Bank of America Add It Up Review: Is This a Scam?

Posted by CreditCardGuru

Are you losing money by using this service? You need to see my updated review for 2013.

bank of america add it upSo what is the Bank of America Add It Up program? It’s an online shopping portal exclusively for their debit and credit card holders. There are over 400 retailers participating and when you access them through the Add It Up website, you will earn extra cash back on your order – anywhere from 1% to 20% and sometimes even more.

This program is completely free so it seems like there wouldn’t be anything to complain about, right? Well some people feel differently. I saw this complaint posted:

“The Add It Up program is a scam. They refuse to give you the cash back when you don’t “click” or “redirect” through their website. The reason why I didn’t purchase my airline tickets through redirecting was because they INFLATE the price when you do. You’re either paying a higher price to get your “cash back” or not getting a refund at all.”

Negative reviews like this are completely inaccurate. Here’s why:

(1) Why you need to access the store through the Add It Up website

The user is complaining that it only works when you click through to the store from the Bank of America Add It Up program website. The reason for this is because BofA is paid a commission by the store for referring a sale. BoA then turns around and gives you – the customer – a good chunk of that money in the form of cash back.

So obviously, it’s not going to work unless you click through from the Bank of America website! I don’t see how that makes it a “scam” as the poster alleges. We can’t expect BofA to give us 4% cash back at Staples, for example, unless they’re getting the commission for the sale… otherwise BofA would be hemorrhaging a ton of money with this program!

(2) The prices are not inflated

Despite what the poster claims, to the best of my knowledge I can find no evidence that prices are being inflated.

Regarding their claim that the price of the airline ticket went up… that happens all the time, with or without Bank of America Add It Up. How many times have you been shopping for tickets on Orbitz, Expedia or Priceline, only to have the price jacked up 5 mins later during checkout? Because that has happened several times to me… when I was not using the Add It Up program.

Alright, now that we cleared that up, let’s get back to our Bank of America Add It Up program review…

How to use it

1. You will need a Bank of America credit card or debit card.

2. Go to the additup.bankofamerica.com for registration of your card. All you basically have to do is enter your email and accept the terms:

registration page for program

3. Now you’re ready to start shopping! Login to your account and click on the retailer you want to buy from through the Add It Up website. Here’s how the cash back payout works:

bank of america add it up cash back

Are the rewards any good?

As I’m writing this review, there are over 400 different retailers that are part of the program; you will find everything from Walmart to 1-800-Flowers. But how do the rebates compare to other cash back credit card programs, like Shop Discover, Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall, and Citi Bonus Cash Center? I decided to randomly check 7 different stores across each of these programs and here’s what I found. These have been updated for 2013. I’ve highlighted the winner under each test.

Test #1: Walmart.com
Bank of America Add It Up = 1% cash back
ShopDiscover = 5% cash back
Citi Bonus Cash = 2% cash back
Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall = 1% (1 point per dollar)

Test #2: eBay
Bank of America Add It Up = 1% cash back
ShopDiscover = not available
Citi Bonus Cash = not available
Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall =not available

Test #3: NikeStore.com
Bank of America Add It Up = 6% cash back
ShopDiscover = 15% cash back during 2012 Christmas (10% regularly)
Citi Bonus Cash = not available
Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall = 8% (8 points per dollar)

Test #4: Target.com
Bank of America Add It Up = 2% cash back
ShopDiscover = 5% cash back
Citi Bonus Cash = not available
Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall = 2% (2 points per dollar)

Test #5: Staples.com
Bank of America Add It Up = 4% cash back
Shop Discover = 5% cash back
Citi Bonus Cash = 2% cash back
Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall =2% (2 points per dollar)

Test #6: ShopDiesel.com (Diesel jeans/apparel)
Bank of America Add It Up = 3% cash back
Shop Discover = not available
Citi Bonus Cash = 5% cash back
Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall =not available

Test #7: TurboTax.com
Bank of America Add It Up = 10% cash back
Shop Discover = 15% cash back
Citi Bonus Cash = 8% cash back
Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall = 8% (8 points per dollar)

Should you use them in 2013?

The Bank of America Add It Up retailers are never the highest payout. The only exception I suppose are the retailers who aren’t featured in the other credit card malls.

