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Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking account review

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Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking
3.7
★★★★★
Finder score
Fee
$4.95 per month
APY
N/A
Minimum deposit to open
$25

Our verdict

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

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.

Pros

  • Easy access
  • Low fees
  • Preferred Rewards
  • No monthly balance requirements
  • Budgeting tool

Cons

  • Opening deposit requirement
  • Monthly service charge
  • No interest
  • No overdraft
  • No paper checks

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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

Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Offer
SoFi Checking and Savings
Finder Score: 4.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
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$0 per month
$0
4.60% on balances of $0+
0.50% on balances of $0+
1.20% on balances of $0+
Get up to $300 cash bonus with qualifying direct deposit. Terms apply. This offer is available until June 30, 2024.
Earn up to 4.60% APY on savings by meeting deposit requirements, and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Members without deposit requirements will earn 0.50% APY on both savings and checking balances. Turn on automatic savings or use the Roundups feature to help you reach your savings goals faster. Get up to $2M of additional FDIC insurance through a network of participating banks.
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
$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. Member FDIC.
Cash Card by Cash App
Finder Score: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Cash Card by Cash App
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$0
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The Cash App Cash Card lets you pay for goods and services both online and in stores using your Cash App balance. Enjoy features like ATM access, direct deposit, instant discounts at select stores and a customizable card.
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
$0 per month
$0
3.30% on balances of $0 to $50,000
Use promo code AXOS300 and apply by June 30th, 2024, to earn up to $300 bonus, $50 each month you meet requirements: Make direct deposits of $5,000+ each month for the first 7 months and maintain an average balance of $7,000.
Earn up to 3.3% APY after meeting rate requirements. Get ATM free reimbursements at all domestic ATMs. Pay $0 monthly or overdraft fees. FDIC insured.
Chime® Checking Account
Finder Score: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime® Checking Account
$0 per month
$0
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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.
Current
Finder Score: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Current
$0 per month
$0
4.00% on balances of $0.01 to $2,000
Get a $50 referral bonus by inviting your friends to join Current. Once the person receives the invite link and makes qualifying deposits of at least $200 within 45 days of opening the account, you and the referred friend each earn $50
Earn 4% bonus on the first $2,000 in each savings pods. Also get budgeting tools, early direct deposit and up to 15x cashback points. All with no monthly fee or opening deposit requirement. Member FDIC.
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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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