Bank of America is one of the largest banks in the world, with a giant presence across America, as well as overseas services. The bank traces its roots back 240 years, incorporating many famous brands into its business over the decades — from NationsBank to Merrill Wealth Management.
As a full-service institution, Bank of America seeks to provide complete financial solutions to customers, from basic checking and savings accounts to wealth management, loans and other consumer-friendly products. The bank also holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Keep reading for an overview of the products and services offered by Bank of America, along with an exploration of who the bank might best serve.
- Who Is Bank of America Best For?
- Who May Want To Skip Bank of America?
- Types of Accounts Available
- How To Bank With Bank of America
- Availability of Funds
- Bank of America in a Nutshell
Bank of America is best for customers looking for a big-name, international bank with a full suite of services. Wealthier customers fare better with an institution like Bank of America because many service fees are waived for customers with larger accounts or more extensive banking arrangements.
One of the main benefits of a large national bank like Bank of America is that you don’t have to worry about regional coverage. Bank of America boasts 4,300 branches and 16,800 ATMs, with services in 35 countries. If you’re ever in need of a teller or an in-branch representative, you probably won’t have to look too far to find a Bank of America branch.
- Broad and deep range of accounts and services
- Higher balances qualify for fee waivers for some accounts
- Extensive branch and online capabilities
- Weekend customer service available
- High fees for low-value accounts
- High overdraft fee
For customers in need of the services offered by Bank of America, it’s easy to open an account online at the bank’s website.
If you have narrow service needs — such as if you’re only seeking the highest-yielding savings account and nothing else — Bank of America might not be the right institution for you. Bank of America’s strength lies in its depth of service and account offerings, making it a good choice for those desiring an all-in-one banking experience, rather than those who prefer to cherry-pick the best single accounts.
Bank of America also comes up short for the average customer when it comes to fees. Whereas many online competitors offer high yields with no fees, Bank of America charges monthly maintenance fees on most checking and savings accounts unless you carry a high balance or meet other qualifying requirements. The bank also charges high out-of-network ATM fees.
In short, if you’re looking for accounts with the highest annual percentage rates and the lowest fees and don’t need the services of a physical branch, Bank of America might not be the right match for you.
|Who Is Bank of America Suitable For?|
|Best For||Worst For|
|All-in-one banking experience||Signature accounts with high APYs and no fees|
|Extensive branch network||Completely online experience|
|High-value accounts||Low-dollar, low-activity accounts|
Bank of America offers a wide variety of account types, as befitting its stature as a multinational bank. You’re likely to find any account type you need at Bank of America, from checking and savings accounts to money markets, CDs, IRAs, loans and investments. Here’s a look at Bank of America’s current account offerings.
|Bank of America Product Line|
|Checking||0.00%-0.02%||$0-$25, depending on qualifying activity and balances||Preferred Rewards Program and fee waivers available|
|Savings||0.03%-0.06%||$8; $0 with qualifying activity||Lower fees and higher APYs available for certain Preferred Rewards Members|
|Money Market (IRA)||Call 888-827-1812 for rates||$0||Available in IRAs only, along with CDs and investments|
|CDs||0.03%-1.50%||$0||Numerous maturity options out to 10 years; Featured CDs available|
|IRAs||Up to 1.50% for special-term IRA CDs||$0||Lower minimum investment for Featured CDs|
|Investments||N/A||See bank for advisory fee/commission schedule; $0 online equity and ETF trades now available||Wide range of investment options –from stocks and bonds to funds and exchange-traded funds — available through Merrill Edge platform|
|Loans||Rates vary by location||Most have no origination fees||Preferred customers can earn lower auto loan rates or reduced mortgage origination fees|
Bank of America technically only offers one type of checking account: the Advantage Checking account. However, there are three levels of this account: Advantage Safe Balance, Advantage Plus and Advantage Relationship. Only Advantage Relationship checking accounts pay interest, and a modest 0.01%-0.02% APY at that, depending on the size of your account.
