The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
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2020's Best Bank of America® Credit Cards

Below are our staff ratings of 2020's top Bank of America® credit card offers. The popular bank offers a variety of cards featuring low interest rates and unbeatable perks.

Average APR
17.65%
Average Annual Fee
$0.00
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The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which CardRates.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers.

15 FAQs About Bank of America Credit Cards

Adam West
By: Adam West
Updated:
15 FAQs About Bank of America Credit Cards
CardRates.com Guide: Bank of America®

With more than 66 million customers currently being served, it’s no wonder why so many people look for the best Bank of America credit cards.

If you are one of the 66 million, or you are thinking of adding to that number by opening an account, we have the information you need. Just like the bank’s broad and diverse customer base, Bank of America also offers a vast array of credit cards for different needs and goals.

No matter what you want to accomplish financially, you can find a card that may offer low rates, competitive rewards, and perks for being a member of one of the largest banks in the world.

1. What is Bank of America?

Bank of America (BofA) did not just stumble onto 66 million customers. The current financial institution was built over more than 100 years through dozens of mergers and acquisitions that made it one of the largest banking businesses in the world.

Ironically, Bank of America began its life known as the Bank of Italy. Amadeo Giannini opened the first Bank of Italy in San Francisco in 1904 to serve its growing immigrant and working-class population.

Prior to this, banks were reserved only for the ultra-wealthy, but Giannini saw an opportunity to help the immigrants entering the country to access loans and capital to start their lives in America. The idea worked.

The bank thrived, even after the great earthquake of 1906, when most other businesses disappeared from the damaged San Francisco landscape.

By 1927, Giannini consolidated his Bank of Italy with Liberty Bank of America and merged with Bank of America, Los Angeles in 1928 to form the largest banking institution in the U.S. at the time. However, the company still held the Bank of Italy name until 1930, when it was renamed Bank of America.

Giannini continued to follow his goal of serving everyday consumers and not just the super-wealthy. That helped the bank push through the Great Depression.

Instead of faltering, as most banks did during that time, the bank expanded its footprint by adding insurance options through the newly formed Transamerica Corporation. By 1953, Bank of America spun that business off into its own brand.

That happened because Bank of America started to find success outside of California right around the time the Federal government started to limit interstate banking transactions.

As those limitations loosened, Bank of America expanded throughout the U.S. and introduced its first credit card — the BankAmericard, in 1958. At the time, it was the first credit card intended for the general public and the first to be licensed to other banks. In 1976, BankAmericard changed its name and became what we now know as VISA.

BankAmericard Ad

Advertisement showcasing the little conductor, a popular feature of BankAmericards mid-1960s advertising campaign.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Bank of America continued to transform itself through a series of mergers and acquisitions, adding banks in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, and Nevada. By the end of the 1990s, Bank of America had spread to the east coast and was now a truly national bank.

In 1998, Bank of America was acquired by NationsBank — then the fastest growing bank in the country. However, they kept the Bank of America name and continued expansion, including FleetBoston Financial and MBNA, as well as International banks in South America and the Netherlands.

During the mortgage crisis that began in 2007, Bank of America acquired Countrywide Financial, one of the largest mortgage companies in the U.S. It also acquired financial services firm, Merrill Lynch, in 2008, saving that company from certain bankruptcy.

What started as a small bank serving San Francisco’s immigrants is now a multinational financial institution with branches and ATMs around the world. Bank of America still maintains its original purpose of bringing banking to the masses, however, as evidenced by its diverse product lineup, including a range of credit cards designed for nearly every lifestyle and credit type.

Bank of America now serves 1 out of every 2 households in America and most Fortune 500 companies.

2. How Does a Bank of America Credit Card Work?

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to maintain a Bank of America checking or savings account to qualify for a Bank of America credit card. That said, there are some perks to having an account and a card.

Whether you are an existing Bank of America customer or not, your card will work like any other credit card. You can use it to shop online, pay bills, rent a vehicle or hotel room, or conduct any other credit transaction that you could complete with another credit card.

Your Bank of America credit card will have a credit card network logo on the front — either Visa or Mastercard — and you can use your card at any merchant or service provider that accepts that network. That means you can use it just about anywhere.

Most of the best Bank of America credit cards will allow you to prequalify for the card before you submit a formal application. That’s important because applying for too many credit cards around the same time can lead to a glut of hard inquiries on your credit report, which can lower your credit score.

Prequalifying uses a soft credit check, which doesn’t affect your credit score, to gauge your chances of approval should you decide to formally apply for a credit card. And since Bank of America offers a broad portfolio of credit card options, you could find out which card best suits your needs and financial situation.

If you already have a Bank of America checking or savings account, you can log into your account online and begin the application process right away. You can still prequalify and formally apply if you don’t have an account.

To do this, you should follow the link to your desired card above. When prompted, you can choose to prequalify for the card you have chosen. After that:

  • Click the link that allows you to continue without signing in.
  • Complete the forms that require your full name, birth date, and the last four digits of your Social Security number. Then click continue.
  • Complete the forms that require your address and then select which credit card interests you (or you can also select that you don’t have a preference).
  • Click the button that says Show Me My Offers.

You can also choose to save your application before you submit it. You can return to your application within 30 days to complete the process.

You will then see all of the card options you qualify for, though if your credit score is really bad, you may not qualify for any cards from Bank of America. Remember that a prequalification does not guarantee approval when you apply. But, traditionally, prequalifying is a good indicator of application approval.

Bank of America will send you your new credit card in the mail within seven to 10 business days. Once it arrives, you can activate your card online or over the phone and begin using it immediately.

3. What are the Benefits of Having a Bank of America Credit Card?

Each BofA credit card provides unique benefits and perks to cardholders. Some benefits remain the same across the board.

For example, if you already maintain a Bank of America checking or savings account, you can access your card account through your online or mobile dashboard. This allows you to track your balance, make an instant payment, or view recent transactions.

Depending on which credit card you choose, you could earn up to 3% cash back, as many as 1.5 points for every dollar you spend, or airline awards that get you in the skies faster — and more affordably.

You can also choose to forego rewards altogether and opt instead for a card that offers one of the lowest interest rates in the industry. This type of credit card is especially handy if you tend to carry a balance from month to month and want to lower your interest charges.

Most of the credit cards in the Bank of America portfolio charge no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. The exceptions are the higher-end rewards cards and the company co-branded cards — from corporations such as Allegiant Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Amtrak, Air France, Sonesta, and Royal Caribbean®.

These co-branded cards provide rewards and perks through the partnered company. For example, the Virgin Atlantic Mastercard provides 3 points per $1 spent directly on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases with no limit to the number of points you can earn. You can also typically earn a sign up bonus when you meet certain spending thresholds during your first three months with the card.

You can redeem your points for Virgin Atlantic flights and upgrades, and earn a companion reward in the same cabin class or a cabin upgrade when you book a ticket through Virgin Atlantic (you must spend $25,000 or more in purchases annually to qualify).

The solo-branded Bank of America credit cards also provide several key benefits beyond their rewards structure. For example, many cards provide an introductory 0% APR period for as many as 12 billing cycles (and occasionally 15 billing cycles). This promotion allows you to enjoy interest-free financing on all new purchases for your first year with the card. After the promotion ends, your card will revert to your regular purchase APR.

Bank of America checking and savings account holders who qualify as a Preferred Rewards member can earn 25% to 75% more cash back on every purchase. That can provide as much as 5.25% cash back in certain spending categories.

The credit card network (typically Visa or Mastercard) attached to your card may also provide additional cardholder perks that can include rental car insurance, $0 fraud liability, price matching, and online order insurance protection.

Check your cardholder agreement for full details of every benefit your preferred card offers.

4. Which Bank of America Cards Offer Cash Back?

Bank of America regularly changes its promotions and rewards structure to match — or exceed — the competition. That often means adding consumer and business credit card options and partnerships to its portfolio.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit CardAmong the cash rewards cards the bank currently offers are the aptly named Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Business Advantage Cash Rewards Credit Card, and the Bank of America® Cash Back Secured Credit Card.

The bank also offers cash back credit cards through partnerships with the Susan G. Komen®  Breast Cancer Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, and Major League Baseball.

None of the cash back cards offered by Bank of America currently charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fee.

The rate in which you earn cash back will depend on the card you qualify for. For example, one card may provide as much as 3% cash back on qualifying purchases, whereas another card may offer 1% cash back on the same purchase.

