If you’ve ever browsed the credit card options available to Canadian students, you’ve probably come across the two BMO SPC Mastercard offerings. They were some of the few Canadian credit cards explicitly marketed to students and provided excellent value for students when they needed it most. As of August 2019, these two cards are no longer being offered, leaving students across the country to seek out new credit alternatives.
What the BMO SPC Card Set Used to Look Like
Until recently, BMO offered two different SPC Mastercards: the BMO SPC Cashback Mastercard and the BMO SPC Air Miles Mastercard. These cards offered 1% cash back on all purchases or 1 Air Mile per $20 spent depending on which version you got, both of which are typical entry-level reward rates. What made the cards special was the extra perk that came with them.
These cards packaged your typical starter credit cards with a free membership to the SPC program. Those letters stand for Student Price Card, and as you might expect, the program gives students access to generous discounts at all sorts of retailers that are popular with young people. When you’re a member, you can get money off clothes, food, fitness items, and much more. Throwing this in with the cards was a great perk for students who rarely have much cash to spare, and it was a great reason for them to choose BMO over any other credit card provider.
The End of the BMO SPC Partnership
These cards have long been a staple of BMO’s lower-end credit card lineup, so it might seem sudden that they are leaving now. Unfortunately, you can already see the announcement of such on SPC’s website on the page formerly devoted to these products. BMO seems to have ended their SPC partnership, therefore requiring them to remove all SPC products from their lines. According to reports, they are technically still providing service for these cards until the end of November 2019, but they are no longer accepting new applicants for either card and both cards are considered to be officially defunct.
In an interesting turn of events, SPC has instead partnered with CIBC for their credit market needs. That provider is now able to offer SPC-paired credit cards like these ones instead of BMO. You can actually already get a free SPC membership with certain CIBC cards right now. For obvious reasons, those cards are still aimed at students.
Some Alternatives to the BMO SPC Mastercard Line
The BMO SPC Mastercard line might not be available anymore, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without the things it was able to offer. You can always switch over to the CIBC SPC cards now if you really want to keep things as close as possible to the way things used to be, but that’s not your only option. You can still purchase an SPC membership for yourself to get access to that program if you want it – it’s only $10, so it’s hardly a massive expense. Buying it yourself gets you the same discounts you would have gotten with the free card version.
If you take that part out of the equation, the BMO SPC cards were basically just low-level cards that were open to accepting students while knowing that their credit history would be lacking. There are other cards around that are equally open to those kinds of applicants. BMO has a few of them themselves, including a cash back card and an Air Miles card that are both identical to the old SPC cards with the exception of the complimentary membership. These are the cards that current holders of the old cards will get when they are finally phased out for good. You don’t even have to stick to BMO, though; you can get similar low-level cards from pretty much any provider, including TD Canada, MBNA and Tangerine. Overall, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a different card suited to your use to replace either of the BMO SPC Mastercard options in spite of this regrettable development.