Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

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Snapshot: Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

If trips to the grocery store or gas station are a regular part of your routine, using a cash back rewards card for those purchases is an easy way to earn back some of what you spend. The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers the chance to earn cash back when you hit the pump and after cruising the grocery store aisles and at wholesale clubs. Here is the break down: earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. This card is suited to everyday spenders who want to earn cash back in those categories.

I have the rundown on some of what I consider the card’s most important features, and I’ve compared it to the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card to see how the two stack up against one another. If you’re on the hunt for a new rewards credit card and you prefer Bank of America® to other banks, this in-depth review is a must-read.

[Want to see more options? Here are the best credit cards to choose from our partners.]

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Highlights

These are highlights I wanted to call out.

 Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Highlights
Rewards program:Cash back
Annual fee:$0.00
Foreign transaction fee:3% of the U.S. Dollar amount of each transaction made in a foreign currency or made in U.S. Dollars that is processed outside the United States.
This fee will be in addition to any other applicable fee.
Bonus:New cardmembers can get $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
Who we think it's best for:- Existing Bank of America customers who want to get a customer bonus when they redeem rewards
- Folks who don't want to pay an annual fee to earn rewards
Who we think should look elsewhere:- Someone who wants a higher rewards rate on purchases on gas and at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
- Someone who prefers the simplicity of a single rewards earning rate on all purchases

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card: The basics

Flickr | http://bit.ly/1Uzyh2d

Flickr | http://bit.ly/1Uzyh2d

Many features make the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card a stand out compared to other cash rewards cards. Here’s a quick roundup of some of the things I think adds to its appeal:

– Bonus: New cardmembers can get $150 online cash rewards bonus after spending at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

– Straightforward rewards: Unlike other cards, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card doesn’t require you to keep track of rotating bonus categories.

– No annual fee: An annual fee eats into cash back rewards you earn; this card has no annual fee for keeping your account open.

– Bonus opportunities: You can get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account. You can increase that bonus 25% – 75% if you’re a Preferred Rewards client.

[Want to see more options? Here are the best credit cards to choose from our partners.]

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card’s best feature: cash back rewards

All of those are excellent features but if I had to pick one thing that makes the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card a true winner, it’s the card’s cash back rewards structure. It’s easy to understand and easy to earn rewards on every purchase you make.

How the cash back rewards program works

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card has a tiered rewards system that gives you three ways to earn cash back: you can earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter.

Each quarter, you have an opportunity to max out purchases on gas and at grocery stores and at wholesale clubs, for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. Once you hit the quarterly limit, you keep earning cash back for purchases at gas stations and grocery stores and wholesale clubs at a rate of 1% cash back. That’s the same amount you’d get back if you used your card for other eligible purchases.

Bonus

bankofamericacashrewards2

There is currently an online cash rewards bonus of $150 to qualifying new cardmembers of the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, you need to spend at least $500 in purchases on your card in the first 90 days of opening the account. That breaks down to approximately $167 in eligible spending per month (within that window of the first 90 days of account opening), so you don’t have to run up a huge balance to snag that extra $150 online cash rewards bonus.

Earn more cash back if you have a Bank of America® checking or savings account

If you’ve got a checking or savings account with Bank of America®, you can increase your cash back earnings even more. Here’s how, you’ll get a 10% customer bonus when you redeem your cash back earned with your Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.

If you’re a Bank of America® Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% – 75%. If you’ve been thinking of switching banks, the extra bonus is something to consider.

What are the pros of the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card?

Once again, I point to the cash rewards structure as the number one reason to consider this card over another cash back option. The ability to earn those additional cash rewards just for being a Bank of America® customer is something that you may not typically encounter on other credit cards. Even for someone with just a basic checking account, the bonus rewards can add up.

The absence of an annual fee is also appealing because it means the value of your rewards is not diminished by a fixed cost. You have the flexibility to use your rewards any way you like if you are redeeming them into your Bank of America® checking or savings account. For instance, you could use your cash back to grow your emergency savings, pay your bills or splurge on dinner out.

This card’s rewards program has no rotating bonus categories to juggle or sign up for each quarter.  If you want a card that offers a hassle-free way to earn and redeem rewards, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card may be just what you’re looking for.

Breaking down the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card’s cons

This review wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t point out some potential drawbacks associated with the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card. The cash rewards rate, for example, isn’t as generous as what other cards offer. The fact that you’re limited to earning the 3% and 2% rates on just the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter is something to consider if you are a heavy spender in those categories.

Another downside is the foreign transaction fee, it’s 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction made in a foreign currency or made in U.S. dollars if the transaction is made or processed outside the United States, this fee will be in addition to any other applicable fee. That may not be a problem if you don’t expect to use this card for transactions in a foreign currency or for transactions made or processed outside the United States.

How this card compares to the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

bankamericatravel

If you’d rather earn points instead of cash back, consider the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. With this card, you can earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all your purchases made with this card, and your points don’t expire. If most of your spending is on things other than gas and groceries, this card’s rewards might be more lucrative. Points can be applied as a statement credit toward travel purchases, to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees. Use your card to book your trip how and where you want so you’re not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.

Like the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no annual fee. With the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card you can get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account. If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% – 75%. All in all, this card is better suited for someone whose primary goal is earning rewards for travel.

Should you get the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card?

I recommend the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for anyone who wants to earn cash back on everyday purchases without paying an annual fee. It’s a particularly good option if you already have an account with Bank of America and you want to be rewarded for being a customer.

Before you apply for the card, check your credit report and your credit score to see if you’re a good candidate. Signing up for Credit Sesame’s free credit monitoring service is a simple way to keep tabs on your credit from month to month. Bank of America doesn’t specify what credit score they require for approval, but in general, the better a card’s rewards structure, the better your credit needs to be. Keep in mind that credit card issuers may use a variety of different types of credit scores and other criteria to make their decisions.


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Published March 22, 2016
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