Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card Review

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Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850
Our Bottom Line:

This is one of the best all-around credit cards on the market, and it’s especially attractive if you bank with Bank of America. A nice up front bonus, strong cash rewards program and no annual fee make for a terrific combination.

Intro APR Purchases 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
Intro Term Purchases 15 billing cycles
Intro APR Balance Transfers 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
Intro Term Balance Transfers 15 billing cycles
Regular APR 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Annual Fee $0
  • $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.
Editor's Note - You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

Bank of America has an arsenal of great credit cards. But my personal favorite is the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card.

Why?

Well, let’s start with the fact that this card offers 3% on the category of your choice. That’s almost unheard of. Rather than having to keep up with the rotating categories, you choose one that works best for your spending habits.

And there is no annual fee – so getting and keeping the card is not going to cost you any money.

Plus, The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card also offers a 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases and a 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days – which is perfect for anyone who wants to transfer their high balances to a new card, and pay it off in a timely manner. 

To learn more about why I keep the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card in my wallet, read my full review below. 

Key facts 

  • Best for those with good or excellent credit: The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is available for those with good or excellent credit. 
  • Introductory APR: The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card has a very generous 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases and a 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days.
  • Introductory bonus offer: The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards sign-up bonus is on the low side, at $200, but it’s extremely easy earn. You only need to spend $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account to qualify. Most people can do that with very little effort.
  • 3% cash back on a spending category of your choice. You can choose from gasoline, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores, or home-improvement/furnishings. You can even change your preferred spending category on a monthly basis to better accommodate your upcoming spending categories. You’ll also get 2% cash back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs. The 3% and 2% cash back categories are good on combined purchases of up to $2,500 per quarter. You’ll then get 1% unlimited cashback on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee – $0. It makes the card super attractive to get since you don’t have to pay a yearly fee to keep the card.
  • Cash back never expires: There’s no limit on how much you can earn in total cash back rewards, and they never expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
  • Multiple rewards redemptions options:  You can take your cash back rewards in the form of statement credits, deposits made directly into a Bank of America checking or savings account, for credit to a qualifying Cash Management Account or qualifying 529 with Merrill, as well as checks mailed directly to you. No minimum rewards redemption requirement for a statement credit, credit to a qualifying Cash Management Account with Merrill, or electronic deposits into a Bank of America checking or savings account. A minimum of $25 applies for all other options.
  • Variable APR: 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers.

In-depth analysis

Unlike many competing credit cards, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is strong in nearly every credit card benefit category.

One of the easiest cash back rewards in the credit card industry

There are other credit cards that offer enhanced rewards on rotating categories. And while those rewards may be higher than those offered by Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards, they’re also more complicated. With a typical revolving rewards card, you’ll have no choice over the available categories. Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards lets you choose your 3% category, then gives you the ability to change it monthly.

The 2% cash back category applies to grocery stores and wholesale clubs, which nearly everyone shops at. And while most other revolving category credit cards cap your quarterly purchases at $1,500, Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards extends it to $2,500. Dollar-for-dollar, you may get the same amount of rewards on Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card’s 3% category as you will on other credit cards offering 5% categories. 

And like most other cards, you’ll also get unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

True cash back rewards card with multiple redemption options

Some credit cards allow you to redeem your rewards for statement credits, while others apply them toward the purchase of select gift cards. But the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card gives you more than a half-dozen redemption options, including statement credits, receiving a check, having funds deposited into your Bank of America checking or savings account, or even electronically transferred to a Merrill investment account. It’s your choice! 

No cap on rewards

Cash back rewards are unlimited on the 1% purchase category. But as mentioned above, you are limited to total purchases of $2,500 per quarter on the 3% and 2% rewards categories.

Still, if you max out the 3% and 2% rewards categories each quarter, there will be a total of $10,000 in purchases, earning an average of $250 in cash back rewards. 

Rewards don’t expire

Your cash back rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open and in good standing.

Sign-up bonus

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards doesn’t have the most generous sign-up bonus in the credit card industry. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in ease of qualifying.

