Posted by William Charles on September 28, 2014
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Published on September 28th, 2014 | by William Charles

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Product Change Your Useless BofA Cards And Earn Up To $120/yr Per Card

Update 4: Rapid Travel Chai confirms that as of May, 2015 it’s still possible to product change to the BBR. Just keep trying till you get a CSR that can actually help you.

Update 3: Oren’s Money Saver confirms this is still working. If you get a rep that says they can’t process the downgrade, hang up and call again!

Update 2: Matthew in the comments was able to convert again, so it looks like this is back on. I’d recommend hanging up and calling again if they say it isn’t possible.

Update: It looks like Bank of America has stopped you from converting existing cards to the Better Balance Rewards card, it’s now only possible to sign up for this card directly.

I’ve been putting together a list of the best downgrade options for each card issuer (post coming soon) and then I read this post by Rapid Travel Chai which alerted me to an easy way to make another $100-$120 per useless Bank of America card.

Bank of America has a credit card called BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards which doesn’t come with a sign up bonus and doesn’t earn at a high rate in any categories. It does come with an interesting benefit though, for every quarter where you pay more than the monthly minimum each month you’ll receive a $25 bonus. If you hold a Bank of America checking account, you’ll get an additional $5 per quarter which gives us a total of $120 per year.

Obviously this isn’t a lot and I wouldn’t recommend applying for this card directly, but Bank of America does let you do a downgrade/product change to this card from an existing card. There is no hard pull to do this product change and the card will keep the same opening date which will help increase your average age of accounts and thus your FICO score.

When you call Bank of America ask to speak to an American phone operator if they don’t understand your request.

Sometimes the international phone operators will have trouble understanding your request. If this fails, say something along the lines of “I’d like to do a product change on <cardname you want to switch from> to the BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards” card.

To get the most value out of this card, you’re going to want to automate this promotion as much as possible. Here is what I’d recommend doing, find a small monthly charge that you don’t receive a category bonus on. Put this charge on your new BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards and then set it up so this card is automatically paid in full each month. [See also, PSA: Put a $5 Charge on that Better Balance Rewards Card]

bank of america

You don’t qualify for the bonus if you have a positive balance on your card. Because the bonus posts directly to your credit card, you’ll have a positive balance some months. If you have a checking account with Bank of America, this is easily fixed you can opt in to receive the bonus as a direct deposit instead. This is by far the easiest option and remember you’ll earn an additional $5/quarter for having a checking account with them. If you don’t have a checking account, consider opening one or remember to make additional purchases on your card in months where you receive the cash reward.

If you’re the type of person who likes fine print, you can view all of the program details by clicking here.

Checking Promotions

Once a year BofA seems to offer a $100 bonus for opening a checking account. It might be worth waiting to open an account until one of these promotions comes around. Here is the promotion for earlier in the year (note: this is actually valid again, but not open to everybody). There is no hard pull done when you open the checking account, but they will do a ChexSystems inquiry.

You also get free access to a bunch of museums nationwide when you’re a BofA checking customer.

Negatives

It’s not all roses though. Because you need to have a statement generate each month to earn your $25/$30 the chances are Bank of America will report a balance. When it comes to FICO scores, it’s best to have a reported balance on one or two credit cards and no balance on the remaining cards.

You can try calling Bank of America and asking what date they report your credit utilization to the credit bureaus, then make sure your card has a balance of zero on that date (it should always remain the same).

For example, you call Bank of America and they state they report your balances on the 11th each month. Your statement generates on the 15th of each month. You’d want to set your recurring charge on the 12th-14th, and then you’d need to make sure your statement is paid off by the 10th each month. That way Bank of America would still report a utilization of $0 and you’d still earn your $25/$30 quarterly.

It’s also worth remembering that this plays a small role when it comes to your FICO score, personally I’m not going to go to this much trouble. If I plan to make a large loan (e.g mortgage or auto) I’ll simply not bother with this card for a couple of months to ensure my FICO score is the highest it can be. It’s a lot more important to ensure that your overall credit utilization is under 30% as that’s when you see the most negative impact (anecdotal you want it in between 1-10% depending on your credit profile with one or two cards reporting a balance).

