Bank of America® Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card review
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Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Overview
Bank of America’s Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards Mastercard is an excellent small business credit card choice whether you’re a loyal Bank of America customer or simply prefer the convenience of a rewards program that keeps your business expenses simple.
While the card isn’t Bank of America‘s most rewarding business card, it’s also not trying to be. The Business Advantage Unlimited Cash card offers 1.5 percent flat-rate cash back, so it wouldn’t the most rewarding standalone business card option, but could be a wise pick if you have a small startup or side hustle with specialized expenses. It’s also an excellent candidate to partner with a bonus category card that packs a bigger punch on your biggest spending categories.
The true potential of this card, however, is unlocked by issuer loyalty. Thanks to Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards for Business program, the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash card could be one of most valuable flat-rate cash back cards on the market if you maintain a high average balance across your savings and investment account—up to 2.62 percent cash back on all purchases if you have a three-month combined average daily business balance of at least $100,000 in across your eligible Bank of America and Merrill Lynch accounts.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- Likely not as rewarding as other Bank of America business cards, depending on your expenses
- The $300 online cash sign-up bonus (after spending $3,000 within 90 days) isn’t very competitive
- 3 percent foreign transaction fee on purchases abroad
- No intro balance transfer APR, and the intro purchase APR is short compared to similar business card’ offers
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: Unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases
- Welcome offer: $300 online bonus cash rewards after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase Intro APR: o% for 9 billing cycles
- Balance Transfer Intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 12.49% to 22.49% (variable)
Current welcome offer
You’ll be able to earn a $300 online cash bonus by spending $3,000 in combined purchases during your first 90 days with the card. This welcome offer is a solid payday if you want an easily accessible bonus that compliments the card’s flat-rate rewards structure. It’s far from the most rewarding intro cash bonus you’ll find on a no annual fee business card, but it’s certainly not the lowest.
The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card is another flat-rate business card, but it offers $750 cash back after spending $7,500 during your first three months. The Business Advantage Unlimited Cash certainly has an edge over the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, though, since it only offers a $250 statement credit for nearly the same spending requirement ($3,000 in purchases during the first three months).
The Business Advantage Unlimited Cash is a flat-rate cash back card, which makes it an excellent choice if you want a simple rewards program, cash back on expenses that aren’t usually rewarded by typical bonus categories or if your business expenses exceed beyond normal category spending limits.
How you earn
Regardless of whether you’re a Preferred Rewards member, earning cash back with the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash card is the easiest approach to rewards. You’ll earn unlimited 1.5 percent on all purchases, which can be increased by up to 25 to 75 percent depending on your Preferred Rewards status.
Like most credit card rewards programs, account costs like balance transfers, cash advances, interest payments and other fees won’t earn cash back.
How to redeem
Redeeming your rewards is also a simple matter. By logging into your online Bank of America account or via mobile banking access, you can choose to redeem your rewards balance for either a:
- Direct deposit to your business’ Bank of America checking or savings account
- Statement credit
- Mailed check
There’s no minimum rewards redemption requirement to worry about and your rewards won’t expire for the life of your account.
It’s a bit disappointing that the automatic cash back redemption feature for consumer cards isn’t available on their business card equivalents, as it helped set Bank of America apart for busy cardholders looking for the smoothest rewards experience possible. However, automated rewards aren’t a common perk for business cards since more detailed accounting may be required for employee card spending and tax tracking. If automatic rewards redemption is a must-have feature for you, though, some Capital One business cards are also known for this benefit.
How much are the rewards worth?
Like how other cash back programs work, your rewards are equivalent to your cash back percentage for each dollar you spend. All purchases will earn you 1.5 cents per dollar spent.
Landing Preferred Rewards for Business status can score you a handsome 1.87 cents, 2.25 cents or 2.62 cents per dollar, depending on which membership tier you qualify for.
Other cardholder perks
No annual fee cash back cards usually aren’t known for offering bountiful benefits—especially for business cards in this vein. Bank of America’s Business Advantage cash back cards are no exception and are a smidge starker than similar cards in its class. There aren’t many additional perks aside from the Preferred Rewards for Business program—which can more than make up for the barebones features—and basics like cash flow management software and account monitoring. Otherwise, the travel services and optional Balance Connect™ overdraft protection service may be handy for the unlimited employee cards you can request but aren’t very substantial.
Preferred Rewards for Business program
The Preferred Rewards program is a standout benefit that distinguishes Bank of America as the best cash back card provider for members who have established savings. Preferred Rewards for Business is the version for business cardholders that has the same cash back boost and account balance requirements.
Maintaining an eligible Bank of America business checking account and an average daily balance of at least $20,000 across your qualifying Bank of America business deposit and/or Merrill business investment accounts can magnify your rewards based on the following status tiers:
- Preferred Rewards Gold (at least a $20,000 balance): 25 percent boost for 1.87 percent cash back on all purchases
- Preferred Rewards Platinum (at least a $50,000 balance): 50 percent boost for 2.25 percent cash back on all purchases
- Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors (at least a $100,000 balance): 75 percent boost for 2.62 percent cash back on all purchases
Attaining Preferred Rewards status may be even more valuable for business cardholders since you’ll also get a range of other perks, including reduced banking fees, cash back on payroll services and boosted or discounted interest rates on select Business Advantage accounts (including savings accounts, commercial real estate loans, credit line financing and auto loans) that improve with your status.
Travel and emergency services
Although they’re not very actively valuable, you and your employees are protected when using them for auto rental insurance, emergency ticket replacement, lost-luggage assistance, legal and medical referrals while traveling and up to $100,000 in travel accident insurance.
