Best Credit Cards for International Students in Canada in 2023

Credit Cards for International Students in Canada: International students in Canada may need access to credit to help cover their expenses while studying. One way to do this is by getting a credit card. However, choosing the right credit card for your needs can be overwhelming. Here are some things to consider when understanding credit cards for international students:

Table of Contents

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a credit card in Canada, you must be at least 18 years old and have a valid Canadian address. Some credit cards may also require you to have a Canadian credit history or a Canadian co-signer. However, credit cards that do not require a Canadian credit history or a co-signer are available, making them a good option for international students.

Credit Card Types

Different types of credit cards are available in Canada, including student credit cards, rewards credit cards, and secured credit cards. Student credit cards are designed for students and may offer lower credit limits and fewer rewards. Rewards credit cards offer rewards for purchases made on the card, such as cashback or points that can be redeemed for travel or merchandise. Secured credit cards require a deposit, which acts as collateral and can help build a credit history.

Fees and Interest Rates

Credit cards may come with fees, such as annual fees, foreign transaction fees, and balance transfer fees. Understanding these fees and how they can affect your overall credit card costs is important. Additionally, credit cards have interest rates, which can vary depending on the card and your creditworthiness. Paying off your balance in full each month is important to avoid interest charges.

Additional Benefits

Some credit cards may offer additional benefits, such as travel insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranties. These benefits can be useful for international students traveling or making large purchases.

In summary, international students in Canada should consider their eligibility, credit card types, fees, interest rates, and additional benefits when choosing a credit card. By understanding these factors, international students can choose the best credit card for their needs and build their credit history while studying in Canada.

Eligibility Criteria for International Students

As an international student, getting approved for a credit card in Canada can be challenging. However, several credit cards are designed specifically for international students with lower eligibility criteria. Here are some of the general eligibility requirements for international students to consider:

Age Requirement

The age requirement for a student credit card in Canada varies by province. In Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and PEI, the minimum age is 18. In all other provinces and territories, the minimum age is 19. Therefore, international students must meet the age requirement of their province or territory to be eligible for a student credit card.

Study Permit

International students must have a valid study permit to be eligible for a credit card in Canada. The Canadian government issues the study permit and allows international students to study in Canada. Students must provide proof of their study permit when applying for a credit card.

Credit History

Most credit card issuers in Canada require a credit history to approve a credit card application. However, some credit cards for international students do not require a credit history. Instead, they may require proof of income or a co-signer. International students should look for credit cards with lower eligibility criteria to increase their chances of approval.

Income Requirement

Credit card issuers in Canada typically require applicants to have a minimum income to be eligible for a credit card. However, some credit cards for international students do not require a minimum income. Instead, they may require proof of income or a co-signer. International students should look for credit cards with lower income requirements to increase their chances of approval.

In summary, international students must meet the age requirement of their province or territory, have a valid study permit, and meet the credit card issuer’s income and credit history requirements to be eligible for a credit card in Canada. International students should look for credit cards with lower eligibility criteria to increase their chances of approval.

Credit Cards for International Students in Canada

Top Credit Cards for International Students in Canada

As an international student in Canada, having a credit card can be very useful for managing your finances. Here are some of the top credit cards for international students in Canada:

Scotiabank Scene Visa Card

The Scotiabank Scene Visa Card is a great option for international students who love going to the movies. With this card, you can earn Scene points for every dollar you spend, which can be redeemed for free movies or other rewards. The card also has no annual fee and offers a 0.50% cash back on all other purchases.

Desjardins VISA Odyssey Gold

The Desjardins VISA Odyssey Gold is another great option for international students. This card offers a generous rewards program, with 1.25 points for every dollar spent. The card has travel insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty coverage. However, it does have an annual fee of $130.

RBC Cash Back MasterCard

The RBC Cash Back MasterCard is an excellent choice for international students who want to earn cash back on their purchases. With this card, you can earn 2% cash back on groceries and up to 1% on all other purchases. The card also comes with no annual fee and a welcome bonus of $25.

CIBC Aventura Visa Card for Students

The CIBC Aventura Visa Card for Students is a great option for international students who love to travel. With this card, you can earn Aventura points for every dollar you spend, which can be redeemed for flights, hotels, and other travel rewards. The card also comes with no annual fee and offers a welcome bonus of 2,500 Aventura points.

Overall, these credit cards are great options for international students in Canada. Whether you want to earn rewards, cash back, or travel points, a card can meet your needs.

