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Why Should we Sign up for University-Affiliated Cards?

It’s September and you’re walking on campus to find that there’s tons of attractive booths set up from University intramural sports clubs to photography and language clubs. Most importantly, this is the time when financial institutions and credit card distributors will take advantage of University frosh weeks to introduce University affiliated credit cards.

As a first year University student, why would we even think about signing up for credit in which we barely have enough ability to pay for each month? Simple. This is the time for you to build your credit history. When you begin your University life, you’ve probably just turned 18, the legal age to sign up for one of these cards (which also rock your University logo).

I remember when I was in University, MBNA jumped on this and issued a University of Ottawa affiliated MasterCard. It had the school on it, the University logo, and most importantly, my name was attached to it. How cool was that?

I’m going to openly admit, I did not know too much about the benefits differences in credit cards. Let’s take a look at what the MBNA University of Ottawa MasterCard currently offers:

  • No annual fee
  • No limit to the amount of points you can earn
  • 1 MBNA Rewards point for every $1 spent in eligible purchases
  • 1,000 Bonus MBNA Rewards points after your first eligible purchase
  • Redeem points for cash back, travel or merchandise

My University of Ottawa MasterCard had no sign-up bonus. It kind of kills me inside. But that justifies why students should take advantage of this offer and sign up for their first credit card.

MBNA currently offers University affiliated credit cards for the following Universities in Canada:

Location University
  • York University
  • Seneca College
  • Ryerson University
  • Brock University
  • University of Windsor
  • The University of Toronto
  • University of Ottawa
  • Carleton University
  • Western University
  • University of Guelph
  • McGill University
Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Memorial University
New Brunswick
  • University of New Brunswick
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Calgary
British Columbia
  • University of Victoria
  • The University of British Columbia
Nova Scotia
  • Dalhousie University

All University affiliated credit cards offer the same benefits as the one I mentioned above.

BMO have also introduced their line of University affiliated credit cards equipped with some great benefits.

They have their BMO MasterCard version which offers the following benefits:

  • No annual fee
  • Earn bonus 500 Air Miles reward miles
  • Earn 1 Air Mile reward mile for every $20 spent on eligible purchases
  • Earn 1.25 Air Mile reward miles and 1.5 Air Mile reward miles at National Car Rental per $1 spent

Or you can choose the BMO SPC MasterCard version which allows you to earn Air Miles or CashBack.

For the Air Miles version, you can earn the following benefits:

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 500 bonus Air Miles rewards miles
  • Be entered in a contest to win Free tuition and books
  • Receive discounts at hundreds of Student Price Card retailers
  • Earn 1 Air Mile reward mile for every $20 spent in purchases everywhere
  • Earn 1.25 Air Mile reward miles at Shell and 1.5 Air Mile reward miles at participating National Car Rental

For the CashBack version, you can earn the following benefits:

  • No annual fee
  • Earn bonus $50 Cash Back at sign-up
  • Be entered in a contest to win Free tuition and books
  • Earn 1.0% CashBack on all purchases with no limitations

Okay, so maybe a 1% CashBack isn’t the greatest return out there, but it definitely gets an individual who doesn’t have a credit history well started on creating a positive credit portfolio (and some extra disposable income while you’re at it doesn’t hurt).

BMO currently offers University affiliated credit cards for the following Universities in Canada:

University Credit Card
Acadia University
  • BMO Acadia University MasterCard
  • BMO Acadia University SPC MasterCard
British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)
  • BMO British Columbia Institute of Technology MasterCard
  • BMO British Columbia Institute of Technology MasterCard
Concordia University
  • BMO Concordia University
  • BMO Concordia University SPC MasterCard
Golden Key International Honour Society
  • BMO Golden Key MasterCard
  • BMO Golden Key SPC MasterCard
McMaster University
  • BMO McMaster MasterCard
  • BMO McMaster SPC MasterCard
Mohawk College
  • BMO Mohawk College Alumni MasterCard
  • BMO Mohawk Colleges SPC MasterCard
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)
  • BMO Northern Alberta Institute of Technology MasterCard
  • BMO Northern Alberta Institute of Technology SPC MasterCard
Simon Fraser University
  • BMO Alumni Association of Simon Fraser University MasterCard
  • BMO SFU Alumni Association SPC MasterCard
St. Francis Xavier University
  • BMO St. Francis Xavier University MasterCard
  • BMO St. Francis Xavier University SPC MasterCard
University of Lethbridge
  • BMO University of Lethbridge MasterCard
  • BMO University of Lethbridge SPC MasterCard
University of Manitoba
  • BMO Alumni Association Inc. of the University of Manitoba MasterCard
  • BMO University of Manitoba MasterCard
University of Regina
  • BMO University of Regina Alumni Association MasterCard
  • BMO University of Regina SPC MasterCard
University of Saskatchewan
  • BMO University of Saskatchewan MasterCard
  • BMO University of Saskatchewan SPC MasterCard
University of Waterloo
  • BMO University of Waterloo MasterCard
  • BMO University of Waterloo SPC MasterCard
University of Winnipeg
  • BMO University of Winnipeg MasterCard
  • BMO University of Winnipeg SPC MasterCard
Wilfred Laurier University
  • BMO Wilfred Laurier University Alumni Association MasterCard
  • BMO Wilfred Laurier University SPC MasterCard

You always hear the saying that credit cards are evil and will create unnecessary debt for students. This is only true if you do not know how to choose the correct credit card and how to handle your monthly statements. As a student, you should always be searching for cards which do not ask you for an annual fee. In this case, all University affiliated credit cards satisfy that factor. Depending on what you would like to use your credit card for in the end, you can earn for straight up cash or travel rewards.

For the SPC MasterCard, you can earn additional discounts at food and retail locations by presenting your credit card at the time of purchase, which assists as a student friendly tool.

Although a credit card is great for credit ratings, it should only be used when you have sufficient available funds to pay for your statement every month. Otherwise, it will have a negative effect on your credit portfolio. I would then recommend the usage of a debit card so that you are not carrying large amounts of cash.

So why should we sign up for University affiliated credit cards?

Because it helps us create our credit history and record, so that we can eventually qualify for better credit cards, as well as qualify for loans, such as mortgages.

Because it helps us tie over immediate costs to be paid back in the following month. It’s tough paying for tuition, textbooks and dorm fees at the same time.

Because having a credit card can help with emergencies, in case anything happens and we’re off at school away from home.

And finally, because it’s the coolest thing to have a credit card of your University in your wallet.

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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