BankAmericard® credit card review: Low balance transfer fee, long intro APR
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BankAmericard® Credit Card Overview
If you’re looking to pay off your credit card debt with a transfer to a Bank of America card, the BankAmericard® credit card should be your first choice. Its 0 percent introductory APR on both balance transfers made within the first 60 days and purchases offers a whopping 21 billing cycles to settle your balance without paying interest (a variable APR of 14.99 percent to 24.99 percent applies after that).
Competing balance transfer cards may have similar introductory APR periods — some even longer than the BankAmericard offer — but the BankAmericard’s ongoing APR also makes it a decent low-interest credit card once the intro APR offer ends.
While the lack of a rewards program and a 3 percent foreign transaction fee may limit its long-term value compared to other 0 percent APR credit cards.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- This card doesn’t offer rewards or waive late fees, so there isn’t much long-term value outside the low ongoing interest rate
- 3 percent balance transfer fee (or $10, whichever is greater)
- 3 percent foreign transaction fee
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: N/A
- Welcome offer: N/A
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: 0 percent introductory APR for 21 billing cycles
- Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent introductory APR for 21 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days (3 percent fee, minimum $10 applies)
- Regular APR: 14.99 percent to 24.99 percent (variable)
Current welcome offer
The main intro appeal is the BankAmericard’s impressive 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers that will keep interest at bay for 21 billing cycles (then a 14.99 percent to 24.99 percent variable APR applies). Just don’t forget that you must transfer your balance within the first 60 days of opening your account or you’ll lose the zero-interest offer.
An introductory APR period of 21 billing cycles or 21 months is the longest currently available for balance transfer cards, so you know you’re getting good value with the BankAmericard. Not many balance transfer cards with 0 percent interest periods this long sweeten the deal by offering a lower ongoing interest rate or waiving your balance transfer fee. But if you’re lucky enough to find one, opting for a card with no balance transfer fee could be a smart move, as shaving an extra 3 percent to 5 percent off your balance is usually worth sacrificing a few months of your intro APR period.
Other cardholder perks
The BankAmericard’s main focus is to help pay off your balance, so the additional features are a bit slim (like with other balance transfer cards). Luckily, there are a few Bank of America-exclusive perks you may enjoy outside the basic overdraft protection, $0 fraud liability, digital wallet integration and free FICO Score access that is updated monthly.
Although the BankAmericard doesn’t offer a traditional rewards structure, you still have a chance to earn 5 percent to 15 percent cash back by using your card at participating merchants with the BankAmeriDeals program. You can activate limited-time offers for restaurants and other retailers from your online Bank of America account, which will also earn you “coins” over time toward bigger bonuses.
Museums on Us
Bank of America’s Museums on Us benefit isn’t mentioned often, but it’s been a mainstay for over 20 years. Showing your Bank of America card and a valid photo ID at more than 225 “cultural institutions” will grant you free general admission to museums during the first weekend of every month — which can save bundles for families and weekend trippers.
Rates and Fees
The BankAmericard is a low-cost credit card across the board. Naturally, a 0 percent intro APR for balance transfers (made within the first 60 days) and purchases is the main attraction, but a qualifying credit score could earn you an ongoing variable APR as low as 14.99 percent. The upper end of the card’s variable APR range, 24.99 percent, isn’t cheap, but the low end is well below the current average interest rate. There is a 3 percent balance transfer fee to keep in mind (or $10, whichever is greater), which is relatively low considering some cards that charge 5 percent.
You won’t have to worry about an annual fee, and your interest rate won’t increase to a penalty APR if you accidentally miss a payment deadline (many cards charge a penalty APR). That said, paying late would incur a late payment fee (see terms for additional details), and using the card abroad will tack on extra 3 percent foreign transaction fees. If those potential costs are an issue, there are several credit cards with no late fees and no foreign transaction fees worth considering.
How the BankAmericard compares to other balance transfer cards
The BankAmericard offers a great option for paying off debt or financing a big purchase, but you won’t get any ongoing perks or rewards like you would with some other balance transfer cards. The card also carries a shorter timeframe for completing your balance transfer than some competing cards, so it may not be the best fit if you may need a few months to get things in order after applying.
BankAmericard vs. Wells Fargo Reflect® Card
If you need a little more time to complete your balance transfer and know you’ll never miss a monthly minimum payment, then the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card is also worth a look. It can extend its 0 percent intro APR of 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers by 3 months (for a total of up to 21 months) with on-time minimum payments during its intro period (a 15.99 percent to 27.99 percent variable APR applies thereafter). Balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3 percent (after which a balance transfer fee of up to 5 percent, minimum $5, applies). The BankAmericard, in contrast, only gives you 60 days to transfer your balance and take advantage of its intro APR offer.
BankAmericard vs. Citi® Double Cash Card
Perhaps the biggest drawback of the BankAmericard is that it doesn’t earn rewards. If you need a long intro APR period to pay off your balance but don’t want to sacrifice future rewards, another good choice may be the Citi® Double Cash Card. It rakes in up to 2 percent cash back on all purchases — 1 percent at purchase plus 1 percent upon payment — while packing in an 18-month 0 percent intro balance transfer APR (16.99 percent to 26.99 percent variable APR after that). While this falls short of the BankAmericard’s intro APR period, its everyday rewards should offer much better long-term value.
For a limited time, you can also earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of opening a Citi Double Cash Card. Keep in mind, however, that the 0 percent intro APR doesn’t apply to purchases, and you’ll need to make at least $1500 in purchases to get that cash offer. Unless you pay off your entire balance, including balance transfers, you’ll owe interest on the purchases you make. That could chip into the overall value of the cash offer. In general, if you need to reign in your spending, you might want to avoid rewards cards while you’re whittling away your balance.
Best cards to pair the BankAmericard with
If you’re paying down a credit card balance, your focus should be on quickly paying off your debt instead of applying for another card that rewards spending. Once you’ve got your balance under control, the BankAmericard can double as a low-interest card for emergencies while you choose a rewards card that best fits your spending.
Bankrate’s Take: Is the BankAmericard worth it?
The BankAmericard credit card is a strong choice if you need one of the longest intro APR periods available to pay down your balance. Granted, there aren’t many features that distinguish it from other balance transfer cards with similar intro APR offer lengths, and it doesn’t waive balance transfer fees or earn rewards.
However, the BankAmericard could be worth holding on to even after your balance is paid thanks to its potentially low ongoing APR compared to other balance transfer cards.