October 12, 2018

Bank of America Review: Account Good for You?

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If you are looking for a bank to conduct most of your money business, Bank of America may be a good fit. With options for checking, savings, CDs, IRAs, and investment accounts, you can potentially have all of your financial accounts in one place.

Bank of America Promotions

Overall Score

3.2

Savings

3.0

CD

2.0

Checking

2.5

Customer Service

4.0

Mobile App

4.5
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • National availability
  • Extended customer service hours
  • Full service bank
  • No free checking option
  • Low interest rates
  • Many misc. banking fees

Bottom Line

National bank with widespread accessibility and wide range of services

Bank of America is one of the large banks competing for your business in the US. They have a large network of branches and ATMs that make it a convenient bank for people all over the country. With a simple online interface and user-friendly app, Bank of America is the bank of choice for many consumers.

Is it right for you? Keep reading to learn more about it.

Services Offered


Checking

Bank of America offers one checking account with 3 settings. If your financial situation changes, you can switch to the setting that works best for you.

  • Advantage SafeBalance: This setting has no overdraft fees - you can only spend what you have. There are no paper checks. The monthly fee can be waived if you are a student under 24, or if you are enrolled in Preferred Rewards. The minimum opening deposit is $25.

  • Advantage Plus Banking: The minimum opening deposit for this setting is $100. To waive the monthly service fee, you'll then need to keep a balance of $1,500, or have one direct deposit of at least $250 each month, or be a student under 24. This account allows you to write checks and enroll in overdraft protection.

  • Advantage Relationship Banking: You can open an interest-bearing checking account with just $100. But, you'll need a minimum average balance of $10,000 in your combined accounts to waive the monthly fee. These accounts include checking, savings, CDs, IRAs, or Merrill Edge/Merrill Lynch investment accounts.

Savings

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The savings account options are rather limited at Bank of America as you only have one choice for a "standard" savings account here.

  • Reward Savings: Open this account with $100 and you'll have access to tiered interest rates. The more you save, the higher interest rates you'll earn. You can waive the monthly service fee with an average balance of $500, a linked BofA Interest Checking account, or become a member of the Preferred Rewards Program (see below).

  • Child Savings: Put your child in charge of their money with this joint account. Children under the age of 18 don't pay a monthly service fee for this account. Your child will need $25 to open the account, but there is no minimum required balance. Children/parents will have access to online/mobile banking, automatic transfers from a checking account, and a Bank of America debit chip card.

  • Custodial Savings Account: If you want to save for your child but not give him/her access until the age of 18, this account is a good choice. You stock away the savings, and your child receives access to it upon their 18th birthday. You will need to maintain an average balance of $500 in order to waive the monthly fee. This account also includes online/mobile banking, automatic transfers from a linked checking account, and a Bank of America debit chip card.

CDs

If you can tie your money up for a specific period, you may earn higher interest rates on it with a CD.

  • Featured CD: If you won't need $10,000 of your money for 12 months, invest it in the Featured CD. You'll receive a fixed interest rate for the 12-month term. You'll have the ability to roll the money over into another CD upon maturity and your balances are FDIC insured.

  • Standard Term CD Account: If you have at least $1,000, but less than $10,000, you can invest in a Standard Term CD. The maturity dates range between 28 days and 10 years, each of which has variable interest rates. You can opt for automatic renewal upon maturity and your balances are FDIC insured.

IRAs

If your employer doesn't offer a 401(k) or you have extra money to invest beyond what you invest in your 401(k), Bank of America offers a couple of IRA options.

  • Savings IRAs: If you like to keep things safe, Bank of America offers IRA CDs and money market accounts. You'll receive a predicted return and have the stability of FDIC insurance on your deposits and earnings.

  • Investment IRAs: If you need a more aggressive retirement plan, open an IRA with Merrill Edge. You can then invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs. Note: These accounts are not FDIC insured. There is no guarantee of return.

Contacting Bank of America: You can reach Bank of America at 1-800-432-1000 for general account questions, issues with a lost/stolen card, or to open an account.

Customer service representatives are available Monday-Friday, 8 AM to 11 PM ET, and Saturday and Sunday, 8 AM to 8 PM ET. They also offer automated support 24/7.

Reasons We Like Bank of America

  • Cashback rewards. You can earn cashback on your regular purchases. With BankAmeriDeals, you can opt in to receive deals on certain purchases. You do this in your online or mobile banking platform. If you conduct these purchases with your Bank of America debit card, you'll receive cash back in your checking account.

  • Automatically save with the Keep the Change Savings Program. If you opt into this program, Bank of America will automatically round up purchases made with your Bank of America debit card to the nearest dollar. They deposit the extra change into your savings account.

  • Instant debit card lock. You can lock and unlock your debit card online or in the mobile app instantly. If you think you've misplaced your debit card or it was stolen, you can freeze access instantly. If you find it, you can unlock it just as easily. If you believe it's gone for good, you'll need to call customer service for a replacement.

  • Perks with Preferred Rewards Program. If you have a combined balance of $20,000 in Bank of America/Merrill Lynch products, you can join the Preferred Rewards Program. This gives you access to higher savings rates, a rewards bonus on your BofA cashback credit cards, limited fee-free, third-party ATM transactions, and savings on Merrill Edge investment commission costs.

