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If your credit isn’t good enough to score the most eye-catching rewards cards on the market, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured provides a great alternative. It’s a secured credit card, but it offers cashback rewards on every purchase and doesn’t come at the cost of an annual fee.
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured is a secured credit card, meaning it requires a security deposit upfront. You can choose to put down any amount between $200–$5,000 and get an equivalent credit limit. Because the security deposit acts as collateral, risky borrowers (i.e., people with low credit scores or limited credit histories) are more likely to qualify for secured cards like this one.
While paying money upfront may turn you off, you’ll save money with the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured in the long run. The card doesn’t charge an annual fee, and offers one of the most generous rewards programs for secured cards on the market.
You’ll earn between 1%–3% on every purchase you make with the card. The 3% cashback category is flexible, so you choose what expense you want to earn the most cash back on (e.g., dining or gas). Better yet, you can change the category every month, meaning you can adjust it to meet your upcoming expenses.
On the downside, the card does have a relatively high APR, so it isn’t a great option for anyone who’s likely to carry a balance from month to month, as interest charges could stack up quickly.
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Important Details
Basic Card Details
- Annual fee: $0
- APR: 26.99% (variable)
- Rewards rate: 1%–3%
- Security deposit: $200–$5,000
- Grace period: 25 days
- Your initial credit limit will be equivalent to your security deposit, and can range from $200–$5,000
- 3% and 2% cashback categories are capped at $2,500 combined spending each quarter
- $0 liability guarantee
- Mobile banking app
- Overdraft protection
- Free FICO credit scores
- Text or email alerts available
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Feature Breakdown
Let’s explore what the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured has to offer so you can decide whether it’s the right card for you.
- Annual fee: $0
- Balance transfer fee: 3%–5% or $10 (whichever is greater)
- Cash advance fee: 5% or $10 (whichever is greater)
- Foreign transaction fee: 3%
- Late fee: Up to $40
- Purchase APR: 26.99% (variable)
- Cash advance APR: 29.99% (variable)
- Balance transfer APR: 26.99% (variable)
- Penalty APR: 29.99% (variable)
The main appeal of this card is the generous rewards program. The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured offers:
- 3% cash back in the category of your choice*
- 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
- 1% back on everything else
*You can choose from the following as your 3% cash back category of choice:
- Drug stores
- Home improvement/furnishings
- Online shopping
You can change your category of choice each month through your online account or mobile app. Be strategic when planning out your coming purchases and selecting the cashback category that can get you the most bang for your buck.
Rewards in the 3% and 2% categories are capped after you’ve spent $2,500 (in the two categories combined) in a quarter. After you’ve reached this limit, your cashback rate will drop to 1% until the start of the next quarter.
You can also join the Preferred Rewards program to increase your cashback earnings. Your Preferred Rewards membership tier is based on how much money you consistently have in a Bank of America or Merrill account.
As a secured credit card, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured requires you to put down a security deposit in order to open an account. Your security deposit can be anywhere between $200–$5,000 and your initial credit limit will be equal to this amount.
Bank of America says they’ll periodically review your account to determine whether you’re eligible to have your deposit refunded. They don’t specify eligibility requirements, but it likely takes at least 6 months of responsible borrowing to qualify for an upgrade to an unsecured card.
You can take out a cash advance with a Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured credit card, meaning you can use it to withdraw money from an ATM. However, cash advances come with steep fees and incredibly high APR on the card, so we don’t recommend you use this function.
Balance transfers are allowed on the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured and are subject to a balance transfer fee and the regular purchase APR. This is a relatively high interest rate, making this a poor choice of balance transfer credit card.
If you need to transfer a balance to consolidate credit card debt, look for another card with a low balance transfer APR or an introductory 0% APR offer.
Unfortunately, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured credit card comes with a limited list of benefits. For example, it doesn’t offer any complimentary insurance or travel protections like many other cards do.
The benefits it does offer include:
- $0 fraud liability protection
- Automatic alerts via text or emails when suspicious activity is registered on your card
- Free FICO credit scores to help you track your credit-building progress
- The Preferred Rewards program, which allows you to maximize cashback rates (adding between 25%–75% more value to your cashback earnings)
You can add authorized users to your Bank of America credit card. There’s no authorized user fee or minimum age requirement, meaning you can add a minor to your credit card account.
However, the primary cardholder will be the sole party responsible for paying the credit card bill, so add authorized users with caution.
As Bank of America reports monthly to the major credit bureaus, your activity on the card will be used to update your credit report. This can be incredibly helpful if you have limited credit or a poor score and are trying to build or rebuild your credit.
If you need to contact the credit card customer service team at Bank of America, you can reach them by phone at: (800) 732-9194
You can also write to them at:
Bank of America
PO Box 53132
Phoenix, AZ 85027-3132
Should You Get the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured?
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured credit card is a great choice if you have poor or limited credit and are looking to improve your credit score while earning rewards along the way. With no annual fee and 1%–3% cash back (or even higher if you’re enrolled in Preferred Rewards), the card is a low-cost, high-returns option.
Who is this card for?
- Credit builders: If you’re new to borrowing or trying to establish credit, getting a credit card can be tricky. One of the easiest ways to qualify for a card is by opting for a secured credit card. This option is one of the best out there, and free credit scores will help you track your progress as you use your credit card to build credit.
- Rewards seekers with lower credit scores: While this isn’t the best rewards credit card out there, it’s certainly among the best available to borrowers with lower credit scores. Rewards are rare on bad-credit credit cards, especially secured ones. This one gives generous rewards between 1%–3%, allowing you to earn back some of every purchase you make.
If you’re not sure whether the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured is the right choice for you, see how it compares to similar cards on the market.