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Best Bank of America Credit Cards - 2017 Top Picks


If you’re a Bank of America® customer and you’re looking to keep all your accounts in one place, most Bank of America® credit cards will reward you for your loyalty. But even if you bank elsewhere, the Nerds’ top Bank of America® picks also offer solid benefits.

Best for cash back: BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

Earn 1% cash back on every other purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/gas/wholesale club purchases each quarter; $100 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening; Get bonus rewards for being a Bank of America® customer; 0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles and 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days, and then the ongoing APR of 13.49% - 23.49% Variable APR; $0 annual fee.

Apply Now on Bank of America's secure website, or call (877) 754-6706
  • No annual fee
  • Cash sign-up bonus
  • Cash rewards
  • Rewards accelerator if you bank with Bank of America or Merrill Lynch
  • If you're a big spender with excellent credit and willing to pay an annual fee, there are cards with higher rewards

$100 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

$0

0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles and 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days

  • APR: 13.49% - 23.49% Variable APR
  • Penalty APR: up to 29.99% APR
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms
  • No annual fee
  • $100 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases AND for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 13.49% - 23.49% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%

Benefits of the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card:

  • Get bonus cash back for gas, grocery and wholesale club purchases all year long; no need to opt into quarterly bonus categories.
  • Get a 10% bonus when you redeem your cash into a Bank of America® checking or savings account; increase that bonus to 25% to 75% if you’re a Preferred Rewards client. For example, if you have at least $20,000 combined balances in your Bank of America® banking and/or Merrill Edge® and Merrill Lynch® investment accounts, you’ll earn a 25% bonus on your cash back. If you have at least $50,000 in combined balances, you’ll earn a 50% bonus. Once you have $100,000 or more in combined balances, you’ll be rewarded with a 75% bonus.
  • The card has a decent 0% APR period in case you want to make a large purchase or transfer a balance and take extra time to pay it off.
  • It has a $0 annual fee.

Drawbacks of the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card:

  • Its bonus rewards top out at 3% if you don’t redeem your rewards into a Bank of America® checking or savings account and you aren’t a Preferred Rewards client. Other cash-back cards offer as much as 5% on quarterly bonus categories.
  • It’s not very useful if your grocery bill is low and you don’t drive a lot.

Bottom line:

The BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card is a solid cash-back card for people who spend a lot on gas, grocery and wholesale club purchases. It’s especially lucrative for Preferred Rewards clients. But if you don’t bank with Bank of America®, your grocery bill is usually low, you don’t shop at wholesale clubs and you don’t drive often, it might not be worth it.

Best for travel: BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

Earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases; 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases; Get bonus rewards for being a Bank of America® customer; 0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 15.49% - 23.49% Variable APR; no foreign transaction fee; $0 annual fee.

Apply Now on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 211-3740
  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Generous flat rewards rate on all purchases
  • Flexibility to book travel how you want
  • Rewards accelerator if you bank with Bank of America or Merrill Lynch
  • More restrictive than a straight cash back card
  • If you're a big spender with excellent credit and willing to pay an annual fee, there are cards with higher rewards

20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases

$0

0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles

  • APR: 15.49% - 23.49% Variable APR
  • Penalty APR: up to 29.99% APR
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
  • 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want – you’re not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
  • Comes with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases, then 15.49% - 23.49% Variable APR
  • Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%

Benefits of the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card:

  • It has a high base rewards rate compared with other travel credit cards.
  • The card offers redemption flexibility by letting you book your travel on your own and then redeem your points for a statement credit.
  • Get a 10% bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account; increase that bonus to 25% to 75% if you’re a Preferred Rewards client. For example, if you have at least $20,000 combined balances in your Bank of America® banking and/or Merrill Edge® and Merrill Lynch® investment accounts, you’ll earn a 25% bonus on your cash back. If you have at least $50,000 in combined balances, you’ll earn a 50% bonus. Once you have $100,000 or more in combined balances, you’ll be rewarded with a 75% bonus.
  • The card comes with a 0% APR period on purchases, a rarity among travel cards.
  • It has a $0 annual fee.

Drawbacks of the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card:

  • The card has a low sign-up bonus compared with some of the top travel cards on the market.
  • It doesn’t offer bonus points on travel purchases.

Bottom line:

If you’re a big spender and travel frequently, you may be better off with a travel card that offers a higher sign-up bonus and bonus rewards for travel purchases. But if you can take advantage of the Preferred Rewards program bonus or you travel infrequently and want to avoid an annual fee, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card is a great choice.

Best for balance transfers: BankAmericard® Credit Card

0% on Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days, and then the ongoing APR of 11.49% - 21.49% Variable APR; $0 annual fee

Apply Now on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 322-7707
  • No annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for balance transfers

None

$0

0% on Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days

  • APR: 11.49% - 21.49% Variable APR
  • Penalty APR: up to 29.99% APR
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms
  • 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then 11.49% - 21.49% Variable APR
  • Balance transfer fee of either 3% of the amount of the transfer or $10 (whichever is greater) applies
  • No annual fee
  • Saves you more on interest when you transfer balances from higher rate credit cards
  • $0 Liability Guarantee, so you're not responsible for any fraudulent charges made on your account
  • Access your FICO® Score for free within Online and Mobile Banking
  • If you apply for a card over the phone and are approved, our representatives can transfer your balance over the phone

Benefits of the BankAmericard® credit card:

  • The card offers a decent 0% APR period for balance transfers, giving you plenty of time to consolidate and pay off your high-interest credit card debt.
  • Its annual fee is $0.

Drawbacks of the BankAmericard® credit card:

  • Its 0% APR period doesn’t stack up against some of the best 0% APR cards.
  • It doesn’t offer rewards.
  • It charges a balance transfer fee of 3% or $10, whichever is greater. Depending on how much you’re transferring, it may not be worth the upfront charge.

Bottom line:

If you need some time to consolidate and pay off your high-interest credit card debt with a balance transfer, the BankAmericard® credit card’s 0% APR period isn’t much longer than what you’ll get with the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card (purchases only) or the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card (purchases and balance transfers). Unless you need the extra time, you may be better off going with a Bank of America® card that offers rewards on top of the 0% APR period.

Last updated Dec. 31, 2016. 

Ben Luthi is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email:  bluthi@nerdwallet.com . Twitter: @benluthi .

Image via iStock.


Category: Bank loan

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