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Bank of America Changing Checking Accounts and Increasing Fees

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Bank of America

Bank of America is changing its checking accounts which will likely result in customers paying more fees. The changes are being phased in. This Boston.com article describes the planned transition:

Over July and August, the nation’s biggest bank plans to start phasing out traditional checking products and move 530,000 customers in three states - including 170,000 in Massachusetts - to a new slate of accounts. By the end of next year, it plans to move all of its checking customers nationwide to the new offerings

You can see what the new checking accounts look like by going to the Bank of America checking account page and selecting Massachusetts for the state. The MyAccess Checking Account will no longer be available. I guess even after the higher MyAccess Checking fees they added last month, that still wasn't enough. Below is a review of the four new checking accounts:

Bank of America Essentials Checking Account

This new account is their most basic checking account. It does not include Bill Pay, and there's a $6 monthly fee with no option to have this waived.

Bank of America eBanking Checking Account

This is similar to their current eBanking account. However, the monthly fee if you don't meet the e-banking requirements is higher ($12 instead of $8.95). The e-banking requirements is that you make all deposits and withdrawals online or at an ATM (not at a teller) and sign up for paperless statements.

Bank of America Enhanced Checking Account

This new account looks to be the closest replacement for the MyAccess Checking. To avoid a $15 monthly fee, you must deposit at least $2,000 per month, maintain a minimum daily combined deposit balance of $5,000 or use an eligible Bank of America credit card at least once a month.

Bank of America Premium Checking Account

This appears to replace their Advantage with Tiered Interest Checking. This Premium checking is a 4 tiered-interest checking account. Of course the interest rate is so low that it has no value. For example, the highest rate is currently only 0.10% for a $100K balance. There's a $25 monthly fee with two ways to have this fee waived: 1) Maintain a combined balance of $20K in deposit accounts and/or Merrill Lynch investment accounts, or 2) Have an eligible linked Bank of America mortgage.

Other New Fees at Bank of America

The Boston.com article also mentioned other new fees that Bank of America is adding. Later this month a new overdraft fee goes into effect. According to the article "the bank will impose a $35 fee if customers overdraw their account by a penny; previously, customers were charged only if they were overdrawn by $10 or more." Bank of America has also increased its early withdrawal penalty on CDs. As I described in this Bank of America CD penalty post, it's now charging a flat $25 plus 1% of the amount withdrawn for CDs with terms under 12 months and 3% for longer terms. With their CD rates so low, I guess they determined their old penalties of 6 or 12 months of interest are too small.

Do You Have a Bank of America Account?

In my Bank of America new fees post last month I asked readers if they still have a Bank of America Account or used to have one. Out of 75 readers who responded, 48% said they still have an account and 29% said they used to have one (the poll is still active). That's inline with a statistic mentioned in the Boston.com article. According to the article "half of American households have an account or relationship with" Bank of America. According to the Federal Reserve, Bank of America is the largest bank in the U.S. in terms of assets. With new fees being added each month, hopefully we will see Bank of America losing customers.

New Fees May Be More Common

There will likely be many other banks adding new fees. With the new debit card fee regulation that's scheduled to take effect soon, banks, especially large banks, will be looking for new ways to replace the lost debit card interchange revenue.

Free Checking Alternatives

With credit unions, community banks and internet banks, there's no reason to pay maintenance fees at Bank of America or any other mega bank. Three internet banks that offer free checking accounts are ING Direct, Incredible Bank and Ally Bank. Ally would be the best choice if you want paper checks.

For credit unions, Alliant Credit Union has one of the best free checking accounts.

And don't forget that the vast majority of high-yield reward checking accounts are also free checking accounts with no monthly fees even if you don't meet the debit card usage requirements. If you're new to reward checking, my post on the 10 common traits of high-yield reward checking accounts should be useful. There are still many local deals that are better than what's available nationwide. You can find these in our reward checking account rate table. Be sure to use the "Filter Accounts" button above the table to compare accounts in your state.

Edit 10:48am: Enhanced checking requires only a $2K deposit and not a direct deposit.

  Tags: Bank of America, checking account

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Comments
33 comments.
Comment #1 by Evelyn (anonymous) posted on
Evelyn
This is extremely useful information.  Thank you very much!  I was a BOFA customer for many, many years.  In the small town where I used to live, it was nice to have developed a personal relationship with the tellers and managers, and the managers really helped my family out several times with banking issues that I'm sure that would not have happened if they didn't know us. But having moved to another town, I don't feel the BOFA love anymore, and in fact, recently when I put my sons on my accounts as beneficiaries, BOFA actually linked all of our accounts and made us all co-signers of each others' accounts, which is not at all what we asked them to do.  We were recently told that they can't reverse this process; we have to cancel all our accounts in order not to be responsible for each others' accounts.  HUGE ORDEAL.  It took forever for all of us to change our automatic withdrawals and deposits we had set up with clients, bill pay, etc.  We have all moved our funds to Ally.  Good riddance, BOFA. 

