The best credit cards for millennials are well-suited to this generation's lifestyle, as well as offer rewards and bonuses that you'll actually use.
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 2020

Credit CardBest For
Tangerine Money-Back Credit CardCash Back Rewards
Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® cardTravel Rewards
SCENE® Visa* cardEntertainment Perks

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card: Best For Cash Back Rewards

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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 Credit Card has finally hit the sweet spot with these perks:

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 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)
  • 0.5% cash back on everything else

This program is a winner based on its simplicity.  Upon sign-up, choose two of money-back categories plus get a third when you have your Money-Back Rewards deposited into your Tangerine Savings Account. It’s that easy!

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.

Learn more about the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card


Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® card: Best For Travel Reward

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The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® card has some serious points-earning potential that can be put towards your next trip. For every $1 you spend on eligible grocery stores, restaurants, fast food, drinking establishments, and entertainment, you’ll earn a crazy-good 5X Scotia Rewards points; 3X points per $1 spent on eligible gas, daily transit, and select streaming services; and any other purchases come in at 1X Scotia Rewards point per $1 spent.

The annual fee of $120 is a bit steep, which is a bit of a bummer. But this card is still a winner in our books, as it provides amazing benefits, such as no foreign transaction fees, comprehensive travel insurance, and Amex Front Of the Line® access. Plus, for a limited-time, this card has an incredible welcome bonus: new cardholders will receive 20,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when they spent $1,000 within the first 3 months.

What’s also exceptional about this credit card is the flexibility in rewards redemption. 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 credit card. It’s that easy – no black-out periods or annoying restrictions. It’s no wonder the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® card is often ranked as the best travel credit card in Canada.

The Details

  • Annual Fee: $120
  • Income Eligibility: Minimum of $12,000 annual income
  • Credit Score Required: Good to Excellent
  • Welcome Bonus: 20,000 Scotia Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Other Perks: No foreign transaction fees, comprehensive travel insurance, Amex Front of the Line® access
  • Purchase APR: 19.99% | Cash Advance APR: 22.99%
Learn more about the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® card.

SCENE® Visa* card: Best For Entertainment Perks

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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 SCENE® Visa* card excels at the most.

  • No annual fee
  • Earn SCENE points that can be redeemed towards free movies
  • Earn 2,500 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. SCENE® Visa* card cardholders 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.

Learn more about the SCENE® Visa* card.

Summary of the Best Credit Cards for Millennials

Credit Card Annual Fee Purchase Interest Rate Points or Rewards ProgramSign up BonusMinimum Income More Info
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card$019.95%Cash back
None$0Learn More
Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® card$12019.99%Scotia Rewards pointsEarn 20,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points with your first $1,000 in everyday purchases in the first 3 months$12,000Learn More
SCENE® Visa* card$019.99%SCENE Points2,500 bonus SCENE points with your first $500 in everyday purchases in first 3 months$12,000Learn More

Final Words

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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Article comments

3 comments

Good one! Worth the time and read! Thanks

Jerome says:

If you have a family, I guess you may want to have a look at the Scotia Momentum Infinite card. You need a minimum income and there’s an annual fee, but if you place all purchases on it, it may worth it. Even over Tangerine’s card for me.

Neil Bertram says:

I was grateful to find this article. Today I received my letter from Chase telling me that my Amazon Rewards Visa account is being closed on March 15th. I just applied for the National Bank ECHO card. Thanks!