Bank of America Small-Business Business Banking Review: Big Rewards, If You Qualify


We’ll help you decide if your business should bank with Bank of America—or if you should steer clear.

2.6 out of overall
Rewards program for small businesses
Most widespread availability of traditional banks
Relatively expensive accounts
No 24/7 customer support

At first glance, Bank of America looks great for business banking. It has locations across the United States, it offers your choice of business checking and savings accounts, and it offers small-business financing and other services.

But what about after that first glance? Does Bank of America hold up, or are you better off taking your business banking elsewhere?

We’ll tell you all about the good (a robust rewards program) and the bad (pricey, hard-to-qualify-for products) to help you decide.

Bank of America is best for healthy businesses that want to consolidate their financial needs—and get rewarded for doing so.

If you want to get the most from Bank of America (BoA), you’ll want to use its higher-tier bank accounts, take advantage of several of its financial products, and get in on its Preferred Rewards for Business program so you can get discounts on those products.

To do all that, you’ll need to have some cash on hand: For example, you’ll need $20,000 across your Bank of America business accounts to take part in Preferred Rewards program. And to get a business loan, you’ll need a minimum annual revenue of $100,000.

In other words, if you have a new business with almost no cash, or you regularly experience cash flow challenges, Bank of America probably isn’t the best bank for you (but we have some great alternatives for you on our list of the best free business checking accounts).

Bank of America fast facts
FeatureBank of America
Online banking
Mobile banking
In-person banking
Branch locations
4,3441
ATMs
Over 16,0002
24/7 support
Customer service options
Phone, online chat

But if you’ve got some cash on hand, and you’re interested in taking care of several of your business’s financial needs—like banking, financing, payroll, etc.—in one place, then Bank of America can reward you with some great discounts. (We’ll get into more detail about Preferred Rewards below.)

Fortunately, Bank of America is (as the name suggests) available across America—or at least more of America than most banks are, with locations in 37 states.

map of states where Bank of America is available: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington
Bank of America availability

(If Bank of America isn’t in your state—sorry, Dakotas—we found the best bank in your state to give you another option.)

So what exactly can Bank of America do for you?

Bank of America checking and savings accounts

Let’s start with the basics: business bank accounts. Bank of America has checking accounts, savings accounts, and certificates of deposit—the usual.

Account management

Want to let your accountant check the books or let an employee see a few financial details for the business? No sweat. Bank of America’s account management options let you give people limited access to your business bank accounts.

Checking accounts

While Bank of America didn’t quite make our list of the best small-business checking accounts, it does have several options for small businesses.

Bank of America small-business checking accounts
FeatureBusiness Fundamentals CheckingBusiness Advantage CheckingBusiness Interest Checking
Min. opening deposit$100$100$100
Monthly fee$17$29.95$18
Monthly fee waivable?
APYN/AN/AVariable
BoA ATM feesN/AN/AN/A
Non-BoA ATM fees$2.50/transaction$2.50/transaction$2.50/transaction
Free transactions200500150
Additional transactions$0.45 ea.$0.45 ea.$0.45 ea.
Free cash depositsUp to $7,500Up to $20,000Up to $7,500
Cash deposit fee$0.30 per $100$0.30 per $100$0.30 per $100
Account management$15/mo.FreeN/A
Additional checking account$12/mo.FreeN/A
Open an accountApply NowApply NowApply Now
Data effective 10/08/19. At publishing time, rates, fees, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Business Fundamentals Checking is BoA’s basic business checking account. It has the lowest monthly maintenance fee, which you can get waived if you make $250 of purchases on a business card (either credit or debit), maintain an average monthly balance of $5,000, or keep at least $3,000 in your account at all times.

Business Advantage Checking has a higher monthly fee, but it gives you perks like more free transactions, a higher free cash deposit limit, free account management, and a free additional checking account. You can waive its monthly fee if you make $2,500 in purchases on your business credit card, have an average monthly balance of $15,000 in your account, keep a monthly balance of $35,000 across your business accounts, or use Bank of America’s payroll or merchant services.

Only sole proprietorships, nonprofits, and government entities can sign up for a Business Interest Checking account. BoA doesn’t list the APY on this interest-bearing checking account—but based on how low the APYs are on its savings accounts and CDs, we suspect it’s quite low. You can waive the monthly fee in several ways, most simply by keeping a $5,000 minimum daily balance in your account.

