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Updated on Monday, June 5, 2017
BankAmericard® Credit Card for Students is a plain vanilla card. There is a $0 annual fee, which we like. But there are also no rewards (neither cash back nor miles). And there is a foreign transaction fee of 3%, making this an expensive way to travel abroad. The only place where this card really shines: its balance transfer offer. If you already have credit card debt on another card, you might want to take advantage of the fantastic intro 0% for 15 billing cycles balance transfer option, which is the longest balance transfer we have found for students. After the intro, the APR goes to 14.49% - 24.49% Variable. We certainly hope you don’t have credit card debt — but, if you do, this card could help you get out of it faster. The BankAmericard® Credit Card for Students is featured as one of our recommendations for best student credit cards of November 2020.
This is a very simple credit card. There is a $0 annual fee, and the card does not offer rewards. Because the card reports to all three credit bureaus, it is a good way for you to build your credit score and credit history.
The card does come with an intro offer: 0% for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers that are made within 60 days of opening the card. There is also an $0 Introductory Fee for transactions made within 60 days of opening your account. After it will increase to 3%. If you have already built up credit card debt with a bank other than Bank of America, this can be an effective way to reduce your interest rate and get out of debt faster.
Borrowing on credit cards is very expensive, and should be avoided at all costs — especially if you are a college student. But we know that some college students do already have credit card debt — and a 15 billing cycle intro 0% interest rate can help save a lot of money. If you currently have a $2,000 balance on your card with a 24% interest rate, you would be paying up to $560 of interest if you make only the minimum payment. By choosing the BankAmericard® Credit Card for Students intro 0% for 15 billing cycles, you can save $560 in interest and use it to pay off your debt. Remember! Once the intro period ends, the APR will go to 14.49% - 24.49% Variable.
Other than the balance transfer offer, the card has standard credit card benefits. You will have a chip, although it will be chip-and-signature instead of chip-and-pin, which can make using the card overseas more difficult. You will also have the standard $0 fraud liability guarantee that comes with all Bank of America cards.
This card is targeting college students — which means Bank of America does not expect you to have excellent (or any) credit. You will need a job with income. It can be a part-time campus job, but it can’t be an allowance from your parents. The bank needs to know that you can afford to make the credit card payments with your own money.
Limited or no credit history is fine. However, if you already have missed payments and collection items (for example, from doctor bills), it could be much more difficult to get approved. If you have already made some mistakes with credit — you should consider a secured credit card instead.
Although this is a very simple card, there are a few features that we really like.
$0 annual fee.
When making a student credit card recommendation, we believe the most important consideration is avoiding an annual fee. Fortunately, with this card, you will never need to pay an annual fee.
Great balance transfer option.
If you have already built debt on other credit cards, this card has the longest balance transfer that we could find for college students. You can get an intro 0% for 15 billing cycles (14.49% - 24.49% Variable, thereafter) with $0 Introductory Fee for transactions made within 60 days of opening your account. If used wisely, this balance transfer can help you get out of debt much faster. But, before getting another card, you really need to ask yourself how you got into debt in the first place — and don’t take another card unless you are certain that your budget has been solved and you can focus on reducing your debt.
High interest rate after the 0% intro offer.
The standard purchase APR is high at 14.49% - 24.49% Variable. This is not unique to Bank of America — all student credit cards offer high interest rates. But that means you should avoid borrowing money on a credit card. It is a great tool for shopping online and renting a car — but a terrible way to borrow money.
High foreign transaction fee.
If you plan on studying abroad or backpacking through Europe, this card charges a steep 3% foreign transaction fee. This can really add up, and there are other cards out there that do not charge the fee.
Although we do not think rewards are particularly important for student cards (because the limits are small to begin with), it is rather disappointing that this card offers no rewards at all. As a student, you should be earning at least 1.25% — and could be earning more (including unlimited 1.5% if you take out the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students).
The information related to BankAmericard® Credit Card for Students has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.
If You Want to Earn More Rewards
If you want to earn more cash back, Discover is the best option. The Discover it® Student Cash Back provides free access to your FICO® score. But it does something we really like: It offers a $20 statement credit every year (for up to five years) for good grades. If you get a 3.0 GPA or higher, you will get a $20 statement credit. That is on top of a cash back rewards program where you earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically. And you can get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
If You Want to Travel Abroad
If you want to travel abroad, you should find a Visa or MasterCard option that does not charge a foreign transaction fee or annual fee. The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
does just that. In addition to the $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, you can earn up to 1.25% cash back. You earn 1% Cash Back on all purchases; 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time.
The only reason to get this credit card is if you already have credit card debt, and you need a balance transfer to help you get out of debt faster. With an intro 0% for 15 billing cycles (14.49% - 24.49% Variable, after) this is the longest balance transfer targeting students that we could find and is a good tool to save serious money. If you are looking to build credit and earn rewards along the way, there are much better options out there.
A student card is a credit card specially designed by a lender to get college students started with credit. The major difference between a student credit card and a regular credit card is that the student card will likely have a higher interest rate. Regular cards tend to average about 15% annual interest. In a recent MagnifyMoney study, we found the average student credit card carries an interest rate of 21.4%.
Your goal with your student credit card is to build your credit so that by the time you graduate, you have a healthy credit score in the high 600s to mid 700s. That way, when you graduate, you’ll be in a great position to make larger purchases like a new car or your first home. At that point you may actually want to earn rewards, and you’ll qualify for the best cards because you have a great score.
You should really only get a credit card if you want to build your credit score, not because you need extra money to make ends meet. If you can’t afford your monthly expenses as it is, a credit card might only make things worse.
The easiest strategy is this: set up one recurring bill (like your Netflix or Spotify account) on your card. And pay it off in full each month. Follow that advice while you’re in school and you will absolutely graduate with a great credit score.
You can still build up your credit without having to open a card on your own. Ask you parents if you can become an authorized user on their account. All of their good credit behavior will be reported on your credit report as well. Also, consider opening a secured credit card. It’s a tool that’s meant precisely to help build credit but doesn’t have the same risks as a regular credit card. Read more about secured cards here.