Bank of America® has introduced a new player to the 1.5% cash-back arena: The Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card. It earns 1.5% back on all purchases, offers a decent sign-up bonus and has no annual fee.

The cash-back card, which is available starting July 19, 2021, is a no-fuss option for consumers who prefer simplicity, particularly those who are already Bank of America® members. For non-members, however, there are better card options available.

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card: Key details

  • Annual fee: $0.

  • Rewards: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn $200 online cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

  • APR offer: 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% – 23.99% variable APR.

  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%.

  • Balance transfer fee: $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

  • Perks: Members of the Bank of America® Preferred Rewards program can boost their rewards rates by 25%-75% more on every purchase. Depending on how much money you hold in an eligible Bank of America® or Merrill account, you could earn up to 2.62% cash back on every purchase.

  • Redemption options: Cash back can be redeemed for statement credits, as deposits made into a Bank of America® checking or savings account, or for credit to an eligible account with Merrill. There’s no limit to the amount of cash back cardholders can earn, and rewards don’t expire.

Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card vs. competitors

The Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is joining an already crowded field of no-annual-fee, 1.5% cash-back offers from other major issuers. And while it is on par with competitors in terms of key offerings, there are a couple of differences worth noting:

  • Con: It has a higher spending requirement than competitors. The Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card’s sign-up bonus is relatively as lucrative as competitor offers. However, it requires a slightly steeper spending requirement than its counterparts. (Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card feature lower spending requirements in the first three months of cardholding, for the same amount of bonus rewards.)

Other than these differences, the Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card doesn’t stand out among the already saturated 1.5% cash-back card space.

Further, while a 1.5% flat rate is still largely the industry standard, there’s a growing number of cards on the market that offer an elevated 2% back on all purchases with no strings attached. Compared to those, the Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card falls significantly short.

Should you get the Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card?

Loyal Bank of America® customers who already have an account with the issuer will find the most value out of the Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card. That’s because account holders who are part of the bank’s Preferred Rewards program can get a points boost of 25% to 75%, based on how much they have in an eligible account.

For example, if you have up to $20,000 in an account as a Gold member, you can earn 1.875% cash back rather than the standard 1.5%. Being a Platinum Honors member with ​​$100,000 or more in an eligible account can be especially lucrative — your cash back is bumped up to 2.625%.

But beyond this, non-Preferred Rewards members can find card offerings that are very similar to this new Bank of America® card, if not better.

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