Canada's best student credit cards 2020 - MoneySense

Canada’s best student credit cards 2020

Build up a good credit history while earning points for free movies


If you’re a student looking to build a credit history, a simple no-fee card that offers a great combination of generous rewards and low annual fees is exactly what you need. The key is to be responsible with your spending and pay off the balance every month so that buying a first car or home in the future will be within your grasp.

The best student credit cards in Canada 2020

Best student credit card for cash back

BMO CashBack Mastercard*

Zero is the magic number: No annual fee, and no minimum income requirement

Juicy welcome bonus: 5% cash back on everything for the first 3 months up to $2,000 in purchases

Straight-up rewards: 1% cash back on all purchases after the welcome bonus ends

Rewards won’t stop: There’s no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn

Perks: 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 Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations

Click here for more details about the BMO CashBack Mastercard*

Best student credit card for rewards points

SCENE Visa Card*

It’s free: No fee to earn valuable scene points towards your next movie

Welcome Bonus: Get 2,500 bonus points after you spend $500 on the card in the first 3 months—enough for 2 free movies

Earn Scene points at Cineplex theatres: Earn 5 Scene points for every $1 spent on Scene Visa purchases at Cineplex Cinemas

Earn 1 Scene point for every $1 you spend on regular credit card purchases.

Watch free movies and more: Redeem Scene points for free movies or for discounts at over half a dozen eligible restaurants and stores, including Bier Market and Swiss Chalet. (Note: a movie can be redeemed for 1,250 points.)

Save on car rentals: get up to 25% off base rates at eligible Avis and Budget locations

Click here for more details about the SCENE Visa Card*

Best credit card for students with income

Tangerine Money-Back*

Tangerine Money-Back Credit CardFree: No annual fee

Students rejoice: Not specifically designed for students but it definitely suits their needs, making it one of the best credit cards for students

Customize rewards: 2% cash back per $1 spent in two different spending categories (pick from a total of 10 options), and 0.5% on all other purchases

More rewards for opening an account: Get 2% cash back in an additional spending category when you also open a no-fee Tangerine savings account

Welcome bonus: Get 4% on your bonus categories for the first three months

No limit: The amount of Money-Back Rewards you can earn is limitless

Click here for more details about the Tangerine Money-Back Card*

Honourable mention

CIBC Dividend Visa Card for Students

Free: No annual fee

Never go hungry: Get 2% cash back on grocery purchases (up to $6,000); 0.5% cash back on other purchases up to $6,000, and 1% cash back on all purchases above $6,000

Juicy welcome bonus: 5% cash back on your first four statements (purchases totalling up to $2,000) when you put one or more recurring bill payment on the card. (Hello, setting up utilities in your off-residence apartment!)

Canada’s Best Student Credit Cards – Rewards Overview

Card Net reward (excluding 1st-year sign-up bonus)
BMO CashBack Mastercard $120
Scotiabank Scene Card $163
Tangerine Money-Back Card $143
CIBC Dividend Visa $120

– Based on $1,000 monthly spending in the second year


Our methodology

For the Best Student Credit Cards ranking we ran the numbers based on $1,000 in monthly spending using’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 and bill payments of $62.5, travel of $87.5, entertainment of $112.5, pharmacy purchases of $37.5 and other purchases of $250.

‡ and are both owned by parent company Ratehub Inc. We may be partnered with some financial institutions, but this does not influence the “Canada’s Best Credit Card” rankings. You can read more about this in our Editorial Code of Conduct.