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Bank of America Review: A Gold Standard for Relationship Benefits and Customer Loyalty

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Bank of America is a strong choice for those who want the flexibility to bank both online and in person. Its interest rates are much lower than those of online banks, but Bank of America maintains a strong customer base thanks to its standout Preferred Rewards program, which is the gold standard for relationship banking. The bank also offers a feature-rich app that's among the best out there. Learn more with our in-depth Bank of America review to find out if it's the right bank for your needs.

Best For: Relationship benefits and customer loyalty

Bank of America

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
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4.50/5
Bottom Line

A top choice for those who want to do all of their banking in one place and who value the face-to-face support that brick-and-mortar banks are known for. Its Preferred Rewards program provides some of the best relationship perks you'll find with any bank. To top it off, Bank of America's app shines with robust capabilities and great user ratings.

Pros
  • Excellent relationship benefits
  • Strong online and mobile banking tools
  • Large network of branches
  • Flexible checking account
  • Wide variety of CD terms
  • Quality mobile app
Cons
  • Low APYs on savings and CD accounts
  • Only one savings account option

Bank of America's savings account review

If you're thinking of opening a savings account, the Bank of America Advantage Savings account may be a good fit for you.

Bank of America Advantage Savings

The Bank of America Advantage Savings account offers the key features you'd expect from one of the largest banks in the nation. For example, it has a low monthly maintenance fee, which can be waived. It also has an extensive national branch network. It's a great choice for those who like banking in person -- but those who prefer banking online aren't left out, either. Bank of America has simple online account management tools and a highly rated mobile app.

The account's APY is nothing to brag about. Nevertheless, loyal Bank of America customers who enroll in its Preferred Rewards program can improve their rates.

Compare savings accounts

Bank of America's lower APY can be beaten by the best savings accounts. Here's a rundown of alternative options to consider in your search.

Rates as of Nov. 28, 2022
Offer
 
 
 
Account
Goldman Sachs Bank USA
Sponsored Listing
Rating
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
4.00/5
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
4.00/5
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
4.50/5
APY 3.00% 3.00% 3.25%
Min. to earn APY $0 $1 $100
Next Steps

Bank of America CD accounts

Bank of America offers two types of CDs. The first is a Featured CD account, which pays a higher rate but has a higher minimum deposit. The second, the Standard Term CD, has more flexible rates and balance requirements but lower APYs.

Standard CD account

The interest rates on Bank of America's Standard Term CDs aren't quite as high as its Featured CD rates. However, they're much more accessible to the average person. This CD has just a $1,000 minimum deposit. CD terms are also much more flexible, ranging from as little as 28 days to as long as 10 years. Few banks give you this many CD term options. As a result, Bank of America is good fit if you're interested in a non-traditional CD term. As with the Featured CDs, there's an early withdrawal penalty if you take the money out too soon.

Bank of America's Featured CDs offer the largest APYs you'll find with this bank. They're still not as high as what you can find with some online banks, though. Plus, you'll need a $10,000 minimum deposit. That's steeper than what many of Bank of America's competitors charge. But if you're not satisfied with Bank of America's Advantage Savings rates (and you don't need access to your funds soon), this could be a good choice. Terms range from seven months to 37 months. Keep in mind that you'll pay an early withdrawal penalty if you try to take the money out before the term is up.

Compare CD rates

Bank of America CDs don't include the highest interest rates, such as those from online banks. Find a higher CD rate by comparing several top CD picks below.

Rates as of Nov. 28, 2022
Lender
Account
1 yr. apy
2 yr. apy
3 yr. apy
4 yr. apy
5 yr. apy
Min. deposit
Early Withdrawal Penalty
Next Steps
Logo for Discover High Yield CD
Member, FDIC
4.00%
4.10%
4.15%
4.20%
4.25%
$2,500
Yes
Logo for Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield CD
Member, FDIC
Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield CD
4.00%
4.25%
4.00%
4.00%
3.80%
$500
Yes
Logo for CIT Bank CD
Member, FDIC
0.30%
0.40%
0.40%
0.50%
0.50%
$1,000
Yes

Bank of America's checking accounts review

Bank of America has just one checking account option for individual consumers. This single account is the Bank of America Advantage Banking account. However, it's surprisingly versatile. It also offers a couple of accounts for business owners.

Bank of America Advantage Banking

The Bank of America Advantage Banking account comes with three settings. You can change these at any time. All flavors of the Bank of America Advantage Banking account come with a waivable monthly fee, custom alerts, debit card controls, mobile deposits, and online budgeting tools.

The three settings are:

  • Advantage SafeBalance: This is the most affordable option. It carries the lowest minimum opening deposit. Note it does not include checks or overdraft protection.
  • Advantage Plus: The Advantage Plus account is a happy medium. It has a reasonable waivable monthly fee. This option also has the opportunity to add checks and overdraft protection in addition to the standard payment options.
  • Advantage Relationship: Those with large checking account balances should consider the Advantage Relationship account. It offers all the features of the Advantage Plus account as well as the opportunity to earn interest. Its monthly fee is slightly higher; however, the fee can be waived.

