The 9 Best Credit Cards for Young Adults in Canada for 2024

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According to Statistics Canada, the median young adult earns $16,400 annually. As such, some of the best credit cards in Canada requiring over $60,000 in income are out of the picture. However, many cards still offer this demographic loads of value. For example, you can receive enhanced cashback and welcome bonuses for low to no annual fees.

The best credit cards for young adults in Canada can be a valuable financial tool. Many credit card providers offer cards tailored to this demographic, often with lower credit limits and suitable rewards or benefits. For young Canadians, responsible credit card usage can help establish a positive credit history, which is crucial for future financial endeavors such as securing loans or mortgages. However, it’s essential for you to exercise prudence and discipline when using credit cards to avoid accumulating debt, as high-interest charges can quickly erode your financial stability. Proper education and financial literacy are key to making the most of these financial tools and ensuring a secure financial future.

Credit Card
Best For
Building Credit
Prepaid Card for Young Adults
Shopping at your Favorite Local Stores
Rewards Flexibility
Low Interests
Frequent Flyers

1. Simplii Financial Cashback Visa Best Overall Card for Young Adults

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As per our master list of the best credit cards in Canada, the best overall credit card for young adults is the Simplii Cashback Visa. This is primarily due to its strong cashback and lack of an annual fee. The Simplii Cashback Visa offers elevated earn rates on essential spending, making it easy to maximize rewards. The chosen categories align well with the spending habits of young adults.

The Simplii Cashback Visa offers elevated earn rates on essential spending, such as 4% cash back on restaurants, bars, and cafes and 1.5% on groceries, gas, bills, and drugstores. Although there are caps on the bonus categories, they still provide ample opportunity to earn accelerated rewards. Once you reach the caps, your cashback rates drop to the 0.5% baseline.

Your cashback accumulates and is redeemed on the final day of your December statement, providing you with lump-sum savings to offset your holiday spending. The Simplii Cashback Visa is an affordable option for young adults with no annual fee, and it’s perfect for those seeking straightforward cashback earnings, thanks to its intuitive bonus categories and fee-free design that make maximizing value effortless.

Eligibility requirementsDescription
Credit score (estimated)Good (660 or more)
Minimum income$15,000 (for the household)
OtherBe a Canadian resident (excluding Quebec), have reached the age of majority in your province or territory, and haven’t declared bankruptcy in the last 7 years.

2. KOHO Prepaid Mastercard Best for Building Credit

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Building credit is a significant barrier for young adults since they often need secured credit cards. That’s where the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard shines. It offers multiple credit-building options to help establish your history for up to $10 monthly. The program is simple – KOHO provides a credit limit, bills you monthly for a set amount, and reports your on-time payments. There’s no need to take on debt. After three months, users see their credit score climb by an average of 22 points.

Aside from building credit, the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard earns up to 2% cash back on purchases, depending on the plan you choose. Financial coaching is included to gain intelligent money habits. Additional perks like earning interest on deposits and discounted foreign exchange fees provide a complete financial package.

With accessible credit-building tools plus opportunities to earn rewards and learn budgeting, the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard gives young adults a unique option to establish financial health. It removes barriers to credit and financial services by turning cash into a powerful money management system.

Eligibility requirementsDescription
Credit score None
Minimum incomeNone
OtherBe a permanent resident or Canadian citizen and have reached the age of majority in your province or territory of residence.

3. EQ Bank Card Best Prepaid Card for Young Adults

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First things first, the EQ Bank card is totally free – no monthly fees, zero sneaky foreign currency charges, and you can kiss those ATM withdrawal fees goodbye. That’s why it’s one of the best prepaid cards in Canada. If, by some cosmic fluke, you do get hit with fees when you’re grabbing your hard-earned cash anywhere in Canada, no worries – EQ Bank’s got your back, and they’ll refund you within 10 business days.

But here’s where it gets really cool – your EQ Bank card can make you money. Yep, you read that right. You’ll be raking in up to 3% interest on your balance, right until you decide to splurge. More specifically, you get 2.50%, plus 0.50% bonus interest when you direct deposit your pay or set up recurring pre-authorized debits.

