Are you a starving student who wants to learn about the best student discounts in Canada? From dining out to buying a new laptop or even booking a flight, there are plenty of ways to save money as a college student.
Going to university is becoming steadily more expensive for students in Canada. International students have been hit especially hard by rising inflation and the already high cost of international tuition, according to CTV news.
One of the best ways to give yourself some extra financial breathing room is to cash in on your student discounts. 10% off here and 20% there can all add up at the end of the year, helping you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Many students are surprised to find out that some of their favourite retailers, restaurants, and more offer generous student discounts. Some companies even allow students to stack their student discounts on top of other in-store discounts and clearance sales, which can help students save even more.
Usually, the best way to find student discounts in Canada is to simply ask. Just as many businesses offer daily discounts to first responders, veterans, and military members, many also offer a set percentage off for Canadian students with a valid student ID card.
During the back-to-school season, students may find special discounts on select items, such as:
- School supplies
- Clothing & backpacks
- … and more
If you’re unsure, it never hurts to check online. Companies that offer student discounts usually have a clearly outlined policy posted on their website. In the list of student discount programs below, I’ve done my best to share links to these policies so that you can see them for yourself.
The following student programs are all worth signing up for. While some companies may give you a discount for proving your student status using a valid student ID card, many will also want to see that you’re enrolled in a student discount program such as SPC or ISIC.
Here are the best student discount programs for post-secondary students.
- Sign Up: ISIC Card
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is a virtual student ID that verifies your student status and provides access to over 150,000 student discounts in Canada and internationally (making it great for foreign exchange students).
It covers categories such as travel, culture, entertainment, food, shopping and more.
There are three card options:
- ISIC for full-time students
- IYTC for those under 30
- ITIC for full-time teachers
Each card has its own set of benefits. The ISIC (which is the most popular) costs $20 and an extra $5 for a physical card and is valid for one year. Proof of full-time student status and identity is required for enrollment.
- Sign Up: SPC Membership Card
The Student Price Card (SPC) offers students discounts between 10-30% off at major retailers and big-name brands like:
- …and more
It can be used for both in-store purchases and online purchases. SPC is, by far, Canada’s largest student discount program, and membership is required to redeem many of the discounts listed below. The card costs $11.99 yearly and is available to secondary and post-secondary students ages 13 or older.
- Note – Students who bank with CIBC can get a free SPC membership!
- Sign Up: Student Beans Registration
Student Beans is 100% free to sign up for and connects students with discounts ranging between 10-50% off at major retailers like Gym Shark, Wix, Samsung, Costco, and more. Offers vary from one month to the next, depending on the promotions offered by Student Beans’ affiliates.
- Sign Up: UNiDays Registration
UNiDAYS is very similar to Student Beans and offers a range of discounts, coupons, and rebates for eligible students in Canada. UNiDAYS is free to join and only requires students to sign up with a valid student ID and a valid school email address.
Ready to do some back-to-school shopping? The following name-brand retailers offer student deals for online and in-store shoppers.
Some retailers only require shoppers to show a student ID, while others may require you to use your SPC membership.
You know what’s better than Nike loyalty discounts? Nike’s student discount program! Whether you’re looking for new trainers, a fresh windbreaker, or just some comfy tees, Nike offers up to 15% off at select locations for SPC members. This offer cannot be paired with other Nike loyalty discounts, though.
H&M is a great place to find low-cost, stylish clothing. From activewear to the latest styles, this retailer allows you to dress great without breaking the bank. SPC members can receive up to 10% off when shopping online.
Levi’s makes some of the most durable jeans in my wardrobe, and I have several pairs that have lasted me for years as I’ve travelled around the globe. SPC members can save up to 15% with Levi’s.
Old Navy isn’t my favourite retailer, but they do have decent prices on everyday clothes and outerwear. SPC members are eligible for free shipping on all Old Navy online orders over $50.
Soaps, candles, lotion, bath bombs… Bath & Body Works has almost every toiletry you can think of. SPC members can get up to 10% off of their purchases.
In my experience, AE jeans have been just as durable as my Levi’s. SPC members can receive great student discounts of up to 10% off of their purchases from American Eagle and its sister store, Aerie.
Foot Locker has a great selection of athletic shoes, and SPC members can save between 15-20% when they purchase at least $99 worth of goods.
Reebok is a bit more affordable than Nike and offers very similar quality. The company offers a generous 30% discount to all university students with a valid ID and student email address. No SPC membership is needed!
I’ve purchased some of my favourite jackets at Gap. With an SPC card, students can get free shipping on an online purchase over $50.
New Balance is known for producing some of the most comfortable running shoes and cross-trainers on the planet. SPC members can save up to 15% on an online purchase. You can save 5% on sale items.
Looking for hard-to-find kicks, stylish boots, and your favourite streetwear brands? You can’t go wrong with Journeys. You can save $10 on a purchase of $75 or more with your SPC card.
