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

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The Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students and Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students both offer solid cash-back programs. They both come with no annual fee, too, 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’s a look at the similarities and differences between the SavorOne and Cash Rewards cards to help you determine which is the better fit for your wallet.

Main details

Cards Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students
Welcome bonus None Earn $200 in online cash rewards after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
Rewards rate
  • Unlimited 3 percent cash back on dining, entertainment, streaming services and groceries
  • 1 percent unlimited cash back on all other purchases
  • 3 percent cash back in the category of your choice among gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishing stores; 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 1 percent cash back on all other purchases
Intro APR None 0 percent on new purchases and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles
Annual fee $0 $0

Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students vs. Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

Welcome bonus winner: Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

The SavorOne Rewards for Students card does not offer a welcome bonus for new cardholders. The Bank of America Cash Rewards card, though, does. If you charge at least $1,000 with this card during the first 90 days of opening your account, you’ll earn $200 in online cash rewards.

Rewards rate winner: Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students

Both of these student-focused credit cards offer rewards programs. The Capital One card’s program, though, comes with fewer limits. With the SavorOne Rewards for Students, you’ll earn 3 percent cash back on dining, entertainment, streaming service and grocery purchases. The key here is that this 3 percent offer is unlimited: It doesn’t matter how much you spend.

The Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students earns 3 percent cash back in the category of your choice from gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishing store purchases. You’ll also earn 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. The downside? Unlike with the SavorOne card, you’ll earn this extra cash back on the first $2,500 you spend in these categories every quarter. After you hit that limit, you’ll earn 1 percent cash back on these purchases. If you spend a lot with your card, then the rewards program with the SavorOne card could earn you more cash back dollars.

Outside of their higher-earning categories, the SavorOne and Cash Rewards student credit cards give you 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.

Annual fee winner: Tie

Neither the SavorOne Rewards for Students nor the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students charges an annual fee.

Balance transfer winner: Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

The Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students offers an introductory 0 percent interest rate offer on new purchases and balances for 15 months. To take advantage of the balance transfer side of this offer, you must transfer your balance within 60 days of opening your account. The SavorOne Rewards for Students card does not offer any 0 percent introductory period for purchases or balance transfers.

Which card earns the most?

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

Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students vs. Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students spending example

You’ll earn 3 percent cash back on dining, entertainment, streaming services and grocery purchases with the SavorOne Rewards for Students, plus 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. And because the 3 percent cash back is unlimited, you won’t have to worry about spending too much on those extra categories.

Let’s say your monthly spending looks like this:

  • $500 on groceries
  • $200 on dining
  • $50 streaming
  • $200 on general purchases

With the Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students card, you get 3 percent back on streaming, groceries and dining plus 1 percent back on everyday spending. In this example, you’d earn $24.50 in cash back on your monthly spending.

With the Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students, you can earn 3 percent cash back in the category of your choice. Say you choose dining, so you earn $6 in cash back when you spend $200 on dining. Add on 2 percent cash back for groceries and 1 percent back on general purchases, you’ll earn only $18.50 in rewards.

Of course, you could earn more with the Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students if you do a lot of shopping in your 3 percent chosen category as well as at grocery stores. Say you spend $1,000 during the month, $600 in your chosen 3 percent category and $400 at your local grocery store. You’d then earn $18 on the $600 spend in your 3 percent category and $8 from your grocery store spending. That’d give you $26 in cash back during the month.

Which card earns more? That comes down to your spending habits. If you spend a lot in one particular category, you might earn more from the Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students. If you spend across multiple categories, the SavorOne Rewards for Students card might be the better choice.

Why should you get the Capital One SavorOne for Students?

The main benefit of this card is 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.

Additional benefits

The SavorOne Rewards for Students also comes with zero fraud liability, meaning that if your card is lost or stolen, you won’t pay for unauthorized charges. The card doesn’t charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. It also comes with extended warranty protection on eligible items, travel accident insurance, 24-hour travel assistance and a complimentary concierge service.

Redemption options

You can redeem your cash-back rewards as a check or statement credit. You can also turn them into gift cards or use them to cover recent purchases.

Recommended credit score

Capital One recommends that applicants have at least fair credit when applying for this card. However, if your credit is good or excellent, this card could still serve you well. Fair credit is a score of 580 to 669 under FICO’s credit scoring model.

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

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

Additional benefits

The Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students offers a welcome bonus—you’ll earn $200 in online cash rewards if you charge $1,000 in purchases during the first 90 days of opening your account—which is a nice perk. The card also comes with fraud protection and overdraft protection. Bank of America will also give you free access to your FICO credit score.

Redemption options

You can redeem your cash rewards in the form of statement credits, deposits made directly to a Bank of America checking or savings account or as a credit toward an eligible account with Merrill. You can also send your rewards as a contribution to a qualifying 529 account with Merrill.

Recommended credit score

Bank of America does not list a recommended credit score for this card. You’ll usually need a fair to good credit score to qualify for a card that offers rewards or cash back programs.

The bottom line

Both of these cards give you the chance to earn rewards without paying an annual fee. To choose the right card, look at your spending habits. If you tend to spend a lot in one specific category—maybe you eat out several times a month—the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students might generate more in cash-back savings. And if you want a welcome bonus, this is the card that provides one.

The Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students card, though, might be a better fit if you spend a lot in several different categories. And because there’s no limit to how much you can spend in these higher-earning categories, you have the potential to earn a solid amount of cash back each month.