Does Bank of America Charge for a Checking Account?

When it comes to choosing a checking account in retirement, fees are an important consideration. Bank of America offers several checking account options for seniors, each with its own monthly maintenance feesATM fees, and overdraft fees

Does Bank of America Charge for a Checking Account?

Yes, Bank of America does charge fees for its checking accounts. The bank offers three main types of checking accounts: Advantage SafeBalance Banking with a monthly fee of $4.95, Advantage Plus Checking with a monthly fee of $12, and Advantage Relationship Checking with a monthly fee of $25. However, these monthly fees can be waived under certain criteria such as maintaining a minimum balance, setting up a qualifying direct deposit, or being a member of the Preferred Rewards program.

This article will break down Bank of America’s checking account options for seniors, focusing on the key fees and benefits of each. Read on to find the best Bank of America checking account for your needs as a senior.

Overview of Bank of America Checking Accounts for Seniors

Bank of America offers three main checking accounts targeted at seniors:

  • Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking
  • Bank of America Advantage Plus Checking
  • Bank of America Advantage Relationship Checking

Below is an overview of the key features of each account:

Account NameMonthly FeeMinimum DepositInterestOverdraft Fees
Advantage SafeBalance Banking$4.95$25NoneNo overdrafts allowed
Advantage Plus Checking$12$100None$10 per overdraft (max 2 per day)
Advantage Relationship Checking$25$1000.01% – 0.02% APY$10 per overdraft (max 2 per day)

Now let’s explore the feesdiscountsperks, and other senior-focused benefitsof each account in more detail.

Bank of America Checking Account Fees

Here’s a table comparing the fees for different checking accounts at Bank of America:

Fee TypeAdvantage SafeBalance BankingAdvantage Plus CheckingAdvantage Relationship Checking
Monthly Maintenance$4.95$12$25
ATM Fees (Out-of-Network)$2.50 + ATM operator fees$2.50 + ATM operator fees$2.50 + ATM operator fees
Overdraft FeesNot allowed$10 (up to $20/day)$10 (up to $20/day)
Replacement Fee$5 (standard rush)
$15 (express rush)
$5 (standard rush)
$15 (express rush)
$5 (standard rush)
$15 (express rush)

Monthly Maintenance Fees

One of the biggest concerns for seniors choosing a checking account is the monthly maintenance fee. This recurring fee just for having the account can eat into fixed retirement income.

Here’s an overview of the monthly fees charged by each Bank of America checking account:

  • Advantage SafeBalance Banking: $4.95 monthly fee. This fee can be waived for customers under age 18, students under age 25, and Preferred Rewards members.
  • Advantage Plus Checking: $12 monthly fee. Can be waived by maintaining a $1,500 minimum balance or setting up a qualifying recurring direct deposit of $250 or more per month. Fee is also waived for Preferred Rewards members.
  • Advantage Relationship Checking: $25 monthly fee. Can be waived by maintaining a $10,000 minimum balance across linked accounts or by being a Preferred Rewards member.

As you can see, Bank of America offers opportunities to waive the monthly fees on each account by meeting balance requirements, setting up direct deposit, or by joining the Preferred Rewards program. 

For seniors on a fixed income, maintaining high account balances may not be feasible to avoid the monthly fee. Setting up direct deposit for Social Security or pension payments is an easy alternative to qualify for a fee waiver.

ATM Fees

Bank of America has over 16,000 ATMs in its network that account holders can use fee-free for withdrawals, deposits, transfers, and balance checks. But using an out-of-network ATM comes with fees.

Here are the ATM fees associated with each Bank of America checking account:

  • Advantage SafeBalance Banking: No fee for in-network ATM use. $2.50 for each out-of-network ATM withdrawal in the U.S., plus fees charged by the ATM operator.
  • Advantage Plus Checking: No fee for Bank of America ATMs. $2.50 for each out-of-network ATM withdrawal in the U.S., plus fees charged by the ATM operator. 
  • Advantage Relationship Checking: No fee for Bank of America ATMs. $2.50 for each out-of-network ATM withdrawal in the U.S., plus fees charged by the ATM operator.

The $2.50 out-of-network ATM fee applies to all three checking accounts. On top of that, you’ll pay whatever surcharge the ATM owner charges for the withdrawal. This can add up quickly if you frequently use out-of-network ATMs.

Seniors can take advantage of fee-free ATMs at grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retail locations to avoid paying multiple fees per withdrawal. Knowing your in-network ATM locations as a Bank of America customer can help minimize this cost.

Overdraft Fees

Overdraft fees top the list of frustrating bank fees. Here is how Bank of America handles overdrafts and associated fees for each checking account:

  • Advantage SafeBalance Banking: This account does not allow overdrafts under any circumstances. Transactions are declined if funds are not available, so no overdraft fees can be charged.
  • Advantage Plus Checking: Comes with a $10 overdraft fee per item. A maximum of 2 fees ($20) per day can be charged. Overdraft protection can be added by linking to a savings account or credit card to automatically transfer funds when needed.
  • Advantage Relationship Checking: Also has a $10 overdraft fee per item, with a limit of 2 fees ($20) per day. Overdraft protection can be added to this account as well.

