Personal Finance

I Need My First Ever Credit Card - Student

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  • Jul 29th, 2013 3:43 pm
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[OP]
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Jul 8, 2010
6732 posts
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York

I Need My First Ever Credit Card - Student

Hey guys. I figured it's time for me to get my first credit card to start racking up my credit history and get my credit score high. I won't be using it much though, only for online purchases which are once a month, if not twice. I only pay with cash/debit when in store and will continue to do so, even with a credit card. Strictly will be used for online purchases ONLY. With that said, what would be the best option for me? I have 0 income but some money in my bank account, the card must have absolutely NO charges/month/year. The % I don't care about much, I know 100% I'll be able to pay off whatever amount I have on it every month, which will be miniscule. Any suggestions? Would a student card be best? Thank you.
89 replies
Deal Fanatic
Apr 20, 2011
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ON
Suggestion: Go to your home bank branch, in-person.
Ask them what the best card they can give you is.
With little income and no credit history, you may not be approved from institutions that don't know you, but often your local branch can get you a credit card with a $500-2000 limit for students.
There was another thread about a guy denied in similar situation when he applied online. In-person is your best bet.

Once you've had that card and built up some history, then you can look into getting one with perks (cashback, reward points, etc). But that should be the bottom of your list.
Sr. Member
Feb 28, 2013
945 posts
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Toronto
Not using your credit card for in store purchases and insisting on cash or debit is stupid. You're missing out on free rewards and it is money you're going to spend anyway. Does it really make that difference if it goes from your bank account to the grocery store rather than the bank account to the credit card company?

Most banks will waive annual fees for students so, decide what rewards you want and get the card that works for you.
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Mar 3, 2002
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http://www.mbna.ca/myschool.html#s

1% cash back with no limits or tiers. Most bank cash back cards have tiers (and cash is king and the most flexible of all rewards)
Receive $10 for your first purchase; get an $10 on your anniversary date

If you can't get this card (because it's very easy to get as a college/university student), you probably can't get anything except secured.
This card does not necessarily require income.

If you apply, apply through Great Canad Rebates (google it). You will get $60 after approval.
Deal Addict
Nov 29, 2005
1290 posts
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Winnipeg
There may be better suited cards out there, but my credit union offered up a basic cc with zero credit history when i was 18 and a limit of $200 provided i took out at least a 1 year term GIC for that amount. Ditched it 1 year later for better rewards card. Key is to use it for everything but treat it like a debit card (don't buy unless you have the money)

Talk to your bank.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Jul 8, 2010
6732 posts
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York
aqnd wrote:
Jul 24th, 2013 3:47 pm
Suggestion: Go to your home bank branch, in-person.
Ask them what the best card they can give you is.
With little income and no credit history, you may not be approved from institutions that don't know you, but often your local branch can get you a credit card with a $500-2000 limit for students.
There was another thread about a guy denied in similar situation when he applied online. In-person is your best bet.

Once you've had that card and built up some history, then you can look into getting one with perks (cashback, reward points, etc). But that should be the bottom of your list.
Good idea on going to my home branch that knows me. I haven't had a dime in that chequing account in a year though, as I've switched banks but left that account open just in case. A $500 limit is MORE than enough.
Beans1234 wrote:
Jul 24th, 2013 3:49 pm
Not using your credit card for in store purchases and insisting on cash or debit is stupid. You're missing out on free rewards and it is money you're going to spend anyway. Does it really make that difference if it goes from your bank account to the grocery store rather than the bank account to the credit card company?

Most banks will waive annual fees for students so, decide what rewards you want and get the card that works for you.
And most banks require me to have a credit history/minimum income level to get those reward cards.
Webslinger wrote:
Jul 24th, 2013 3:50 pm
http://www.mbna.ca/myschool.html#s

1% cash back with no limits or tiers. Most bank cash back cards have tiers (and cash is king and the most flexible of all rewards)
Receive $10 for your first purchase; get an $10 on your anniversary date

If you can't get this card (because it's very easy to get as a student), you probably can't get anything except secured.
This card does not necessarily require income.

If you apply, apply through Great Canad Rebates (google it). You will get $60 after approval.
Wow cool, never knew MBNA had this, thanks.
Bunkhouse wrote:
Jul 24th, 2013 3:53 pm
There may be better suited cards out there, but my credit union offered up a basic cc with zero credit history when i was 18 and a limit of $200 provided i took out at least a 1 year term GIC for that amount. Ditched it 1 year later for better rewards card. Key is to use it for everything but treat it like a debit card (don't buy unless you have the money)