All Advantage Checking accounts have monthly maintenance fees, although they can be waived. Here are the monthly fees and waiver requirements by account type:
|Bank of America Checking Accounts|
|Account Type||Monthly Fee||Requirements To Avoid Fee||APY|
|Advantage Safe Balance||$4.95||Qualify for Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors tier of Preferred Rewards program||N/A|
|Advantage Plus||$12||Meet the Advantage Safe Balance requirements or have one monthly direct deposit of $250 — or a minimum daily balance of $1,500||N/A|
|Advantage Relationship||$25||Meet the requirements of the Advantage Safe Balance tier or maintain a combined Bank of America daily balance of $10,000||Less than $50,000: 0.01%|
$50,000 and over: 0.02%
Good To Know: How To Write a Check (With Visuals)
All checking account tiers offer a similar level of basic functionality, including the following perks and benefits:
- Fraud protection via a $0 liability guarantee
- Mobile deposit capability via app
- Interactive spending and budgeting tool
- Fast, secure sign-in, including fingerprint access on enabled mobile devices
- Custom alerts
- Debit card controls
All accounts allow access via thousands of Bank of America ATMs or financial centers. Fees can be high, however. If you use your ATM at a non-Bank of America machine, you’ll face a fee that’s the greater of $5 or 3% of the value of the transaction, in addition to any terminal operator fee. If you use your ATM card internationally, you’ll face an additional 3% fee.
- Fee waivers available for account maintenance charges
- Preferred Rewards program, offering perks like loan rate discounts and ATM fee rebates
- Overdraft fee of $35
- High non-Bank of America ATM fees of $5 or more
- International transaction fee of 3%
- Fees of up to $25 per month without qualifying account activity
Bank of America offers a single primary savings account, the Advantage Savings account, in addition to two savings accounts for children. Here’s a quick overview of the characteristics of each type of account:
|Bank of America Savings Account|
|Type||Minimum To Open||APY||Monthly Fee|
|Advantage Savings||$100||0.03%-0.06%||$8, or $0 with qualifying activities|
|Minor Savings Account||$25||0.03%-0.06%||$0 if child under age 18|
|Custodial (UTMA) Savings Account||$100||0.03%-0.06%||$8, or $0 with minimum daily balance of $500|
To avoid the monthly fee with the Advantage Savings account, you must either maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $500, link your account to an Advantage Relationship checking account or become a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client. APYs vary based on the type of relationship you have with Bank of America. For example, to earn the top-tier APY, you must be in the Platinum Honors tier of the Preferred Rewards program.
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- Two types of saving accounts for minors
- $100 to open; $25 for Minor Savings account
- ATM card access
- Low APY, even at the Platinum Honors relationship tier
- Need minimum balances or other requirements to avoid $8 monthly fee
Money Market Accounts
Bank of America only offers a money market account for IRAs. See more in the IRA section below.
Certificates of Deposit
Bank of America has two main types of CDs: fixed-term and featured. It also offers a line of IRA CDs, which are described in the “Individual Retirement Accounts” section. Fixed-Term CDs have a $1,000 minimum investment, while Featured CDs have a $10,000 minimum. All CDs come with no monthly service charge and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insurance. Rates and terms for Bank of America Featured CDs are as follows:
|Bank of America Featured CD Terms|
|Term||Minimum To Open||Account Balance||APY|
|12 months||$10,000||All balances||0.07%|
|13 months||$10,000||Less than $10,000||1.50%|
|$10,000||$1 million and over||1.50%|
|25 months||$10,000||Less than $10,000||1.00%|
|$10,000||$1 million and over||1.00%|
|37 months||$10,000||Less than $10,000||1.00%|
|$10,000||$1 million and over||1.00%|
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Here are Bank of America’s Fixed-Term CD terms:
|Bank of America Fixed-Term CDs|
|Term||Minimum Deposit||Account Balance||APY|
|28-179 days||$1,000||Less than $10,000||0.03%|
|28-179 days||$1,000||$100,000 and over||0.03%|
|6-11 months||$1,000||Less than $10,000||0.03%|
|6-11 months||$1,000||$100,000 and over||0.03%|
|12-17 months||$1,000||Less than $10,000||0.05%|
