Both Bank of America and Chase Bank are large financial institutions that offer a wide array of products including checking accounts, savings accounts, and certificates of deposit (CDs).
If you’re deciding between the two, it’s important to consider key features of accounts offered by each so that you can make the most informed choice about which bank is right for you.
Bank of America vs. Chase: Comparing basic accounts
|Bank of America||Chase|
|Certificates of Deposit
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|Rates & Fees accurate as of Sept. 18, 2018. Sources: Bank of America and Chase|
Differences and similarities between Bank of America and Chase
Both Chase and Bank of America offer a wide array of financial products to meet the needs of most consumers. The two financial institutions share common traits, including:
- Low initial deposits required to open accounts
- Overdraft protection options
- Online banking, a mobile app, and a large ATM network
- The ability to avoid fees by linking your bank accounts, meeting a minimum balance, or having direct deposit
- Bank branches where you can work with a banker one on one
But there are some important differences between the two financial institutions. For example:
- It can be more difficult to avoid banking fees with Chase checking accounts, as the required direct deposit amount and minimum balance requirements are both higher than with Bank of America’s lowest-price checking option.
- It’s easier to avoid account fees with Chase savings accounts because the required minimum balance requirements are lower than with Bank of America’s savings account.
Ultimately, both Chase and Bank of America provide similar features and fee structures. Pay close attention to smaller details to help you decide which bank is best for you.
Choose Bank of America for its Core Checking account
Bank of America and Chase offer different tiers of checking accounts, with the lowest tier paying no interest on money in your account but making it easier to avoid monthly account maintenance fees.
But Bank of America’s basic checking account has less stringent requirements than Chase’s basic account if you want monthly fees to be waived.
Bank of America makes it easier to waive monthly fees
Bank of America’s entry-level checking account — Core Checking — is comparable to Chase’s Total Checking account. Both require a $25 minimum deposit to open the account, and both offer standard features you’d expect from any a checking account, including access to a wide network of ATMs, mobile banking, the ability to send money through Zelle, debit cards with fraud protection, and mobile check deposit.
Both Chase and Bank of America charge a $12 monthly account maintenance fee for these entry-level checking accounts — unless you fulfill certain requirements. But Bank of America’s requirements are easier to meet. Bank of America requires you to either maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance or make at least one qualifying direct deposit totaling at least $250.
Chase, on the other hand, requires $500 in direct deposits unless you’re able to meet their minimum balance requirements. Like Bank of America, Chase requires a $1,500 minimum daily balance if you don’t have direct deposit, unless you have an average balance of $5,000 across all your linked accounts.
Bank of America waives the minimum balance and direct deposit requirements for students younger than 24 who are enrolled in high school, college, or a vocational program. This means qualifying students don’t have to pay the $12 monthly fee, even with a low balance and no direct deposit. Comparatively, Chase’s College Checking account waives the monthly service fee for up to five years while you’re in college.
Bank of America also offers Keep the Change
Another reason to bank with Bank of America over Chase is BOA’s innovative Keep the Change program. This program aims to help facilitate savings by rounding up purchases you make to the nearest dollar. The “change” is transferred to a savings account to help you build a nest egg for the future. Chase has no comparable program.
Choose Chase for its basic savings account
While both Chase and Bank of America offer basic savings accounts, Bank of America charges higher fees than Chase, and you’ll need a higher minimum monthly balance to avoid those fees.
Chase has leaner monthly fees and requirements
Chase’s basic savings account, Chase Savings, charges a $5 monthly fee, compared with Bank of America’s $8 fee. This fee at Chase is waived if you fulfill one of the following requirements:
- You have a beginning balance of $300 or more in the account
- Are younger than 18
- Have at least one automated transfer of $25 or more from a personal Chase checking account to your savings account
- Link your Chase Premier Plus Checking, Chase Sapphire Checking, or Chase Private Client Checking accounts.
Bank of America requires a $100 opening deposit for a savings account. You’ll have to pay $8 monthly unless you maintain at least a $500 daily minimum balance, are a Preferred Rewards client, or link a Bank of America Interest Checking account (which comes with its own set of requirements to avoid a $25 monthly fee).