Talk to your bank.
The majority of student cards don't offer much in rewards/cash back purchases. While I can control my spending and can treat the credit card as a debit card, is it worth it assuming I get nothing back? Would my credit history be better if I spend EVERYTHNG on credit card and pay it off every month or if I spend just 1 or 2 purchases a month on the card and pay it back?
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Mar 3, 2002
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dankup wrote:
Jul 24th, 2013 4:06 pm
While I can control my spending and can treat the credit card as a debit card, is it worth it assuming I get nothing back?
With the MBNA Student Rewards MC, you would be gaining 1% cash back on everything. So it would make sense to use it for everything possible.
Would my credit history be better if I spend EVERYTHNG on credit card and pay it off every month or if I spend just 1 or 2 purchases a month on the card and pay it back?
I doubt it makes much of a difference, given the lower credit limit you're going to be given as a student (between 1K up to 2K, probably) so long as you're using it every month and paying off your card.
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Nov 23, 2005
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TBH, MBNA would be your best options as a student with a first credit card. They not strict with their approval and have the best rewards options given that you are a student with no previous credit history.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Jul 8, 2010
6732 posts
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York
Ok guys thanks, I'll look into MBNA then. Only way to apply for them is online though, that means I wouldn't go to my local bank. As stated by a poster, the best bet would be to go to my bank because they know me the best?
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Nov 12, 2011
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dankup wrote:
Jul 24th, 2013 4:55 pm
Ok guys thanks, I'll look into MBNA then. Only way to apply for them is online though, that means I wouldn't go to my local bank. As stated by a poster, the best bet would be to go to my bank because they know me the best?
Not true any more. Going into the bank doesn't really help at all. I would just go with MBNA.
Moderator
May 28, 2012
9434 posts
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Saskatoon
My daughter is a university student and when she started first year, we took her to our local branch and she was approved right away for an RBC Signature Rewards Visa with a $1500 limit. If it's not used very often, you aren't going to be racking up that many points; the main thing is to have no annual fee. I personally like having a bank that I can actually go if I have any issues, rather than one that is exclusively online.
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dankup wrote:
Jul 24th, 2013 4:55 pm
Ok guys thanks, I'll look into MBNA then. Only way to apply for them is online though
Make sure you apply through Great Canad Rebates (turn off adblockers and enable cookies) so that you'll get $60 if approved for the Student Rewards MC.
that means I wouldn't go to my local bank.
Why would you want to? Their cards are probably inferior. Go to them as a last resort.
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Mars2012 wrote:
Jul 24th, 2013 5:36 pm
I personally like having a bank that I can actually go if I have any issues, rather than one that is exclusively online.
It really makes zero difference. Moreover, the RBC rewards are not as flexible as cash, and once she stops being a student there's a $39 annual fee for RBC Signature Rewards Visa.

With the MBNA student Rewards MC, you're on the path to the best no-annual fee cash back card available in Canada at the moment: mbna-rewards-world-elite-mc-1334506/
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Feb 9, 2005
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Scarborough
dankup wrote:
Jul 24th, 2013 4:55 pm
Ok guys thanks, I'll look into MBNA then. Only way to apply for them is online though, that means I wouldn't go to my local bank. As stated by a poster, the best bet would be to go to my bank because they know me the best?
Yeah, if you want to do it now that is. it's also more worth it for the extra cash reward through GCR for signing up online. Back when I has a UNI Student, I signed up in person as they would do alot of credit carf signs up during Frosh week at Uni, you would get some free T-Shirt or something like that.
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Oct 4, 2004
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dankup wrote:
Jul 24th, 2013 4:06 pm
The majority of student cards don't offer much in rewards/cash back purchases. While I can control my spending and can treat the credit card as a debit card, is it worth it assuming I get nothing back? Would my credit history be better if I spend EVERYTHNG on credit card and pay it off every month or if I spend just 1 or 2 purchases a month on the card and pay it back?
Now very technically speaking, utilization does play a significant role in determining your credit worthiness, however, when I got my first card with $1000 (which really is very little and $500 would have been impossible for me because I had that occasional large purchase to make) from a bank I had never used before, I sometimes had utilizations as high as 80-90%! This will balance out over time as you get more cards and limit increases. More credit is always nice as it lowers your utilization, so ask for that increase after a year even if you don't need it.

Now, cards I'd recommend and why:

1) BMO SPC - 0.5% cash back but the main reason is for free SPC membership every year and purchase protection (extended warranty + purchase protection). If this is your first card, the rewards don't really matter that much, especially since you say it's ONLY for online purchases.
2) MBNA Smart Cash - 1% back on everything except gas and groceries which give you 2%. Purchase protection and extended warranty included. Great starter card, no income requirement for students.
3) SCENE Visa - Big movie guy? 5 scene pts for every Cineplex purchase, 1pt everywhere else. Nice to watch a free $20 IMAX/AVX movie each time you've spent over $1000. No purchase protections or other benefits but it's a Visa for when MasterCard isn't accepted!
dankup wrote:
Jul 24th, 2013 4:55 pm
Ok guys thanks, I'll look into MBNA then. Only way to apply for them is online though, that means I wouldn't go to my local bank. As stated by a poster, the best bet would be to go to my bank because they know me the best?
Doesn't matter who you go to, maybe a tiny bit more lenient if you have an account with them but not worth it because their offerings may be worse. I had income at the time when I applied for my first cards but my friends didn't and there's only a very remote chance you'll get denied for an explicit student card where the banks expect you to have little to no credit history, you'll just be given a low limit (such as $500), which you can always increase later.

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