Bank of America Student Credit Card Review

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If you’re a student with a Bank of America checking account, you may be interested in one of their three student credit cards. Two have rewards and one doesn’t. No matter which of the three you choose, you won’t have to pay an annual fee.

The BankAmericard Cash Rewards for Students Visa offers an online exclusive $100 cash rewards bonus for new cardholders who make at least $500 in purchases with the first 90 days.

You earn 3% and 2%, on the first $1,500 in combined gas and grocery store purchases each quarter, respectively. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. In addition, you can earn a 10% bonus when you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account. So, if you redeem $25 in cash rewards, you’ll receive a $27.50 deposit into your account.

Cardholders receive a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers and purchases for 12 billing cycles (around 10 months). After that, the regular APR is 12.99% to 22.99% depending on your creditworthiness. The cash advance APR is 15.99% to 24.99%. A 3% foreign transaction fee applies to purchases made in a foreign currency.

Comparison: The BankAmericard Cash Rewards for Students Visa has a longer introductory APR and more consistent reward earnings than the Discover it for Students, which has 0% APR on purchases and 10.99% on balance transfers for six months.

But the Discover it offers a free FICO every month and provides the option to freeze your credit card to prevent unauthorized purchases.

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards for Students offers an online-exclusive 10,000 bonus points for new cardholders who make at least $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

These points are worth a $100 statement credit towards travel purchases. Purchases earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent and 10% bonus points if you have an active Bank of America account. There’s no limit on the number of points you can earn and points don’t expire.

One of the few travel rewards credit cards for students, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards for Students Visa has no foreign transaction fee, making it a good option for students who plan to spend a semester or two studying abroad.

A 0% introductory rate applies to purchases (not balance transfers) for 12 billing cycles. The regular APR for purchases after the introductory period and balance transfers is 14.99% to 22.99%. The cash advance APR is 17.99% to 24.99%.

Comparison: This card has a better bonus and longer introductory period than the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students which offers 2,500 bonus points and 0% APR for 7 months.

The BankAmericard for Students doesn’t offer any rewards, but it has a 0% introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles (around 13 months). After the introductory period, the regular APR will be between 10.99% and 20.99% depending on your credit rating.

This is one of the lowest interest rates of any credit cards on the market, even for those who qualify for an APR on the higher end.

The cash advance APR is between 13.99% and 23.99%, again depending on your creditworthiness. A higher 24.99% APR will apply to Bank Cash Advances which include advances from an ATM, overdraft protection, or purchase of a money order.

A 3% foreign transaction fee applies to transactions made in a foreign currency.

Bank of America Student Credit Card Fees

The balance transfer, cash advance, and penalty fees are the same for all three cards.

  • Balance transfer fee: 3% or $10
  • Cash advance fee: $10 or 3%, $10 or 5%, or $12 depending on the type of cash advance. See the terms and conditions for a breakdown of cash advance fees
  • Late payment fees: $27 for the first late payment and $38 for subsequent late payments within six billing cycles.
  • Returned payment: Up to $27
  • Penalty rate: up to 29.99% (applied when you make a late payment)

Which Bank of America Student Credit Card Should You Choose?

It’s important to note that as a young adult under age 21, you need to have your own income or a cosigner to qualify for a credit card. So, if you don’t have a job, you’ll have to get your parent or another adult over age 21 to get the credit card with you, even though you’re a college student.

Rewards credit cards are risky for students, especially with a limited income, because they tempt you to spend more in an attempt to earn more rewards. As a first credit card, the BankAmericard for Students is a safer bet.

For more experienced credit card users who want to earn rewards, cash is typically better because is more useful than a statement credit towards travel purchases. If you don’t travel that often, the travel rewards are useless.

Last reviewed June 19, 2015. Credit card terms and conditions are subject to change from the time of this review. Check the credit card issuer's website for the most recent pricing and terms.