Bank of America Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

Bank of America offers a great branch and online experience, but like many traditional banks, it pays little interest on its savings products.

Spencer TierneyNovember 20, 2020

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Overall bank rating

Bank of America, N.A.

at Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC

  • Checking

    Checking

  • Savings

    Savings

  • CD rates

    CD rates

  • Banking experience

    Banking experience

  • Overdraft fees

    Overdraft fees

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Like many national banks, Bank of America offers access to a wide network of free ATMs and branch offices. Well-designed online and mobile banking tools complete the banking experience. But easy access and a solid digital experience come at the price of hefty fees and weak savings rates.

Pros

  • About 4,300 branches and 17,000 free ATMs.

  • Monthly fee on basic checking account is fairly easy to avoid.

  • Strong savings tools and mobile app.

Cons

  • Up to 0.05% APY on savings account; better rates available elsewhere.

  • Low rates on certificates of deposit.

  • $35 overdraft fee can be charged up to four times daily.

Full review

Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking®

at Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

at Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC

Monthly Fee

$12.00

Waived with direct deposit or $1,500 minimum balance

Of its three checking account options, Bank of America’s Advantage Plus option is the standard choice to get a full suite of services — including check writing and overdraft programs — with fairly easy ways to avoid the $12 monthly fee. You can receive monthly direct deposits of at least $250 or maintain a minimum daily account balance of at least $1,500, among other options.

Bank of America also offers the Advantage SafeBalance account, which can help frequent overdrafters. In lieu of charging overdraft fees, the bank simply declines transactions if the account holder doesn’t have enough funds in checking. But the account comes with downsides, such as the inability to write checks and a $4.95 monthly fee that’s hard to waive for non-students. The only interest-bearing checking account, Advantage Relationship Banking, requires at least $10,000 at the bank to avoid a $25 monthly fee. Interest is minimal.

Being enrolled in the Preferred Rewards program also helps you dodge the monthly fees.

You can earn a $100 bonus for opening any of the three accounts. See more details at Bank of America's offer page. And see more options at NerdWallet's list of best bank bonuses.

The bank charges all checking customers a $2.50 fee for using non-Bank of America ATMs in the U.S., and a $5 fee when doing so abroad.

Bank of America Advantage Savings

Bank of America Advantage Savings

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.01%

With $0 minimum balance

Bank of America’s Advantage Savings has an unimpressive 0.01% annual percentage yield. Customers can jump through several hoops to secure higher rates, but they top out at 0.05%. The account requires an initial deposit of $100. It offers a potentially useful Keep The Change program, which rounds up debit card transactions to the nearest dollar and transfers the difference to savings.

The bank waives the $8 monthly maintenance fee on the savings account for customers who either maintain a daily balance of at least $500, link to a Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking checking account or are enrolled in Preferred Rewards.

» Want to see more options? Check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts

Bank of America CD

Bank of America CD

1.5

NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY

0.03%

3-year APY

0.03%

5-year APY

0.03%

Minimum Deposit

$1,000

Neither of Bank of America’s two types of CDs come close to matching the rates on high-yield CDs or savings accounts available elsewhere. You can use NerdWallet's rates tool to compare CD rates at other institutions.

The Standard Term CD can be opened with $1,000. The annual percentage yield is a flat rate of 0.03%, no matter the term length and balance.

» Interested in the top options? Check out NerdWallet's list of the highest CD rates.

Banking experience

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

Bank of America shines with a stellar online banking experience and digital tools. The website design is straightforward, and information about fees and rates is relatively easy to find. Its mobile app lets you deposit checks, pay bills, send money, monitor activity and account balances and use its virtual assistant, Erica. Android and iOS phone users gave the bank’s app high marks.

Customer service hours and channels are convenient. You can get a real human on the phone until 11 p.m. ET on weekdays and 8 p.m. on weekends. The bank also provides live chat support for existing customers and answers questions on Twitter.

Overdraft fees

2.5

NerdWallet rating 

Bank of America’s $35 overdraft fee is steep, and the bank can charge it as often as four times per day. This makes for an expensive experience if you have a hard time keeping enough money in your accounts. There’s no fee for a continuous negative balance, though, which some banks charge.

You can opt for overdraft protection, but it’ll cost $12 per day that a transfer occurs from a linked Bank of America savings or secondary checking account.

Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking®

at Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

at Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC

Monthly Fee

$12.00

Waived with direct deposit or $1,500 minimum balance

Of its three checking account options, Bank of America’s Advantage Plus option is the standard choice to get a full suite of services — including check writing and overdraft programs — with fairly easy ways to avoid the $12 monthly fee. You can receive monthly direct deposits of at least $250 or maintain a minimum daily account balance of at least $1,500, among other options.

Bank of America also offers the Advantage SafeBalance account, which can help frequent overdrafters. In lieu of charging overdraft fees, the bank simply declines transactions if the account holder doesn’t have enough funds in checking. But the account comes with downsides, such as the inability to write checks and a $4.95 monthly fee that’s hard to waive for non-students. The only interest-bearing checking account, Advantage Relationship Banking, requires at least $10,000 at the bank to avoid a $25 monthly fee. Interest is minimal.

Being enrolled in the Preferred Rewards program also helps you dodge the monthly fees.

You can earn a $100 bonus for opening any of the three accounts. See more details at Bank of America's offer page. And see more options at NerdWallet's list of best bank bonuses.

The bank charges all checking customers a $2.50 fee for using non-Bank of America ATMs in the U.S., and a $5 fee when doing so abroad.

How does Bank of America, N.A. compare?

Deposits are FDIC Insured

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Monthly Fee

$12.00

Waived with direct deposit or $1,500 minimum balance

Monthly Fee

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

N/A

APY

N/A

APY

1.25%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

RATING METHODOLOGY

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, banking experience and overdraft fees. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation. The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.