MAC is one of the largest (and most reputable) makeup and cosmetic retailers in North America. SPC members can save up to 15% on all online orders.
Roots makes durable, high-quality outerwear designed to withstand Canada’s harshest winters. During special promotion periods, SPC members can save up to 15% when they shop online.
Thankfully, most students aren’t in school year-round. Summer is a great time to take advantage of student deals on flights, hotels, and tour packages!
Students with an SPC or ISIC membership can save up to 15% when they book a hotel or travel package through Choice Hotels. If you have an SPC membership, you’ll need to call ahead to prove that you have a valid SPC membership.
From plane tickets to hotels, Booking.com offers incredible deals (up to 50% off) on student fares to domestic and international students with a valid SPC membership card.
FlightHub is similar to Booking.com and offers a variety of special student discounts to post-secondary students and SPC members.
If you’re a student in Toronto between ages 13 and 19, you’re eligible for reduced monthly fees on your TTC pass. This is a great way to save money on gas and Uber rides.
Looking to take a tropical vacation and get away from the cold? Contiki offers up to $150 off on select travel packages to eligible college students who are enrolled in ISIC.
GO Transit offers low-cost transportation to eligible students at select universities in Canada. You’ll need an official student ID card and a PRESTO card to be considered.
Priceline is a great place to find deals on flights, hotels, and other travel expenses. With an SPC membership, you’ll be eligible for additional rebates on last-minute travel packages on the platform.
Need to get away? Students pursuing their post-secondary education can receive 50 travel credits when purchasing an Escape Economy ticket. If the Escape seats are unavailable, students may receive 50% off standard Economy tickets.
Need a new laptop? How about discounts on the latest Adobe and Microsoft programs? Keep on reading to see the best places to redeem discounts on electronics and software in Canada.
Canadian students with a valid student email address can receive up to 10% off select electronics and Microsoft devices. Additionally, students may receive free access to Microsoft Office 365 Education, giving them access to programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.
From the high-performance Dell XPS and Alienware computers to the standard Dell laptops, this manufacturer is known for making some very reliable devices.
University students may receive a free six-month Disney+ membership and a free mouse after purchasing an eligible device.
HP offers a range of discounts for students shopping online. You can save on laptops, desktops, printers, and everything in between. Deals and promotions vary, so you’ll have to check HP Canada’s online store.
Those with an SPC membership can receive a 10% student discount on select Samsung devices, including smartphones, Samsung Chromebook laptops, and more.
Apple offers special education pricing for students and teachers. Those eligible can receive up to $250 off of select Macbooks, iMacs, iPhones, and other Apple devices.
University is a great place to start documenting your life, and what better way to document than with a compact, durable, waterproof GoPro camera?
Students enrolled with UNiDAYS can receive up to 3% off of their first GoPro and get a free SD card along with it.
If you’re pursuing a degree in the arts, then there’s a good chance that you’ll be using Adobe products such as Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, and more. Eligible students can receive up to 60% off of their first-year subscription to Creative Cloud.
Razer makes some of the sleekest mouses, headsets, and gaming/PC tech in the industry. Student Beans members can save between 5-15% on select products when shopping online.
Although they’re a bit pricey, Lenovo makes some seriously great computers for professionals and students alike. Students can save 5% on select computers, keyboards, tablets, and more.
Unfortunately, many university dorms don’t feature a full-fledged kitchen where you can cook your own meals. Even if you do have a kitchen, you likely won’t have time to cook every day as a full-time student.
Here are some of the best student discount programs to take advantage of when dining in or eating out.
I’ve always liked the dough that Papa John’s uses on its pizza crust. SPC members can save up to 25% on their orders at select Papa John’s locations (not valid in Ontario).
Personally, I prefer Papa John’s… but to each their own. New SPC members can get a $4 slice with a dip when they scan their membership card at participating locations.
Upgrade your meal with a free Fries Supreme when you scan your SPC card or app at the checkout counter. These loaded fries are some of the best fast-food fries I’ve had recently.
Craving some southern fried chicken? SPC members can save 10% on Big Box Meals when they scan their digital or physical card. It may not sound like much, but every bit adds up!
Zola offers a 20% order discount to verified SPC members, making it one of the best deals that students can get. This promotion isn’t available on holidays, though, so it’s best used during the week.
It’s hard to beat Marble Slab Creamery’s thick, creamy ice cream. SPC members can receive up to 10% off their entire order, whether they’re ordering custom sundaes, milkshakes, or ice cream cakes.
I used to live on Subway subs when I was in university. Participating Subway locations offer up to 10% off for university students when they show their student ID at checkout.
Pulling a late-nighter? Save up to 10% on handcrafted coffee drinks with your SPC membership!
Bulk Barn is a great place for students to save on everyday snacks and groceries. The wholesale retailer also offers a 15% student discount every Wednesday to students who show their student IDs.
