If you’re looking for a balance transfer credit card with a long interest-free period, the BankAmericard® could be the answer. To qualify, you’ll need a credit score of 670 or higher.
If you’re looking for a balance transfer credit card that gives you a long interest-free period to pay off a balance, the BankAmericard® credit card could be your answer. To qualify, you’ll need a score in the good-to-excellent range (670 or higher).
Carrying a balance on a credit card can be an expensive way to finance a purchase. Even with the best intentions, sometimes a balance remains on your statement for months or threatens to get out of control. When that happens, one solution is a balance transfer card with a low to 0% interest rate. Enter the BankAmericard.
This card offers a generous introductory period of 18 months with no interest – for new purchases, as well as on balance transfers made within 60 days of opening the account. After the introductory period, the rate rises (12.99% to 22.99% variable).
There is no annual fee, but balance transfers carry a 3% transfer fee. Depending on your balance, that could be a chunk of change. Usually it’s equal to about two months of typical interest payments. If you expect to take more than two months to pay off your balance, chances are you’ll come out ahead.
Start by putting your current credit card balance and interest rate into CreditCards.com’s balance transfer calculator to see how much that card will cost until it’s paid off at your current terms. On large balances, the interest savings are likely to be substantial. Multiply your current balance by 3% to calculate the transfer fee. By comparing those numbers (interest paid versus transfer fee), you can decide if this is the right choice.
While the BankAmericard is not a rewards card, if you spend $1,000 in new purchases in the first 90 days, you can earn a $100 statement credit. As long as you can pay back the $1,000, while paying off your transferred balance within the first 18 months, you can get a chunk of the transfer fee back. This card also qualifies for the card-linked offer program BankAmeriDeals, giving you access to cash-back deals from merchants.
The BankAmericard gives you free access to your FICO score to help you stay on track, as well as to their library of credit education. Fraud protection is built in with $0 liability. You can even take advantage of banking by text.
What credit score do I need to get the BankAmericard?
The BankAmericard is for those with good-to-excellent credit, which translates to a FICO score of 670 or higher. Scores of 670 to 739 are considered good by FICO, while 661 to 780 is considered good by VantageScore. But lenders may define “good” differently, so being at the higher end of the range is a plus.
The good news: Bank of America offers prequalification, so you have a good idea before you apply which card(s) you’re likely to qualify for. (I used the prequalification tool and was offered eight different cards.) Prequalification will not damage your credit score since it uses a soft pull rather than a hard pull to estimate your chances of acceptance. Cards that don’t offer prequalification tools are riskier to apply for as your score will take a hit from a hard pull. Damage to your score will be less if you have an extensive credit history, more if you are newer to credit.
How can I improve my score to qualify for it?
If your score is on the lower end of the range, there are steps you can take to improve it before you apply. First and foremost, pay all your bills on time. If your credit card balances exceed 30% of your credit limit, you’ll want to get those down.
On-time payments and credit utilization make up the lion’s share of your FICO score. Your credit mix, made up of installment (like a mortgage) and revolving (like credit card) debt, is also important, as is the length of your credit history. If you think you need extra help, sign up for Experian Boost or UltraFICO. And if you’re a renter, look into a service that reports your rent payments to the credit bureaus.
What if Bank of America denies my application?
If you’re denied, Bank of America will tell you why, including which credit report and score they used to make their decision. You’ll be sent that information automatically. If that happens, be sure to review everything and see where you can make changes to improve the situation.
Look especially at the reason codes (or statements) listed. According to FICO, the most common is “proportion of balances to credit limits on bank/national revolving or other revolving accounts is too high.” This means the balances on your credit cards (utilization) are too high.
If you’re trying to transfer a balance from another Bank of America card to take advantage of the introductory interest rate, you’ll be disappointed. The BankAmericard can’t be used for that purpose. Only balances on cards from another lender will be accepted for transfer.
Finally, you may find you’re accepted but not for the full amount of the balance you want to transfer. If this happens, weigh the benefits. Transferring as much as you can may still help your situation, but it will mean you have to figure out how to chip away at the remaining balance while paying the transferred amount off in 18 months.
If you have a good credit score (minimum 670), you may qualify for the BankAmericard – and it may be just what you need to pay off a large balance on another credit card (other than one from Bank of America). Have a plan to get the transfer paid off within the 18 months of no interest. Paying off debt is always best for your credit score, not to mention your overall financial health.