7
Comment #2 by me1004 posted on
me1004
Frnakly,e vent he old fees were intolerable. They take your money, often give no interest on the checking accounts yet turn around and leand it out -- and that profit isn't enough, they think youshoud also pay a fee!?

This is NOT necessary. This is just crooked gouging -- simply because they think they can do it. All BoA customers should close their accounts and take their money to one of the many, many other institutions where they can get a free checking account, often with just a pretty low balance in the account.

As an example of the many options out there, I, for one, use Alliant Credit Union, where I get a free checking accoiunt with no minimum balance needed at all. Alliant will even give me 1.1% interest on the free checking account if I have one direct deposit per month and maintain a minimum of $100 in it. So, why PAY BoA for this? BoA is already making money off your account by lending it out -- there is no excuse for them double-dipping.

11
Comment #3 by saver123 (anonymous) posted on
saver123
I was a BOFA customer, but left some time ago because I wanted nothing to do with this bank. For years they were the worst bank you could belong to (for years, after depositing cash, even in person at the bank, you'd have to wait 24hrs to have access to that cash again if you suddenly needed it). That's the point where I left. Cut up my Visa card with them as well. Severed all ties. Not a day goes by, it seems, that the Los Angeles Times doesn't have another article mentioning how BofA is either in another lawsuit, or has admitted to doing something illegal. I left them years ago for credit unions and other banks and haven't looked back. People can be fools if they want and stick around to be fleeced. There are plenty of other options. People use the excuse that there are plenty of BofA ATMs around, but there are also plenty of bank and credit union networks from CoOp to Allpoint ATM networks that offer the customers of smaller banks free ATMs all over the place to participating smaller credit unions/banks. BofA and banks like them fleece their customers because so many people are like sheep and just sit there because they don't want to spend one hour for one day of their life to change banks. I'd bet you that if there was a mass exodus to smaller banks and credit unions (which might be raising their fees too, but never to the extent BofA does) BofA would be forced to change. But as a very, very happy ex-customer of their I can tell you I honestly don't care one bit what BofA does to their customers, because I've taken the one hour of my life to leave them, and have never been happier.

9
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Well, not much to say that IS NEW.  BOA never was much of a "customer-orineted" bank-EVER.  On top of not (like other major banks) virtually anything on deposits, they change the "rules of the game"  very often.  Funny thing is, driving local customers to pay to see a teller", more or less makes them an online bank with very bad rates...not to mention manners!  Smart BOA customers would simply walk or run to another bank or local Credit Union.

8
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It is not easy to deal with someone who thinks they are to big to fail.
Being able to get free money any time they need from the FEDs back door window, makes them feel invincible and powerful.
The customers are irrelevant and nuisances to the big kahuna and there you have it, the Congress created a monster that is running around and calling the shots across USA.
Being a customer makes you insignificant and creates liability to the lazy tellers, that they do not want to see you in the branch and asking them and bothering them.
The mentality is already set in stone and nobody can move them from that state of mind, because they do not need the money from the customers.

8
Comment #6 by mschoenf (anonymous) posted on
mschoenf
The credit card usage way to avoid fee on the Enchanced Checking wouldn't be too onerous if one has one are doesn't mind getting one.  I actually appreciate their rewards cc which credits 1% to your bill each month rather than having to wait for some milestone and cash in for gift cards / bill credit.  

1
Comment #7 by 51hh posted on
51hh
They claimed that HELOC balance now counts toward the $20K Premium account requirement, I just need to wait and see.

1
Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It's time to move on to a credit union!

5
Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I don't much care for BOA. Once I got an account with BOA wiith a promotion to get $100 bonus. BOA did not honor it even though I carefully followed the guidelines to get the bonus. Never again.

8
Comment #10 by lou posted on
lou
Half of American households have an account with BoA. What a joke. It is unbelievable they can do whatever they want with impunity because half of all American households are morons.

8
Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I am not surprised at these proposed changes.  The only thing that had going for them is the good bill pay system.  I will probably leave my checking account open there (with a small balance) because I can maintain the overall relationship balance requirement.

1
Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Well between my father's name and my own, I have 9 checking accounts with them, and they've all been quite profitable.  This has been a nonissue for me previously because the minimum balance was fine for me given it was my regular checking account too.

Question- If I switch my main account over to ebanking, am I denied teller service when I really need it...like to get a cashiers check or other things I can't do via an ATM?

Other point- While it is true that other banks let you use any ATM, most of the ATMs closest to me require you to swipe your debit card to get entrance to the ATM.  I imagine I can't swipe another card to get in there, can I?

1
Comment #13 by Jo (anonymous) posted on
Jo
I once had a MyAccess checking account with a linked Keep the Change savings account, which I truly loved. That was when they matched my savings the first year and so on. I really liked that concept, too. But when the stuff hit the fan I decided to get out and close both accounts. Seeing the forest for the trees, it was a wise move on my part with no regrets.

Greed gets one nowhere. It usually ends up biting one pretty darn hard in the backside. Gotta love that Karma. I am curious to see who else will be following BofA's footsteps to higher fees and charges. In the meantime, I will opt for lower interest rates over fees.

