Let’s be real: financial advice aimed at the “Baby Boomers” generation isn’t always helpful for finding the best credit card to fit your lifestyle. As a millennial, money may be tight: you may still be a student, paying off students loans, or not earning the highest salary you ever will in your career. Even though you're sticking to a budget, you may still like to travel and live it up a little — as long as your rent and groceries are paid first, of course.
With these considerations in mind, we set out to find the best Canadian credit cards for millennials and narrowed the list down to our top five best credit cards. These cards are well-suited to millennial lifestyles, as well as deliver many perks and bonuses that you’ll actually use.
Top 5 Best Credit Cards for Millennials in Canada 2019
|Credit Card||Best For|
|Tangerine Credit Card||Cash Back Rewards|
|PC Financial MasterCard||Rewards Points for Groceries|
|Fido MasterCard||Cash Back on Purchases|
|Scotiabank American Express Gold Card||Travel Rewards|
|Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card||Entertainment Perks|
Tangerine Money-Back MasterCard: Best For Cash Back Rewards
Nothing is as flexible as cash in your hand. Until recently, cash-back credit cards weren’t offering the right mix of good reimbursement rates, eligible spend categories, and low (or no) annual fees. It seems that the Tangerine Money Back MasterCard has finally hit the sweet spot.
- No annual fee
- 2% cash back on two eligible Tangerine spending categories (groceries, gas, drug store, restaurants, recurring bill payments, furniture, home improvements, hotels, entertainment, public transportation/parking)
- 2% cash back on an additional spending category when you automatically deposit your cash back into a Tangerine savings account.
- 0.5% cash back on everything else
- Automatic, monthly reimbursement to your credit card balance or savings account
This program is a winner based on its simplicity. At sign-up, applicants choose two of Tangerine’s money-back categories on which they want to earn 2%. Cash back rewards are earned automatically and paid monthly either to your credit card balance or redeemed into your savings account. If you do the latter, you get an extra third 2% cash back spending category of your choosing. Plus, you get 0.5% cash back on everything else.
The fact is, you can use cash for anything you need and this flexibility along with decent reimbursement rates is why it tops this list. There are no restrictions or complicated rules to follow. It’s just money back in your pocket—and it doesn’t cost you a thing.
PC Financial MasterCard: Best for Rewards Points for Groceries
The PC Financial MasterCard is the most basic of the PC Financial credit card family, but it’s certainly one of the best. Using your PC Financial MasterCard, you'll earn PC Optimum Points for every dollar you spend on everywhere you shop. Ranging from Shoppers Drug Mart to Loblaws stores, there are nearly 2,500 retailers where you can both collect and spend points, including Shoppers Drug Mart, Esso/Mobil, and Loblaws stores (No-Frills, Fortino's, Valu-Mart, Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Independent, and Zehr's). The more you spend, the more you earn.
- No annual fee
- Low minimum personal income required ($12,000/year)
- Potential to rack up PC Optimum Points to use towards groceries and everyday items
- Easy redemption: use your points at the checkout and the cash value is deducted from your bill
The redemption process is super easy. Once you reach 10,000 points, you can redeem for $10 worth of free products and groceries at any participating stores or online at Beautyboutique.ca, JoeFresh.ca and PC Express websites. Just mention it at checkout and the cash value of the points are subtracted from your bill. If you’re looking for an easy way to save on things you likely already buy regularly, the PC Financial MasterCard is a winner.
Pro-tip: PC Optimum points are really easy to stack. Use your Optimum Points card in tandem with your PC Financial MasterCard, and you collect points twice. Add to that in-store offers and targeted coupons, and you can rake these points in easily and quickly.
Fido MasterCard: Best For Cash Back on Purchase
The Fido MasterCard is the product of a partnership between Rogers Bank, Fido, and MasterCard, and the resulting program is an unusual, yet attractive mish-mash of features. With a low end of 1.25%, this is a decent cash back card. The 3% on foreign transactions offsets the 2.5% foreign transaction fee and puts a little bit back in your pocket.
