5 Things to Know About the NEA Credit Cards

The National Education Association offers two different credit cards, one with generous rewards and the other with a super-lengthy intro APR period.
Jae Bratton
By Jae Bratton 
Edited by Kenley Young

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Bank of America® issues two co-branded cards with the National Education Association, a union for educators: the NEA RateSmart card and the NEA Customized Cash Rewards card. Only NEA members are eligible to apply for both cards.

A sign-up bonus on both cards makes them solid choices for NEA members, and especially those who want a break from interest on purchases, balance transfers or both. Both NEA cards have some of the longest intro APR periods among credit cards today.

Here are five things to know about the NEA credit cards from Bank of America®.

1. There are two NEA credit cards

One of the cards is the NEA RateSmart Credit Card, and it’s a balance transfer and 0% intro APR card.

The other, the NEA Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card, is a cash-back card similar to the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card.

The NEA Customized Cash earns:

  • 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores, or home improvement and furnishings. The category may be changed every month.

  • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs.

  • Unlimited 1% unlimited cash back on everything else. 

Cash back earned from the 3% and 2% categories is capped at $2,500 in combined spending per quarter. Purchases that exceed the cap earn 1%.

Earned rewards do not expire and may be redeemed for a statement credit, check, direct deposit into a Bank of America® checking or savings account, or credit to a qualifying Merrill Cash Management account or Merrill 529 account.

2. An NEA membership is required

Applicants must be a member of the National Education Association to apply for either of the NEA credit cards. The following professionals qualify to join:

  • Teachers.

  • Faculty members.

  • Counselors.

  • Librarians.

  • Nurses.

  • Administrators.

  • Support staff.

  • Aspiring educators enrolled in a postsecondary program in preparation for employment in one of the above categories.

  • Retired professionals.

Total membership costs include national, local and state dues and therefore depend on where each member lives; for the 2023-’24 school year, national NEA dues were $208.

🤓Nerdy Tip

All Bank of America® cards, including the NEA Customized Cash and RateSmart cards, participate in the Museums on Us program that gives Bank of America® cardholders free admission to hundreds of museums on the first full weekend of every month. Only the cardholder receives free admission, though.

3. Both cards feature good intro APRs

The intro APRs from the NEA Customized Cash and RateSmart credit cards are among the most competitive in today’s market. Customized Cash cardholders get 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months. With the RateSmart card, the 0% period for purchases and balance transfers is 21 months.

Two caveats regarding balance transfers apply to both NEA cards. One, the balance transfer must be made within 60 days of account opening to qualify for the 0% intro APR. Also, you can’t transfer a Bank of America®-issued debt to either NEA credit card. Loan balances from other lenders including credit cards, personal loans, student loans, auto loans or home equity loans are allowed.

4. Fees are identical on both cards

Both NEA credit cards have a $0 annual fee and a 3% balance transfer fee. Neither card charges a penalty APR either, meaning Bank of America® won’t automatically raise your interest rate if you pay late.

5. Both cards have sign-up bonuses 

As of this writing, the sign-up bonus on the NEA Customized Cash card was a $200 Amazon gift card after spending at least $500 within the first 90 days of account opening. For the RateSmart card, as of this publicaiton, the welcome offer was a $100 Target gift card after spending at least $500 within the first 90 days of account opening.

Many cards with long 0% APR periods don’t offer sign-up bonuses, so the welcome offers on both NEA cards are a nice perk. However, the fact that the bonuses are issued in gift cards rather than cash may be slightly limiting.

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