Determining the best credit card for your financial goals involves examining card features, benefits and perks—and you should, of course, choose the card that best meets your needs. For instance, one goal may be to earn more rewards on your spending, or you may need help paying down high-interest debt or financing a larger purchase with no interest.
Choosing between the BankAmericard® credit card and Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card comes down to exactly that—a lengthy introductory APR versus a slightly shorter intro APR and ongoing rewards. However, there are a few finer details that may sway your decision in an unexpected direction. Let’s take a look at what these cards offer and which option might be best for your financial goals.
|Welcome bonus||$100 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days||$200 online cash rewards after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening|
|Rewards rate||N/A||3% cash back on the category purchases of your choice (including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstore or home improvement); 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined 3% and 2% category purchases each quarter, then 1%); 1% back on everything else|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases, as well as on balance transfers made in the first 60 days||0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases, as well as on balance transfers made in the first 60 days|
|Variable APR||13.24% to 23.24%||14.24% to 24.24%|
BankAmericard vs. Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards highlights
Let’s start with the features these cards have in common. Unfortunately, both the BankAmericard and Customized Cash Rewards card have a 3 percent foreign transaction fee, so they aren’t really suitable for use outside of the United States (unless you don’t mind paying that fee). However, neither card charges an annual fee, so you don’t have to worry about justifying the cost of card ownership. Finally, both cards come with an introductory zero-interest offer on both balance transfers and purchases.
Although these cards share some features and come from the same issuer, the similarities pretty much end there.
Welcome bonus winner: Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card
The Customized Cash Rewards card offers $200 in online cash rewards after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. Most cardholders should be able to reach this spending requirement pretty easily.
The BankAmericard, on the other hand, only offers a $100 statement credit after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of opening your account. Even though it’s a nominal welcome bonus, it can be a rare offering for balance transfer cards. If you plan to transfer a balance to this card, try thinking of the $100 bonus as a credit toward your balance transfer fee.
Rewards rate winner: Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card
The Customized Cash Rewards card has a rewards structure that lets you choose your top spending category:
- 3 percent cash back on the category of your choice (you can change once per month), including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement
- 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
- 1 percent back on all other purchases
- Combined $2,500 spending limit on 2 percent and 3 percent categories each quarter, then 1 percent
Using this card for your everyday spending means you can earn anywhere from $50 to $75 back on your 2 and 3 percent categories per quarter, on top of unlimited earnings for everything else at 1 percent back. Also, since you can change your 3 percent “choice” category each month, it’s more flexible than rewards cards with predetermined rotating bonus categories that you must activate every quarter.
As a member of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you can earn 25 percent to 75 percent more cash back (or up to 5.25 percent cash back) on purchases in your choice category. This program is based on the balance you maintain in an eligible Bank of America or Merrill investing account, and the minimum balance for each tier is as follows:
|Gold||$20,000 to $49,999||25%|
|Platinum||$50,000 to $99,999||50%|
|Platinum Honors||$100,000 to $999,999||75%|
|Diamond||$1,000,000 to $9,999,999||75%|
|Diamond Honors||$10 million or more||75%|
Which card earns the most?
Typically, our card battles show spending examples that highlight how much you’ll earn with one card over another based on their rewards structures. However, in this example, we look at card value, since the BankAmericard doesn’t offer rewards.
BankAmericard vs. Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards spending example
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards calculator shows you how much cash back you can earn in each category per year with the following spend:
- 3 percent choice category: $10,000/year
- 2 percent category: $8,000/year
- 1 percent category: $6,000/year
Then, we added the boosted Customized Cash Rewards earnings based on your Preferred Rewards tier, plus the interest saved with a BankAmericard and Customized Cash Rewards card balance transfer (from a card with a $5,000 balance and 14.99% APR):
|Annual Cash Back||$0||$360||$450||$540||$630|
|Savings on balance transfer on $5,000||$1,657||$1,435||$1,435||$1,435||$1,435|
As you can see, the BankAmericard helps you save about $1,657 in interest payments with the 18-billing cycle 0 percent intro APR balance transfer offer (13.24 percent to 23.24 percent variable APR after), according to the Bankrate balance transfer calculator.
Say you’re offered a 12.99 percent variable APR after the introductory term is over. In the end, you come out ahead compared to the 15-billing cycle 0 percent intro APR offered by the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card (14.24 percent to 24.24 percent variable APR thereafter).
With the BankAmericard, you are essentially saving on interest fees. The Customized Cash Rewards card offers a slightly lower savings on interest with its balance transfer offer, but the online value is clear—especially when you consider boosted earnings as a Preferred Rewards member. Even if you take away the welcome bonus and interest savings, you can earn between $360 and $630 back each year in ongoing rewards with the Customize Cash Rewards card, depending on your spending and Preferred Rewards tier.
Why should you get the BankAmericard?
The long and the short of it is that the BankAmericard should be your choice if you absolutely need a full 18 months to pay off your debt, and 15 months just won’t cut it. However, in many circumstances, if you can forgo the extra three months of interest-free payments, you might be better off in the long run with the Customized Cash Rewards card.
Like most Bank of America credit cards, the BankAmericard card lets you participate in the BankAmeriDeals program, which allows you to get 5 percent to 15 percent cash back by using your card at participating merchants. Also, there’s access to Bank of America’s Museums on Us program, where you can get free general admission to 225 “cultural institutions” during the first weekend of every month.
Recommended credit score
You’ll need good or excellent credit (or a score between 670 and 850) to increase your approval odds for this card.
Why should you get the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card?
In essence, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card is ideal for those looking to earn rewards (with a potential boost as a Preferred Rewards member) and utilize a solid zero-interest introductory offer. If it’s ongoing value you’re looking for, the Customized Cash Reward card can deliver for years to come—even when you remove the savings from the zero-interest offer and welcome bonus.
Like the BankAmericard, you’ll get access to the BankAmeriDeals program and Museums on Us, but you’ll also get Visa Signature benefits. This includes various Visa perks based on your credit limit, annual fee and other factors. Visa Signature benefits include purchase protections like extended warranty coverage, purchase security, concierge, roadside dispatch, lost luggage reimbursement and travel and emergency assistance.
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card only allows you to redeem rewards for cash, just as the name implies. You can redeem your rewards at any time or amount for statement credits, direct deposits to a Bank of America checking or savings account or for credit to an eligible Merrill account.
Recommended credit score
Similar to the BankAmericard, you’ll need a good or excellent credit score to increase your approval odds for this card.
The bottom line
By now, it’s probably clear that these cards are suited for slightly different purposes. The BankAmericard is for someone who really needs that 18-billing cycle introductory 0 percent APR period (13.24 percent to 23.24 percent variable APR after)—whether for a large purchase or a balance transfer. The Customized Cash Card, on the other hand, is ideal for those looking to get more value from their cash back credit card—especially those who’ll get a better rewards rate as part of the Preferred Rewards program.