Research Tips

Google the name of the bank and the product you are checking. For example, “BMO credit card”. Be sure to investigate links that say ‘legal disclaimers’, ‘learn more’, ‘additional features’, 'view details', or the footnotes above certain key words.

Websites, like or, can help you compare offers.

choosing a  provider for your credit card

We've done some research comparing Canadian cashback credit cards. We've chosen to look at CIBC, TD, RBC, Royal, & Scotia (the 'Big 5') as well as Tangerine (an online bank, owned by Scotiabank). Many retailers, like Loblaws (PC Financial), The Bay, Walmart, or Canadian Tire offer these simple credit cards too. Recently, new fintech (financial technology)  companies started offering simple cashback cards - for example, Brim and Neo.

Click on the icon to join Morgan and sprint through ​credit cards.

It should take you about 8 minutes.

Click on the diagram to find out how credit cards work.

​This will open our video player.

Test your knowledge - take a FinStart quiz!

Updated September 2, 2022.

Use our tables as a guide and remember to do some research on your own. 

Make credit card payments to build your credit record. 

Don't use your card to borrow money.


The cards in the above table are also available to non-students, at no fee.

 When you're not a student, the banks will need you to show that you earn a certain level of income and have a required credit score.  If you don't, they may offer you a secured card. Every financial institution also offers point-reward cards - for a annual fee. 

key features

Monthly Fee

  • You get what you pay for. Free cards have fewer features but get the job done.
  • Premium cards have additional perks, like purchase insurance, additional reward points / higher cashback, and flight / travel points. 

Credit Rewards 

  • Earn points  or get cash back when you purchase items with your credit card.
  • The bank tracks your spending and sends you a cashback refund once per year. 
  • Points can be redeemed for goods and services at participating retailers, like movie theaters, gas stations, restaurants, clothing stores, and airlines.

What's Next?

If you're over the age of majority (18/19)... 

Once you have a card...

Each phrase can have up to five words - always choose the most appropriate answer. 

They're multiple choice - always choose the most appropriate answer. 

​Not 18/19 yet...

You can't get your own credit card until you're the age of majority - and you don't need one anyways. Use your debit card for purchases.

Your parents may be able / willing to add you to their credit card as a secondary cardholder.

Your transactions will show on their statement and will help build your credit score even though, ultimately, your parents will be responsible for payments. 

Age of majority (18/19) or older...

When you use your card responsibly and make payments on time, you build your credit history.

Good credit history can help you...

  • Get a car / house loan
  • Apply for a larger limit on your credit card
  • Secure a rental apartment

Credit cards also come in handy when you travel - for making hotel / car rental reservations.

Don't withdraw cash directly using a credit card from an ATM - you'll be charged interest immediately (no free month). 

Credit card debt is dangerous - do you really need a credit card?

​Credit cards

​Morgan is turning 17 this year. His grandma decides he’s a grown boy and, much to the distaste of Morgan’s parents...

Look for no monthly fee and rewards that suit you.

Cashback is king.

how it works

Own your credit card, step-by-step.

 Play 'Talk Like a Banker' - FinStart's glossary game!

If you don't like your card, apply for a different one. Only cancel the old card after you've been accepted.

What is it used for?​

Credit cards can pay for things without using cash or debit.

When you pay with credit, you're not spending your own money.

You're borrowing from the bank and will have to pay it back. This is a loan, but it's interest-free for a month.

If you don’t make the full payment when it's due, you will be charged interest for the entire month.  This can get expensive because credit cards charge high interest rates.