Everyone has heard of getting reward points just for using a particular credit card; not everyone has experienced that for themselves. The BMO Rewards Mastercard is a great option for you to try out if you want to dip your toes into this space. It’s a simple and reliable card with enough different possibilities when it comes to redeeming points that almost anyone will be happy with it.
About This Card
The BMO Rewards Mastercard is the credit card heading up the bottom end of BMO’s rewards card division. It’s modest in scope, but it isn’t hard to get. You only need a low income (usually around $12,000 a year) and mediocre credit for BMO to consider giving this card to you, so many people who couldn’t necessarily qualify for anything better will probably be able to get this card.
Considering it’s name, it should be no surprise to you that this card also comes with rewards. When you use it, you’ll get 1 reward point for each dollar you spend on any type of product at any store. You can save up these points as much as you want and use them at any time you want (provided you have enough to actually redeem them for something). There’s a whole host of options for things you can do with them, but we’ll get into that more below.
Then there’s the interest rates to consider. At a 19.99% purchase interest rate, this card isn’t offering you a deal on your interest rates, but it isn’t exorbitantly expensive either. This is the price you should expect to pay on balances you’re carrying on pretty much any Canadian credit card you can get. As always, though, you can simply pay off your entire balance every month to avoid paying these fees entirely. Since this is a free card with no annual fee, doing his successfully will allow you to use this card at absolutely zero cost to you.
Like almost all credit cards now, this card will get you extended warranties and purchase protection on anything you buy with it. There is also one single extra benefit attached to it; you’ll get 25% off car rental fees at National or Alamo Rent A Car outlets around the world. You’ll also earn double the points on whatever money you spend there. As a bonus for being a new customer with this card, you could get up to 20,000 reward points to start off your points balance (the first 10,000 will be given to you automatically, but the other 10,000 will require you to spend at least $1,000 in the first 3 months). You’ll also be able to pay just 1.99% interest on balance transfers during your first 9 months, a far cry from the 22.99% you would normally owe. These two offers help you to start off your time as a holder of this card on the right foot, and as long as you don’t waste the opportunities they get you, you should have no problem coming out of the experience happy.
Why It Matters That It’s So Easy To Get
In the modern world, everyone needs to worry about their credit score. This means that everyone needs an entry point to start building credit somewhere. That’s all well and good in principle, but it poses some problems when you get into the logistical aspects of how the common person is supposed to do that. Virtually all loans and most credit cards look at your credit history before approving you, and they expect to see something other than a blank file. If you have nothing to show, you won’t be approved, and you won’t be able to start building your credit. The BMO Rewards Mastercard’s low requirements mean that even if you’re in this situation, though, this card might be able to help you out of it.
This card is even more promising than most entry-level cards because of one thing: its student-specific variation. While students technically can and often do use any credit card that sits at the bottom tier of the market where credit scores and income don’t matter much, they aren’t always approved for even those humble cards without any kind of established credit to go off of. The BMO Rewards Mastercard not only often accepts students’ applications, but also signals to them that they are more likely to be successful in applying for it than most similar cards by offering a dedicated student version of the card, the BMO SPC Mastercard. That card is identical to the standard BMO Rewards Mastercard in every way except for one critical difference – it is only for student applicants. This is because it includes a free membership to the Student Price Card (SPC) program, which is also student-specific.
Aside from the obvious benefits conferred by the SPC memership itself (it could be good for hundreds of dollars in savings in the right hands), what’s particularly good about this extra card variation is what it says about BMO’s willingness to consider applicants who may fall slightly short of their stated requirements on paper. Students are not usually expected to have long and storied credit histories, or any at all really. Because of this, it’s safe to assume that credit history is not a big deal when it comes to BMO’s decision-making process for this card. Income probably doesn’t matter much either because many students make only a few hundred dollars a month in part-time jobs. Overall, it’s a relatively safe bet even for total newbies to the credit market.
A Card For Everyone, With One Exeception
The one thing in your financial background that should still make you a little leery of applying for this card is if you have bad credit. Having no credit history isn’t good, but it isn’t outright proof of poor money management like bad credit is, and that kind of red flag is unlikely to be overlooked during this process. There are other cards that will accept you even if your credit score is very low, but they are niche products intended specifically to serve that purpose; consider seeking them out instead if you were considering this card as a means of rebuilding your credit going forward.
What Your Points Can Get You
Some people hesitate to sign up for a general rewards card because they aren’t sure if they will be happy with the selection of redemption options they will get access to. That’s one of the reasons why cash back cards are growing in popularity over time. However, just because some rewards cards are limited in their functions doesn’t mean that none of them are worth taking a look at. The BMO rewards program is one of the best among Canadian rewards cards, and it will likely prove satisfactory to even the pickiest of potential applicants. There’s virtually no limit to what you can do with your reward points. Just some of the things those points can get you include:
- gift cards to certain retailers
- tickets to concerts, shows, plays and other fun and exciting events
- all kinds of merchandise
- travel packages
- credit on your statement (effectively cash back)
These options already make up one of the most wide-ranging sets of reward redemption options available for credit card reward systems right now, but there’s always a chance that more will be added in the future, too.
Do People Like It?
With all these good aspects of the BMO Rewards Mastercard, you might be wondering why more people aren’t talking about it – or why for the most part, when people do comment on it, it gets middling reviews. This might seem like a bad sign, but it’s actually just an indicator that this card does exactly what it’s supposed to do. It isn’t meant to be the flashiest, most attractive card on the market. It’s a basic option that’s meant to help ease you into the idea of having a credit card, and a rewards one more specifically. It’s supposed to be good, but not great. After all, if it was the best card like it out there, what reason would you have to check out any of BMO’s own higher-tier card options? They have a whole line of rewards cards on the market that are meant to draw in more customers with their better benefits and higher reward rates. If you feel something is lacking with this card, you might try one of those instead. In terms of what this card is meant to deliver, though, it succeeds on all levels.
To Choose or Not to Choose the BMO Rewards Mastercard
Let’s get one thing straight first; if you want a more elevated or complex credit card, the BMO Rewards Mastercard probably isn’t for you. For all its positive qualities, it’s the very definition of a basic card. That said, it’s an excellent starter card that’s hard to go wrong with due to the many ways you can use its rewards. It is both possible and desirable to upgrade to one of this card’s better versions after a little while, but while you’re still working up the credit history to prove you can handle something like that, this card will stand by you and never let you down. That’s really the most you can ask for with a card like this, and it delivers.