- 3% on purchases in foreign currency
- 2% cash back on Fido products or services—includes your Fido, Rogers, of chatr phone bill
- 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
- $25 in cash back rewards when you make your first purchase
- No annual fee
Sweetening the deal, there are no caps or limits to how much you can earn, and redemption is simple with the mobile app. Credit can be applied to your statement or to the purchase of a Fido product or service. Notice that this is a slightly limiting structure, but only slightly—and it may well help you pay down your credit card balance.
If you’re a Fido, Rogers, or chatr customer, this seems like a really great product to leverage your existing costs. For those with other carriers, it’s worth a look for its cash back deal.
Scotiabank American Express Gold Card: Best For Travel Reward
The Scotiabank AMEX Gold Card is the only product on this list with an annual fee. Having said that, $99 is on the low end, and if you’re looking for one of the best travel rewards credit cards in Canada, this is the one for you. Earn 4 Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spend on entertainment, gas, groceries, and restaurants, as well as 1 Scotia Reward point for every $1 spent on everything else.
- Earn Scotia Rewards points on everyday purchases
- Redeem for travel anywhere & anytime, with no travel restrictions
- Sign-up bonus of 15,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
- Discounted membership to Priority Pass airport lounges
- Comprehensive travel insurance included
- Low minimum $12,000 annual income requirement
What’s exceptional about this credit card is the flexibility in rewards redemption. You can book and redeem for travel anywhere, anytime, with no travel restrictions or blackout dates. All you have to do is login to the system and select the “Apply Points to Travel” option. Then just use your accumulated points to offset any travel cost (flights, rental cars, hotels, etc.) charged on your Amex. It’s that easy – no black-out periods or annoying restrictions.
If travel is at the top of your priority list, this is the card that will get you to where you’re going in no time.
Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card: Best For Entertainment Perks
There are a lot of credit cards aimed at students, but what they all typically offer is a quick way to get into debt. Even if you’re at the beginning of your credit history, it’s possible to make your spending work for you—and that’s what the Scotiabank SCENE Visa credit card excels at the most.
- No annual fee
- Earn SCENE points that can be redeemed towards free movies
- Earn 2,000 bonus SCENE points with your first $500 in everyday purchases in the first 3 months
- Get $10 off at participating restaurants when you redeem just 1,000 points
- Low income requirement ($12,000/year)
A high earn rate and redemption ease make this a really attractive option for those who enjoy movies, shopping, and restaurants. Scotiabank SCENE Visa holders earn 5 SCENE points for every $1 spent on credit card purchases at Cineplex theatres (Cineplex, Scotiabank theatres, Famous Players, SilverCity, Galaxy, Cinema City, etc) or at cineplex.com. You can also earn 1 SCENE point for every $1 spent on your everyday credit card purchases.
The redemption rate is super-low (starting at 1,000 points), which means you can basically use this card for everyday purchases and skim the points for things that make you happy—like movies and meals. Best yet? The points never expire.
Summary of the Best Credit Cards for Millennials
|Credit Card||Annual Fee||Purchase Interest Rate||Points or Rewards Program||Sign up Bonus||Minimum Income||Apply|
|Tangerine Money Back MasterCard||$0||19.95%||Cash back||None||$15,000||Apply|
|PC Financial MasterCard||$0||19.97%||PC Optimum points||None||$12,000||Apply|
|Fido MasterCard||$0||19.99%||Cash Back||$25 in Cash Back Rewards on your first purchase within 3 months of receiving your card||$15,000||Apply|
|Scotiabank American Express Gold Card||$99||19.99%||Scotia Rewards||15,000 Scotia Rewards points with your first $1000 in everyday purchases in the first 3 months||$12,000||Apply|
|Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card||$0||19.99%||Scotia Scene Points||2,000 points with the first $500 spent in the first 3 months||$12,000||Apply|
Despite what the media might have you believe, millennials aren’t a monolith. There’s a wide age spread included in this group, from folks just applying to university to those learning how to how to save money for retirement. Some of you may be saving to travel the world, while others might be buying your first home. Whatever your millennial money goals are, it’s much easier to achieve them when you’ve got the right plastic in your wallet.
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