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The 6 best student credit cards in Canada for 2022

The transition from high school graduate to college or university freshman is a big leap.

From living away from home for the first time to learning how to navigate the ins and outs of campus life, wading through the complexities of getting a first credit card can quickly fall off the priority list for many students. And while some students may choose not to apply for a credit card at all, others may be swayed into a particular card by a sales representative on campus promising freebies like a complimentary t-shirt. Neither of these is the best courses of action to take, as students should understand the benefits of using credit cards and compare all their options instead of being “sold” on a single card.

Below, we shed light on the benefits of student credit cards and provide a breakdown of the best student credit cards in Canada for 2022. Note: While some of the cards on our list are not full-fledged student credit cards per se, all have no annual fees and minimal qualification requirements.

The 6 best student credit cards in Canada for 2022

Best student credit card for cash back

Learn more about the BMO CashBack Mastercard

Best student credit card for Air Miles

Learn more about the BMO Air Miles Mastercard

Best student credit card for groceries

Learn more about the PC Financial Mastercard

Best student credit card for travel

Learn more about the TD Rewards Visa Card


Best student credit card for bad credit

Learn more about the Home Trust Secured Visa

Best student credit card for entertainment

Learn more about the Scotiabank Scene Visa

Should I get a student credit card?

While the idea of a student credit card may raise concerns about debt and interest payments from apprehensive parents and students alike, the fact is a credit card is an easy and straightforward way of establishing a young adult’s credit history as he or she transitions into financial independence. By paying off a credit card bill on time every month, students can develop a positive payment history, and in turn, a good credit score.

A good credit score can have a profound impact on a person’s financial future and can make it easier to get approved for everything from rental applications to loans with favourable interest rates. And when used responsibly (as in monthly statements are paid off on time and in full), credit cards can also be an effective way to save on everyday purchases through the earning of rewards. With that being said, missing payments or carrying over a balance can result in costly interest charges and a lower credit score, so it’s critical that students understand that credit cards should be used to buy things that can be paid for in full at the end of each billing cycle.


How to apply for a student credit card

Thankfully, banks make the application process for a student credit card quite easy, but there are a couple of things to be aware of:

  • Make sure you're currently the age of majority in the province or territory where you live. If you're a resident of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec or Saskatchewan, you'll need to be at least 18. For those living anywhere else, 19 is the minimum age of majority.
  • You'll usually need to prove some sort of income, even if it's a part-time job. If you're not currently working outside of school, proof of any other financial support (such as a regular allowance from your parents or a scholarship) will do.

Once you know you're able to apply for a credit card, don't make a hasty decision. There are a lot of options available, so do your research and choose wisely. Think about your lifestyle, needs and spending habits, then select a card that best fits those requirements. It's important to remember that with every credit card you apply for, a hard credit check is done by the provider. One of these won't hurt you too badly, but too many at once will have a negative effect on your credit score. Knowing this, avoid applying for multiple credit cards at one time.

Visit our student personal finance guide.

Financial literacy early in life will pay dividends in your future. Learn more with Ratehub's guide to managing your money as a student.

Frequently asked questions about student credit cards

What is a student credit card?

What is the best first credit card in Canada?

Can international students get credit card in Canada?

Can you pay your student tuition with a credit card in Canada?

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