Good Payment Practices? Bank of America Rewards You

Bank of America is upping its game and it’s working out to be a huge benefit for Bank of America credit card consumers. It’s a much needed boost for the bank, too, that many say is solely responsible for the Occupy movement. After a series of bad PR moves, fines from several government agencies and a host of frustrated customers, this new program is absolutely crucial if the bank hopes to recover.

Cash Back

In short, customers are given the opportunity to earn $100 annually when they make more than their minimum payment on their Bank of America credit card. There’s also what’s described as an “additional relationship bonus”.

During this week’s announcement, a company spokesperson, Titi Cole, summed it up nicely,

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.

As a result, it’s now introduced the BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards card. It’s described as a new credit card that rewards customers with up to $100 each year simply by managing their credit card payments in a responsible manner. The new card is being made available in banking centers and online beginning this week.

Customers who carry the BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards credit card will automatically see a $25 credit for every quarter that they pay any amount more than the monthly minimum due – and they also must make every payment on time. Not only that, but for those customers with a checking, savings or other qualifying account with Bank of America will also receive an additional relationship bonus of $5 each quarter. For those customers with both, they can easily earn up to $120 in cash rewards annually.

Customer Appreciation

Cole, who is a Retail Products executive at Bank of America, also said

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.

Not only that, but there are a few more key benefits for those who carry the Better Balance rewards credit card. Along with the quarterly bonuses, customers have the option of having their rewards posted as a credit to their credit card balance or they may have a cash deposit made into their Bank of America checking or savings account. Alternatively, they may choose to have the cash credited to their Merrill Lynch Cash Management Account.

New Laws

Because of new banking laws, banks must now have on file permission to pay a check if there aren’t enough funds available in an account that the check is presented against. An optional service to help prevent declined purchases, returned checks or other overdrafts when customers link their Bank of America checking account to their credit card is another added bonus. That said, if that option is used during any quarter, they forfeit the bonus cash back.

The new credit cards – available as both Visa and MasterCard products – allow customers to tap their credit card on a retailer’s device reader means a quicker check out. The technology, SafePass, increases account security. There’s also an additional layer of security in the form of a six digit one time code that’s used every time the SiteKey is used.

There’s no denying the growing number of identity theft instances and any additional safety features a bank or credit card company incorporates means fewer chances of a customer becoming a victim.

Customers can go paperless, as well and opt for email monthly statements and other bank correspondence. Further, customers can set up their due dates for a time of the month that’s most convenient for them. They can make their payments on line or via their smart phones and they’ll receive instant notification that a payment has been posted. Of course, Bank of America has offered its banking on the go program for awhile now, but with the new safety features, consumers are given a bit more peace of mind. A quick text message for account balances and other information results in a “reply within seconds”.

Chip Technology

Further, there’s new chip technology built into the new credit cards. This is especially beneficial for those who travel outside the states. In more than 130 companies, Bank of America customers can move forward with their purchases with the peace of mind that the new technology brings.

Bad PR

Is this enough to shift public image? Let’s face it – the bank has taken one beating after another over the past few years. Granted, it was all self inflicted, but it makes no difference how big a bank is, there’s only so much any company can take. And now, just this week, Anonymous, the international security hacking group, is preparing to go to war with the bank again. It’s leaked new information that suggests Bank of America, TEK Systems and other institutions spied on private citizens. In fact, the group says social networking sites were “closely monitored by them for spying purposes”. Anonymous stumbled upon information regarding the salaries of “thousands of employees in corporations around the world” that the bank has been collecting. But there’s more that Anonymous promises to release in the coming days.

Two years ago, Bank of America was revealed to have played a significant role in the thousands of botched home foreclosures. It’s been hit with several fines in the millions of dollars in the past year alone. To say it’s been a public relations nightmare is an understatement. The question is, will a new credit card that offers about one hundred dollars a year for making on time credit card payments going to be enough?

Time will tell – but if it stands a chance at all, it’s going to have to rein in its unethical decision and business making processes. Getting out of the line of fire of consumer activist groups wouldn’t hurt either.

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