The best Bank of America® cash back credit cards

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In a Nutshell

If cash rewards are your cup of tea, the best Bank of America® cash back credit cards provide solid rewards on everyday purchases. And if you’re an existing customer, you could earn even more.

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At a glance: The best Bank of America® cash back credit cards

Best for Credit card
Everyday spending Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
Frequent flyers Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
College students Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for students

Cash back rewards programs come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s no single cash back credit card out there that’s the best for everyone.

But for Bank of America® customers, the bank’s cash back credit cards can be a lucrative option. Through the Preferred Rewards program, you could earn 25%, 50% or 75% more rewards on your everyday spending with eligible Bank of America® credit cards. The Preferred Rewards program is offered to customers with an eligible Bank of America® personal checking account and three-month average combined balances of $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America® banking accounts and/or Merrill Lynch® and Merrill Edge® investment accounts. Each tier in the Preferred Rewards program has a different minimum balance requirement.

To help you find out if Bank of America® cash back credit cards are for you, we’ll cover our top three and what you should to know about each.


Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Who’s it for?

Fee-averse folks who spend a lot on gas and groceries.

Why we like it

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers bonus rewards on some of your most essential purchases and has a $0 annual fee.

You get 3% cash back on gas purchases (or another category of your choice) and 2% cash back on purchases at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter (then 1%). You’ll get 1% on everything else. If you don’t want to use your 3% cash back on gas purchases, you can choose from the online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings categories instead.

You can get up to 75% more if you’re a Preferred Rewards client with a certain minimum balance in Bank of America®, Merrill Edge® or Merrill Lynch® accounts.

With this card, you’ll also earn a $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. You’ll also get an introductory 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles of card membership. Note that the intro balance transfer applies for balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the introductory period, the purchase and balance transfer APRs will be a variable 16.24% - 26.24%. You’ll also have to pay a fee of 3% (minimum $10) on all balance transfers.

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Watch out for

The card’s cash rewards boost on choice category, grocery and wholesale club purchases stops once you reach $2,500 in purchases in those categories combined each quarter. After that, you’ll earn just 1% back until the next quarter.

Also, the card’s base rewards rate is just 1%. Some other cash back credit cards offer a base rate of 1.5% or higher.

FAST FACTS

Should I get a credit card with a flat rewards rate or one that offers bonus rewards on some purchases?

Cards that offer bonus rewards on certain categories can be great for folks who spend a lot in those categories. But if your spending is all over the place, you might be better off with a cash rewards credit card that offers one flat rate on all purchases.

Also, flat-rate rewards credit cards can be more straightforward and don’t require you to keep track of where you’re getting bonus rewards and where you’re not. On the flip side, cards with bonus rewards rates can help you better maximize your rewards, so they’re good for people who don’t mind the extra legwork.

How to use it

Whip out this card at the grocery store and gas station, if that’s your chosen category, to make sure you’re making the most of those higher cash back rates.

Whether you want to finance a large purchase or transfer a balance from a high-interest credit card, Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers an introductory 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles.

Just keep in mind that you’ll pay a 3% (minimum $10) fee on balance transfers, so do the math first and make sure you won’t spend more by transferring your balance than you would pay in interest.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Who’s it for?

People who want a big sign-up bonus and travel perks — and don’t mind paying an annual fee.

Why we like it

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is chock full of perks that can make the card’s $95 annual fee worth it.

You’ll start off by earning 50,000 bonus points after you spend at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. On an ongoing basis, you’ll earn two points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

You’ll also get a handful of great travel benefits, including …

  • An annual statement credit of up to $100 for incidental airline purchases, such as seat upgrades, in-flight services, baggage fees and airline lounge fees
  • A statement credit worth up to $100 toward a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee, every four years
  • Travel insurance that can help cover delays, cancellations and interruptions; delayed or lost luggage; accidents and emergency evacuation
  • No foreign transaction fees

Watch out for

If you get this card, it’s a great idea to use it for travel and dining purchases, especially to take advantage of earning two points per $1 spent on those purchases.

If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you could increase the card’s rewards rates by as much as 75%. But unlike the other cards on our list, you won’t get a rewards boost just by redeeming your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.

Also, the card’s annual fee could be a deal breaker for some. If you want a travel credit card with no annual fee, consider the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card.

How to use it

When it comes to redeeming your rewards, you’ll get more flexibility than with a strictly cash back card. You can get your points as cash back in the form of a statement credit or as a deposit into an eligible Bank of America® or Merrill Lynch® account. Alternatively, you can use your rewards to book travel or get gift cards. Your points are worth the same regardless of how you redeem them.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for students

Who’s it for?

College students who want more bells and whistles.

Why we like it

Some of the best student credit cards don’t offer very impressive rewards. But with the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for students, you’ll get the same rewards and perks as the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card.

This means you’ll get a $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. You’ll also earn cash back for your purchases.

  • 3% cash back on purchases in a category of your choice. Once a month, you can choose between gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores, or home improvement or furnishings
  • 2% back on purchases at grocery stores and wholesale clubs

The 3% and 2% cash back rates are limited to the first $2,500 in combined purchases in your choice category/grocery/wholesale club purchases each quarter, but you’ll get 1% cash back on purchases at those types of retailers even after you exceed the $2,500 quarterly limit. You’ll also get a flat 1% back on all other purchases.

The card is eligible for the same Preferred Rewards program bonuses, along with an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening for your first 12 billing cycles. After that, the variable APR for purchases and balance transfers goes to 16.24%–26.24%. And watch out for the balance transfer fee. It’s either 3% of the amount transferred or $10, whichever is greater. And that fee applies regardless of when you make a balance transfer, so do the calculations to make sure a balance transfer is worth it.

Like the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for students doesn’t have an annual fee — which is great for cash-strapped college students!

Watch out for

College students who don’t drive much and spend little on groceries may not find much value in the card’s bonus rewards. Also, it can be difficult to get approved for a credit card on your own if your income is low or you have no credit history.

How to use it

Find out if you’re eligible to have the account’s monthly maintenance fee waived if you are a student under 24 years old.


Bottom line

Bank of America® cash back credit cards provide cardholders with an opportunity to get even more out of an already standout rewards program. To determine if a specific card is right for you, consider your spending habits and preferences.

Specifically, folks who spend a lot on gas and groceries may prefer the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card or the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for students. But jet-setters may prefer the perks and rewards of the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card.

Also, compare these cards with other major cash back credit cards to see if they might offer a better package of rewards and features for your needs. As you take the time to research all of your options, you can have a better chance of getting the card that can give you the most bang for your buck.