The card offers bonus cash-back categories that are both useful and broad. However, you need good credit to qualify, which can be a roadblock for many students.
No annual fee
New cardholder bonus offer
Rotating bonus categories
Relationship rewards for customers
Intro APR period
Requires good/excellent credit
Spending caps on bonus rewards
Best rewards limited to certain customers
Compare to Other Cards
18.24%-28.24% Variable APR
18.24%-27.24% Variable APR
0% Intro APR for your first 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening your account. After the intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that's currently 18.24% to 28.24% will apply. A 3% fee applies to all balance transfers.
0% intro APR on Purchases for 6 months and 10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 6 months
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Detailed review: Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card for Students
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card for Students offers extra cash back on your choice of spending category, from a list of useful options. You can change your category each month, too, allowing you to line up the card with whatever you plan to buy in the near future. Add to that a sign-up bonus and a $0 annual fee, and you’re looking at a solid option for students who are relatively new to using rewards cards.
However, there are some limitations to keep in mind. First, you need to have good or excellent credit (a FICO score between 690 and 850) to qualify for the card. Second, you can only earn the elevated cash-back rate on up to $2,500 in quarterly spending. After that, you’ll earn just 1% cash back.
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card for Students: Basics
Card type: Cash back.
Annual fee: $0.
Sign-up bonus: $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
3% back on a category of your choice, from the options listed below.
2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs.
1% back on all other purchases.
You’ll only earn 3% and 2% cash back for the first $2,500 of combined spending on your bonus category, grocery store and wholesale club spending per quarter. After hitting that limit, you’ll earn 1% back on those purchases.
The 3% back bonus categories to choose from are:
Online shopping (including cable, streaming, internet and phone plans).
Home improvement and furnishings.
You can change this category once each calendar month, and your selected category will remain the same from month to month, unless you change it. If you don't make a selection, the default 3% cash-back category will be set to gas.
If you’re a Bank of America® Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% to 75% more cash back on each purchase with this card, depending on which membership tier you’ve attained. But to qualify, you must have a balance of at least $20,000 in an eligible Bank of America® account. Keeping that kind of money in a checking account is tough to do at any age, especially when you’re a student and may be working limited hours or have an entry-level job — if you're employed at all.
APR: 0% Intro APR for your first 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening your account. After the intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that's currently 18.24% to 28.24% will apply. A 3% fee applies to all balance transfers.
Cardholders who are eligible for the Bank of America® Preferred Rewards program can earn higher rewards rates.
Benefits and perks
Useful 3% categories
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card for Students offers a broad range of student-friendly 3% cash-back categories to choose from.
For example, the “online shopping” category includes merchants such as Apple.com, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Bestbuy.com and Target.com. And the “home improvement and furnishings” category includes merchants such as IKEA and Bed Bath & Beyond. That’s helpful for anyone who’s outfitting a dorm room or apartment, or purchasing a laptop.
A welcome offer allows you to get even more value out of a card in the first year you have it. With the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card for Students, you’ll earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
Flexible reward redemptions
If you redeem your cash back for a statement credit, or a direct deposit into a Bank of America® checking or savings account or eligible Merrill account, you can redeem any amount. There’s no need to earn a minimum amount of cash back first.
You can also opt to redeem a minimum of $25 worth of rewards for a check, or as a contribution to a qualifying Merrill 529 account. Or set up automatic contributions to eligible Bank of America® or Merrill accounts whenever you accumulate $25 in cash back. (Note that you can’t set up automatic contributions to 529 accounts, or automatically get a statement credit or check.)
Introductory no-interest offer
If you’re planning on using your card to make a major purchase, you have a long time to make payments at 0% interest. Pay 0% Intro APR for your first 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening your account. After the intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that's currently 18.24% to 28.24% will apply. A 3% fee applies to all balance transfers.
Drawbacks and considerations
Good credit required
For students who are new to building credit, this can be a hurdle. But there are a number of student credit cards for fair credit, as well as other cards for fair credit, which may be more appropriate for you while you establish your credit history. The $0-annual-fee Discover it® Student Cash Back earns 5% cash back on spending categories that rotate each quarter. After you spend $1,500 in the bonus category, you’ll earn the base rate of 1% back.
You must choose categories
If you neglect to select a 3% category when you first get the card, the default category is gas — not helpful if you spend more in other areas, or you don’t have a car with you on campus. And last month’s category will roll over into the next month, unless you change it, so you’ll need to be on top of your spending plans enough to know which category to choose going forward.
The Venmo Credit Card automatically earns 3% cash back on your top eligible spending category, 2% cash back on your second most-spent category, and 1% on everything else. Eligible bonus categories include transportation, travel, groceries, entertainment, dining, bills and utilities, health and beauty, and gas. The annual fee is $0.
Spending cap limits rewards
Once you spend $2,500 for the quarter in your 3% and 2% categories combined, you’ll earn just 1% cash back. That means one major purchase, like a laptop, can leave you stuck at 1% back for three months. The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card earns an unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, purchases at grocery stores and popular streaming services. Other purchases earn 1% cash back. The annual fee is $0.
How to decide if it's right for you
For many students, the appeal of a student-specific credit card is that it generally has a lower credit score bar for entry. But in this case, you'll have to already have good to excellent credit in order to get approved. This is a perfectly fine choice, but if your credit score is at least 690, you can qualify for other cards that may be more rewarding.
And if you're still building credit, you have other options available that might be easier to get. Check out our picks for best student credit cards for fair credit.