Final Thoughts

If you have any Bank of America credit cards sitting in your sock drawer doing nothing, I’d definitely recommend doing a product change to this card instead. You might as well grab a checking account as well, it’s much easier than remembering to put additional charges on the card in certain months plus you might be able to grab a $100 checking bonus and you also get free access to some museums as well.



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Trevor
Trevor

I want to make sure I’m correct…can I buy something and pay the charge the next day? Or does there actually have to be outstanding charge when the statement closes? Appreciate your thoughts!

Rapid Travel Chai

And from the hard copy terms it looks like in your first quarter as long as you have one statement close with a balance you will get the bonus.

I was going to do really minimal charges but read on Free-quent Flyer that banks may waive small balances so what do you think is safe? $2?

Jivepicnic
Jivepicnic

I purchase a $0.50 Amazon GC each month, and I always get the bonus. As DofC says, make sure that you deposit the bonus into your BofA checking account so that you always have a positive balance when the statement closes.

I got this card as a product change, and I DID NOT get the bonus for my first quarter. I had two statements close in my first quarter of having the card instead of the required three. I asked several CSRs about it, and they said that the clause in the TofC didn’t apply to me because I hadn’t applied for the card and had just done a product change. After several calls, I didn’t fight it anymore. I have received the bonus in every subsequent quarter.

Andrew
Andrew

Sounds like a great idea!

One question though: my”useless” BOA card is currently serving its use as my oldest line of credit. Does anyone know if changing products would change the date when the line of credit was opened?

Bargainator
Bargainator

Just a tip to everyone, I have had this credit card since it first came out early 2013. To date, I have collected $150 in bonuses off this card due to having a bank account with BOA. The trick into maximizing this credit card is by making ONE $0.01 transaction every month and wait for the Statement Balance to come out. After seeing the Monthly Statement being $0.01, all you have to do is pay $0.02 to meet the requirements of paying “MORE THAN” the statement balance and every 3 months, you receive $25 or $30, depending on your status with BOA. This comes out to you pocketing $24.94/$29.94 every three months, for a grand total of $99.76/$129.76 a year!

XP1
XP1

I thought the terms say that you don’t need to pay more than the minimum. A full payment is a qualifying payment.

Qualifying Payment — A monthly payment
received on or before the Due Date, which
is more than the Minimum Payment due;
a payment in full received on or before the
Due Date is a Qualifying Payment

What do you buy for $0.01 or $0.02?

Bargainator
Bargainator

Well for me, there are many ways. I usually do a combo transaction when checking out, meaning that I would use another credit card as well during a transaction. The easiest way that I discovered is making a transaction when reloading a gift card at Wal-Mart. I simply say I want to put 2 cents onto this gift card and use the Better Balance Rewards card in doing so. I would never use this card to make any other purchases since you don’t even get any cash back when doing so, unless somehow you shoped at an BankAmerideals location.

dcbk
dcbk

Aren’t you confusing positive and negative? I’m confused.

I would assume that you DO need to have a POSITIVE balance every month. Please clarify

Rich
Rich

I believe this downgrade is no longer possible. I called twice and spoke to two different reps, and they both gave the same story: the ability to product change to BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards was removed on Nov 7 2014.

So I just downgraded to the BankAmericard Cash Rewards, which has no annual fee.

chasingthepoints

Just tried 2x to convert Alaska Airlines card to Better Balance Rewards and no go.

First guy knew his products and squashed it quickly. In fact, he was adamant you couldn’t change the Alaska to anything. So I left it alone.

Called again, and a second guy much friendlier and better, he tried to do the BBR but it was hardcoded in his system to not allow it. So I got the Travel Rewards instead.

Thanks Doc, saved me the second year annual fee

chasingthepoints

Need to rephase first line, tried 2 times and second time was a success

Kent C
Kent C

So the 2nd time wasn’t a success either, in the sense you weren’t able to the BBR right?