If you like, you can add an Additional Checking account to either a Fundamentals or Advantage checking account. Additional Checking has similar fees to Business Fundamentals, and you can have the fee waived with an average monthly balance of $3,000.

Finally, Bank of America offers Full Analysis Business Checking for big spenders, but you’ll have to talk to your banker to get any details. It’s all very hush-hush.

Waiving your monthly fee

In addition to the ways we listed, you can waive your monthly fees by joining Preferred Rewards. Bank of America’s rewards program gives you four free checking accounts.

Savings accounts

Bank of America has two business savings accounts, plus some certificates of deposit (CDs)—no money market accounts here.

Bank of America small-business savings accounts
FeatureBusiness Investment AccountBusiness Advantage Savings Account
Min. opening deposit$100$100
Monthly maintenance fee$5$15
Monthly fee waivable?
APY0.02%0.02%–0.04%
BoA ATM feesN/AN/A
Non-BoA ATM fees$2.50/transaction$2.50/transaction
Free cash deposits per cycleUp to $5,000Up to $5,000
Cash deposit fee$0.30 per $100$0.30 per $100
Able to use checks?3/cycle
Open an accountApply NowApply Now
Data effective 10/08/19. At publishing time, rates, fees, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

First up is the Business Investment Account. Aside from being the cheaper of the two accounts, this one also lets you write checks from the account. On the other hand, the APY is capped at a lower rate. If you want to waive the (low) monthly fee, you need to keep at least $2,500 in the account or have a BoA investment account.

The Business Advantage Savings has a higher maximum APY, but you can’t use checks. You can waive the monthly fee by maintaining a $5,000 minimum account balance.

Then you have the certificates of deposit.

Bank of America small-business CDs
FeatureStandard Term Business CD (short term)Standard Term Business CD (long term)Business Featured CD
Min. opening deposit$15,000$1,000$10,000
Monthly feeN/AN/AN/A
APY0.03%–0.75%0.03%–0.75%0.07%
Term length7 days–27 days28 days–10 yrs.12 mos.
Penalty-free withdrawal
Open an accountApply NowApply NowApply Now
Data effective 10/1/19. At publishing time, rates, fees, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Bank of America’s CDs can be as short as one week or as long as one decade. The APY on these varies quite a bit, depending on both your term and your deposit. And keep in mind, as with all CDs, you won’t be able to touch your funds—to add or withdraw money—until your term is up.

So how do Bank of America’s saving options stack up? Well, its business savings accounts—both standard savings accounts and CDs—have relatively low APY. We’ve seen much better rates (even on checking accounts) at our favorite online banks for small business.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should skip Bank of America. Because for certain businesses, the rewards far outweigh any higher fees or lower APYs.

How to open a Bank of America business bank account

Bank of America makes it easy to open a bank account. In fact, it lets you initiate the process at your local branch, over the phone, or on its website. Here’s the rundown:

  1. Decide which Bank of America bank account you want to open.
  2. Get all your business documents together (articles of organization, tax ID, etc.).
  3. Contact BoA—online, over the phone, or at a branch—to apply.
  4. Give BoA your business documents (by email or fax, if necessary).
  5. Sign a signature card and deliver it to BoA (in person or by mail).
  6. Fund your new bank account.

For more information on opening your new account, check out our guide on how to open a business bank account.

Bank of America’s small-business rewards program

Okay, so we’ve mentioned a reward program several times now. But what is it, and what can it get you?

Bank of America’s reward program, Preferred Rewards for Business, gives you perks for its various financial products. You can, for example, get discounted interest rates on loans, refunds on payroll services, or increased interest on your savings account.

There are three levels to the program: Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Honors. All three levels waive many banking fees (including monthly fees, inbound wire fees, and stop payments). But just as you’d guess, you get better perks with the higher levels.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards for Business
FeatureGoldPlatinumPlatinum Honors
How to qualify$20,000 in BoA business accounts$50,000 in BoA business accounts$100,000 in BoA business accounts
Financing interest rate discount0.25%0.35%–0.5%0.35%–0.75%
Savings account interest boost5%10%20%
Credit cards reward bonus25%50%75%
Merchant services rewards0.05%0.10%0.15%
Full-service payroll refund$10/mo.$15/mo.$20/mo.
Free non-BoA ATM transactions012/yr.Unlimited

To qualify for even a basic (Gold) Preferred Rewards status, you need $20,000 spread across your business accounts, and the amounts only go up from there. Many businesses don’t have that kind of cash laying around.

