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The Student BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* is a popular choice for students looking to build their credit history and earn rewards on their everyday purchases.
With no annual fee and a competitive cash back rate on various categories, it’s a cost-effective way for students who want to explore the land of credit cards. While the BMO student cash back card regularly makes the list of best student credit cards, to get direct deposits, you’ll need a BMO chequing, savings or InvestorLine account.
Who is the Student BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* best suited for?
This card is ideal for students who are new to credit cards and want to build their credit score. It’s a great card if you prefer simplicity and value, with a straightforward cash back program and no annual fee.
The higher earn rate cash back categories target students’ needs with 3% on groceries and 1% on your internet, Netflix and cell phone bills. If you’d prefer travel rewards, check out the BMO AIR MILES credit card for students.
Pros and cons of Student BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*
- No annual fee: This makes it a cost-effective option for students who are looking to build credit without incurring additional expenses.
- Cash back rewards: Earn cash back on everyday purchases, including up to 5% cash back on every purchase in your first three months.
- Credit building: If you’re responsible, you can build a positive credit history, which helps you get better credit cards, lower insurance rates and more in the future.
- Higher interest rates: If you can’t pay off your balance in full, opt for a low interest credit card, or even a prepaid credit card to manage your spending and reduce the risk of accruing interest and debt.
- Limited additional benefits: While there are some benefits, it’s not the full suite of perks, but then again, there’s no annual fee.
- Cash back bonus: Earn up to 5% cash back on every purchase for the first three months. On a qualified spend of up to $2,500, you can earn a maximum $125 cash back.
- Earn 3% cash back on groceries from any store so long as they sell everything from fruit and vegetables to ice cream (your local corner store probably doesn’t qualify).
- Earn 1% on recurring bill payments such as mobile phones, streaming services and other subscriptions.
- Earn 0.5% cash back on everything else.
- Earn cash back on all purchases, but top student categories like groceries and recurring bills.
- No annual fee.
- Extended warranty and purchase protection insurance.
- Purchase protection: Hard goods (laptops, cameras, etc.) purchases you make with the card that are lost, damaged are stolen within 90 days of purchase
- Extended warranty: Get an automatic manufacturer’s warranty extension when you buy an item with your card.
- Save up to 25% with National or Alama rental cars.
- Add another cardholder for free.
- Strong security features and alerts that warn you about fraudulent activities.
- BMO PaySmart™ Installment Plans allows you to make a major purchase and pay it off in instalments.
How the Student BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* compares
Student BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* vs. Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
The Student BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* and the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card both stand out as attractive options if you’re looking for a no-annual-fee credit card with cash back rewards.
The big difference between them is that Tangerine allows you to choose your spending categories so you can earn 2% cash back on recurring purchases (better), but only 2% cash back on groceries (worse). However, if you’re living at home and commuting, maybe it’s better to have your cash back category set as transportation or dining out.
If you get a Tangerine Savings account (where you can earn 1% on your savings), you can pick a third 2% category for more cash back on your credit card. BMO has a no-fee savings account where you can earn 2% on your savings, so we start to split hairs here.
Ultimately, they’re both great ways to earn cash back and build your credit. Pick the card that better matches your spending habits.
Student BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* and the CIBC Aventura Student Visa Card
Both great student cards, just tailored for different interests. Specifically, cash back vs. travel.
The no-annual fee CIBC Aventura Student Visa for students allows you to earn Aventura points on every purchase, which can be redeemed for flights, merchandise and more.
You earn one Aventura point for every $1 spent at eligible gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies, and on travel through the CIBC Rewards Centre, and one point for every $2 spent anywhere else.
Specifically for travel, BMO Rewards points are worth about 0.67 cents whereas one CIBC Rewards point is worth 1 cent (these can fluctuate depending on distance travelled).
If travel is your goal, CIBC also gives you rental car insurance and accident insurance while travelling (and the purchase security and extended warranty insurance the BMO offers). The CIBC Aventura for Students welcome bonus gives you 2,500 points, which is worth about $31.25 in travel, so not quite the same value as the BMO Rewards offer.
As for bundles, you can get the CIBC bank account and pay no monthly fees with its CIBC Smart™ Start account, but there’s no advantage to bundling this account with the Aventura. However, you do get $50 for every student friend you refer to the account (up to $500). It's odd to say, but as Canadians, we tend to stick with our banks for a long time. Carefully consider which program you like, and your goals from a credit card and choose the one that, for now, suits you best. That said, you might also try the CIBC Aeroplan® Visa* Card for Students if you like Aeroplan points.
Student BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* vs. American Express Green Card
If you’re looking for travel and a bit of luxury, the Amex Green Card is a great start. A welcome bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points after you charge $1,000 in purchases to your card in the first three months (that’s $100 towards groceries or concert tickets). You earn one MR point for every $1 spent and an additional point for purchases from Amex Travel online (think hotel, rental cars, flights).
Amex MR points are incredible in that they transfer 1:1 to other loyalty programs like Aeroplan and Avios. While this Amex won’t get you into airport lounges, it does give you advanced access to concert tickets and Amex lounges at concert venues like Budweiser Stage in Toronto. Your points never expire, so when you graduate and your income gives you the opportunity to unlock a better card with more rewards, it’s easy to carry the points over. While neither card charges an annual fee, Amex gives you more perks and privileges and their welcome bonus is better. While Amex isn’t accepted everywhere, its list of merchants is expanding all the time. Consider where you’ll spend your money and get the card you can make the most use of.
Is Student BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* worth it?
Considering its no annual fee, cash back rewards program, and credit-building potential, the Student BMO CashBack® Mastercard® is a solid option for students.
However, carefully weigh the options of other cards, and its associated banking accounts, on the market to know which is best for you. Do you want cash back or travel? Do you need a brick and mortar branch to walk into? Is there a grocery store you should shop with to maximise your earning potential?
What is the interest rate on the Student BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*?+
The interest rate is 20.99% for purchases and 22.99% for cash advances.
Can I earn cash back on all purchases with the Student BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*?+
Yes, you can earn 0.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, with higher rates in specific categories — 3% cash back for groceries and 1% cash back for recurring bill payments.
Is there an annual fee for the Student BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*?+
No, the Student BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* does not have an annual fee, making it a cost-effective option for students.