Bank of America announced a new 1.5% cash-back credit card, the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card, on July 19. On the surface, the card doesn't stack up well against 2% cash-back heavyweights, but it could be a valuable option for the bank's Preferred Rewards members, who can get up to 75% more rewards with it.

Key Takeaways

  • The new Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card offers a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make, plus some other standard perks for a cash-back card.
  • However, Bank of America Preferred Rewards members can earn up to 75% more cash back, upping the rate to an impressive 2.62%.
  • For other consumers, the card is in a packed field of cards with similar offers. 

How the New Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card Works

Bank of America's other cash-back credit cards are tiered rewards cards, which means you'll earn bonus cash back in certain spending categories but just 1% back on most of your purchases.

With the new Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card, you'll get 1.5% back on every purchase you make, regardless of the category. This could be appealing for people who prefer simplicity and don't like keeping track of bonus categories.

It's even more appealing for Bank of America Preferred Rewards members, who can get between 25% and 75% more cash back with the card. Depending on which membership level you've attained, your rate could be 1.87%, 2.25%, or 2.62%.

The no-annual-fee card also offers a $200 cash bonus when you spend at least $1,000 in the first 90 days from account opening. Additionally, you'll receive a 0% APR for 15 months on purchases, as well as on balance transfers made during the first 60 days. After that, the variable APR jumps to 13.99% to 23.99%, based on creditworthiness.

How to Qualify for Bank of America Preferred Rewards

The Preferred Rewards program is designed for wealthier Bank of America customers who have at least $20,000 in three-month average daily combined balances between Bank of America deposit accounts and Merrill Lynch investment accounts.

You also need an active Bank of America checking account to qualify. With $20,000, you're a gold member and will get 25% more rewards with the bank's credit cards, among other perks. With a balance of $50,000, you'll get 50% more, and you'll get 75% more once you reach a balance of $100,000.

Who Should Consider This Card

For most people, the new Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card doesn't offer anything you can't get with a long list of other cash-back credit cards. For example, the new Wells Fargo Active Cash Card offers the same welcome bonus and 0% APR promotion, plus you'll get 2% cash back.

However, if you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client and prefer the simplicity of a flat-rate rewards card, you could get a best-in-class rewards rate on every purchase you make. 

As with any credit card, take your time to consider your spending habits, preferences, and also other options to determine which card is best for you.