Bank of America was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are in the top 25 largest companies in the U.S. by total revenue and employee more than 10,000 people. They operate in all 50 states and more than 40 countries around the world. Bank of America serves over 50 million consumers / business, has 16,250 ATMS, and over 5,000 locations.

 

Rank Chart
APR
Reward Options
Our Score
#1
8.24 - 18.0%
8.3
#2
11.24 - 23.24%
8.0
#3
11.24 - 23.24%
7.9

The Good

Annual fee range

Annual fees for Bank of America’s cards are surprisingly better than some companies, with the majority of Bank of America’s cards having no annual fees. Some of their rewards cards, like the Spirit Airlines™ Credit Card, has an Intro fee for the first year and $59/year afterwards, are on par with similar cards offered by Citibank and others. Overall, we find their annual fee range of $0-$79 holds a superior advantage to customers.

Customer support

Customer support with Bank of America is available 24/7 for credit card customers by phone. This toll free 800 number is also the same number for lost or stolen cards. They also have an 24/7 international number and a 24/7 credit card activation number. These around the clock phone support hours are on par with most companies offering credit cards. You can contact Bank of America through postal mail and even on social media. While the few credit card companies encourage customers to leave questions for them on social media, Bank of America is the only one we found that encourages customers to send them a Direct message using Bank of America’s Get Help app to their Twitter and Facebook pages.

Foreign Transaction Fees

Bank of America’s foreign transaction fees range from 0-3%. Some of their cards don’t have any foreign transaction fees while the remaining cards offer a 3% foreign transaction fee on transactions made in other countries and currencies. Most companies offering credit cards charge 3%, so Bank of America is on par with the average. Bank of America is also neck and neck with several companies offering some cards with no foreign transaction fees and others with a 3%. Depending on the card you choose, you can find one with no foreign transaction fees if that is a “must-have” for you.

Cards Offered

Here are the different names of Bank of America’s 21 credit cards:

  • BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card
  • BankAmericard Travel Rewards®
  • BankAmericard®
  • BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards®
  • Pink Ribbon BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card
  • MLB™ Credit Cards
  • World Wildlife Fund Credit Card
  • U.S. Pride® card
  • Alaska Airlines Visa Signature®
  • Spirit Airlines™ card
  • Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard®
  • Norwegian Cruise Line®
  • Royal Caribbean® card
  • Virgin Atlantic card
  • Celebrity Cruises® card
  • Bass Pro Shops® Outdoor Rewards®
  • AAA Member Rewards
  • BankAmericard® Secured
  • BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ for Students
  • BankAmericard Travel Rewards® for Students
  • BankAmericard® for Students
Options for Rewards

When it comes to rewards, Bank of America offers a series of credit cards with a variety of rewards options.

Here are some of Bank of America’s most beneficial rewards:

Royal Caribbean® card:

  • Bonus Point offer giving cardholders 10,000 MyCruise® Points after your first qualifying transaction.
  • 2 MyCruise® points for every $1 on qualifying purchases with Royal Caribbean® and with their sister brands, Celebrity Cruises® and Azamara Club Cruises®
  • Receive $50 off a qualifying airline ticket purchased through the Royal Caribbean Air2Sea program after you use your card to make at least $3,500 in purchases within the first 90 days (students and Platinum Plus® accounts are not eligible)

Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard®

  • 20,000 bonus points offer after you make at least $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening (enough points to redeem for a trip to any of the 500+ destinations)
  • Earn 3 Amtrak Guest Rewards points for every $1 you spend on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other eligible travel purchases.
  • Complimentary Companion Coupon—you receive a complimentary Companion Coupon, One-Class Upgrade and a single-day ClubAcela® pass for access to ClubAcela, Amtrak Metropolitan LoungeSM or First class lounges upon your account opening

BankAmericard Cash Rewards™

  • 1% cash back on every purchase
  • 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter
  • 10% customer bonus every time you redeem into a Bank of America® checking or savings account

We found that Bank of America’s rewards options are better than average, with benefits that are easier to convert to cash or prizes (i.e. plane/Amtrak tickets) than some of the major credit card brands offer, which require you to make an unrealistic amount of purchases in order to qualify for certain bonus offers.

