|"This card's unique bonus provides users with very high rewards, provided they pay more than the minimum amount due each month"|
The BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards is an excellent choice for consumers struggling to pay off their credit card debt. The card offers 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles. If you are transferring balances lower than $3,333, this is one of the best balance transfer cards you can get. If you believe you may need more than 12 billing cycles to pay off this balance, or you’re dealing with larger balances, other options may serve you better.
|Good For…||Bad For…|
The BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards offers cardholders a reward for making credit card bill payments above the minimum required amount. In that way, it is a fairly unique balance transfer credit card – most other cards in this category don’t provide users any monetary rewards. Bank of America only extends this offer to consumers who carry balances, however, which means you need to be paying interest on your purchases to score the rewards (past the initial 12 month interest free period). We recommend against doing so since the quarterly reward is likely going to be less than what you will be paying in interest.
This card is best for individuals who can pay their balances off in the span of 12 billing cycles. If you feel you will require a longer period of time to completely get rid of your credit card debt, we recommend looking at other options – such as the Chase Slate® or the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever. These other cards provide 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 15 and 21 months respectively. As we show below, these extra few months can make hundreds of dollars difference.
Bottom Line: If you have a runaway credit card balance, it’s a good idea to get a balance transfer card such as the BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards or at the very least a low interest credit card. Take some time to approximate how long it will take you to pay down your credit card balance. If 12 billing cycles is sufficient, the BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards is a good choice.
The value of the BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards comes from its ability to defer your credit card interest payments for a period of 12 billing cycles. The card provides a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 statement closing dates on both purchases, and balance transfers made within 60 days of opening one’s account. Note that you cannot transfer balances from one Bank of America credit account to this one. You may only transfer over balances from other financial institutions.
BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards users can get $25 every quarter, during which they have made more than the minimum monthly payment on their credit card bill. This feature makes the credit card fairly unique among balance transfer credit cards and what makes it one of our favorite balance transfer credit cards. If you pay off your balance within a quarter, you will not receive the credit – the BofA terms of service for the card state that a “zero balance or a credit balance does not qualify”. If you have a Bank of America checking, savings, or retirement account, this benefit gets an additional $5 in rewards per quarter, for a total of $30 per quarter.
If you're transferring more than $3,333, the $25 will not be as good of a deal as the introductory offer on the Chase Slate®. Over a 12 month period, the BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards has a maximum benefit payout of $100. The Chase Slate® will waive the 3% transfer fee on balances transferred within the first 60 days of account opening. That 3% will save you more than $100 if you're moving over balances greater than the $3,333 ($4,000 if you have a BofA account).
|Annual Fee||No Annual Fee|
|Purchase APR||11.99% - 21.99% Variable|
In the long-run, BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards cardholders should not rely on this card's reward. The $25 quarterly bonus is only really considered good during the 0% APR period. Once you start paying interest on your balance, it loses much of its value, and consumers would be better paying off their balance completely, rather than earning this reward. Therefore, for the long-term, we recommend shopping and using a rewards credit card, rather than a balance transfer one.
If you’re currently paying interest on a card, a card like the BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards can typically save you money, despite a 3% balance transfer fee. This is best illustrated by looking at a concrete example:
Say that you currently have $15,000 in credit card debt, on a credit card with 15% APR. If you can only make monthly payments of $700, it would take you a little over 24 months to completely pay off. By the time you finished, you would have paid a grand total of $2,153 in interest charges. That is a lot of wasted money, which could have gone towards a host of more useful goals.
Now, instead of sticking with that same card, if you moved your balance over to the BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards credit card your pockets would have been a little less empty. When you first move the balance over, you would incur a balance transfer fee equal to 3% of $15,000 – that equals $450. The fee gets added on top of your credit card bill – you do not have to pay it up front. After that, if you continued the same $700 monthly payments, you would finish paying off your entire bill in 22 months. Not only will you be debt free 3 months faster, over the time you would have come out $1,703 ahead ($2,153 - $450). Clearly, the initial 3% transfer charge came to not have a significant impact.
The graph above illustrates how your balance will behave between two different credit cards - one with a 0% APR and the other with a 15% APR. At first, your balance will be inflated by the 3% transfer fee, though by the 4th payment, the 0% APR card begins to have a smaller and smaller balance, than you would expect when accumulating interest. This shows that, in the long-run, a balance transfer card produces real results.
If you aim to find the best credit card for you, it becomes important to shop around and be aware of all your options. To help you with this, we have profiled the BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards against some other leading options.
The Chase Slate® is one of our favorite balance transfer credit cards, due to the 0% introductory balance transfer fee on transfers that occur within the first 60 days of account opening. Skipping the standard 3% fee gives Chase Slate® users the ability to pay down their balances even faster, or ease the burden of moving over big debts. If you move over a balance over $3,333 the Chase Slate® will be undoubtedly the better option. Additionally, the Chase Slate® also has a longer introductory 0% APR period - 15 months versus 12 on the BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards. The extra 3 months may make a huge impact, depending on how far into paying down a balance you are. We recommend consumers consider whether the different lenghts of 0% APR between the two cards make a difference to their repayment plans.
The Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever has one of the longest 0% introductory APR periods of any credit card - 21 months. Outside of this, it's a fairly standard balance transfer card. The difference 9 month difference in introductory periods, however, can make a world of difference. To understand the impact the longer period can have, look at the example of a $15,000 balance, with $500 monthly payments, and a 15% standard APR. If that card, like the BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards has 0% APR for 12 billing cycles, you will end up paying $1,098 in interest by the time you finish paying off that debt. If instead you remove APR for 21 months, like with the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever, total interest paid drops down to just $238. Generally speaking, the bigger your balance, and the longer it will take to pay it down, the more weight you should put behind the length of the 0% promotional period of the card you pick.
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