Updated: Jun 20, 2024

Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Account 2024 Review

Our review of the Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Account looks at its fees and features that differ from traditional checking accounts.
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Bank of America's SafeBalance account is a checkless checking account with no overdraft fees. There is a monthly maintenance fee but Bank of America offers multiple options for waiving it. 

Our Verdict

Bank of America SafeBalance takes a simplified approach to checking. This digital bank account has no paper checks but it allows you to easily pay bills and transfer funds through online and mobile banking. SafeBalance is designed to keep you from spending more money than you have available. 

You might consider opening a SafeBalance account if you:

  • Are new to banking and are looking for a starter checking account
  • Don't need to be able to write paper checks
  • Would like to avoid overdraft fees
  • Are under 25 or a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member

SafeBalance lacks some of the bells and whistles that other top checking accounts may offer. However, it could be a great fit for students or young adults learning to navigate banking and money management.

Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Account Pros & Cons

  • Suited to teens 16 or older and young adults under 25
  • Access to one of the largest branch networks nationwide
  • Multiple ways to waive the monthly fee
  • Low opening deposit requirement
  • $4.95 monthly fee (can be waived)
  • No check-writing available
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Compared to Other Checking Accounts

Chase Total Checking

Chase Total Checking offers all of the features you'd expect from a checking account, along with branch and ATM access. Chase Overdraft Assist helps you avoid overdraft fees and while there is a monthly maintenance fee, there are several ways to waive it. You can manage your accounts with Chase online and mobile banking, which includes the ability to transfer funds with Zelle. 

Read our full editorial review of Chase Total Checking

Experian Smart Money Checking

Experian Smart Money Checking combines the features of a checking account with an opportunity to build credit. This account could appeal to students and young adults who are looking for ways to establish a credit history without borrowing money. There are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements and deposits are FDIC-insured. 

Read our full editorial review of Experian Smart Money Checking

Aspiration Bank Checking

Aspiration is a green bank account that emphasizes sustainability. You can earn cash back on debit card purchases when you support socially responsible businesses and get a great rate on savings balances. You'll also enjoy unlimited fee-free withdrawals at more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs.

Read our full editorial review of Aspiration Bank Checking

Chime Spending Account

The Chime Spending Account is an online bank account with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. Chime's Spot Me feature is designed to help you avoid overdraft fees and you can enroll in direct deposit to get paid up to two days early. You can also deposit cash to your Chime account at Walgreens and Duane Reade locations. 

Read our full editorial review of the Chime Spending Account

Interest Rates

Interest checking accounts pay you interest on balances you keep in your account. Rates usually fall below what you could earn with a high-yield savings account or money market account but it's still nice to get a little something for your money. 

Bank of America SafeBalance doesn't pay interest. But that's not unusual for basic checking accounts. 

If you're looking for interest checking accounts, you might try searching for them at online banks. Online banks tend to pay better rates for checking and savings accounts, while charging fewer fees. 


Like other traditional banks, Bank of America charges fees for its checking accounts. 

SafeBalance has some fees to know, including a monthly fee. Here's how they add up:

Other Service Fees - Bank of America SafeBalance Account

Type Fee
Monthly Maintenance Fee $5
Non-Bank of America Teller Withdrawal Fee $5 or 3% of the dollar amount, up to a $10 maximum
Overdraft Fee $0
Non-Bank of America ATM Fee (U.S.) $3
Non-Bank of America ATM Fee (International) $5
Cashier's Checks $15
Wire Transfers $15 to $45
Stop Payment $30
Statement Copies $5
Foreign Transaction Fee 3%

There are no overdraft fees for this account because you cannot spend more than you have available. Transactions that would put your account balance in the negative are declined. 

The monthly fee is waived if you:

  • Are under the age of 25 OR
  • Maintain a minimum daily balance of $500 or more OR
  • Are a Preferred Rewards program member

Preferred Rewards membership is based on your account balances. You need a minimum three-month combined balance of $20,000 to reach the lowest tier. 

If you're new to banking, it might be easier to meet the age or minimum balance requirements instead to avoid the fee. 

Branch and ATM Access

Bank of America has approximately 4,600 branch locations and 15,000 ATMs. You can withdraw cash at Bank of ATMs fee-free, but a fee applies if you use another bank's ATM. 

Note that there are no ATM fee reimbursements with the SafeBalance account. 

Branch banking access is a plus if you need to deposit cash or simply want to get in-person help with your account if you need. While Bank of America's ATM network isn't the largest, you still have more options for withdrawing cash compared to what other banks offer. 

Account Access

Aside from branch and ATM access, you can manage your accounts with Bank of America online and mobile banking. 

You get all the most common mobile banking features, including:

  • Online bill pay
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Zelle transfers

The daily limit for ATM withdrawals is $1,000; the daily limit for debit card purchases is $5,000. 

Again, you won't be able to spend more than you have available with this account. If there's a situation where a transaction puts your account balance in the negative, Bank of America won't charge you an overdraft fee. 

Bank of America limits how much you can add to your account through mobile check deposit. You'll need to log in to your account through the mobile banking app to check your limits. 

FDIC Insurance

Bank of America accounts are protected by FDIC insurance.

It's the FDIC's job to insure deposits at member banks. Should a bank fail the FDIC makes sure that depositors are able to get their money back, up to the maximum coverage limit. 

The current coverage limit is $250,000 per depositor. 

What You Need to Open

You can open a Bank of America SafeBalance account online. You'll need to share your:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number and email address
  • Physical address
  • Government-issued ID

If you're under 18 you'll need an adult co-applicant to open this account. 

Bank of America may run a ChexSystems report to verify your identity. ChexSystems is a consumer credit report agency that collects information about bank accounts. 

You could be denied a bank account if you have a negative ChexSystems report. If you're concerned about being unable to open an account with Bank of America online you can schedule a visit at a branch. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a checkless checking account?

A checkless checking account is a bank account that doesn't allow you to write paper checks. You can use a debit card to spend or withdraw cash at ATMs instead. If you need to pay someone via check you might be able to get a cashier's check from your bank. 

Is it worth paying a monthly fee for a checking account?

Whether it makes sense to pay a monthly fee for a checking account depends on what you need and what you're getting. A premium checking account that offers a competitive APY on balances and a generous rewards program might be worth paying a fee. On the other hand, you might prefer a free checking account if you don't need any extra features. 

How does an online checking account work?

Online checking accounts work like any other checking account. You can pay bills, transfer funds between accounts and spend money or withdraw cash using a debit card. The difference is that you manage your accounts online instead of at a branch.