Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
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Pros

  • $0 annual fee
  • 3% cash back on gas, 2% on groceries and at wholesale clubs (on the first $2,500 in quarterly bonus-category spending)
  • $150 new cardholder cash rewards bonus
  • 0% intro APR offer
  • Up to 75% bonus cash back for Preferred Rewards clients

Cons

  • Bonus cash-back caps

Updated 8/2/17

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers some of the perks cardholders crave, including flexible cash-back rewards up to 3%, as well as wallet-friendly features we value, like ditching the annual fee. These perks are a few reasons why we think it’s one of the best credit cards of 2017.

What’s more, Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is a good option for loyal Bank of America banking clients, who can amp up their rewards by up 10% to 75% through the banks Preferred Rewards program. With the basics covered, let’s dive deeper to learn if Bank of America® Cash Rewards is a good fit for you.

What we like about Bank of America® Cash Rewards

  • Up to 3% cash back – The card dishes out cash back up to 3% in what we believe are the right categories (read: categories that incentivize paying for needs, not splurging on wants). Cardholders earn cash back of 3% on gas, 2% on groceries and at wholesale clubs, and 1% on everything else. Keep in mind, people with large grocery and gas budgets might not earn premium rates on all purchases since bonus categories are capped and earn 1% thereafter.
  • $150 cash rewards bonus offer – Qualifying for the cash rewards bonus offer requires spending at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days.
  • 0% intro APR – Balances transferred within the first 60 days qualify for a 0% intro APR for 12 billing cycles. Purchases also receive the same promo rate.
  • 10% to 75% rewards bonus – Cardholders banking with Bank of America can receive bonus cash rewards worth 10% to 75% more, depending on their banking status. Some bonuses aren’t particularly difficult to qualify for – you’ll earn a 10% customer bonus just for redeeming rewards into an active Bank of America checking or savings account. Preferred Rewards clients can receive anywhere from 25% to 75% rewards bonus. On the high end, that's a cash back rate of 5.25% on qualifying gas purchases (albeit capped)!

What could be improved for Bank of America® Cash Rewards

  • Bonus category spending caps –  While many competing credit cards cap bonus categories similarly, the spending limits are sometimes higher than $2,500 per quarter.

How to best use Bank of America® Cash Rewards

  • Cardholders will generally be better off paying balances by the due date every month to avoid interest charges. It’s a losing strategy to rack up debt for the sake of earning rewards at single-digit rates only to watch as they get eaten up by far higher double-digit interest charges.
  • Transfer high-interest credit card debt to chip away at debt balances faster. We Fools always encourage smart use of debt, and transferring balances to a card with a 0% intro APR can help avoid costly interest charges. In fact, paying down a $5,000 balance over 12 months will cost a whopping $462 in interest charges at an 18% APR.
  • Loyal Bank of America cardholders may want to consider applying for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card as well to increase overall rewards (more details below).
  • Leverage access to your FICO® Score. Bank of America provides you with access to your FICO® Score for free, and we think this perk is a huge value! In fact, myFICO charges upwards of $350 per year to receive, track, and monitor your comprehensive credit history.

How Bank of America customers can boost rewards further

Bank of America® Cash Rewards is a solid cash-back card in bonus categories, but all other purchases earn cash back at a low base rate of 1%. Also carrying a Bank of America® Travel Rewards card could improve your overall rewards, both for cash back and travel-related redemptions. Bank of America® Travel Rewards card earns 1.5x points per $1 for all purchases and points can be redeemed for travel-related statement credits. Cardholders may end up with more rewards when using the Bank of America® Cash Rewards card for bonus gas, grocery, and wholesale club categories (2% - 3% yield) and Bank of America® Travel Rewards (1.5% yield) for all other needs. This one-two punch may also be worthwhile for existing Preferred Rewards members, who can also expect up to 75% bonus rewards for both cards. Read our full Bank of America® Travel Rewards review to learn why we consider it one of the best travel credit cards.

A longer 0% intro APR offer

While Bank of America® Cash Rewards does include a 0% intro APR window for balance transfers and purchases, other cash-back cards sport longer 0% intro APR offers. Enter Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which carries a 0% intro APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles, in addition to 1.5% cash back and a $0 annual fee. Read our full Chase Freedom Unlimited® review to learn more.

Double the cash back

Discover it® - Cashback Match™ could be a better option for cardholders valuing two cash-back perks. First, cardholders earn 5% (on up to $1,500 in purchases every quarter) in rotating bonus categories they activate such as gas, Amazon, and wholesale clubs. Second, Discover automatically matches all the bonus cash back new cardholders earn in the first year, essentially doubling the cash-back rewards. Read our full Discover it® - Cashback Match™ review to learn more. 

Final take

We rank the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card so favorably because it fits with what we want to see in a credit card. The card doesn’t charge a pesky annual fee; has a generous rewards program that incentivizes spending on needs, not wants; helps indebted cardholders get their financial house in order with a 0% intro APR on balance transfers; and even offers access to your FICO® Score for free. That ensemble is hard to find without getting hit with sky-high APRs or burdensome fees.

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