Bank of America has many personal and business credit cards, but few know the secure counterparts of these cards. Bank of America® Secure Personalized Cash Rewards Credit Card and Bank of America® Secure Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card offer cardholders the ability to accumulate or improve their credit while earning rewards .
If you are considering a secured credit card, these cards should be on your list. Here’s how they stack up against each other.
|Welcome bonus||N / A||N / A|
||Get unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases|
|Introduction APR||N / A||N / A|
Personalized bank card in secure cash Bank of America vs. Highlights of the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secure Card
Although these two secure cards are from Bank of America, there are some similarities and differences that you should be aware of. We will take a look at what they offer in different categories.
Welcome Bonus Winner: Neither
Unfortunately, none of these cards offer a welcome bonus. Card issuers generally do not offer a welcome bonus for secure cards. Instead, cardholders must deposit a deposit to secure their credit limit with a secured card.
With either card, you will need to give Bank of America a refundable security deposit between $ 300 and $ 4,900. Once approved for either secured card, your deposit is used in combination with your income and your ability to pay to establish your line of credit.
Bank of America will periodically review your account to see if you are eligible to recover your deposit, receive a credit limit increase, convert your card to an unsecured line of credit, or all of the above. To be eligible, make your payments on time as agreed, regardless of which Bank of America secure credit card you choose.
Reward Rate Winner: Personalized Cash Secured Card
The Custom Cash Secured card offers up to 3% cash back on a category of your choice and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. Note that there is a spending limit of $ 2,500 for Bonus Cash Back on Combined Choice Category, Grocery and Wholesale Club purchases each quarter. After that you will get 1% back.
Choice categories at 3% include:
- Online shopping
- Catering and travel
- Home improvement and furnishings
When you open your account, the default category of choice is gas. But you can change it to get 3% cash back in another category.
The new Unlimited Cash Secured card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your spending. You don’t have to worry about choosing a category or tracking your spending at different retailers to earn bonus money. You will simply swipe your card and earn 1.5% back.
It’s important to note that since both cards are secure, your credit limit may be quite low to begin with. If you have a $ 300 credit limit, there is little room to make a lot of money, depending on how often you pay off your card. However, if you are eligible to upgrade to the unsecured versions of these cards, you could get a higher credit limit and more flexibility to spend and earn more rewards.
Ultimately, who wins the rewards for you will depend on your spending habits. If you don’t use the Custom Cash Secured card in any of the high rewards categories, you will earn 1% on most of your purchases. This means that you would earn less than the 1.5% cash back offered by the Unlimited Cash Secured card.
Annual membership fee winner: both
Typically, secure cards come with a variety of fees, with annual fees being one of the most common fees. None of these cards have an annual fee, but each charges late fees of up to $ 40 and up to $ 29 for returned payments.
Winner of overseas transaction fees: neither
Both cards charge a 3% overseas transaction fee. Even if you don’t travel a lot, be wary when purchasing items from merchants who are not based in the United States. In this case, you could still end up paying the overseas transaction fees.
Which card pays the most?
Here’s what you can expect to earn on different types of spending with these two cards:
|Meals and travel||$ 50||$ 0.50||$ 0.75|
|Races||$ 100||$ 2.00||$ 1.50|
|Gas||$ 100||$ 2.00||$ 1.50|
|Online shopping *||$ 150||$ 4.50||$ 2.25|
|Home improvement and furnishings||$ 50||$ 1.00||$ 0.75|
|Pharmacies||$ 35||$ 0.70||$ 0.53|
|Other miscellaneous expenses||$ 150||$ 1.50||$ 2.25|
|Total||$ 635||$ 12.20||$ 9.53|
The expense examples and associated cash back amounts may appear small. After all, both cards are secured cards with potentially low credit limits. Either way, the example shows how your spending habits dictate the amount of Cash Back you can earn with either card.
If you spend a lot in the bonus categories of the Customized Cash Secured card, you will earn more. Otherwise, you might be better off using a flat-rate cash back card like the Unlimited Cash Secured card, which doesn’t have a cash back cap like the Custom Cash Secured card.
Why should you get the personalized Secured Cash Rewards card?
If you want to develop or improve your credit score while earning rewards in the bonus cash back categories, go for the secure personalized cash rewards card. If you spend more in the 3% choice categories and are comfortable updating your bonus category as often as needed, this card is a reasonable option.
As a secure card, you won’t get much benefit. The fact that you can earn rewards makes this card an outlier in the secure card space. There are a few more benefits you should know about:
- Protection against fraudulent charges
- Access to your FICO score
- Overdraft protection kicks in when you connect an eligible Bank of America checking account to your credit card and opt for the service.
You can redeem cash rewards for statement credits, deposits made directly to a Bank of America checking or savings account, credit to an eligible cash management account with Merrill, credit to an eligible 529 account with Merrill or checks. As long as your account remains open and in good standing, cash rewards do not expire.
Recommended credit score
Because this is a secured card, you are likely to be approved if you provide a deposit and show proof of income. Because of this, your chances of getting approved are high, even if your credit is good, bad, or fair.
Why should you get the Unlimited Cash Secured card?
Like the Custom Cash Secured card, the Unlimited Cash Secured card offers the ability to improve or develop your credit score. The additional benefits, features and recommended credit score of the cards are essentially reflected. The only difference with this card is that you will earn a flat rate 1.5% cashback on all your purchases instead of the graduated cashback rate offered by the Custom Cash Secured card.
The bottom line
Since the Customized Cash Secured card and the Unlimited Cash Secured card are from the same issuer, their features and benefits are almost identical. The main difference between the cards is their respective reward rates. But as mentioned, that might not be the best way to determine which card to choose, as secure cards limit spending and cash back.
If you think you’ll eventually switch to the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards card or the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards card, take a closer look at the reward rates, which are the same for secured cards. If you are confident in your ability to switch to the unsecured version of these cards, start with the secure version that best matches your spending habits.
Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Secured Card and Bank of America Unlimited Cash Secured Card information was collected independently by Bankrate.com. Card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.