Best RBC Student Credit Cards In Canada

October 16, 2022

The RBC Cash Back Mastercard is a no-fee cash back credit card issued by the Royal Bank of Canada, one of the largest banks in Canada. It offers 2% cash back on groceries for the first $6,000 you spend in a year; after reaching the limit, you'll earn 1% cash back on groceries and all other purchases, with no annual limit.

With this card, you will earn bonus points when filling up at Petro-Canada gas stations, or when purchasing at Rexall drugstores. Additionally, you can choose from any of their add-ons and boost the benefits of your card; from benefits like roadside assistance to comprehensive medical and travel insurance.

What Is An RBC Student Credit Card?

RBC student credit cards are a type of credit card that can be used only by Canadian students, typically under the age of 24. These are unsecured credit cards, meaning you don’t need a security deposit or collateral to open an account. Before applying for an RBC student credit card you may be asked to provide proof of your Canadian citizenship and your permanent address. 

Student credit cards are a great way to start building your credit if you don’t have a credit history; a credit score of 660 should secure instant approval. RBC may not require your credit history, but you still need to show proof of enrollment and income during the application process.

You can use these cards to earn rewards like points or cash back on eligible purchases and redeem them for groceries, tech products, gift cards, or travel benefits. Most RBC student credit cards also offer purchase security, including extended warranty and insurance. Here's our full list of student credit cards in Canada.

Without further ado, here are the best RBC student credit cards Canada has to offer:

The Best RBC Student Credit Cards In Canada

  1. RBC Cash Back Mastercard: Best for unlimited cash back and no annual fee
  2. RBC ION Visa: Best for earning Avion points with no annual fee
  3. RBC ION+ Visa: Best for earning Avion points
  4. RBC Avion Visa Platinum: Best for the generous welcome bonus
  5. WestJet RBC Mastercard: Best for earning WestJet dollars

How Do RBC Student Credit Cards Work?

RBC student credit cards work like regular credit cards with no security deposit to transfer, unlike secured cards. They are designed specifically for students and require lower credit scores. However, rewards tend to be more limited than those of premium credit cards. You can use these credit cards to earn points (or cash back) by purchasing towards eligible categories like groceries, gas, entertainment, restaurants, and household bills. 

You can convert the points (or the cash back) you earn for rewards, daily expenses, in-store or online purchases, loan payments, investments, or gift cards for your loved ones or significant other.      

Why Get An RBC Student Credit Card?

An RBC student credit card may help you achieve your goal if you start building your credit. Though they may still have higher interest rates than regular credit cards, their issuers tend to require fewer requirements, such as your personal and student information, financial status, and employment status (if any). Suppose you are ready to manage your finances; a student credit card can serve different purposes based on what you are after. 

If you travel overseas to study, you can also ensure your safety and protection. RBC student credit cards are built with a credit lock feature, travel insurance, and 24-hour fraud security that you can contact anytime. 

Rewards To Look For In An RBC Student Credit Card?

You can choose two types of rewards from using an RBC student credit card – Avion points or WestJet dollars

You can earn Avion points through cash back or points that can be redeemed for almost anything, such as personal care items, credit card and household bill payments, car rentals, airline tickets, and more. You can check your points by downloading the Avion Rewards app and automatically receive cash back deals and savings.

On the other hand, WestJet dollars can only be redeemed for one thing – travelling. WestJet requires a minimum of 15 WestJet dollars for every direction of travel, and you can use them to pay a portion of the Economy, Premium, or Business fares.  

Pros & Cons Of An RBC Student Credit Card

Pros: Why an RBC Student Credit Card may be worth it

  • You can earn points on everyday purchases, including groceries, gas, transportation, subscription, entertainment, and more.
  • Up to 2% unlimited cash back on groceries and up to 1% on other purchases
  • No annual fees on some student credit cards, such as RBC Cash Back Mastercard and RBC ION Visa 
  • Get free one-way or round-trip tickets by gathering Avion points or WestJet dollars.
  • Save more money and bonuses with RBC partnerships such as Petro-Canada, Hertz, Rexall, and DoorDash.   

Cons: Why an RBC Student Credit Card may not be worth it

  • Some student credit cards may have annual fees to receive exclusive rewards such as RBC ION+ Visa.
  • It has higher interest rates of 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances.
  • You need to pay a minimum of $10 every month plus interest and fees (if any)
  • There is a $5 cash advance fee and a $29 over limit fee if your balance exceeds your credit limit.

