The Best Credit Cards for Students in 2019

The Best Credit Cards for Students 2019

If you’re a student in college or university, you understand that every penny counts. Tuition is high, textbooks are expensive, and it’s hard to maintain healthy eating habits while living off-campus when all you can afford are those packets of Sidekicks pasta for $1.

This is where a good rewards credit card can come in handy. Not only can you earn points, merchandise or cash-back for you purchases, but you’re also given the opportunity to start building your credit. And this is important if you’re a young adult who doesn’t have any credit to your name. If used responsibly, having a credit card will start you off on the right foot so you are eligible for other types of credit in the future, like personal loans or a mortgage. And there’s a great chance you’ll need one of these things eventually.

Rewards cards generally offer different amounts of points or cash-back for particular spending categories (gas, grocery, pharmacy purchases, etc.). Whether it’s rebating you in points, a statement credit, or cash-back in your bank account, a good rewards card maximizes on your everyday purchases and ultimately helps you save, and if you’re a student, you’re likely looking for a card with little-to-no annual fee.

But with so many options available, it may be hard to choose the exact credit card that’s right for you.

RateSupermarket.ca makes it easy with our card comparison tool. And with all things considered, from sign-up bonuses to earning rates, we used our Best of Finance methodology to rank the cards that provided the most cash value.

These are the best credit cards for students that offer rewards:

2019 Best of Finance Best Credit Card For Students Category Winner


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Why it’s an awesome card

Identical to the BMO®* CashBack Mastercard®*, the BMO SPC®** CashBack® Mastercard®* yields a fair amount of cash-back for a no-fee card – 5% in the first three months of having a card (up to $2,000 in spending), and 1% thereafter. However, it also comes with the added benefits of a Student Price Card (SPC) membership, offering 10% to 15% off at hundreds of stores.

The over 450 participating stores include Adidas, Taco Bell, Koodo Mobile, Forever 21, and Victoria Secret – providing you with deals on everything from shoes to tacos to your phone plan – and the SPC membership renews automatically every year.

This card won Best Card for Students at our Best of Finance Awards in the past, as its designed specifically for students and their specific needs – qualification is based on lower earning requirements, and a third-party or parental authorization isn’t needed to sign up.

Cash-back accumulated over the year is awarded to your account as a credit every January, after which your cash-back balance reverts to $0.

Earning rate*

  • Other: 1% cash-back on all purchases.

Earning potential**

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Sign-up bonus: 5% cash-back in the first three months of cardmembership (up to $2,000 in spending).
  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period:$464

2019 Best of Finance Best Credit Card For Students Runners Up


 

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Why it’s an awesome card

With no annual fee, the BMO®* CashBack Mastercard®* offers those with a limited budget a decent amount of cash-back if used to its full potential. The card offers 5% cash-back in the first three months of cardmembership up to $2,000 in spending, with no restrictions on where you can earn cash-back. So you’re already entitled to earn $100 in cash-back in just a few months. Eligibility requirements are also pretty low, which makes this card appealing for students with no or low income. After you’ve reached the $2,000 spending cap, you only receive 1% cash-back on your purchases, which is standard for a no-fee card.

Cash-back is applied to your account annually, and while it is detailed on your statement monthly, you’ll receive your cash-back in the form of a credit to your account in January of the following year.

Earning rate*

  • Other: 1% cash-back on all purchases.

Earning potential**

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Sign-up bonus: 5% cash-back in the first three months of cardmembership (up to $2,000 in spending).
  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period:$464 

 

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Why it’s an awesome card

This credit card is a cool option if dining out and movies are your thing, as you earn SCENE points for purchases. SCENE points can be redeemed for free movie tickets, discounts on concessions, or discounts at some popular Canadian restaurants (Kelsey’s, Swiss Chalet, Milestones, and East Side Mario’s, to name a few). And since SCENE points are applied to your account automatically, you can use them anytime – great for those Friday night hangouts.

Not only does the SCENE®* Visa* Card reward you for your pastimes, but it helps build your credit score and you don’t have to pay an annual fee. It was also the Best Card for Students award winner in the past.

Earning rate*

  • Entertainment: 5 SCENE points per $1 spent at participating Cineplex Entertainment theatres or online at cineplex.com.
  • Restaurants: 1 SCENE point per $3 spent at CARA restaurants, with some exceptions.
  • Other: 1 SCENE point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Earning potential**

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Sign-up bonus: 2,500 SCENE points (if you charge $500 to the account within the first three months of cardmembership).
  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period: 50,500 SCENE points
  • Monetary worth: $505 

Notes: 

*Earning rate up to card’s annual spending cap, if applicable.

**Assuming $1,600 is spent on the card monthly at eligible retailers, in the following categories:

  • Pharmacy: $55.33
  • Food: $710.58
  • Gas**: $134.31
  • Travel: $151.21
  • Other: $548.57

Methodology

Related Topics

Credit Card Reviews / Credit Cards / Credit Cards 101 / Lifestyle / Personal Finance / RSM News / Using Your Credit Card

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