|12-17 months||$1,000||$100,000 and over||0.05%|
|18-23 months||$1,000||Less than $10,000||0.07%|
|18-23 months||$1,000||$100,000 and over||0.07%|
|24-35 months||$1,000||Less than $10,000||0.10%|
|24-35 months||$1,000||$100,000 and over||0.10%|
|36-47 months||$1,000||Less than $10,000||0.55%|
|36-47 months||$1,000||$100,000 and over||0.55%|
|48-59 months||$1,000||Less than $10,000||0.65%|
|48-59 months||$1,000||$100,000 and over||0.65%|
|60-119 months||$1,000||Less than $10,000||0.75%|
|60-119 months||$1,000||$100,000 and over||0.75%|
|120 months||$1,000||Less than $10,000||0.75%|
|120 months||$1,000||$100,000 and over||0.75%|
All Bank of America CDs come with early withdrawal penalties. The amount of the penalty depends on the term of the original CD. Penalties are as follows:
- For terms of less than 90 days: the greater of seven days’ interest or the total interest earned
- For terms of 90 days up to 12 months: 90 days’ interest
- For terms of 12 months up to 60 months: 180 days’ interest
- For terms of 60 months or longer: 365 days’ interest
Unless specifically stated otherwise, all Bank of America CDs automatically renew.
- Wide range of maturities available, including 10-year CDs
- Featured CDs pay much higher APYs
- Overall, very low standard fixed-term rates
- High minimum investment for Featured CDs
Individual Retirement Accounts
Bank of America offers both Roth and Traditional IRAs. Each of these broad account types can be either a savings IRA or an investment IRA. In a savings IRA, you can invest your funds in CDs or a money market account. In an investment IRA, you can choose from a broad range of investment options — from stocks and bonds to ETFs and mutual funds — all through Merrill Edge. For investment IRAs, you can also open SEP IRAs and Rollover IRAs.
For savings IRAs, CD rates and terms are the same as the Fixed-Term and Featured CD options, which Bank of America offers in its taxable accounts. The only difference is that the investment minimum for a Featured CD in an IRA is just $2,000, as opposed to the $10,000 required in a taxable account.
For Money Market IRAs, you must call 888-827-1812 to either get rates or open an account. To open a Featured CD IRA, you must schedule an appointment. Only Fixed CD IRAs can be opened online. Investment IRAs can be opened through the Merrill Edge website.
- Traditional, Roth, Rollover and SEP IRAs available
- Savings and investment IRAs available
- Lower minimums for Featured CDs in IRAs
- Cannot open IRA accounts online
Investment (Nonbank) Options
Bank of America offers investment options through its brokerage subsidiary, Merrill. With its Merrill Edge platform, Bank of America now combines the technology of an online broker with the ability to access full-service Merrill brokers.
Through Merrill Edge, Bank of America customers can access a wide variety of investments, including the following:
- Mutual funds
- Managed portfolios
The bank also offers various retirement planning products, including 401(k) plans and SEP IRAs, along with extensive financial research and resources.
- Convenience and pricing of an online broker
- Wide variety of investment options
- Access to Merrill financial advisors
- Retirement planning options
- Extensive financial education resources
- 24/7 customer service
- May face upselling and cross-marketing between bank and brokerage
Bank of America offers home loans and auto loans. For auto loans, terms between 12 months and 75 months are available. The bank publishes its auto loan rates for 60-month terms on its website. To get rates for other terms, however, you’ll have to complete an application. Here’s the breakdown of current rates and terms for both auto and home loans at Bank of America:
|Bank of America Auto Loans|
|New car (dealer)||60 months||2.99% and up|
|Used car (dealer)||60 months||3.49% and up|
|Refinance||60 months||3.99% and up|
|Lease buyout||60 months||4.09% and up|
|Private party||60 months||6.29% and up|
Here are the current rates for Bank of America home loans, based on a sample $250,000 purchase price with a $50,000 down payment in ZIP code 90277. Note that the APR includes the effect of points, which essentially allow you to “buy” a lower interest rate in exchange for an upfront payment.
|Bank of America Home Loans|
|5/1 ARM variable||2.75%||3.82%||0.766||$816|
Bank of America also offers home equity and refinancing loans. Speak with a representative for further details.