The Advantage SafeBalance account is the most senior-friendly, since overdrafts are not allowed at all. Seniors living on a fixed income need to avoid overdraft fees, as they can quickly accumulate. 

For the other accounts, ask Bank of America about overdraft protection or overdraft alerts to help avoid expensive fees. Overdraft protection links to another account to automatically transfer funds when needed, instead of allowing transactions to process then charging an overdraft fee.

Debit Card Fees

Bank of America provides a debit card with each checking account to access funds and make purchases. The bank does not charge for basic debit card transactions.

Additional debit card fees include:

  • Replacement fee: $5 standard rush card fee, $15 for express rush card fee
  • Non-Bank of America ATM fees: $2.50 for U.S. transactions, plus fees charged by ATM operator

To avoid fees as a senior, take advantage of free ATMs in-network and be cautious when using the debit card to avoid losing it and needing replacements. You may also want to ask about a senior debit card that offers benefits like heightened fraud protection.

Online and Mobile Banking

Bank of America offers digital banking capabilities for convenient account access from anywhere. Seniors can use the website or mobile app for the following activities without fees:

  • Check balances and transaction history
  • Transfer funds
  • Pay bills
  • Deposit checks via mobile
  • Receive account alerts
  • 24/7 access to live customer service

For seniors who prefer to do their banking from home, the convenience of online banking and mobile banking provides freedom and security. Managing finances is easier without having to visit a branch.

Key security features include multi-factor authentication and transaction monitoring to notify you of any suspicious activity. Using the Bank of America mobile app also gives you complete control over your debit card; you can lock/unlock the card at any time.

Paperless Statements

By opting out of mailed paper statements, seniors can reduce clutter and enjoy more security. 

With paperless statements:

  • Statements are securely accessed electronically
  • Less risk of paper statements being lost/stolen
  • No need to shred statements for sensitive information

Paperless statements are also better for the environment, saving trees and energy used to produce and deliver paper statements each month.

For seniors who open accounts online or prefer digital-only banking, paperless statements are the best option. Bank of America does not charge a fee for paperless statements.

Additional Senior Benefits

Beyond the basics, Bank of America provides some nice perks and advantages to seniors age 62+ who have checking accounts.

Senior-focused benefits of being a checking account holder include:

  • Discounted safety deposit box rental fee
  • No annual rent on the first 3 boxes
  • No currency exchange fee 
  • No cashier’s check fee
  • Higher rates on CDs and savings accounts
  • Free standard checks or discounts on certain designs

Seniors who qualify for the Preferred Rewards program also get advantages like increased savings rates, bonus credit card rewards, and reduced lending fees. It pays to take full advantage of the senior discountsperks, and benefitsoffered by Bank of America.

Choosing the Right Account

With an overview of the features and fees for each account, seniors can zero in on the best Bank of America checking account option. 

Here are some scenarios with account recommendations based on common senior needs:

  • Basic banking with robust security features: Advantage SafeBalance Banking
  • Full checking capabilities including paper checks: Advantage Plus Checking
  • Earn interest and qualify for relationship benefits: Advantage Relationship Checking

The Advantage SafeBalance account is the most budget-friendly since it has the lowest monthly fee and no overdraft fees. But it lacks some conveniences like paper checks.

The Advantage Plus account adds check-writing capabilities for just $7 more in monthly fees. And the Relationship account unlocks relationship pricing perks for clients who maintain a $10,000 minimum balance.

Consider your specific banking preferences and needs as a senior to select the right fit. Bank of America offers account options at varying cost levels.

Summing Up Key Checking Account Fees and Benefits

When weighing Bank of America’s checking accounts for seniors, keep these key considerations in mind:

  • Monthly fees of $4.95 to $25, with opportunities for fee waivers
  • Out-of-network ATM fees of $2.50 per transaction
  • Overdraft fees of $10 per item, with limits, on some accounts
  • No fees for debit card transactions or paperless statements
  • Perks like preferred rates and discounts for seniors
  • Access to digital banking and financial tools

Focus on minimizing fees by taking advantage of senior waivers, in-network ATMs, overdraft protection, and automatic transfers or deposits. While not completely free, Bank of America checking accounts can meet the needs of many retired customers.

Parting Advice on Choosing the Best Account

We hope this breakdown of Bank of America’s checking accounts equips seniors to find the right fit. Consider your budget, banking habits, and priorities as a retiree. 

If you want a low-cost account with strong security controls, the SafeBalance account is a great choice. Or opt for the Relationship account to unlock premium benefits. 

Stop by a local branch or explore options online to find the ideal Bank of America checking account for your retirement needs and finances.

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