Bank of America Review: Is Bank of America a Good Bank?

Adam Rozsa
07.24.21
9 minute read

Any list of major American banks will include Bank of America—and rightfully so. With around 17,000 ATMs, 4,300 retail financial centers, 66 million clients, and over $2.3 trillion in assets, it’s the second-largest bank in America.¹ ² And since it merged with NationsBank back in 1998, it has served customers from coast to coast.

Bank of America offers a wide range of products you’d typically expect from any big bank including checking and savings accounts, CDs, credit cards, investments, and loans—home, auto, business, etc.

This article will give you a closer look at Bank of America, so you can make an informed decision. We’ll break down some of the different types of checking and savings accounts offered, give an overview of their fees and customer service, and then provide a comparison to other large banks along with pros and cons.

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📝 Table of contents

Bank of America Checking Account review

Under their Advantage Banking platform, Bank of America offers three key types of personal checking accounts. These accounts have subtle differences covered below, but they all have some key service offerings across the board such as:³

  • Mobile banking and deposits through the Bank of America app
  • Fraud Protection
  • Debit card controls
  • Budgeting tools
  • Custom alerting
  • Secure sign-in
  • Online and mobile bill pay
  • FDIC insurance

Bank of America Advantage Plus Checking

Advantage Plus Checking is Bank of America’s standard checking account offered at a monthly fee of $12 with a $100 minimum deposit to open. There’s no interest offered on this type of account.⁴

The account also offers some additional services like the option to purchase paper checks and set up overdraft protection.

Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance

Bank of America markets their Advantage SafeBalance account to students as it has some key advantages for younger individuals.

It’s only a $25 minimum deposit to open an account, and the account has a monthly maintenance fee of $4.95 that can be waived if you’re under 24 and can prove enrollment in school or if you’re a Preferred Rewards Program member.⁴

This account also has some other traits to help people stay within their budget, as these accounts are checkless and offer no overdraft protection. So if you don’t have the funds in your account, the card will decline.

There is no interest earned through this account.

Bank of America Advantage Relationship

The Advantage Relationship checking account is Bank of America’s interest bearing account that also waives some fees on some services like domestic wire transfers, stop payments, paper checks, and transfer fees on overdraft protection from linked accounts.

The account has a monthly fee of $25 that can be waived with a combined $10,000 balance of all of your accounts through Bank of America—including checking, savings, IRAs, CDs, or linked Merrill Lynch investment accounts—or if you’re a Preferred Rewards member.⁴

💡You can also open an additional three checking accounts and four savings accounts with no additional monthly fees, but you’ll need a minimum of $100 for an initial deposit.⁴
Advantage PlusAdvantage SafeBalanceAdvantage Relationship
Monthly fee⁴$12$4.95$25
Minimum opening deposit⁴$100$25$100
APY⁶No InterestNo Interest

Less than $50,000: 0.01%

$50,000 - $99,999: 0.02%

$100,000 and over 0.02% 0.02%

All rates verified on 7/15/2021. APY rates vary by location, but these are rates for NYC based on the account balance.

bank of america reviews

Bank of America Advantage Savings review

Bank of America offers only one savings account option, and it requires a $100 minimum deposit to open. But it comes with some key benefits that allow you to increase the interest rates and balance of the account.⁷

  • Keep the Change - With their keep the change program, you can opt to round up purchases on your debit card and deposit the difference into your savings account.
  • Cash Back Deals - Bank of America has partnerships with retail stores and restaurants all over that allow you to get cash back deposited into your savings account with a purchase. You’ll need to check the mobile app for the list of current deals.
  • Preferred Rewards - Though it requires a minimum combined balance of $20,000 in all of your accounts, this is the program that opens up increased interest rates on your savings accounts—along with a lot of other perks.
💡 However, this account does have some limitations when it comes to withdrawals. You can only withdraw or make a total of 6 transfers on each monthly statement without a penalty. Beyond 6 withdrawals or transfers, the bank will charge $10 for each additional one, and they may convert your account to another type of account if you continue.⁷
Advantage Savings
Monthly fee⁷$8
Minimum opening deposit⁷$100
APY⁷

Standard: 0.01%

Premium Rewards Members:

    Gold: 0.02%

    Platinum: 0.03%

    Platinum Honors: 0.05%

All rates verified on 7/15/2021

Bank of America CD

Bank of America offers a Standard Term CD and a Featured CD that differ in their minimum deposit amounts, terms, and APY.

