Top 5 Credit Cards for Millennials

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best millennial credit cardsCredit card details are up to date as of May 1st, 2019. For the most accurate and up to date information, visit the issuer's website.

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 CardBest For
Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard CardCash Back Rewards
Scotiabank Gold American Express® CardTravel Rewards
Scotiabank SCENE®* Visa* CardEntertainment Perks
PC Financial® MastercardRewards Points for Groceries
Fido MasterCardCash Back on Purchases

Tangerine Money-Back MasterCard: Best For Cash Back Rewards

tangerine credit cardNothing 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 with these perks:

  • No annual fee
  • Limited-time welcome offer: Apply by October 31, 2019 and earn 4% Money-Back Rewards in up to 3 Categories for 3 Months.
  • 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. Plus, for your first 3 months, you’ll actually earn 4% Money-Back Rewards in your chosen categories instead of the regular 2%. It’s that easy!

Apply now, because this promo expires on October 31, 2019!

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.

Click here to apply for the Tangerine Money Back MasterCard


Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card: Best For Travel Reward

scotiabank gold amexThe 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, and drinking establishments, you’ll earn a crazy-good 5 Scotia Rewards®* points; 3 points per $1 spent on eligible gas, daily transit, and select streaming services; and any other purchases come in at 1 Scotia Rewards®* point per $1 spent.

As of August 1, the $99 annual fee is increasing to $120, 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.

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Earn up to 30,000 bonus Scotia Rewards®* points in your first year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Low income eligibility: $12,000 annual income 

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.

Click here to apply for the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card


Scotiabank SCENE®* Visa* Card: Best For Entertainment Perks

scotia-scene-243There 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* 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. Scotiabank SCENE®* Visa* 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.

Click here to apply for the Scotiabank SCENE®* Visa* Card


PC Financial ® Mastercard: Best for Rewards Points for Groceries

PC-Financial-MasterCard-243The 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.

Click here to apply for the PC Financial ® Mastercard


Fido MasterCard: Best For Cash Back on Purchase

FIDO-MasterCard_243x153The 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.

Click here to apply for the Fido MasterCard

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 MasterCard$019.95%Cash back
None$0Learn More
PC Financial® Mastercard$019.97%PC Optimum pointsNone$12,000Learn More
Fido MasterCard$019.99%Cash Back$25 in Cash Back Rewards on your first purchase within 3 months of receiving your card$15,000Learn More
Scotiabank Gold
American Express® Card
$12019.99%Scotia Rewards®* pointsUp to 30,000 bonus Scotia Rewards®* points in your first year$12,000Learn More
Scotiabank 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.

The Best Credit Cards by Category:

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Keph Senett

Keph Senett is a Canadian freelance writer with an interest in helping people make solid choices towards debt-free living. Her work has appeared in publications including Al Jazeera America, Greedy Rates, BBC News, and The Globe & Mail.

3 Comments

  1. Neil Bertram on January 18, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    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!



  2. Jerome on March 15, 2018 at 9:42 am

    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.



  3. Sagar Sridhar on February 17, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Good one! Worth the time and read! Thanks



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