I would also confirm you are eligible for the $100 promo bonus for the Travel rewards card.

On my own data point, I just tried to convert an Alaska card to the BBR and was told no. Rep knew right away what I was trying to do and said no, would have to reapply with a hard pull. Next time hopefully I’ll get someone more inept but if the system is now coded, that won’t matter.

Sam S
Sam S

Was it a soft or hard pull when you converted to a travel rewards visa card?
Is it the signature visa and does it report the credit limit to all the 3 agencies?

Jody S
Jody S

I just converted a legacy FIA/BoA Gold card to BoA BBR card today. Called and got off-shore support, asked to speak to US based support person. Was promptly transferred to a very nice lady who was very helpful, explained to me my options available and gladly did a Product Change on my card. Couldn’t have gone better in my opinion. Assured and verified my maturity date would not be effected. New card will be on its way shortly. Hopefully this is another useful data point.

ColinC

I’m thinking of doing this since it’s a SP.

Does anyone know if you’ll keep your cash rewards if you PC?

Anonymous
Anonymous

I know for a fact that you must forfeit any cash rewards you currently have if you do a product change in this card. I converted my regular cash rewards card in December, and I contacted them last month about this. The representative explicitly told me all of my previous rewards were forfeit.

Compeek
Compeek

I just called in twice asking for a product change from my Cash Rewards to a Better Balance Rewards, and both times I was told it’s not allowed for this card. They said the terms do not allow it. The second call got me to a specialist before I was told no.

However, I read somebody on FlyerTalk (or somewhere–I don’t remember) mention that they were successful going through the online chat after being told it’s not possible on the phone, so I tried that and it worked! I just asked for the change and the agent said he would put in a request for me, no questions asked and no mention of it no longer being allowed.

Compeek
Compeek

Update: I spoke too soon. After telling me he was putting in the request, he came back and said it’s not possible. You can only product change to the Travel Rewards card at this time. However, I asked if I would be able to convert to a BBR in the future, and he said they are upgrading their systems, and I can request it in 15 days. I don’t know what that means exactly or if the agent knew what he was talking about, but I will try again later this month, then.

Sam S
Sam S

Any update? Did you try again?

Compeek
Compeek

I just called them today and still got the same answer. :\ They said they no longer allow product changes to the Better Balance Rewards from Cash Rewards. Oh well.

Compeek
Compeek

I just called again and got the same answer. They said they don’t have that option.

mike
mike

Hey DoC. When did you last request a change to the BBR? I’m thinking of converting my BofA Bar to BBR soon.

Sam S
Sam S

Called the number on the back of the card early today and PC to travel rewards was processed.

Rep said the new card will come in 2-4 weeks.

mike
mike

Is there a way I can have both my BBR cards report a balance and then request a mid-cycle update once I paid it off, so I can have only 1 card I want to report?

ColinC

Boo. Called in twice this month and they’re still saying product change to Better Balance Rewards is not an option anymore. First time to the number on the back of my cash rewards and second time directly to credit analyst at 866-618-4585

Vic
Vic

Trying to product change from CashRewards to BBR. Called twice just now and failed both.

1. Rep said I wasn’t eligible for a product change, which is simply a way to say no.

2. Rep checked and tried, but ended up saying that it’s not possible to change from CR to BBR. He said if I want to do it the other way around it’s possible.

I’ll keep trying when I have time in the next few days.

A
A

Have you tried since? Any update?

Just got the alaska airlines card, and i was going to do this down the line if I could.

Chris
Chris

Just tried calling CS and told them I wanted to PC from Cash Rewards to BBR. Talked to 2 different reps and both told me it is not an option to PC to BBR, only to Travel Rewards. Doesn’t seem like they are allowing this anymore. This was my first time trying so I will give it a second chance next week.

Elliot
Elliot

When I tried this, I was told by different CSRs on two different calls that they received a memo 2-3 months ago stating BofA will no longer PC to BBR.

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