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Meet Sidekick: A financial tool for International Students

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Some of the most common questions we hear from international students are “How can I bring my savings to Canada?” “What’s the best bank to open an account with?” “Which are the best credit cards for international students?” All of them are very important questions, and we actually cover the answer to one of them in one of our previous articles. However, we want to present you with apotential answer for all those questions, a tool that is made specifically for international students and that has your best interest in mind!

Meet Sidekick!! The all-in-one financial solution for international students in Canada.

Last month, we had the opportunity to meet with Mauricio Korber, a professional who has worked in the international education industry for over 10 years and is currently part of the Sidekick team. He was kind enough to explain to us a little bit more about this financial solution. Here’s what we learned:

First things first. What, exactly, is Sidekick? Sidekick Card is a web portal that provides mobile payments, prepaid credit cards, and financial solutions specifically made for international students. Also, Sidekick is backed up by Mastercard, which means you can access their atm network basically from anywhere.

How does it work? Well, the card works for both students whose parents are financing their studies in Canada and for self-financed students. Sidekick was created to mainly support students who are about to go to Canada and are in need of safely transferring money from their home countries to Canada. That being said, this card will still help students who are already in Canada. They can apply for it too! Although by then, they haveprobably already gone through the struggle of finding a different method to bring some savings with them to Canada. Therefore, one of the biggest pains Sidekick helps ease for international students is that they don’t need to worry about finding a way to send all their savings to Canada or bring them in cash. I mean, who likes the idea of just travelling around with 10,000 dollars in cash? It’s just not ideal.

What’s the process to get a Sidekick Card? Any requirements? The process is super simple and quick! It takes you no longer than 5 to 6 minutes to complete all the steps, and everything can be done through their website. It’s fairly easy to register. You just need to have your email and personal info, like any other common registration form, plus proof that you are an international student. This could be either your study permit (if you have it already), or the LOA (Letter Of Acceptance) you got from your school, and that’s basically the only requirement. They even allow students as young as 8 years old to get one of their cards! (with their parents managing their accounts, of course).

Ok, I have already applied for the card. What’s next? The cards are only delivered in Canada, and they will go directly to your accommodation. Whether it’s a Homestay, student housing, or a place you found on your own, it doesn’t matter. It’s important to mention, though, that they do not send the cards to your school, only directly to your accommodation. Something for you to keep in mind 😊 The other option is, if you are either in Vancouver or Toronto, that you can choose to pick up their card at any PhoneBox location, which is a local telecommunications provider. This option is also the go-to if you need to request a replacement of your card. If you go to PhoneBox, you can request a card replacement for free.

So, once I have the card, do I need to go to Sidekick’s website to access my card information? No, you don’t! Once you have the card, you can download their mobile app from the App Store or Google Play Store and link it to your card. You will then be able to manage your transactions, check balances, and so on.

Is this a free service? It basically is, yes! Their basic package only requires a one-time activation fee of $35 CAD, and after that, it iscompletely free! They do have a premium option as well, which you can subscribe to for just $10CAD per month, and it lets you have up to 3 students in one account! So it’s ideal for parents who are sending their kids to study in Canada. Plus, you also get some extra benefits like their budgeting tool and their wellness support service.

What are the alternatives to Sidekick? As a matter of fact, Sidekick is the alternative to the most common services you know, like PayPal, Xoom, Western Union, or bringing your savings in cash! All of them have their advantages and disadvantages, including Sidekick, so it mostly depends on you to decide which service or alternative is the best for your needs.

It’s so great to hear about products and services like this, and we could probably keep writing and addressing more and more information relevant to this card, but we think it’s better for you to see it for yourself 😉 For more information on Sidekick, please feel free to check out their website at or send them an email at The Sidekick team will be more than happy to help you out.

In case you are thinking about this, this was not a paid article! Although it might seem like it. Thrivve is constantly looking for any information about products, services, or programs that we believe might be useful for your journey as an international student. There’s tons of information that no one ever tells you about before coming to Canada or even once you are here, so we want to be that missing piece for you!

Hearing what Sidekick wants to do and all the support they offer for students, we decided to share their work with you so that, luckily enough, you can have one less thing to worry about 😉

With love, the Thrivve team!

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