Features to Look for in a Credit Card

When choosing a credit card as an international student in Canada, there are a few features you should look for to ensure that you get the best value for your money. Here are some of the most important features to consider:

Low or No Annual Fee

Many credit cards come with an annual fee ranging from $0 to over $100. As a student, you want to minimize your expenses, so look for a credit card with a low or no annual fee. Some credit cards even waive the annual fee for the first year, which can be a great way to save money.

Rewards Program

Credit cards with a rewards program can help you earn points or cash back on purchases. Look for a credit card with a rewards program that fits your spending habits. For example, if you spend a lot on groceries, look for a credit card that offers extra points or cash back on grocery purchases.

Low-Interest Rate

If you plan to carry a balance on your credit card, look for a card with a low-interest rate. Some credit cards offer a low introductory interest rate, which can be a good option if you plan to pay off your balance quickly. Remember that the interest rate will go up after the introductory period, so make sure you understand the card’s terms.

Fraud Protection

Credit card fraud is a real risk, so look for a credit card with strong fraud protection. Many credit cards offer zero liability for fraudulent charges, which means you won’t be responsible for any unauthorized charges on your card.

Acceptance

Make sure the credit card you choose is widely accepted in Canada. Visa and Mastercard are Canada’s most widely accepted credit cards, so look for a card from one of these issuers.

Choosing the right credit card as an international student in Canada can help you save money and earn rewards. Consider these features when choosing a credit card to find the best option.

How to Apply for a Credit Card in Canada

As an international student in Canada, you may be wondering how to apply for a credit card. Here are the steps you need to follow:

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Before applying for a credit card, you must check your eligibility. Most credit card issuers require that you have a Canadian credit history, which can be difficult to establish as an international student. However, some credit cards are specifically designed for students and newcomers to Canada and may have more lenient eligibility requirements.

Step 2: Choose the Right Credit Card

Once you’ve determined you’re eligible for a credit card, you must choose the right one for your needs. Many different types of credit cards are available in Canada, including rewards cards, cashback cards, and low-interest cards. Think about what you’ll be using the card for, and choose one that offers the best benefits for your situation.

Step 3: Gather Your Documents

When you apply for a credit card, you must provide basic information about yourself, including your name, address, and date of birth. You’ll also need proof of income, such as a pay stub or a letter from your employer. You may need proof of enrollment in a Canadian school if you’re a student.

Step 4: Apply for the Card

You can apply for a credit card once you’ve gathered all the necessary documents. You can usually do this online or in person at a bank branch. Read the terms and conditions carefully before applying, and be prepared to answer any questions the issuer may have about your financial situation.

Step 5: Wait for a Response

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll need to wait for a response from the credit card issuer. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the issuer and the complexity of your application. If approved, you’ll receive your credit card in the mail within a few days.

Applying for a credit card in Canada can be daunting, especially if you’re new. But by following these steps, you can increase your chances of getting approved for a card that meets your needs.

Building Credit History in Canada

As an international student in Canada, building a credit history is important for your financial future. A good credit history can help you get approved for loans, credit cards, and apartments. Here are some tips on how to build your credit history in Canada:

Apply for a Credit Card

One of the easiest ways to build a credit history in Canada is by applying for a credit card. Many credit cards are available for international students in Canada, such as the Scotiabank Scene and Learn Visa student credit cards, which offer perks like cashback and discounts on movie tickets. Be sure to choose a credit card with low fees and interest rates, and pay off your balance in full every month to avoid interest charges.

Pay Your Bills on Time

Paying your bills on time is crucial for building a good credit history in Canada. This includes your credit card bills and your rent, utilities, and phone bills. Late payments can negatively impact your credit score, so it’s important to set up automatic payments or reminders to ensure you never miss a payment.

Keep Your Credit Utilization Low

Credit utilization refers to the percentage of your available credit that you are using. It’s important to keep your credit utilization low, ideally below 30%, to show lenders that you are responsible with credit. For example, if your credit limit is $1,000, keep your balance below $300.

Monitor Your Credit Report

Finally, monitoring your credit report regularly is important to ensure no errors or fraudulent activities. You can request a free credit report from Equifax or TransUnion once a year or sign up for a credit monitoring service to receive regular updates on your credit score and report.

By following these tips, you can start building a strong credit history in Canada as an international student, setting yourself up for financial success in the future.

Potential Challenges and Solutions

As an international student in Canada, obtaining a credit card can be challenging due to a lack of credit history. Credit card issuers typically require a credit history to assess the risk of lending money. Without a credit history, international students may have difficulty getting approved for a credit card.

