BACK

Cashing In Q&A columns

Linking Bank of America credit cards with deposit accounts: Is it worth it?

The Preferred Rewards programs gives you a boost in rewards based on your checking account balance; see if it’s good for you.

Summary

Banks are offering “cross-selling” promotions where you can earn bonus rewards for banking with them; evaluate the perks to make sure the offer is worth it.

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers; and please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

Dear Cashing In,

I have had a Bank of America checking account for the last 10 years. I was looking at credit cards the other day and saw that Bank of America has some cards that give me benefits with my checking account.

Is it worth it to get a Bank of America credit card for this? – Robert

Dear Robert,

One of the business strategies banks have traditionally pursued is a tactic known as “cross-selling.”

The idea is that banks have developed financial relationships with consumers in one particular area – such as mortgages – and can use that list of customers to start selling them additional financial products, such as car loans.

Check out all the answers from our credit card experts.

Ask Tony a question.

See related: Guide to the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card

Banks are stepping up cross-promotion efforts

The same is true with credit cards. Bank of America is one of the few banks to try to incentivize you to open a bank account if you have one of its credit cards – or to apply for a credit card if you already have one of its bank accounts.

The bank figures it will make money off you for each one, so why not rebate some of its profit to you in the form of rewards to induce you to switch?

We also see this happen with some of the most elite credit cards.

For example, the JPMorgan Chase Palladium Visa is an invitation-only card that is available to customers who have a lot of money invested in the bank’s wealth-management brokerage.

Same with the Citi Chairman card, available only to certain customers of Citibank’s brokerage unit. Those are examples at the high end of bank commingling their credit cards with other financial activities.

But more might be on the way. Bloomberg reported in May 2019 that Citi will be expanding perks designed for credit cards to encourage sales of other banking products, including its ThankYou and Double Cash reward programs.

Evaluating a ‘cross-selling’ promotion

As usual, when evaluating these kinds of offers, you need to conduct a thorough assessment to see if what you’re receiving meets your needs.

If you are happy with your bank, the additional incentives might be too meager to switch and the hassles too great. Then again, 30,000 airline points to open a checking account can be compelling.

In the case of Bank of America, it has a program called Preferred Rewards, which gives perks based on the amount you have in Bank of America deposit accounts and Merrill Lynch investment accounts. (Bank of America owns Merrill Lynch.)

The rewards start kicking in for customers with $20,000 or more in deposits and investments.

The perks include:

  • A small bump in the interest rate on savings accounts.
  • A 25 percent credit card rewards bonus.
  • A $200 break on origination fees for new mortgages and refinances.
  • A small interest rate discount on home-equity lines and car loans.

You can see that most of the financial advantages have nothing to do with credit cards – only the reward increase.

So, by itself, it probably doesn’t make sense to get a Bank of America credit card just to receive a 25 percent reward boost. And it definitely doesn’t make sense if you don’t have the $20,000 to qualify for Preferred Rewards.

There might be other reasons to apply for a Bank of America credit card. But the mere act of linking it to your Bank of America deposit accounts probably doesn’t justify a new application by itself.

What’s up next?

In Cashing In Q&A columns

I’d like to accept cards at my medical practice, but worry about fees; what are my options?

While there is a cost associated with adding plastic as a payment option, consider how much it costs your business to only let patients pay by cash or check.

Published: May 13, 2019

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: July 10th, 2019
Business
15.61%
Airline
17.59%
Cash Back
17.68%
Reward
17.58%
Student
17.79%

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.