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Before you decide if the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is worth signing up for, it’s crucial to understand its rewards rate, fees and advantages. With that in mind, you should know that the Unlimited Cash Rewards card offers users a flat 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, and that new customers can earn a $200 online cash bonus after spending at least $1,000 on purchases within 90 days of account opening.
Another feature worth highlighting is its introductory zero-interest offer. When new cardholders apply, they can enjoy a 0 percent intro APR for 18 billing cycles on both purchases and balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening an account (followed by a variable APR of 18.24 percent to 28.24 percent).
Add in the fact that there’s no annual fee, and it’s easy to see why the Unlimited Cash Rewards card is worth checking out.
When is the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card worth it?
When you prefer simple, easy rewards
If you’re looking for a cash back credit card that skips bonus categories and offers generous flat-rate rewards instead, the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card is worth considering. After all, you’ll earn a flat 1.5 percent cash back on everything you buy, which can definitely add up over time. For cardholders who simply want to swipe and earn rewards, without concerning themselves with whether or not certain purchases will earn them bonus cash back, this card is a good choice.
Redeeming your cash back is as straightforward as earning it. You can redeem your rewards for statement credits, a deposit into an eligible Bank of America checking or savings account or a transfer to an eligible Merrill investment account — including 529 savings plans.
When you already have an account with Bank of America or Merrill
This Bank of America card is worth getting if you’re a member of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. You’ll have to maintain an average balance of at least $20,000 for three months to qualify for the lowest of the five tiers of this program, but becoming a member lets you earn 25 percent to 75 percent more cash back for each dollar you spend.
With the Unlimited Cash Rewards card, in particular, becoming a member of this program would increase your cash back rate to between 1.87 percent and 2.62 percent cash back on everything you buy. If you’re able to qualify for the higher tiers, Platinum and above, your cash back rate would be higher than the best flat-rate cash back cards out there.
When is the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card not worth it?
When you want to maximize your flat-rate cash back
Unless you’re already a Bank of America customer, with either a Preferred Rewards membership or plainly a deep-seated loyalty to the issuer, you could apply for another cash back card. Other issuers offer flat-rate cash back cards that earn at an even higher flat rate, such as the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card with its unlimited 2 percent cash back on all purchases, and at no annual fee.
Plus, its redemption options are relatively diverse, allowing you to redeem your cash back for statement credits, gift cards and even travel through the Wells Fargo Rewards portal.
When you have some credit card debt
If you specifically need a card because you want to consolidate high-interest debt, the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card may not be the strongest option. Though the card’s 18-month introductory APR period (18.24 percent to 28.24 percent variable APR after) should help you save on interest, if you have a small debt, its balance transfer fee with a minimum of $10 per transfer may hinder your savings.
For cardholders with a more sizable credit card debt, you should also look at balance transfer cards that offer 0 percent intro APR offers on transferred balances for up to 21 months — six months longer than what’s offered by the Unlimited Cash Rewards card.
If you know that 18 months is sufficient time for you to pay off your debt but you’d like a lower balance transfer fee, the Citi® Double Cash Card offers an 18-month 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers as well (18.24 percent to 28.24 percent variable APR thereafter), but the card’s intro transfer fee has a lower a minimum of $5, or 3 percent.
Should you get the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card?
If you’re determined to have a Bank of America credit card, the Unlimited Cash Rewards card will serve you well with its 1.5 percent cash back, with no limit on how much you can earn in a year, no category restrictions and no spending caps. Plus, its welcome bonus is relatively easy to earn, so you should be able to redeem your cash back rewards in no time. Cardholders who’ve already qualified for the Preferred Rewards program have an even better reason to apply for this card, thanks to the promise of a boosted cash back rate.
However, if you’re not a Bank of America loyalist, there’s no reason for you not to find other cash back cards, with higher rewards rates and longer intro APR periods, attractive. Plus, other issuers offer even more flexible redemption options, even for their cash back cards, so you can redeem your rewards on more than just statement credits and direct deposits.
The bottom line
If you still can’t decide on this cash back credit card, taking some time to read Bankrate’s Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards review can help.
You can also spend some time comparing the Unlimited Cash Rewards card to other Bank of America cards, like the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card and Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card.
Also, make sure you compare this card to similar options from other issuers. With some research and comparison shopping, you’re sure to find the right fit.