BMO Mastercard for Students Review

  • 5 min read

Student credit cards can be an excellent option for individuals who are pursuing post-secondary education. Not only do they provide a way to help pay for unexpected expenses  while away from home and at school, but they also offer a way for young adults to build their credit history for future major puchases like a car or home. The Bank of Montreal (BMO) offers two Mastercard options for students. Both have a rewards component to them, and both provide enticing perks.

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for Students

The BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for students is a good choice for students looking for that first credit card. The welcome offer includes 5% cash back on all spending within the first three months the account is open. Cash back is then earned via a three-tier system. Grocery purchases charged on the Mastercard earn cardholders 3% in cash back, while 1% is collected on regular recurring bill payments. It’s important to note that there is a cash-back cap on the welcome offer, grocery, and recurring bill payments of $500. After a client hits that mark, 0.5% of cash back is earned on all other purchases.

Cash back is applied at the end of each year on a client’s BMO CashBack Mastercard statement. If a cardholder wants this payout earlier, a minimum of $25 cash back needs to be earned before it can be redeemed.

There’s also an introductory interest rate that is included with the welcome offer on this student Mastercard. Clients get 1.99% on balance transfers over the first nine months of opening the account, and a 1% fee is applied to the balances that are transferred.

BMO AIR MILES† Mastercard* for Students

With Air Miles being one of the first rewards-based customer loyalty initiatives, students may be familiar with the program and gravitate towards it when it comes to a credit card option. The BMO AIR MILES Mastercard* for Students has a robust welcome offer of its own, giving new cardholders 800 bonus Air Miles when the account is opened. That’s a value of $80 that can be used as Air Miles cash or  towards gift cards, merchandise, special events, travel, and more.

After that, customers earn 1 Air Mile for every $25 spent on the Mastercard. Clients collect three-times the Miles when they spend $25 at participating Air Miles partners, and currently, five-times the Air Miles when buying groceries at IGA, Foodland, Sobey’s Safeway, Urban Fresh, and other participating grocery retailers. This offer extends until May 31, 2021.

The number of Air Miles collected via this Mastercard can be viewed on a client’s monthly statement or the BMO Mobile Banking app. For customers who also have an Air Miles loyalty card separate from their Mastercard, all Air Miles earned can be found by signing into airmiles.ca. Air Miles do not expire as long as a customer’s credit card is active and in good standing.

Both BMO Mastercards offer Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty on these student credit cards, and clients receive up to 25% off on car rentals from participating Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental locations. Plus, the BMO CashBack and BMO AIR MILES Mastercards for students comes with no annual fee, and the interest rates on both cards are standard at 19.99% for purchases and 22.99% for cash advances. Lastly, applying for either card is easy and quick! Potential clients can go to the BMO website and fill out an online application. Approvals take under 60 seconds, in most cases.

Additionally, these BMO Mastercard products hold their own when compared to the competition. CIBC has two no-annual-fee student credit cards in the form of an Aeroplan Visa where clients can collect points and redeem them on travel, merchandise, gift cards, and more, as well as, a Dividend Visa, which offers 2% cash back on groceries, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Both of these CIBC Student Visas also have welcome offers. The Aeroplan Visa Card for Students gives 10,000 bonus Aeroplan points after the first purchase is made, which equals out to a one-way economy class short-haul flight within North America. Meanwhile, the Dividend Visa Card for Students offers $30 cash back after the first purchase is made. The interest rates for purchases and cash advances on these cards are the same as what BMO’s Student Mastercards offer.

Scotiabank also provides two credit card products that are exclusively geared for post-secondary students, with no annual fee. Scotia’s L’earn Visa offers 1% cash back on all purchases, while their SCENE Visa Student card allows clients to earn SCENE points that are redeemed for free movies or discounts at participating restaurants. Linked to Cineplex’s loyalty program, customers collect five points for every $1 spent at Cineplex or cineplex.com and one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases. The interest rate on purchases is 19.99% and 22.99% for cash advances. Scotiabank does not have sign-up bonuses for either of these student Visas.

Visit to learn more about the BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for students and BMO AIR MILES Mastercard* for Students.

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Christopher - BSc, MBA

With over two decades of combined Big 5 Banking and Agency experience, Christopher launched Underbanked® to cut through the noise and complexity of financial information. Christopher has an MBA degree from McMaster University and BSc. from Western University in Canada.