Review of the Bank of America Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Apr 29, 2015 | Updated Jan 16, 2019

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The Bank of America Cash RewardsTM Credit Card for Students can help you build credit from practically (or literally) nothing.

It offers 3% cash back in your choice of one of six useful categories, including gas, dining, and online shopping. And you’ll get 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs.

There’s no annual fee, and the card comes with an introductory 0% APR for 12 months, before the regular rate of 15.49%–25.49% Variable begins., There’s also a $150 cash back bonus for spending $500 in the first 90 days.

Bank of America Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students
Apply Now

Bank of America Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students

For People with
No Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 15.49%–25.49% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • New Offer: Maximize your cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement /furnishings
  • Now earn 3% cash back in your choice category and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
  • You can update your choice category for future purchases once each calendar month using the Mobile banking app or Online banking, or do nothing and it stays the same.
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 15.49%–25.49% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers.
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%. Click “Apply Now” to learn more about Preferred Rewards.
  • Now with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
  • No annual fee

The Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 3% cash back in one category of your choice:
    • Gas
    • Online shopping
    • Dining
    • Travel
    • Drugstores
    • Home improvement/furnishings stores
  • 2% cash back at:
    • Grocery stores
    • Wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Spending limit: 3% and 2% rewards only up to $2,500 per quarter, then 1%
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 cash back for spending $500 in the first 90 days
    • Return on spend: 30%

You can also earn a 10% bonus on your rewards if you choose to redeem your cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account. The bonus is awarded when you redeem the cash back.

An even bigger bonus is available If you typically have a very high account balance in your Bank of America bank account (unlikely for a student). If you have a balance of at least $25,000 combined in your Bank of America and/or Merrill Edge® investment accounts, you’ll earn a 25-75% bonus instead, with higher account balances earning a larger discount.

The Benefits

There are just a few additional benefits for owning this card.

Cardholders are covered by a $0 liability guarantee, so you won’t be held responsible for any fraudulent charges made with the account.

You’ll also be protected by two additional services: ShopSafe® provides extra security when shopping online, and SafePass® requires a one-time 6-digit code to be used when banking online.

Optional overdraft protection is available, which will help prevent declined purchases and late fees by linking a Bank of America checking account. You may be charged transfer fees if a transfer between accounts is necessary.

This card also comes with Chip-and-Signature EMV technology, a new standard that provides better security as well as accessibility with more terminals in foreign countries.

The Costs

Annual Fee Intro APR for Purchases and Balance Transfers Regular APR Regular Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR Foreign Transaction Fee
$0 0% for 12 months 15.49%–25.49% Variable 15.49%–25.49% Variable 18.49%–27.49% Variable 3%

The Fees

Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Up to 29.99% Variable Up to $38 Up to $27

The Bottom Line

This is a solid rewards credit card for students who want to build their credit, with no annual fee or immediate interest rate to worry about.

Having your choice of a 3% category is an excellent feature, giving you plenty of flexibility. You’ll be able to pick the category you plan to spend most in each month, giving you more bang for your buck. The 2% back on groceries is sure to come in useful as well. Having a Bank of America account to redeem into makes this card a bit more rewarding still.

The introductory APR for 12 months is almost as long as it gets, and the cash back bonus ($150 back for spending just $500) is about as good as they come.

If you’d prefer a rewards card with a 5% category that switches every 3 months, check out the Discover it® for Students.

Or, for a card that offers 1.25% cash back on every purchase as long as you pay on time, take a look at the Capital One Journey Student Rewards Credit Card.

Do you use and like this Bank of America student credit card? Do you prefer a different credit card? Let us know in the comments below, and share this article if you found it useful!

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