So while the perks can be great, you can probably see why we don’t recommend Bank of America and its relationship rewards program for everyone.

Still, if you do maintain average account balances in that range (good for you!), and you want to get all your business financial products in one place, Bank of America provides great incentives to do so.

Other small-business products and services from Bank of America

Speaking of other financial products, let’s take a look at all the other products Bank of America has for small businesses.

Small-business financing

Bank of America has quite the wide variety of small-business loans, from small unsecured lines of credit to multi-million dollar medical practice loans.

Compare Bank of America’s small-business lending
Loan typeLoan min./max.Lowest listed rateTermGet a loan
Business Advantage Credit Line$10,000/$100,0006.5%Revolving with annual renewalApply Now
Secured business line of credit$25,000 and up5.5%Revolving with annual renewalApply Now
Business Advantage Term Loan$10,000/$100,0005.0%12–60 mos.Apply Now
Secured business loan$25,000 and up4.5%Up to 5 yrs.Apply Now
Business Advantage Auto Loan$10,000 and up3.59%48–72 mos.Apply Now
Equipment loan$25,000 and up3.75%Up to 5 yrs.Apply Now
Commercial real estate loan$25,000 and up3.75%Up to 15 yrs.Apply Now
Practice solutionsUp to $5 million“Very competitive”Talk to bankerApply Now
Data effective 10/07/19. At publishing time, rates, fees, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Its rates are definitely competitive—better than you’d find from most alternative lenders—but only if you can qualify.

To get one of BoA’s Business Advantage loans or lines of credit, your business needs to be at least two years old and generate $100,000 in annual revenue—plus you need a personal credit score of 670 (pretty liberal criteria for a traditional bank, really).

And for the other loans? Still two years in business and a 670 credit score, but you need at least $250,000 in revenue to be in the running.

For a deeper dive into BoA’s financing options, check out our Bank of America small-business loans review.

Small-business credit cards

If you’d rather apply for a business credit card than take out a loan (not that you can’t do both), you can get one of Bank of America’s five different credit cards. BoA has both Mastercard and Visa options, with a variety of perks ranging from cash rewards to travel points.

Miscellaneous

  • 401(k)s for sole proprietors and small businesses
  • Health savings accounts (HSAs)
  • Merchant services (point-of-sale systems and credit card readers)
  • Payroll services
  • Invoicing and payment system

What customers say about Bank of America

Bank of America has average, verging on low, customer reviews. It has a 4 out 10 on Trustpilot and a 2.6 out of 5 on Bank Branch Locator.3,4 We saw a number of fake reviews, though—a few spammy positive reviews and several politically motivated negative reviews—so take those numbers with a grain of salt.

The (real) positive reviews praise Bank of America’s customer service. They also have great things to say about its website and app, with many customers loving that they don’t have to speak with tellers much, if ever.

The negative reviews say pretty much the opposite, though. People complain about poor customer service, and they claim that BoA’s website and app are either broken or hard to navigate. They also say it’s too hard to get help from a real human. (Note that Bank of America doesn’t have 24/7 customer service.)

Your mileage will probably vary depending on your relationship with technology and (as with most traditional banks) the staff at your local branch.

At least, unlike some of the competition, Bank of America has an A+ from BBB—no company-wide scandals here.5

The takeaway

Ultimately, there are good reasons why Bank of America was an honorable mention on our list of the best banks for small business: it’s relatively widely available, and it has a robust rewards program for business owners.

But you can find cheaper banks out there, and small or new businesses may not be able to take advantage of the things that set Bank of America small-business banking apart.

As for whether it’s the right bank for your business? That’s for you to decide—but we hope our review helped!

Not convinced by Bank of America? Find an alternative on our list of the best banks for small business.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Sources

  1. Bank Branch Locator, “Bank of America
  2. Bankrate, “10 Banks with the Most ATMs
  3. Trustpilot, “Bank of America
  4. Bank Branch Locator, “Bank of America
  5. BBB, “Bank of America