Bank of America has higher rates for lower balances
While Bank of America may have harder requirements to meet, its savings account does pay a slightly higher rate on lower balances. As you compare savings accounts, you’ll need to consider whether you can meet stricter requirements for a higher rate or whether you’d be better off with a simple savings account.
Bank of America pays a 0.03% APY to savings account clients who aren’t enrolled in Preferred Rewards. Those who are enrolled can earn between 0.04% and 0.06% based on their rewards tier.
Chase clients with a basic Chase Savings account earn 0.01% interest on their accounts. Those with a Premier Savings account who qualify for relationship rates can earn between 0.04% and 0.09% based on their balance.
So if you don’t have much to save and want to avoid fees, Chase can be a better deal. But if you want to earn slightly more on your balance and can avoid fees, Bank of America could be a better option.
Choose Bank of America for its Preferred Rewards program
One of the biggest selling points of Bank of America is the perks that the financial institution provides for Preferred Rewards customers.
You can become a Preferred Rewards customer by maintaining a balance of at least $20,000 across different Bank of America products, including checking accounts, savings accounts, and investments with Merrill Lynch.
There are three different tiers of Preferred Rewards, including:
- Gold requires a three-month average combined balance of $20,000 to $49,999
- Platinum requires a three-month average combined balance of $50,000 to $99,999
- Platinum Honors requires a three-month average combined balance of $100,000 or more
Bank of America Preferred Rewards features
Preferred Rewards customers receive a variety of perks, from higher savings account rates to no-fee ATM transactions. The higher tier you’re in, the better the benefits.
- Checking and savings: Monthly maintenance fees are waived on up to four linked checking and savings accounts. Further, your savings account rate will increase from 0.03% up to 0.06%.
- ATM transactions: Platinum-level customers receive up to 12 no-fee ATM transactions at non-Bank of America ATMs annually. Platinum Honors customers can receive an unlimited number of no-fee ATM transactions.
- Credit cards: If you have a Bank of America rewards card, you’ll receive a rewards bonus based on the tier to which you belong.
- Auto loans: Get between a 0.25% and 0.50% interest rate reduction on an auto loan.
- Mortgages: Between $200 and $600 will be shaved off the origination fee on your Bank of America mortgage.
- Investing: Platinum customers can make up to 30 free stock and ETF trades using their Merrill Edge accounts. Platinum Honors members can make up to 100 trades fee-free.
If you have at least $20,000 to invest across your Bank of America and Merrill Lynch accounts, taking advantage of this program and maintaining a banking relationship with Bank of America can make sense.
Chase Sapphire Banking features
Chase offers similar perks for Sapphire Banking customers. Consider these key benefits to the program:
- No ATM fees worldwide
- Free trades on online stocks and ETFs with You Invest by J.P. Morgan
- Fee waivers for bank accounts, including waived overdraft fees
But Chase Sapphire Banking requires a $75,000 combined average daily balance across eligible accounts. That amount is significantly higher than the $20,000 necessary to gain access to Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program.
Questions to consider as you choose a bank
It’s important to compare all the terms and conditions of accounts offered by different financial institutions when deciding which is right for you. Before opening a bank account with Bank of America and Chase, consider:
- Can you meet requirements to avoid fees for checking and savings accounts?
- Does the financial institution offer easy access to your money with a wide network of ATMs or fee waivers for using ATMs from other institutions?
- Do you have enough money to meet requirements for opening an account?
- What interest will you earn and are you eligible for any rewards?
Finally, make sure to compare all fees, including foreign transaction fees, overdraft fees, fees for checks and other expenses you may need to pay.
Is Chase or Bank of America right for you?
Both Bank of America and Chase offer many options for checking accounts, savings accounts, and CDs.
But fees are required for checking and savings accounts with each financial institution unless you can meet minimum balance requirements or make monthly direct deposits. Neither pays a lot of interest on savings accounts, but both have many options for purchasing CDs.
You should compare both institutions carefully and also consider whether online-only banks or other financial institutions may offer you more flexibility in maintaining no-fee accounts without having to keep a certain balance. Shopping around to find the right bank is worth it, so research your options carefully.
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
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The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
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|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate|