Discover it® Cash Back Card
vs. Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card

Updated: June 21, 2024

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Both the Discover it Cash Back Card and the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card offer enticing cash back rewards and no annual fee, making them strong contenders for your wallet. If maximizing cash back is your goal, the Discover it Cash Back may edge out with its 5% cash back in rotating categories.

However, for consistent rewards on every purchase, the BofA Unlimited Cash's flat 1.5% cash back is hard to beat. While the Discover card offers a unique first-year cash back match, the BofA Unlimited Cash card's additional cash back for Preferred Rewards members could tip the scales for those with an existing relationship with the bank.

Credit Card logo for Discover it® Cash Back Card
Discover it® Cash Back Card
Credit Card logo for Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card
MoneyGeek Rating
3.8/ of 5
MoneyGeek Rating
3.8/ of 5

  • Regular APR
    17.24%–28.24% variable
    19.24%–29.24% variable
    0% APR Offer
    0% intro APR for 15 months
    0% for 15 billing cycles on purchases
    Intro Offer
    Matches cash back earned at the end of the first 12 months
    Earn $200 cash back
    Rewards Summary
    Earn 1%–5% cash back
    Earn 1.5% cash back
    Balance Transfer Offer
    0% intro APR for 15 months
    0% for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers
    Balance Transfer Fee
    3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)
    3% for the first 60 days, then 4%
    Annual Fee
    $0
    $0
    Recommended Credit
    670–850 (Good to Excellent)
    670–850 (Good to Excellent)
    Penalty APR
    None
    Up to 29.99% variable APR
    Not sure?

Which Card Is Better for You?

You might prefer the Discover it Cash Back if you enjoy maximizing your cash back by keeping up with rotating categories and planning your spending accordingly. The card's unique cash back match in the first year can be particularly lucrative if you use your card frequently across the bonus categories.

You might prefer the BofA Unlimited Cash if you value simplicity and consistency in your rewards. With a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases and a welcome bonus, this card offers straightforward benefits without the need to track rotating categories. Additionally, Bank of America customers with Preferred Rewards can enjoy even greater cash back.

Head-to-Head Comparison: Card Details and Features

Evaluating APRs, fees, credit requirements, rewards and other features will show which card suits your financial needs. Use this section to contrast the Discover it Cash Back and BofA Unlimited Cash, considering how each card's specifics apply to your spending patterns and financial goals. For example, if maximizing rewards is your priority, note the Discover it Cash Back's 5% in rotating categories versus BofA's flat 1.5% on all purchases.

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    Regular APR: Discover it Cash Back

    Discover it Cash Back Card has a lower starting APR of 17.24% compared to the BofA Unlimited Cash's 18.24%.

    annualFee icon

    Annual Fee: Tie

    Both the Discover it Cash Back and the BofA Unlimited Cash cards have no annual fee, making them equally appealing for those looking to avoid extra costs.

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    Introductory 0% APRs: Tie

    Both the Discover it Cash Back and the BofA Unlimited Cash offer a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers. The Discover it Cash Back has a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% on future transfers, while BofA Unlimited Cash starts with a 3% fee, increasing to 4% after the first 60 days.

    coins icon

    Rewards: Discover it Cash Back

    The Discover it Cash Back card is better for maximizing rewards in rotating categories, offering 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined quarterly purchases upon activation, then 1%. Categories change quarterly and have included groceries, gas and restaurants. The BofA Unlimited Cash card provides a consistent 1.5% cash back on all purchases, suitable for those who prefer simplicity. The Discover card's first-year cash back match further enhances its rewards potential.

    rewards icon

    Welcome Offers: BofA Unlimited Cash

    The BofA Unlimited Cash offers a more advantageous welcome bonus, featuring a $200 cash reward after a $1,000 spend within the first 90 days, translating to a higher return on investment (ROI) compared to the Discover it Cash Back card's first-year cash back match.

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    Recommended Credit Score: Tie

    Both the Discover it Cash Back and the BofA Unlimited Cash cards require a credit score range of 670 to 850, indicating they are equally accessible to individuals with good to excellent credit.

    autopay icon

    Penalties and Fees: Discover it Cash Back

    The Discover it Cash Back is better for penalties and fees. It offers leniency with no late fee for the first late payment and no penalty APR, compared to the BofA Unlimited Cash which has up to a $40 late fee and a penalty APR of up to 29.99% variable. Additionally, Discover it Cash Back does not charge foreign transaction fees.

    points icon

    Issuer Satisfaction: Tie

    Both Discover and Bank of America have an issuer satisfaction rating of 4.5. This indicates equal levels of satisfaction from cardholders with their respective issuers.

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    Other Features & Perks: Tie

    The Discover it Cash Back provides a first-year cash back match and assists in minimizing online exposure of personal data, while the BofA Unlimited Cash offers enhanced rewards for Preferred Rewards members and contactless cards.

Rewards Comparison

The Discover it Cash Back card edges out the BofA Unlimited Cash in terms of potential rewards, thanks to its 5% cash back in rotating categories, up to a quarterly maximum. This can be particularly rewarding for those who align their spending with these categories. On the flip side, the BofA Unlimited Cash card's flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases is straightforward and hassle-free, which may appeal to those seeking simplicity without the need to track or activate bonus categories.

For the Discover it Cash Back card, the rotating categories can include a variety of everyday expenses such as gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and online shopping portals like Amazon.com. These categories change quarterly and require activation, which is something to keep in mind for cardholders who want to maximize their rewards.

Following this comparison, please find a detailed table of bonus categories for both cards.

Category
Discover it Cash Back
BofA Unlimited Cash

Categories

Quarterly Rotating Categories: 5% on up to $1,500 in combined quarterly purchases, then 1%

All categories: 1.5%

All Other Purchases

1%

1.5%

Redeeming Rewards

After earning rewards, the next step is redeeming them. The BofA Unlimited Cash offers direct deposit, credit to eligible Merrill accounts, or statement credits, with no expiration as long as the account is active. The Discover it Cash Back provides a broader range of options, including gift cards and donations, with the flexibility to redeem rewards at any time and in any amount, with no expiration.

Methodology

MoneyGeek's ranking process assigns multiple scores to each credit card for various uses, such as balance transfers and cash-back rewards. In this comparison, the Discover it Cash Back card scores highest for balance transfers, while the Bofa Unlimited Cash card leads in cash back rewards.

The most important factors influencing these scores include the introductory purchase APR and the regular APR for balance transfers, and the effective reward rate and the introductory purchase APR for cash back rewards. For a deeper understanding of our scoring system, you can review our ranking methodology.

FAQ: Discover it Cash Back vs. BofA Unlimited Cash Card

What are the cash back rewards for each card?
Do either of the cards have an annual fee?
What are the introductory offers for these cards?
How do the APRs compare between the two cards?
Are there any foreign transaction fees?

About Doug Milnes, CFA


Doug Milnes, CFA headshot

Doug Milnes is a CFA charter holder with over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and the Head of Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. Formerly, he performed valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies. His analysis has been cited by U.S. News and World Report, The Hill, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and many other outlets.

Milnes holds a master’s degree in data science from Northwestern University. He geeks out on helping people feel on top of their credit card use, from managing debt to optimizing rewards.


*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
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