Bank of America (BofA) is the second-largest bank and financial institution in the United States. Throughout the years, Bank of America has gained huge popularity for its wide range of products and services.
With thousands of ATMs and financial centers spread around the country and a complete online banking experience, BofA is an attractive option for millions of customers.
About Bank of America
Bank of America was founded in 1956 and has approximately 66 million customers in the U.S. The company is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C, and employs over 200,000 people. They also have an investment banking headquarters located in New York City.
So, what makes Bank of America so popular? The company’s huge range of products and services enables them to serve pretty much any type of customer.
BofA’s standard banking services include checking accounts, savings accounts, business banking accounts, auto loans, and more.
They also offer certificates of deposit accounts (CDs), individual retirement accounts (IRAs), credit cards, mortgages, home equity loans (HELOCs), as well as investment accounts from its 2008 acquisition of Merrill Lynch.
Bank of America Checking Accounts
Bank of America’s primary checking and consumer-focused banking division is called Advantage Banking.
There are three different types of Advantage Banking accounts (aka Bank of America checking accounts) as follows:
1. Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance®
Advantage SafeBalance is an entry-level online checking account that appears to be aimed at those who have a tendency to overdraft their account.
With an Advantage SafeBalance Banking account, there are no overdraft fees, because any debit card charges that might put your account into the negative will be automatically declined. And since checks are often the culprit when it comes to overdraft fees, you cannot write checks with this account.
There’s a minimum opening deposit of $25 and a $4.95 monthly maintenance fee. This fee can be waived if you enroll in Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program, if you’re a student under the age of 24, or if you’re enrolled in high school, college, university, or vocational school.
2. Bank of America Advantage Plus®
Bank of America’s Advantage Plus is the company’s most popular checking account. You can write paper checks and set up overdraft protection with a linked savings account if you have one.
The Advantage Plus account has a minimum opening deposit of $100 and a $12 monthly maintenance fee. This fee can be waived if you have a least one monthly direct deposit of $250 or more, or if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500.
As with the Advantage SafeBalance account, students enrolled in high school, college, university, or vocational school can also get the monthly maintenance fee waived. Enrolling in BofA’s Preferred Rewards program is another way to get the fee waived.
3. Bank of America Advantage Relationship®
Bank of America’s Advantage Relationship Banking account is an interest-earning checking account that’s designed for people who are able to maintain higher account balances.
Account-holders can write checks, earn interest on deposits, and you can also set up overdraft protection.
Watch out for the fees, though. To open an account, you need to deposit at least $100, and there’s a monthly maintenance fee of $25. This fee can be avoided if you’re a Preferred Rewards member, or if you maintain at least a $10,000 combined balance between your other BofA accounts (e.g., IRAs, CDs, or Merrill Lynch accounts).
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Bank of America Savings Accounts
Bank of America Advantage Savings
Bank of America’s Advantage Savings is the type of no-frills savings account that you might expect to see from a big national bank.
The minimum opening deposit is $100, and you can expect an $8 monthly maintenance fee unless you meet certain conditions.
Preferred Rewards members won’t pay a monthly maintenance fee. They’ll also waive the fee if you maintain at least a $500 average daily balance.
As for the return on your investment, Advantage Savings accounts start out with a 0.01% APY.
The APY can go up to 0.05% if you hold a combined balance of over $20,000 across your Bank of America accounts. Not exactly thrilling, but better than nothing, right?
Here are some additional features that you’ll find with an Advantage Savings account:
- Tiered Savings: the more money you save, the higher your APY
- BankAmeriDeals: earn up to 10% cashback on a selection of deals
- Keep The Change: when you make debit card purchases, you can automatically deposit
When it comes to savings accounts, you can definitely find more competitive APYs, and no minimum deposits by going with a top HYSA account.
Certificate of Deposit (CD) Accounts
Certificate of Deposit (CD) Accounts are another popular service that Bank of America offers.
If you’re wondering what CD accounts are, here’s a quick summary. To put it simply, CDs are investment savings accounts where you can earn a guaranteed interest rate in exchange for locking your money into the account for a period of time.
The benefit for the customer is that you can earn a higher APY than you’d normally get from a savings account.
However, the downside is that you aren’t able to easily access the money that you deposit into the CD.
In fact, you might be hit with an early withdrawal fee if you try to take the money out before the established term is over.
