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Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking account review

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.

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$4.95 per month

Fee

N/A

APY

$25

Minimum deposit to open

Details

APYN/A
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
Foreign transaction fee3%
Overdraft fee$0
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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.

If overdraft protection is important to you, all of Bank of America’s other checking accounts let you activate Balance Connect, an overdraft protection service that costs $12 per use.

How do I open a Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking account?

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

Online

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
  2. From the Bank of America website, click Checking, then Explore checking solutions.
  3. Scroll down and click Advantage SafeBalance, then Open now.
  4. Add a savings account or click Go to application.
  5. Fill in all personal information.
  6. Proceed through the next step to set up and fund your account.
  7. 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 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. This could be frustrating in an emergency.
  • 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

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US Bank Smartly Checking
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Bonus
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$6.95 per month
$25
N/A
New offer: Earn up to $600 when you open a new U.S. Bank Smartly™ checking account and complete qualifying activities. Subject to certain terms and limitations. Offer valid through April 11, 2023. Member FDIC
Take control of your spending with integrated tools such as automated budgeting, upcoming due date alerts, low balance alerts and more, available in the US Bank Smartly Checking mobile app. Easily send and receive funds via Zelle. Waive overdraft fees by depositing money before the forgiveness deadline. Member FDIC.
Chime Checking account
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Chime Checking account
$0 per month
$0
N/A
Save easily and access your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit. Pay $0 monthly fees, and no minimum balance is required. Access 24/7 support and get daily balance and transaction alerts. FDIC insured.
Chase Total Checking
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Bonus
Chase Total Checking
$12 per month
$0
N/A
New Chase checking customers enjoy a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit.
Chase Total Checking is easy to use and gives you access to 16,000 ATMs and more than 4,700 branches. It offers a $200 signup bonus to new Chase customers. Member FDIC.
Upgrade Rewards Checking
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Upgrade Rewards Checking
$0 per month
$0
N/A
Earn up to 2% cashback rewards on everyday purchases. Pay $0 fees for overdraft, domestic wire transfer and monthly maintenance. Pair with Upgrade’s savings account to earn 3.75% APY. Get up to 20% discounts on Upgrade loans and credit lines. Member FDIC.
Albert Cash
Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Albert Cash
From $0 per month
$0
0.10%
30-day free trial for Albert Genius
Albert Saving helps you set money aside for the future, whether your purchasing goals are big or small. Paid Genius subscription members enjoy perks like automated savings and annual cash bonuses. FDIC-insured through their partner banks.
PSECU checking account
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
PSECU checking account
$0 per month
$0
0.20%
Earn up to $300: $100 when you get a savings and checking account and activate your debit card with digital banking within 30 days. $100 with monthly payroll direct deposit of $200+ within 90 days. $100 when you maintain direct deposits for an additional 90 days. Select Level Up Your Banking to see terms and get the promo.
Earn a bonus and 5 or 10 cents in rewards on all eligible purchases. Pay $0 in monthly fees, no overdraft fees and get ATM fee reimbursements. NCUA insured.
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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.

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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