Bank of America is one of the largest banks in the U.S. and it offers a wide selection of products and services.
You can find several different checking account options at B of A. Each account connects to the bank’s well-reviewed mobile app that helps you manage your banking needs. As a B of A customer, you’ll also have access to a large network of physical branches and ATMs. Bank of America earned 2.4 out of 5 stars in Bankrate’s overall review of its deposit accounts.
Let’s take a closer look at the checking accounts offered by B of A to help you decide if one is a good choice for you.
Bank of America checking accounts
B of A offers these checking accounts:
|Account name||APY||Minimum deposit||Monthly fee|
|Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking||None||$25||$4.95|
|Bank of America Advantage Plus||None||$100||$12|
|Bank of America Advantage Relationship||0.01%-0.02%*||$100||$25|
Note: The APYs (Annual Percentage Yield) shown are as of July 15, 2020. The APYs for some products may vary by region.
*APY varies based on account balance
Find out everything you need to know about them below:
1. Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking
The Advantage SafeBalance Banking checking account has safeguards in place to help you spend within the bounds of your account balance.
Instead of allowing an overdraft to occur, the bank will decline your transactions if you don’t have the funds available in your account. With this protection, you will not have to worry about overdraft fees.
You will not have access to paper checks with this account. But you will have the option to complete transactions with a debit card, Zelle and digital banking.
Minimum opening deposit: $25
Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking Fees
The SafeBalance Banking account has a monthly maintenance fee of $4.95. However, you can have this fee waived if you are an eligible student under the age of 24 or if you enroll in the Preferred Rewards program.
You will not have to contend with ATM fees if you withdraw cash from B of A’s more than 16,000 ATMs. If you use another ATM, B of A will charge you $2.50 for each ATM withdrawal in the U.S. (and you would also have to pay any fee the ATM’s operator charges).
A few of the other fees to be aware of with this account include but aren’t limited to: a paper statement copy fee ($5), a stop payment fee ($30.00), a card replacement fee ($5) cashier’s check fee ($15), and an outgoing international wire fee ($45). Since you will not have the opportunity to overdraft this account, there are no overdraft fees.
2. Bank of America Advantage Plus
The Advantage Plus checking account offered by Bank of America offers standard features. You’ll have the option to pay for purchases with a debit card, Zelle, mobile and online banking or paper checks.
You will have the option to add an overdraft protection transfer feature to your Advantage Plus account. With that feature, Bank of America will automatically transfer funds from other linked savings or checking accounts to cover a purchase.
Minimum opening deposit: $100
Bank of America Advantage Plus Fees
With the Advantage Plus account, you’ll have to pay a monthly maintenance fee of $12. However, there are several ways to sidestep this fee, including: if you make at least one qualifying direct deposit of $250, maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500, enroll in the Preferred Rewards Program, or are an eligible student under the age of 24.
If you need to make an ATM withdrawal, you can for free at a Bank of America ATM. If you are unable to use a Bank of America ATM, then the bank will charge you a fee of $2.50 to withdraw funds at another ATM in the U.S. (and you would have to pay any fee the ATM’s operator charges).
Unlike the SafeBalance Banking account, this account charges overdraft fees ($35 per item). If you choose to use the overdraft protection transfer feature, then B of A would automatically take funds from your other linked accounts to cover the outstanding amount. There’s a toll: Each time that you use that feature, the bank will charge you $12.
A few other notable fees that you might have to contend with include: a card replacement fee ($5), an incoming domestic wire transfer fee ($15), and statement copies ($5 for printed copies).
3. Bank of America Advantage Relationship
With the Advantage Relationship checking account offered by Bank of America, you will have the opportunity to earn interest on your checking account. You’ll enjoy tiered interest rate offers on all balances. However, the interest rates offered are relatively low.
This account allows you to pay for purchases with a debit card, Zelle, mobile and online banking, or paper checks. Like the Advantage Plus account, you’ll have the option to add overdraft protection to your account to help prevent any costly mistakes.
Minimum opening deposit: $100.
Bank of America Advantage Relationship Fees
Although the Advantage Relationship account is an interest-bearing checking account, the account has several fees that could cut into your account’s growth.
The monthly maintenance fee alone is $25. However, you can avoid this fee if you maintain a combined balance of $10,000 or more each statement cycle across eligible linked accounts. Another way to waive the fee is to enroll in the Preferred Rewards program.
The Advantage Relationship account will impose an overdraft fee of $35 per item. But you can sign up for the overdraft protection transfer feature. With this feature, B of A will transfer funds from a linked account to cover an overdraft and waive the transfer fee.
Many of the fees imposed by Bank of America are waived on the Advantage Relationship account, including the card replacement and stop payment fee. But you will still have to contend with fees for cashier’s checks, wire transfers and more.
Bank of America checking account promotions and bonuses
As a Bank of America customer, you will gain access to some interesting bonuses and rewards programs. Here are the details.
Preferred Rewards program
The Preferred Rewards program is a tiered approach to rewarding Bank of America customers. Once you sign up, you’ll automatically move through the tiers as your balance grows. At each new level, you’ll unlock different perks, such as a savings interest rate booster, credit card rewards bonus, reduced mortgage origination fee and more.
The balance tiers for Preferred Rewards program members are:
- $20,000 to $50,000 for Gold members
- $50,000 to $100,000 for Platinum members
- $100,000 and more for Platinum Honors members
If you decide to become a Bank of America customer, then enrolling in its Preferred Rewards program might be a good choice. You’ll enjoy extra benefits, such as waived fees with minimal effort.
If you want deals on items, then using the BankAmeriDeals program is a good option. You’ll be able to browse through exclusive cash-back deals in the mobile and online banking portals.
Once you find something you are interested in, you can complete the purchase with a Bank of America debit or credit card. After that, you’ll automatically see the cash back credited to your account within 30 days.
New customers can earn a sign up bonus
If you are interested in getting a checking account with Bank of America, take advantage of the financial institution’s sign-up offer. As a new customer, you can earn $100 by opening a new checking account. If you are interested in this offer, then you’ll need to open the account before June 30, 2020. Use the offer code (PSR100CIS) to secure the bonus.
For the SafeBalance Banking account, you’ll only need to deposit $25 to open the account. If you choose to open the Advantage Plus Banking or Advantage Relationship Banking accounts, then you’ll need to make an opening deposit of $100.
Once you open an account, you will need to set up and receive two qualifying direct deposits of more than $250 within the first 90 days of opening your account to get the bonus.
Alternatives to Bank of America checking accounts
Although you can enjoy the standard features of a checking account with a multitude of physical branches, these checking accounts fall short in other areas. The number of fees associated with these accounts can add up quickly if you are unable to meet the minimum requirements.
With that, you might want to explore other banking options. A few great options include products from: nbkc Bank, Capital One and Radius Bank. Each of these banks offers features that could create the right fit for you.
Featured image by Michael Vi of Shutterstock.