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Getting your first “adult” job can be a pretty satisfying milestone in a young person’s life.
Finally, you can stop buying ramen noodles and start planning for the future.
Your finances are a great place to start.
It’s time to start taking on some #AdultLife responsibilities, like TFSAs, RRSPs, mortgages, and car loans.
But if that all seems a little too scary, you could start with something even easier – your credit card.
Now is the perfect time to consider upgrading your student card, with pretty much 0 rewards or perks, to something a little more “grown-up.”
Trust me, it’s worth it.
You’ll be earning more, which means you’ll be spending more, especially if you’re on the market for a new car, a house, an upgraded apartment, or if you’ve been dreaming of travelling the world.
So, why not take advantage of this extra spending and earn some real rewards?
Plus, there are credit cards out there that can give you access to purchase and travel insurance coverage, as well as some pretty great benefits and exclusive perks.
Let your credit card do some work for you!
You’re missing out by sticking with the “tried and true”
You’re loyal… We get it.
But sometimes you just have to say goodbye to things that are no longer serving you.
Take your old student credit card, for instance.
It has no rewards, no perks, and no insurance.
A “real” adult credit card could give you:
- Rewards – flexible rewards, travel rewards, or even cash back,
- Insurance – purchase and travel insurance that will protect you and the things you like to buy, and
- Perks – extra benefits that will make you feel like a baller…
…So, why are you still hanging onto the first credit card you were offered?
With some credit cards, valuable rewards are literally given to you just for using them on the purchases you were going to make anyway.
It’s very rare that you would earn any rewards at all using your debit card, and even if your basic, no fee, student credit card gives you some, they aren’t usually anything to write home about.
But now that you’re celebrating your first “adult” job, you can also celebrate the fact that higher income means considering a credit card with a higher annual fee.
You just need to decide whether you want cash back, travel rewards, or flexible rewards.
Everything costs money.
Even time is money.
And if you ask me, there is nothing better than getting free money.
This is what cash back cards can do for you – they put money back in your pocket!
As one of the best cash back cards available on the Canadian market right now, you could earn:
- 4% cash back on gas and groceries,
- 2% cash back on drugstore and recurring bills, and
- 1% cash back on everything else.
Up to 4% cash back on every purchase made? I’ll take it.
Another top contender in this category, is the
This card will give you a solid 3% return on all your recurring bills (which, FYI, is the highest earn rate for this category on the Canadian credit card market right now), plus that same 3% on groceries and gas purchases.
So, if you’re putting a lot of recurring bill payments on your credit card, this could be the right card for you.
Or maybe you dream about travelling.
Whether you want to visit new places all over the world or simply go to the next province over for a little weekend getaway, a travel credit card could help you achieve those dreams faster than you could have imagined.
Travel rewards can help you pay for flights, hotel bookings, vacation packages, and the like.
One of the absolute best travel credit cards in Canada is the
For every dollar you spend on this card, you get:
- 5 points on eats (groceries and restaurants),
- 2 points on travel (gas, public transit, and all that jazz),
- 1 point on everything else.
If Amex’s limited acceptance concerns you, the
Are you as indecisive as I am?
If so, flex rewards are for you.
Often, cards lock you in on certain redemption restrictions. For example, with store cards, you can only redeem your points/rewards at those particular stores.
But with flex rewards, you can use your points or miles a lot more freely with many more redemption options.
As an example, the
Related: Best Gas Credit Cards in Canada
Travel and purchase insurance
On top of valuable rewards, an upgraded credit card could give you some peace of mind, with complimentary insurance coverage.
Picture this scenario:
It’s the middle of winter back home in Canada, but you just got off a flight to your dream, tropical vacation destination.
You’re waiting for your luggage in the baggage claim area, looking forward to changing out of your winter clothes, slapping on some sunscreen, and heading to the beach.
And then it happens…
Standing there, in 15 layers of clothing, it hits you… your luggage isn’t coming.
Normally, you would need to cross your fingers and hope your baggage shows up before you need to pay to replace all of your things.
But, if you paid for your flight with your credit card, your card issuer will actually cover the cost of replacing the things you lost (up to a certain amount.)
How cool is that?
If having that kind of insurance coverage piques your interest, you should really consider this card.
Plus, as the best travel Mastercard in Canada, you’ll be getting so many other great perks and benefits.
Get all the details here:
Credit card rewards, travel and purchase insurance… these are great – but the benefits of having a premium credit card in your wallet don’t stop there.
Some cards give you access to some really sweet exclusive perks.
Front of the Line
If you love a good concert or show, all cards issued by American Express have “Front of the Line” ticket access, which means you have first access to all of those really hard-to-get, envy-worthy tickets.
Rental car discounts
Now that you’re an adult, you can actually rent a car.
And as cool as that is, it can also be kind of expensive.
Thankfully, Avis gives discounts or preferred rates to most cards from:
- TD, and
Added bonus: Many premium credit cards come with Rental Car Collision insurance. With this, you’ll be able to waive the expensive insurance that car rental companies offer, but still have the coverage.
A common perk for most premium cards is concierge service, which is basically like having your own personal assistant at all times.
A feature like this could really help you feel like you’ve finally made it.
Added benefits on your card’s anniversary
To add to that healthy glow of self-fulfillment, why not enjoy a free night’s stay in a fancy hotel?
Now that you’re brimming with confidence, it’s possible that the only thing bringing you back down to earth is the old rust-mobile you still drive.
There are credit cards out there, like the
All of these perks are just a few of the reasons why you should put your super lame student card to rest.
Why you should upgrade, but keep the old one
One thing that I wish I knew when I decided to upgrade my credit card was to keep the old one – even if you don’t use it anymore.
Keeping your oldest standing credit card will actually help your credit score. Most useful dust-collector ever.
Your credit score is a 3-digit number that helps lenders decide whether or not you’re a desirable candidate for a loan.
These 3 numbers are determined by an algorithm that uses your credit report information to provide insight into whether or not you’re able – and likely – to pay off your debts.
A determining factor of your credit score is the average age of your credit. In other words, the number of years that you’ve been borrowing and making your payments on time.
Because of this, keeping your oldest credit card around will really help with the age of your credit.
Just be sure to use it every few months so that the account doesn’t close on you. You could even use it for a monthly subscription service, so you know it’s getting some use.
The bottom line
Student credit cards can be a great stepping stone to responsible personal finances for young adults.
But sometimes we forget that there are better, bigger things out there waiting for us.
It’s time to take off our training wheels.
Make sure the credit cards you have are working for you.
We would love to hear from you
What was your first “real” credit card?
Do you still have it in your wallet?
What do you think the best credit card is for someone with their first real “adult” job?
Please let us know in the comments below.