As long as you’re careful about how you use it, your time spent still in school is a great time to try out what it’s like to have a credit card. You’ll want to find a card that is free and offers you some useful rewards, but that is also accessible to people without much in the way of a credit history. A BMO student credit card is as good a place to start as any, and you even have two possible kinds to choose from.
Two Choices of Cards To Suit Your Needs
Like many providers, BMO currently does not offer a line of credit cards that are intended specifically for student use. Instead, they encourage students to apply for and use their two no-fee card options, the BMO Air Miles Mastercard and the BMO Cash Back Mastercard. Both of these cards are free to own and easy to get, making them excellent for young people just starting out even if they are not intended for their exclusive use.
If you choose the cash back card, you can look forward to 1% cash back on all spending you do – not much, but it can add up a lot over the course of the year. The other card will net you 1 Air Mile for every $20 you spend. Again, this may not sound very impressive initially, but Air Miles are more valuable than they appear and you’ll earn quite a few with your regular credit card spending. You can also double your Air Miles when you shop at the program’s partner retailers, a full list of which is available on their website. Other than this, there is no way to earn extra rewards for either of these cards at this time.
There are also no benefits available for you to take advantage of, but to make up for that somewhat, there are some pretty good welcome bonuses available right now. At the moment, new applicants for the cash back card will get a boosted 5% cash back on all purchases for three months or up to $2,000 in spending (so you’ll end up with up to $100 in total), whereas the Air Miles card will get you up to 800 extra Air Miles for performing certain actions within those same first 3 months. These offers are quite generous for low-level cards and are certainly worth taking advantage of if you have the chance.
Take Note: SPC Cards Are No Longer Available
If we had covered this topic just a few months earlier, we would have had two more cards to tell you about in this article: the BMO SPC Air Miles Mastercard and the BMO SPC Cashback Mastercard. As you might have guessed, these two options were identical to the two described above in all major aspects. The only difference was that you had to provide proof that you were a student to get them, and if you did so successfully, you would also enjoy getting a free SPC membership. This program would have entitled you to a member card that you could have used to secure discounts on many of the things that most students buy regularly, from food and entertainment to clothing and health items. The savings were often substantial if you were a regular patron of many of the brands that included themselves in the program.
These cards were stellar options for young Canadians that provided them with a way to build credit, earn rewards, and enjoy discounts all at the same time. BMO presumably lost their ability to partner with the program at a cost-effective rate, or perhaps too few people were signing up for these cards to make it worth their while to keep them around. It’s a shame that they are no longer available, but the fact remains that this is so. If you want to get a student card from BMO now, you’ll have to settle for the generic options. You can still get an SPC membership separately for yourself if you really want one, though.
Rewards or Cash Back: Which Is Better For You?
Getting a BMO student credit card will require you to choose between the two selections before you can fill out the application. As with any choice you have to make, you should consider the pros and cons of each of these cards before you settle on one in particular and try to get it. Either one is good, but you want to end up with the one that you will best suit your wishes in terms of rewards.
If you’ve never had a credit card before and you’ve always wanted to try using one with a rewards system, this is as good a chance as any to do so. You also will want to stick with the Air Miles card if you have a certain purpose for it in mind, such as helping you to afford your trips back home. However, if you don’t know what you would do with your reward points right from the start, you’ll likely feel frustrated by their limitations when it comes time to use them; if you end up wanting to use them for something that isn’t actually part of the Air Miles reward options, you’ll probably feel slighted by that exclusion and wish that you had opted to receive your rewards in a less restricted manner. The cash back card allows you to make all the decisions about how to spend your rewards yourself, even if it may sometimes provide slightly less in value than the rewards card would for the same amount of spending. It all comes down to what you value: extra spending power or more flexibility.
Don’t Wait To Get Your BMO Student Credit Card
Student credit cards are by definition basic cards; they really only need to provide you with a way to use credit for them to serve their purpose. These ones take things one step further by giving you rewards that you will truly find useful and fun, and all of this even comes at no direct cost to you. They obviously won’t do you much good if you were hoping to score some benefits when you signed up, but most similar cards will only provide minimal extras at most, so they can’t be faulted for that. You might prefer either of the equally excellent BMO student credit card options, but either way, you’ll almost certainly be satisfied with what they have to offer.