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Most Student Credit Cards Are Shockingly Mediocre – But There is an Exception

student credit cardMost Canadian student credit cards offer horrible value. Why? Because they reward big spenders, not students on tight budgets. You may have one of those cards in your wallet right now.

But what if that wasn’t always the case. What if there was a credit card that offered students more rewards and swag than even the most elite travel cards could offer – all on a student’s budget. Bull malarkey you say? Hardly.

We searched high and low for credit cards that were designed for students from the ground up (no income or credit history required, rich rewards without huge spending, instant redemption to help now not later, perks designed for students not CEO’s). We were shocked. There was only one student card that met our criteria of a truly rewarding credit card designed specifically for students – The no-fee BMO SPC MasterCard.

The SPC card is not exactly a secret – it has 1.1 million student members. It’s the largest and most popular student savings program in Canada for a reason – it offers unparalleled value to students. The credit card makes SPC membership free and puts the program on steroids.

We actually talked to the folks at BMO and SPC to try to get a better understanding of the SPC credit card program and how students can squeeze every last drop of value out of it. Here’s the result of our deep dive.

How Can Students Get The Most Value Out of The BMO SPC MasterCard?

  1. Instant cash discounts: Get instant savings of 10%-15% just by showing your BMO SPC MasterCard at thousands of Canada’s most popular retail stores (Aldo, American Eagle, Forever 21, GAP, Old Navy, Urban Outfitters, H&M, The Source, McDonald’s, Pizza Pizza, Taco Bell, etc..)
  2. Cashback or Air Miles rewards: On top of the 10%-15% cash discounts, you get to choose whether you want an additional 1% cashback on all purchases or Air Miles rewards!
  3. Triple dip: This is a cool hack. On one purchase, you can get your 10%-15% cash discount for showing your BMO SPC MasterCard, get Air Miles rewards for using your credit card to make the purchase, plus earn additional Air Miles rewards for swiping your Air Miles loyalty collector card – all on the same transaction!
  4. BMO Extra deals: This is a new program just for BMO SPC MasterCard holders, you can’t get it if you only have the SPC card. Download the app on your phone and get access to tons of cool promos and contests for concerts, movies, sporting events curated by SPC exclusively for BMO SPC MasterCard customers.
  5. Credit Card Sign-up Bonus: The BMO SPC MasterCard is currently offering a $60 bonus to new cashback cardholders, or 500 Air Miles if you choose the BMO SPC Air Miles MasterCard. With no annual fee, it’s a risk free offer for free money. We don’t pass up on free.
  6. Free Membership: Getting the no fee BMO SPC MasterCard gives you free automatic enrollment in SPC, without having to carry a separate SPC card, or renew each year. That’s a savings of $10 in membership fees every year!

Why Is The BMO SPC MasterCard a Great Student Credit Card?

The BMO SPC MasterCard was designed for students from the ground up. That’s why BMO partnered with SPC. SPC gets students. BMO gets payments. Nice fit. Here’s why the BMO SPC MasterCard gets our ranking as the best student credit card in Canada:

  1. Easy Approval: The BMO SPC MasterCard does not require any prior credit history or part-time income. You may think that’s obvious, but many student credit cards actual require part-time income! For example Scotia not only requires part-time income, but also proof of income to get one of its student credit cards! TD will only offer a student with no income a vanilla card with no rewards.
  2. No Fees: Students don’t have spare change. There shouldn’t be any annual fees associated with a student credit card.
  3. Instant Rewards: Students need to have their tight budgets helped out today, not tomorrow. The BMO SPC MasterCard get you instant 10%-15% off at Canada’s best retailers and restaurants, just for showing your card. SPC’s BMO Extra Deals gets you instant access to concerts like Osheaga, WayHome, Veld, OVO and more…
  4. Meaningful Rewards With Low Spend: How are students supposed to get meaningfully rewarded if they only spend $4,500 a year on their credit card, earning 1% cashback? That’s $45 in rewards a year. Big deal. If you spend $4,500 a year on your credit card at SPC merchants you could save over $500 a year – that’s huge!As SPC told us themselves, “tell me any other credit card that’s going to help you save and collect that much money.” We tried, we couldn’t.
  5. Zero Liability: Unlike debit cards, where it’s harder to recover stolen money, any unauthorized or fraudulent transactions on your credit card are 100% covered by BMO. If you order and pay for a computer online, and it never gets delivered, BMO is on the hook for the expense.
  6. Protection: Many credit cards include free extended warranty and purchase protection. That means you buy sun glasses and they break or get stolen in the first 90 days, you’re covered. Your washing machine breaks in year two, you’re covered.

Don’t Avoid Student Cards, Use Them Intelligently

We’re not here to shove credit down unsuspecting student throats. But we’re not here to coddle you like infants either.

The fact is, whether you’re looking to build credit, maximize rewards, or protect your purchases there’s no denying the importance or convenience of credit cards – there are 41 million active Canadian credit card accounts for a reason.

So instead of throwing out the baby with the bath water, and avoiding credit cards altogether, learn how to use them intelligently.

Perhaps the best way to take advantage of credit cards smartly, is to use them as payment vehicles, not credit tools. To do so, simply set-up pre-authorized payments, so that the entire balance of your credit card gets paid down automatically from your checking account every month – yes you can do that. You’ll never carry a balance, pay interest or fall in to debt and you’ll develop a stellar credit history.

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