Student credit cards have long been the only option when it comes to building credit. Bank of America is, traditionally, a very popular option. The bank offers four different credit cards: Customized Cash Rewards, Unlimited Cash Rewards, Travel Rewards, and BankAmericard® for Students.
Each of these cards are slightly different in how they help you earn rewards, but they’re all credit cards, so you’ll need to go through an approval process to get one. As is standard with most student credit cards out there, this process can be complex and frustrating, especially if you don’t have credit to begin with.
To illustrate, here’s a story for you. Last week, I stopped into a Bank of America branch. The teller asked if I had started building credit yet, so I humored him and said no. He gave me a pamphlet inviting me to return to the bank next week to apply for a student credit card, but made sure I knew that there was no guarantee I’d be approved. That’s right - not only did he think I could get denied, he wouldn’t have even let me apply for the card right then and there.
Fizz, on the other hand, doesn’t check your credit. You don’t have to wait a week and you don’t have to come sit down and talk to someone in a bank branch. All you need is a phone, a little personal information, and a few minutes of free time. That’s how much easier it is to build credit with Fizz. Let’s take a look at how else Fizz stacks up against Bank of America’s student cards.
Fees and interest
Fizz doesn’t charge fees or interest to college students, which is part of what makes it such a great option. Bank of America’s slate of student credit cards, however, has plenty of fees and interest rates that you should be aware of.
First of all, Bank of America charges a late payment fee of up to $40 for any missed payment. Even Discover gives you a free pass on one late payment! But with Bank of America, if you ever make a mistake and forget to pay your bill, you’ll be stuck paying a hefty fee.
On top of that, Bank of America’s student cards charge interest rates that range up to around 25%. If you carry a balance of just a few hundred dollars, you could end up owing nearly a hundred additional dollars by the end of the year. Add any missed payments on top of that, and you could be on the hook for hundreds of dollars in interest charges and fees. And with the high credit limits often granted to new users, you’re almost being encouraged to overspend and go into debt.
Again, Fizz doesn’t charge interest and doesn’t have any fees. Instead of encouraging overspending and debt, we don’t let you spend more than you have and we make sure your purchases are paid off every single day.
Of the four Bank of America student credit cards, only three of them let you earn rewards on your spending. Similar to most credit cards, these rewards aren’t localized. You’re given either a set amount of cash back for all your purchases or a varying amount for purchases in certain categories. These percentages are low, usually ranging from 1% to 3%.
Part of what makes the Fizz rewards program so great is that it’s tailored specifically to you as a college student. We partner with national brands that are useful and popular with college students and we also partner with local spots on college campuses around the country. So whether you’re buying new clothes online or running down the street to grab food or coffee, chances are that Fizz has a cashback offer for you. And those cash back percentages can be as high as 25% - a lot higher than the 1% or 3% that Bank of America offers.
Credit and credit building
When it comes to building credit, both Fizz and Bank of America can be beneficial. Both can help build your credit score, but things are easier and more straightforward with Fizz.
If you manage to get through the Bank of America approval process without being denied, there are a lot of things you’ll need to remember. You’ll probably have a big credit line, so you'll have to remember to not overspend. You’ll need to know when to make payments, too. If you forget or can’t make a payment, you’ll get hit with fees and interest charges and your score could suffer.
Fizz wants to make things easy for you. By connecting to your existing bank account, Fizz keeps your from spending more than you have. Plus, with autopay enabled, Fizz pays off your purchases every day, so that you’re never in debt and you’re starting fresh every day.
Frankly, Fizz and Bank of America couldn’t be more different. While both cards can help you build credit, Fizz makes things as easy as possible. College students won’t be on the hook for any fees or interest rates, and we won’t encourage you to take on debt or overspend. It’s as easy as using your current debit card.
Bank of America takes a more complicated approach. If you’re interested in keeping track of due dates, credit limits, budgets, fees, interest rates, and more, then Bank of America might be right for you. But if you’re like most of us, why bother? Get a Fizz card and start building credit and earning rewards without the headache!