The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students* both offer solid cash back programs and no annual fee, making them solid choices for college students looking for an affordable way to earn extra cash on their purchases. But which card is better for you? That depends on your monthly spending habits and whether you have existing credit card debt that you need to pay off.

Here we’ll take a look at the similarities and differences between the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards and Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students to help you determine which one is the better fit for your wallet.

Main details

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students
Welcome bonus $100 cash bonus after spending $100 in the first 3 months $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 within 90 days of account opening
Rewards rate
  • 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target)
  • 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 3% cash back in a category of your choice (choose from gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement)
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 2% and 3% categories are capped at $2,500 in combined spending each quarter, then earn 1%
Intro APR N/A 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles (then a variable APR of 16.24% to 26.24%)
Annual fee $0 $0

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards vs. Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students

Welcome bonus winner: Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students

The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards offers a $100 cash bonus after spending $100 in the first three months of account opening, which is a very attainable welcome bonus. However, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students offers a larger welcome bonus of $200 if you spend $1,000 during the first 90 days of account opening.

Rewards rate winner: Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards

Both of these student-focused credit cards offer rewards programs. The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards, though, comes with fewer limits and restrictions. With the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards, you’ll earn 3 percent cash back on dining, entertainment, select streaming services and grocery purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target).

You’ll also earn 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 8 percent cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. The key here is that the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards offers unlimited rewards, unlike the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students.

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students earns 3 percent cash back in the category of your choice — you can choose from gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement/furnishing stores. You’ll also earn 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. The downside? The 2 percent and 3 percent categories are capped at $2,500 in combined spending each quarter. After you hit that limit, you’ll earn 1 percent cash back in those categories.

Outside of their higher-earning categories, the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards and the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students give you 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.

Annual fee winner: Tie

Neither the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards or the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students charges an annual fee.

Foreign transaction fee winner: Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards

The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards is the clear winner in this category since it does not charge any foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S. The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students, however, charges a 3 percent fee on each transaction made abroad.

Which card earns the most?

Which of these two cards will give you the most cash back? That largely depends on what you spend your money on and how much you spend each month.

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards vs. Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students spending example

Let’s say your monthly spending looks like this:

  • Groceries: $200
  • Dining: $200
  • Streaming: $20
  • General purchases: $150

With the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards, you’ll get 3 percent back on groceries, dining and streaming, plus 1 percent back on general spending. And because the 3 percent cash back is unlimited, you won’t have to worry about only earning 1 percent back once you reach a spending limit. In this example, you’ll earn $14.10 in cash back on your monthly spending, which breaks down as:

  • Groceries: $6
  • Dining: $6
  • Streaming: $0.60
  • General purchases: $1.50

With the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students, you’ll earn 3 percent cash back in the category of your choice. Say you choose dining as your 3 percent category. Add on 2 percent cash back for groceries and 1 percent cash back on general purchases, and you’ll earn $11.70 on your monthly spending:

  • Groceries: $4
  • Dining: $6
  • Streaming: $0.20
  • General purchases: $1.50

In this example, the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards earns more. But which card would earn more for you? That comes down to your spending habits and if you spend more in bonus categories that the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards doesn’t offer, like gas, online shopping or home improvement.

Why should you get the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards?

The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards is one of the best student credit cards available today, largely due to its solid rewards program. The ability to earn 3 percent cash back on a wide variety of purchases is a positive, especially with a card geared toward students who might not have the highest credit score. Plus, students can earn 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 8 percent cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases.

Additional benefits

The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards comes with zero fraud liability, meaning that if your card is lost or stolen, you won’t pay for unauthorized charges. It also comes with extended warranty protection on eligible items, travel accident insurance, travel assistance services and a complimentary 24/7 concierge service.

Redemption options

You can redeem cash back for checks, statement credits, gift cards or shopping at Amazon.com or via PayPal.

Recommended credit score

Capital One recommends that applicants have at least fair credit when applying for this card. Under FICO’s credit scoring model, fair credit is a score of 580 to 669.

Why should you get the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students?

The best reason to apply for the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students is if you spend a lot each month in one of the card’s 3 percent categories. If you do, you’ll have the potential to earn a lot of cash back.

Additional benefits

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students comes with zero fraud liability, overdraft protection, account alerts and free access to your FICO credit score.

Redemption options

You can redeem your cash rewards as statement credits, deposits made directly to a Bank of America checking or savings account or a credit to an eligible account with Merrill, like a 529 college savings account.

Recommended credit score

A good to excellent credit score is recommended to qualify for the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students. This means that this card is not a good choice for students with limited to no credit history.

The bottom line

Both the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards and the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students have a solid rewards program and no annual fee. To choose the right card, take a look at your spending habits and which categories you spend the most in. For example, the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards might be a better fit if you spend a lot on dining, entertainment, travel and groceries. And because there’s no limit to how much you can earn, you have the potential to earn a solid amount of cash back each month.

But if you tend to spend a lot in a category that the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards doesn’t offer — like gas or online shopping — the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students might generate more in cash back. And if you want a higher welcome bonus, this card provides one, too.

*The information about Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.