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Bank of America launches new 1.5% cash back card

Another 1.5% cash back product debuts in the flat-rate cash back card category – but is it worth considering?

Summary

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card may appeal to loyal Bank of America customers. Others will be better off with almost any other flat-rate cash back card

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On July 19, 2021, Bank of America announced the launch of the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card. The new product offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

The announcement is one of the less exciting ones we’ve seen this summer, which has brought countless upgrades and new products to the credit card market.

For instance, American Express has made changes to The Platinum Card® from American Express, one of its most popular products. Wells Fargo has announced plans to reshape its credit card strategy, starting with the launch of the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Credit Card. Citi has launched the innovative Citi Custom Cash℠ Card with a flexible 5% category and Chase has announced the new Chase Slate Edge℠ designed to encourage credit card debt repayment.

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card, on the other hand, doesn’t offer anything new. Most major card issuers offer a 1.5% flat rate card – or even up to 2% cash back on all purchases.

Still, the new Unlimited Cash Rewards card may be worth looking into for some current Bank of America customers, as they can earn cash back at higher rates with the new card.

What the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards offers

The new Unlimited Cash Rewards is a classic flat-rate cash back card that earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There’s no limit to how much cash back cardholders can earn, and it doesn’t expire. The card also doesn’t charge an annual fee.

Cardholders can redeem their cash rewards in several ways, including for statement credits to the card, direct deposits into their Bank of America checking or savings account, or for credit to an eligible account with Merrill.

Currently, new applicants who get approved for the card can earn $200 in online cash rewards after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.

Who should apply for the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards?

The new card might not be the best option for those not already banking with Bank of America.

All the cash back cardholders earn stays in the Bank of America ecosystem and can’t be redeemed for anything other than cash, which is rather restrictive.

To compare, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, another 1.5% cash back card, allows cardholders to use cash back to pay for Amazon and PayPal purchases or to buy gift cards. Further, with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, cardholders can deposit their cash back into most U.S. checking and savings accounts – not only Chase – or even use it to pay for travel.

The 1.5% cash back rate is also not the highest for a flat-rate cash back card anymore. The new Wells Fargo Active Cash, for instance, earns 2% back on all purchases. The redemption options are somewhat better, too, including gift cards, purchases and travel through the Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards program.

That said, the new product could be of interest to some existing Bank of America customers, namely Preferred Rewards members, who can earn 25% to 75% more cash back on every purchase. This translates to up to 2.62% cash back on every purchase with the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards. This rate is higher than any other flat-rate cash back card can offer. Here’s the full breakdown and eligibility requirements:

Preferred Rewards tierMinimum balance requirement (across Bank of America and/or Merrill accounts)Total cash back rate (with the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card)
Gold$20,000 to $49,9991.87%
Platinum$50,000 to $99,9992.25%
Platinum Honors$100,000+2.62%

As you can see, it requires quite a bit of capital to qualify for the highest cash back rate in the Preferred Rewards program. But, for cardholders who do, the 2.62% flat rate on all purchases is unbeatable.

Bottom line

The new Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards can be a good choice for loyal Bank of America customers, especially those who are Preferred Rewards members and can get a higher cash back rate than the regular 1.5%.

Other potential cardmembers, however, may find the new product uninspiring. Many flat-rate cash back cards offer a better deal – from better redemption options to better value overall.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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14.22%
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15.51%
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16.10%
Reward
15.90%
Student
16.78%

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