December 24, 2023

Bank of America Problems and Solutions

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Bank of America may be one of the biggest banks, but many customers find a lot of issues with their banking services. What are they? Keep reading.

Like any major financial institution, Bank of America hasn't been spared from the wrath of countless irate customers over the years.

From excessive fees to fraudulent activities, a closer look at these problems may give you valuable insights and potential solutions.

What is the most common problem you have experienced with Bank of America?

Excessive Fees

Fees are a pain when you're working with a tight budget. Customers may encounter some fees and charges when banking with Bank of America like with most banks.

However, Bank of America has a history of "double-dipping" on returned transactions. This means some customers were charged an overdraft fee every time the same check or withdrawal could not be cleared because their account didn't have enough money.[1]

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) formally took action against the bank in July 2023. It required BofA to refund all repeat non-sufficient fund fees collected since September 2018 (totaling approx. $80.4 million).

But in the first half of 2022, Bank of America did take steps to eliminate non-sufficient funds fees and reduced its overdraft fee from $35 to $10.[2]

Potential solutions:
Bank of America has an info sheet [3] listing all applicable fees and charges on their products and services. Make sure you're aware of these before you make a transaction. Here are some of them:

Checking monthly feestarts at $4.95
Statement copy$5
Overdraft item$10
Rush replacement card$15
Out-of-network ATM use$2.50 in the US, $5 outside of the US
(excludes any ATM operator fees)

Bank of America also discloses how you can waive some by meeting certain criteria like minimum daily balances or making qualifying direct deposits. But here are some general tips to minimize or avoid fees and charges.

  • Avoid using non-BofA ATMs.
  • Sign up for e-statements.
  • Sign up for overdraft protection if eligible.
  • Avoid rush card replacements unless it is urgent.

Checking accounts with $0 monthly fee:

Low savings APY

Bank of America is not known to offer the highest rates on their deposit products. In fact, most of their rates are even lower than the national average.[4]

If you are looking to grow your savings, Bank of America might not give you the best APY.

Potential solutions:
With rates that leave much to be desired, you are probably better off with online banks and credit unions that often offer higher rates.

But if you prefer to keep banking with Bank of America, you might want to consider their CDs. Some CD terms offer better yields. But you need to be OK with a lock-in period.

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False Advertising

Bank of America also has a history of deceptive or misleading promotional practices involving the marketing of its credit cards.

The CFPB ordered the bank to fork over $100 million to all affected customers in July 2023 (which includes redress for double-dipping on fees and withholding credit card rewards).[5]

Also between 2010 and 2012, BofA telemarketers misled customers about their credit card protection plan offers. [6]

Potential solutions:
Before you sign up for any promos or a new account, make sure you confirm that you are indeed eligible for it and that you are on the right platform.

But if you don't get the perks of an account you were promised, the least you can do is communicate with the bank. If you don't get any resolution to your concern within a reasonable time, consider filing a complaint with the CFPB.

Fraudulent Transactions

Federal regulators have reports of unauthorized transactions using customer information at Bank of America. Specifically, they found instances of credit card accounts opened for clients without their permission.[7]

The CFPB says this was done by some employees to reach goals for a sales incentive program that started way back 2012. The good news is that Bank of America has paused this program as of July 2023 to avoid further misuse of customer information and has been reimbursing affected customers since then.[8]

Potential solutions:
Take proactive steps to safeguard your account. Make it a habit to check your accounts regularly. The sooner you spot any fraudulent activity, the more likely it gets stopped in its tracks.

Be vigilant against fraud outside of Bank of America too. For example, avoid accessing your online banking using free public Wi-Fi or unsecured networks.

What is Bank of America in trouble for?
Federal regulators fined Bank of America $225 million in July 2022 for wrongfully freezing accounts of many Californian customers due to a faulty fraud detection program. [9] This barred them from accessing their benefits during the COVID emergency, when they needed money the most.

Inconsistent Customer Service

Even a bank as big as Bank of America has room for improvement in its customer service. Complaints sent to the CFPB and other online reviews often mention slow response time from BofA customer support.[10]

A large bank will have a large number of customers so you might experience long wait times when trying to reach a representative over the phone. Moreso, an issue may not always be resolved immediately which can make customers feel unvalued and frustrated.

Potential solutions:
The BofA mobile app has Erica — an AI-powered virtual assistant who can address the most common questions. It can also help connect you via live chat with a specialist.

But take the time to read your deposit account agreement and Bank of America's FAQs. This can reduce your need to contact customer service.

You may also opt to visit a branch instead to discuss your concerns in person. But make sure you have proper documentation if you need to file a formal complaint.

It is important to note that despite customers having negative banking experiences, especially with Bank of America's customer service, others have had positive interactions with them as well.

How satisfied are you with Bank of America's problem resolution process?

Bottom Line

Banking with Bank of America can be convenient because of their presence nationwide. But there's always room for improvement to keep customers and regulators happy.

Which solution would you most value from Bank of America to enhance your banking experience?

While the bank has already made progress in addressing some of its problems, it can't hurt to stay in the know as a customer. A bank's deed and misdeed could be the dealbreaker for you to decide whether to continue working with them or otherwise.

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References

  1. ^ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Practices of Bank of America, N.A. related to assessing multiple non-sufficient funds fees, Retrieved 08/04/2023
  2. ^ Bank of America. Bank of America Announces Sweeping Changes to Overdraft Services, Retrieved 8/9/2023
  3. ^ Bank of America. Personal Schedule of Fees, Retrieved 8/9/2023
  4. ^ FDIC. National Rates and Rate Caps, Retrieved 8/9/2023
  5. ^ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. CFPB Takes Action Against Bank of America for Illegally Charging Junk Fees., Retrieved 08/04/2023
  6. ^ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. CFPB Orders Bank of America to Pay $727 Million., Retrieved 08/04/2023
  7. ^ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Enforcement Actions: Bank of America, N.A., Retrieved 08/04/2023
  8. ^ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. What's ahead for Bank of America and its customers , Retrieved 08/04/2023
  9. ^ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.Federal Regulators Fine Bank of America $225 Million, Retrieved 08/09/2023
  10. ^ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Consumer Complaint Database, Retrieved 08/04/2023
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