Bank of America offers a broad range of credit cards to meet consumer needs, but choosing the right credit card can be confusing and frustrating. The guide below explains the key characteristics–and key users–of each Bank of America credit card.
Choosing the Right Card
Because Bank of America credit cards come with so many options, here are some helpful questions to consider when making a comparison:
1. Do you have a preference for the credit card network (Visa, MasterCard, American Express)? Some benefits may be offered only on a certain network. For example, the NASCAR card mentioned below uses Visa, while the MLB card uses MasterCard.
2. How important is the annual fee? The airline cards featured below charge $75 to $99 each year, while the other cards have no annual fees.
3. How important is the interest rate? A lower interest rate can save hundreds of dollars per year for someone who regularly carries a balance.
4. Would you like additional benefits, rewards, and cash back, or would a basic card suffice?
5. If you want extra benefits, which retailers, airlines, sporting teams, or causes do you support?
Bank of America credit cards are issued for use on either the Visa, MasterCard, or American Express networks. Basic categories include secured credit cards, student credit cards, rewards credit cards, and cause-related credit cards.
Secured Credit Cards
The Bank of America secured credit cards are ideal for young adults who are just starting to build credit or for people with previously poor credit who are attempting to improve their financial situations. Because the cards are intended for higher-risk borrowers, they have high interest rates, currently set at 20.24% variable. They also require deposits of $300 to $10,000, which is then used to secure purchases up to that amount. Borrowers are still expected to make minimum monthly payments, in addition to the deposit amount. Consumers who qualify for any of the unsecured credit cards below may be able to obtain better terms through those cards.
Student Credit Cards
Student credit cards are intended for full-time or part-time students attending accredited colleges and universities. They provide opportunities for building solid credit histories, but unlike secured credit cards, they do not require any kind of preliminary deposits. The current annual percentage rate is 14.24% variable.
Airline Credit Cards
Bank of America currently offers four credit cards that earn airline miles. These cards are linked to Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Asiana, and Virgin Atlantic, but miles can be redeemed on partner airlines. The Bank of America airline credit cards operate on the American Express network. Interest rates range from 12.74% to 16.24% variable.
Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Travel rewards cards are similar to airline credit cards. Each purchase earns points, which can then be redeemed for cruises or resort stays. Bank of America currently offers cards connected to Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Harrah’s, and Sandals. APRs range from 12.99% to 20.99%, and these cards do not charge annual fees.
Rewards Points Credit Cards
Like the travel rewards cards, Bank of American rewards points credit cards accumulate points, which can then be redeemed at participating retailers and service providers. For example, points from the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Rewards card can be exchanged for Bass Pro Shops merchandise. Points from the Pink Ribbon credit card can be donated to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Points earned with the World MasterCard, Accelerated Rewards American Express card, or Power Rewards Visa card can be redeemed for cash, hotel and travel benefits, merchandise, and gift cards. The rewards points credit cards carry no annual fees. Rates range from 12.99% to 20.99% variable.
Education Rewards Credit Card
Bank of America also offers a rewards credit card that is linked to a Upromise account and accumulates cash that can be directed toward student loans or educational expenses. The Upromise World MasterCard credit card with Dining & Grocery Rewards has an interest rate of 12.99% to 20.99% and no annual fee.
The Bank of American sports cards accumulate points that can be redeemed for NASCAR-related or Major League Baseball-related gear, memorabilia, and event tickets. These cards feature favorite racers or teams and charge 12.99% to 20.99% APRs with no annual fees.
Basic Credit Cards
Bank of America also offers “no frills” credit cards, which do not earn cash back or rewards points and are not linked to a specific college, sport, or cause. These cards have no annual fees. Rates vary from 10.99% to 19.99%.