  • Build good money habits for kids. Bank of America offers parents help in teaching kids about finances with their "Family Financial Matters" page. It offers tips on teaching kids as young as middle school how to budget, tips on saving for college, and many other age-appropriate financial tips for parents to discuss with their children.

  • Free mobile banking. You can conduct a large amount of banking transactions online or on the mobile app. Aside from checking your balances and viewing statements, you can pay your bills, transfer funds, and make mobile check deposits.

  • Financial tools. The Bank of America mobile app has spending and budgeting tools. These tools allow you to track your spending, create a budget, and potentially increase your savings by changing certain habits.

  • Custom alerts. You can set up custom alerts so that you never miss a low balance or payment that's due. You can receive the alerts via text, email, or through the mobile app. You can choose from a variety of alerts, including low balance alerts, payment due alerts, unusual activity alerts, or deals expiring alerts.

  • Debit card security. Bank of America offers the option to add your picture to the front of your Bank of America debit card to prevent fraudulent activity from a stolen card.

  • FDIC Insured. Your deposits at Bank of American are FDIC insured up to $250,000 per account. If Bank of America went out of business, your money would remain safe. This does not apply to any investments opened with Merrill Edge or Merrill Lynch, though.

Bank of America Routing Number: Your Bank of America routing number will depend on the state you opened the account. The routing number is a 9-digit number that you can find on the bottom of your checks, on the left side. You can also find them in Bank of America's FAQs after you enter your state of residence.

Reasons You May Want to Look Elsewhere

  • No free checking option. Unless you're a student under 24, there is no free checking option. Even for the more basic account, you need to maintain $1,500 to waive the service fee (or have $250 in a single direct deposit per month). This may exclude the lower-income customers who can't meet the minimum balance requirements.

  • Hefty non-BofA ATM fees. If you know you'll use non-Bank of America ATMs, the fees are hefty. Bank of America charges $5 for every ATM transaction conducted on an ATM other than one owned by Bank of America. This is in addition to the fees that the third-party bank will charge.

  • Low interest. You have minimal account options and the accounts that do pay interest offer minimal interest rates. If you need a place to just park money that will be safe and BofA is convenient for you, it may be feasible. If you are trying to grow your savings or need more account options, you may want to look elsewhere.

  • Fee heavy. Bank of America has a lot of "miscellaneous account charges." Even if you qualify to waive the monthly service fee, you may incur a large number of other charges. Make sure to read the fine print to see if any of the charges may apply to your normal banking transactions.

How It Compares

Wells Fargo:
You'll find Wells Fargo branches throughout the United States, but not quite as many as the Bank of America branches you'll find. Wells Fargo offers customer service around-the-clock and a larger variety of checking and savings accounts than Bank of America.

US Bank:
US Bank branches are scattered across the US as well. They tend to offer more checking and savings account options than Bank of America, and they offer specialty products for teens and seniors. You may find slightly higher interest rates at US Bank, but they still won't compare to your online bank options.

 Bank of AmericaUS Bank
 Learn MoreLearn More
 

Bank of America

US Bank

SPECIAL OFFER
Advantage Plus Banking Checking Account - $100 Bonus - Learn More

SPECIAL OFFER
SMART Savings Program – Up to $100 Cash Bonus - Learn More

 

Benefits and Features

Savings0.03% APY (up to 0.06% if enrolled in Preferred Rewards). $8 monthly maintenance fee, unless you have 1) daily balance of $500, 2) are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards Client, or 3) link your Rewards Savings Account to your Interest Checking Account. Minimum deposit of $100.0.01% APY. Minimum deposit $25. Monthly maintenance fee $4, unless you have $300 minimum daily ledger balance OR $1,000 average monthly collected balance.
CDStandard Term CD: 0.03% - 1.0% APY. Terms of 28 days to 10 years. Minimum deposit of $1,000. Featured CD: 0.07% - 1.65% APY. Terms of 12, 13, and 25 months. Minimum deposit of $10,000.0.05% - 2.75% APY. Terms ranging from 1 month - 60 months. Minimum deposit of $500. Maximum deposit $250,000.
Customer ServiceMon-Fri 8am - 11pm(ET)
Sat-Sun 8am - 8pm (ET)
24/7 Live Customer Service (Telephone)
ATMsApproximately 15,900 ATMs around the country.More than 4000 ATMs across the country
Locations4600 retail financial centres around the country and brances in more than 40 other countries.More than 3000 branches across the country.

SMART Savings Program – Up to $100 Cash Bonus

Bank of America: Pricing information from published website as of 11/28/2018

US Bank: Pricing information from published website as of 9/21/18

Bottom Line

Bank of America is a "convenient bank" because of its many locations. It makes it easier to avoid the third-party ATM fees that banks, including BofA, charge. But its limited account options and low interest rates may have you looking elsewhere.

Read the fine print and focus on what you want out of your bank account before opening an account just for its convenience.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on October 12, 2018. Information including rates, fees, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check the bank's website for updated information.

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