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.

Bank of America has just announced a new rewards structure that allows cardholders to decide how they want to earn rewards. This, paired with their modestly boosted sign-up bonus value, was enough reason to move this card from a “no thanks,” to a “sure.” Plus, if you are a Preferred Rewards client with Bank of America, you can really boost the value of this card.

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

Starting in January of 2019, cardholders can choose from six different categories to earn 3 percent cash back from – travel, gas, online shopping, restaurants, drug stores and home improvement/furnishings. If you’re enrolled in the Preferred Rewards program, the 25 to 75 percent bonus on purchases means your 3 percent category choice could be bumped up to 5.25 percent.

You’ll still receive 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and an unlimited 1 percent on everything else. Plus, you have the option to change your 3 percent cash back category once every month via Bank of America’s Mobile Banking app or Online Banking.

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.

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

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 APR of 0% for the first 12 billing cycles on purchases and on balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After that, a variable APR of 16.24% – 26.24% will apply.

Advantages
  • Get a $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Preferred Rewards clients get an increased bonus of 25% to 75%.
Disadvantages
  • The 2% cash-back rates have a combined quarterly spend total of $2,500, which may be limiting for big grocery spenders.
  • The balance transfer fee is either $10, or 3% of the amount being transferred, whichever is greater. This could add pile on to your debt if you transfer a significant sum. This card should not be used for balance transfers.
  • There’s a 3% foreign transaction fee for every purchase made outside the U.S.

Fees and APR

  • 0% introductory APR for the first 12 billing cycles, then 16.24% – 26.24% variable
  • There is no annual fee.
  • You’ll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made outside the United States.

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.

Preferred Rewards clients can get a 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 (if gas is your chosen 3% category), you earn $30 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®
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • 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
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Credit Needed

Excellent/Good

Regular APR

17.24 - 25.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Balance Transfers Intro APR

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months

The 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
  • 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
  • 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 15 months; 15.24%-25.24% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.24%-25.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Credit Needed

Excellent, Good

Regular APR

15.24% - 25.24% (Variable)

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

0% intro on purchases for 15 months

Balance Transfers Intro APR

0% intro on balance transfers for 15 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
  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.74% - 25.74% 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, Good

Regular APR

15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable)

Annual Fee

$0*

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

0% 18 months on Balance Transfers* until 01/2019

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.

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.