Bank of America account holders can also leverage their checking or savings account balances to earn more rewards through the Preferred Rewards program. This allows you to enroll in a free program that, based on your account balance, can boost your rewards earnings by 25% to 75%.

Many cash back credit cards offered by Bank of America also provide a sign up bonus when you reach certain spending thresholds in your first three months with the card. The amount of your bonus may change depending on the bank’s current promotion, but previous offers have rewarded cardholders with as much as $200 in cash back bonus money when you charge at least $1,000 to your card within 90 days after activation.

5. Which Bank of America Cards Offer Points?

Points rewards work similarly to cash back in that you can earn a certain number of bonus points for every dollar that you charge to your card. Instead of redeeming these rewards for cash back, you can choose your reward — including travel deals, credit, gift cards, or even cash back.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for StudentsBank of America’s most popular points rewards credit cards focus on travel. This includes the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card, Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students, and the Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard®.

These cards reward cardholders for every dollar they charge to their card. You can also earn bonus points when you book travel or make a purchase through the Bank of America® Travel Center.

You can redeem your points to receive statement credit toward previous travel rewards credit card purchases or to receive gift cards or cash back via a paper check or Bank of America account deposit. And since you redeem your points to erase all or part of a previous travel purchase, you do not have to worry about blackout dates or carrier restrictions.

6. What Can I Redeem my Bank of America Rewards For?

The most obvious, and possibly most popular, is cash back. Each credit card option will provide a rate in which you earn cash back. For example, a card with 2% unlimited cash back will pay you back 2% of any qualifying purchase you charge to the card.

A qualifying purchase typically means any new purchase you make. Traditionally, a cash advance or balance transfer will not qualify for cash back.

You can redeem the bank’s point rewards for cash back, gift cards, or statement credits to erase all, or part, of a previous travel expense.

One perk of redeeming your points for travel is that Bank of America has one of the broadest interpretations of what is considered a travel expense. You can redeem your points toward statement credits to cover the cost of trips to circuses, art gallery admission, amusement parks, zoo, and tourist attraction tickets, boat rentals, limousine rentals, and other ordinary travel expenses, such as plane tickets and hotels.

Your points can even cover the cost of bookings through VacationRentals.com and other home-sharing services  — which is rare among most travel credit cards.

You are eligible to redeem your points for travel or cash back once you’ve accrued at least 2,500 points ($25 travel value or $15 in cash back). For gift cards, you’ll need at least 3,125 points to request a redemption.

You can redeem your rewards through the bank’s website or mobile application portal. Simply click your credit card account and follow the link to redeem your points or cash back. You can also redeem your rewards over the phone by calling (888) 268-7800.

When you redeem your points for a statement credit, you will see it reflect on your card balance within one to three business days. Gift cards typically redeem through an email with a gift card code that you will receive within 24 hours.

You can redeem your cash back for a paper check that can take three to five business days to process. If you have a Bank of America checking account or savings account, you can opt to have your cash back rewards sent immediately to your account.

7. Which Bank of America Credit Card is the Best?

This depends on your financial goals. If you are a frequent traveler, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card offers a maximum points rate that you can redeem as a statement credit to cover recent travel costs. The Premium Rewards Card also regularly features a generous sign up bonus that can earn you bonus points for meeting a spending threshold within your first three months with the card.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit CardThis card does charge an annual fee, but you can make that up by utilizing the card’s annual Airline Incidental Statement Credit for qualifying purchases, including seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight services, and airline lounge fees.

If cash back is more of your thing, you should check out the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

This card offers a very generous cash back rate with category-specific purchases yielding even more rewards. It also has a very achievable signup bonus that rewards you with bonus cash back for reaching certain spending thresholds.

Business Advantage Cash Rewards Credit CardIf you own a business, the Business Advantage Cash Rewards Credit Card will provide you a choice of categories in which you can earn up to 3% cash back on. This gives you flexibility when choosing a rewards category that best suits your business needs.

Aside from a sign up bonus, Bank of America will also often provide an introductory period with 0% interest on new purchases for new cardholders. This period typically lasts between six and 12 billing cycles but can run even longer based on the current promotion.

8. Which Bank of America Credit Card is the Easiest to Get?

If you are concerned about your credit history keeping you from qualifying for a Bank of America credit card, you should consider the Bank of America® Cash Back Secured Credit Card.