After doing this review and investigating Add It Up for 2013 (I first reviewed them for 2011), I think it’s safe to conclude that Bank of America is not the ideal choice. For the vast majority of retailers, you will actually be losing money by using BofA’s program. Your best bet is ShopDiscover. Their selection is smaller (around 200 websites) but they seem to cover all the popular ones. Here’s an example…

Walmart 5% rules for Discover

Hmm let’s see… 5% at Walmart.com or 1% thru BofA? The choice is obvious!

I use Discover all the time for 1800Contacts, Drugstore.com, Travelocity, Orbitz and others because their payouts are so much higher than the other guys. If you don’t already have a Discover card, here’s the one I recommend (I use it myself):

6 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. Selena November 27, 2012 at 7:04PM

    It’s not a scam on the part of B of A, however, the poster was correct in noting that the retailers inflate their prices. I should say SOME do. I found this out during mother’s day when purchasing flowers from an online florist. I went directly to the florist website first because I forgot about addit up. When I remembered and went through addit up, they advertised 10% cash back. So when I went to the same florist’s website through addit up, the prices were exactly 10% higher. The website looked different too, different colors and different specials being advertised. I have not noticed a difference in prices for any other retailer though (I do check).

  2. David H October 17, 2012 at 10:32AM

    Add it UP is NOT a scam! I have made so much money back from using this program. You just have to be smart of your purchases and make sure you purchase directly from the links on the ADD IT UP site

  3. Olena K. August 28, 2012 at 12:13PM

    This program works BUT … 3 months ago I made a purchase through AddItUp website on the macys.com website. I had to call to AddItUp service to get the explanation why my cashback was delayed. The cashback appeared only after I made that call (approximately in a month after a purchase). Though other websites like homedepot.com, lowes.com, acehardware.com which I also use report about my cashback at once or in a day or two.

    2 month ago I made a second purchase from macys.com using the official link from AddItUp. It took 8 weeks to be denied in cashback under the shady explanation that I used other website link or code/coupon (which I DIDN’T!!!). AddItUp was absolutely indifferent to my dissatisfaction and their only goal was to explain “the universal truth of unfairness and randomness of the successful transactions in the e-shopping”- in other words it sounded like “Dear looser…” All my previous history of AddItUp purchases (since the beginning of 2011) was spotless and I considered myself very well instructed with the rules of the game. No complaints until now. But after this event I’m not going to trust the system any more and only because I was denied by AddItUp despite my previous more than perfect use of the program.

    And it’s true about inflated prices on SOME websites if you want to buy anything just without research and using only AddItUp. You can save more if you use special coupons/codes/promotions but in that case I personally don’t try to cheat the system because the rules state “You will loose” and no complaints from me. But my situation is different and my proof is my good customer history and the problems has started as soon as I used AddItUp link to macys.com.

  4. ed July 28, 2012 at 5:46AM

    I’ve been using this site more and more. My recent experience is anything but good. How do I know? Because I’ve been ensuring every time I use the site, I jot it down, and make note to be sure I get the so called credit I’ve got coming due. That is rare. Well, rare in that the chances of this going through without a hitch is little. I’ve had to make call after call to their customer support center to open investigation after investigation to stand any chance of getting the add it up award. The frustration from this is compounded by the fact that the awards are only dished out when you get $5 I think. Delays and aggravation and easy to forget if you’re not constantly monitoring it. Who needs this in their life?

  5. NL January 30, 2012 at 2:59PM

    The Add it Up Program is NOT a scam. It is easy enough to go through the Add It Up website if you bookmark the sign in page on your computer, and list your preferred vendors on your “favorites” list.

    I purchase a lot of assorted merchandise online, mostly from QVC (3%), HSN (4%), and department, clothing, or home improvement stores (3-5% cash back). I constantly get emails from B of A telling me how much cash back has been credited to my Visa account. So far I have received over $500 in less than a year! Plus, I still get the Cash Rewards points on my Visa account for the same purchases so it is a double bonus.

    Every online shopper should definitely take advantage of the Add It Up Program!

  6. BassinKurt December 21, 2011 at 12:05PM

    I am not a fan of Add it up – there is really nothing to directs you to tell you, that this is a redirecting program.

    When you sign up, it says in plain print “Just sign up with your credit or debit card and start to earn cash rewards back”. Well 90% of my purchases are done from my phone apps so I guess my account will remain $0.00 even though I have done some heavy purchasing on-line this year (from all of the retailers listed on the site).

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