Chase vs. Bank of America: How to decide which one is better for you

Chase; Bank of America; Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

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  • Chase and Bank of America are two of the largest banks in the US, so you might just prefer the one with a branch and ATM nearby.
  • Chase offers a larger sign-up bonus for a checking account; it also has a $150 bonus for opening a savings account, while Bank of America doesn't have a savings bonus.
  • Chase charges a $34 overdraft fee unless you set up overdraft protection with a savings account, but Bank of America has a checking account with no overdraft fees.
  • You may want to look at each bank's monthly fees to see whether you qualify to waive them.
  • See Business Insider's picks for the best national banks »

Should you bank with Chase or Bank of America?

You might prefer Chase if you:You might prefer Bank of America if you:
  • Don't have $100 to open a savings account
  • Want a bigger sign-up bonus for opening a checking account
  • Want a sign-up bonus for opening a savings account
  • Are looking for a lower monthly fee on a savings account
  • Want a checking account with no overdraft fees
  • Want lower early withdrawal penalties for short CD terms
  • Are looking for a lower monthly fee for a checking account

The bottom line: You might like Chase if you qualify for its cash bonuses for opening a checking or savings account. But Bank of America could be better if you want to avoid overdraft fees.

Savings account comparisons

Chase SavingsBank of America Advantage Savings

APY

0.01% to 0.05% APY

APY

0.01% to 0.05% APY

Sign-up bonus

$150

Sign-up bonus

None

Minimum opening deposit

$0

Minimum opening deposit

$100

Monthly service fee

$8 or $0

Monthly service fee

$5 or $0

Open an account

Open an account

Chase is the better option if you don't have much money to open an account. Both banks make it pretty easy to waive their monthly fees, but if you don't qualify to waive charges with either institution, then you may prefer Chase's lower fee.

Both banks pay very low rates, though. So if you're searching for a high APY, you'll want to look elsewhere.

Checking account comparisons

Chase Total Checking®Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking

Sign-up bonus

$200

Sign-up bonus

$100

Minimum opening deposit 

$0

Minimum opening deposit

$25

Monthly service fee

$12 or $0

Monthly service fee

$4.95 or $0

Overdraft fee

$34, up to 3 times/day

Overdraft fee

None

Open an account

Open an account

Chase and Bank of America both make it easy to waive monthly fees. But if you don't qualify to waive them, then you might prefer Bank of America. Its monthly fee is much lower than what Chase charges.

If you're worried about overdrawing from your account, then Bank of America could be the better fit. Although Bank of America does charge overdraft fees on some of its accounts, it doesn't charge any for Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking. If you try to make a purchase that would overdraw your account, Bank of America just declines the purchase. But you can enroll in free Chase overdraft protection if you also have a savings account.

Both banks offer a cash sign-up bonus, but you have to meet certain criteria to receive the bonus. Chase's bonus is higher, and it's easier to qualify with Chase.

CD comparisons

Chase CDBank of America Standard Term CD

APY

0.01% to 0.05% APY

APY

0.03% APY

Minimum deposit

$1,000

Minimum deposit

$1,000

Early withdrawal penalties

90 to 365 days interest

Early withdrawal penalties

7 to 365 days interest

Open an account

Open an account

Chase and Bank of America have similar CD offerings. You'll need $1,000 to open a CD with either bank, and they both have terms up to 10 years, which is a longer term than most banks have.

The penalties for withdrawing funds before your CD matures are comparable for the most part. But if your term is under 90 days, the penalty is less harsh with a Bank of America CD.

Both banks pay very low rates, though. If you're searching for a competitive APY, then you may want to consider an online bank.

Bank features comparisons

ChaseBank of America

Branches

4,900

Branches

4,200

Free ATMs

16,000

Free ATMs

16,000

Mobile app

Apple: 4.8/5

Google Play: 4.4/5

Mobile app

Apple: 4.8/5

Google Play: 4.7/5

Customer support

7 a.m. to 12 a.m. ET

Customer support

M-F, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET; Weekends, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET

Open an accountOpen an account

The two banks both have strong mobile apps. Neither has 24/7 live customer support, but Chase's hours are a little longer than Bank of America's hours.

Chase and Bank of America are two of the largest banks in the US, so they both have a large network of branches and free ATMs. Your choice between the two could come down to which has a branch or ATM closer to your home.

Which bank is more trustworthy?

There isn't a clear answer on which bank is more trustworthy. The Better Business Bureau has given JPMorgan Chase & Co. (Chase's parent company) an A- in trustworthiness, and Bank of American an A+.

A good BBB rating signifies a company responds effectively to customer complaints, has honest advertising practices, and is transparent in how it handles business.

Although both banks have pretty good scores from the BBB, each has its own history of public scandals. Here are a couple conflicts from Chase over the past few years:

  • The Department of Justice required the compan to pay $920 million for wrongful trading (2020).
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co. paid the Securities and Exchange Commission $135 million for mishandling American Depisitary Receipts, certificates that let Americans invest in foreign stocks (2018).

And here are some issues from Bank of America:

  • The Department of Justice charged Bank of America for unfairly denying home loans to adults with disabilities, even though they qualified for loans. Bank of America paid around $300,000 total to people who were refused loans. (2020).
  • The Department of Labor required Bank of America to pay $4.2 million to people who claimed the bank discriminated against women, Black, and Hispanic applicants in the hiring process (2019).

Chase's recent scandals revolve around trading and investments, while Bank of America's are about discrimination. The specifics of each bank's conflicts may affect your choice between the two, or you may decide to go with a bank with a less worrisome history.

Get the latest Bank of America stock price here.

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