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Auto Loan, Reviews

Review: Bank of America Auto Loan

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

Bank of America Auto Loan

Shopping for a new or used car has become a complicated experience. There are so many makes and models to choose from, so many dealers to purchase from, and a range of prices that makes it hard to see if whether or not you’re getting the best deal.

It can be overwhelming, to say the least.

That overwhelming feeling can lead so questionable financial decisions, such as spending more than you can afford, paying too much for the car you choose, and spending hundreds or thousands more in interest than necessary because you didn’t shop around for the best rate.

The Offer

A Bank of America auto loan will provide 12 to 60 months with APRs starting at 3.24%. There is no origination fee, but Bank of America does not provide online pre-approval for new or used auto loans. You can, however, be pre-approved for a new dealer purchase by applying at a Bank of America branch.

APR discounts

Bank of America provides several APR discounts to its existing customers as well as Preferred Rewards Customers.

Current Bank of America personal checking account holders receive a 0.15% APR discount on their auto loans or auto refinances.

Bank of America also offers an APR discount of 0.25% to 0.50% on auto loans when you enroll in Preferred Rewards at the time of application. There are no fees to participate in Preferred Rewards, but you must have a Bank of America personal checking account and a 3-month average combined balance of $20,000 in your Bank of America accounts and/or Merrill Lynch investment accounts.

Car Buying Basics

The first thing you should do when considering a new or used car purchase is to take hard look at your budget. Consider all of your current debt payments – these should not exceed 50% of your income. Factor in the payment for your new car, and make sure that it will not stretch your budget too thin.

Then, shop around online for your best rate on an auto loan during a 30-day period. Doing all of your rate shopping within 30 days will result in minimal impact because all inquiries within a 30-day period are treated as a single inquiry.

Once you have secured financing and determined the budget for your vehicle, use a site like TrueCar or Kelly Blue Book to help you determine the best price for the car you want to buy by comparing what other people actually paid for the same model.

How To Apply

In order to apply for an auto loan from Bank of America, you must be at least 18 years of age (19 in Alabama or Nebraska). You should also be prepared with the following:

  • Your address, phone number, email address, and Social Security number
  • Employment and income verification
  • Information on the vehicle you wish to purchase, such as the make, model, mileage, and the VIN

In most cases, you will receive approval or denial within 60 seconds of submitting your application with all of the required information online. However, some applicants will require a more detailed review. If you do not receive a decision within 60 seconds you will be contacted by email when the decision regarding your loan is ready.

In some cases, you could receive your funds in as little as 24 hours.

After you apply and are approved for the loan, you have 30 days from the date of the original loan request to use it without being required to re-apply.

The Fine Print

The 3.24% starting APR is only valid in certain states. Go here to check yours. The 3.24% APR assumes an excellent credit history and that you are purchasing a new vehicle from a dealership. Other types of purchases have the following minimum APRs:

  • Dealer New: 3.24% APR
  • Dealer Used: 3.49% APR
  • Refinance: 4.09% APR

Your actual APR may be higher depending upon your creditworthiness, as well as the state in which you reside.

In order to finance a used vehicle through Bank of America, it must be not be older than 10 calendar years, have no more than 125,000 miles, and not be used for commercial purposes. It also cannot have a salvage title.

Bank of America does not finance auto purchases from independent dealers that carry several different brands of vehicles. The general exceptions to this rule are CarMax, Hertz Car Sales, Enterprise Car Sales and other found using this dealer locator tool.

In same cases, if the applicant is not deemed creditworthy enough, Bank of America will require a down payment or minimum loan to value ratio. These are determined on case-by-case basis and will not be known until you apply.