For instance, Bank of America’s Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® offers 20,000 bonus points after making a minimum of $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening—which is reasonable to make $1000 in purchases when booking plane tickets and hotel rooms for two.

Security

When it comes to security, Bank of America offers a complete package of measures and policies to ensure your credit card transactions are safe. Here are the best features we found from both a technology standpoint and a customer service standpoint:

  • $0 Liability Guarantee—you won’t be responsible for fraudulent purchases made on your credit card account.
  • ShopSafe® service—a free feature where you can generate a temporary credit card number so your real card number remains completely private and protected when shopping online.
  • Chip technology—extra layer of protection when making purchases at chip-enabled terminals in over 130 countries
  • Digital Wallet Technology—lets you add your Bank of America® credit card to your mobile device then shop in-store or in-app using Apple Pay®, Android Pay™ or Samsung Pay.
  • Account Alerts—you can choose from several types of customer email or text alerts to alert you when payments are due and paid. Also, Bank of America blocks potential fraud if abnormal patterns are detected and let you know if we suspect fraudulent activity.
  • Text Banking—ask questions about your account by text message and get a response in seconds or minutes.

We checked to see if these security features were offered for all 21of Bank of America’s credit cards and we found that yes—these features are offered with all Bank of America cards. This is not always the case. In some reviews we noticed that several credit card companies had some security features for certain cards and not for others.

Unique Features

A unique selling point with Bank of America is the ability to get your FICO® Score for free online and through their mobile app. Bank of America credit card customers who enroll in this feature and receive a monthly FICO® Score from TransUnion®.

Here are the benefits offered with this feature:

  • Get your FICO® Score monthly without negatively impacting your credit score
  • See key factors that are impacting your score
  • Track your recent scores month-to-month and compare them to national averages
  • Learn about credit and strategies for keeping credit healthy with Better Money Habits

We only found free FICO scores available with 1 or 2 other major credit card companies, although Citi, for example, uses another credit bureau.

Building Credit/Student Cards

We were pleased to find that Bank of America cares about students needing to build credit and consumers needing to repair their credit. They are one of the few companies offering both a “starter” student card and a secured credit card.

We looked at what Bank of America has to offer and here’s what we liked:

BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students

  • There’s no annual fee, no expiration on rewards and with no changing categories to follow
  • 1% cash back on every purchase
  • 2% at grocery stores and now at wholesale clubs
  • 3% on gas

BankAmericard® Secured Card

  • Requires a minimum security deposit of $300
  • Maximum credit limit (up to $4,900) will be determined by your income, ability to pay and the amount of the security deposit you provide

BankAmericard® for Students

  • Reports your credit activity to all three major credit bureaus

All of Bank of America’s student and secured cards have no annual fee, which most companies do not have. Typically, they charge an annual fee ranging anywhere from $29-79/year.

The Bad

APR Range

Many of Bank of America’s credit cards have Introductory 0% APR ranging from the first 12 to 18 billing cycles for purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of opening your account. Ongoing APRs range from 11.24% to 23.24%. When measured against other major competitors, Bank of America’s APRs are the exact same. There is no advantage to using Bank of America’s credit cards over another big name as far as APRs are concerned. We should note that their BankAmericard® offers the Intro 0% APR for 18 billing cycles, which is the longest we’ve seen for any credit card company in the industry.

Late Payment

Late fees with Bank of America cards can run as high as $37. Only a few companies we found to have late fees in accordance with the 2010 Credit Card Act—which said $25 should be the cap. Most companies offer a late fee between $35 and $37, making Bank of America similar to the high norm for late fees in the credit card industry.

The Bottom Line

Bank of America has one of the best selections of credit cards on the market. They have cards for people with excellent credit seeking high rewards, those in the military, those in education, cards for rebuilding your credit, and cards for students just starting to build credit. There really is something for everyone. When you look at Bank of America’s credit card selection overall, they offer run of the mill APRs, but no better or worse than other major companies like Discover and Chase. What is fantastic is that many of their cards charge zero annual fees—not even for student or secured cards. Bank of America also has excellent cash and miles rewards. We especially like that you can redeem your points on any airline, a feature that many card companies do not offer. Finally, we find that Bank of America’s robust list of security features, i.e. $0 Liability, etc, are almost second to none.

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