Current or checking accounts are often the products that banks tend to punt the most. The reason is simple, they don’t have to do too much work to get some income in. This is because the fees on the account provide the bank with a constant flow of income, with virtually no risk. Some banks offer far lower fees than others but have to make up the drop in income with other products, such as loans. The checking account is crucial for larger banks to maintain, however, many fall short of providing the optimal product. This review takes a look at the Bank of America Checking Accounts to determine whether they use their leverage optimally.
We recently did a review on the checking accounts offered by Credit Agricole and had quite a surprising outcome there.
About Bank of America
When it comes to the bigger banks, it’s often tough to determine where the original roots are thanks to mergers and acquisitions. The Bank of America is no different and traces some of its roots back to the Gianninis and Monnettes in San Francisco. This leg of the bank’s history was the Bank of Italy roots, and thanks to this institution, San Francisco is still a major city in the States. The reason is due to their sound financial principles that allowed the bank to help the community get back on its feet after the earthquake.
Other parts of the bank trace back as far as the 1700s. The bank slowly grew and built up its customer base and in the 1900s, it experienced an era of financial prosperity. This soon changed when three major events struck – World War I and II, and the Great Depression.
After these three events passed, it was important to rebuild the economy again. Loans became an everyday occurrence and the manufacturing industry allowed America to pick itself up again. Gradual growth and the introduction of new products soon followed. This continued for the next few decades, as well as mergers and acquisitions.
In 2008, a disastrous error on the investment front that involved subprime mortgages caused many of the bank to knock on federal doors for funding. The bank survived this dark part of world history and is slowly claiming back its glorious position on the home front. Increased profits and great periods of growth once again allow the bank to prosper.
Quick Tips for the Ideal Checking Account
The market is currently flooded with information about checking accounts. Also, the offers range from the super cheap all the way to an account that can almost run a household. Pricing plays a big role in choosing and account, but it shouldn’t be the only consideration. A few quick tips include:
- Check customer satisfaction ratings on the internal and external review boards. Perfect internal scores may not be correct, therefore, a less-than-perfect score doesn’t necessarily mean a worse institution.
- Bank with an institution that has a good reputation in the market. Those who are known to dump their customers into excess in order to charge the fees have a notorious reputation and is easy to follow up.
- Go with the account that will provide the most amount of comfort. For instance, those who like to go into the bank for their banking shouldn’t open a purely online account.
- Compare those fees, ask questions, and do research. It’s not enough to just walk into the bank and be sold to, rather do a little bit of online research first, write down questions, and go into the meeting with a sound understanding of the need.
- It’s easy to get caught up in a fixed fee account as the single fee for the entire statement cycle may seem like a good idea. Instead of just jumping into it, do the math and determine whether per-item-billing isn’t more cost effective. This is especially true for those who do only a few transactions per month.
Check out the interest checking account offered by Ally Bank.
Bank of America Checking Account Product Offerings
Bank of America Core Checking
Customers who wish to have a simple account that packs some pretty neat features will find this suitable. Furthermore, the account is also suitable as a first checking account.
- With this account, customers have access to thousands of ATMs and financial centers in the Bank of America group.
- Furthermore, customers are required to open the account with a minimum of $25.
- Students under the age of 24 can have their fee waived as long as they’re enrolled in high school, a vocational program, or high school.
- Account holders can waive their maintenance fees for each statement cycle that has at least one qualifying direct deposit of $250 or more. Or, customers can also qualify for this waiver when they have a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or more.
- Those who are unable to manage the minimum waiver requirements, pay a monthly maintenance fee of $12. Preferred Rewards clients get this fee waived. Transaction fees may also apply.
Bank of America Interest Checking
This account has all the features customers would expect from a checking account, plus a little extra. Furthermore, customers also stand the chance to earn interest on their surplus balances.
- Customers have access to an additional checking or savings account. Also, they pay no additional maintenance fees on these accounts.
- The account provides customers with access to thousands of ATMs and banking centers across the US within the Bank of America group.
- This account can be linked to a Bank of America Deposit account and customers benefit from no-fee Overdraft Protection.
- Furthermore, there are no fees for incoming domestic wire transfers.
- The account is opened with a minimum opening deposit of $100.
- Customers benefit from the opportunity to waive their maintenance fee per statement cycle if they maintain a combined balance of at least $10,000 or more. Preferred Rewards customers automatically get this fee waived as well.
- Finally, those who aren’t able to waive the fee pay a monthly fee of $25. Transaction fees may also apply.
This account is suitable for those who don’t want high maintenance fees or overdraft fees. Furthermore, this account makes use of the safe spending method that only allows customers to spend what is in their account. This prevents them from going into overdraft.
- Customers who go into excess on the account will have their transactions declined and debits returned unpaid. This could, however, cost penalty fees and affect the reputation of the account.
- Also, customers benefit from a predictable monthly maintenance fee. This is regardless of the number of transactions that take place.
- Furthermore, customers have access to convenient banking without the use of checks. The alternative ways to pay include online banking and debit card transactions.
- There are no ATM fees on this account when customers use Bank of America ATMs.
- Finally, the account requires a minimum opening deposit of $25. Also, the account maintenance is a fixed $4.95 per month.
What We Like About Bank of America Checking Accounts
Checking accounts are designed to allow customers the ability to transact with ease. These accounts, once opened, provide customers will all the help that is required to do these transactions. The accounts are loaded with special functions and customers have all the tools at their fingertips.
Furthermore, there are a few options to choose from, which allow customers a little variety. Not everyone wants a stock standard account, therefore, the additional choices are appreciated.
Pricing on these accounts are fairly reasonable and customers are aware of the pricing even before they open their accounts.
Finally, navigating the products are simple and easy to do, and customers don’t have to look around for information. This ensures they make an informed decision when opening the account.
What We Don’t Like About Bank of America Checking Accounts
For a bank that is filled to the brim with amazing products, it’s a little hard to digest that there is a lack of options for customers. Customers only have access to three different current accounts, and some variety is always needed, considering that customers find themselves in different walks of life. Therefore, a few accounts will hardly cover all the needs of customers.
Critical Reviews Rating Bank of America Checking Accounts – 8 of 10
These are not the run of the mill checking accounts out there. We have to commend the bank for its commitment to provide good quality products. The pricing and features are all in line with some of the top contenders in the nation, and competition on the pricing front is about the online aspect they should be concerned of.
What we can’t overlook, however, is that the bank has a ton of other products, such as savings, credit cards, etc. The checking accounts boast only 3 options. These 3 options need to satisfy the needs of teens right through to seniors. This provides a serious gap and customers may have to look around for account options that are specific to their situation.
Finally, this rating may be a bit tough, considering the wealth of products on their books, however, Bank of America has the means to do better. They’ve proven it with their other products and they’re not one of the biggest banks in the world for nothing.
A bank that offers simple checking solutions, is none other than Wells Fargo. We recently did a review of these products.