The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card was launched in July 2021, and it has the potential to be one of the best cash-back credit cards on the market. However, the card’s best rewards rate is reserved for wealthy Bank of America customers, so for most people, it may just be another 1.5% cash-back credit card.
Here’s what to know about the newest Bank of America credit card and why it might be worth considering.
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card Review
The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is a flat-rate credit card that offers 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make. However, if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you could earn between 25% and 75% more cash back, elevating the rewards rate to as much as 2.62% — you’ll be hard-pressed to get that high of a cash-back rate on every purchase anywhere else.
Here are some of the major details of the new credit card.
The card offers a $200 cash bonus after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. That bonus is on the high end for no-annual-fee cash-back credit cards, but the spending threshold is double what some similar cards require including the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver Card.
That said, if you have no trouble spending more than $333 per month on a credit card, the $1,000 bonus spending threshold won’t be a problem. And it’s still essentially a 20% rewards rate on that spending in addition to the 1.5% cash back you’ll get every time you swipe.
The credit card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make. But if you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you’ll get up to 75% more rewards. Here’s how it works:
- Earn 25% more rewards for a rewards rate of 1.87%
- Qualify by having a three-month combined average daily balance of at least $20,000 in qualifying Bank of America and Merrill Lynch accounts.
- Earn 50% more rewards for a rewards rate of 2.25%
- Qualify by having a three-month combined average daily balance of at least $50,000 in qualifying Bank of America and Merrill Lynch accounts.
- Earn 75% more rewards for a rewards rate of 2.62%
- Qualify by having a three-month combined average daily balance of at least $100,000 in qualifying Bank of America and Merrill Lynch accounts.
Like most cash-back credit cards, the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card offers an introductory 0% APR. You’ll pay no interest for 15 billing cycles on purchases, as well as on balance transfers made within the first 60 days after you open your account. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% to 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
This benefit isn’t rare, but it can still provide a lot of value if you have a large purchase coming up or want to pay down high-interest credit card debt. Just keep in mind that there’s a 3% balance transfer fee with a $10 minimum.
The card doesn’t charge an annual fee, which is impressive for a card with that kind of rewards potential. However, there’s a 3% foreign transaction fee on all international purchases, so consider using a different card that doesn’t charge that fee if you plan to travel.
Bank of America doesn’t publicly disclose its credit score requirements. However, its rewards credit cards are generally reserved for people with good or excellent credit. According to FICO, a good credit score is 670 or higher. Just because you meet that minimum, though, it doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get approved.
Like other cash-back credit cards, this one doesn’t come with a lot of perks. You’ll get some of the standards like FICO score access, contactless capability and zero-liability fraud protection. But if you’re looking for a credit card that offers travel perks, this one may not be right for you.
Comparing Other Bank of America Cash-Back Credit Cards
The Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is one of four rewards credit cards from Bank of America. Here’s how this new card stacks up against the others.
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card
This credit card is a tiered rewards card, which means you’ll earn a higher rewards rate on certain purchases. What’s more, the card allows you to pick your top rewards category from a list provided by the bank. You’ll earn 3% back on gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings, 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% back on everything else.
The downside is that the 3% and 2% categories are capped at $2,500 spent quarterly. Either way, you’re getting 1% back on most of your purchases. If you spend a lot in those bonus categories, though, it can be worth it. But if you prefer simplicity, the Unlimited Cash Rewards card may be a better fit.
Beyond the rewards rates, the two cards are identical. Read our full review of the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card.
Bank of America® Premium Rewards Credit Card
While this card is technically a travel credit card, it offers cash back. As a new cardholder, you’ll get 50,000 points (worth $500) when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. You’ll also earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining — and also at grocery stores through Dec. 31, 2021 — and 1.5 points per dollar on everything else.
On top of that, you’ll get up to $100 annually in airline incidental statements, up to $100 every four years as an application fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® and several travel insurance protections.
The card charges a $95 annual fee, but you can make up for that every year with the airline incidental fee perk. Also, the sign-up bonus and benefits are better. But again, if you prioritize simplicity or you don’t travel often, the Unlimited Cash Rewards card is better. Read our full review of the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card.
Also, there’s the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card that offers 1.5 points per dollar on every purchase and no annual fee but limits your redemptions to travel. While it might seem that this card is worthless now because the new one offers the same rewards rate with more flexibility with redemptions, the travel card may still be worth it for the slightly higher sign-up bonus and no foreign transaction fees.
The Bottom Line
On the surface, the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card’s rewards rate is a dime a dozen — there are several other 1.5% and 2% cash-back credit cards from which you can choose. But if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, this card has the potential to be the best cash-back credit card on the market.
That said, take your time to consider the hoops you might have to jump through to maximize this card. And plan to shop around and compare other rewards credit cards to ensure that you find the right one for you.