Five Best Credit Cards For Fresh-Faced Freshmen

August 18, 2014

What’s freshman year without that first plastic fountain of funds we affectionately call a credit card?

As your first-time student packs up their things and readies themselves for college in the fall, it’s a great time to sit down and take a look at the different student-friendly credit cards available. While toting plastic comes with great responsibility, it can also serve as a lesson in healthy debt management and the first steps on the road to establishing a good credit history.

At Comparsave, you and your freshman can easily apply online for a student credit card with perks; whether it’s movies, discounts or cash back.

Scotiabank SCENE® VISA Card

The low-down: No fee, 19.99 per cent interest rate, one SCENE point for every dollar spent and five SCENE points for every dollar if used at a Cineplex theater or online at Cineplex.com. Redeem for free movies, music and other entertainment rewards starting at 1,000 points.

Why it may be the right pick: With no annual fee and 4,000 introductory points (that’s four free movies), the SCENE card is a great starter rewards card for the cinema-phile. A free movie costs around 1000 points and moviegoers can also get 10 per cent off concession snacks and drinks. Like any rewards card, getting the most bang for your buck falls on not carrying a balance. Not too hard to do when the films pay for themselves, right?

Scotiabank L’earn® VISA card

The low-down: No fee, 19.99 per cent interest on purchases and earn up to 1 per cent Moneyback every year on qualifying purchases.

Why it may be the right pick: Like the SCENE card, the lack of an annual fee makes the L’earn a good starter card. With the card’s accelerated Moneyback program, students can earn rewards fast. Rewards are earned on every purchase made with the card and are paid out annually: 0.25 per cent on the first $500, 0.50 per cent on the next $500, and 1 per cent on purchases above $1,000. It also comes with 20 per cent off rentals at AVIS.

The L’earn card is great for students looking to build up credit while keeping on top of their debt.

Mbna rewards Studentawards credit card

The low-down: No fee, 19.99 per cent interest. Earn one mbna reward point for every eligible dollar spent on retail transactions, and get 1,000 bonus points after the first eligible purchase.

Why it may be the right pick: The mbna rewards credit card is a well-rounded program. The points can be reimbursed for everything from cash back, charitable donations, retailer gift cards, travel to merchandise. What’s more, students get 1,000 bonus points each year on the anniversary date of the credit card account. That gets an A plus for school spirit.

BMO® SPC®‡ AIR MILES®† MasterCard®*

The low-down: No fee, 19.90 per cent interest on purchases, cash advance and balance transfers. One AIR MILE for every $20 spent and for a limited time, 400 bonus AIR MILES after the first purchase. Student Price Card (SPC) discounts ranging from 10 to 15 per cent at hundreds of stores, are also a plus.

Why it may be the right pick: Combining top tier reward programs AIR MILES and SPC this credit card is perfect for the freshman lifestyle. Designed with students in mind, they don’t need a letter of reference or a parent’s signature to apply, and cardholders can “double dip” and earn even more AIR MILES by showing their collector card too where eligible.

BMO® SPC®‡ CashBack MasterCard®*

The low-down: No fee, 19.90 per cent interest on purchases, cash advance and balance transfers. Student Price Card (SPC) discounts ranging from 10 to 15 per cent at hundreds of stores, plus CashBack on eligible purchases.

Why it may be the right pick: Not only will students get discounts at hundreds of their favourite stores, but they’ll also get $1 cash back for every $200 spent on the card. It’s an annual rebate that basically means this no annual fee credit card pays them for making purchases with the card.

Earn High Marks With Smart Decisions

The first steps of independence as a student can be a challenge. School debt accumulates and the costs associated with being away from home for the first time can add up. But smart decisions – and a little savvy credit card sleuthing – can help students find that perfect first credit card and pave the way to fiscal responsibility. It’s the ComparaSave way.



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