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The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is a worthy addition to most wallets. Its rewards structure is most attractive as part of a broader cash back strategy, and it gets even better if you have at least $20,000 in deposits or investments with the bank. Plus, cardholders who carry balances from month to month can benefit from the lengthy introductory offers on balance transfers and new purchases.
So, when is this card worth it and when is it not worth it? Read on to find out.
When is the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards worth it?
You want to earn rewards on everyday categories
This card is best known for offering 3 percent cash back on a category of your choosing, and you can change your category every month if you wish. You can choose from the following: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores and home improvement or furnishings. Plus, all cardholders get 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. However, note that the 3 percent and 2 percent categories are capped at a combined $2,500 in quarterly spending (then you’ll earn 1 percent back). All other purchases earn 1 percent cash back.
I like how the Customized Cash allows users to change their 3 percent category every month, and the list of potential choices includes something for everyone. This card is especially advantageous if you have a 2 percent cash back card as a foundation because you could then focus the Customized Cash card’s entire $2,500 quarterly limit on your 3 percent categories.
You’re a Preferred Rewards member
Thanks to the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, cardholders who have at least $20,000 in eligible Bank of America or Merrill accounts can get a 25 percent rewards boost. That means that the 3 percent cash back rate becomes 3.75 percent, the 2 percent rate becomes 2.5 percent and the 1 percent rate becomes 1.25 percent.
If you have at least $50,000 in eligible accounts, your rewards stretch 50 percent further. In that case, the 3 percent, 2 percent and 1 percent categories will instead earn 4.5 percent, 3 percent and 1.5 percent cash back, respectively.
And if you have at least $100,000 in eligible accounts, there’s a 75 percent rewards bonus. That means that the 3 percent category will become 5.25 percent back, the 2 percent category will become 3.5 percent back and the 1 percent category will become 1.75 percent back. Those are stellar returns, particularly from a card that does not charge an annual fee.
You want a 0% intro APR offer
Chasing rewards only makes sense if you can pay your credit card bills in full and avoid interest charges since the average credit card APR is currently more than 19 percent. But if you need to transfer a balance or pay off a large purchase over time, the Customized Cash card provides a 0 percent intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (then a variable APR of 18.24 percent to 28.24 percent). If you’re planning to transfer a balance, note that balance transfers must be made within the first 60 days and there’s a balance transfer fee of 3 percent of the amount of each transaction.
Although this 0 percent intro APR offer is not one of the longest balance transfer offers on the market, it’s still good. Of course, if you take advantage of the offer, aim to pay off the entire balance before interest starts accruing.
You want to earn a welcome offer
New cardholders can earn $200 in online cash rewards after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. This is on par with the welcome offers that other no-annual-fee cash back cards typically offer.
You want extra card perks
The Customized Cash card also participates in the BankAmeriDeals program, which gives extra cash back (often 5 percent to 15 percent) when you opt in to participating promotions and pay with your card.
Additionally, all Bank of America credit and debit cardholders receive access to Museums on Us, which provides free general admission to hundreds of participating museums and other cultural institutions during the first full weekend of every month.
When is the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards not worth it?
You only want to use one credit card
If you’re going to use one card for everything, you’d probably be better off with a no-annual-fee card that gives an unlimited 2 percent cash back on all purchases. For example, you might want to consider the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, which offers 2 percent cash rewards on purchases, and the Citi® Double Cash Card, which provides a total of 2 percent cash back (1 percent cash back when you make purchases and another 1 percent when you pay for purchases).
You don’t want to activate your categories
If you don’t want to remember to choose or activate your rotating bonus categories, you may want to consider a card like the Citi Custom Cash® Card, which gives 5 percent cash back on your top eligible spending category each billing cycle (on up to $500 per billing cycle, then 1 percent back). You’ll also earn 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.
With the Custom Cash, you won’t have to choose your categories. This card will automatically award the boosted rate to the eligible purchase category in which you spend the most. Eligible 5 percent categories include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel and transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment.
Should you get the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards?
If you like cash back cards, there’s a good chance the answer is yes to this question — but consider the credit cards you already have. Will the Customized Cash card’s 3 percent and 2 percent categories improve upon the rewards you’re already earning, or do you have other options that could meet or exceed those returns?
However, getting 3 percent cash back on a popular category is sweet, and it’s even sweeter with this card because you can choose your own adventure. Some other rotating category card issuers determine the categories for you, so they’re not always as useful.
For instance, if you have the Customized Cash card, maybe one month you’ll choose travel as your 3 percent category because you’re planning a big trip. The next month you might switch to home improvement and furnishings because you’re updating your home. The month after that, your best fit could be online shopping. It’s up to you.
If you max out the $2,500 quarterly limit entirely with 3 percent category spending, you’ll earn $300 each year. That can grow significantly if you hit the various Preferred Rewards tiers.
The bottom line
Whether or not to sign up for the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card comes down to how you spend your money and how many cards you’re willing to juggle. It generally works better as part of a broader multi-card strategy, focusing on certain types of occasional spending rather than serving as a daily driver. The higher you climb on the Preferred Rewards chart, the more likely this card could serve as your everyday workhorse.
So, is the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card worth it? I’d say yes, even if you don’t have a spare $100,000 around the house. But I wouldn’t suggest making this your primary card unless you can hit that top Preferred Rewards threshold.
The information about the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card was last updated on August 14, 2023.
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