Bank of America offers Balance Assist to help Bank of America customers manage their short-term cash needs at a low cost. Customers who meet the bank’s criteria can apply to borrow up to $500 and pay just a $5 fee.
The program could be used to cover an unexpected expense or other short-term financial need. This type of short-term loan may be an alternative to a payday loan.
Balance Assist allows eligible Bank of America customers to borrow in increments of $100, up to $500. You will complete a loan application online, and if it’s approved, you should receive your funds in minutes.
Each time you borrow money, you pay a $5 flat fee. You then repay your loan and the fee in three equal installments over three months.
Bank of America offers this repayment example: If you took out a $100 Balance Assist loan, you would owe $105 total and pay $35 at 30, 60 and 90 days after borrowing.
You will pay a $5 fee each time you borrow through Balance Assist, but there are no additional charges to take out a loan. Bank of America says this fee translates to an annual percentage rate of between 5.99% and 29.76%, depending on how much you borrow. In contrast, payday loans often come with APRs of 400% or more plus finance charges.
Borrowers repay their loans in three equal installments over three months, and there are no late fees. Bank of America does not charge overdraft or insufficient funds fees for returned Balance Assist payments.
Note that overdraft protection will be turned off for the account receiving Balance Assist funds, and this setting cannot be changed until 10 business days after you repay your Balance Assist loan. Your account may still become overdrawn, however, and you may owe a returned item fee of $35 for each declined or unpaid transaction.
Bank of America runs a credit check but also considers your banking relationship if you have a thin credit history. You will also need to meet the program’s criteria:
- You must be a resident of the U.S. or U.S. territories and have a U.S. address listed with Bank of America.
- You must have a qualified Bank of America checking account where you have made regular monthly deposits for at least a year. SafeBalance accounts are not eligible.
- You must maintain a positive balance in all Bank of America checking accounts.
- You can’t have an open Balance Assist loan or one within the last 30 days. You are also ineligible if you have opened six balance assist loans over the previous 12 months.
Bank of America does not mention a minimum credit score to qualify for Balance Assist, but a credit check is part of the evaluation for eligibility. If your credit history is limited, your relationship with Bank of America will be factored into the approval decision.
Bank of America, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of the largest banks in the U.S. and receives an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Trustpilot scores Bank of America 1.4 out of 5 stars based on more than 1,100 reviews.
In 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received 71 personal-loan-related complaints about Bank of America. The complaints involved topics including getting a line of credit and completing a loan’s payoff process. The company provided a timely response to 65 of the complaints and closed 57 with an explanation, 11 with monetary relief and three with nonmonetary relief.
Customers can call the bank at 800-432-1000 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday and Sunday. It’s also possible to make an appointment with a Bank of America specialist, or users can reach out via the bank’s Facebook page or by tweeting @BofA_Help.
Balance Assist has an online application. Once you have logged into your Bank of America account, you begin the application process from the website. If your application is approved, loan funds can be advanced to your account in minutes.
- People who have an eligible Bank of America checking account.
- People who need up to $500 in funding.
- People who want funding fast for a relatively low cost.