Pros

  • Rates starting at 3.24% APR
  • Terms of 12 to 60 months
  • 60 second online approval, in some cases
  • Funds in as little as 24 hours
  • Will finance private party sales and lease buyouts
  • No origination fee
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Up to 0.50% APR discount when you enroll in Preferred Rewards
  • 15% discount for having a Bank of America Checking account

Cons

  • Exact APR is not known until you apply
  • Down payment may be required for certain applicants
  • Will not finance purchases from independent dealers
  • Used cars must be less than 10 years old and have less than 125,000 miles
  • No online pre-approval
Bank of America

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How It Stacks Up

LendingTree

If you want to explore your options, there are hundreds of lenders on LendingTree ready to compete for your business. You simply have to fill out a short online form and upon completion, you may see real interest rates and approval information instantly. While the online form is only a soft pull on your credit, meaning your score won’t be impacted, if you choose to move forward with a lender, lenders will likely do a hard pull on your credit.  Note that since multiple hard pulls only count as one pull, it is smart to have all your hard pulls done at once.

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LightStream

LightStream can beat Bank of America’s starting APR and is far less complex. Its APRs start at 3.99% with autopay, it will finance vehicles from $5,000 - $100,000. Its terms vary from 24 to 84 months, which allows for longer terms than Bank of America.

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PenFed

If you like great rates, but a more personalized experience than a big bank provides, then consider PenFed Credit Union. PenFed is a credit union, but anyone can join with a one-time donation to an eligible charitable donation. It has APRs ranging from 2.49% to 3.49%, terms of 36 to 60 months, and will finance $500 - $100,000. It has no origination fee, but does not provide online pre approval.

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Shop Around First

When purchasing a new or used car, the two most important factors are making sure you don’t spend more on a vehicle than you can afford, and getting the best rate possible. Before setting foot on a dealership, shop around for your best auto loan rate so you can have one aspect of car shopping taken care of up front.

Compare Auto Loan Offers Here.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Gretchen Lindow
Gretchen Lindow |

Gretchen Lindow is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Gretchen at [email protected]

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Reviews

Review of Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Get rewarded for your spending with the Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account. The account earns unlimited 3% cash back earned from online or in-app purchases, but unlike most cashback programs, this one prevents you from enjoying your earned rewards immediately. The catch: You can only access and redeem your cashback rewards if your account is in good standing a year after registration. In addition, there is a $7.95 monthly fee, although it’s simple to get around the fee.

While you wait for your account registration anniversary, you can use this account’s other features to your advantage. For one, Green Dot Bank can get you your paycheck up to two days in advance through direct deposit. You can also use the 3%* APY Green Dot Bank High-Yield Savings Account to stash and grow your money.

Green Dot doesn’t have any branch locations of its own, so it relies heavily on its app and participating stores to offer its services to customers. This makes it slightly tricky for users who need quick and easy ATM access.

Read on to learn more about the FDIC-insured Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account and its rewards requirements, fees and fine print.

How does the Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account work?

 

The Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account’s biggest draw is the unlimited 3% cash back earned from online or in-app purchases. There’s no limit to how much cash back you can earn, so long as you’re using your card for online and in-app purchases (there’s more on how Green Dot identifies those purchases in a section below)

Getting access to your cash back is a little trickier, however. While you’ll see the cash back earned on each purchase reflected almost immediately, you’ll have to wait for each anniversary of your account registration to redeem the funds. On each anniversary date, you can transfer your cash back rewards into your Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account. Your registration date is the date you actually register your card no matter where you got it, either at a store or online.

On your registration anniversary, your account must be in good standing. This means it must have a positive balance and cannot be blocked or flagged for any reason. If you have a negative balance, you must bring it to a positive balance before you can redeem your rewards.

Depositing cash into your Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account is also a little unorthodox, as Green Dot doesn’t have any of its own branches or ATMs. To deposit cash, you need to visit a Green Dot participating retailer, including CVS pharmacies and Walmart stores. Cash deposits are free when you initiate the deposit on the Green Dot app and complete them at a retail store. You can also initiate a cash deposit by swiping your Green Dot debit card at a participating retailer, who may charge a cash deposit fee of their own.

As for withdrawals, you can locate free ATMs through the bank’s app. Otherwise, you’ll face an out-of-network ATM fee, in addition to a potential ATM owner surcharge.

Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account features

  • Earns unlimited 3% cash back on eligible online or in-app purchases
  • Get your paycheck up to two days earlier with ASAP Direct Deposit™
  • Links to 3%* APY Green Dot Bank High-Yield Savings Account
  • No overdraft fees

Along with its competitive cash back rate, another big perk of banking with Green Dot Bank is that you can get your direct deposit paychecks up to two days in advance. Typically, employers deposit paychecks into employees’ banks two days before actual payday. So instead of letting your paycheck sit in the Automated Clearing House (ACH) limbo, where payments like these are processed, Green Dot deposits your paycheck on the same day the bank receives it. Exact timing and availability of your direct deposit will depend on when your employer submits your payment information and deposit verification.

Also included with the Green Dot app is the Green Dot Bank High-Yield Savings Account. There is no fee, and the account earns 3%* APY on balances up to $10,000. Once you’ve redeemed your cash back rewards and deposited them into your Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account, you can then transfer those funds into your High-Yield Savings Account for better savings.

As you’ll read below, the Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account is rife with fees, depending on how you use your account and manage your money. But a certain perk of the account is its lack of overdraft fees. So when you make a purchase that your balance cannot cover, Green Dot will decline the transaction, but they won’t charge a fee like most other banks do.

Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account fees and fine print

Unlimited Cash Back fees
Unlimited Bank Account purchase — online $0
Unlimited Bank Account purchase — in store$1.95 or less
Monthly fee$7.95, waived when you spend $1,000 or more in the previous monthly period
Deposit cash with Green Dot app & participating locations$0
Direct deposit$0
Out-of-network ATM withdrawal$3 per transaction
Teller cash withdrawal$3 per transaction
Out-of-network ATM balance inquiry$0.50
Foreign transactions3% of total transaction amount
Paper checks (pack of 12 checks)$5.95

There are quite a few fees to keep an eye out for when you have a Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account. For starters, note that there is a fee when you open the account in a store. You can easily avoid this fee by opening the account online instead.

The account charges a $7.95 monthly fee. This can be waived when you spend at least $1,000 in the previous monthly period. This excludes transactions like ACH payments or prepaid card purchases. This may be easier if you do much of your shopping online, since you’re more likely to reach the minimum balance. If you’re betting the cash back you earn will offset this monthly fee, you’d have to spend $3,180 in a year to earn enough to pay off a year’s worth of the monthly fee. Plus, you’d have to wait for each anniversary to take advantage of that cash back bonus.

It also helps to keep your account activity online. You can initiate the deposit through the Green Dot app then depositing cash at a participating retailer at no charge. However, if you want to deposit cash without the app by swiping the debit card at a participating retailer, then the retailer may charge a service fee for cash deposits. Note that direct deposits are free.

As for the fine print, there is some room for error when it comes to determining which purchases are eligible for the 3% cashback. Green Dot identifies online and in-app purchases through unique merchant category codes (MCC) and “other identifying information,” according to the Green Dot website.

However, Green Dot acknowledges that sometimes online or in-app merchants use an MCC that does not properly identify themselves as online or in-app. On Green Dot’s part, the bank states that it “does not determine which MCC a merchant chooses to classify itself as and has no way of changing a merchant’s identifying information.” So if merchant misidentification is the case, your purchase won’t register as online or in-app and won’t earn 3% cash back.

Cash back also does not apply to airline tickets or to products and services that are redeemable for cash, such as gift cards, online funding of accounts, credit card cash advances, P2P funding, prepaid cards, money orders and traveler’s checks.

Opening an Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account

You can open an Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account either online or in-store at Green Dot participating retailers. When you open an account online, you’ll need to provide your full name, address, email address, phone number, Social Security number and date of birth. If you open an account in store, you’ll need to register your new debit card online or through the Green Dot app. There, you’ll need to provide your personal information.

Who is the Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account best for?

The Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account seems to be a better option for those who aren’t chasing a quick reward. Green Dot requires you to wait a year after account registration to redeem your cash back rewards, which may not be much of a reward for some. It’s more of an added perk than a real primetime feature since you have to wait so long.

The Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account may also be better for those who are tech savvy enough to manage their accounts largely online and in the app. Accounts are more easily opened and registered online and even cash deposits work best when done through the app.

That said, this account could be a potential hassle who want the ease and speed of ATM access. Green Dot requires you to visit a participating store to deposit cash, whether you use the app or not. For many, navigating a physical store just isn’t as convenient. When it comes to withdrawals, it may be difficult to find a free ATM nearby in order to avoid the out-of-network ATM fee.

