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Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking account review

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A no-frills checking account with a low, but easily avoidable monthly fee.

finder.com’s rating: 3.7 / 5.0

★★★★★

The Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Checking account is worth considering if you’re looking for perks and a low, but avoidable monthly fee. But if you need overdraft protection or value the convenience of paper checks, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

$4.95 per month

Fee

N/A

APY

$25

Minimum deposit to open

Details

Fee$4.95 per month
To waive the feeEnroll in the Preferred Rewards program and qualify for the Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors tier
Minimum deposit to open$25
ATMs16,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
ATM transaction fee$0
Out-of-network ATM fee$2.50 Non-Bank of America ATMs:
$2.5 - In the U.S., plus any fee charged by the ATM 's operator.
$5 - Outside the U.S., plus any fee charged by the ATM 's operator.
Overdraft fee$0

Expert review

Peter Carleton

Review by


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.

Expert review

This account offers low fees and easy access to your money, both online and through one of the nation’s largest ATM networks. However, it doesn’t offer overdraft protection or the ability to write checks.

What are the benefits of the Advantage SafeBalance Checking account?

In addition to its FDIC-insured deposits, fraud protection and custom alerts, this account offers the following perks:

  • Easy access. This account comes with a Visa debit card and fee-free use of one of the nation’s largest ATM networks.
  • Low fees. This account has a monthly fee of $4.95, which is waived if you’re a student or a member of Preferred Rewards. Plus, there are no overdraft or NSF fees.
  • Preferred Rewards. A free program that waives 12 non-Bank of America ATM fees annually depending on your average balance across all Bank of America accounts.
  • No monthly balance requirements. Unlike some other checking accounts, you aren’t required to maintain a minimum balance in your account.
  • Budgeting tool. Use Bank of America‘s spending and budgeting tool to track spending habits and take control of your finances.

Bank of America ATM network and fees

This account comes with a Bank of America Visa debit card that gives you access to the second largest bank-owned ATM network with over 16,000 fee-free ATMs. Plus, you’ll be able to use cardless ATMs, which allow you to make ATM transactions with your smartphone or other contactless device.

If you use an ATM outside of this network, these fees may apply:

  • 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?

No account is perfect. Keep an eye out for these potential drawbacks:

  • Opening deposit requirement. This account requires a $25 minimum deposit to open.
  • Monthly service charge. This account has a $4.95 monthly fee unless you meet either of these conditions:
    • Member of the Preferred Rewards program
    • Younger than 24 and enrolled in high school, college or vocational school
  • No interest. Unlike some other checking accounts, this account does not earn interest.
  • No overdraft. If you make a purchase that brings your account balance below zero, the transaction will be declined.
  • No paper checks. You won’t be able to write paper checks with this account.

If you’re not satisfied that the pros outweigh the cons, compare checking accounts to find an option that better suits your needs.

Compare with other checking accounts

Name Product Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
Chase Total Checking
$0
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches nationwide
$2.50
Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking account and set up direct deposit within 60 days of opening your account. Chase's simplest checking account is easy to use and gives you access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
HSBC Advance Checking
$0
Surcharge-free HSBC ATMs nationally and internationally, plus up to four rebates a month for using non-HSBC ATMs in all US states except New York
Get up to $270 (max. $50 per month) for eligible new customers who open an HSBC Advance checking account. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
BBVA Online Checking
$25
No ATM fees nationwide at more than 64,000 AllPoint, participating 7-Eleven and BBVA USA ATMs
$3
A full-service account with convenient, surcharge-free access to two massive ATM networks, plus a $200 signup bonus when you meet deposit requirements
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
$10
55,000 free in-network ATMs
$0
Deposits are fossil fuel-free. A spend and save combo account with unlimited cash back rewards and deposits insured by the FDIC.
SoFi Money
$0
$0
SoFi Money® is a cash management account that charges no account fees to save, spend, and earn cash back rewards when you spend on brands you love.
NorthOne Business Banking
$50
More than 300,000 ATMs across America.

$0
A digital bank account featuring free cash deposits, on-demand customer support and streamlined bookkeeping integrations.
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How much do I need to open an account?

The Advantage SafeBalance checking account requires a minimum deposit of $25 to open.

How do I apply?

You can open the Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking account online, by phone or at a branch:

Online

  1. Visit the Bank of America website, click Checking, then Explore checking solutions.
  2. Scroll down and click Advantage SafeBalance, then Open now.
  3. Add a savings account or click Go to application.
  4. Fill in all personal information.
  5. Proceed through the next step to set up and fund your account.
  6. Review the terms and conditions and all personal info, then submit your application.
By phone. If you’d rather go through customer service to open an account, you can call 844-375-7031 to speak with an agent.

At a branch. Use the branch locator on Bank of America’s website to locate your nearest branch and set up an account.

Eligibility

To open this account, you’ll need to meet a few eligibility requirements:

  • Deposit of $25 or more
  • Social Security number
  • Permanent US address

Required information

Regardless of how you choose to open your account, you’ll be asked for the following information:

  • Name, date of birth and address
  • Employment information
  • Contact information
  • Social Security number or passport for foreign applicants

What other checking options does Bank of America offer?

Bank of America has a few other checking options:

Frequently asked questions.

Checking account ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top checking accounts and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: monthly fees, the ease at which monthly fees can be waived, the breadth of ATM access, ATM and overdraft fees, and customer service.

Read the full methodology of how we rate checking accounts.

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