Is the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card a Smart Option?
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers $200 in cash rewards after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days after opening a new account.
Coupled with 3% cash back in your choice category, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back everywhere else, this card offers a great option to put cash back in your pocket with no annual fee. 2% and 3% bonus categories are limited to the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases every quarter.
New cardholders also enjoy 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles. To qualify for 0% APR, balance transfers must be completed within 60 days of opening your new account.
Bank of America® banking customers get an even sweeter deal. If you redeem cash back rewards into a Bank of America® checking or savings account, get an extra 10% customer bonus! For example, if you redeem $200 cash back into a Bank of America® checking account, you’ll get an extra $20 cash back. Bank of America® Preferred Rewards clients can earn a bonus of 25%-75% on cash back redemptions. Preferred Rewards status is based on the total of deposits in eligible accounts.
$200 Bonus Cash Back – After spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days after opening a new account, earn $200 bonus cash back.
- Smart Tip: Existing Bank of America® customers earn an even bigger bonus when redeeming cash back rewards into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.
Up to 3% Cash Back – On your everyday purchases, enjoy up to 3% cash back. Earn 2% and 3% bonus categories are limited to the first $2,500 in purchases per quarter.
- Smart Tip: If you plan to spend at least $2,500 per quarter at gas stations, skip using this card at grocery stores and wholesale clubs to maximize your 3% cash back. However, if you will spend less than $2,500 on gas don’t miss out on the 2% grocery store and wholesale club bonus.
No Annual Fee – This card does not charge an annual fee. Annual fees are common with rewards credit cards.
0% APR Intro Period – Pay no interest on purchases and balance transfers for 12 billing cycles after opening a new account. Automatically get 0% APR on purchases. Complete balance transfers within 60 days to qualify for 0% APR. A 3% ($10 minimum) fee applies to balance transfers.
Fraud Protection – This card automatically looks for unusual payment activity and blocks potential fraud when suspected. Pay $0 for fraudulent purchases.
ShopSafe® Online Security – Each time you use your Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for online shopping, you can generate a temporary credit card number so your real number never goes online.
EMV Security Chip – Enjoy enhanced protection at participating merchants at chip enabled terminals around the world. Over 130 countries participate in the EMV security chip standard.
Digital Wallet Enabled – Use your Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card with Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Samsung pay for even more secure and convenient purchasing. Just hold your phone above the terminal and the rest happens automatically!
FICO® Score – Enrolled cardholders can view their FICO® credit score for free. Your score is updated monthly and available through online banking or the Bank of America® mobile app.
- Smart Tip: Some companies charge you a fee to get your FICO® credit score. Take advantage of the chance to monitor your FICO® score for free with this card and track your progress towards an excellent score.
Overdraft Protection – Link this card to your Bank of America® checking account to avoid expensive and embarrassing overdrafts. Transfer fees apply.
Text Banking – Don’t worry about mobile apps and websites. Get your most important banking information in seconds with a quick text message to Bank of America®.
How it Works
Earn 3% cash back in your choice category. Choose from gas, online shopping, drug stores, home improvement, furnishings or travel. Keep the category the same or change it up once each month using your mobile banking app or online banking. You will also receive 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. There is a limit up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases. Once you reach your limit for the quarter, you will receive 1% cash back. All other purchases outside these categories will automatically receive 1% cashback.
0% APR applies to all purchases for the first 12 billing cycles. To qualify for 0% APR, balance transfers must be requested within 60 days of opening your new account. Pay 3% (min.$10) for balance transfers. After the 0% APR period ends, you will be charged 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers. Your interest rate is based on your credit history.
What’s the Catch
2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 3% in your choice category are limited to the first $2,500 in combined purchases from these categories per quarter. If you quickly spend that amount in the 2% cash back rewards categories, you miss out on the 3% bonus cash back for your choice category. The 1% difference is worth up to $25 per quarter or $150 per year. The total you can earn at just with the 3% category is $300 per year. After reaching the 2% and 3% quarterly limits, you continue to earn 1% cash back on all purchases in those categories.
Balance transfers charge 0% APR for the first 12 billing cycles if you complete them within 60 days of opening a new account. If you were to transfer a $5,000 balance that is currently charging 20%, for example, you must pay a $150 transfer fee. However, at 20% APR, you would pay $1,000 on that balance over the course of 12 billing cycles. Even with the transfer fee, you could still end up saving money.
Just the Math Please
The amount you earn is based on how much you spend on the card. Earn up to $300 per year in bonus cash back if you spend the whole $2,500 per quarter just at gas stations. Most users will see less cash back if a portion of your bonus cash back is earned at grocery stores or wholesale clubs.
The 0% APR introductory period offers a big opportunity to save money on expensive credit card interest charged by other cards. Even after the 3% or $10 (whichever is greater) balance transfer fee, you are still likely saving money compared to paying interest on another card.
The minimum interest charge is $1.50 on billing cycles when you are charged interest.
Annual percentage Rate (APR) for Purchases
0% Intro APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases. After, a 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers variable APR will apply. This APR will vary with the Prime Rate.
APR for Balance Transfers
0% Intro APR for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After, a 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers variable APR will apply. This APR will vary with the Prime Rate.
APR for Cash Advances
Penalty APR and When it Applies
Up to 29.99% variable
How Long Will the Penalty APR Apply?
If your APRs are increased due to a late payment, the new rate applies indefinitely.
How to Avoid Paying Interest on Purchases
Your due date is at least 25 days after the close of each billing period. You will not be charged any interest on purchases if you pay your entire balance by the due date each month.
Minimum Interest Charge
No less than $1.50
Balance Transfer: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Direct Deposit and Check Cash Advances: $10 or 3%, whichever is greater
ATM, Over-the-Counter, Same-Day Online and Cash Equivalent Cash Advances: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Foreign Purchase Transaction: 3% of the U.S. Dollar amount charged after currency conversion.
Wire Transfer Purchase: Purchasing a wire transfer from a non-financial institution results in a fee of $10 or 5%, whichever is greater.
Late Payment: Up to $38
Returned Payment: Up to $27
The Bottom Line
With a huge $200 cash back signup bonus and 0% APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, this card is an incredible deal. Considering that the card has no annual fee, there is no harm in keeping it in your wallet for many years to come.
Because the card’s 3% cash back rate in one choice category and 2% cash back rate at supermarkets are limited to the first $2,500 in combined quarterly purchases, this card may not be the right option for huge spenders. The 3% foreign transaction fee also makes this card less of a draw for frequent international travelers.
Overall, this card is a great option and one of the best cash back cards with no annual fee on the market today. It is popular with good reason and is a great choice for your everyday purchases.