The Featured CD has a $10,000 minimum opening deposit with terms ranging from 7 to 27 months and a 0.05% APY. With this account, you have a higher minimum deposit than a Standard Term CD account and fewer terms to choose from, but you’ll net a higher APY.

The Standard Term CD has a minimum opening deposit of $1,000 with terms ranging from 28 days to 10 years and a 0.03% APY. You’ll net a lower APY with this CD, but it doesn’t take as much to get going. Plus, you have more term options.

With both types of CDs—as with most CDs out there—you cannot add additional funds to the account once it’s opened, and there are penalties for withdrawing your money early.

Standard Term CDFeatured CD
Minimum opening deposit⁸$1,000$10,000
Terms available⁸Wide range of offerings from 28 days to 10 years7, 10, 13, 25, and 37 months
APY⁸0.03% for all terms0.05% for all terms

All rates verified on 7/15/2021

bank of america reviews

Bank of America customer experience

Overall, the Bank of America customer experience is like most modern banks you find today. The bank offers online banking with secure login where you can take care of most of your banking needs like credit card and loan approval, transfers, and bill pay.

They also offer customer service in-person, by phone, or online.

The fastest way to get assistance is through their online platforms via chat on their website or mobile application or through messaging on Facebook or Twitter. You can also call their customer service line at 1-800-432-1000 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST Monday - Friday and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST on Saturday and Sunday.

But if you need direct assistance, it’s easy to schedule an appointment or walk-in to any of their over 4,300 branch locations. There are also 17,000 ATMs where you can handle a lot of banking needs as well.

Bank of America overdraft fees

To start, overdraft protection and fees are not applicable if you have an Advantage SafeBalance account, as the service is not available with this type of account.

Otherwise, overdraft fees at Bank of America are $35 for each item over $1.00. That means you’ll be charged every time you make a debit transaction—use your debit card, clear a check, or make an auto draft payment—that is over $1.00 in value or overdraws your account over $1.00.⁴

The bank does offer some overdraft protection services by linking other savings or credit card accounts to your checking account to cover overdrawn amounts. But they’ll still charge a $12 transfer fee and pull at least $100 from the linked account.⁴

bank of america reviews

Bank of America comparison

Looking at checking accounts from some of Bank of America’s competition, it’s easy to see they’re on par with other big banks.

For example, Chase Bank—the largest bank in America in terms of assets²—also offers three checking account types with monthly fees at $25, $12, and $4.95, and only the Premier Plus checking account bears interest. The accounts have similar ATM and overdraft fees as well.

They include most—if not all—of the same features. And with 4,700 branch locations and 16,000 ATMs, you also won’t have trouble accessing your accounts in-person.⁹

US Bank also offers 3 types of checking accounts with monthly fees at $6.95, $14.95, and $24.95, and the accounts offer most of the same features and fees. They also have comparable numbers on their branch locations.¹⁰

However, there are some new online banking options out there that offer highly competitive perks.

Chime is a completely online bank—so no branch locations—that offers access to over 60,000 ATMs with no fees through their partnership with Moneypass. You can open an account through Chime with no minimum deposit, and there’s no monthly fees or minimums on the account.¹¹

Another perk is that Chime automatically rounds up your purchases and puts them into a high-yield savings account—like Bank of America’s Keep the Change program. Also, if you qualify, you can enroll in their SpotMe program that offers overdrafts up to $200 with no fees.¹²

FeesAPY
Chase⁹ ⁷$25, $12, and $4.95.Premier Plus checking - Standard: 0.01%

Premium Rewards Members:

    Gold: 0.02%

    Platinum: 0.03%

    Platinum Honors: 0.05%

US Bank¹⁰ ¹³$6.95, $14.95, and $24.95.Platinum Checking: 0.01%
Chime¹¹ ¹⁴NoneNone on the checking account but 0.05% on the savings account with round-ups.

