Bank of America Review 2021

Published January 2021 by Matthew Goldberg

AT A GLANCE
3.2

Bankrate Score

bank-logo

24/7 Customer Service

Digital Leader

Large Branch Network

Banking with Bank of America might make sense if you’re looking for an institution with top-notch digital features, an extensive branch network and plenty of ATMs. But bank elsewhere if you want to avoid bank fees or you’re trying to earn a high rate of return.

  • Savings
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    2.7
  • CDs
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    2.0
  • Checking
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    3.7
  • MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    0.50 % APY

    $ 0

    Min. balance for APY

    Axos Bank

    Member FDIC

    Checking account

    1.25 % APY

    $ 50

    To open

    $ 0

    To avoid fees

    Overall

    3.2

    Bankrate Score

    Bank of America is one of the largest financial institutions in the country. It’s a digital leader with a global presence and roughly 67 million customers.

    What we like

    • The bank is accessible across the country and has about 4,300 retail financial centers and more than 16,800 ATMs.

    • It has an award-winning mobile banking app and has invested heavily in digital technology.

    • Customers have access to the person-to-person payment service Zelle, making it easier to transfer money directly into the bank accounts of friends and family.

    • Artificial intelligence-driven virtual assistant Erica makes budgeting, money management and tracking expenses easier.

    What we don't

    • Fees are avoidable but could easily rack up for customers who can’t meet certain requirements.

    • Savings and CD yields are low.

    • Branches are being closed and certain areas of the country no longer have access to a physical bank location.

    • Unless they have the SafeBalance account that prevents overdrafts, customers hit repeatedly with overdraft charges could spend up to $140 per day on fees.

    Savings accounts

    2.7

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER SAVINGS OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    0.50 % APY

    $ 0

    Min. balance for APY

    Bank of America’s Advantage Savings has a minimal APY. It requires a $100 minimum deposit to open the account. There is an $8 monthly maintenance fee. One way to avoid the fee is to keep at least $500 in the account. You can also link a Bank of America Advantage savings account or Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients can also waive the $8 monthly service fee.

    The Bank of America Advantage Savings offers tiered APYs.

    Like most banks, there’s a fee for making more than six certain withdrawals or transfers during a monthly statement cycle. At Bank of America, the fee is $10 for each withdrawal or transfer exceeding the six-withdrawal limit.

    Bank of America’s Rewards Savings account offers an APY that is lower than the national average. One of the ways to waive the monthly maintenance fee of $8 per month is by maintaining a minimum daily balance of at least $500 in the Rewards Savings account.

    What we like

    • Bank of America’s Keep the Change program helps to automate your savings by rounding up your purchase when you use a Bank of America debit card — connected to your Bank of America checking account — and transferring the difference into your savings.

    • The mobile app can be used to deposit checks into your savings account.

    What we don't

    • Bank of America’s highest APY on its Reward Savings account is less than the national average for savings accounts.

    • There are other savings accounts with higher yields that don’t have a monthly service fee.

    CD rates

    2.0

    Bankrate Score

    Bank of America offers 14 terms of CDs. Its CD terms range from one month to 10 years. Customers have the choice between two different types of CDs. The standard CD has a low minimum deposit of $1,000 and the option to choose from multiple terms. The featured CD is available for customers interested in a short-term account and it has a $10,000 minimum opening deposit requirement. Featured CDs only come in limited terms, ranging from seven months to 37 months.

    A penalty applies for early withdrawals. For CDs with terms between 12 months and five years, the penalty is 180 days of interest.

    What we like

    • Standard CDs have a $1,000 minimum opening deposit requirement. Some banks have higher deposit requirements for CDs.

    • Customers can choose from a variety of different terms with standard term CDs.

    What we don't

    • Bank of America CDs have a low yield compared to what online banks offer.

    • Featured CDs only have terms ranging from 7 months to 37 months.

    • Featured CDs require a $10,000 minimum to open the CD.

    • There aren’t any special CDs available.

    Checking accounts

    3.7

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CHECKING OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Axos Bank

    Member FDIC

    Checking account

    1.25 % APY

    $ 50

    To open

    $ 0

    To avoid fees

    You’ll only need $100 to have an Advantage Plus Banking account at Bank of America. There’s a $12 maintenance fee for not keeping at least $1,500 in your account.

    Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking offers an interest-bearing checking account with a $100 minimum opening deposit. The $25 monthly maintenance fee is waived for those with a combined balance of $10,000 across eligible linked accounts or Preferred Rewards participants.

    Other options include the non-interest bearing Advantage SafeBalance Banking ($4.95 monthly fee, $25 opening balance and no paper checks) or the Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking (waivable $12 monthly fee and $100 minimum opening deposit).

    What we like

    • Tiered rates offer interest on all balances.

    • Participants can select to decline or return transactions if they don’t have enough money (or pay a $35 fee per item).

    What we don't

    • Enrolling in Preferred Rewards or being a student under age 24 are the only ways to waive the monthly maintenance fee.

    • Advantage Plus Banking doesn’t earn interest.

    • You can find a checking account that doesn't have a monthly service fee.

    Bank experience

    At the megabank, you’ll have access to about 4,300 retail financial centers and more than 16,800 ATMs.

    Bank of America’s mobile app experience also includes a few extra touches when compared to rivals. On the app, you can customize your dashboard as well as get insight and guidance from Erica, the bank’s virtual assistant.

    You can also reach customer service members seven days a week.

    About Bank of America

    What’s known today as Bank of America was originally the Bank of Italy, a local bank in San Francisco founded by Amadeo Peter Giannini to support immigrants who other financial institutions wouldn’t serve. What began as a local bank that opened in 1904 in San Francisco expanded until it became the only statewide bank in California. Offices were opened in Italy and other U.S. cities and by 1945, it was the world’s largest bank.

    A merger with NationsBank in 1998 made Bank of America the first bank that operated from coast to coast. Today, the bank is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. It updated its logo in late 2018 and has a wide range of banking, small business and wealth management services.

    Bank of America offers top-notch digital features, an extensive branch network and plenty of ATMs. But bank elsewhere if you want to avoid bank fees or you’re trying to earn a high rate of return.

    Matthew Goldberg Twitter Created with Sketch. @MATTATBANKRATE

    Matthew Goldberg Twitter Created with Sketch. @MATTATBANKRATE

    Matthew Goldberg is a consumer banking reporter at Bankrate. Nearly his entire career has either been as a reporter or working in financial services, in banking and insurance. His writing has been featured on MSN, appeared in Sports Illustrated On Campus, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Buffalo News and other publications. He has been honored by both the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association and the Illinois Press Association. Matthew is currently on the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) Board of Governors. He has previously served on conference planning committees, the training committee and the finance committee for SABEW, which is the world's largest and oldest organization of business and financial journalists. His reporting career has included working as a staff reporter at two daily newspapers. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Illinois State University and an MBA at William Paterson University.