If you’re a college student looking for a no-frills credit card that can keep you on the path to better credit while helping you afford the stuff you’ll inevitably need as an undergraduate, the BankAmericard Credit Card for Students could be right for you.
“Could be” is the key bit though. This credit card isn’t for every college student — so before you apply, see what it can do for you and what it can’t.
What Is the BankAmericard Credit Card for Students?
The BankAmericard Credit Card for Students is a no annual fee card that offers students the ability to qualify for a 0% intro APR offer.
New cardholders can get 0% for 21 billing cycles for purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After, the variable APR will apply, which is 16.24% to 26.24% APR.
This card doesn’t earn rewards or offer many additional benefits. However, the card does include overdraft protection and free access to your FICO score. There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it’s not ideal for students studying abroad.
What Sets the BankAmericard Credit Card for Students Apart?
This card has several features that set it apart from other credit cards in its category.
- Long 0% Intro APR promotion. New cardholders may qualify for the intro APR promotion: 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 21 billing cycles. Qualifying balance transfers must be made within the first 60 days of account opening.
- FICO Score access. This card gives you access to your FICO scores for no extra charge. Say goodbye to predatory “credit health” apps.
- Overdraft protection. If you have a Bank of America checking account, you have the option to link your card to prevent overdrafts on the account. That’s clutch for students who run close to the bone.
- No annual fee. Most students have limited disposable income, so this is welcome news indeed.
Key Features of the BankAmericard Credit Card for Students
The BankAmericard Credit Card for Students offers a 0% intro APR promotion and overdraft protection, but not a great deal else.
This card doesn’t currently offer a sign-up bonus.
This card doesn’t currently earn rewards, and that seems unlikely to change in the future.
0% Intro APR Promotion
New cardholders can get 0% for 21 billing cycles for purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After, the variable APR applies, currently 16.24% to 26.24% APR.
This card charges a balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount of each transaction. The card also charges a cash advance fee of 3% of the amount of each transaction for direct deposits and check cash advances. The cost rises to 5% of the amount of each transaction for ATM, over the counter, same-day online, and cash equivalent cash advances.
There is a foreign transaction fee of 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction and a late payment penalty fee of up to $40. On the bright side, there’s no annual fee.
Overdraft Protection (Balance Connect)
You can link this card to an eligible Bank of America deposit account to cover deposit account transactions that would otherwise result in a negative balance. Fees and interest may apply; see terms for details.
This card requires good credit or better to qualify. If your FICO score is much below 680 to 700, then you may have trouble being approved. Likewise, if your credit history is limited or nonexistent and this would be your first credit card, you could have trouble qualifying. These standards could be a heavy lift for some college students.
Pros & Cons
There’s a lot to like about the BankAmericard Credit Card for Students, but it’s definitely not for everyone. Here are the upsides and downsides.
- Simple and easy to understand
- Generous promotional financing offer
- Free FICO score on demand
- No rewards program
- Intro offer may be tempting for inexperienced users
- Charges foreign transaction fees
This card offers several advantages for students looking to finance big purchases on the cheap while building credit.
- It’s simple. There’s no rewards, no statement credits, and few fees to worry about here. That all adds up to the perfect credit card for first-time users.
- Generous promotional financing offer. 21 months of interest free financing on both new purchases and balances transfers is extremely competitive for any credit card, and basically unheard-of in the student credit card category.
- Free FICO score. This can help students to learn about credit scores and manage theirs. It’s especially useful for students who aren’t super-familiar with the ins and outs of credit scores (or their financial implications).
This card’s strengths can also be construed as weaknesses, and it’s not particularly feature-rich in any case.
- No rewards. Students who are new to credit shouldn’t be focused on earning rewards for spending, but experienced, responsible cardholders will be missing out on potential cash back or travel rewards.
- Tempting promotional financing offer. Students learning to manage their credit cards responsibly might be led astray by the offer of no interest for 21 months. That can seem like an eternity for a young person, but they might find themselves in a lot of debt when the music stops.
- Foreign transaction fees. Studying abroad? This card will cost you 3% of every transaction. There are student cards from other issuers that don’t have this unnecessary fee.
How the BankAmericard Credit Card for Students Stacks Up
The card’s closest competitor is probably the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card. Here’s how the two cards compare:
|BankAmericard Credit Card for Students||Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card|
|Sign-Up Bonus||None||$50 cash bonus after spending $100 within the first three months of account opening|
|Rewards Rate||None||Up to 1.5%|
|0% Intro APR||0% for 21 billing cycles for purchases and balance transfers||None|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||3%||None|
|Credit Needed||Good or better||Fair or better|
Too many college students who use credit cards are tempted to overspend and incur debt. The BankAmericard Credit Card for Students won’t solve that problem, but it’s a simple card that could help students to learn to use credit responsibly. So long as the generous interest free financing offer doesn’t lead to debt, this card can be a great choice for students who are new to credit cards.