In all, the Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account seems to hold a lot of promise. But there’s a few hoops to jump through to earn rewards and use the account efficiently that detract from the eye-catching 3% cash back.

*Rate accurate as of August 21, 2019

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

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Reviews

Fitness Bank Savings Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Fitness Bank’s savings account option

Fitness Savings Account

This unconventional savings product offers customers the chance to earn an outstanding APY when they are physically active. The daily average number of steps you took in the previous month determines the APY you earn on your account balance. The table below outlines the five earning tiers that this bank currently offers:
APY Tiers*Minimum Balance to Earn APYSteps Required
0.50%$1000-4,999
1.25%$1005,000-7,499
1.75%$1007,500-9,999
2.50%$10010,000-12,499
3.00%$10012,500+

If you are a US citizen age 65 or older, you qualify for a different rate schedule:

APY Tiers*Minimum Balance to Earn APYSteps Required
1.25%$1000-4,999
1.75%$1005,000-7,499
2.50%$1007,500-9,999
3.00%$10010,000+
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum daily balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10, waived by maintaining the minimum daily balance.
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: $40

These rates truly are outstanding if you live an active lifestyle. The first month, everyone gets highest APY regardless of number of steps they take. After that, your APY will be assigned based on your daily average number of steps over the course of the prior month. Needless to say, if you don’t live a very active lifestyle, or if you have a health condition that would prevent you from meeting the step requirements, this may not be the best account for you.

This bank charges a $10 monthly maintenance fee if you don’t maintain a minimum average daily balance of $100. If you’re not confident you can maintain this minimum, you may want to look at a checking account rather than a savings account — keep in mind, however, that Fitness Bank only offers a savings account. If you meet the minimum balance requirement, the monthly maintenance fee will be waived.

This savings account does not come with an ATM card or checks. You are limited to six certain withdrawals and/or transactions per month, per Regulation D, which is enforced by the federal government, although banks do have some flexibility in allowing more than six per month in certain cases. At Fitness Bank, if you make more than six withdrawals per month you will be charged a $10 fee for each additional withdrawal.

If you want to go above and beyond achieving the highest APY available from this account, you can join one of Fitness Bank’s challenges. Every month, there is a step challenge where you can compete with all other participating Fitness Bank members to get the highest number of average daily steps. Top competitors will be awarded with prizes at the end of the month. You can also set up challenges just for your family or friend group, or for a group of employees participating in a workplace challenge.

How to get Fitness Bank’s savings account

Opening a savings account at Fitness Bank is a straightforward process. The bank boasts account setup will take you less than two minutes.

You’ll fill out a quick online application, supplying basic information like your name, address and Social Security number, along with documentation of your driver’s license or passport. Then you’ll need to provide funding information, namely your bank account number, credit card or debit card.

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How Fitness Bank’s savings account compares

This bank offers phenomenal rates. At the time of writing, they offer the highest savings account rate in the market — if you can rack up the steps needed to earn it. In addition, you will have to be comfortable doing your banking 100% online with this savings account. You will not receive a checkbook or ATM card – all of your withdrawals and deposits will be completed via electronic transfer. If you’d prefer ATM access or the ability to visit a physical branch, Fitness Bank is not the right match for you.

The minimum deposit required to open and maintain an account without incurring a monthly maintenance fee isn’t outrageous. But you can find savings accounts offering somewhat competitive rates without these requirements. And to repeat, you’ll have to meet the step requirements; if that challenge goes unfulfilled, the advantages of saving with Fitness Bank wane. Its rates get progressively less competitive the fewer steps you take.

Overall review of Fitness Bank’s banking products

This bank offers a unique financial product aimed at promoting wellness. Its minimum balance and deposit requirements are fairly average for the industry, as are its fees. While its offerings are fair and get more generous as you take more steps, you will likely find better rates elsewhere if you cannot realistically meet these specific fitness standards. If you can, though, you’re in for some of the best rates on the market.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Brynne Conroy
Brynne Conroy |

Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here