And wait, there’s more! You’ll also snag 0.5% cash back on all your swipes. This card’s your sidekick all over the place, just like a trusty Mastercard. To snag one, just open up an EQ Bank Personal Account, load up your card with some funds, and you’re good to go! It’s that easy.

Eligibility requirementsDescription
Credit score (estimated)Fair (600 or higher) to open an account (required to get the EQ Bank card)
Minimum incomeNone
OtherBe a permanent resident or Canadian citizen and have reached the age of majority in your province or territory of residence.
Be a client of EQ Bank.
* Card not available in Quebec.

4. Neo Credit Best for Shopping at your Favorite Local Stores

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Neo offers a range of credit products, among them the Neo Credit card. This card enables you to earn an average of 5% cashback at numerous partners located throughout the country, including Avis and Clearly. To check which partners are available in your vicinity, simply log in to the Neo app. If you happen to have a Neo Money account, you have the option to deposit your cashback into this account, where it will accrue interest at a rate of 1%.

The Neo Credit card is provided at no cost, but you can opt for a subscription to enjoy additional benefits. Whether your interests lie in travel, dining, or maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can enhance your Neo Credit card with various perks to amplify your enjoyment of these activities. For instance, with the Mind and Body perk priced at $9.99 per month, you can receive 1.25 times more cashback at gyms, yoga studios, recreational centers, wellness practitioners, and more. Additionally, this subscription provides access to Headspace Plus, an app which offers a plethora of meditation and mindfulness exercises, among other benefits.

Eligibility requirementsDescription
Credit score (estimated)Fair (around 600) or higher
Minimum incomeNone
OtherYou need to live in Canada, have a Canadian photo ID, and be the age of majority in your province or territory to apply for the Neo Credit card.

5. BMO CashBack Mastercard – Best for Groceries

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As one of Canada’s highest grocery earners amongst no-fee cash back cards, the BMO CashBack Mastercard is an intelligent pick for young adults looking for one of the best grocery credit cards. You’ll earn an impressive 3% cash back on all grocery store purchases, up to $500 per statement period. This elevated earn rate helps you maximize rewards in a significant spending category. The BMO CashBack Mastercard also offers 1% cash back on recurring bill payments like phone bills and streaming services and 0.5% back on other purchases. Redeeming cash back is quick and flexible – you can redeem cashback starting at a dollar.

With no annual fee, the BMO CashBack Mastercard makes earning rewards affordable. For young adults looking to offset frequent grocery costs while building their credit profile, the BMO CashBack Mastercard is a strong choice. Between its high rewards rate on groceries, the flexibility of cash back redemptions, and the lack of an annual fee, this card can generate solid savings for young adults.

Eligibility requirementsDescription
Credit score (estimated)Fair (around 600-659) or higher
Minimum income$15,000
OtherBe a permanent resident or Canadian citizen and have reached the age of majority in your province or territory of residence. Also, you must not have declared bankruptcy in the past seven years. Provide your name, date of birth, contact info, SIN, address, employment status, income source(s), and rent or mortgage amount.

6. RBC ION+ Visa Best for Rewards Flexibility

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With its ability to earn accelerated points on essential spending categories and redeem those rewards in multiple valuable ways, the RBC ION+ Visa gives young adults flexible options to get the most from their rewards. You’ll earn 3x Avion points on groceries, dining, rides, gas, streaming services, and more. This covers many typical young adult expenses, letting you rack up points quickly. All other purchases earn one point per dollar spent. The card also offers a solid welcome bonus to kickstart your rewards.

As you earn Avion points, you have multiple redemption choices to maximize their value – cash back credits, gift cards, travel booked through Avion Rewards, transfers to airline partners, and more. For example, you can redeem points at one cent per point towards credit card balances or bank account deposits or transfer to Aeroplan, American Airlines, and other airline partners. This provides flexibility to redeem points in the best way for you.

With no income requirements, a low $4 monthly fee, and the ability to earn accelerated rewards on spending essentials like dining out and online subscriptions, the RBC ION+ Visa gives young adults options to redeem rewards in valuable ways. The card makes maximizing points convenient and straightforward.