This is a secured credit card, meaning that you will need to supply a refundable security deposit to qualify. But once you provide the deposit, the bank will offer far more forgiving standards for approval.

Bank of America currently accepts deposits that range between $300 and $4,900 — with the amount of your deposit equaling your new card’s overall credit limit.

What separates Bank of America from just about every other secured credit card issuer is that this card allows you to earn cash back on your qualifying purchases — a rare reward in the secured card space.

You can also access your FICO® Score updated monthly for free on the card’s mobile banking app or through the online banking portal.

This card does not charge an annual fee and will refund all of your security deposit when you close your account — as long as you are in good standing with no current balance.

Also, Bank of America, as your credit card issuer, will report your payment history to each credit bureau — Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. That can help you build your credit score with responsible use and eventually upgrade to an unsecured card from Bank of America.

9. Can You Have Two Bank of America Credit Cards?

Yes, you can have two active Bank of America credit cards at the same time. In fact, Bank of America lists several positives to maintaining two or more credit cards.

If you have more than one Bank of America credit card, you can take advantage of both cash back and points while enjoying easy access to your card account from your online banking portal. If you also have a Bank of America checking or savings account, both of your credit cards will link to your dashboard, which makes it easier to redeem rewards and schedule easy online payments.

A few instances in which you may want to consider opening a second Bank of America credit account include:

  • If you currently have a cash back or points credit card through the bank and want to take advantage of the reward type that you currently do not have.
  • If you opened your first Bank of America credit card account when you had a lower credit score and could not qualify for a better credit card. You may have raised your credit score enough to now add a better rewards card to your wallet.
  • You want to take advantage of a current signup bonus offer or 0% APR promotion from Bank of America.
  • You recently qualified for Bank of America Preferred Rewards and want to maximize your rewards rate for both cash back and points.
  • You want to increase your available credit, thus improving your credit utilization ratio and credit score.

Having multiple credit cards can also help you maximize your rewards earnings. For example, if a card offers bonus cash back for gas station purchases, you can use your card every time you fill-up the tank or purchase a mega gulp drink. If another card offers bonus points for grocery store purchases, you can use your card every time you go to stock up the fridge.

Either way, you know that you are getting the most rewards possible for every purchase you make.

10. Is Bank of America Visa or Mastercard?

Bank of America has a long history with Visa. That said, the bank offers credit cards through both the Visa and Mastercard networks.

Bank of America started the first national credit card program, originally called BankAmericard. After rapid and widespread adoption and growth, BankAmericard expanded around the globe and was eventually renamed Visa.

Today, Visa and Mastercard make up the two most popular credit card networks in the world. An untold number of active credit cards feature the logo of these networks and millions of merchants and service providers accept cards from these networks for payment.

There’s a pretty discernible difference between a credit card issuing bank and a credit card network. Since we are talking about Bank of America, let’s use the top-rated Bank of America® Cash Rewards Card as an example.

Whenever you swipe this card, multiple things happen in a matter of seconds. The merchant’s point of sale system sends the transaction data to the credit card network. This can be Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, or another network. The network sends the data to the issuing bank — in this case, Bank of America — to make sure you have enough funds on your card account to cover the purchase.

Logos for Four Major Credit Card Networks

If the bank approves your purchase, it tells the network to complete the transaction. The bank then sends the funds to the merchant and you repay the bank with your monthly payment. All of this happens in a matter of seconds.

The credit card network collects a fee from the issuing bank for every transaction it processes. This fee is normally charged to the merchant. The bank also claims part of that fee and makes the rest of its money when you pay interest on balances that you carry from month to month.

Visa and Mastercard are so widely accepted around the globe that you will have little trouble finding a merchant that will happily accept your card.

The only difference between the networks comes with the perks they offer to cardholders. Aside from your credit card rewards, the credit card network featured on the face of your card will also provide perks.

Visa typically offers benefits that include rental car collision damage waivers, $0 fraud liability, and roadside dispatch. Mastercard tends to lean more toward consumer friends benefits, such as price matching protection and extended warranty benefits.

11. How Do You Get a Credit Line Increase with Bank of America?

Bank of America provides several methods that you can use to request a credit limit increase. Before you submit a request, be certain that your credit card account is at least six months old, you have no late payments in the last year, and you can provide verified income information to prove that you can handle the added credit.