Rates and fees
The Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card is a low-cost business card. It doesn’t charge an annual fee, so you won’t have anything eating into your rewards unless you accrue interest or purchase anything abroad. The foreign transaction fee is 3 percent but carrying a balance or missing a payment will lead to stiffer costs.
Fortunately, the card’s 0% intro purchase APR will keep interest at bay for your first 9 billing cycles, but you’ll take on a 12.49% to 22.49% (variable) APR afterward. Even still, that’s well below the current average credit card rate and makes this a surprisingly low-interest card for a business. The downside is that there is no intro balance transfer APR (which isn’t too common for business cards anyway), so you’ll tackle the full APR and a 4 percent ($10 minimum) balance transfer fee if you decide to transfer to Bank of America.
How the Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash compares to other business cards
Business Advantage Unlimited Cash vs. Capital One Spark Cash Plus
If you subscribe to the “have to spend money to make money” philosophy, the Capital One Spark Cash Plus card might be the best flat-rate cash back option you can find for businesses. It only takes spending $625 per month to recoup the Spark Cash Plus card’s $150 annual fee with its impressive, unlimited 2 percent cash back on all purchases. However, this card favors businesses with big expenses since you can completely offset the annual fee with the card’s $200 annual cash bonus—as long as you spend $200,000 or more each year to attain it. The Spark Cash Plus makes this a bit easier since it’s a charge card rather than a traditional credit card, meaning there’s no preset credit limit but you must pay off your balance in full each billing cycle.
Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics spending data and an estimated $48,000 yearly spend, many small businesses might not qualify for the Spark Cash Plus card’s annual spending bonus. However, even when covering the annual fee with card rewards, the Spark Cash Plus still comes out ahead of the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash with $810 in yearly cash back versus $720 on the aforementioned yearly spend. If your business’s annual budget is closer to $48,000, the Spark Cash Plus’ up to $1,000 welcome offer—$500 after spending $5,000 in the first three months, plus another $500 after spending a total of $50,000 in the first six months—will most likely be out of reach.
Although the Spark Cash Plus has better spending power and more rewards potential, the more accessible Business Advantage Unlimited Cash is a wiser pick for smaller businesses that don’t spend enough to take advantage of these selling points. Startups may also prefer the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash because a charge card doesn’t allow you to carry a balance if you’re in a pinch. Plus, charge cards aren’t as effective for building your business credit, considering you don’t have a revolving credit line.
However, the biggest edge the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash has over the Spark Cash Plus is the Preferred Rewards for Business program. If your business has at least $50,000 in a Bank of America account, your Platinum Preferred Rewards status elevates your flat rewards rate to unlimited 2.25 percent cash back on all purchases. The Unlimited Cash card may be worth considering for Bank of America accountholders who want to qualify for Platinum or Platinum Honors status, as it is not only more rewarding but also less expensive than the premium Spark Cash Plus card.
Business Advantage Unlimited Cash vs. Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
Bank of America accountholders with at least Gold Preferred Rewards for Business status will probably find the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash a more lucrative choice than the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card. Otherwise, it’s a different story entirely.
The no annual fee Ink Business Unlimited seems like a run-of-the-mill 1.5 percent flat-rate cash back card at first, but it offers two excellent first-year offers you’ll be hard-pressed to match. Not only can you earn a $750 cash back bonus after spending $7,500 on purchases in the first three months, but you may also qualify for a 12-month 0 percent intro purchase APR (then 13.49 percent to 19.49 percent variable). The cash sign-up bonus is one of the best you’ll find among business cards with a $100 annual fee or lower and isn’t out of reach for more modest spenders. Plus, the Ink Business Unlimited’s intro APR is about a quarter longer than the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash card’s with only a slightly higher minimum interest rate afterward.
The Ink Business Unlimited also provides a few basic benefits that the Bank of America card neglects to offer, including purchase protection, extended warranty protection and 24/7 pay-per-use roadside dispatch. However, the biggest appeal comes from pairing it with a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card, such as the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. Any rewards you earn with the Ink Business Cash can be pooled with the Preferred and redeemed for travel through Chase for an additional 25 percent value bump—or more with the right transfer partner. As an option for small business owners using a personal credit card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers a better 50 percent point value redemption boost for Chase travel, as well as a slew of additional top-tier benefits.
Regardless of your situation, Chase cards deliver better pairing possibilities and a bit more credit card future-proofing, depending on your business needs down the road. If you’re not sold on creating additional accounts with Bank of America for the Preferred Rewards program, then the Ink Business Unlimited may be a better choice.
Best cards to pair with the Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash
As a flat-rate card, the Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash pairs well with business cards that reward your biggest spending categories. The Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card is the perfect example since you can swap its percent choice bonus category depending on your upcoming expenses each month. The Business Advantage Unlimited Cash boosted flat rate can shore up your rewards potential if you surpass its 3 percent and 2 percent categories’ $50,000 annual spending limit (then 1 percent back). Plus, the Business Advantage Cash Rewards will benefit from being a Preferred Rewards member as well.
Bankrate’s Take: Is the Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash worth it?
The initial rewards you’d earn with the Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards Mastercard make it a far cry from the most rewarding option for a primary business card. On the other hand, it’s well worth it if you prefer streamlined rewards or if your expenses extend well beyond normal bonus category cards’ spending categories.
However, the most noteworthy angle to consider is the Preferred Rewards cash back boost if your business already banks with Bank of America. In fact, achieving Platinum Honors status would make the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash perhaps the most lucrative flat-rate cash back card on the market with unlimited 2.62 percent back on all purchases.