Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Review: Decent Rate, Intro APR

Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases and get a 0% intro APR window to pay off purchases or debt.
Melissa LambarenaSep 10, 2021

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Our Take

4.9

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: This card has an industry-standard rewards rate and a lengthy 0% intro APR for purchases or balance transfers, but other credit cards have better offers on all fronts.

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card

on Bank of America's website, or call 800-343-3246

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and on any balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Intro APR period

  • New cardholder bonus offer

Cons

  • Best rewards limited to certain customers

  • No bonus categories

  • Requires good/excellent credit

Alternate Pick: Elevated rewards in certain categories, 1.5% on everything else

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

No annual fee

Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back at restaurants, 3% back on drugstore purchases and 1.5% on everything else. Introductory offer: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. Annual fee: $0.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and on any balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Get more smart money moves — straight to your inbox

Become a NerdWallet member, and we’ll send you tailored articles we think you’ll love.

Full Review

The $0-annual-fee Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is the issuer's only flat-rate cash-back credit card. It can be paired with other Bank of America credit cards to earn maximum rewards, but you won’t get the most value from it unless you’re a loyal Bank of America customer.

You’ll get a decent 1.5% rewards rate on all purchases if you don’t keep bank accounts or Merrill accounts with Bank of America. That's the industry standard, but it doesn’t beat the solid 2% rewards rate offered by multiple competitors. It also doesn’t outperform other credit cards as a get-out-of-debt option with a 0% intro APR on balance transfers. You can get a longer interest-free window elsewhere.

At best, it’s a decent no-frills option for rewards or paying down debt, but it’s not the best.

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card: Basics

Card type: Cash back.

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: $200 online cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening.

Rewards: Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. (Preferred Rewards members earn 25% to 75% more cash back on every purchase, which means you could earn up to 2.62% cash back on every purchase if you qualify.)

Redemption options: Statement credit, deposits made directly into a Bank of America checking or savings account or credit to an eligible Merrill account. Cash rewards don’t expire.

Interest rate: 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR.

Balance transfer fee: 3% of each transaction or $10, whichever is greater.

Foreign transaction fee: 3%.

Other benefits: Access to Visa Signature benefits such as travel and emergency assistance services, roadside dispatch, extended warranty protection, purchase security and Norton LifeLock.

Why you might want the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card

No annual fee

With a $0 annual fee, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card can stay in your wallet for a long time. You'll never have to worry about counting rewards to determine if you're offsetting the annual cost.

A decent sign-up bonus

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card offers a decent sign-up bonus that’s easy to earn. You get a $200 online cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening. (This offer is only available online on select channels.) That’s a small spending threshold that you can likely meet with groceries alone or common everyday purchases over the required time frame.

1.5% cash back

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card earns a decent 1.5% cash-back rate. That’s the gold standard among cash-back credit cards and the least you should settle for on a rewards credit card if you have good credit (a FICO score of 690 or higher). The flat rate makes this card easy to manage. You don't have to keep tabs on rewards categories or jump through any hoops to earn rewards.

Flexible cash-back redemptions

Reward redemptions are flexible with the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card. You can redeem for cash back as a deposit to an eligible Bank of America bank account, credit to Merrill accounts (including 529 accounts) or statement credit. Some cards allow you to redeem cash back in only some of these categories.

Breathing room on interest charges

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card offers a lengthy introductory interest rate: Get a 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR. That’s enough time to finance a large purchase or several small ones.

A long get-out-of-debt window

It may sound counterproductive to apply for another credit card to pay down debt, but that’s why balance transfer offers exist, and the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card has a good one. As stated above, you can get a 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR. The balance transfer fee is also on the low end: You’ll pay 3% per transaction or a $10 minimum, whichever is greater.

Why you might want a different card

Rewards redemptions favor current Bank of America customers

Although the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card offers flexible cash-back redemption options, most of them tend to favor Bank of America customers. Other credit cards, like the $0-annual fee Discover it® Cash Back and the $0-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited®, don’t require you to redeem rewards with an in-house bank account from the issuer when you want a deposit. You can redeem rewards for deposits into qualifying bank accounts at other institutions. Plus, these cards earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent per quarter) when you activate. All other purchases get 1% cash back. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® also earns rewards in other categories.

Other cash-back cards offer 2%

While 1.5% cash back is the industry standard for rewards, it’s still possible to get 2% cash back on a no-annual-fee card. The $0-annual-fee Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card, for example, offers an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, and it has some noteworthy incentives for new cardholders. The introductory offer is: 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 14.99% - 24.99% Variable APR. There's also a nice sign-up bonus: New! Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. It has a $0 annual fee.

Longer intro APR offers for purchases and balance transfers exist

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card already offers a lengthy 0% intro APR period, but if you’re willing to go without rewards, you can buy yourself a few more months. The $0*-annual-fee U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers 0%* intro APR for 20 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers*, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 24.49%* Variable APR. It has a balance transfer fee: 3% or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.

It’s a good practice not to make new purchases with a card if you’re using a balance transfer to pay down debt. But you can choose a card with rewards to look forward to long after you’ve paid off the balance. The $0-annual-fee Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has a pretty good deal. It has a 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR. It also earns 2% cash back: 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay it off. There’s a balance transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater.

You can also explore Nerdwallet's full list of best credit cards to get.

Is the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card right for you?

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is a decent choice for loyal Bank of America customers. It’s also an option if you want a low-maintenance credit card that’s easy to manage. Ultimately, it packs valuable introductory offers and rewards, but it’s possible to find better deals elsewhere.