Getting rid of Bank of America

By | January 9, 2012

I’ve been a Bank of America customer for 12 years or so, ever since I moved to Boston from New York. I picked them because they were everywhere, and I didn’t ever want to switch banks again. When the big “Bank Transfer Day” came, I decided to switch banks too. I was annoyed about the plans for the new $5/month fee, but I wasn’t all that happy with Bank of America anyway.

I decided on Cambridge Savings Bank because they are close by, they refund all ATM fees other banks charge you, and they pay 2% interest on checking account balances. (BTW — there are many banks that pay more than 2% interest on checking accounts. Check out to find banks near you. Don’t forget to change the filter options to show local banks and credit unions.)

However, I still don’t like switching banks, so I searched around for questions to ask a potential bank before you open an account. Here are the questions I came up with:

Fee Questions:

  • Do you have overdraft fees and how can you avoid them?
  • What fees are there for checking accounts?
  • What fees are there for savings accounts?
  • Are there fees to transfer money to/from my account?
  • Do you charge debit card fees?

Convenience Questions:

  • How many ATMs are available in my area?
    • Which ATMS accept deposits?
    • How long does it take for a deposit to clear?
    • Are large deposits delayed? How much is a large deposit? How long is the delay?
  • When we travel to…  XXX how can we get money and are there fees?
    • XXX == countries and states and regions you typically travel to
  • How do we make deposits?
    • Bank ATMs? Smartphone app? Bank network ATMs? Local branch? Non-local branch? Affiliate bank branch? Computer application with a scanner? Mail?

When things go wrong:

  • What happens if we lose a debit card?
  • What are your procedures if a card is stolen?
  • Do you look out for potentially fraudulent charges?
  • What happens if we become overdrawn?
  • How do charge disputes work?


  • How do I qualify for your best rate?

Anyway, it helped us choose our bank. Hopefully it will help someone else too.

4 thoughts on “Getting rid of Bank of America

  1. Ole Laursen

    Just curious. Why are you using ATMs at all?

    I live in Denmark. My income is transferred directly to my bank account, and if I need to pay for something, I use a debit card (VISA). The only time I ever need cash is local markets where people are trading home-grown food and the like. In that case, in Denmark, when you pay in a supermarket with your debit card, you can ask for some extra money to be withdrawn. I don’t think I’ve used an ATM in ten years.

  2. admin Post author

    Why do I use ATMs? It’s a fair question, and I certainly have stopped using them most of the time. But I have a number of uses:

    * Someone gives me a check, and I need to deposit it.
    * I am going to a restaurant (like CostCo’s food court) which only accepts cash.
    * I am giving someone a tip.

    These happen with enough regularity that I don’t want to have to drive 30 minutes or more to handle it each time.

  3. Ted Bullock

    I think the Canadian debit (a thing called interac) system has to be amoung the best in the world.

    When I travel to the US I am astonished that general retail outlets almost everywhere have no mechanism to enter a pin or a standardized way to validate whether a card is genuine.

    Everytime I make a purchase via my debit card at any location in Canada I type my pin into a dedicated terminal which every retailer has and tada, my bank is securely accessed and my hard earned coin is transferred to their bank account.

    I was appalled that even the highest tier hotels in the US don’t have functionality to validate via pin.

    Maybe I am just unfamiliar with whatever system the US has but it seams really disparate and unstandardized.

  4. WiseFather

    Congratulations on your move from Bank of America.

    You might like this direct action protest I took on my own against BofA. I called the credit card’s customer service line to do some “negotiating.” Having a bit of leverage, I thought it presented a great opportunity to mess with them a little without fear of retribution. I made a video of the call and posted it on my blog along with my comments about what happened and a fuller “director’s cut” transcript. Pay attention to his response to the classic line “Why does Bank of America hate Christmas?” Enjoy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *