Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card 2022 Review

 

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card fits nicely in the wallet of Bank of America or Merrill customers. Cardholders can earn 3% cash back in the eligible category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases. With Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program, those earning rates can be increased by as much as 75% by keeping a significant chunk of cash in eligible accounts. Without Preferred Rewards, other cards may offer better return for your spending.

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Pros

  • Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients earn 25% to 75% more cash back
  • Good rewards earning potential
  • Option to change 3% bonus category monthly

Cons

  • Bonus rewards have quarterly caps
  • High balance transfer fee
  • Foreign transaction fee

Highlights

  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
  • If you’re a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% – 75% more cash back on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 5.25% cash back on purchases in your choice category.
  • No annual fee and no expiration on rewards.
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 13.99% – 23.99% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.
  • Contactless Cards – The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

A card that might appeal to those solely interested in cash-back rewards, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers no complex points system or luxurious travel rewards. Though the cash-back system has its limitations, this simplicity makes it an option worth looking at for those who don’t need a whole lot of extras.

The card offers 3% cash back in the eligible category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.

One nice touch of the select-your-category offering: Bank of America offers a decent variety of selectable categories. It defaults to gas, but a cardholder may also choose among online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores and home improvement and furnishings.

Though the card leaves some features to be desired, which we’ll cover below, the bonus offer and decent everyday cash-back rewards make this both a solid starter rewards card and a mediocre card for those experienced with the rewards game.


At a Glance

  • No annual fee
  • 3% cash back in the eligible category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • 0% introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, a 13.99% – 23.99% variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers
  • Preferred Rewards members can earn 25% to 75% more cash back on purchases

Rewards

Earning Rewards

With 3% cash back in the eligible category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases, earning rewards with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card provides decent earning options, but is capped beyond the “everything else.” The card earns 3% cash back in the eligible category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.

The 3% cash-back category options are fairly broad. The selectable categories include gas, online shopping, dining, travel and drug stores, or both home improvement and furnishings. Your choice can be changed from month-to-month online or via mobile app and defaults to gas.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards members can earn 25% to 75% bonus points on all purchases. Note that you’ll need $20,000 in combined assets for a 25% bump, $50,000 for a 50% bump and $100,000 for a 75% bump.

There’s also a first year welcome bonus: Earn $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Redeeming Rewards

Redeeming rewards with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card is straightforward and easy. You can select how you’d like to receive your rewards:

  • As a statement credit of any amount
  • As a direct deposit into an eligible Bank of America account
  • As a credit to an eligible account with Merrill of any amount
  • As a check, with minimum redemption of $25
  • As a contribution to a 529 account with Merrill, with minimum redemption of $25

You may also set up automatic redemptions to either a Bank of America or Merrill account, given that those redemptions are worth at least $25. No other redemption methods qualify for automation.

If you forget to redeem your rewards, no problem: They don’t expire as long as your account is open.

Rewards Potential

To determine the rewards potential of the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card we have to look at the bonus categories and calculate what an American household might spend in those areas. Forbes Advisor uses data from various government agencies in order to determine both baseline income and spending averages across various categories. The 70th percentile of wage-earning households bring in $100,172 annually and we base spending on that number.

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card has the following bonus categories:

  • 3% cash back in the eligible category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases. For our earnings estimate, we chose restaurants as the 3% category.

Forbes Advisor estimates that our example household spends $4,406 on dining, which results in $132.18 cash back annually. The $5,687 on grocery stores this household spends would translate to $113.74 cash back, and the remaining $16,317 that could reasonably be charged to a credit card would earn $136.17 cash back. This means that the card would earn a total of $409.09 in cash back per year in addition to the welcome bonus earned in the first year.


0% Introductory Rates

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers 0% introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, a 13.99% – 23.99% variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.


Other Card Benefits

  • $0 Liability Guarantee: Cardholders aren’t responsible for unauthorized transactions, given they report them promptly.
  • Overdraft Protection: The card can optionally be used as an overdraft protection for a Bank of America checking account.
  • FICO Score: After opt-in, cardholders receive a monthly free update of their FICO score online or via mobile app.
  • Account Alerts: configurable alerts via email, text and mobile app to remind cardholders when statements become due or are paid.
  • Digital Wallet Technology: This card may be used with Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

Fine Print

Interest Rates

  • Regular APR: 13.99% – 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Purchase Intro APR: 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
  • Balance Transfer Intro APR: 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee (min. $10) applies.

Fees

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance: See terms
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 3%

How The Card Stacks Up

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card vs. Chase Freedom Flex℠

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a tough competitor for the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card when you compare the benefits. The card earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in categories that rotate quarterly (requires activation), 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1% on all other purchases.

The Chase Freedom Flex card also offers a more flexible welcome bonus, making it generally a more appealing option than the Customized Cash Rewards card. However, Preferred Rewards members who qualify for the earnings rate bump will likely fare better with the Customized Cash Rewards card.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card*

When it comes to earning flat-rate cash back, the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card* is difficult to beat with a rewards rate of 2% cash rewards on purchases. Although the Bank of America Cash Reward Card will snag higher rewards in some circumstances, that rate is capped. For most spenders it is unlikely that would snag more overall rewards than the Active Cash card.

Another idea is to pair the Customized Cash Rewards credit card with a high flat-rate card like the Active Cash to squeeze the most value out of all of your spending.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card vs. Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is big-idea plastic that also works well as a companion card. The no-annual-fee card earns 5% cash back on purchases in a top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 in spending each month and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Other benefits include a 0% introductory APR on eligible balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on creditworthiness and a welcome bonus: $200 in cash back after spending $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. The bonus points come in the form of 20,000 ThankYou® Points that can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

You can pool rewards on the Citi Custom Cash with other ThankYou point-earning cards where you may be able to redeem them for even greater value. This overall may net greater rewards for you and since your highest spending category will automatically earn 5%, it’s easier than having to opt-in to which category you want.

But the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card provides more flexibility in the ability to both choose a spending category and earn rewards. Ultimately you’ll have to decide which option is more appealing and more rewarding for your spending habits.

 

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