Bank of America vs. Chase: Which Is Best for You?

Tony ArmstrongFeb 22, 2021
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With big national banks like Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, it can be tough at first to see much of a distinction. Both have thousands of branches and ATMs, a variety of account choices and up-to-date technology. But the details can make the difference.

Snapshot comparison

Bank of America

Chase

Checking accounts

Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking®

  • Monthly fee: $12 (See below for ways to waive it).

  • Minimum opening deposit: $100.

  • Chase Total Checking®

  • Monthly fee: $12 (See below for ways to waive it).

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0.

  • Savings accounts

    Bank of America Advantage Savings

    • Interest rate: 0.01% APY on all balances for standard accounts.

    • Monthly fee: $8 (See below for ways to waive it).

    Chase Savings℠

    • Interest rate: 0.01% APY (effective 9/14/2020; rates are variable and subject to change).

    • Monthly fee: $5 (See below for ways to waive it).

    Certificates of deposit

    Bank of America CD interest rates

    • 1 year: 0.03% APY.

    • 5 years: 0.75% APY.

    • Minimum deposit: $1,000.

    Chase CD interest rates

    • 1 year: 0.01% APY.

    • 5 years: 0.01% APY.

    • Minimum deposit: $1,000.

    Overdrafts, ATMs, customer service

  • Overdraft fee: $35, maximum of four per day.

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $12.

  • Branches: About 4,300.

  • ATMs: 17,000.

  • Customer service: Available by phone 8 a.m.-11 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET on weekends.

  • Overdraft fee: $34, maximum of three per day.

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $0.

  • Branches: Nearly 4,900.

  • ATMs: 16,000.

  • Customer service: Available by phone 8 a.m.-12 a.m. ET, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET on weekends.

  • Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking®
    NerdWallet rating 
    Read review
    Chase Overall Star Rating
    NerdWallet rating 
    Read review

    Choose Bank of America if:

    • You want slightly better rates on some savings products.

    • You want an easier way to waive the monthly fee.

    Choose Chase if:

    • You want the opportunity to earn a sign-up bonus on checking (expires 10/18/2021).

    • You seek lower fees for some services.

    • You have less to deposit for checking and savings.

    Or go with an alternative

    Unlike these brick-and-mortars, online banks don’t have thousands of branches. But they do have excellent annual percentage yields, or APYs, that make your savings grow faster. And fees tend to be low or nonexistent.

    Bank of America vs. Chase: Basic checking accounts

    Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking®

    Chase Total Checking®

    Monthly fee

    $12.

    • Receive direct deposits of at least $250 each month.

    • Maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $1,500.

    • Become a Bank of America Preferred Rewards customer.

    • Note: Eligible students under 24 have this fee waived.

    $12.

    • Receive direct deposits of at least $500 each month.

    • Maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $1,500.

    • Maintain an average beginning day balance of at least $5,000 across eligible Chase accounts.

    Minimum deposit to open

    $100.

    $0.

    APY

    None.

    None.

    ATM fees and network

    • About 17,000 free Bank of America ATMs.

    • $2.50 fee for using out-of-network ATMs.

    • $5 fee for using international out-of-network ATMs, plus foreign debit card transaction fee of 3% of amount withdrawn.

    • 16,000 free Chase ATMs.

    • $2.50 fee for using out-of-network ATMs.

    • $5 fee for using international out-of-network ATMs, plus foreign debit card transaction fee of 3% of amount withdrawn.

    Sign-up bonus

    $100 (expires 12/31/2021); our bonuses roundup explains how to qualify.

    $225 (expires 10/18/2021); our bonuses roundup explains how to qualify.

    Both banks’ most basic checking accounts are similar, but Chase stands out because it requires a lower balance to open, and it offers a more generous sign-up bonus (expires 10/18/2021). At least one interest-bearing checking option is available at both, but they require high balances to waive monthly fees and earn minimal interest.

    » See more options on our list of best checking accounts

    Bank of America vs. Chase: Basic savings accounts

    Bank of America Advantage Savings

    Chase Savings℠

    APY

    0.01% APY on all balances for standard accounts.

    0.01% APY (effective 9/14/2020; rates are variable and subject to change).

    Monthly fee

    $8.

    • Maintain a daily balance of at least $500.

    • Have a linked Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking® account.

    • Are a Preferred Rewards client.

    $5.

    • Maintain a daily balance of at least $300.

    • Have a repeating automatic transfer of at least $25 each month from your Chase checking account.

    • Have a linked premium checking account.

    • Are under 18.

    Minimum deposit to open

    $100.

    $0.

    Sign-up bonus

    N/A

    N/A

    Neither bank offers savings rates worth bragging about, and they’re both below the dismal national average savings rate. Plus, you have to waive monthly fees to avoid losing part of your savings.

    But Bank of America offers a Keep the Change program that rounds up transaction amounts to the nearest dollar and saves the cents for you. And Chase sometimes offers a sign-up bonus. These can help make up for the low rates, but neither will earn you nearly as much as a high-interest savings account would over time.

    » Looking for higher rates? Explore NerdWallet's list of top online savings accounts

    Bank of America vs. Chase: Certificates of deposit

    Bank of America

    Chase

    Minimum opening deposit

    $1,000.

    $1,000.

    APY on one-year term

    0.03%.

    0.01%.

    APY on three-year term

    0.03%.

    0.01%.

    APY on five-year term

    0.03%.

    0.01%.

    For more details:

    See our post on Bank of America CD rates

    See our post on Chase CD rates

    Rates may vary by location.

    Online-only bank CD rates earn more than 16 times what Bank of America and Chase CDs earn for one-year and five-year terms. Both banks require the same minimum to open a CD, but some online bank CDs don’t even have minimums.

    » To compare, see the latest top CD rates

    Bank of America vs. Chase: Banking experience

    Bank of America

    Chase

    Branches

    About 4,300.

    More than 4,700.

    Banking apps (ratings from app store users)

    • 4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS.

    • 4.7 out of 5 stars for Android.

    • 4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS.

    • 4.4 out of 5 stars for Android.

    Customer service

    • Phone reps are on call 8 a.m. ET-11 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. ET-8 p.m. ET weekends.

    • Social media support available.

    • Live chat support available.

    • Available by phone 8 a.m.-12 a.m. ET, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET on weekends.

    • Social media support available.

    Bank of America covers more states and has more support channels. Otherwise, the two have similar features: high-rated mobile apps, large ATM networks and clear overviews of account offerings on their websites.

    Bank of America vs. Chase: Overdraft fees

    Bank of America

    Chase

    Overdraft fee

    $35, maximum of four per day.

    $34, maximum of three per day.

    Overdraft protection transfer fee

    $12.

    None.

    Extended overdraft fee

    None.

    None.

    Neither bank is forgiving about overdrafts when compared with credit unions and online-only banks, some of which don’t even charge overdraft fees. Bank of America offers a checking option that has no overdraft fees, but it comes with a monthly fee that can’t be waived unless you’re a Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards Member.

    Big banks, low rates

    Both Chase and Bank of America will do the trick if you prefer to do your banking in person, though Chase does offer more opportunities to earn bonuses. But if higher rates on your savings are a priority, look elsewhere. You can find other options on our list of best banks and credit unions.

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