restaurants, gas, recurring bills, drug stores, public transportation and more. Two categories not enough? Get a third by opening a Tangerine Savings Account.

    Tangerine's app also helps you track, organize and categorize your spending so you have a better idea of where you're spending your money.

Best Amex credit card for students

Amex Simply Cash

2% Earn 2% cash back on eligible gas purchases in Canada, 2% cash back on eligible grocery purchases in Canada (up to $300 cash back annually)

1.25% Earn 1.25% cash back on all other eligible purchases—the only stuff that won’t get cash back are non-purchases, like cash advances, balance transfers, etc.

$0 Annual Fee

20.99% Purchase APR

21.99% Cash Advance APR

2.50% Foreign Transaction Fee Foreign Transaction

Good Recommended Credit Score

$0 Required Annual Personal Income

Welcome Offer

Earn up to $100 in Statement Credits in your first 10 months as a new cardmember

Learn more
  • Why we picked the Simply Cash as the best American Express card for students

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    A no annual fee card that gives you 2% cash back on gas and groceries (max $300 cash back) and 1.25% on everything else is great.

    In your first 10 months as a new SimplyCash® Card from American Express member, you can earn a $10 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $300 in purchases on your card. This could add up to $100 in statement credits.

    They also give you $100,000 in travel accident insurance, $1,000 purchase protection insurance for items bought within 90 days, and buyer's assurance which gives you an additional year from the manufacturer's original warranty.

    Throw in the Amex privilege with their Front Of The Line presale and reserved tickets, some world-class customer service, and their Plan It™ Installment program which splits large purchases into monthly payments and you've got a solid student credit card.

Best credit card for young adults

American Express® Green Card

1 MR point Earn 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent.

1 bonus point Earn 1 additional MR point for every dollar charged to your card with Amex Travel Online.

$0 Annual Fee No annual fee

20.99% Purchase APR

21.99% Cash Advance APR

Good Recommended Credit Score

Welcome Offer

Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points1*

Learn more
  • Why we picked the Amex green card

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    If you want to ride the express elevator to adulthood, get an Amex card. While the green card isn't as loaded on benefits as the American Express The Platinum, it still gets you connected to world-class customer service, and American Express Experiences like Front Of The Line Presales and Reserved tickets.

    As a new American Express® Green Cardmember, you can earn a Welcome Bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards® points when you charge $1,000 in purchases to your card in the first 3 months of Cardmembership.

    When you graduate, you can upgrade your card but stay with Amex Membership Rewards which transfer 1:1 with other great loyalty programs like Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy.

    The American Express® Green Card is great for personal finance beginners as it lets you earn points fast with its simple point-to-cash conversion rate and minimal eligibility requirements.

    Though it’s true that AMEX isn’t accepted everywhere, the points you do earn can be redeemed toward eligible Card purchases, at Amazon.ca, and even to get gift cards and merchandise.

    This is a no annual fee card that earns 1 Membership Rewards point for every $1 spent.

Best student credit cards | summary

Student credit card Best for Get started
BMO CashBack Mastercard 3% cash back on groceries, no annual fee, no minimum income requirement Apply now
RBC Cash Back Mastercard 2% unlimited cash back on groceries, no annual fee Apply now
CIBC Dividend Visa 2% cash back on groceries, no annual fee, Apply now
TD Rewards Visa Booking travel, no annual fee, no minimum income requirement Apply now
Scotia Momentum no-fee Visa 1% cash back on gas, groceries, drug stores, recurring payments, no annual fee Apply now
Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Scene+ points, no annual fee Apply now
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Aeroplan points, no annual fee Apply now
KOHO Prepaid rewards and building credit, no annual fee Apply now
RBC Ion+ Avion points Apply now
Tangerine Money-Back 2% cash back categories, no annual fee Apply now
Amex Simply Cash 2% cash back on gas and groceries, no annual fee Apply now
Amex Green card 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent, no annual fee Apply now

Why get a student credit card?

Despite the many warnings, we believe student credit cards play an important role in helping you establish credit history and a good credit score by the time you graduate (essential for car leases, mortgages, retail financing and more).

Read: The ultimate guide to credit scores in Canada 

Credit cards are essential for many online transactions and reservations (hotel, car rental) and offer richer rewards than using a debit card.

Is opening a student credit card a good idea?

Yes, in many cases opening a student credit card can be a great idea and will build your credit rating for important future purchases—if you use it responsibly. Both overspending and not paying your bills on time can have a longstanding and potentially devastating impact on your credit rating and will prevent you from building credit that benefits you. Plus, you do not want to spend your first year as a student in credit card debt.

