Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card review

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In a Nutshell

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is a great option for people who want the flexibility to choose their own bonus category. The card also offers plenty of other opportunities for savings and bonus cash back. But there’s a downside: Your higher-rate cash back rewards are capped each quarter.

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Pros Cons
Choose a 3% cash back category from a list of six spending categories Higher-rate rewards are capped
Get 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs Low base rewards rate
Earn a sign-up bonus Not the biggest sign-up bonus
Introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers
No annual fee

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Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card: Flexible bonus rewards with a few catches

There’s a lot to take in with the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card. Here are the core features you need to know.

3% cash back on a category of your choice — but there’s a cap

The card has a 3-2-1 rewards structure, but with a twist.

You get to choose your 3% bonus category from a short list, and then you’ll also get 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. But one downside is that your bonus rewards are capped at $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter across the 3% and 2% categories (with 1% earned after that cap). And all other purchases will net you just 1% cash back.

The 3% categories you can choose from are …

  • Gas
  • Online shopping
  • Dining
  • Travel
  • Drugstores
  • Home improvement and furnishings

You can change your category each month, making it easy to plan for future purchases, or you can keep it the same.

And if you don’t remember to choose your next category one month, you won’t miss out — you’ll keep earning the 3% in your choice category until you hit the cap.

Average cash rewards bonus

As a new cardholder, you’ll earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days the account is open. That’s right in line with other cash back cards that have no annual fee. 

Automatic redemption for Bank of America accounts

You can redeem your cash back for any amount and at any time for …

  • Statement credit
  • A deposit into a Bank of America checking or savings account
  • Credit to an eligible account with Merrill Edge or Merrill Lynch
  • A contribution to a qualifying 529 account with Merrill Lynch (with a minimum of $25)

You can even set some of these redemption options automatically, like an electronic deposit into a Bank of America checking or savings account. But if you choose an automatic redemption, or you want to contribute your cash back to a qualifying 529 account, you have to have a minimum of $25 before you can start redeeming.

12-month intro APR offer

When you first open the card, you’ll get access to an introductory 0% APR promotion on both purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles from your account opening. After that, the regular APR is a variable 16.24% - 26.24% for both.

Before you transfer a balance from a high-interest card, know that you need to make the transfer in the first 60 days of account opening to qualify for the intro APR for balance transfers, and there’s a balance transfer fee of 3% (minimum $10) of the transaction amount. There are other balance transfer cards out there that could be a better fit.

But if you need to finance a large purchase, this introductory APR could save you a lot of money on interest.

Who this card is good for

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is a solid choice if you spend a lot in at least one of the card’s 3% bonus categories and like having the option of switching back and forth, or you spend a lot at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, where you’ll get 2% back.

But if you’re a big spender, the card’s bonus rewards cap on combined purchases in your choice category and grocery/wholesale club purchases each quarter may be a deal-breaker.

Also, it’s possible that much of your spending would fall under the card’s base 1% rewards rate. With several credit cards out there offering 1.5% or even 2% cash back on every purchase you make, it may not make sense to settle for 1%.

As you consider whether the card is right for you, take a look at your spending habits and preferences to make sure.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you’re still on the fence about the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, here are some other cards to compare it with.