Bank of America Bank Review

Has many branches but lacks competitive interest rates on savings and CDs

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BOA

The oldest parts of Bank of America date back 240 years. With the merger of BankAmerica and NationsBank in 1998, it became the first coast-to-coast bank in the U.S. It is now a global financial services company that serves one out of every two households in America.

Bank of America serves approximately 66 million consumer and small business clients through its 4,300 branches. It is number one in consumer deposit market share in the U.S. and is the number one small business lender. This in-depth review of the retail banking giant can help you decide if its deposit accounts are right for you.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Unparalleled access with 4,300 branches and 16,900 ATMs

  • Low minimums to open checking or savings accounts

  • Higher rates and lending discounts via Preferred Rewards

Cons
  • No high-yield savings account options

  • ATM fees not waived or reimbursed

  • Noncompetitive certificate of deposit (CD) rates

Company Overview
  • Year Founded 1998
  • Official Website www.bankofamerica.com
  • Banking Products Offered Savings, checking, CDs, credit cards
  • Customer Service Live support and secure messaging responses: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (EST); Saturday–Sunday, 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. (EST): 1-800-432-1000.

Pros Explained

  • Unparalleled access with 4,300 branches and 16,900 ATMs – Bank of America has one of the largest networks of branches and ATMs in the U.S. This gives customers the peace of mind that they’ll have access to their money no matter where they travel.
  • Low minimums to open checking or savings accounts – You can open a checking or savings account for $100 or less, which makes it easier for consumers to switch banks.
  • Higher rates and lending discounts via Preferred Rewards – Bank of America rewards customers for having a larger relationship with the bank with higher rates, discounts on lending products, and higher rewards on certain credit cards.

Cons Explained

  • No high-yield savings account options – The lack of a high-yield savings account leaves customers without an option to earn competitive interest rates.
  • ATM fees not waived or reimbursed – With more than 16,900 ATMs, most customers can find one nearby. However, if you use another ATM, Bank of America will charge you $2.50, plus you’ll pay the other bank’s fees as well.
  • Noncompetitive certificate of deposit (CD) rates Certificates of deposit (CDs) ranging from one month to 10 years are available, but all interest rates are 0.10% or less. This low rate affects customers’ ability to earn a competitive rate on their money.

Who Is Bank of America Best For?

Bank of America is best for customers who value ease of access over higher interest rates. It may be particularly good for customers who want to:

  • Be able to bank in person
  • Have easy access to bank ATMs
  • Earn additional rewards and discounts with relationship pricing
  • Open a checking or savings account with a low opening deposit
  • Bank with an established bank that has many deposit and lending products

What Does Bank of America Offer?

As one of the world’s leading financial institutions, Bank of America offers an extensive array of deposit accounts, lending products, and investment choices.

Checking Accounts

Bank of America provides three checking accounts that can be opened with $100 or less.

  • Advantage SafeBalance is a checkless account with a debit card that helps customers stay within their balance. There are no overdraft fees, and the $4.95 monthly fee is waived if you are a student who is under 24 years old.
  • Advantage Plus is an everyday checking account whose $12 monthly fee can be waived with a qualifying direct deposit of $250 or more or by maintaining a minimum daily balance of $1,500.
  • Advantage Relationship is an account that earns interest on your balances and waives fees for additional checking or savings accounts, incoming domestic wires, and standard check purchases. Its $25 monthly fee is waived when you maintain a combined balance of $10,000 in eligible linked accounts. Preferred Rewards members get their monthly fees waived on all three checking accounts.

Using another bank’s ATM will cost you $2.50 per transaction plus whatever the other bank charges. These fees are not waived or reimbursed with your Bank of America checking account.

When you use the bank’s debit card for purchases, you can enroll in Bank of America’s Keep the Change program to build your savings. It rounds up your purchases to the next dollar and transfers that amount to your savings account.

BANK OF AMERICA CHECKING ACCOUNTS
ACCOUNT NAME MINIMUM OPENING DEPOSIT MONTHLY FEE ANNUAL PERCENTAGE YIELD (APY)
Advantage SafeBalance $25 $4.95 None
Advantage Plus $100 $12 None
Advantage Relationship $100 $25 0.01% Standard

0.04% Gold

0.05% Platinum

0.06% Platinum Honors
as of June 26, 2020

Savings Accounts

Customers have one savings account option: Bank of America Advantage Savings. This account provides tiered interest rates that grow with your relationship with the bank. It requires a $100 deposit to open the account.

The monthly fee of $8 can be waived by keeping a minimum daily balance of $500, linking this account to your Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking checking account, or by becoming a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client. New accounts receive a waiver of the monthly fee for the first six months. Students who are enrolled in school and are under the age of 24 may also qualify for a waiver.

BANK OF AMERICA SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
ACCOUNT NAME MINIMUM OPENING DEPOSIT MONTHLY FEE ANNUAL PERCENTAGE YIELD (APY)
Advantage Savings $100 $8 0.01% Standard

0.04% Gold

0.05% Platinum

0.06% Platinum Honors
as of June 26, 2020

CDs

Bank of America offers standard term CDs with a $1,000 minimum deposit requirement. Standard CDs are available at terms ranging from one month to 10 years, with annual percentage yields (APYs) from 0.03% to 0.08%.

