Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secure Review: Best for Building Credit and Earning Money
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card
Variable APR of 23.99%
Bank of America Secure Unlimited Cash Rewards Overview
Bank of America’s Secure Unlimited Cash Rewards makes it simple by offering a flat 1.5% cash back for every dollar spent. Although this is a secure card that requires a cash deposit as security, you can start building credit with this card with as little as $300 down.
There are no annual fees, and a free FICO score can help you track your progress toward better credit.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- Requires Security Like all secured credit cards, Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured requires you to deposit money to secure your own line of credit.
- No welcome offer.
- Charges foreign transaction fees on purchases you make abroad.
- High APR for spending.
A closer look at the current card offering
- Reward rate: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases
- Welcome offer: Nothing
- Annual subscription: $0
- Introductory purchase APR: Nothing
- Intro Balance Transfer APR: Nothing
- Regular APR: Variable APR of 23.99%
Current welcome offer
Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured does not offer a sign-up bonus, which is rather disappointing. However, this is much the same as secured credit cards, many of which offer no rewards.
The fact that cardholders can earn 1.5% unlimited cash back with Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured is truly remarkable. Many secured cards don’t offer any rewards, and those that do usually come with a maximum of 1% cash back on daily spending.
how do you earn
When you enroll in Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured, tracking your rewards is simple. You’ll earn a flat 1.5% cash back on everything you buy, which equals $1.50 in rewards for every $100 in purchases you charge to your card.
How to redeem
When it comes time to redeem your rewards, Bank of America lets you use them for different redemption options. You can:
- Deposit your rewards into an eligible Bank of America or Merrill bank account
- Send credit to eligible Merrill accounts you own, including 529 college savings accounts
- Use your rewards for statement credit to your account
How much are the rewards worth?
Since Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured offers cash back instead of rewards points, it’s easy to determine the value of your rewards. You’ll earn a flat 1.5% cash back on everything you buy, which translates to a reward rate of one cent per point.
Other Cardholder Benefits
The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured is very light on cardholder benefits, but that’s to be expected when it comes to credit cards for bad credit. In most cases, you’ll need to have a good credit score or better if you hope to upgrade to cards that offer meaningful benefits and features.
That being said, Bank of America Secure Unlimited Cash Rewards comes with the following:
Free FICO Score
The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured comes with a free FICO credit score, which is the type of credit score used by 90% of the best lenders, according to FICO. With a free credit score, you can monitor and track your score and progress over time.
Contactless payment options
This card also comes with contactless payment options, including contactless chip technology. You can also use Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured to make purchases with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.
Finally, you can set up account alerts that can help prevent fraud and keep you on track with your monthly payments. Receive an alert when a purchase is made, a payment is due and more.
Rates and Fees
Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured does not charge an annual fee, making it a more affordable option than many other credit cards for bad credit. However, the high continuous variable APR of 23.99% can make carrying a balance a costly experience.
Fees to watch out for include 3% foreign transaction fee, 3% balance transfer fee (minimum $10), and 3% cash advance fee (minimum $10). You may also be charged a $40 late fee if you pay your bill past its due date.
How does Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured compare to other secured credit cards
If you have poor credit and can only be approved for a secured credit card, there are other options to consider besides Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured. The cards we compare below also offer spend rewards with no annual fee.
Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured vs. Discover it® Secured Credit Card
The Discover it® secure credit card allows you to earn cash back with a minimum security deposit of $200 and no annual fee. However, this card offers a few bonus categories and a lower flat rate on all regular purchases. As a cardholder, you’ll earn 2% on up to $1,000 in gas station and restaurant spend each quarter (then 1% back), plus 1% back on regular purchases.
Interestingly, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card offers a delayed sign-up bonus. After you’ve had the card for a year, Discover will double any rewards you’ve earned.
Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured vs. Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card
Also consider the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card, which is a similarly secured credit card from the same card issuer. This secure credit card also comes with no annual fee, but you earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (among gas, online shopping, restaurants, travel, drugstores and renovation/ furnishings), 2% cash back on groceries. wholesale stores and clubs and 1% back on other purchases. The kicker is that you’re limited to bonus rewards on up to $2,500 of combined spend in the 3% and 2% categories each quarter, after which you’ll earn 1% back.
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card also comes with a free FICO credit score, and the same $300 minimum security deposit applies.
Best cards to pair with this card
Because Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured is a secure credit card, you should probably avoid bundling it with other cards. After all, you probably can’t get approved for anything other than another secured credit card right now, which would require another security deposit. And if you could get approved for an unsecured credit card, you don’t need Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured anyway.
If you’re taking the steps to get Bank of America’s Unlimited Cash Rewards, you should focus on using it to build credit until you can upgrade to a better credit card. In most cases, that means using your card for small purchases you can afford, always paying your credit card bill on time, and minimizing revolving debt.
Bankrate’s Take: Are Bank of America’s Secure Unlimited Cash Rewards Worth It?
If you need the ability to build credit and can’t get an unsecured credit card approved, try Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured. You’ll need to deposit money to get started, but Bank of America will report your payments to all three credit bureaus to help you establish your credit. You’ll earn rewards on all your spending, and you can improve your credit score over time with enough responsible use.