5 Ways To Avoid Bank of America’s Monthly Maintenance Fees

Bank of America in Beverly Hills - LOS ANGELES / CALIFORNIA - APRIL 20, 2017.
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Bank of America offers a number of checking and savings accounts. Like most banks, it charges monthly fees depending on the account you have, and it has options for avoiding those fees. Customers can avoid Bank of America’s fees in several ways, such as by setting up approved direct deposits or fulfilling account balance requirements.

Below, GOBankingRates breaks down the assortment of fees associated with Bank of America’s products and services. This guide will cover the following topics:

Bank of America Checking Account Fees

Depending on what type of account you have, the checking account monthly maintenance fee can vary. There is a $4.95 monthly maintenance fee for Advantage SafeBalance checking, $12 monthly maintenance fee for Advantage Plus checking  and $25 monthly maintenance fee for Advantage Relationship checking, but only Advantage Relationship comes equipped with a variable interest rate.

Bank of America Checking Accounts
Account Monthly Service Fee Earns Interest
Advantage SafeBalance $4.95 No
Advantage Plus $12 No
Advantage Relationship $25 Yes
Information is accurate as of Nov. 15, 2019.

Additionally, each Bank of America checking account comes with this schedule of fees:

Bank of America Checking Account Fees
Fee Amount Charged
Out-of-network ATM In U.S.: $2.50
Outside U.S.: $5
Overdraft $35
Foreign exchange rate 3% of transaction
Wire transfers Varies
Information is accurate as of Nov. 15, 2019.

While there are no student-specific checking accounts, Bank of America will waive the maintenance fee for qualifying students.

Bank of America Savings Account Fees

Bank of America’s Advantage Savings account comes with an $8 monthly maintenance fee. Bank of America also imposes a withdrawal fee of $10 should you go over the six savings withdrawals it permits per month.

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As you can see, the annual percentage yield rate the bank offers is very low compared with the national rate of 0.09% APY.

Bank of America Savings Accounts
Account Monthly Service Fee Annual Percentage Yield
Bank of America Advantage Savings $8 0.03% APY for all balances
Minor Savings Account None 0.03% APY for all balances
Information is accurate as of Nov. 15, 2019.


How To Avoid Bank of America’s Monthly Maintenance Fees

Maintaining minimum balances and making qualifying direct deposits are the easiest ways to avoid most Bank of America account fees. Some accounts will also waive fees based on your age.

Each account has its own requirements, so be sure the fee waiver information you have matches your account type. Additionally, monthly service fees are different from item-specific costs, such as Bank of America’s overdraft fees.

You have options to avoid Bank of America’s monthly maintenance fees, but they vary from account to account. Here are five ways to avoid Bank of America’s monthly fees:

1. Maintain a Minimum Balance 

Here are the minimum balances required to qualify for a fee waiver:

  • Advantage Savings: $500 minimum daily balance
  • Advantage Plus: $1,500 minimum daily balance
  • Advantage Relationship: combined balance of $10,000

2. Have Qualifying Direct Deposits

Customers with an Advantage Plus account can avoid paying the monthly maintenance fee by meeting the direct deposit minimum:

  • Advantage Plus: Minimum of one qualifying direct deposit of $250 or more

3. Link Your Bank of America Accounts

Linking your eligible accounts can help you meet the balance requirement to avoid the monthly maintenance fee:

  • Advantage Savings: Link your Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking account

4. Enroll in the Preferred Rewards Program

Maintenance fees for eligible Bank of America checking and savings accounts are waived when you enroll in Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program. Qualification for the Preferred Rewards program tiers is based on having an active Bank of America personal checking account and maintaining a three-month average combined balance across your Bank of America accounts. Minimum balances are $20,000 for the Gold tier, $50,000 for the Platinum tier and $100,000 for the Platinum Honors tier.

5. Qualify for the Student Waiver

Qualification for the Bank of America student waiver applies when an account holder is enrolled in an academic institution and is under the age of 24. This waiver applies to the following accounts: 

  • Advantage SafeBalance
  • Advantage Plus
  • Advantage Savings

How To Avoid Bank of America’s Overdraft Fees

The best thing you can do to avoid Bank of America’s overdraft fee is to remain vigilant in keeping a healthy account balance. Overdrafts only kick in when you’re attempting to use more funds than you have to your name. Bank of America’s overdraft fee of $35 is standard, but that can be a huge chunk of change if you already have low funds. 

You can sign up for its overdraft protection service, wherein the bank will cover a transaction using funds from another account, like a savings account. Better yet, you can eliminate overdraft fees entirely by getting a SafeBalance account, which does not come with the fee.

How To Avoid Bank of America’s ATM Fees

Bank of America’s ATM fees — $2.50 for a non-Bank of America ATM inside the U.S. and $5 outside of the U.S. — are standard, and the easiest way to avoid them is to use Bank of America ATMs whenever possible. You may also be charged a fee by the operator when you use an out-of-network ATM.

If you’re enrolled in the Preferred Rewards program, you can avoid ATM fees altogether depending on which tier you’re in.

How Fees at Bank of America and Other Banks Compare

Here’s an overview of the fees you can expect from Bank of America and how they compare with the costs of banking elsewhere:

Fees at Bank of America and Other Banks
Fee Wells Fargo Chase Bank of America Citibank U.S. Bank
Monthly maintenance Up to $30 Up to $25 Up to $25 Up to $30 Up to $25
Out-of-network ATM withdrawal In U.S.: $2.50

Outside U.S.: $5

In U.S.: $2.50

Outside U.S.: $5

In U.S.: $2.50

Outside U.S.: $5

$2.50; additional 3% fee for transactions made outside U.S. and Puerto Rico $2.50
Overdraft (nonsufficient funds) $35 $34 $35 No overdraft fees, will decline transaction at no cost to you $36 if overdrawn for seven days.
Excess transactions $15 $5 $10 No fee, but Citibank will close your account if you withdraw three times over the limit $15
Wire transfer $15-$30 $15-$50 Varies $17.50-$45 $20-$50
International debit purchase 3% of transaction 3% of transaction 3% of transaction 3% of transaction 3% of transaction
Information is accurate as of Nov. 15, 2019. Fees listed reflect amounts typically charged; exceptions may apply. 

Traditional banks usually carry similar service fees, like the wire transfer and ATM fees shown above. However, it should be noted that Bank of America, Chase and U.S. Bank all offer a lower ceiling of $25 for monthly maintenance fees.

Getting the Most Out of Your Bank of America Account

Bank of America offers a wealth of information for both customers and non-customers alike. Bank of America’s Better Money Habits series features articles and tips for the financial layman.

You can find information on topics that include:

  • Building credit
  • Savings advice
  • Understanding credit reports
  • Auto loans
  • Retirement planning
  • Owning a home

To see what else Bank of America accounts can offer you, visit your local branch or Bank of America’s website.

John Csiszar contributed to the reporting for this article. 

Fees and rates are subject to change.

About the Author

Sean joined the GOBankingRates team in 2018, bringing with him several years of experience with both military and collegiate writing and editing experience. Sean’s first foray into writing happened when he enlisted in the Marines, with the occupational specialty of combat correspondent. He covered military affairs both in garrison and internationally when he deployed to Afghanistan. After finishing his enlistment, he completed his BA in English at UC Berkeley, eventually moving to Southern California.