BankAmericard® Credit Card Review
Eric is an expert who has been covering personal finance since the mid-1990s. His articles have appeared broadly on sites such as MSN, USA Today, and Yahoo.
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The BankAmericard® credit card is perhaps best for indebted cardholders who want to pay down their debt faster with a wallet-friendly intro APR offer that's among the longest on the market. Let’s dive deeper to understand whether this card is a good fit for your needs.
BankAmericard® credit card
Great for: Balance transfers and purchases BankAmericard® credit card
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Our Bottom Line
Among the longest 0% intro APRs on the market, this no-annual-fee card is a clear winner. Few cards provide a 0% APR of this length on both purchases and qualifying balance transfers.
Credit Rating Requirement:
What we Like:
- Long 0% intro APR offer
- No annual fee
- FICO® Score for free
- Annual Fee: $0
- Regular APR: 14.49% - 24.49% Variable
- Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 18 billing cycles Balance Transfers: 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
- 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 14.49% - 24.49% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers
- No annual fee
- No penalty APR. Paying late won't automatically raise your interest rate (APR). Other account pricing and terms apply
- Access your FICO® Score for free within Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app
What I like
0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles -- 18 billing cycles is an above-average length for a 0% intro APR offer for purchases and balance transfers (the promo rate applies to transfers made within 60 days). The given timeframe provides plenty of cushion to consolidate balances from interest-bearing cards, or to fund a big purchase and pay it off before the standard APR kicks in. Note: balance transfers incur a fee of 3% of the transferred amount; the minimum fee is $10.
No annual fee -- Rounding out BankAmericard® credit card’s collection of zeroes is the yearly cost to own the card.
No penalty APR -- It’s common for credit card issuers to slap late-paying cardholders with a raised APR. This one says that a tardy remuneration won’t automatically hike a customer’s APR, so cardholders shouldn’t have a heart attack if they aren’t timely with a payment.
FICO® Score for free -- An increasingly common perk in the credit card world, the FICO® Score for free is nevertheless a fine benefit BankAmericard® credit card holders will find useful. The score is updated every billing cycle, and can be accessed in the issuer’s online banking portal, or through its mobile app.
$0 liability guarantee -- Bank of America helps to ensure that you (or your family/associates) will be the only entity shopping with the card. The issuer’s $0 liability guarantee covers fraudulent purchases made by bad guys using your digits.
Why you can trust me
I have been writing about business and finance for over 20 years. At various points I worked as business editor at an English-language newspaper, managing editor of an investment bank’s monthly magazine, and equity analyst for that same investment bank. Not unusually for an American consumer, I carry plenty of plastic in my wallet. I have six bank credit cards, four from JPMorgan Chase and two from Bank of America. I have been a cardholder in good standing with both issuers since receiving my first card over 10 years ago.
What could be improved
Balance transfer fee -- The cards 3% ($10 min.) fee is common in this category but some offers include a $0 balance transfer fee. On occasion, this card has even included that perk as well, which makes it hard to pass up when that cost-cutting feature is available.
Rewards -- This card is a fairly no-frills product, which is part of its appeal, but it would be nice if purchases earned points or miles. Such programs are a magnet for credit card holders, who like that their purchases generate earnings.
What to look for in a balance transfer card
You should keep an eye on these three key factors when weighing a card for its balance transfer potential:
- Low balance transfer fee -- It’s standard for issuers to charge a relatively small fee for balance transfers, aside from the APR. The balance transfer fee -- as in BankAmericard® credit card’s case -- tends to be 3% ($10 min.), although there are products that charge more. Some even waive their balance transfer fee during the 0% intro APR period, but this isn’t common.
- High enough credit limit -- You need enough “room” in a balance transfer card to fit the balance you’d like to take care of. Obviously, the higher the limit, the more useful the card for this purpose and your approved limit will be determined after potential approval.
- A long balance transfer APR -- Credit card companies don’t provide balance transfer capabilities out of the goodness of their hearts; as with any service, they charge fees for it. This is reflected in the dedicated APR for balance transfers. Fortunately, like BankAmericard® credit card, numerous cards today offer 0% intro APRs on balance transfers. The most ideal balance transfer cards have long 0% intro APR periods (such as this card’s 18 billing cycle stretch).
- Low balance transfer fee -- It’s standard for issuers to charge a relatively small fee for balance transfers, aside from the APR. The balance transfer fee -- as in BankAmericard® credit card’s case -- tends to be 3% ($10 min.), although there are products that charge more.
Suggested credit score
BankAmericard® credit card is intended for those with good to excellent credit, although those with relatively modest scores may qualify if they have a good credit history.
The issuer does not publicize the specific credit scores that would entail; anecdotal evidence and evaluations from around the Web seem to indicate that applicants should have a FICO® Score of at least 670 to be considered.
It nearly goes without saying -- but we’ll say it anyway -- that a credit score is not the only measure issuers use when deciding to issue you a card. Credit utilization matters greatly, as does a history of paying statements on time and hopefully in full.
We generally frown upon paying fees but there are certain instances when it makes sense, and can actually help you pay off debt faster. For example, $1,485 of interest charges will be assessed when paying off a $10,000 balance over 18 months at an 18% APR. You can avoid those interest charges altogether with this card paying off the same balance over the same time frame and save $1,185 after paying the $300 transfer fee.
How to take advantage of 0% intro APR for balance transfers
Although the cards 0% intro APR on balance transfers is quite a stretch of time, shifting a balance onto the card and paying it off still takes some planning. What follows are some tips on how to best capitalize on this relatively generous offer.
Transfer balances from your highest APR card -- The transferred balance(s) should come from your cards with the highest APRs. Transferring the balance from these will save you the most money on interest payments.
Transfer what you can afford to pay off monthly -- Determine how much room you’ve got in your monthly budget to pay down the transferred debt. The total transferred amount should, when divisible by 18 (the number of billing statements that will have that 0% intro APR), be at or below this monthly budget figure.
Determine your monthly payments -- The most straightforward way to do this is simply slice the total transferred balance into 18 parts to come up with a “standard” monthly payment. Those with uneven and/or seasonal income might adjust the payment schedule to reflect higher- or lower-earning periods.
Devote more to paying down a balance, if possible -- It’s a smart idea to shuttle any extra cash that might come your way towards reducing the transferred balance. This can compensate for leaner months, or emergencies that drain away budget money.
- If neither of these two negatives occur, devoting extra funds to balance reduction is still a good idea. It will, after all, complete the process more quickly.”
This card is right for you if...
BankAmericard® credit card’s two money-saving features are the 18-billing cycle 0% APR term and the no annual fee. These are strong inducements for two particular types of credit card customers:
Your transferred debt can be paid off over 18 billing cycles. Otherwise, a longer 0% APR offer may be best to provide a longer runway to tackle balances.
You're worried about making payments on time and need the flexibility of a card with no penalty APR.
- You have a need now, or in the very near future, to buy something and want to avoid paying interest. Opening a BankAmericard® credit card account then making this purchase immediately would allow the customer to gradually pay it back over the 18 billing cycles without incurring any interest charges.
I would, then, emphatically recommend BankAmericard® credit card for anyone in one or both of these positions.
Past those two very attractive intro periods, the luster wears off this card somewhat. In an increasingly rewards-heavy credit card environment BankAmericard® credit card lacks any rewards program at all. And the absence of travel perks will not be a draw to those with business or personal lives that include some wandering.