So, if you think you might need to tap into those funds for an emergency expense, a CD is probably not the right call.
Bank of America offers two tiers of CD accounts, as follows:
1. Featured CD account
With a Featured CD account, you can earn a 0.05% APY on deposits. The term ranges from 7 to 37 months, and there’s a $10,000 minimum opening deposit requirement.
2. Standard Term account
The Standard Term account is an entry-level CD offering, where you only need $1,000 to buy-in. The APY is 0.03%, and the term ranges from 28 days to 10 years.
You can find significantly better CD rates from online and community banks. So unless you have a strong reason for choosing Bank of America, shop around before choosing them for a CD.
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
Bank of America offers three types of IRAs that can help you save money toward retirement:
1. Money Market IRA
A Money Market IRA account might make sense if you’re looking for a flexible savings account. There’s no specified term, and you only need $100 to get started. Additional deposits are allowed at any time.
2. Featured CD IRA
A Featured CD IRA account offers a 0.05% APY on deposits, over a term length between 7 and 37 months. Some drawbacks are that you need at least $2,000 to open an account, and you aren’t allowed to make additional deposits during the term.
3. Standard Term IRA
With a Standard Term IRA account, you can earn 0.03% APY on deposits over a 6-month to 10-year term. You’ll need to chalk up $1,000 to open an account, and, you won’t be able to deposit additional money throughout the course of the term.
Bank of America Credit Cards
Bank of America has a ton of different credit card products. If you’re looking to keep all of your credit cards connected to the same bank that your checking and savings account are in, this might be a good option for you.
Here are some of BofA’s most popular cards:
- Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card, which currently has a $200 sign-up bonus and pays 3% cashback on purchases in the category of your choice.
- Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card, which pays you 1.5 travel rewards points for every $1 you spend on all purchases.
- Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card, which pays 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining, and 1.5 points on all other purchases. This card won the BEST Rewards Credit Card award from USA Today.
Online Banking Experience
Bank of America offers a full suite of online and mobile banking products. Most of your daily transactions can be handled in your online account, right from your computer or smartphone.
Bank of America’s Mobile Banking app is rated at 4.8 stars (out of 5) in the App Store, with over 2.6 million reviews. In the Google Play Store, the app has a 4.7-star rating (out of 5) and nearly 800,000 reviews. Wow!
With this app, you can open a new account, manage your funds, deposit checks, transfer money to other accounts, and more.
It’s fair to say that Bank of America has you covered when it comes to online banking.
Signing up for a Bank of America account is straightforward and easy, as you might expect with a big national bank.
If you prefer, you can also sign up in a physical branch but why go through all of that hassle when you can just sign up online?
To set up an online account, all you need to do is follow the simple steps within the online application form, which shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete.
If you have any questions during the sign-up process, you can give them a call at the following phone number: (844) 375-7027.
Bank of America Promotions
Here are some of the best Bank of America promotions going on right now:
1. Advantage Banking Account - $200 bonus
Expires: May 31, 2024
Bank of America is offering a $200 bonus for opening a new personal checking account. The offer applies to any of their Advantage Banking accounts: Bank of America SafeBalance®, Bank of America Advantage Plus®, or Bank of America Advantage Relationship®.
Recent versions of this bonus had a direct deposit requirement of $1,000, but this time around Bank of America has increased the ask to $2,000. With that said, they've also DOUBLED the bonus, and you do have 90 days to meet that total in cumulative deposits.
Overall, a fairly easy bonus from a nationwide bank, so worth checking out.
How to earn the bonus
The Advantage Banking Account sign up offer requires you to set up direct deposits in order to earn the $200 bonus. Full requirements to receive this bonus are:
- Open a new Bank of America Advantage Banking personal checking account using the link below and promo code TWT200CIS.
- Within 90 days, receive qualifying direct deposits of $2,000 or more.
- Bank of America will attempt to pay bonus within 60 days of meeting the requirements.
- Additional terms and conditions apply. See offer page for more details. Member FDIC.
2. Bank of America® Business Advantage Banking - $200 bonus
Expires: June 30, 2024
If you're a business owner in the market for a new checking account, be sure to check out this offer from Bank of America.
They're offering a $200 cash bonus when you open a new Bank of America® Business Advantage Banking account and maintain qualifying deposits. See offers page more details.
