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The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card is a rewards card designed for those who charge $2,500 a quarter or less. You can choose from among six different categories to earn the 3% cash back (gas is the default category until you change it). You also get 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, but there is a cap: you are limited to $2,500 per quarter for both the 3% and the 2% cash back. If you have a Bank of America checking account or a Merrill investment account you can earn more rewards. We dive into the details and your approval odds in this BoA Customized Cash review.
0% on Purchases
1% - 5.25%
0% on Balance Transfers
Welcome OfferEarn a $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening
Features & Benefits
|Security||EMV Chip Enabled, Fraud Monitoring, Zero Liability, Alerts|
|Contactless Payments||Tap to Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay|
|Benefits||Free credit score access, 24/7 customer service|
|Travel Perks||Concierge Services, Emergency Travel Assistance, Roadside Assistance|
Interest Rates & Fees
|Foreign Transaction Fee||3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction made in a foreign currency. This fee will be in addition to any other applicable fee.|
|Regular APR||18.24% to 28.24% (V) APR|
|Balance Transfers||0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers, then 18.24% to 28.24% (V) APR after that.|
|Balance Transfer Fee||3% of each transaction|
|Purchases||0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases, then 18.24% to 28.24% (V) APR after that.|
What Credit Score Is Required to Get the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card
The following credit score data are based on publicly available information we have collected from various forums. We have no way to confirm the accuracy of this data. In addition, keep in mind that credit card issuers use a number of factors in their underwriting process, and these factors can change at any time.
|App Status||Date||Credit Score||Bureau||Credit Limit|
- Welcome offer
- No annual fee
- up to 3% cash back
- High APR
- Foreign transaction fee
- Requires good credit
- Spending cap
What Are the Best Alternatives?
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
1.5% - 5%
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card is often called the Bank of America 1-2-3 card. That’s because of its reward structure. Here it's critical to understand how the rewards work. Frankly, they can be a bit confusing.
You'll earn 3% cash back from a category of your choice from among one of the following: gas and EV charging stations, online shopping/cable/internet/phone plans/streaming, dining, travel, drug stores/pharmacies, or home improvement/furnishings.
You'll earn 2% cash back at wholesale clubs and grocery stores. Now here's the somewhat confusing part, but it's important.
The above 3% and 2% categories are limited to $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter. That means you'll want to use this spending cap on as much of your 3% category as possible.
The card earns 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Preferred Rewards members can increase these rewards by as much as 75% (see below).
Bank of America Preferred Rewards
The big advantage of this credit card is Bank of America Preferred Rewards. The more cash you hold with Bank of America and/or Merrill, the more you’ll get in cash back. If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, you could increase your cash back bonus by 25 to 75%.
If you have between $20,000 and $50,000 in total assets at Bank of America and Merill, you’ll reach the Gold Level and receive a 25% bonus on your cash back. This means 1% is actually 1.25%, 2% is actually 2.5%, and 3% is actually 3.75%.
If you’re at the Gold Level, then the “everything else” category still doesn’t really make the card worth it. But for your chosen category, wholesale clubs and grocery stores, it starts to get a touch more competitive.
With wholesale clubs, it’s pretty straightforward. If you have the Costco or Sam’s Club card, you earn 2% and 1%, respectively. So 2.5% with the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card, versus 2% or 1% with the wholesale club cards make it a pretty logical move.
For the grocery stores, I think it really depends on how you use it. Some cards earn more than what this credit card will give you, but there are also more strict caps.
Moving up one level, you have Platinum. Platinum Level is reached once you have $50,000 to $100,000 in total assets with Bank of America and Merrill. The cash back reward boost at this level is 50%.
This makes gas 4.5% cash back on your choice category, 3% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. The “everything else” category still doesn’t make enough sense from a rewards viewpoint. But the choice category, wholesale clubs and grocery store categories make plenty.
Platinum Honors Level
Lastly, those with at least $100,000 in total assets are considered to be at the Platinum Honors Level. This level comes with a 75% cash back boost, which means you get 5.25% cash back on your choice category, 3.5% cash back at wholesale clubs and grocery stores, and 1.75% cash back on all other purchases.
The only category that doesn’t make total sense here is the “everything else” category – merely because it’s still less than 2% (and you can find similar cards as I mentioned before).
But for cash back at wholesale clubs, grocery stores, and on your selected category, this card becomes an excellent option. What you need to consider, though, is that a bunch of cash with Bank of America and/or Merrill is required to get the best cash back rates. Because of that, it might not be the best cash back credit card for everyone.
- Fraud Protection. Bank of America will prevent likely fraud if unusual spending patterns are detected on your card and let you know if they suspect fraudulent activity. You also receive a $0 Liability Guarantee for fraudulent transactions with this card.
- Chip Technology. Your Cash Rewards card will come with chip technology for extra safety and protection when shopping at chip-enabled terminals.
- Optional Overdraft Protection. You can link your eligible Bank of America checking account to your Cash Rewards card as an elective service so you can avoid having your purchase declined or check returned when using your checking account.
- Digital Wallet. The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards card can be linked to Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay. This gives you more flexibility and security when you shop using your mobile device in-store or in-app.
- Online and Mobile Banking. Bank of America has an excellent online and mobile platform for banking. This allows you to bank on the go wherever you are safely and securely while using a user-friendly (and aesthetically pleasing) system.
- Custom Alerts. You can pick from different types of email or text alerts to stay on top of purchase activity, due dates, balances, and more.
- Text Banking. Bank of America likes to keep it old-school in some ways. With text banking, you can send a text and get a reply in a few seconds that tells you things like your balance or due date.
- FICO Score. Bank of America now offers an optional service for you to get an updated FICO Score given to you on a monthly basis for free. You can access it through your mobile app or via online banking.
How to Sign Up for the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card
You have to be at least 18 years old and have both a U.S. mailing address and a Social Security number in order to apply for the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card.
You can do an application online or over the phone, and you’ll need to provide the following information:
- Date of birth
- Home address
- Phone number
- Total annual income
- Your income source (i.e., employed, self-employed)
- Email address
Once your application is done, you can get a decision in as little as 30 seconds. In some cases, Bank of America may need more information or time to make a decision, in which case it can take a little longer.
Pros and Cons of the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card
Should You Sign Up for the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card?
The 1% and 2% cash back options aren’t that great because there are other cards out there that will get you a flat 2% back on all of your purchases. Cards like the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer come to mind.
The 3% back on a chosen category also isn’t astounding, because there are credit cards that give you 5% back on select categories and also don’t have annual fees.
Notwithstanding all of this, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card is a solid beginner’s cash back card. And with the new changes, it might even become the best card in your wallet, depending on how you spend. The welcome bonus is a rather good deal, but other cards give you the same bonus and give you several choices for exchanging that bonus.
It’s not the best cash back credit card, but the new changes make it better. My advice would be to keep it in your rotation of credit cards and use it strategically when you can get the full 3% cash back.