BankAmericard® credit card review
BankAmericard® credit card information last updated on March 22, 2021
If you’re looking to pay off your credit card debt with 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 12.99 percent to 22.99 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.
However, no rewards program, no sign-up bonus and a 3 percent foreign transaction fee may limit its long-term value compared to other zero-interest credit cards.
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What are the advantages and disadvantages?
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: N/A
- Welcome offer: N/A
- 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: 12.99 percent to 22.99 percent (variable)
Current intro APR offer
The BankAmericard doesn’t come with a traditional sign-up bonus, but not many balance transfer cards do. Instead, the BankAmericard delivers an impressive 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers that will keep interest at bay for 18 billing cycles (then a 12.99 percent to 22.99 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. The BankAmericard also charges a 3 percent transfer fee with a $10 minimum.
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. 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 for 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.
Since the BankAmericard is part of the Mastercard network, you could have a range of extra benefits depending on which Mastercard “tier” you’re assigned. The basic Standard Mastercard tier comes with the minimum Mastercard Global Service and Mastercard ID Theft Protection assistance but qualifying for the top World Elite Mastercard level will provide valuable benefits like cellphone protection and travel perks.
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 12.99 percent. The upper end of the card’s variable APR range, 22.99 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), 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 of 29.99 percent). That said, paying late would incur a late payment fee of up to $40, 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
Compared to other no annual fee balance transfer credit cards, the BankAmericard’s edge comes from its low ongoing APR (12.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable) and waived penalty APR.
For example, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months (transfers must be made within the first four months), but you’ll be saddled with a slightly higher 13.74 percent to 23.74 percent variable APR after the intro offer ends.
In terms of sheer zero-interest power, 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 14.49 percent to 24.49 thereafter).
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 4 months of account opening). You’ll still face a 3 percent balance transfer fee ($5 minimum) with the Simplicity. After that the variable APR will be 14.74% – 24.74%.
You’d have to dig for cards like the Chase Slate* to avoid balance transfer fees (waived if made in the first 60 days, then it’s 5 percent or a $5 minimum). However, the Chase Slate and many other cards with waived balance transfer fees may only offer up to 15 months of 0 percent intro APR (Chase Slate: 16.49 percent–25.24 percent variable APR after), so you’d have to calculate the cost of a balance transfer to decide whether the trade-off is worthwhile.
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 (13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable APR after that). However, if you need to rein in your spending, you might want to avoid rewards cards while you’re whittling away your balance.
*Not available to apply for online, only at physical Chase branch locations.
|Card name||Annual fee||Intro APR periods||Rewards|
|Citi Simplicity® Card||$0||
|Citi® Double Cash Card||$0||
||Up to 2% cash back (1% at purchase, plus 1% when you pay) on all purchases|
|U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card||$0||
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 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.
The information about the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.