Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

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GOBanking Rates Score

Quick take: Earning money on your purchases is a great idea, if you spend enough in specific categories. The Bank of America Cash Rewards Card lets you earn 1-2% back in cash rewards. Additionally, you can select an additional category for a 3% bonus.

  • Costs
  • Awards
  • Bonuses
  • Chances of approval

How did we calculate this?

Advantages

  • Earn 3% cash back on a category of your choice
  • All purchases that do not qualify for any of the bonus categories reward you with an unlimited 1% cashback.
  • $200 cash bonus after approval if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • No annual fee
  • Introductory offer of 0% APR for the first 15 billing cycles

The inconvenients

  • Spending limits to earn rewards
  • Top rewards are only available to Bank of America relationship customers
  • Only six bonus categories are available

Bank of America Personalized Cash Rewards Card Overview

The Bank of America Cash Rewards Card has some strong credentials when it comes to a low cost credit card. If all else fails and you don’t want to track your spending, you can rest assured that you’ll earn at least 1% on your purchases.

However, this leaves money on the table – you will need to understand how the card works to maximize your cash earning potential. Consider the following points:

  • Awards: 3% cash back in one category, 2% cash back on groceries and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • APR: 13.99% to 23.99%
  • Annual fees: Nothing
  • Introductory offer: $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days and 0% APR for the first 15 billing cycles on balance transfers made in the first 60 days
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% or $10 minimum

Costs

The Bank of America Cash Rewards Card gets four stars in this review for fees. The good news is that you never have to worry about annual fees, which will save you almost $100 per year. However, keep an eye out for the 3% foreign transaction fee if you plan to travel abroad and the 3% balance transfer fee. However, it may still be worth paying the balance transfer fee to save on interest for 15 months.

As for the APR, the interest rate of 13.99-23.99% is pretty average for a credit card. Keep in mind that the rate may vary depending on your credit score. The lower 13.99% is usually reserved for applicants with excellent credit. Whatever APR is assigned to you, you can avoid it altogether by paying your card balance in full when it’s due.

Awards

Warehouse club shoppers will really love this card. Unless you can qualify for branded warehouse club cards like Citi’s Costco Anywhere Visa Card for an impressive 4% cash back, earn 2% on your Costco or Sam’s Club purchases when you pay with the Bank of America Cash Rewards Card isn’t a bad alternative. What makes this card unique is the ability to choose a category for 3% rewards. Choose one of the following categories to increase your earning potential:

  • Gas
  • Pharmacies
  • To eat
  • Shopping online
  • To travel
  • Home improvement and furniture

However, your 2% and 3% tiers will be capped at rewards of up to $2,500. Luckily, all other purchases can earn unlimited 1% cash back. Note: If you’re a Preferred Rewards member, you might be able to earn 25% to 75% more than the average cardholder. If gasoline is your chosen category, a regular cardholder will receive $3 off a $100 purchase. Preferred Rewards members can get up to $5.25 on the same $100 purchase.

Bonuses

Bank of America’s personalized cash rewards card comes with attractive bonuses to encourage you to apply. If you are approved, you will receive $200 to start your cash back. You will need to spend $1,000 within the first 90 days before seeing the bonus.

Plus, the cash back card offers new cardholders 15 months of interest-free payments on balance transfers made within the first 60 days of approval. The introductory offer can be useful if you pay off a high balance on another credit card.

Chances of approval

You will need good credit to have a good chance of approval. Unfortunately, students, people with no credit history, or people with fair or poor credit will have a hard time getting approved.

Good to know

Secured credit cards are a good alternative when you can’t qualify for some of the top rewards cards. They don’t rely on credit score for approval. You will be required to pay a security deposit which will serve as security for the credit card limit.

As you make timely payments, the card issuer will report it to the credit bureaus and your credit score should improve over time. Secured credit cards can help you rebuild your credit, but they usually don’t come with a big rewards program.

How to register

Applying for the Bank of America Cash Rewards card is quite simple if you apply online. Go to the application page and enter the following information:

  • Last name
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security number
  • Income/employment status
  • Contact details including address, telephone and email address

You will need to answer a few verification questions, but you should receive a decision in just a few minutes.

Is the personalized Bank of America Cash Rewards card right for you?

Who doesn’t appreciate a cash back, especially on your daily expenses? The Bank of America Cash Rewards Card offers at least 1% back on all your card purchases and up to 3% on the category of your choice. Best of all, there’s no annual fee, which usually eats up all the cash rewards you were hoping to earn.

There are several types of people who could really benefit from the personalized cash rewards card. Drivers on long trips, for example, can earn 3% on fuel stops, which can add up. The key is to know which category you spend the most in, activate it and be sure to pay with the card.

Members of warehouse clubs could also benefit from the rewards the card has to offer. Warehouse Club purchases earn 2% cash back. When you add that to the amount of cash back you already receive as a warehouse club member, you can essentially double your earnings (or more), which could at least cover your annual warehouse club membership fee. .

Skip the Bank of America Cash Rewards Card if…

This card is ideal for moderate spenders. Bank of America caps the highest 2% and 3% reward levels at $2,500 per quarter. If you plan to spend more and really want to maximize the amount of money you can collect in rewards, there are other higher paying cash rewards cards.

If your credit is a work in progress, you can also ignore this card for now. Bank of America credit cards generally require applicants to have a good credit rating. Finally, international travelers should look for a better option, such as a travel rewards card. Otherwise, the 3% foreign transaction fee added to international purchases can really add up.

Final grip

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card is rated 3.8 out of 5 by GOBankingRates. Although the card has good features, the cash rewards card market is competitive. There are other good alternatives to consider for applicants with good credit. Unless you are a loyal Bank of America customer, do your research before applying for this card. You may be able to earn higher rewards with less work with another cash back card such as:

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About the Author

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with a degree in international business and journalism from American University. In addition to writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design, and architecture. His work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates Open Skies magazine and more.

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