Advertiser Disclosure
X

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, Chase, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.

By

Views

1.1K

Dig Deeper

Become a Money Crasher!
Join our community.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review – 3% Gas, 2% Groceries

Views

1.1K
At a Glance
Bank Of America Bankamericard Cash Rewards World Mastercard Lase
3.8 / 5
Rating

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Sign-up Bonus: $200 cash rewards when you spend at least 500 within 3 billing cycles
  • Rewards: 3% cash back on gas purchases and 2% cash back on grocery store purchases, up to $2,500 in combined quarterly category purchases; unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases; 10% bonus on cash redeemed into Bank of America® or Merrill Lynch deposit accounts
  • Benefits: Overdraft protection for Bank of America® deposit account holders
  • Intro APR: 12-billing-cycle 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases
  • APR: 15.49% to 25.49%
  • Fees: 3% international transaction fee; $10 or 3% cash advance and balance transfer fees
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Credit Needed: Very good/excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a cash back credit card with a generous rewards program and a nice lineup of features, particularly for customers with other Bank of America® accounts. Bank of America® Cash Rewards’ earning scheme focuses on gas purchases and grocery purchases, two broad spending categories that are sure to appeal to cardholders who use this as their everyday spending vehicle.

This card competes with a number of other general-purpose cash back rewards credit cards, including the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, the Citi Double Cash Card, and Chase Freedom.

Key Features

Sign-up Bonus

When you spend at least $500 within 90 days of opening your account, you get a $200 cash rewards bonus.

Earning Cash Back Rewards

Every $1 spent on gas earns 3% cash back, and every $1 spent at the grocery store earns 2% cash back. Keep in mind that warehouse clubs and discount superstores, such as Sam’s Club and Walmart, don’t count as grocery stores for this card’s purposes. Bank of America® Cash Rewards’ gas and grocery categories have a quarterly spending limit of $2,500 in both categories combined. Above that amount, gas and grocery purchases earn an unlimited 1% cash back. All other purchases also earn an unlimited 1% cash back.

Redeeming Cash Back Rewards

You can redeem your earned cash back, starting at $25, for statement credits, paper checks, deposits into Bank of America® checking or savings accounts, or deposits into Merrill Lynch Cash Management accounts. Any cash back redeemed as a Bank of America® or Merrill Lynch deposit automatically gets a 10% bonus at redemption – so, if you redeem $20, your total cash back deposit is $22.

Preferred Rewards Benefit

Bank of America® Preferred Rewards customers are entitled to cash back bonuses: Gold tier customers ($20,000 to $50,000 on deposit with Bank of America®) earn a 25% cash back bonus, Platinum tier customers ($50,000 to $100,000 on deposit) earn a 50% cash back bonus, and Platinum Honors customers ($100,000-plus on deposit) earn a 75% bonus.

Overdraft Protection for Bank of America® Deposit Account Holders

Current Bank of America® customers can link their checking accounts to their Bank of America® Cash Rewards cards for use as an overdraft protection mechanism. When an overdraft occurs, Bank of America® charges a cash advance to the credit card to cover the shortfall in the checking account. Advances are always charged in multiples of $100 – for instance, a $150 overdraft would result in a $200 advance. Advances cost $12 apiece and accrue interest at the maximum cash advance rate (25.24% APR).

Introductory APR

This card comes with a 12-billing-cycle 0% introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers. To qualify, balance transfers must be made within 60 days of account opening.

Regular APR

After the introductory period ends, the regular APR ranges from 15.49% to 25.49%, depending on your personal creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates.

Important Fees

There is no annual fee with this card. Balance transfers and cash advances both cost the greater of $10 or 3% of the transferred amount, and international transactions cost 3% of the transferred amount. Late fees cost $37, while returned payment fees cost $27.

Credit Required

This card requires good to excellent credit. If you have a few minor blemishes on your credit report, you still stand a decent chance of approval.