You can earn $200 online cash reward bonus just for spending $1,000 within 90 days of opening your account. Most people can reach that level just by using the card for incidental purchases.

Introductory APR

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card has a 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days and a 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases. That may not be the most generous 0% introductory APR offer in the industry, but it comes close. And it’s truly generous when you consider the cash back rewards that come with this card.

Annual Fee

There is no annual fee for the card which is HUGE – at least for me. I hate having to spend money for credit cards with annual fees. It’s usually a deal-breaker for me. Not always, but usually!

Bank of America Preferred Rewards 

Bank of America offers their Preferred Rewards program for customers who have an eligible Bank of America personal checking or Advantage Banking account, and maintain certain three-month average combined balances, along with a qualified Merrill Investment account.

The program is offered in three tiers: 

  • Gold – Combined balances of at least $20,000 – 25% rewards enhancement.
  • Platinum – Combined balances of at least $50,000 – 50% rewards enhancement.
  • Platinum Honors – Combined balances of at least $100,000 – 75% rewards enhancement.

Other card benefits 

  • FICO Score for Free – Get your monthly TransUnion educational score.
  • $0 Liability Guarantee – You’re covered if fraudulent charges are made to your card. But Bank of America attempts to block fraud when detected, and alert you of the activity.
  • Overdraft Protection – Connect your card to your Bank of America checking account to prevent going over the limit on your card.
  • Digital Wallet – When you add your Bank of America credit card to your mobile device you can shop in-store or in-app using Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay.
  • Customer service – Available by toll-free phone or live chat 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Interest rates and fees 

  • Annual Fee: $0.
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers.
  • Cash advance APR: See Terms.
  • Penalty APR: up to 29.99% APR.
  • Cash advance fee: The greater of 3% of the amount of each advance, or $10, but the greater of 5% or $10 for ATM, over-the-counter, same-day online and cash equivalent cash advances
  • Balance transfer fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater..
  • Foreign transaction fees: 3%.
  • Late payment or return payment fee: Up to $40 for late payments and up to $29 for returned payments.

How much can I earn using the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card?

To help you see how much you can earn with the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, I’m presenting two scenarios. The budget spender assumes you will charge $1,000 per month on the card. The premium spender assumes $2,000 per month. 

Budget spender – $1,000 monthly credit card spending: 

Spending categorySpending per monthEarnings after 1 yearEarnings in subsequent years
3% category – dining$500$180$180
2% category - groceries$300$72$72
Other purchases$200$24$24
Sign-up bonus--$200$0
Annual fee--$0$0
Total earnings--$476$276

To get these rewards earnings, I did the following math: 

  • Dining – ($500 (spending per month) x .03 = $15) x 12 =  $180 (earnings after 1 year).
  • Groceries – ($300 (spending per month) x .02 = $6) x 12 = $72 (earnings after 1 year)
  • Other purchases – ($200 (spending per month) x .01 = $2) x 12 = $24 (earnings after 1 year)

Taking into consideration the $1,000 in monthly spending and the $200 sign-up bonus, your total earnings for the first year would be $476, and $276 each year after that.

Premium spender – $2,000 monthly credit card spending 

Spending categorySpending per monthEarnings after 1 yearEarnings in subsequent years
3% category – dining$400$144$144
2% category - groceries$400$96$96
Other purchases$1,200$144$144
Sign-up bonus--$200$0
Annual fee--$0$0
Total earnings--$584$384

To get these rewards earnings, I did the following math: 

  • Dining – ($400 (spending per month) x .03 = $12) * 12 =  $144 (earnings after 1 year)
  • Groceries – ($400 (spending per month) x .02 = $8) * 12 = $96 (earnings after 1 year)
  • Other purchases – ($1200 (spending per month) x .01 = $12) * 12 = $144 (earnings after 1 year)