- Auto loans of 12 months to 75 months
- Home loan prequalification available with The Bank of America Digital Mortgage Experience®
- Various types of home loans available
- Up to 0.50% rate discount on auto loans; up to $600 reduction in mortgage origination fee for qualifying customers
- Limited rate data available online for auto loans
How To Bank With Bank of America
You can open certain Bank of America accounts online, but for others, such as IRA accounts or investment accounts, you’ll need to call the bank or visit a branch.
For checking and savings accounts, you can generally open an account online in about 10 minutes with the following information:
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Email address
- Physical U.S. address
- Bank account or debit card information for your funding source
If any of the following apply, you won’t be eligible to open an account online with Bank of America:
- The bank has difficulty verifying your information, such as if you have a limited or nonexistent credit history
- You don’t have a clean checking history
- You are depositing more than $100,000
For certain types of IRAs, you must either schedule an appointment or call the bank to open an account.
Bank of America offers mobile apps for nearly any type of platform, from Apple and Android to Windows 10 and BlackBerry. You can use the app to log in to your account, deposit checks, set up alerts, send money and check your accounts.
Some Bank of America ATMs have contactless readers that allow you to use your smartphone to initiate transactions, without the need for a physical ATM card.
You can contact Bank of America in a number of ways. Via the bank’s website, you can schedule an in-branch appointment or use the financial center locator to find a branch near you. The bank has Facebook and Twitter accounts where you can reach representatives from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST Saturday and 8 a.m. to p.m. EST on Sundays.
For telephone support, you can call the bank at 800-432-1000 or 315-724-4022 (international collect). Hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST Saturday and Sunday.
Fees at Bank of America can be quite high. However, there are ways to avoid most fees. For example, the high ATM surcharge can be avoided if you stick to Bank of America ATMs. Similarly, the high overdraft fee is irrelevant to account holders who mind their balances and never overdraw their accounts. Monthly account maintenance fees on checking and savings accounts can be avoided through Preferred Rewards status or a high minimum balance.
Availability of Funds
Bank of America offers ATM access for its checking and savings accounts. ATM access is not available for money market accounts, which are only available in Bank of America IRAs. The most you can withdraw from a Bank of America ATM is 40 bills. The specific amount you can withdraw from an ATM depends on your account type and availability of funds. If you’re setting up an ATM withdrawal on the mobile app, the daily withdrawal limit from an ATM is $800.
Of course, if you’re near a Bank of America branch, you can also access your funds directly with a teller during normal operating hours.
Bank of America in a Nutshell
If you’re still deciding about whether Bank of America is one of the best banks for you, here’s a quick review of the bank’s pros and cons.
If you’re looking for a full-service banking experience with a wide range of accounts and services available, Bank of America should be on your shortlist. In addition to offering everything from checking and savings accounts to a full roster of loan and investment options, including credit cards, Bank of America boasts 4,300 and 16,800 ATMs, and services are available in 35 countries.
In most spots across the nation, you won’t be far from a Bank of America branch, and even overseas, you might not be out of Bank of America reach. Plus, wherever you are, you can always open an account online in a matter of minutes directly with the bank.
Where Bank of America comes up short is in the low-fee, high APY domain of countless online banks. Although you can open some Bank of America accounts online, most of them have monthly fees unless you meet certain minimum requirements. Account APYs are quite low on the bank’s checking and savings accounts, even if you’re a top-tier Preferred Rewards member at Bank of America. Fees can be expensive as well, including the $5 — or more — ATM surcharge at non-Bank of America machines and the $35 overdraft charge.
Click through to learn more about the best Bank of America promotions and offers for 2020.
More On Bank of America
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Rates are subject to change; other information on accounts is accurate as of Feb. 7, 2020, unless otherwise noted. This content is not provided by Ally Bank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Ally Bank.