All rates verified on 7/15/2021

Bank of America pros and cons

Pros

  • Bank of America has approximately 4,300 branch locations and 17,000 ATMs, so you’ll always have access to your money.
  • The minimums to open a checking account are relatively low, so it’s fairly easy to switch banks.
  • If you can qualify for their Preferred Rewards program, it’s worth it. You’ll get higher interest rates on your checking accounts, discounted interest rates on loans, and extra perks on some credit cards.

Cons

  • Unless you can qualify for the Preferred Rewards program, you have no access to a high-yield savings account.
  • Though Bank of America has 17,000 ATMs, using a non-Bank of America ATM comes with a $2.50 fee per use in America and $5.00 per use in another country—that includes just a simple balance inquiry.⁴
  • Bank of America offers a lot of terms for their CDs, but the rate is the same across the board. And it’s a lower rate compared to other banks at 0.01%.

bank of america reviews

Bottom line: Is Bank of America a good bank?

Whether Bank of America is good or not is completely based on your needs. They have a lot of branches and ATMs out there, so you’ll have access to your money and customer service nearly anywhere in the US.

If you’re able to qualify for their Preferred Rewards program—minimum $20,000 combined total in all accounts—you’ll have access to higher interest rates, discounted loan interest rates, and extra perks on your credit cards. Those rates are well worth it if you have the funds.

Bank of America also offers a low minimum deposit to open a checking account, so it’s easy to switch over if you want. And they’re a well established bank with a variety of investment and lending options.

On the other side, their monthly account fees can be difficult for some to have waived, and their savings and CD rates are on the lower side unless you can qualify for Preferred Rewards.

💡Though Bank of America has relationships with some international banks, they charge $5.00 for each international ATM usage that’s outside their network and there is an international transaction fee of 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of the transaction.

Also, they charge various wire transfer fees for incoming and outgoing international wire transfers.⁴

Many of the fees can be waived or discounted with a Preferred Rewards membership, but they can rack up quickly if you travel or do business overseas.

📖 Not the one for you? Here are some more reviews you’ll love

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Frequently asked questions

Is Bank of America better than Chase?

According to Trustpilot (a consumer review website) US Bank has a score of 1.3 out of 5 stars on where most of the feedback seem to be revolving around customer service.¹⁵ This is a exactly the same score Chase also received on the website.¹⁶

But, ultimately, this is for you to decide. Here’s our review of Chase Bank, so you can have an informed opinion.

Is Bank of America safe?

Bank of America is the second-largest bank in America in terms of assets, and they’re FDIC insured up to $250,000 per depositor. They offer fraud protection and other security features like third-party access reviews and customized reviews, so you can keep an eye on your accounts. Overall, Bank of America is a safe place to deposit your money.


Sources:
  1. Bank of America - Newsroom - Company Overview
  2. Federal Reserve - Federal Reserve Statistical Release - Largest Commercial Banks
  3. Bank of America - Advantage Banking - Checking
  4. Bank of America - Personal Schedule of Fees
  5. Bank of America - Bank Account Rates & Fees FAQ
  6. Bank of America - Deposit Interest Rates & Annual Percentage Yield - New York Tri-State Area
  7. Bank of America - Advantage Savings
  8. Bank of America - Certificate of Deposit Accounts
  9. Chase Bank - Personal Checking
  10. US Banks - Checking Accounts
  11. Chime - Online Banking
  12. Chime - SpotMe
  13. US Bank - Today’s Platinum Checking Account Rates - 7/16/2021
  14. Chime - Savings Account
  15. Trustpilot - Bank of America
  16. Trustpilot - Chase

All sources checked on 15 July 2021


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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