Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards vs. BankAmericard
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- The BankAmericard® credit card could be worth it if you need as much time as possible to pay off credit card debt since it includes longer intro APR offers
- The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card could be worth it if you’re looking for both intro APR offers and better long-term value since this card includes a welcome bonus and rewards program
- Both credit cards come with basic benefits like free FICO score access, $0 fraud liability, account alerts and access to Museums on Us and BankAmeriDeals
Comparing a card that offers rewards to a card that doesn’t offer rewards might feel like comparing apples to oranges. But both the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card and BankAmericard® credit card primarily serve the same type of consumers — those who are looking to consolidate high-interest credit card debt via a balance transfer or finance an upcoming purchase without paying interest.
That said, the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards offers a welcome bonus and 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, which can make it a more attractive option than the BankAmericard, which doesn’t offer a welcome bonus or ongoing rewards. However, both cards have their pros and cons, so let’s dig into the details.
|Cards||Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card||BankAmericard credit card|
|Welcome bonus||$200 online bonus cash rewards after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days||None|
|Rewards rate||1.5% cash back on all purchases||None|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers; balance transfers must be made in the first 60 days to qualify and a 3% balance transfer fee applies; variable APR of 17.74% to 27.74% after||0% intro APR for 21 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers; balance transfers must be made in the first 60 days to qualify and a 3% balance transfer fee applies; variable APR of 15.74% to 25.74% after|
Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards vs. BankAmericard highlights
Welcome bonus winner: Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards
The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards offers a $200 welcome bonus after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. The BankAmericard doesn’t offer a welcome bonus, easily making the Unlimited Cash Rewards card the winner.
Rewards rate winner: Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards
The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards offers an unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases. This category has a clear winner too, since the BankAmericard doesn’t have a rewards program.
Annual fee winner: Tie
Neither card charges an annual fee, so they tie in this category.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie
Both the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards and BankAmericard carry a 3 percent foreign transaction fee, so they also tie in this category.
Which card earns more?
The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards allows you to earn a flat 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, whereas the BankAmericard doesn’t offer a rewards program.
Say you spend about $1,000 per month ($12,000 per year) with the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards. In that case, you’ll earn $15 per month ($180 per year) in cash back. If you spend the same amount per month with the BankAmericard, you won’t earn any rewards on that same spending.
Why should you get the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards?
The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards might be worth it if you’re interested in an introductory APR offer for balance transfers and purchases while also looking to earn rewards on your purchases in the long run. Plus, the cash back you can earn is unlimited.
The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards’ benefits include FICO credit score access, $0 fraud liability and account alerts. You’ll also receive access to Bank of America’s Museums on Us — which allows you to get free access to select museums during the first weekend of every month — and BankAmeriDeals, which lets you earn cash back on activated, limited-time offers with participating merchants.
Otherwise, if you’re eligible to become a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, the advantage of the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards over the BankAmericard is even more pronounced. Depending on the tier you qualify for, being a Preferred Rewards member will boost your card’s 1.5 percent cash back rate to 1.87 percent, 2.25 percent or 2.62 percent cash back.
To qualify for Preferred Rewards, customers must have an eligible Bank of America checking account and a three-month average daily balance of $20,000 or more in eligible Bank of America or Merrill accounts.
You can easily redeem rewards for a statement credit to reduce your card balance. You can also redeem cash back as a direct deposit to a Bank of America checking or savings account or a credit to an eligible Merrill account.
Recommended credit score
The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards recommends that applicants have a good to excellent credit score.
Why should you get the BankAmericard?
There aren’t many compelling reasons to choose the BankAmericard over the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards. Still, if you really need a longer intro APR period and don’t care about rewards or welcome bonuses, the BankAmericard might be worth it for you. Plus, since the BankAmericard has a lower regular variable APR of 15.74 percent to 25.74 percent, you might want that safety net in case you can’t pay off your balance completely during the introductory period.
Like the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards, the BankAmericard’s benefits include account alerts, $0 fraud liability and FICO credit score access. You’ll also have access to the BankAmeriDeals program and Museums on Us.
Since there’s no rewards program for this card, there are no redemption options available.
Recommended credit score
The recommended credit score range for the BankAmericard is good to excellent.
The bottom line
Ultimately, the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards offers better long-term value thanks to its rewards program, while still providing a pretty long intro APR offer. However, the best way to enjoy cash back or other rewards is to avoid credit card debt entirely. Consumers who aren’t able to pay off their balance every month would be better off with the BankAmericard due to its lengthier intro APR offers and lower regular variable APR.
The Bank of America content in this post was last updated on May 17, 2023.