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Bank of America’s new cash back card offers simplicity and savings. But is that enough to stand out in a crowded field of cash back options?
The bank has launched the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card, which offers an unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases with no annual fee. The new card joins the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card to give customers another option for cash back rewards.
Although the card’s rewards structure holds clear value, it’s uncertain whether it has enough to stand out in comparison to several other cash back cards with bonus categories and higher rewards rates on all purchases.
Read on for a closer look at the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card and our first impressions of what it has to offer.
More details on the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card
You won’t need to do any complicated math to understand the value of the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card.
It offers an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases at no annual fee, so you’ll start earning rewards without having to cover any upfront costs. Those rewards can then be redeemed as a deposit into a Bank of America checking or savings account, a credit to an eligible Merrill account, or as a statement credit on your credit card bill.
Otherwise, don’t expect many bells and whistles. At launch, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card lets you earn a $200 online rewards bonus when you spend at least $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days after your account opens. Bank of America Preferred Rewards members can also earn 25% to 75% more cash back on their purchases if they meet the eligibility requirements, which start at $20,000 in qualifying combined balances from Bank of America deposit or Merrill investment accounts.
The card also offers a 0% introductory APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and for balance transfers made within 60 days of opening the account. The balance transfer fee is 3% of each transaction (minimum $10). After the promotional period ends, the variable APR for both purchases and balance transfers rises to 13.99% to 23.99%.
Is the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card worth it?
At first glance, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is most likely to appeal to people who want a card with no annual fee, a straightforward rewards experience and a handy link to their Bank of America checking or savings account. That’s especially true if you’re a Preferred Rewards member — a 25% boost on the 1.5% rewards rate would rise to 1.875% at the lowest level of membership.
For everyone else, this new card might not stand out compared to other cash back credit cards. While 1.5% back on all purchases is a competitive rate, it’s no longer an industry standard for cards with no annual fee. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card offers several enticing bonus categories and 1.5% back on all other purchases, which means it’s likely to provide more value for most cardholders if they spend at least some in the bonus categories every month.
Plus, if you’d rather not think about bonus categories at all, there are no-annual-fee cards that offer a higher base rate on all purchases. The Citi® Double Cash Card offers 2% back — 1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay your bill — and the newly launched Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card features 2% back on all eligible purchases without the bill payment qualification.
To be sure, many prospective cardholders can find use from a 1.5% cash back card with links to popular bank accounts. But those who are looking to maximize their cash back rewards can probably find more lucrative offers elsewhere.