Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students Review: Should You Apply?

(4 out of 5) MyBankTracker Editor's Rating

BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

Building a good credit score while you’re still in college is a smart move and a credit card is an easy way to do it.

The Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students is designed for young adults who are ready to improve their credit history while earning cash back.

This card pays 3% cash back on gas, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on everything else, on up to $2,500 in grocery/wholesale club/gas quarterly spend.

Students who already have a Bank of America checking or savings account have a chance to rack up even more cash back.

If you’re in school and you’re looking for a way to establish good credit habits before graduation day, keep reading to learn how this card can help you do it.

Top Card Features

This card offers students more than just a convenient way to spend. Members also enjoy these benefits:

  • Cash back rewards - Students get cash back on every purchase.
  • Cash back bonus - If you have a Bank of America account, you can get a 10% bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account.
  • No annual fee - When you’re a broke college student, you need to cut costs wherever possible. With this card, you’re not stuck paying a high annual fee.
  • Easy redemption - Earning cash back is pointless if you run into a hassle when you try to use your rewards. Fortunately, Bank of America lets you go online and choose how to redeem your rewards.
  • Overdraft protection - Learning how to manage your bank account can be tricky and sometimes, overdraft happens. To avoid those expensive overdraft fees, Bank of America lets you link your BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students to your checking account for overdraft protection.
  • Mobile banking - College students are nothing if not tech-minded and Bank of America offers plenty of ways to manage your account online. You can pay your bills, transfer funds, and check available credit your right from your mobile device.

Main Highlight: Cash Back Rewards

The cash back rewards program is the real star of the show and the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students caters to the typical student’s spending habits. This card allows you to earn cash back at three different levels:

  • 3% back at gas stations
  • 2% back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on everything else
  • All on up to $2,500 in grocery/wholesale club/gas quarterly spend

You always get 1% cash back on anything that doesn’t fall into the gas station and grocery store categories.

If you’re already a Bank of America customer, you can squeeze even more value out of the purchases you make with the card.

That’s because Bank of America gives you a 10% cash back bonus when you redeem your cash back as a direct deposit into a linked Bank of America checking or savings account.

Card Rates and Fees

If you’ve never had a credit card before, one thing you need to be aware of is the annual percentage rate or APR.

This rate determines how much the card will cost you on a yearly basis if you don’t pay your balance in full every month.

Generally, the card does come with a special introductory period that lasts for a limited period of time.

Card Protections

Identity theft can ruin your credit history before you’ve even had a chance to really establish it.

The Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students offers several protections for students who are worried about falling victim to fraud.

For example, there’s ShopSafe, which creates a temporary card number for you any time you shop online. That enables you to shop online without giving away your permanent credit card number at the time of your purchase.

When you’re shopping in stores, you can protect yourself by taking advantage of your card’s built-in EMV security chip. As long as you use the chip reader at the register versus swiping your card, you’re getting an added layer of security.

If you’re in a store that doesn’t have chip terminals, you don’t have to sacrifice your peace of mind. You can link your card to Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Samsung Pay for secure transactions.

As if that’s not enough, Bank of America monitors your account for fraud and they’ll give you a heads-up if they detect suspicious activity. In the event that your card is compromised, you’re covered by a $0 liability guarantee.

That means you pay nothing if your card is used to make unauthorized purchases.

Before You Apply

You can apply for this card if you’re over 18 but your ability to get approved depends on your financial status (your credit score plays a large role in this).

If you’re under 21, you’ll need to be able to provide proof of income, either from a job, an inheritance, an investment account or some other source.

Essentially, you have to be able to show that you have a consistent way to keep up with the monthly payments on the account.

If you don’t have any income to report, you’ll likely need to ask a parent to cosign on the card for you.

Co-signing makes them equally responsible for any charges you make on the card. The account is also reflected on their credit history so if you pay late or default altogether, that hurts both of you in the process.

In general, this card is suited for students who have already established a minimal credit history.

If you’ve never had any kind of credit in your name before, you may be better off applying for a BankAmericard Secured Credit Card instead.

This card requires a minimum security deposit of $300 and it has a $39 annual fee but it can be a useful way to build credit if you’re an absolute beginner.

Final Verdict

The BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students is ideal for young adults who want to get cash back while growing their credit score.

We wouldn’t recommend this card if you’re looking for travel miles or points instead.

On the other hand, if you’re already a Bank of America customer, this card is an excellent choice for amping up your cash rewards.

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