BankAmericard for Students: A Passing Grade, If You Qualify

Its long introductory APR period is appealing, but most students won't meet the credit score requirement — and those who can qualify could do better with other cards.
By Jaime Hanson 

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Our Take

2.8

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

Requiring good credit to qualify and offering no student-specific perks, this is a student card in name only. The long introductory APR period is a perk, but most students would do better with a different product.

Jump to: Full Review
BankAmericard® for Students
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
16.24%-26.24% Variable APR
Intro APR
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
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)
Apply now

on Bank of America's website

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Long intro APR
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • Requires good/excellent credit
  • No ongoing rewards
Alternate Pick: Rewards, with no FICO credit history requirement
Discover it® Student Cash Back
NerdWallet rating 
Discover it® Student Cash Back
Better fit for students

The Discover it® Student Cash Back offers 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories, on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter. (Activation is required; all other purchases earn 1% back.) Crucially, it's also possible to qualify for it with no FICO credit history.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

16.24%-26.24% 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 21 billing cycles and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 21 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

On the surface, the BankAmericard® credit card for Students looks like a card with great potential. Though it offers nothing in the way of ongoing rewards, the opportunity for students to access a very lengthy intro APR promotion is a huge draw, considering how college expenses add up fast.

However, it has a key limitation: The card requires good to excellent credit (typically, FICO scores of 690 or above) to qualify. Almost by definition, that will exclude many college students, who haven't yet built up a strong enough credit profile.

And if you do have sufficient credit to qualify, you'd likely be better served by a non-student card that offers more rewards.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The BankAmericard® credit card for Students is effectively an identical product to its non-student counterpart, the BankAmericard® credit card. Qualification requirements are the same for both cards, and there are no student-specific benefits to obtaining the student version. 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.

BankAmericard® credit card for Students: The basics

Card Type: Student.

Annual Fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: None

Rewards: None.

APR: 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

Balance transfer fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Foreign transaction fee: 3%

Benefits of the BankAmericard® credit card for Students

Long introductory APR period

For older undergraduate or grad students in their last few semesters of school, the BankAmericard® credit card for Students could help bridge the gap between the end of student life and the start of a professional career. If you need to purchase a professional wardrobe or travel for job interviews, for example, this card could help you float those additional costs until you're earning a real paycheck.

Balance transfer for high-interest debt

If you're carrying a balance on a store credit card or other high-interest product, transferring that balance to the BankAmericard® credit card for Students could set you up to pay off your debt without accumulating expensive interest. You'll need to complete your balance transfer within 60 days of opening your BankAmericard® credit card for Students. However, making this move does carry some cost in the form of a balance transfer fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

No penalty APR

Many credit cards with long introductory APR offers also include stiff penalties for even one late payment, which can mean losing your low APR rate. If you miss a payment with the BankAmericard® credit card for Students, you'll be charged a one-time late payment fee of up to $40, but it won't impact your interest rate. That's a helpful benefit for students who may be new to managing credit card payments. (Note: Depending on how late your payment is, your credit scores could still be affected.)

Drawbacks and alternatives

Requires good credit

This is the single biggest drawback of the BankAmericard® credit card for Students. By virtue of being typically young and in school with limited income, many students have little if any established credit history, let alone a FICO score of 690 or above. Fortunately, there are other student credit cards for fair credit (FICO scores of just 630 or higher) that are a better fit for students in the early stages of building a credit history. For example, the Discover it® Student chrome offers an intro APR promotion and earns ongoing rewards, and it's possible to qualify for it with no FICO credit history.

No real perks or rewards

Beyond the introductory APR period, this card offers no real rewards, nor are there any student-specific benefits. Comparatively, several other cards with similar qualification requirements offer more perks, including cash-back rewards. For example, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card earns 1.5% cash back on purchases while carrying the same credit requirement and featuring a lengthy introductory APR offer: 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 .

Loses value after intro APR period

This card's introductory APR period really is the beginning and end of its appeal. Once you've passed that promotional window, the card's ongoing APR is on par with other student cards that would offer higher rewards. So if you're looking for just one card to be your main option for spending, you'd likely do better with a different product.

Should you get the BankAmericard® credit card for Students?

If the BankAmericard® credit card for Students had credit requirements fit for a typical student, the long interest-free introductory period would be appealing. By requiring good credit to qualify, though, it renders itself a student card in name only. Most students won't qualify due to the high bar for established credit history and should consider a true student credit card instead.

And students who do happen to have good credit would be better served by an alternative 0% intro APR credit card that also offers rewards.

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.
Frequently asked questions

You must be at least 18 years old, or at least 21 years old if you’re a permanent resident of Puerto Rico.

To qualify for the BankAmericard® for Students, you need good credit, or a FICO credit score of at least 690.

The BankAmericard® for Students is available only to applicants with a permanent address in the United States; Washington, D.C.; APO/FPO/DPO; or the U.S. territories Guam, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa or the Virgin Islands.

No, there is no requirement to prove your student status in order to obtain the BankAmericard® for Students.

While the BankAmericard® for Students will work worldwide anywhere Mastercard is accepted, the card charges a foreign transaction fee of 3% per transaction.

There is no specific path for borrowers to upgrade from the BankAmericard® for Students to a non-student version of the card. However, accounts can be periodically reevaluated for a potential increase in credit line.