|Business Rating:||2.5 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate||0.5|
In a Nutshell:
A good pick for business cardholders who are often on the road, the Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard offers a generous cash back bonus on a category of your choice, as well as restaurant purchases.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($4,000 monthly spend)
Other Notable Features: Free employee cards; track spending at company and employee level through MyReportCenter; easy download into QuickBooks; overdraft protection; automatic bill payment; price protection; extended warranty
If you are looking for some flexibility in your business card, the Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard allows you to customize your cash back by choosing your own bonus category. Each calendar month, you can choose from six popular business purchases to bring in 3 percent cash back ($50,000 purchase cap per year on choice category and dining purchases).
In addition, the Business Advantage Cash Rewards card offers a decent cash back rate on restaurant purchases, which can add up to significant savings if you spend a lot on business lunches.
You won’t get nearly as far with this card if you don’t spend a lot on the card’s bonus categories, though. All other purchases earn just 1 percent cash back. It’s also a poor choice to use abroad or for other international transactions, since it charges a substantial foreign transaction fee.
Here’s what else you should know about the Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard:
Though it is not uncommon among business cards, the ability to choose your own 3 percent bonus category adds to the appeal of the Business Advantage Cash Rewards card. Not only can you match earnings to the category where you spend the most – between gas, office supplies, travel, TV/telecom and wireless, computer service and business consulting services – but you can update the category each month if your spending shifts. That way, you can ensure you continue to maximize rewards throughout the year.
Meanwhile, the Business Advantage card’s 2 percent cash back bonus on restaurants could yield significantly more – especially if you frequently treat clients or spend a large amount on catering. If your company typically budgets around $1,000 a month on restaurant spending, for example, you’ll earn roughly $240 per year. (Note: There is a $50,000 spend cap on combined 2 and 3 percent bonus categories each year. You’ll earn 1 percent thereafter.)
Inflated rate for Bank of America account holders
Though the rewards rate on the Business Advantage Cash Rewards card is not the most lucrative among no-annual-fee business cards, Bank of America offers a unique program that can boost your rewards rate. If you have a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch small business checking account, you can earn a higher percentage of cash back – based on your account balance. Here is a quick look at each Relationship Rewards tier and what you can earn:
|Tier||Balance qualifications||Points boost||Estimated rewards rate (percentage cash back)|
|No qualifying account||None||None||1.34|
Note: To calculate the average rewards rate, we gathered data on average business spending to determine both category and overall spend. We assume the average business cardholder spends $4,000 per month with the following weighting:
- 63% on general purchases
- 12% on dining/entertainment purchases
- 11% on gas
- 3% on computer/internet services
- 3% on office supplies
- 3% on travel and transport
- 2% on insurance
- 2% on telecommunications
- 1% on utilities
As you can see, even account holders with as little as $20,000 in a qualifying account can earn significantly better rewards.
A good sign-up bonus
You won’t have to wait long to net a significant benefit from this card either. Bank of America will award a $300 statement credit if you charge $3,000 within the first 90 days of opening your card. That’s not the biggest sign-up bonus on the market. However, it’s a notable sum for a no-annual-fee card.
The Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard also charges a lower minimum APR than many of its competitors, making it a less risky choice for businesses that occasionally have to carry a balance. Businesses with the best credit scores could earn an APR that is well below average for a business card.
A limited selection of benefits
The Business Advantage card doesn’t offer as many business-friendly benefits as some of its competitors. But it does offer key perks, such as free employee cards and expense management tools that allow you to monitor company spending and download your card’s transaction history into Quickbooks.
It also offers a limited selection of ancillary benefits, such as travel protection, price protection and extended warranty.
Why get the Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard?
- You are looking for a customizable card where you can choose your own bonus category.
- You are a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch small business account holder and can take advantage of the Relationship Rewards boost.
- You want a traditional cash back card rather than a points rewards card.
- You want significant rewards, but don’t want to pay an annual fee.
How to use the Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard:
- To maximize your rewards spending, use your card for all your restaurant and choice category purchases (up to $50,000 in purchases per year).
- Update your choice category regularly to match your spending.
- Leave this card at home when you travel abroad: It charges a significant foreign transaction fee.
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