Taking into consideration the $2,000 in monthly spending and the $200 sign-up cash reward bonus, your total earnings for the first year would be $584.00, and $384.00 each year after that.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 0% introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers — Interest free purchases are always a plus.
  • 3% cash back rewards — You choose the spending category, which you can change on a monthly basis.
  • Enhanced rewards for Bank of America customers — Earn an additional 25% to 75% more cash back if you are a Preferred Rewards customer.
  • Multiple cash rewards redemption options — Can be taken as statement credits, a check mailed directly to you, or deposits into a Bank of America deposit account or Merrill Investment account.
  • Easy sign-up bonus — Earn $200 online cash reward bonus after spending just $1,000 within the first 90 days.
  • No annual fee — You won't have to shell out any money for this credit card which is HUGE in my book!

Cons

  • Small sign-up bonus — The bonus of just $200 is small compared to many competitors.
  • No significant travel benefits — Trip cancellation/interruption is the only listed travel benefit.
  • Foreign transaction fee — 3% fee charged on international transactions.
  • Contingent premium rewards — You must be a Bank of America or Merrill Investment client and meet minimum average monthly balance requirements to qualify for Premium Rewards.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card vs. Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card  

Card featureBank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit cardBank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Cash back3% on category of your choice, plus 2% at grocery stores or wholesale clubs, plus unlimited 1% on all other purchasesUnlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all purchases
Intro offer$200 online cash reward bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.25,000 bonus points – worth $250 – after spending at least $1,000 in the first 90 days
Introductory APR0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days and 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
APR13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Annual fee$0$0
 

Though both the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card and the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card are issued by the same bank, both the benefits and the overall purpose of each card is very different.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards is a general-purpose credit card, offering enhanced cash back rewards on common purchase categories, as well as a 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days.

As the name implies, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is designed with a strong slant toward travel. The unlimited 1.5 points on all purchases extend to travel, while Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card generally allows 1% cash back on travel, though you can select travel for the 3% cash back option.

But Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card charges no foreign transaction fees, while the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card has a 3% fee. That makes Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card the superior card for international travel, while the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is the better deal for general spending. 

Should you sign up for the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card? 

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards rates high on our list as an outstanding all-around rewards credit card. The 3% enhanced rewards on a category of your choice is one of the most generous offers in the industry. It’s made even sweeter by the 2% cash back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs, as well as unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

But the rewards you’ll earn with the card will get a powerful boost if you are also a Bank of America or Merrill client, and qualify under one of the three Preferred Rewards categories. That will give you a jump in your cash rewards of between 25% and 75%, making this one of the most generous rewards cards available anywhere. 

And if the rewards aren’t enough, the card comes with a 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. Also, don’t forget this card comes witha $0 annual fee. 

If the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card has a weakness it’s the sign-up bonus. Though it’s easy to qualify for, with just $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening, the bonus is just $200. 

But if you can overlook that very small chink in this card’s armor, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card will be an excellent addition to your credit card lineup.

Summary

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is one of the most flexible cash rewards cards on the market. It’s one of the only cards that lets you choose your rotating category, so you can always get 3% back on your most common spending categories.

And there’s no annual fee!

Combine that with 2% back on groceries and wholesale clubs, and 1% back on all other purchases, and you’ve got a cash back card that can really earn you money.

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About the author

Total Articles: 156
Since 2009, Kevin Mercadante has been sharing his journey from a washed-up mortgage loan officer emerging from the Financial Meltdown as a contract/self-employed “slash worker” – accountant/blogger/freelance web content writer – on Out of Your Rut.com. He offers career strategies, from dealing with under-employment to transitioning into self-employment, and provides “Alt-retirement strategies” for the vast majority who won’t retire to the beach as millionaires. He also frequently discusses the big-picture trends that are putting the squeeze on the bottom 90%, offering work-arounds and expense cutting tips to help readers carve out more money to save in their budgets – a.k.a., breaking the “savings barrier” and transitioning from debtor to saver. He’s a regular contributor/staff writer for as many as a dozen financial blogs and websites, including Money Under 30, Investor Junkie and The Dough Roller.