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BankAmericard vs. Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card

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man making purchase at gourmet grocery store
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Determining the best credit card for your financial goals involves examining card features, benefits and perks — and you should, of course, choose the card that best meets your needs. For instance, one goal may be to earn more rewards on your spending, or you may need help paying down high-interest debt or financing a larger purchase with no interest.

Choosing between the BankAmericard® credit card and Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card comes down to exactly that — a lengthy introductory APR versus a slightly shorter intro APR and ongoing rewards. However, there are a few finer details that may sway your decision in an unexpected direction. Let’s take a look at what these cards offer and which option might be best for your financial goals.

The Bank of America content was last updated on Sept. 22, 2022.

Main details

Cards BankAmericard Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards
Welcome bonus None $200 online cash rewards after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening
Rewards rate None
  • 3% cash back on category purchases of choice, including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstore or home improvement
  • 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 of combined 3 and 2% category purchases each quarter, then 1%)
  • 1 percent on everything else
Intro APR 0% intro APR for 21 billing cycles on purchases and on balance transfers made in the first 60 days 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and on balance transfers made in the first 60 days
Regular APR 14.24% to 24.24% variable 16.24% to 26.24%
Annual fee $0 $0

BankAmericard vs. Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards highlights

Let’s start with the features these cards have in common.

Unfortunately, both the BankAmericard credit card and Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card have a 3 percent foreign transaction fee, so they aren’t really suitable for use outside of the United States (unless you don’t mind paying that fee). However, neither card charges an annual fee, so you don’t have to worry about justifying the cost of card ownership. Finally, both cards come with an introductory zero-interest offer on both balance transfers and purchases.

Although these cards share some features and come from the same issuer, the similarities pretty much end there.

Welcome bonus winner: Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card

The Customized Cash Rewards card offers $200 in online cash rewards after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. Most cardholders should be able to reach this spending requirement pretty easily.

The BankAmericard, on the other hand, doesn’t offer a first-year welcome bonus — though it has in the past.

Rewards rate winner: Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card

Considering the BankAmericard doesn’t offer ongoing rewards, the Customized Cash Rewards wins in this category. The card has a rewards structure that lets you choose your top spending category:

  •  3 percent cash back on the category purchases of your choice, including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstore or home improvement
  • 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 1 percent back on all other purchases
  • Combined $2,500 spending limit on 2 and 3 percent categories each quarter, then 1 percent

Using this card for your everyday spending means you can earn anywhere from $50 to $75 back on your 2 and 3 percent categories per quarter, on top of unlimited earnings for everything else at 1 percent back. Also, since you can change your 3 percent “choice” category each month, it’s more flexible than rewards cards with predetermined rotating bonus categories that you must activate every quarter.

As a member of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you can earn 25 percent to 75 percent more cash back (or up to 5.25 percent cash back) on purchases in your chosen category. This program is based on the balance you maintain in an eligible Bank of America or Merrill investing account, and the minimum balance for each tier is as follows:

Tier Balance required Bonus
Gold $20,000 to $49,999 25%
Platinum $50,000 to $99,999 50%
Platinum Honors $100,000 to $999,999 75%
Diamond $1,000,000 to $9,999,999 75%
Diamond Honors $10 million or more 75%

Which card earns the most?

Typically, our card battles show spending examples that highlight how much you’ll earn with one card over another based on their rewards structures. However, in this example, we’ll look at just the Customized Cash (since the BankAmericard doesn’t offer rewards), followed by a balance transfer example.

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards spending example

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards calculator shows you how much cash back you can earn in each category per year with the following spend:

  • 3 percent choice category: $10,000 in yearly spending
  • 2 percent category: $8,000 in yearly spending
  • 1 percent category: $6,000 in yearly spending

With this spending, you’d earn $440 in cash back. And when you add in your rewards boost based on your hypothetical Preferred Rewards tier, that’s $550 in cash back for Gold members, $660 for Platinum members and $770 for Platinum Honors members and above.

Balance transfer example

If you transferred a $5,000 balance to the BankAmericard within the first 60 days, you’d incur a $150 fee, bringing your total balance to $5,150. With 21 billing cycles to pay off your debt, that’s a monthly payment of just over $245 for 21 billing cycles.

With the Customized Cash Rewards, you’d incur the same fee for a total of $5,150. With 18 billing cycles, you’d pay just over $286 a month for 18 billing cycles to wipe out your debt.

Why should you get the BankAmericard?

The long and the short of it is that the BankAmericard should be your choice if you absolutely need a full 21 billing cycles to pay off your debt, and 18 months just won’t cut it. However, in many circumstances, if you can forgo the extra three months of interest-free payments, the Customized Cash Rewards card provides much better long-term value.

Additional benefits

Like most Bank of America credit cards, the BankAmericard card lets you participate in the BankAmeriDeals program, which allows you to get 5 percent to 15 percent cash back by using your card at participating merchants. Also, there’s access to Bank of America’s Museums on Us program, where you can get free general admission to 225 cultural institutions during the first weekend of every month. Other benefits are detailed in our BankAmericard benefits guide.

Recommended credit score

You’ll need good or excellent credit (or a score between 670 and 850) to increase your approval odds for this card.

Why should you get the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card?

In essence, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card is ideal for those looking to earn rewards (with a potential boost as a Preferred Rewards member) and utilize a solid zero-interest offer. If it’s ongoing value you’re looking for, the Customized Cash Rewards card can deliver for years to come — even when you remove the savings from the zero-interest offer and welcome bonus.

Additional benefits

Like the BankAmericard, you’ll get access to the BankAmeriDeals program and Museums on Us. But you’ll also get Visa Signature benefits, including purchase protections like extended warranty coverage, Visa Signature Concierge, roadside dispatch and travel and emergency assistance.

Redemption options

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card only allows you to redeem rewards for cash, just as the name implies. You can redeem your rewards at any time or amount for statement credits, direct deposits to a Bank of America checking or savings account or for credit to an eligible Merrill account.

Recommended credit score

Similar to the BankAmericard, you’ll need a good or excellent credit score to increase your approval odds for this card.

The bottom line

By now, it’s probably clear that these cards are suited for slightly different purposes.

The BankAmericard is for someone who really needs the longest zero-interest offer possible — whether for a large purchase or balance transfer. The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card, on the other hand, is ideal for those looking to get more value from their cash back credit card — especially those who’ll get a better rewards rate as part of the Preferred Rewards program.

Written by
Aja McClanahan
Personal Finance Writer
Aja McClanahan is an author, blogger and speaker on personal finance and entrepreneurship. Aja is the author of "How a Mother Should Talk About Money with Her Daughter."
Edited by
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