Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Decent cash-back card that goes from good to better for its banking customer bonuses.

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In spring 2017, Bank of America modestly boosted the sign-up bonus value on its Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card (formerly known as BankAmericard Cash Rewards), but that was enough reason to move this card from a “no thanks,” to a “maybe.”

You’ll earn $150 in online cash rewards after you make just $500 in purchases during the first 90 days of account opening. That spending requirement is fairly low – even for a rewards card that carries no annual fee.

Review

This card’s most direct competition is the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, another card that doesn’t charge an annual fee. Both cards offer extra rewards on gas station and supermarket spending.

Bank of America Cash Rewards offers 3% cash back on gas purchases and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs up to $2,500 in combined spending per quarter. You’ll earn 1% on all other purchases. The AmEx card pays 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year (then 1%), 2% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% on all other purchases.

If you purchase much of your household’s groceries, there’s a better card for you.

We do like that this card comes with a potential for extra rewards for Bank of America deposit account customers, but the 10% bonus probably isn’t enough to offset other cards that offer a 2% flat rewards rate.

Who should get this card

This card is good for someone who wants an easy-to-follow cash-back card that rewards them for typical household spending. There are no rotating categories to keep track of and if you have a bank account or brokerage account with Bank of America or Merrill Lynch, the rewards value starts to exponentially increase.

This card also may be good for anyone looking to make a big purchase who wants the flexibility to pay it off over time. Cash Rewards comes with an introductory 0% APR for the first 12 billing cycles on purchases and on balance transfers made in the first 60 days. The standard APR is a variable 13.99% to 23.99%.

Advantages
  • Get a $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Receive a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account.
  • Preferred Rewards clients get an increased bonus of 25% to 75%.
Disadvantages
  • The 3% and 2% cash-back rates have a combined quarterly spend total of $2,500, which may be limiting for big gas or grocery spenders.
  • The 3% balance transfer fee could mean an unwelcome addition to your debt if you transfer a significant sum.
  • There’s a 3% foreign transaction fee for every purchase made outside the U.S.

Fees and APR

  • There is no annual fee.
  • You’ll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made outside the United States.
  • Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card comes with an introductory 0% APR for the first 12 billing cycles on purchases and on balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After that, it’s a variable 13.99% to 23.99%.

Extras, perks and using rewards

Cash-back rewards can be redeemed at any time in any amount as either a statement credit, deposited to your Bank of America bank account, or used to buy gift cards through Bank of America’s online shopping portal.

Bank of America clients receive a 10% bonus for depositing the cash-back rewards into their bank account. Preferred Rewards clients can get an even bigger bonus — ranging from 25% to 75% depending on your Preferred Rewards status.

You have to maintain a combined balance of at least $20,000 with either Bank of America, Merrill Lynch or Merrill Edge to get these increased rewards, but if you do, the cash-back rewards go from good to outstanding.

For example, if you have the highest status of Platinum Honors with Bank of America, which comes with a hefty $100,000 minimum account balance requirement, you can earn a bonus on your cash-back rewards of up 75%.

If you have just the Bank of America Cash Rewards card and spend $1,000 in three months on gas, you earn $30 back. If you have a Bank of America bank account, with the 10% customer bonus, that gives you another $3 back for a total of $33 back.

But if you have the highest Platinum Honors Preferred status, that additional 75% back means you get a total of $52.50 on the $1,000 spent at the pump.

How this card compares

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Card Details
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Credit Needed Good
Regular APR 15.99% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% for 15 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 15 months

Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid, straightforward cash-back rewards card that’s ideal for cardholders who just don’t have the time or energy to track spending categories. It ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards we track.

There are other cards that offer better rewards, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% cash-back on everything is an excellent reward coming from a no-annual-fee credit card.

If you also hold a premium travel rewards card from Chase like the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer your rewards from the Freedom Unlimited to one of the premium cards to redeem for travel at an increased value.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Card Details
  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Use your Quicksilver card and get 50% back as a statement credit on your monthly Spotify Premium subscription, now through April 2018
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 13.99%-23.99% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR for 9 months; 13.99%-23.99% variable APR after that; a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% intro on purchases for 9 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% intro on balance transfers for 9 months

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is simple. And that’s a good thing.

The card’s rewards program is structured so you don’t have to think about whether this is the month that gas station spending pays more or that it’s time to take advantage of warehouse club spending. There’s also no annual fee, so you don’t have to do the math about how much you’ll have to spend to make the card worth it.

Citi® Double Cash Card
Card Details
  • Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.49% - 24.49% based on your creditworthiness
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases.
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 14.49% - 24.49%* (Variable)
Annual Fee $0*
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 18 months*

When it comes to rewards value, the Citi Double Cash Card ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards that charge no annual fee.

So why, you might ask, does this card not receive a higher score from Bankrate? There are a couple reasons, but the main thing dragging this card down is this: Because Citi Double Cash offers no sign-up bonus, it struggles to compete with many cards in this category.

Longer-term, the Citi Double Cash Card may earn you more rewards. Earn an unlimited 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% back when you pay for those purchases.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.