If you are looking for an organization with top-notch services, an extensive branch network and plenty of ATMs, banking with Bank of America could make sense. But bank elsewhere if you want to avoid bank fees or you’re trying to earn a high rate of return.
What’s known today as Bank of America was originally the Bank of Italy, a local bank in San Francisco founded by Amadeo Peter Giannini to support immigrants who other financial institutions wouldn’t serve.
What began as a local bank that opened in 1904 in San Francisco expanded until it became the only statewidebank in California. Offices were opened in Italy and other U.S. cities and by 1945, it was the world’s largest bank.
A merger with NationsBank in 1998 made Bank of America the first bank that operated from coast to coast. Today, the bank is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Also, it updated its logo in late 2018 and has a wide range of banking, small business and wealth management services.
Pros and Cons of Bank of America
The bank is accessible across the country and has about 4,400 retail financial centers and more than 16,000 ATMs.
It has an award-winning mobile banking app and has invested heavily in digital technology.
Customers have access to the person-to-person payment service Zelle, making it easier to transfer money directly into the bank accounts of friends and family.
Artificial intelligence-driven virtual assistant Erica makes budgeting, money management and tracking expenses easier.
Fees are avoidable but could easily rack up for customers who can’t meet certain requirements.
Savings and CD yields are low.
Branches are being closed and certain areas of the country no longer have access to a physical bank location.
Unless they have the SafeBalance account that prevents overdrafts, customers hit repeatedly with overdraft charges could spend up to $140 per day on fees.
What Does Bank of America Offer?
It’s no surprise that a bank as large as Bank of America also offers many different types of financial products. You can find just about anything you need to manage your money.
Certificates of deposit
Money market and CD IRAs
Online, mobile, and in-person banking
Bank of America’s Rewards Savings account offers an APY that is lower than the national average. One of the ways to waive the monthly maintenance fee of $8 per month is by maintaining a minimum daily balance of at least $500 in the Rewards Savings account.
Bank of America’s Keep the Change program helps to automate your savings by rounding up your purchase when you use a Bank of America debit card — connected to your Bank of America checking account — and transferring the differenceinto your savings.
The mobile app can be used to deposit checks into your savings account.
Bank of America’s highest APY on its Reward Savings account is less than the national average.
Bank of America offers CDs with terms ranging from one month to 10 years. Customers have the choice between two different types of CDs.
The standard CD has a low minimum deposit and the option to choose from multiple terms. The featured CD is available for customers interested in a short-term account.
A penalty applies for early withdrawals. For CDs with terms between 12 months and five years, the penalty is 180 days of interest.
Low minimum deposit to open a standard CD.
Customers can choose from a variety of different terms.
Interest is compounded monthly, not daily.
Low yield compared to what online banks offer.
No special CDs are available.
Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking offers an interest-bearing checking account with a $100 minimum opening deposit.
The $25 monthly maintenance fee is waived for those with a combined balance of $10,000 across eligible linked accounts or Preferred Rewards participants.
Participants can select to decline or return transactions if they don’t have enough money (or pay a $35 fee per item).
Interest rates are relatively low.
Requirements to waive monthly fee relatively high.
$2.50 to use non-Bank of America ATMs.
At the megabank, you’ll have access to 16,089 ATMs and more than 4,450 branches.
Bank of America’s mobile app experience also includes a few extra touches when compared to rivals. On the app, you can customize your dashboard as well as get insight and guidance from Erica, the bank’s virtual assistant.
You can also reach customer service members seven days a week.
As a full-service bank, Bank of America also offers a lot of other options aside from credit cards and deposit accounts. These include:
Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)
Auto loan refinance
Investments through Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch
Business banking services
Who is Bank of America Best for?
If you’re looking for a bankthat’s conveniently located wherever you want to be within the U.S., it’s hard to beat Bank of America. Only Chase Bank and Wells Fargo offer more branches nationwide. It may also suit you well if:
You want to bank with a large, well-known institution
You don’t mind navigating a complex system of rules
You’re aware of the many fees and how to dodge them
You’re not as concerned with earning a good rate on your savings
You want a bank that offers a wide range of financial products
The biggest thing you’ll get out of banking with Bank of America is convenience. There are branches in 37 states, so there might even be one located just down the street from you right now.
However, you can rest assured that there will probably be one close by if you travel somewhere else within the U.S., too.
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