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.

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Our Take

4.6

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.

Jump to: Full Review
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
See Terms
Intro APR
See Terms
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)

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: 1.5% and bonus categories, too
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 an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back! 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

17.74%-27.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

15.74%-26.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.99%-26.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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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: See Terms

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

Foreign transaction fee: 3%.

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 See Terms. 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 See Terms. 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 on Purchases for 15 months and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 18.74%, 23.74%, or 28.74% Variable APR. There's also a nice sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in 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 18 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24%-28.24% 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 has a pretty good deal. It has a 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 17.74%-27.74% 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, for the first four months and a 5% fee or $5, whichever is greater, after that.

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.

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.