BankAmericard® credit card review: A balance transfer card that pays upfront
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BankAmericard® credit card information last updated on April 21, 2022.
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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 18 billing cycles to settle your balance without paying interest (a variable APR of 13.24 percent to 23.24 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 no rewards program and a 3 percent foreign transaction fee may limit its long-term value compared to other zero-interest credit cards, its minor sign-up bonus may give it a slight leg up if you’re on the fence.
What are the pros and cons?
- 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
- The intro APR period isn’t as long as those from a few other rival balance transfer cards
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: N/A
- Welcome offer: $100 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: 0 percent intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases
- Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. A 3 percent fee (min. $10) applies.
- Regular APR: 13.24 percent to 23.24 percent (variable)
Current welcome offer
The BankAmericard is one of the few credit cards designed specifically for balance transfers to offer a traditional sign-up bonus: a $100 statement credit online bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. Granted, it’s half the standard $200 value you’d typically get for a no annual fee rewards card in exchange for the same $1,000 spending requirement Bank of America rewards cards typically pose, but the bonus is substantial enough to cover your 3 percent balance transfer fee ($10 minimum) if your balance is $3,333 or lower.
However, 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 18 billing cycles (then a 13.24 percent to 23.24 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.
A zero-interest period of 18 billing cycles or 18 months is the gold standard 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 13.24 percent. The upper end of the card’s variable APR range, 23.24 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), but that’s a common rate.
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 sign-up bonus and can be a decent option for paying off debt or financing a big purchase, but you won’t get any ongoing perks or rewards like you would with another balance transfer card. In addition to that, if you’re looking for an intro APR period longer than what the BankAmericard offers, other cards might be worth considering.
BankAmericard vs. Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
If a longer intro APR period is more valuable in your situation than the BankAmericard’s low ongoing APR ( 13.24 percent to 23.24 percent variable) and cash welcome bonus, then there are a few alternative cards that can give you a bit more breathing room. For example, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers a 0 percent intro APR on purchases for 12 months and balance transfers for 21 months (transfers must be made within the first four months). You’ll be saddled with a slightly higher 5 percent ($5 minimum) balance transfer fee and a 14.49 percent to 24.49 percent variable APR after the intro offer ends, but its one of the lowest ongoing rates you’ll find after a zero-interest period that lasts at least a year and a half.
The Citi Diamond Preferred is certainly one of the strongest transfer cards, but with so many similar options available, it might not be the best for most cardholders. In terms of sheer zero-interest power for both facets of intro APR, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card is the mightiest in the ring with its 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers (made within the first 60 days) and purchases that lasts an astounding 20 billing cycles (variable APR of 15.24 percent to 25.24 thereafter). If you know you’ll never miss a monthly minimum payment, then you may want the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card instead because that can extend its 0 percent 18-month intro purchase APR and qualifying balance transfer APR periods to up to 21 months (transfer must be made in the first 120 days). Thereafter the APR will be 13.74 percent to 25.74 percent (variable) Intro APR extension of up to 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro and extension periods.
The BankAmericard’s stiffest competition actually comes from the Citi Diamond Preferred card’s sibling, the Citi Simplicity® Card. The Simplicity carries the same $0 annual fee and intro APR offers as the Citi Diamond Preferred but also carries no penalty APR and no late fees to boot (balance transfers must be completed within four months of account opening). After your intro APR offers end, the variable APR will be 15.49 percent to 25.49 percent, which is still slightly higher than the BankAmericard’s interest rate. Like the Diamond Preferred, you’ll also face a 5 percent balance transfer fee ($5 minimum) with the Simplicity.
BankAmericard vs. Citi® Double Cash Card
Perhaps the biggest drawback of the BankAmericard is that it doesn’t earn rewards. If you still need the full 18-month period to pay off your balance, then your best 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 (14.74 percent to 24.74 percent variable APR after that).
Beyond how much more long-term value the Citi Double Cash provides compared to the BankAmericard, it’s also worth considering whether its ongoing cash back outweighs the BankAmericard’s initial cash offer. Based on the average credit card debt of about $5,000 and both cards’ 3 percent balance transfer fees, you’ll owe $150, which is partially offset by the BankAmericard’s $100 intro bonus. However, you may come out better with the Citi Double Cash despite no sign-up cash offer and its shorter intro balance transfer APR.
According to our credit card payoff calculator and a $239 monthly payment in order to settle the balance in 21 months, you’d end up owing $17 in interest in order to pay off the approximately $715 left after the Citi Double Cash’s intro balance transfer period ends. If you used either card to pay the $417 average monthly grocery cost (2020, the most recent figure) while paying off your balance, the Citi Double Cash would earn up to $175 in rewards, which would put you $8 ahead while completely covering the balance transfer fee and interest owed.
Depending on the size of your balance, the Citi Double Cash Card is likely a better option for both long-term value and paying off your debt. However, 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 prime choice if you need one of the longer 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 (or longer) 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. Plus, its $100 welcome cash back offer gives it an upfront edge since it could cover—or put a sizable dent in—your balance transfer fee.