Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card Review 2023: Straightforward rewards with no annual fee

The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card keeps things simple, with flat-rate cash back on every purchase and no annual fee.

Written by Rebecca Safier / December 21, 2022
Reviewed by Robin Saks Frankel

The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card offers flat cash-back rewards of 1.5% on all your purchases with no annual fee. While 1.5% isn’t the highest rewards rate on the market, you might appreciate the card’s $200 welcome offer and elevated rewards for Preferred Rewards members.

Inside this article

  1. Introduction
  2. Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card basics
  3. Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card other details
  4. Should you get the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card?
  5. Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card summary
  6. Frequently Asked Questions

Introduction

Bank of America offers a straightforward rewards card with its Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card. You’ll get 1.5% back on all purchases with no limit to the amount of rewards you can earn. There’s no minimum redemption amount in most cases, either, and rewards never expire. 

One potential drawback, though, is you can only redeem rewards as cash back to an eligible Bank of America or Merrill account. If you bank or invest elsewhere, your options for redemption are limited to credit card statement credits. 

It’s also worth noting that a 1.5% rewards rate is not the highest you’ll see on the market. Some other no-annual-fee rewards cards offer flat rates of 2% on all purchases and let you redeem your earnings as cash back to any bank account. 

That said, you could qualify for a rate of up to 25% to 75% more if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, which means those at the highest tier will earn 2.62% cash back on every purchase. The qualification for the lowest tier of Preferred Rewards starts at having an average daily balance of at least $20,000 in a qualifying Bank of America or Merrill account over three months. To earn at the 2.62% cash-back rate, you’ll need a balance of at least $100,000.

Whether you qualify for Preferred Rewards or not, you might appreciate some of the card’s other features, including a $200 welcome bonus after you spend $1,000 in your first three months and a 0% introductory APR for 18 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. 

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card basics

  • Annual fee: $0

  • Welcome bonus: $200 after spending $1,000 in the first three months 

  • Rewards: Earn 1.5% flat rate on all purchases 

  • Regular APR: 17.74% - 27.74% (variable)

  • Ongoing and introductory purchase/balance transfer APR: 0% for 18 months on all purchases, as well as on balance transfers made within the first 60 days; 17.74% - 27.74% after that 

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

  • Other perks: $0 liability guarantee for fraudulent transactions, contactless chip technology, online and mobile banking, free monthly FICO score 

  • Recommended credit score to qualify: Not disclosed

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card other details

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card rewards

The rewards from Bank of America’s Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card are simple—you’ll earn 1.5% back on all purchases. You can redeem your earnings in three ways: 

  • Statement credits 

  • Deposits into a Bank of America checking or savings account 

  • Credits to a qualifying cash management or 529 account with Merrill 

If you opt for cash deposits to a bank account, you can set up automatic redemptions. Otherwise, you’ll need to redeem your points on demand as you go. 

Bank of America Preferred Rewards members will earn a rewards bonus based on their membership tier, resulting in a higher rewards rate. Here’s what that looks like: 

TierAverage Daily Balance in Qualifying Account Over Three MonthsRewards BonusEffective Rewards Rate
Gold$20,000 - $50,00025%1.87%
Platinum$50,000 - $100,00050%2.25%
Platinum Honors$100,000 - $1,000,00075%2.62%
Diamond$1,000,000 - $10,000,00075%2.62%

While the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card might not offer the most lucrative rewards on the market, it becomes more valuable if you hold Gold status or higher. 

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card rewards potential

Based on government data and other publicly available information, Sound Dollar has estimated that our sample household in the U.S. with an average income of $84,352 has $25,087 in expenses it can likely charge to a credit card.

If you charged $25,087 on your Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card over the course of a year, you’d earn about $376.31 in cash-back rewards. If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, expect your card to earn the following based on this annual spend:

TierEffective Rewards RateTotal Rewards
Gold1.87%$469.13
Platinum2.25%$564.46
Platinum Honors or Diamond2.62%$657.28

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card APR details

If you’re looking to finance a major purchase, you might appreciate the Unlimited Cash Rewards card’s lengthy introductory 0% APR period. The card offers 0% APR for 18 billing cycles on both purchases and any balance transfers you make in your first 60 days after opening the account. 

As mentioned, expect to pay a fee of 3% or $10, whichever is greater, on any balance transfers. After the 18-month introductory period is up, a variable APR of 17.74% to 27.74% will apply. 

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card benefits and perks

  • 0% introductory APR: New cardholders can enjoy a full year and a half of 0% APR on purchases, as well as on balance transfers made within the first two months of account opening. 

  • Welcome bonus of $200: You’ll get a bonus of $200 if you spend at least $1,000 in your first 90 days with the card. 

  • Optional Balance Connect service for overdraft protection: This service helps protect you against overdrafts and prevent declined purchases or returned checks. 

  • $0 liability guarantee: Bank of America blocks potential fraud and doesn’t hold you liable for fraudulent charges.  

  • Online and mobile banking: You can manage your credit card from your phone or computer, as well as connect your card to Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

  • Free monthly FICO score: Bank of America will show you your free FICO Score (when you opt in) based on data from TransUnion, and update it monthly.