Types Of RBC Student Credit Cards In Canada

There are three types of student credit cards offered by RBC – no annual fee, unlimited cash back, and travel rewards. Each card may or may not help you with your purpose of using it for your day-to-day banking. Still, it is better to know which one will suit you best for your student life. 

#1 No Annual Fee Credit Cards

RBC Cash Back Mastercard and RBC ION Visa are the ones that are student-friendly since they are one of the best credit cards in Canada (with no annual fee). This type of credit card is best for you if you are on a tight budget with no extra cash for paying between $50 to $120 per month. Although they have the same interest rates, they may be worth it since they still offer almost similar benefits or perks to other paid student credit cards.  

#2 Unlimited Cash Back Credit Cards

If you consider yourself ready to pay your credit card balance in full every month as a student, then you can maximize the potential of a cash back credit card. Only the RBC Cash Back Mastercard offers unlimited cash back rewards on purchases, whether for groceries or pre-authorized bill payments. You can earn up to 2% cash back, and you don’t need to keep a record of rewards since they will be transferred automatically to your account. Once deposited, you can use them to pay for your credit card balances, groceries, or merchandise at your favourite store. 

#3 Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Being a student who constantly travels is not only time-consuming but also expensive. You have to pay for land transportation or even need to book a flight right after a week-long school break. With RBC, you don’t need to spend so much money on travelling. You can use one of their student credit cards to earn Avion points or WestJet dollars for a free one-way or round-ticket flight. The reward rate depends on the credit card and how much you spend on everyday purchases. The following are the ones that offer travel rewards programs.

  • RBC ION Visa – $0 annual fee
  • WestJet RBC Mastercard – $39 annual fee 
  • RBC ION+ Visa – $48 annual fee
  • RBC Avion Visa Platinum – $120 annual fee

Other travel reward programs include Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy. Here are the best Aeroplan options in Canada.

How To Choose An RBC Student Credit Card In Canada

Annual Fee

RBC offers student credit cards with and without annual fees. It depends on how you use your credit card to know if you are willing to pay fees for more significant rewards. With or without yearly payments, they have similar benefits, such as when you shop at Petro-Canada or Rexall or order food from DoorDash, like RBC Cash Back Mastercard and RBC Avion Visa Platinum. You can still earn points or cash back without paying fees between $50 and $120.

The critical difference is that student credit cards with annual fees tend to offer twice or three times more rewards, monthly fee rebates, and additional insurance coverage.  

Interest Rate

Unfortunately, looking for an RBC student credit card with lower interest rates may not lead you elsewhere. All their credit cards have the same interest rates of 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances. However, you may be able to lower the 22.99% interest rate by 1% if you reside in Quebec.

Welcome Bonus

Out of the five RBC student credit cards, four of them offer a generous welcome bonus. The higher the annual fee, the higher the welcome reward you’ll receive. So if you are trying to decide which one, look at the welcome bonuses of the four best student credit cards.

  • RBC ION+ Visa – 12,000 Avion points within the first two monthly statements
  • RBC Avion Visa Platinum – 35,000 Avion points on approval plus 20,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first six months
  • WestJet RBC Mastercard – $50 WestJet dollars upon enrolment plus $50 for spending $1,000 in the first three months

Rewards Program and Flexibility

One of the best ways to choose a credit card is to earn rewards that are easy to redeem. First, you need to know which reward program – Avion Rewards or WestJet dollars – benefits you the most. 

Avion is the most flexible; you can use it for anything, be it to pay for your credit card balance or bills, or buy yourself a gift, while WestJet is excellent to redeem when you have to take a flight to another province or across the globe to start your academic year. 

If you opt for a free credit card with the perk of redeeming travel rewards, then the RBC ION Visa credit card may be for you. It lets you earn Avion points from various spending categories and exchange them for merchandise, bill payments, airline tickets, etc., without spending a single cent for the account.

How To Redeem Your RBC Student Credit Card Rewards

There are three primary ways to redeem rewards using your RBC student credit card, ranging from cash back and Avion points to WestJet dollars. If you have already chosen your student credit card, look at the list below and learn how to exchange your hard-earned bonus for any item you prefer.

Cash Back Program

The rule is simple when you try to redeem your rewards with the RBC cash back program. You must reach a minimum amount of $25 of your cash balance so it can be credited to your January account. Suppose you already have more than $25, then you can call 1-800-769-2512 and ask to transfer it to your account. 

You can use your cash back credits for groceries, subscriptions, gas, gift cards, or your credit card balance. We recommend checking our list of the best no-fee cash back credit cards in Canada.

