Bank of America Review: Online and In-Person Convenience

GOBankingRates Score

4.8
Our take: 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. 
  • Product Breadth
    5.0
  • Rewards Program
    5.0
  • Locations
    4.5
  • Services and Accessibility
    4.5
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Broad and deep range of accounts and services
  • Fee waivers for some high-value accounts
  • Extensive branch and online capabilities
  • Weekend customer service available

Cons

  • High fees for low-value accounts
  • High overdraft fee 

About Bank of America

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 approximately 4,300 branches and 17,000 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. GOBankingRates has ranked Bank of America as one of the Best National Banks of 2021.

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Bank of America Products

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, individual retirement accounts, loans and investments. Here’s a look at Bank of America’s current account offerings.

Product Key Details
Checking Accounts Preferred Rewards program and fee waivers available
Savings Accounts Lower fees and higher APYs available for certain Preferred Rewards members
Money Market Available in IRAs only, along with CDs and investments
CDs Numerous maturity options out to 10 years; Featured CDs available
IRAs Lower minimum investment for Featured CDs
Investments Wide range of investment options — from stocks and bonds to funds and exchange-traded funds — available through Merrill Edge platform 
Loans Preferred customers can earn lower auto loan rates or reduced mortgage origination fees

Bank of America Savings Account

Bank of America offers a single primary savings account, the Advantage Savings account, in addition to two savings accounts for children.

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To avoid the $8 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. The required opening balance for the Advantage Savings account is $100.

Annual percentage yields vary based on the type of relationship you have with Bank of America. For example, to earn the top-tier APY of 0.05%, you must be in the Platinum Honors tier of the Preferred Rewards program.

Pros

  • Two types of saving accounts for minors
  • $100 to open; $25 for Minor Savings account
  • ATM card access

Cons

  • Low rates, even at the Platinum Honors relationship tier
  • Need minimum balances or other requirements to avoid $8 monthly fee

Bank of America Money Market Account

Bank of America only offers a money market account for IRAs.

Bank of America Checking Account

Bank of America technically only offers one type of checking account: the Advantage Banking account, which GOBankingRates has ranked as one of the Best Checking Accounts of 2021. However, there are also checking accounts available for small businesses and students.

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The three levels of the primary Advantage checking account are Advantage SafeBalance, Advantage Plus and Advantage Relationship Banking. Only Advantage Relationship Banking checking accounts pay interest, and a modest 0.01%-0.02% APY at that, depending on the size of your account.

All Advantage Banking checking accounts have monthly maintenance fees, although they can be waived. Fees range from $4.95 for the Advantage SafeBalance account to $12 for Advantage Plus and $25 for Advantage Relationship Banking.

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

Pros

  • Fee waivers available for account maintenance charges
  • Preferred Rewards program offering perks like loan rate discounts and ATM fee rebates 

Cons

  • High overdraft fee of $35
  • High non-Bank of America ATM fees of $5 or more outside the U.S.

Bank of America CD Account

Bank of America has two main types of CDs: fixed-term and the Featured CD. It also offers a line of IRA CDs. 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. Unless specifically stated otherwise, all Bank of America CDs automatically renew.

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Pros

  • Wide range of maturities available, including 10-year CDs
  • Featured CDs pay a higher APY of 0.05%

Cons

  • Overall, very low rates
  • High minimum investment for Featured CDs

Banking Experience

You can open certain Bank of America accounts online, but for others, such as IRAs, 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.

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

Technology

Bank of America offers mobile apps for nearly any type of platform, from Apple and Android to Windows 10. The apps score highly on all platforms, including a 4.8 rating at the App Store. You can use the app to log in to your account, deposit checks, set up alerts, send money and check your accounts. 

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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.

Customer Service

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 on Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 5 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 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST Saturday and Sunday, with 24/7 automated support.

Key Information

Customer service: 800-432-1000

Routing number: See routing numbers by state

Promotions: Newest Bank of America Promos and Bonuses

Hours: See Bank of America’s Hours

Login: Bank of America Login Help

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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 $1,000, or 60 bills.

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 Fees

Fees at Bank of America can be quite high. However, there are ways to avoid most fees. For example, the ATM surcharge of $2.50 (or $5 for international transactions) can be avoided if you stick to Bank of America ATMs. Similarly, the overdraft fee of $35 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. 

Bank of America vs. Competitors

Here’s a look at how Bank of America and its competitors compare:

Bank Best For
Bank of America One-stop shop for banking needs
Chase Credit card lineup, branch access
Wells Fargo Slightly lower checking account fees
Citibank High savings APY, fee-free ATM network

Bank of America vs. Chase

Chase currently offers bigger incentives than Bank of America does to sign up for some of its accounts. Bank of America has slightly higher APYs available on its savings accounts.

Bank of America vs. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo has slightly lower checking account fees, and more ways to avoid them, than does Bank of America. However, Bank of America pays a slightly higher savings yield and has a robust rewards program.

Bank of America vs. Citibank

Citibank has the biggest fee-free ATM network among any major U.S. bank, at over 65,000. It also has a high-yielding savings account. If you desire in-branch services, however, Citibank’s branch network is quite sparse compared with Bank of America’s.

Final Take

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 about 4,300 branch locations and 17,000 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’s reach. Plus, wherever you are, you can always open an account online in a matter of minutes directly with the bank. 

Editor’s Favorite

Bank of America can likely meet your every financial need, making it a convenient, one-stop shop for all of your financial accounts.

Bank of America FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Bank of America.
  • Is Bank of America or Chase better?
    • Choosing between Bank of America and Chase depends on your individual financial needs. The proximity of a bank's branches to your location may also play a role in your decision.
  • How do I check my balance with Bank of America?
    • You can check your balance with Bank of America via the bank's mobile app or website.
  • How can I get a free check from Bank of America?
    • For customers with the Advantage Relationship Banking checking accounts, paper checks are an included feature.
  • How much is a cashier's check from Bank of America?
    • A cashier's check at Bank of America costs $15, but that fee is waived for customers enrolled in Preferred Rewards.
  • Does Bank of America offer free money for signing up for an account?
    • Currently, Bank of America offers a $100 promotion if you sign up for a new Advantage checking account. You'll have to sign up by June 30, 2021, and receive at least two qualifying direct deposits of $250 or more within 90 days of account opening.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Nov. 16, 2020.

This content is not provided by Bank of America. 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 Bank of America.

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About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.

Bank of America Review: Online and In-Person Convenience
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