Bank of America
Customers will run into steep fees and below-average savings rates, which is really saying something considering that national rates continue to be historically low.
Bank of America may be right for you if:
- You value easy access to branches more than high rates and low fees.
- You want an excellent online and mobile banking experience.
» MORE: NerdWallet’s best national banks
|Savings & money market accounts|
|Certificates of deposit (CDs)|
Read on for more details about Bank of America’s checking and savings accounts, CDs, customer experience and fees.
3.5 / 5.0
Bank of America has a basic checking account and one that bears interest. There’s nothing especially wrong with either one — in fact, it’s fairly easy to avoid the monthly fees for both, which isn’t something you can say about every big bank’s checking accounts. But you’d think that one of the country’s largest financial institutions would throw more resources toward creating more attractive checking products.
The SafeBalance Banking account, which is tailor-made for frequent overdrafters, is a step in the right direction. In lieu of charging fees, Bank of America will simply decline transactions if the account holder doesn’t have sufficient funds in his or her account. But the account still has downsides, including the unavoidable $4.95 monthly fee and the lack of checks.
Savings and money market accounts
2.5 / 5.0
Bank of America offers a basic savings account with a 0.01% APY and a money market account that carries a baseline rate of 0.03%. Customers can jump through several hoops to secure higher rates, but they still top out at 0.06%. Both accounts require a $25 initial deposit, which is low for a money market account.
Certificates of deposit
2.0 / 5.0
It’s best to steer clear of Bank of America’s CDs. Consider this: A customer who puts $1,000 in a 10-year CD will have earned only about $15 once the decade is up. Worse yet, that CD rate — 0.15% — is the best you’ll find at Bank of America.
» MORE: What is a CD?
3.5 / 5.0
You’re likely to find rates much higher than Bank of America’s at your local credit union. But you probably won’t find the same caliber of digital tools and services. Bank of America’s mobile app has it all, including check deposit capabilities and a reliable bill-payment function. And the bank boasts award-winning security and fraud-prevention systems.
Bank of America’s budgeting and expense-tracking platform is also one of the best of its kind. It visualizes your spending and saving patterns in straightforward graphs and charts, which makes monitoring monthly expenses a little more interesting. Plus, the bank has nearly 5,000 branches in 34 states.
2.5 / 5.0
Bank of America has a $35 overdraft fee, which it can charge up to four times per day. And the $12 overdraft protection fee charged to basic checking account holders can also do some damage over time.
The bank charges a 3% fee for foreign transactions, more than most financial institutions.
Stash your savings elsewhere
But because its savings rates are so low, you’d be better served putting your emergency fund elsewhere, such as a high-yield savings account at a credit union or online-only bank.
This article was updated June 24, 2016. It was originally published in August 2015.
For banks and credit unions, NerdWallet’s overall rating is a weighted average of each subcategory: checking accounts, savings and money market accounts, CDs, customer experience and other fees. Factors we consider, depending on the subcategory, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing tech and customer service. Several Nerds contribute to each financial institution’s ratings to ensure consistency and accuracy.
What the ratings mean:
— Among the very best
— Very good; only minor caveats for most customers
— Good; issues that might make a difference to some customers
— Fair; make sure strengths and weaknesses are a good match for you
— Poor; proceed with great caution
(or below) — Best to avoid