Bank of America's business checking accounts

  • Bank of America Business Fundamentals® Checking: Includes many of the features of its personal checking accounts. These include mobile banking, customizable alerts, and the option to waive monthly fees by meeting certain requirements. It also offers owner and employee debit cards to access company funds and a business investment account at no additional charge. It does charge incoming wire transfer fees and extra fees for those interested in its cash management tools, though.
  • Bank of America Business Advantage Checking: Carries a higher monthly fee than the Business Fundamentals® Checking account. The requirements to waive the fee are a little more stringent, too. But if you can meet one of these criteria, you’ll enjoy all the perks of the Business Fundamentals account, plus no incoming wire transfer fees, a free business savings account, and the option to add an extra business checking account at no cost. The Business Advantage Checking account also includes Bank of America’s cash management tools. Some examples include payroll services and invoicing. There is no upcharge to use these tools.

Compare checking accounts

For other top checking account options, check out our list of best checking accounts.

Bank of America's relationship and customer loyalty benefits

If you plan to bank exclusively with Bank of America, look into becoming a Preferred Rewards member. You need to have an eligible Bank of America personal checking account to qualify. You'll also need maintain a minimum balance of at least $20,000 in all of your Bank of America accounts and/or Merrill investment accounts. If you can meet these two requirements, you can reap a plethora of rewards. Just a few examples of rewards:

  • 25%-75% bonus rewards on Bank of America credit cards
  • Higher APYs on savings accounts and CDs
  • Fee-free ATM transactions at out-of-network ATMs
  • Reduced origination fees on mortgages
  • An interest rate deduction on Bank of America auto loans
  • No fees on select Bank of America services
  • Discounts on Merrill Guided Investing

Few banks -- online or brick-and-mortar -- can match these kinds of relationship perks. They help make up for its lower interest rates on savings and CD accounts.

Bank of America's customer service and experience

Bank of America has received some lukewarm reviews from customers. It doesn't have totally shining recommendations from TrustPilot. It's also not a star in the latest J.D. Power U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study. However, this is not at all uncommon for big banks. Despite this feedback, it's managed to maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. This suggests it's responsive to customer complaints when they do arise.

There are a few areas where Bank of America customers seem almost universally satisfied. In 2019, J.D. Power recognized Bank of America for providing an outstanding customer experience online and through its mobile apps. It also earned the highest rating in J.D. Power's most recent U.S. Retail Banking Advice study, which measured how well banks did at providing useful financial advice to their customers.

Alternatives to Bank of America

Chase Bank

Chase Bank is one of Bank of America's biggest competitors. While the two banks are similar, each stands apart in its own ways. Chase has one of the largest networks of bank branches in the country. It offers multiple checking and savings accounts. In addition, it provides a variety of popular and less common CD terms. Chase also offers relationship benefits to its customers, including waived fees on select accounts. Nevertheless, Bank of America's relationship perks may be a little more enticing to those who want to be rewarded for their loyalty.

Ally Bank

Ally Bank is a smart choice for those who care more about high APYs than they do about branch access. It has fewer account options than Bank of America. But the ones it does offer are undeniably competitive. This includes an interest-bearing checking account and the Ally Online Savings account. Brick-and-mortar banks can't come close to the rates offered on these accounts. It also offers some rarer options, like no-penalty and raise-your-rate CDs. It's definitely possible to do all of your banking with Ally Bank, but you won't earn any special perks for doing so.

Is Bank of America right for you?

Bank of America is a good choice for you if:

  • You like doing your banking all in one place and can take advantage of perks offered for Preferred Rewards members.
  • You value branch access and in-person support.
  • You want strong online and mobile banking tools.

Other Bank of America products

Bank of America's product suite expands beyond checking, savings, and CD accounts.

Bank of America credit cards

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card: This is a great credit card for everyday spending. It offers 3% back on gas or your choice of five other popular categories. There's also 2% back on groceries and at wholesale clubs (on up to $2,500 in combined bonus category quarterly purchases) and 1% back on everything else. Preferred Rewards members also earn a rewards bonus on every purchase.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card: This card offers 2 points per $1 spent on dining and travel purchases. You'll earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on everything else. It also comes with some must-have travel perks. These include a $100 annual credit for airline incidentals, travel and purchase protections, and up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card: This is another great card for travelers. It offers unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent, along with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Preferred Rewards members can also earn rewards even faster.

Bank of America Mortgage

Bank of America Mortgage: Bank of America offers conventional, Jumbo, FHA, and VA mortgages in all 50 states. That's in addition to fixed- and adjustable-rate terms to suit a variety of borrowers. It's possible to get a loan with as little as 3% down. Preferred Rewards members can earn a discount on their mortgage origination fee.

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