One solution to this challenge is to apply for a secured credit card. A secured credit card requires a security deposit, collateral for the credit limit. This deposit is refundable and can be used to pay off the balance if the cardholder defaults on payments. Using a secured credit card responsibly can help international students build a credit history and eventually qualify for an unsecured credit card.

Another challenge for international students is the lack of a Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN). A SIN is a unique identifier issued by the Canadian government to residents and citizens. Without a SIN, international students may be unable to apply for a credit card or open a bank account.

One solution to this challenge is to apply for a credit card that does not require a SIN. Some credit card issuers may accept other forms of identification, such as a passport or study permit. International students can also apply for a prepaid credit card, which does not require a credit history or SIN.

Lastly, international students may face challenges with foreign transaction fees and currency conversion rates when using their credit cards for purchases outside Canada. These fees can add up quickly and result in unexpected charges on the credit card statement.

One solution to this challenge is to apply for a credit card with no foreign transaction fees or a low foreign transaction fee. Some credit cards also offer competitive currency conversion rates, which can help international students save money on purchases made in foreign currencies. It is important to compare credit card offers and read the terms and conditions carefully to understand the fees and rates associated with using the card abroad.

Also Read: Credit Cards for Rebuilding Your Credit

Maintaining and Managing Your Credit Card

As an international student in Canada, managing your credit card is an important aspect of your financial responsibilities. Here are some tips to help you maintain and manage your credit card:

Pay Your Bills on Time

Paying your credit card bills on time is crucial to maintaining a good credit score. Late payments can negatively impact your credit score, affecting your ability to get approved for loans or other credit products in the future. Consider setting up automatic payments or reminders to ensure you never miss a payment.

Keep Your Credit Utilization Low

Credit utilization refers to the amount of credit you use compared to your credit limit. Keeping your credit utilization low, ideally below 30%, can help improve your credit score. High credit utilization can signal to lenders that you may be a riskier borrower, making it harder to get approved for credit in the future.

Monitor Your Credit Report

Regularly monitoring your credit report can help you identify any errors or fraudulent activity. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus in Canada (Equifax and TransUnion) once per year. Consider requesting your credit report and reviewing it for accuracy.

Take Advantage of Rewards and Benefits

Many credit cards offer rewards and benefits, such as cashback, points, or travel rewards. As an international student, you may be able to take advantage of these rewards and benefits to help offset some of your expenses. However, it’s important to use your credit card responsibly and not overspend to earn rewards.

Protect Your Card and Information

Protecting your credit card and personal information is crucial to avoiding fraud and identity theft. Always keep your credit card safe, and never share your card or personal information with anyone. Consider using a strong password for online banking and shopping, and avoid using public Wi-Fi networks when making transactions.

By following these tips, you can effectively manage and maintain your credit card as an international student in Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best credit cards for international students studying in Canada in 2023?

There are several credit cards available for international students in Canada. Some of the best credit cards for international students in Canada in 2023 include the Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card for Students, BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite* Card, RBC Rewards Visa, Rewards+ Visa, or Cash Back Mastercard, and the Student BMO CashBack Mastercard.

What are the credit requirements for international students to get a credit card in Canada?

International students in Canada must have a valid study permit and a Canadian bank account to apply for a credit card. In addition, they must meet the credit requirements set by the issuing bank. These requirements may include a minimum credit score, proof of income, and credit history in Canada.

Which banks offer student credit cards with instant approval in Canada?

Several banks in Canada offer student credit cards with instant approval. These include BMO, Scotiabank, TD, Tangerine, and Simplii. However, instant approval is not guaranteed and may depend on the applicant’s creditworthiness.

What is the maximum credit limit for international students on Canadian student credit cards?

The maximum credit limit for international students on Canadian student credit cards varies depending on the issuing bank and the applicant’s creditworthiness. Generally, the credit limit ranges from $500 to $5,000.

Can international students apply for American Express credit cards in Canada?

Yes, international students in Canada can apply for American Express credit cards. However, they must meet the credit requirements set by American Express, which may include a minimum credit score, proof of income, and credit history in Canada.

What are the benefits of BMO, Scotiabank, TD, Tangerine, and Simplii student credit cards in Canada?

The benefits of BMO, Scotiabank, TD, Tangerine, and Simplii student credit cards in Canada vary depending on the card. Some common benefits include no annual fee, cashback rewards, travel rewards, and discounts on purchases. It’s important to compare the features and benefits of each card to choose the one that best suits your needs.

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