If you pass those three tests, you can log into online banking under your credit card account, then select the “request a credit line increase” link under Card Details in your Account Summary.

If you would rather not request a credit limit increase online — or if the online portal will not let you make the request — you can call the phone number on the back of your credit card. While this may seem like more work, you may have a better chance of getting your credit limit increased if you speak to a human instead of going the automated route.

If you are in no hurry, you can wait until Bank of America conducts its automatic account monitoring to determine whether you qualify. There isn’t a set time frame in which this happens, but Bank of America states that it periodically checks accounts a few times each year.

An increased credit limit is a sign that you’re acting responsibly with your current credit account. It’s also added temptation to make a larger purchase or charge a little extra each month to your card.

Keep the same spending discipline with your new credit limit that you did with your previously lower credit limit and you’ll eventually find yourself accepting even more credit limit increases or card upgrades.

12. Does Bank of America Allow Balance Transfers?

Bank of America does allow balance transfers — and maintains several credit cards in its portfolio that specialize in enabling affordable balance transfers.

A balance transfer essentially allows you to transfer an existing balance from one credit card to another. You would do this if you have a current card with a high interest rate and want to move the debt to an account with a lower interest rate.

Bank of America offers multiple credit cards that are listed above that offer 0% APR promotional rates on balance transfers for as long as 12 months. This means you can transfer your balance and pay it off without finance charges during your promotional time frame.

Keep in mind that you likely won’t receive a completely fee-free balance transfer. Most banks will still charge a balance transfer fee that amounts to a percentage of the amount of debt you transfer to your new card.

Balance Transfer Fees

If you can satisfy your debt during the promotional period, the fee you pay will be very small compared to the amount of interest you would pay on the debt during that time.

13. Do Bank of America Cards Come with Welcome Bonuses?

Bank of America routinely adds a welcome bonus to its credit cards. This bonus — also known as a sign up bonus — provides extra points or cash back when you reach certain spending thresholds during your first three months after card activation.

For example, a card may offer $200 bonus cash back when you charge at least $1,000 to your card within your first 90 days after activation.

Remember that balance transfers and cash advance transactions will not count toward your spending threshold. The promotion offered on each Bank of America credit card will also change every few months as the bank adapts to other cards in the space.

The added competition typically means a better welcome bonus. But you can only receive this bonus once. The promotional offers are intended to attract new clients, hence the name welcome bonus. Once you’ve opened your card and completed your initial promotional period, you will not qualify for another welcome bonus with that card.

You still may qualify for another sign up bonus if you add a second Bank of America credit card to your portfolio.

14. Does Bank of America Offer Business Credit Cards?

Not only was Bank of America a forerunner in the consumer credit card space, but the bank was one of the first to offer business credit cards. Because Bank of America claims it serves a majority of the Fortune 500 companies, it continues to revolutionize the business credit card market.

For example, the Business Advantage Cash Rewards Credit Card offers high cash back rewards rates and typically provides a 0% APR promotional period for new purchases. The cash back rewards allow the cardholder to choose which category they will earn bonus rewards or cash back on.

This allows flexibility in your spending and the chance to maximize your rewards based on your most common business expenses. Regular category choices include, but aren’t limited to, gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services, and business consulting services.

Plus, the card account exists in your business’ name and reports to each business credit bureau, allowing you to build business credit with responsible use.

15. Is Bank of America a Good Bank?

For more than a century, Bank of America has served American households by providing loans and credit products that allow consumers to live the life they want to live.

The bank survived the great earthquake of 1906, the Great Depression, and countless other social and economic hardships, and today serves 1 out of every 2 American households and most Fortune 500 companies.

The bank issued the first-ever consumer credit card in America. Today, the best Bank of America credit cards, like those listed above, continue to drive the American economy while giving cardholders peace of mind in knowing that their money is secure.

Some credit card companies and credit union institutions can’t boast that type of history and success, which makes Bank of America a great option for building, rebuilding, or maintaining your credit score.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

The information on this page was reviewed for accuracy on .

About the Author

Adam West Adam West

As Managing Editor for CardRates, Adam oversees content and regularly interviews some of the payments industry's biggest influencers and decision-makers so our site can bring high-quality and engaging stories to our audience and keep readers informed on the latest trends and technology in the space.

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which CardRates.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. See the credit card issuer's website for specific terms and conditions of each card.