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card drawbacks

  • The 1.5% rewards rate isn’t stellar: Some other flat-rate cash-back cards offer 2% back, so Bank of America’s card doesn’t have the highest rewards rate out there. While this card has the potential for rewards bonuses, these are only available to consumers with $20,000 or more in the bank. 

  • No opportunities to earn bonus rewards in certain categories: Some credit cards let you earn extra rewards for purchases at restaurants, drugstores, or other common expenses, but the Unlimited Cash Rewards doesn’t offer any elevated earning categories.

  • Can’t redeem rewards as cash back to other bank accounts: You can only turn your credit card rewards into cash if you have a Bank of America or Merrill account. Otherwise, you can only redeem them as statement credits to your card. 

  • Foreign transaction fees: Bank of America charges a 3% fee on any transactions you make outside of the U.S., so this card isn’t a great option if you’re a frequent traveler. 

Alternate rewards credit cards with no annual fee 

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card vs. Citi Double Cash Card

The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Card’s 1.5% rewards rate might sound appealing until you compare it to the 2% rate of the Citi Double Cash Card. With the Double Cash Card, you earn a net 2%—1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off. 

Citi also lets you redeem your points for cash back into a bank account of your choice. Alternatively, you can opt for statement credits or gift cards from various brands. Since the Double Cash Card earns a higher flat cash-back rate and also doesn’t charge an annual fee, it might be a more valuable addition to your wallet than its Bank of America counterpart. 

The Double Cash also offers 18 months of 0% introductory APR on qualifying balance transfers, after which a 17.74% - 27.74% variable APR applies.

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is another no-annual-fee card that earns 2% cash back on purchases. It also offers a $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in your first three months. Finally, the Active Cash provides a 0% introductory APR period that spans 15 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. After, a  variable APR of 18.74%, 23.74% or 28.74% will apply. 

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

If you’d prefer a travel rewards card, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. This card earns 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 2 points per dollar on other travel, and 3 points per dollar on dining, online grocery shopping, and certain streaming services. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar. 

You can also earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in your first three months with the card. If you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, they get a 25% boost. Otherwise, you can redeem your points for cash, gift cards, or other options, typically at a value of 1 cent per point.

This card also allows you to transfer points at a 1:1 rate to more than a dozen airline and hotel partners, including United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and World of Hyatt.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with a variety of useful benefits, including trip cancellation insurance and no foreign transaction fees. It doesn’t have a 0% introductory APR offer, however, and it charges an annual fee of $95. The card’s regular APR range is 19.74% to 26.74% variable.

Should you get the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card?

While the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card has some appealing perks, it might not be your best option for a flat-rate rewards card. As mentioned, both the Citi Double Cash Card and Wells Fargo Active Cash offer higher rewards rates of 2% back. Or, for elevated rewards on categories including travel and dining, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

That said, Bank of America’s card stands out for its lengthy 0% APR introductory period that spans 18 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, a valuable feature if you’re looking to finance a big purchase. If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, furthermore, the Unlimited Cash Rewards card could be a great fit, earning you up to 2.62% back in rewards on all your purchases.

If you’re not a Platinum member and a high rewards rate is your priority, though, you might find better credit card options elsewhere. 

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card summary

Annual fee$0
Welcome bonus$200 after spending $1,000 in first three months
Rewards rate1.5% flat rate (effective rate of up to 2.62% for Bank of America Preferred Rewards members)
Regular APR 17.74% - 27.74% (variable)
Introductory APR 0% APR for 18 months on all purchases, as well as balance transfers made within first 60 days
Balance transfer fee 3% of each transaction or $10, whichever is greater
Other perks$0 liability guarantee for fraudulent transactions, contactless chip technology, online and mobile banking, free monthly FICO score

Frequently Asked Questions

What credit score do I need for the Unlimited Cash Rewards Card?

Bank of America doesn’t disclose the credit score you need for the Unlimited Cash Rewards Card, instead stating that its approval decision is based on your overall credit history, ability to pay, and the information you provide on your application. As an unsecured rewards card, however, you likely need a good or excellent credit score to qualify, which starts at 670 on the FICO scoring model. 

Do Bank of America cash rewards expire?
What does “unlimited cash back” mean?
Is the Unlimited Cash Rewards Card right for me?
What is the annual fee on the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card?
Does the Bank of America Cash Rewards Card have foreign transaction fees?

About the Authors

Headshot of personal finance writer Rebecca Safier

Rebecca Safier

Rebecca has been writing about personal finance and education since 2014. Formerly a senior student loans and personal loans writer for Student Loan Hero and LendingTree, Rebecca now covers a variety of personal finance topics, including budgeting, saving for retirement, home buying and more.

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Robin Saks Frankel

Robin Saks Frankel

Robin Saks Frankel is a credit cards and personal finance writer and editor for Sound Dollar. Previously, she covered credit cards and related content at other national web publications including Forbes Advisor, NerdWallet, Bankrate and HerMoney. She's been featured as a personal finance expert in outlets including CNBC, Business Insider, CBS Marketplace, and has appeared on or contributed to The New York Times, Fox News, CBS Radio, ABC Radio, NPR, International Business Times and NBC, ABC and CBS TV affiliates nationwide.

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