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Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards vs Sallie Mae Evolve Credit Card 2023

investor.com

Written by investor.com

In head-to-head competition, which of these rewards credit cards wins out? Here’s what each has to offer and how they fare when put to the ultimate test — the cash back you’ll earn for using them.

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Earn $200 online cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening. Introductory 0% APR for first 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening. A 3% fee ($10 minimum) applies to balance transfers.

Sallie Mae Evolve Credit Card
Earn 2% cash back on your two highest spending categories per month and 1.5% unlimited cash back on everything else.

Credit Card Calculator
Monthly Spend
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dining Dining
theater_comedy Entertainment
local_gas_station Gas
shopping_cart Groceries
monetization_on Other
local_pharmacy Pharmacy
card_travel Travel
local_shipping Amazon
storefront Costco
construction Home Improvement
shopping_bag Online Shopping
smart_display Streaming
local_taxi Transit
power Utilities
kitchen Whole Foods
receipt_long Wholesale Clubs
Best for Low-Hassle Rewards

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards

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Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Logo
Cashback Per Year
$...
Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Bonus
$200
Apply Now

On Bank of America's Site
Rates & Fees

Best for Rewards Rotators

Sallie Mae Evolve Credit Card

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Sallie Mae Evolve Credit Card Logo
Cashback Per Year
$...
Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Bonus
N/A
Want to compare more cards? Use our full calculator.

Which credit card earns more cash back overall?

Based on identical spending inputs, you’ll earn $180.00 cash back per year with Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards and $180.00 with Sallie Mae Evolve Credit Card. For context, the average annual rewards payout from the cashback credit cards in the investor.com database is $181.73.

The annual rewards payout assumes you charge $1,000 each month spread across the following spending categories: Dining ($145), Entertainment ($134), Gas ($140), Groceries ($198), Travel ($128), Pharmacy ($15), and Other ($240). The dollar amounts for each category are based on consumer spending data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (i.e., how much the average American spends proportionally across the major credit card rewards categories). But you can — and absolutely should! — customize the inputs based on your actual monthly spending habits, using our rewards calculator.

To ensure the most accurate results possible, the rewards calculations for Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards and Sallie Mae Evolve Credit Card incorporate bonus rewards rates, spending caps, default rewards rates and annual fees, where applicable.

Is the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards good?

This is the BofA Customized Cash Rewards card’s plainer cousin. And sure, the flat 1.5% is easy money. But a better rewards rate (up to 2.62%) is up for grabs if you’re willing to commit to a deeper financial relationship.

thumb_up Likes

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Easy rewards math
  • Higher cashback rate (1.87%-2.62%) available for BofA/Merrill Preferred Rewards customers
  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for 18 months on purchases/balance transfers

thumb_down Dislikes

  • We wouldn’t call the standard 1.5% cashback rate amazing
  • Lack of bonus categories limits cash back payoff
  • Qualifying for the Preferred Rewards program (and cashback rate booster) is a whole thing 🙄
  • 3% foreign transaction fee


Category Default Rate Bonus Rate Bonus Spend Cap Bonus Spend Period (Months)
Gas 1.50% - - -
Travel 1.50% - - -
Dining 1.50% - - -
Entertainment 1.50% - - -
Pharmacy 1.50% - - -
Groceries 1.50% - - -
Other Purchases 1.50% - - -

Is the Sallie Mae Evolve Credit Card good?

Impressive menu of rewards categories, Sallie. Impressive.

thumb_up Likes

  • 2% cashback on your two biggest spending categories each month
  • 1.5% cashback on everything else
  • No caps on rewards spending
  • 15-month 0% APR on purchases and transfers
  • No annual fee

thumb_down Dislikes

  • No sign-up bonus
  • 3% foreign transaction fee is le yuck
  • $25 minimum redemption requirement
  • Higher bonus rates available elsewhere if you’re a planner


Category Default Rate Bonus Rate Bonus Spend Cap Bonus Spend Period (Months)
Gas 1.50% - - -
Travel 1.50% - - -
Dining 1.50% - - -
Entertainment 1.50% - - -
Pharmacy 1.50% - - -
Groceries 1.50% - - -
Other Purchases 1.50% - - -

sports_kabaddi Compare credit cards

Select and compare two credit cards head to head to see which offers the most bang for your buck.


Select Credit Cards

×
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAlliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAmerican Express Cash Magnet
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxApple Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Customized Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards (Gold Tier)
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards (Platinum Honors Tier)
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards (Platinum Tier)
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBlue Cash Everyday from American Express
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBlue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Quicksilver Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Quicksilver Rewards for Good Credit
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One QuicksilverOne
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Savor Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One SavorOne Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxChase Freedom Flex
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxChase Freedom Unlimited
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCiti Custom Cash Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCiti Double Cash Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCostco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Bank American Express Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Platinum Rewards Visa
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Platinum Rewards Visa with No Annual Fee
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Platinum X5 Visa
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxDiscover it Cash Back
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxDiscover it Chrome
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPayPal Cashback Mastercard
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPenFed Power Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPetal 2 Visa Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxSallie Mae Accelerate
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxSallie Mae Evolve Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxSoFi Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxTD Cash Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxTruist Enjoy Cash Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxU.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUpgrade Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUpgrade Triple Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUSAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUSAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxVenmo Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxWells Fargo Active Cash Card

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Methodology

The results of the investor.com Credit Card Rewards Calculator are based on the monthly spending amounts you enter and the annual dollar value of the rewards each credit card program pays per $1 spent. Credit card companies often express this payout amount as a percentage (e.g., 1.5% of every dollar spent) or on a points basis (e.g. ,1.5 points for every dollar spent). We converted all of them to a dollar amount (“Cash Back Per Year”) to make comparing offers easier.

To calculate the amount of cash back you could earn per year, we factored in:

  • Spend category inputs: The default dollar values for each “Spend Category” in the Best Cashback Credit Cards tool — gas, groceries, travel, restaurant, entertainment, pharmacy, other — are based on average American spending data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also include additional spend categories (such as streaming services, online shopping, utilities, transit, Amazon and more) to help you see which rewards cards are most closely aligned with your actual spending patterns. We encourage you to customize the monthly spend inputs for the most accurate results.
  • Tiered rewards rates: If a rewards credit card pays higher cashback rates on certain spending categories (also called “Bonus Rewards”), that difference is reflected in the total “Cash Back Per Year” tally.
  • Rewards spending caps: Some cards impose category- or time-based limits (monthly, quarterly, annually) that affect the amount of rewards you can earn. For example, a card may pay 3% cash back on groceries on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter, then revert to the base/default rewards rate until the following quarter. We accounted for bonus spending caps and timeframe in the calculations.
  • Default rewards rates: Purchases that exceed a spending cap are usually subject to a lower default rewards rate (e.g., 1% or 1.5%). We mathed that out too.
  • Annual fees: If a rewards card charges an annual fee, we deducted that amount from the “Cash Back Per Year” total to provide a true accounting of a card’s annual rewards payout.

What’s not included in the “Cash Back Per Year” total is the cash value of any sign-up/introductory bonus. We highlight any Welcome Bonus separately. While sign-up bonuses can be the most lucrative part of getting a new cashback rewards credit card, not everyone will want or be able to do what it takes to earn the extra cash. (It usually requires spending a certain amount in a specified time period after the card is activated.)



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