Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for Students
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Editor’s note: Some of the offers below may have expired. Bank of America rates updated March 28, 2018.
The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card for Students is designed for people who are enrolled in school either full- or part-time. The credit requirements are more lenient than on other cash-back rewards cards, making it easier for people with little or no credit history to qualify.
For current students with no or less-than-great credit history, this card is definitely worth considering — especially if you own a Bank of America checking or savings account. The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card for Students is relatively easy to qualify for — you must have fair credit — and rewards you for spending money on everything.
Earning rewards is effortless with this card. Cardholders will get 3% cash back on gas; 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs; and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The max you can get back on the 3% and 2% categories combined is $2,500 each quarter. Once you reach that limit, all of your spending will default to the 1%. So if you can, put your gas and grocery purchases on the card first in order to get the most value out of the rewards.
Bank of America account holders come out ahead of non-account holders as they claim a 10% customer bonus every time they redeem their cash back rewards into their Bank of America checking or savings account. If you get this card, setting up an account will help earn you a few extra bucks every year, which adds up over time. As a special bonus, new cardholders will get $150 cash back after spending just $500 in the first 90 days.
Finally, if you plan on making a big purchase that you can’t pay off all at once, this card has a generous 0% introductory APR for the first year. This is like getting an interest-free loan, provided you pay off the balance in full before the intro period expires.
This card is less forgiving than other student credit cards when it comes to paying late. You’ll face a late fee of up to $38. The issuer says it could apply a variable penalty APR of up to 29.99% after one late payment. That penalty APR would apply indefinitely.
If you’ve been late in making payments in the past or you think this might be a problem for you, steer clear of this credit card.
Who should get this card
Students who want to establish credit while earning rewards will likely find a lot of value in this card. There’s no annual fee, so it’s budget-friendly.
If you’re a student and a Bank of America account holder, then you have an extra reason to get this card: you’ll get that extra 10% bump in cash back every time you redeem your rewards into your Bank of America account.
Fees and APR
- Enjoy an introductory 0% APR for the first 12 billing cycles; after that, see rates.
- Pay no annual fee.
- There is a late payment penalty APR that can be up to 29.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
- If you transfer a balance, you’ll have to pay either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
- Cardholders who make purchases outside of the U.S. will pay a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
- See Rates.
Extras, perks and using points
New customers are eligible for an online $150 cash rewards bonus after making at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days of opening the account.
You’ll snag a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account.
Cash-back rewards can be redeemed at any time in any amount as either a statement credit, deposited to your Bank of America bank account, or used to buy gift cards through Bank of America’s online shopping portal.
How this card compares
Discover it® Student Cash Back is a card designed for young adults, but one that has had its training wheels removed. Unlike many student cards, this one comes with few fees, a low annual percentage rate for qualified cardholders and generous rewards. This is one of the very best credit cards for college students.
Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is a decent credit card for those just starting to build credit. It offers a flat rewards rate that we tend to value above rotating categories, but you’ll probably earn less with this card than with other student credit cards that offer rewards.
Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students is a terrific credit card for students who don’t carry a balance and pay on time every time. It offers some top-notch rewards without the quarterly caps we see on many of the other reward cards for students.
But if you’re new to credit and you carry a balance or make a mistake by paying late — even once — this credit card can prove punishing.