Advantages

  1. No Annual Fee. Bank of America® Cash Rewards doesn’t charge an annual fee. That’s a nice perk relative to some other cash back cards with similar benefits, such as American Express Blue Cash Preferred and EveryDay Preferred (both $95 annual fee).
  2. Good Sign-up Bonus. Bank of America® Cash Rewards has a solid, easily attainable sign-up bonus: $200 cash rewards when you spend $500 in eligible purchases within 90 days of opening your account.
  3. Solid Intro APR Promotion. This card has a 0% APR promotion on balance transfers and purchases for 12 billing cycles, which is great news for new cardholders who need to transfer high-interest balances from other accounts or fund large upfront purchases. Some competing cards, such as Capital One Quicksilver (0% APR for nine months) have shorter (or nonexistent) promotional APR periods.
  4. Bank of America® Deposit Account Holders Get a Nice Bonus. If you have a deposit account with Bank of America®, you’re guaranteed a 10% bonus on your cash back earnings. If you earn $100 in a calendar year, that’s an extra $10 to play with at the end. If you’re fortunate enough to have more than $20,000 on deposit with BofA, you make out even better – boosting your cash back by 25%, or more if you hit the other tiered thresholds of $50,000 (for 50% back) and $100,000 (for 75% back). Other credit card issuers tied to deposit institutions don’t offer this benefit.
  5. No Quarterly Categories. Bank of America® Cash Rewards’ spending categories never change. No matter where you are or what the calendar says, you can expect to earn the same cash back rates in the same places, all the time. That’s not so for Chase Freedom, which has spending categories that change each quarter.

Disadvantages

  1. Gas and Grocery Benefits Are Capped. Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card’s gas and grocery benefit is capped at a cumulative quarterly spending limit of $2,500. If you spend more than $2,500 per quarter in both categories combined, consider looking for better grocery and gas credit cards, such as PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Credit Card (unlimited 5% back at the pump) and American Express Blue Cash Preferred (3% back at gas stations and 6% back at supermarkets, $75 annual fee).
  2. Charges Penalty Interest. Bank of America® Cash Rewards charges penalty interest. If you occasionally miss a payment, this can really impact your card ownership costs. Consider a cash back option that doesn’t charge penalty interest, such as Chase Freedom.
  3. Has an International Transaction Fee. This card comes with a 3% international transaction fee, which is a detractor for cardholders who travel outside the country – including those taking road trips to Canada or Mexico. Capital One Quicksilver waives international transaction fees.
  4. Doesn’t Come With a Free Credit Score. Bank of America® Cash Rewards doesn’t offer a free credit score in your online account dashboard or with your monthly statement. That’s a big drawback relative to Capital One Quicksilver, which offers free FICO scores.

Final Word

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card has a nice benefit: natural synergy with a huge consumer banking network. Millions of Americans have checking and savings accounts with Bank of America® or use Merrill Lynch for their investment needs. If you’re among them, this credit card is a great way to improve your earning power beyond the standard 1%-2%-3% cash back earning scheme. And, if you’re not yet a Bank of America® deposit account holder, this card could encourage you to take another look.

Verdict
Bank Of America Bankamericard Cash Rewards World Mastercard Lase
3.8 / 5
Rating

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a very good everyday card for people who spend money at the gas station and grocery store – which is most of us – and for those who don’t spend too much. However, due to spending caps in the gas station and grocery categories, it’s not an ideal card for heavy spenders. Furthermore, because its cash back rate never rises above 1% in other categories, Bank of America® Cash Rewards isn’t great for people who want the opportunity to earn real cash back with a wider variety of merchants.

The solid sign-up bonus, healthy benefits for Bank of America® accountholders, good intro APR promotion, flexible redemption options, and the lack of an annual fee all make this card very attractive. The penalty APR, caps on grocery and gas rewards, and the international transaction fee are drawbacks. Overall, this is a good card for everyday spending.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  • Next Up on
    Money Crashers

    Pile Mobile Phones

    Planned Obsolescence: How to Resist This Sneaky Tech Manufacturing Tactic

    An industry term used by marketers and manufacturers, planned obsolescence is the practice of making a product out-of-date or archaic within a specific period. It’s done by introducing a newer, “better,” or more fashionable version, or by intentionally designing the product to break and become useless quickly. Planned obsolescence spurs consumer demand and ensures future sales. You can avoid this sneaky tactic by using smart strategies.
    Dining Out Restaurant Kids

    14 Ways to Save Money When Dining Out With Kids at Family-Friendly Restaurants

    Americans love eating out at restaurants and aren’t likely to stop. And if it’s something you truly enjoy doing with your family, there may be room for it in your budget. After all, part of raising kids involves creating fun experiences and shared memories, and eating out on occasion can be one way — though certainly not the only way — your family does that. Here are the best ways to save money when eating out with your family.

    Popular on
    Money Crashers

    Sign Up For Our Newsletter

    See why 218,388 people subscribe to our newsletter.

    What Do You Want To Do
    With Your Money?

    Make
    Money

    Explore

    Protect
    Money

    Explore

    Save
    Money

    Explore

    Borrow
    Money

    Explore

    Manage
    Money

    Explore

    Invest
    Money

    Explore