1
Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
"Other point- While it is true that other banks let you use any ATM, most of the ATMs closest to me require you to swipe your debit card to get entrance to the ATM.  I imagine I can't swipe another card to get in there, can I?"

Yes. You can swipe anything with a mag stripe - ATM card, credit card, Costco card, etc. Those are just to keep out the homeless from sleeping in the ATM vestibules. Since most banks charge $3 for their ATM use, they WANT you to come in and use it, so they don't make it that hard.

2
Comment #16 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
boa is the worst bank in america.they give you nothing.wake up america and get out of this lowlife bank.go to a smaller local  or credit union and be treated right this bank is finished. look at the stock price if  you want a large bank there is onyl one good one CHASE you get 150$ for opening ck ac. you get 300 to open chase freedom credit card .you get 30000 reward plus 50$ for chase contl  one pass you get 100$ open chase sapphire credit card.you get 150$ to open chase saving acct compare this to boa little or nothing rewards and wait months to get it take a look at boa add it up program which is a scam and should be stopped by the banking comm.BOYCOTT THIS BANK YOU ARE GETTING RIPPED OFF

3
Comment #19 by jcgc50 posted on
jcgc50
We now have 6 big banks running our country where we had 13. This is one of them, they and their friends helped drive the planet into a ditch about three years ago and they are kicking and screaming to prevent themselves from real regulation and have so far succeeded.

We banked with them for years but switched to USAA bank a little over a year ago. Free checking, free checks, no minimum balance plus billpay and they reimburse any ATM service charges you get from other folks ATMs. Also, you don't have to be in or retired from the military to open a financial account with them.

Good company to do business with.

3
Comment #20 by BLL (anonymous) posted on
BLL
The fact the interchange fees are being slashed from 44 cents to 12 cents, unfortunately forces the larger banks (over 10 billion in assets), to find other fee avenues. My biggest concern with BOA is their continued practice of "holding" checks over $ 5000, this is a huge money maker for them as your check will most likely clear in a day or two, but BOA gets to re-invest those funds at little or zero interest until they release the funds in your account, multiply this by several million daily - and this number becomes huge.

1
Comment #21 by Jason (anonymous) posted on
Jason
BofA is one of the worst banks I have ever had the misfortune of using. I finally switched over to a local credit union (https://www.obee.com).

4
Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Will the new BofA Enhanced Checking Account include free Bill Pay?

Because of this blog, I'm seriously considering getting out of BoA. they really ****ed up when they supposedly "cleaned up" my problem with 2 counterfeit checks that hit my account.

 

1
Comment #23 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Enhanced does have bill pay and all other online banking of no charge. As for the ebanking question and using banking centers. The Ebanking account requires you to use the ATM and online banking for the every day uses such as deposits, withdrawls. If an ATM is not working, stop into the branch, ket them know, and they can help you and ensure you are not charged the monthly fee. You can use the branch for anything that you can not do at an ATM and there will be no charge. The reason for the change in the BOA accounts is to be more clear to the customers. No more "nickle and dimeing" everything is up front and clear. I had to call about something and I noticed their customer service changed a lot. They are nice now and willing to help, while before they were rude. They are changing to be more "personalable"! They know they messed up in the past and they are trying to fix it. Also, I am getting same info from each associate. Before I would get different answers to the question I asked. Now, they are all on the same page and know the rules. HELPS A LOT FOR CLARITY!

3
Comment #26 by lou posted on
lou
The large savings you have with BoA gets a puny amount of interest. You can do much better with a number of credit unions and smaller banks. I can't understand why anyone would do business with a bank that is deliberatively uncompetitive with other financial institutions.

4
Comment #27 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I just got hit with a $15 enhanced checking fee. I didn't see that one coming! I am looking for another bank, I'm getting tired of getting hit with fees! I am struggling to make ends meet as is! I'm sure not sticking around for the debit card fees that are coming. 

1
Comment #28 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Have ever seen a picture of Brian Moyniham? Seeing that picture was all it took for me to dump this bank.

I know a crook when i see one.

1
Comment #29 by any relation (anonymous) posted on
any relation
to daniel patrick moy ?

1
Comment #30 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I have a ask??can I use the credit card

Bank of America

B.O.A account

also used in Ghana??

1
Comment #31 by Ken James (anonymous) posted on
Ken James
I have banked with BOA for years, and while I don't like thier politics I have never, ever had a problem.  I love the service I received at each city, Houston, Knoxville, and now Raleigh.  on line help has always been responsive and helpful.  All the folks here seem motivated to talk about thier dislike, but was the problem with BOA or them? A lot of people drop their drawers and then want someone else to pull them back up. 

2
Comment #33 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The "box" of checks i ordered just came in today, they came in a folder, Three books of checks a third of the size they were last year! put all three together and that equaled to one book last year and i paid 15 dollars for that crap! unbeliveable!! switching over to security service for sure these greedy sob's have no shame!!!

1