Eligibility requirementsDescription
Credit score (estimated)Very Good (725 or higher)
Minimum incomeNone
OtherBe a permanent resident or Canadian citizen and have reached the age of majority in your province or territory of residence.

7. Scotiabank Value Visa Best for Low Interests

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Some of you might be worried about developing good financial habits and the risk of carrying a balance. If you wish to get a credit card with low interest rates, just in case things get out of hand, the Value Visa from Scotiabank is a good choice. The same goes for those who already have a credit card and pay high interests. By switching to a Value Visa, you could save hundreds of dollars. For instance, a $2,000 balance on this card could save you over $250 in interests during the first year. However, this card offers no rewards and no cash back.

Eligibility requirementsDescription
Credit score (estimated)Good (660 or higher)
Minimum income$12,000
OtherYou are a Canadian resident and are of the age of majority in your province/territory of residence.

8. BMO AIR MILES for Students Best for Frequent Flyers

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If you’re a student with a travel bug, the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard might just be your ticket to adventure. While AIR MILES faced a bit of turbulence with a bankruptcy scare in March 2023, the program has soared back to life.

The best part? This card won’t cost you a dime. It’s free for students, and you’ll be racking up those miles at lightning speed. Get 3x the miles for every $25 you splurge at partner stores like Shell, Budget, Metro, and Global Pet Foods. Grocery shopping’s a breeze too, with 2x the miles for every $25 spent at eligible grocery stores. Everywhere else, you’ll still be earning 1 mile for every $25 you fork out.

Now, the fun part – redemption! With your BMO AIR MILES Mastercard, you have choices. Cash Miles, Dream Miles, or a mix of both – it’s up to you. Dream Miles can whisk you away on flights via the AIR MILES website, perfect for your travel dreams. If you’re more into scoring cool stuff from the AIR MILES store, Cash Miles are your go-to. So, pack your bags, get those miles, and start exploring!

Eligibility requirementsDescription
Credit score (estimated)Good (660-724) or higher
Minimum income$15,000
OtherBe a permanent resident or Canadian citizen and have reached the age of majority in your province or territory of residence.
Be a student enrolled in a postsecondary institution.

9. Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard Best for Cashback

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With no annual fee and a low income requirement, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card makes it easy for young adults to start earning enhanced cash back. Its flexible rewards program allows you to choose two categories to earn an elevated 2% back on spending – including gas, groceries, restaurants, entertainment, and more. However, you can unlock a third category by depositing rewards into a Tangerine savings account.

This customization ensures you can maximize rewards in the areas you spend the most. Based on average young adult budgets, picking gas, groceries, dining out, and entertainment as your top categories would result in solid earnings. The non-bonus categories earn a base rate of 0.5%.

Young adults appreciate the low income requirement and status as one of the best no-fee credit cards. With the flexibility to select categories, the customizable Tangerine Money-Back Card is ideal for young adults looking to maximize their spending. The card makes earning cash rewards simple and convenient.

Eligibility requirementsDescription
Credit score (estimated)Fair (around 600-659) or higher
Minimum income$12,000
OtherHave the age of majority in your province or territory, be a permanent resident of Canada, be clear of bankruptcies over the past 7 year.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, many credit card options are available to young adults in Canada. When choosing a credit card, it’s important to consider your spending habits and financial goals. The Simplii Cashback Visa, Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard, CIBC Aeroplan Visa and BMO CashBack Mastercard are all great options with unique value propositions. Whether you’re looking for cashback rewards, travel perks, or credit-building opportunities, there is a credit card out there. Remember to use credit responsibly and always pay off your balances in full to avoid accumulating debt.

Daniel is an expert on travel, finance, and SEO. He received an Honours BBA (Finance) from Wilfrid Laurier University, then started his career with WOWA. Here, he learned various SEO tactics that were instrumental in quadrupling monthly traffic to one million views. Now the founder of Croton Content, Daniel helps financial companies scale through evergreen content. Aside from Hardbacon, notable clients include Forbes Advisor, WealthRocket, and Hellosafe. Daniel loves to travel when not working. Although based out of Lisbon, Portugal, some of his most adventurous destinations include Rio, Cairo, and Istanbul.