Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards for Students: You’ll Need Good Credit

This card offers a big sign-up bonus and an unlimited 1.5% cash back rate, but the high bar for approval means plenty of students will be turned away.
By Jae Bratton 

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Our Take

4.6

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

As a student credit card, it's a perfectly fine choice — if you can qualify for it. If not, other options exist, and some of them may make for better fits anyway.

Jump to: Full Review
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
18.24%-28.24% Variable APR
Intro APR
0% intro APR on Purchases for 18 billing cycles and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)
Apply now

on Bank of America's website

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No annual fee.

  • New cardholder bonus offer.

  • Intro APR period.

Cons

  • Requires good/excellent credit.

  • Best rewards limited to certain customers

  • No bonus categories.

Alternate Pick: No FICO credit history requirement
Discover it® Student chrome
NerdWallet rating 
Discover it® Student chrome
Potentially rich sign-up bonus

This card earns 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases per quarter, and 1% back on all other purchases. It also features a unique sign-up bonus, which Discover phrases this way: "INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match."

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

18.24%-28.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.24%-26.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.24%-26.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 18 billing cycles and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 6 months and 10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 6 months

Intro APR

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
Recommended Credit Score
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Full Review

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students packs a lot of value into one package, especially for a student credit card. You'll get a long interest-free period, 1.5% cash back on all purchases and the opportunity to snag a rich sign-up bonus.

But there's a potential roadblock, and it's a big one for cards in this category. To get it, you'll need at least good credit (typically, a FICO score of 690 or above). For students with little to no existing credit history, that'll be a tall order.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students is essentially identical to the non-student version of this card, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card. Both cards require good credit or higher. Check out our guide to all four of Bank of America®'s student credit cards.

Card name

Rewards

Sign-up bonus

APR

BankAmericard® credit card for Students

BankAmericard® for Students
NerdWallet rating 
Learn More

None.

None.

0% intro APR on Purchases for 21 billing cycles and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 21 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, and then the ongoing APR of 16.24%-26.24% Variable APR.

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students
NerdWallet rating 
Learn More

Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

$200 online cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening.

0% intro APR on Purchases for 18 billing cycles and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24%-28.24% Variable APR.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card for Students

Bank of America Travel Rewards® Credit Card for Students
NerdWallet rating 
Learn More
  • 1.5 points per $1 spent on purchases.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on eligible travel booked through the Bank of America® Travel Center.

25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.

0% intro APR on Purchases for 18 billing cycles and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24%-28.24% Variable APR.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card for Students

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card for Students
NerdWallet rating 
Learn More
  • 3% back on a category of your choice from a list of 6, and 2% back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 of combined bonus category/grocery store/wholesale club spending per quarter.

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

0% intro APR on Purchases for 18 billing cycles and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24%-28.24% Variable APR.

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students: The basics

Card type: Student.

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: $200 online cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening.

Rewards: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

🤓Nerdy Tip

It’s possible to earn more than 1.5% cash back if you’re a member of Bank of America®’s Preferred Rewards program. Unfortunately, that’s a pretty exclusive club and probably out of reach for the average college student. To qualify, you need to have a balance of $20,000 or more in a qualifying Bank of America® account.

Redemption: Rewards can be redeemed for a direct deposit into an eligible Bank of America® checking or savings account; a direct deposit into an eligible Cash Management Account with Merrill, including 529 accounts; or a statement credit. 

There is a $25 minimum redemption amount for:

  • One-time redemption for a credit into a qualifying 529 account with Merrill.

  • Automatic redemptions for direct deposits into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.

  • Automatic redemptions for deposits into an eligible Merrill account.

APR: 0% intro APR on Purchases for 18 billing cycles and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24%-28.24% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: 3%.

Benefits of the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students

Simplicity

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, sparing cardholders from the extra work of keeping up with revolving bonus categories or spending caps. The student who is balancing a full course load, a part-time job and a social calendar will likely appreciate the simple rewards structure.

Sign-up bonus

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students offers a $200 online cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening. A sign-up bonus of that size is uncommon among student credit cards. 

Long 0% intro APR period

Interest charges can always be avoided by paying your credit card bill in full every month. But when that’s not possible, this card’s lengthy 0% intro APR period could help you finance the cost of necessities like dorm furniture or textbooks.

Multiple redemption options

Considering the variety of options, it should be easy to cash in rewards earned with the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students. Having a Bank of America® checking or savings account makes redemption even more flexible, as cardholders can opt for rewards to be converted to a direct deposit.

Student status isn’t required 

Even though this card has the words “for students” in its name, applicants do not have to be students in order to be approved. Other cards such as the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card require you to prove your student status. 

Drawbacks of the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students

High credit score needed for approval

You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students, which is a big ask for college students in their teens and early 20s who haven’t yet built up a credit history. You can check your credit score here, and if it’s below the recommended credit score for the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students, know that you still have options. Other student credit cards — such as the Discover it® Student chrome and the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students — may not require a FICO credit history at all.

Rewards rate can be beat

The aforementioned $0-annual-fee Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card earns an unlimited 3% back on dining, entertainment, some streaming services and grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart). It's probably the better choice for you if you spend heavily in those categories — and it requires fair credit (FICO scores starting at 630), so it may be easier to get.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Through Nov. 14, 2024, the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 10% cash back on Uber and Uber Eats, and offers a complimentary Uber One membership. Terms apply.

International students can’t apply

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students is available only to applicants with a permanent address in the United States, in eligible U.S. territories, or in certain military and diplomatic post offices.

It's also worth noting that because of its 3% foreign transaction fee, this card isn't the best travel companion for U.S. students who might be studying overseas.

Should you get the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students?

If the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students were a car, it would be a Honda Civic priced like a Mercedes: solid benefits, but out of reach for many. Other student credit cards are comparable to it and have lower credit score requirements.

And for the rare college student who already has good to excellent credit? The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students is a fine choice, but it's not the only one.

on Bank of America's website

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.