From my experience with their consumer products, Bank of America is an unusual credit issuer. They have many fantastic credit cards without putting much effort in promoting them. The BankAmericard Cash Rewards and Travel Rewards are two examples. Recently, Bank of America rolled out another card in the BankAmericard series: BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards. I’ve never quite seen another card like that : instead of rewarding you for spending, it rewards you for paying balances. Let’s take a look at this hidden gem.
(Edited on 4/11/2013 to clarify the rewards requirements: paying off the statement balance will also qualify you for the rewards.)
Here’s the link to the product: https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-cards/products/better-balance-rewards.go
First of all, this card bears the basic features of the BankAmericard family, which you can find in my review of the Cash Rewards card. I will focus more on the unique features, then quickly go over the common features, similar to what I did with the Travel Rewards card.
Now on to the specifics!
I. Reward type: non-classified
This card does not belong to any of the 3 regular types of rewards credit cards that I introduced in my intro to credit card rewards post. The reward structure goes like this:
“You will earn a $25 cash reward for each calendar quarter in which all of your monthly payments are received on or before the due date and are more than the minimum payment due. You must have a payment due in each of the monthly cycles of the calendar quarter to be eligible for the quarterly cash reward; a zero balance or a credit balance does not qualify. If the primary applicant for this card has at least one checking, savings or retirement account with Bank of America N.A., a Cash Management Account®, Merrill Edge® or any other account with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated or U.S. Trust, the card account will receive a customer bonus of $5 for each quarter you qualify, for a total of $30 per quarter.”
The reward is paid to you every calendar quarter in which you meet the conditions. The conditions involve two pieces. First, you need to have a non-zero balance at the statement closing date. Second, you need to either pay above the minimum or pay off the balance by the due date. And keep in mind that as long as you pay off the full statement balance by the due date you will not pay a penny in interest.
For each quarter in which you meet these simple conditions, Bank of America will pay you $25. If you also have a checking account, a savings accounts, or any of the aforementioned accounts with Bank of America, you’ll get another extra $5. If you want, you can put a small charge on your card, let it sit through the statement closing date, and pay it off by the due date, every month, and profit. If you have a BofA checking account, that’s $120 a year just for paying balances. It doesn’t get better than this.
You can read more about the reward program on the official Terms and Conditions.
II. Card Benefits
All of the following features are common between this card and the Cash Rewards card:
1. Purchase Replacement
2. Purchase Guard
3. Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
4. Emergency Travel Assistance
5. Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance
III. Interest rate and fees
APR: 11.99% – 21.99%
Annual fee: $0
Balance transfer fee: 3%
IV. Additional benefits
1. Overdraft Protection
3. EMV Chip Technology
5. Mobile Banking and Text Banking
V. Introductory offer
0% APR for 12 billing cycles.
In short, the Bank of America’s BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards is a one-of-a-kind credit card that rewards you for paying balance, which you should anyway. You just need to make sure you have some balance on the card when the statement closes. If you set up automatic payments to pay at least the minimum due before the due date, the card offers a $100/$120 annual rewards risk-free, with barely any purchases each month. If you’re looking for a free $120 each year, try this card.
Hope you’re having a great first weekend of spring!
Richard (Hiep Tran)