SPC members can save 10% on Burger King Combo meals at participating franchise locations. It may not be the healthiest, but it’s definitely filling.
SPC members can save 10% on any order purchased from Bear Sushi, which is a great way to satisfy your sushi and hibachi cravings. This promotion doesn’t apply during “Hungry Hour.”
Blenz Coffee is a great spot to order an espresso-laden beverage that will keep you awake for your late-night study session. You can upsize your drink to the next size for free when you scan your SPC card.
Students in Ottawa can save up to 15% on their orders at Zak’s Diner using their SPC card. This promotion is not available during the holidays.
Just because you’re busy studying doesn’t mean that you should neglect your health. A healthy body supports healthy brain function. With that in mind, here are some of the best health and fitness discounts students can get in Canada!
Beachbody has a host of online training courses, many of which can be completed at home without having to go to the gym. SPC members can get a free 14-day membership to Beachbody online to see if it’s right for them.
The YMCA offers discounted membership to secondary and post-secondary students in Canada. From swimming pools, basketball gyms, and full-fledged gyms, the YMCA is a great place to meet fellow athletes, play recreational sports, and stay in shape.
SPC members can save 10% on most non-pharmacy items at Rexall drugstores, which makes it great for a quick grocery run or when you need to buy some over-the-counter medicine.
When used responsibly, credit cards are a great way to start building credit.
Building your credit score and history is important. It affects your ability to purchase a home, finance a vehicle, and even how much of a security deposit you’ll need to put down when renting an apartment.
Here are some of the best credit cards for students to look into.
- Learn More: Tangerine Card
This credit card offers cashback on everyday purchases with no annual fee. Cardholders can earn up to 2% cashback in two designated categories and 0.5% cash back on all other purchases. To be eligible for this card, you’ll need a minimum annual income of $12,000 and at least a 600 credit score.
- Learn More: KOHO Card
The KOHO card is a no-cost spending and savings account with a prepaid Visa card that students can sign up for. It offers a 0.5% cash back on all purchases that can be instantly redeemed.
- Learn More: Neo Credit Card
The Neo Mastercard is a card option offering an average of 5% unlimited cashback for shopping at retailers across Canada. With no annual or over-limit fees, users can also adjust their credit limit as needed. Alternatively, Neo also offers a secured credit card for those who are just starting to build their credit score and history.
- Learn More: Simplii Financial Review
The Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card is a great starter card for students and provides cashback ranging from 0.5% to 4% on all transactions, with no annual fee. Applicants need to show a minimum personal annual income of $15,000. The card has a purchase interest rate of 19.99% and a cash interest rate of 22.99%.
- Learn More: BMO CashBack Mastercard
The BMO Cashback Mastercard for Students is an excellent beginner student credit card. It offers unlimited 1% cashback on all purchases with no annual fee and only requires a minimum personal annual income of $12,000. It has a 19.99% interest rate, which is fairly standard for student credit cards.
Additionally, cardholders can take advantage of exclusive discounts and offers from popular brands and retailers in Canada.
- Learn More: AMEX Cobalt Review
The American Express Cobalt Card is a great option for students who have already built their credit score to at least a ‘fair’ rating.
Cardholders earn five points per dollar spent on eligible food and drink purchases, two points per dollar spent on eligible travel and transit purchases, and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Although no-fee online banks have become popular in recent years, many of the “big-five” banks offer discounted monthly fees or fee-free daily banking for students.
- Learn More: Sign Up Here
The Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan offers a free chequing account to full-time students under age 25. Features include:
- Unlimited transactions
- Overdraft protection
- Free SPC membership
Students can also receive discounts on other banking products. After age 25 or once you’re no longer a student, your student bank account will be upgraded to a standard Scotiabank chequing account, which will incur monthly fees.
- Learn More: Sign Up Here
BMO’s Performance Student Bank Account is free for all full-time students under 25. You’ll receive a $100 cash bonus upon sign-up and can take advantage of unlimited Interac E-Transfers, daily transactions, and receive a $40 rebate on annual fees charged for BMO credit cards.
- Learn More: TD Student Chequing Account
TD’s Student Chequing Account is a straightforward, simple student bank account that can be paired with TD’s Student Savings Account. Both accounts are fee-free and offer unlimited transactions and unlimited Interac E-Transfers.
As you can see, many of these discounts require you to have a valid SPC membership. However, the fees you’ll pay for the SPC membership are menial compared to how much you can save on every in-store purchase and when you make a purchase online.
Even without an SPC card, you’ll still be eligible for several discounts by presenting your student ID. Aside from shopping, students can also take advantage of free art gallery tours, museum days, and more in Canada’s major cities.
Asking for a student discount is a great way to save 10% or more on daily purchases. Looking for more great ways to save? Check out my list of the best Canadian coupon sites next!