Featured CDs are promotional CDs that require a $10,000 minimum deposit. They have fewer term options, but customers can lock in a higher promotional APY.

Unless specifically noted, all CDs renew at the end of their term. Customers have a grace period of up to seven days after maturity, depending on the term of the CD, to cancel the renewal and withdraw without penalty.

The bank does charge an early withdrawal penalty if you close the CD before its maturity date. Penalties vary depending on the term of the CD.

BANK OF AMERICA CD RATES
TERM ANNUAL PERCENTAGE YIELD (APY)
One to 11 months 0.03%
18 to 23 months 0.07%
24 to 120 months 0.08%
as of June 26, 2020
BANK OF AMERICA FEATURED CD RATES
TERM ANNUAL PERCENTAGE YIELD (APY)
Seven months 0.10%
10 months 0.10%
13 months 0.10%
25 months 0.10%
36 months 0.10%
as of June 26, 2020
BANK OF AMERICA CD EARLY TERMINATION PENALTIES
TERM PENALTY
Less than 90 days The greater of interest earned or seven days interest
90 days to 12 months 90 days interest
12 months to 60 months 180 days interest
More than 60 months 365 days interest
as of June 26, 2020

Credit Cards

Bank of America has numerous credit cards that earn cash back, travel rewards, or support charitable causes. Some credit cards earn higher rewards when you are enrolled in Preferred Rewards and maintain a larger relationship with the bank. For example, you can earn up to 75% more rewards on every purchase with the Bank of America Cash Rewards Visa.

The bank also offers exclusive deals when you use your debit or credit card to make purchases at participating retailers. You must manually activate these promotions online or through the bank’s mobile app before making your purchase. BankAmeriDeals earns “Coins” that equate to cash back on your transactions.

Cash Back Credit Cards

  • Bank of America Cash Rewards
  • Bank of America Cash Rewards for Students
  • Bank of America Cash Rewards Secured
  • Bank of America Premium Rewards
  • MLB
  • Susan G. Komen Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card From Bank of America
  • U.S. Pride
  • World Wildlife Fund

Travel Rewards Credit Cards

  • Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard
  • Alaska Airlines Visa
  • Allegiant World Mastercard
  • Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard
  • Asiana Visa Signature
  • Bank of America Travel Rewards
  • BankAmericard Travel Rewards for Students
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Sonesta World Mastercard
  • Spirit Airlines World Mastercard
  • Virgin Atlantic

Secured Credit Card

  • BankAmericard Secured

Other Financial Products Offered by Bank of America

Bank of America also has a wide variety of other banking, lending, and investment accounts to meet your needs.

  • Auto loans
  • Purchase mortgages
  • Refinance mortgages
  • Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs)
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
  • Self-directed trading
  • Managed investment portfolios
  • Private banking
  • Financial advisors
  • Business loans

Bank of America Customer Service

Customers can connect with Bank of America customer service in three ways: in person, over the phone, or online.

Phone support is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. EST on Saturday and Sunday at 1-800-432-1000. The bank has more than 4,300 branches at which you can schedule an appointment or simply walk in to speak with someone in person. Customers also have access to 16,900 ATMs.

Additionally, you can send customer service a message online through the bank’s mobile app or direct messages on Facebook or Twitter.  The Bank of America mobile app is available for both Apple (4.8 stars, 2.3 million reviews as of July 1, 2020) and Android (4.7 stars, 721,981 reviews as of July 1, 2020) devices. 

Bank of America has received several J.D. Power awards over the years. In 2020, the Bank of America Corporate, Commercial and Business Banking Contact Centers earned J.D. Power Certification for the 11th consecutive year. The bank also received the top ranking for Retail Banking Advice in 2019. Bank of America became the first company to achieve J.D. Power Mobile and Online Certification for Customer Experience in 2019.

How to Bank with Bank of America

Customers have many choices to conduct business with Bank of America. Accounts can be opened online, on mobile devices, in person, or over the phone. Once your accounts are established, you can perform online transfers, deposit checks through your mobile device, withdraw, or deposit at an ATM, and more.

Verdict

Bank of America is a good choice for customers who want the comfort of having a bank branch or an ATM close by. That convenience is offset by savings accounts and CDs that have lackluster interest rates. Although customers can earn additional rewards with their balances through Preferred Rewards, they may be better off with more-competitive interest rates on their savings at other banks.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of banks. We collected over 20 data points across more than 80 banks—including products available, interest rates, fees, and accessibility—to ensure that our content helps users make the right decision for their savings and banking needs.

Article Sources

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  2. Twitter.com. "Bank of America." Accessed July 1, 2020.

  3. Apple.com. "Bank of America Mobile Banking." Accessed July 1, 2020.

  4. Google.com. "Bank of America Mobile Banking." Accessed July 1, 2020.

  5. BankofAmerica.com. "Press Release." Accessed July 1, 2020.

  6. JDPower.com. "Led by Bank of America, Big Banks Sweep Top 5 Spots in Satisfaction with Financial Advice." Accessed July 1, 2020.

  7. BankofAmerica.com. "Press Release." Accessed July 1, 2020.