To help you choose the best student credit card for you, we’ve put together a list of our top-rated Canadian student credit cards, based on fees, rewards and ease of approval.

† Conditions apply

Expert tip: Using a student credit card to build credit and earn rewards

Apply for a student credit card as soon as possible. Use it responsibly and grow your credit score to give yourself a financial step up. Applying for a credit card as a student might be daunting but it’s one of the smartest decisions you can make to help you get ahead and build credit. Student credit cards are fantastic tools to help manage your college/university and day-to-day expenses. Plus, many of these credit cards also come with perks like rewards or cash back. But, you do have to be careful. A credit card comes with a lot of responsibility that can have a big impact for many years to come. However, when used responsibly and correctly, a student credit card will teach you a lot about personal finances and help set you up for a stronger financial future.

Hannah Logan, Money.ca credit card, saving and travel expert

What should you consider when choosing a top student credit card?

Choosing the right credit card for you is extremely important. If you don’t take a close look at the fine print and main features of your credit card, you risk choosing one that doesn’t suit you and your financial habits and needs. You want your student credit card to do more than just help you spend money.

Here are some things you should consider before applying for a credit card:

Minimum income requirement

As a student, you may not have the capacity to work a job while studying. Student credit card issuers are generally aware of this, though often still require proof of income. Whether you work part-time, full-time or not at all, it’s important to take note of the minimum income requirement for a credit card to determine if you are eligible or potentially need a co-signer.

Credit score requirement

Depending on the credit card issuer, you may need to provide any credit history you already have. Some options don’t require a credit history for students, considering they are likely just getting started with building their credit.

Read: How do student loans affect your credit score?

Minimum funds needed in your account

Similarly to the minimum income requirement, you may need to have a minimum amount of funds already in your account. It’s important to note this beforehand to make sure you have the base you need before applying for your credit card.

Perks and rewards

One of the best things about credit cards is the perks and rewards that come along with them. These perks could be anything from student discounts at certain retailers to rewards points or cash back on purchases you make. It is important to make sure the rewards and perks your credit card offers suit your spending style as closely as possible.

For example, if you don’t go to the movies often, then a card with points toward movie tickets might not be your best choice. On the other hand, if you use transit to get to school and a card offers cash back on transportation, you may want to lock in that perk and ultimately earn yourself some extra cash!

Annual fee

Some credit cards require you to pay an annual fee. These fees usually range from $100-$150. Often, credit cards with many rewards and perks are more likely to charge an annual fee as the rewards typically outweigh the cost of the fee in the long run. However, there are credit cards with no annual fees available as well that are likely better suited for a student’s lifestyle.

Read: Why pay for a credit card with an annual fee?

Bank reputation and reviews

Be sure to look into a bank’s reputation and customer reviews before applying for a credit card with them. You want to ensure you’re getting the best service possible, especially if this is your first credit card in your personal finance journey. If the customer service isn’t reputable, you may not want to get a credit card from that company.

Read: Best banks in Canada

Recommendations from friends

If you’re not sure what student credit card to apply for, ask around! Chances are you’ve got some friends who have been in the same life phase as you. They’ll have advice on what’s worked for their finances and what might be best for you. This also allows you to get honest opinions from people you know and trust.

Your spending habits

Reflect on your spending habits and the prospect of taking on the responsibility of having a credit card. Track your past spending habits and create a budget to ensure you use your credit card wisely.

Pros and cons

Pros

Pros

  • You have the chance to build credit, which in turn will help you with future financial endeavours like renting housing

  • You can earn rewards and cash back

  • Purchase protection

  • They are useful if you’re in a financial pinch and need to purchase a necessity

  • You can track your spending

Cons

Cons

  • You might be tempted to overspend

  • Low credit limits

  • Paying your credit card or risk developing bad credit

  • Fees can sneak up on you

How to apply for a student credit card

Applying for a student credit card is simple. As long as you have what you need ready to go, this process should run smoothly. Here’s a step by step look at how to apply for a student credit card:

  1. 1.

    Do your research. First things first, research student credit cards to decide which is best for you and your spending habits based on its eligibility requirements, perks, discounts, rewards and reviews.

  2. 2.

    Ensure you meet eligibility requirements. Typically, this means you must be a Canadian resident of the age of majority in your province, be a post-secondary student, have not declared bankruptcy in the past 7 years, and overall have a clean financial history.

  3. 3.

    Gather your paperwork. Make sure you have proof that you meet the eligibility requirements listed in the second step.

  4. 4.

    Fill out an application form. Once you’ve determined which card you’d like to apply for, you can submit an application either in person at your bank or online. Your credit card applications shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes to submit.

