By Jill Jaracz


5 Min. To Read

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Playing by the rules can sometimes seem boring, but Bank of America has found a new way to reward its customers who play by the rules when it comes to responsibly managing their credit. This reward comes from using the bank's new credit card that pays out up to $100 a year to those who specifically play by the card's rules.

The new card, called the BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards credit card, launched this week and comes as a result of customer feedback and desire for recognition when they were doing something right.

"Customers have told us they want a credit card that reinforces good payment practices and recognizes them in a straightforward way for responsibly managing their credit," said Titi Cole, retail products executive at Bank of America, in a statement. "For consumers who typically pay off credit card balances over time, paying more than the minimum due each month can help pay off debt faster. We also want customers to know that we appreciate their business by rewarding them with an added bonus when they have additional banking relationships with us." Bank of America knows that money talks, so its rewards are in the form of bonus cash. Customers who pay more than the monthly minimum payment and make this payment on time will receive a $25 dollar bonus for each quarter they successfully do this. Customers can earn up to $100 annually with this bonus.

The bank will also reward those with whom it has stronger relationships, so those customers who also have a Bank of America checking, savings or other qualifying account relationship will get an additional $5 bonus each quarter, allowing them to earn up to $120 a year.

Customers can redeem cash rewards in several ways. Bank of America can automatically credit their statement with the money. Customers may also deposit the rewards into a Bank of America checking or savings account, or they may deposit it into their Merrill Lynch Cash Management Account. Merrill Lynch, a division of Bank of America, offers this account for managing investing and day-to-day finances.

The Better Balance Rewards card features no annual fee and a 0% introductory APR for 12 billing cycles, after which customers will have a variable APR of 11.99 to 21.99% on purchases and balance transfers. Balance transfer fees are 3% of each transaction, and customers must transfer a minimum of $10 in order to use this service. Cash advances have a 21.99% APR for direct deposit and check cash advances, and 24.99% for bank case advances. Cash advance APRs are also market variable and are based on the Prime Rate.

Even though the card is focused on rewarding good behavior, that doesn't overshadow the fact that it will penalize customers for bad behavior. If a customer doesn't pay the minimum payment by the payment due date, the bank will assess a $25 late fee. Continual negligence to make payments will result in higher fees. For subsequent late payments that are within six billing cycles of a previous late payment, a customer will have to pay a $35 late fee. However, late payment fees can't exceed the amount of the minimum payment that was due, nor will they be assessed if the card balance is $100 or less on the payment due date. If Bank of America has to return a payment due to the customer having insufficient funds--like bouncing a check--that will incur an up to $25 fee.

The card also comes with the benefit of many technological features such as contactless payment capabilities that allow customers to tap the card at a reader to pay, extra security in a SafePass feature, account alerts, mobile and text banking and smart chip technology that's used in many other countries.

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