BankAmericard Visa: Still Worthy Of Their Claims In 2013?

bankamericard 1972 ad

An ad for the Original BankAmericard, circa 1972

Please note: This offer is no longer available and the information below is for reference purposes only.

BofA’s first credit card was launched in 1958… the BankAmericard. It was the predecessor to Visa, which wasn’t launched until the 70’s. When that happened, BofA stopped using the BankAmericard name.

Not too long ago, BoA decided bring the name back with their BankAmericard Visa credit cards. In press releases they have touted them as offering simplicity, flexibility, more rewards, and no gimmicks… but do they live up to these claims?

Let’s review their card lineup to find out…

BankAmericard Basic Visa
Their main selling point is that the card comes with a one page terms of service, which is nice. But ironically this BankAmericard Visa has no rewards program (so much for the “more rewards” I guess). The APR is the same for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.

Verdict? Other than offering slightly below average rates on cash advances, I don’t see how this credit card would be beneficial. If 0% financing is your goal, you would probably do better with something like this.

BankAmericard Visa
According to Bank of America’s website, you should apply because it offers a “competitive APR and no annual fee, along with a great introductory rate.” I wouldn’t exactly call those claims accurate.

For starters, their “great introductory offer” has been as low as 7 or 10 billing cycles and only applied to balance transfers. The standard APR is competitive, but only if they give you something on the lower end of that range (and judging by our forum’s feedback, that doesn’t sound likely). Lastly, there’s no rewards program, which again contradicts their claims of offering “more rewards” on the BankAmericard Visa cards.

Verdict? This card is sub-par in every sense. However sometimes they do have intro offers which are longer than 7 or 10 billing cycles and those are at least respectable.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards Signature Visa
Well at least this BankAmericard Visa has a rewards program! In fact, BofA proudly displays at the top of their ad that you get 3% cash back on gas and 2% on groceries.

Well BofA, I hate to break the news to you but most people would call that a “gimmick” (which you said there would be none of) because you cap the amount of spending which is eligible for those higher rewards. Only the first $1,500 in combined spending on groceries and gas per quarter will qualify. That limit should be fine for some people, but families will certainly be spending an average of more than $500 per month (same as $1,500 per quarter) at grocery stores and gas stations. Heck, I’m a bachelor and I even spend more than that just by myself! But I guess there is one good thing about the rewards program – they give 10% extra rewards if you redeem the cash back directly into a BofA checking or savings account.

Verdict? The only thing the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Signature Visa that is even worth considering. If you are a light spender, the rewards program could actually be quite good for you. However, the Blue Cash Preferred has a similar (but better) rewards program. You can read about it here.

BankAmericard Power Rewards Visa Signature
This BankAmericard Visa is actually quite similar to the one we just discussed. The main difference is that you earn 1 point per dollar instead of $0.01 per dollar. Those points can then be redeem for cash back, travel, gift cards, etc… almost all of which equal out to be 1% on your spending.

Unfortunately, the BankAmericard Power Rewards program doesn’t offer a 10% bonus since you can’t deposit points into your bank account. Don’t be fooled by the 3x rewards for gas/grocery/drugstores because you only get that for the first 6 months. After that, you only earn 1x points on those categories and everything else… how pitiful.

Verdict? You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig. Calling it “Power Rewards” doesn’t change the fact that you are still only getting around 1% back on your spending. And if these so-called “Power Rewards Points” are anything like their other points program, you might want to consider other options.

 
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