Avion Points Program

Avion points are the most versatile when it comes to rewards. You can exchange it for merchandise, travel purchases, flights, hotels, gift cards, sending Interac e-Transfer, credit card balance, and more.

You can redeem them online by signing in to your RBC Online Banking and clicking on the Account Summary page. Select the Credit Card account tab and press Avion Rewards, where RBC will take you to the Avion Rewards website.

WestJet Dollars Program

You can only redeem WestJet Dollars for a flight or a vacation package online or using the WestJet app. Remember that there is a minimum amount of 50 WestJet dollars to redeem on every transaction, whether you want to book a one-way ticket or have a quick round-trip getaway in Canada. 

How To Apply For An RBC Student Credit Card In Canada


You must meet specific requirements to apply for any RBC student credit card. First, you must be a Canadian resident with a permanent address and at least the age of the majority in your province or territory. Second, you should have a good credit score rating before applying to avoid rejection. According to Equifax, you need at least a 660 credit score to increase your chances of getting approved. 

To apply for an RBC student credit card, here’s a general walkthrough of the application process:

  1. Decide which RBC student credit card you want to apply for. You can use RBC’s site to compare cards and decide which one is right for you. 
  2. Enter your personal information, such as full name, date of birth, phone number, and address
  3. Place the amount you pay for rent or mortgage (or condo fees), and select which housing type you currently reside in.
  4. Enter your Social Insurance Number, which is optional, but it could help them identify your identity quickly in the application process.
  5. Choose your employment status if you are a part-time student or not.
  6. Fill out the student information, which includes your specialization, field of study, educational level, and graduation year.
  7. Enter your financial information where you need to share your sources of income (e.g., allowance, rental income, investments, pension, or part-time job)
  8. Pick out your identification word or security word so that it would help RBC identify you.
  9. Choose an option if you want to add a card for someone else or add an authorized user to share the benefits of your card.
  10. Submit your application and wait for RBC to send you an email or verification.

RBC Student Credit Card FAQs

Are RBC Student Credit Cards Worth It?

It depends on your spending habits and financial needs if the RBC Student Credit Card is the right choice.

This credit card is worth it if:

  • If you are a student and choose to have a credit card with no annual fees.
  • You prefer to select any rewards program, such as cash back, Avion points, or WestJet dollars. 
  • You want to use your points for everyday purchases, travel, entertainment, or pay your credit card balance.

This credit card may not be worth it if:

  • You want a regular credit card with a credit limit of more than $1,000, and you like to spend more on purchases.
  • You cannot control your spending habits which could cause over-limit fees and higher interest rates.
  • You are unaware of the hidden costs and are not responsible for your expenses, thus negatively impacting your credit score.

What Is The Best Free RBC Student Credit Card In Canada?

There are two best free student credit cards in Canada, RBC Cash Back Mastercard, and RBC ION Visa, since they are both student-friendly and have no annual fees. RBC Cash Back Mastercard is best for its unlimited cash back, while RBC ION Visa is best for its Avion Rewards program. 

What Credit Score Do You Need For An RBC Credit Card?

According to Equifax, the credit score you need to get an RBC credit card should be at least 660. This is because having a good credit score increases your chances of getting approved rather than rejected, even during the application process.

Is It Better To Get A Student Credit Card Or A Normal Credit Card?

It is better to get a student credit card than a normal one if you are a student. It is because most student credit cards offer no annual fees, which is best for students on a tight budget. They also have the same benefits and perks as other regular credit cards and a welcome bonus upon signing up.

Student credit cards are also easier to get since they tend to require lower credit scores or requirements, which is a great way to build your credit rating.   

What Are The Disadvantages Of Student Credit Cards?

The disadvantages of a student credit card are mainly similar to high-interest rates to regular credit cards, credit score impact, cash advance fees, over-limit fees, and monthly minimum payments. 

What Is The Limit Of A Student Credit Card?

The limit of a student credit card is between $500 to $1,000. It depends on the credit card and the bank, so it would be best if you take the time to research and compare the student credit cards offered by different banks. Whenever you're ready to upgrade to a premium credit card, we made a comprehensive list of the best credit cards in Canada.

Are Student Credit Cards Good For Building Credit?

Yes, student credit cards are good for building credit since most of the issuers tend to require a lower credit score or no credit score at all to apply. Since most student credit cards have lower credit limits, you can use this to your advantage to pay your balance regularly, thus, making it less hassle for you to get a loan, credit, or mortgage after you graduate. Additionally, growing your credit score with a student credit card will make it easier to be approved for higher-end cards like the Cobalt, Gold or Platinum cards from American Express later down the line.

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