To qualify, you can choose between the Bank of America Business Advantage Relationship Banking or Business Advantage Fundamentals™ Banking accounts. Both have monthly fees that can be waived if minimum deposits amounts are met. See below for more details.. Then, you'll just need to deposit $5,000 into your new account. Pretty simple!
How to earn the bonus
The Bank of America® Business Advantage Banking sign up offer requires you to deposit and maintain a minimum balance in order to earn the $200 bonus. Full requirements to receive this bonus are:
- Open a new Bank of America® Business Advantage Banking account.
- Within 30 days, make qualifying deposits of $5,000 or more in new money.
- For the next 60 days, maintain an average balance of $5,000.
- Bonus will be deposited directly into your Business Advantage Banking account within 60 days from the end of your qualifying period.
3. Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards - $200 bonus
Bank of America's Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card comes with an introductory bonus of $200 in online cash rewards after spending $1,000 in the first three months of account opening.
This is in addition to the 0% intro APR that you'll enjoy for the first 18 billing cycles.
How to earn the bonus
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards sign up offer requires you to make purchases using the account's card in order to earn the $200 bonus. Full requirements to receive this bonus are:
- Apply for a new Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card using the link below.
- Within 30 days, spend $1,000 using your new card.
- Bonus will be credited to your rewards balance within 8-12 weeks of meeting the requirements.
As with all national banks, Bank of America’s online banking platform is very secure. Also, as a member of FDIC, your deposits are FDIC-insured, which means that they are protected up to $250,000.
BofA employs hundreds of cyber-security and technology professionals that are constantly monitoring for threats and updating their systems, so you can rest easy knowing that your money and data is safe with them.
Visit the Bank of America Security Center to learn more about their available security products and features.
When it comes to customer service, BofA doesn’t get the best ratings. For example, on TrustPilot, Bank of America has a mediocre 1.3-star rating (out of 5), and there some horrible customer service reviews if you read into them.
Of course, everyone’s customer service experience is going to be different, depending on the particular problem you’re dealing with. If you really want the best customer service, where you personally know the employees, you might want to visit your local credit union.
The good news is that with so many employees and physical branches, you shouldn’t have a problem getting ahold of someone. Visit their contact page to find the right department that you need help from.
Pros & Cons of Bank of America
Now that you’re a little bit more familiar Bank of America’s products and services, let’s cover the Pros and Cons of joining this bank.
- Huge range of products and services
- Top-notch online banking
- Mobile Banking app among the highest rated of all financial apps
- Physical branches in most U.S. states
- Low-interest rates
- Many fees, minimum balance requirements, and minimum opening deposit requirements
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bank of America a good bank?
Yes, Bank of America is a good bank if you need basic banking services, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, and credit cards. They also have awesome mobile apps and a very robust online banking platform. That said, BofA does tend to charge lots of fees, and they don’t have the most competitive APYs. So whether or not they are a good bank for you depends on what services you need from them.
Is Bank of America the worst bank?
No, Bank of America is definitely not the worst bank. While they tend to charge a bunch of fees, and don’t offer the best interest rates, but you can rely on BofA to handle most of your banking needs. They are also safe to use and trustworthy. With over 66 million customers, it’s clear that they are doing more than a few things right.
What are some alternatives to Bank of America?
When it comes to big national banks, the main alternatives to Bank of America are:
What is the best bank to use?
To answer this question, you first have to decide what your banking priorities are.
For example, if you frequently use ATMs, enjoy going into an in-person branch, and prefer to keep your checking, savings, and credit card accounts with the same bank, Bank of America (or Chase, Wells Fargo, etc.) might be the best choice for you.
On the other hand, if you only need to use an online bank, and want to earn higher interest from your savings account, an online-only bank like Ally Bank might be a better choice.
Is Bank of America Right For You?
The bottom line is that if you just need basic banking services, and prefer to work with a large, nationally-established bank, you won’t regret signing up with Bank of America. (Especially if you’re careful about how your account is set up and avoid their monthly maintenance fees.)
On the other hand, if you simply don’t want to deal with fees, BofA might not be the best option. Furthermore, if you’re looking to get the highest APY out there on your savings account, you should probably look into one of the top HYSAs.
It’s never an easy decision to switch banks or figure out which bank account to go with. We hope that this post has helped you decide if Bank of America will meet your needs.