Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking review
A mid-range account with optional overdraft protection, but some fees are high compared to other banks.
finder.com’s rating: 3.3 / 5.0
Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking account offer more perks than BofA’s basic account and a lower monthly fee than the premium option. You can enable overdraft protection and you get the ability to write checks, but you won’t automatically earn interest or have fees waived.
$12 per month
Minimum deposit to open
|Fee||$12 per month|
|To waive the fee||· Make one qualifying direct deposit of $250 or more|
· OR maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500
· OR sign up for Preferred Rewards
· OR be under the age of 24 and enrolled in school
|Minimum deposit to open||$100|
|ATMs||Over 16,000 ATMs|
|ATM transaction fee||$0|
|Out-of-network ATM fee||$2.50|
|Nonsufficient funds fee||$35|
Peter Carleton is a writer that covers banking and investing, breaking down what you need to know about where you put your money. When Peter's not thinking about cutting-edge banking apps and robo-advisors, he runs a creative agency and spends his spare time cooking or reading.
Bank of America’s Advantage Plus Banking is best for those who want to write checks and like banking at physical branches. This no-frills checking account offers a handful of ways to access your money, and you can sign up for Balance Connect, BofA’s overdraft protection service.
But it also has higher fees and a smaller ATM network than many other banks. And you’ll need to deposit at least $100 to open the account.
If you’re looking for a traditional bank that lets you meet with bankers face-to-face, this account is a decent option. But many online-only banks like Ally Bank offer more features and convenience, and they don’t make you satisfy certain criteria to avoid a monthly fee.
How do I open a Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking account?
You can open this account at a branch, by phone or online:
- Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
- From the Bank of America website, click Checking, then Bank of America Advantage Banking.
- Scroll down to Advantage Plus, click the down arrow, then click Open now.
- Select any options that apply to you, then click Go to application.
- Enter your personal information, then click Continue.
- Set up and fund your account, review the details and Submit your application.
Regardless of how you open this account, you’ll need to meet a few eligibility requirements:
- Have an initial deposit of at least $100
- Possess a valid Social Security number
- Have a permanent US address
- Hold valid state-issued ID or a passport
- Be at least 18 years old if opening online
During your application, you’ll need to provide the following information:
- Date of birth
- Employment information
- Contact information
- Social Security number — or passport for international applicants
What are the benefits of Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking?
Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking is covered by FDIC deposit insurance and issued by one of the Big Four banks, but besides security, you’ll also get:
- Balance Connect. This optional overdraft protection service lets you link up to five other BofA accounts as back-up funding sources in case you overdraw. There is a $12 fee per use, but that’s easier to swallow than the $35 fee the bank usually charges.
- Preferred rewards. Join the Preferred Rewards program to get better interest rates, credit card bonuses, ATM fee waivers and more.
- Money management tools. Use the budgeting tool to take control of your money by tracking your habits and creating budgets.
Bank of America ATM network and fees
When you sign up for this account, you’ll get a Visa debit card that allows you to shop almost anywhere. Plus, you’ll have access to over 16,000 fee-free ATMs and over 5,000 branches.
As an added bonus, you can use cardless ATMs to make transactions using only your smartphone or other contactless device.
If you use an out-of-network ATM, you’ll pay the following fees:
- Domestic ATM fee: $2.50 per transaction plus fees from the ATM owner.
- Foreign ATM fee: $5 per transaction plus fees from the ATM owner.
What should I look out for?
Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking comes with a few drawbacks to be mindful of:
- Monthly service fee. You’ll pay $12 per month to keep the account open, but you can avoid the fee if you meet any of the following criteria: you’re a student younger than 24; receive at least one direct deposit of $250 or more per billing cycle; maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or qualify for BofA’s Preferred Rewards program.
- Opening deposit. It takes a deposit of at least $100 to open the account.
- Overdraft fees. If you don’t have any other BofA accounts, you can’t take advantage of Balance Connect, the bank’s optional overdraft protection service. This means you’ll pay $35 per overdraft, up to four times a day.
If you’re searching for a checking account with low fees and a low minimum deposit, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when choosing a checking account.
Case study: Jenn’s experience – May 2019
I’ve had a Bank of America Advantage Plus Checking Account for over 15 years now — this was the first checking account I opened when I was in high school. The reason I first chose BoA was because of how many ATMs it has around the country, which I’ve found convenient over the years.
However, I’ve recently been thinking of opening a checking account with a different bank because of how many times my BoA debit card has been “compromised.” Though I’ve thankfully never had my account hacked, I’ve gone through over five different debit cards over the years due to potential security risks. Between waiting days for my new debit card to arrive and having to change the payment information on a lot of my online accounts, it’s been a bit of a hassle.
Compare Bank of America’s Advantage Plus Banking to other checking accounts
Compare similar checking accounts based on fees, ATM networks and minimum initial deposits.
How can I get in touch with customer service?
If you need to speak to Bank of America customer service, here’s how you can get in touch with a representative:
- By phone: Call 800-432-1000
- By email: Sign in to your online banking account, navigate to the Help and support menu and click Contact us
- Live chat: Visit the BoA website and click the chat icon to start live chat
- In person: Visit a branch or set up an appointment
How do I deposit or withdraw money?
Now that your account is open, here’s how you can access your money:
- At a branch or ATM
- Direct deposit
- Online or via wire transfer
- By mail
- Bank of America mobile deposit
- At a branch or ATM
- Online or via wire transfer
- Bill pay
- Write a check
- Cash back at participating merchants
What other checking options does Bank of America offer?
Bank of America has two other checking account options that are available through the Advantage Banking program:
Frequently asked questions
How do I sign up for Balance Connect, Bank of America’s overdraft protection service?
You can activate Balance Connect via the bank’s app or website, or by calling the phone number on your account statement. You can also schedule an appoint at a BofA financial center in your area.
How do I close my account?
You can close your account by visiting a branch, calling 800-432-1000 or by sending a letter signed by all account holders.
What is Bank of America’s routing number?
Routing numbers vary by state, so you’ll need to contact customer service or visit the Bank of America website to get your routing number.
Do I need a Bank of America savings account to open this account?
No. You’ll have the option to open and connect a Bank of America savings account when you apply for this product, but it isn’t required.
Can I open this account if I am not a US citizen?
Yes. You can open an account at a branch and you’ll need a valid passport and US residential address to get approved.
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