  5. 5.

    Wait for approval. If you’ve been approved, your credit card provider should reach out to you shortly (3-5 days) to confirm your approval before sending you your new student credit card in the mail.

Can you apply for a credit card without a job?

In short, yes, you can apply for a student credit card without a job. Some credit card providers may require proof of income along with your application (which will be verified with the credit bureau), but if you don’t have full- or part-time work, you can provide them with an alternate form of income to prove you’d be able to pay off any accumulated expenses. This may come from a student loan, personal savings, or help from a parent or guardian.

Can international students get credit cards in Canada?

Yes! There are currently five financial institutions that offer up to $1,000 of credit to newly arrived international students: BMO, Scotiabank, CIBC, RBC and HSBC. And while TD Canada does offer credit to international students, they will only offer secured credit cards (credit cards with a security deposit) to students who have just arrived in Canada.

What is the easiest student credit card to get?

The Scotiabank® SCENE+ Visa* Card, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, and the BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students are the easiest cards to get approved for as a student. Plus, none of these cards have an annual fee.

Tips for getting approved

Since your student credit card is likely your first credit card, you may be intimidated by the prospect of getting approved or denied. But don’t worry. If you’re just getting started with credit-building and have zero to limited credit, there’s likely not much standing in the way between you and your credit card. But to be safe, here are some tips to help you get approved and make the whole process as simple as it can be:

  • Consider getting a co-signer
  • Ensure you meet eligibility requirements
  • Be thorough in your application and ensure you don’t make mistakes regarding your personal information or financial documents
  • Consider getting a part-time job as an income source
  • Maintain good financial habits

Credit card tips for students

So, you’ve got your student credit card, now what? It’s important to use the card properly in order to help build your credit score successfully:

  • Pay your bill in full and on time, or at least make the minimum payments.
  • Charge regular bill payments like your phone bill automatically to your credit card
  • Try not to use more than 30% of your credit limit
  • Build a budget and include your credit card bill payments in it
  • Track your spending to make sure no mistakes or surprise fees are being charged to your card

FAQs about student credit cards

  • How many credit cards should a student have?

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    While you can have more than one, it is recommended that you only have one credit card as a student to prevent the risk of accumulating debt or losing track of any expenses.

  • What is the average credit limit for a college student?

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    The average credit limit for a college/university student ranges from $500-$1,000.

  • How old do I have to be to get a student credit card?

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    You must be of the age of majority in your province.

  • What should I use a student credit card for?

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    You can use your student credit card for most expenses. This might include things like textbooks, groceries, transportation or your phone bill. Be sure to use your student credit card at retailers that offer points or cash rewards.

What’s the difference between a student credit card and a student line of credit?

A student line of credit allots you a certain amount of available credit and you must pay back whatever amount you end up borrowing. Typically, a line of credit offers a higher credit limit and a more flexible repayment schedule, though it doesn’t offer any rewards, perks or cash back.

Final word

Being a student means you’re already busy enough with things like academics, extracurriculars and networking. Worrying about your finances is a stress you don’t need to add to the list. By choosing a credit card that suits your lifestyle and personal finances you can reap some great rewards and discounts, save yourself some money and focus on hitting the books!

You’ll also have peace of mind knowing that you don’t need to worry about switching your credit card until after you’re done with school—and even then, you have options for your student credit card after you graduate.

If you’re buying your own course books, spending money on groceries, or buying a monthly public transit pass, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be earning rewards on each purchase with a credit card. A student card can help you build credit and practice financial responsibility. And trust me, post-graduate you will thank yourself when tackling things like car leases, mortgages, rental housing and retail financing is made easier by the credit you built using your student credit card.

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American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.

BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the Apply now link for the most up to date information.

About our authors: faces of finance

Em Norton
Em Norton, Staff Writer

Em Norton is a Staff Writer for Money.ca. Em holds a B.A. in Professional Writing from York University where their studies focused on publishing and editing. Em has been writing professionally since 2019 and has previously been published by IN Magazine, Xtra Magazine, Money Under 30, Money After Graduation, Our Canada and more. Though often found writing about money, generational divides and pop culture here at Money.ca, Em also dabbles in poetry and prose. In their spare time, Em can be found playing with their black cat, doing yoga and reading books at an excessive pace.

Tyler Wade
Tyler Wade, Content strategist & writer

Tyler Wade has worked in personal finance for over 5 years writing for brands like Ratehub, Forbes, KOHO, and now Money.ca. He was the host and producer of the Real Money Talk podcast. He's the father of two, husband to one, and loves all things tiny.

Disclaimer

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