Bank of America vs. Capital One

In this article...
  • Bank of America vs. Capital One — which is better? Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you choose the right one for your needs.
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Choosing a bank is an important decision, and with the number of financial institutions available, it can be confusing. Two of the most well-known options are Bank of America and Capital One. 

Bank of America dates back to 1904, although it assumed its current form following a takeover by NationsBank in 1998. Today, it's one of the nation's largest financial institutions. Meanwhile, Capital One was established in 1994 and began as a credit company, although it's now a full-service bank.

Both institutions offer a range of products, including credit cards, checking accounts and savings options. Below, we'll explore the Bank of America vs. Capital One debate to help you choose the best bank for you. 

Bank of America vs. Capital One: Products and Services

Bank of America and Capital One offer many similar products. However, Bank of America offers a broader range than Capital One:



Bank of America

Capital One

Checking Accounts

x

x

Savings Accounts

x

x

Debit Cards

x

x

Credit Cards

x

x

Auto Loans

x

x

Auto Refinancing

x

x

Mortgages

x



Mortgage Refinancing

x



Home Equity

x

 

CDs

x

x

Investments

x



IRAs

x



Which Is Better: Bank of America or Capital One?

Bank of America and Capital One both have established reputations, although each has advantages and disadvantages. Below, you can find comparisons of the main financial products available through Bank of America and Capital One to help you decide. 

Checking Accounts

Capital One offers two checking accounts — the 360 Checking Account and the MONEY Teen Checking Account. Both accounts pay 0.10% interest on your balance, and you don't need to pay a monthly charge or make minimum deposits to open or maintain your account. 

Meanwhile, Bank of America offers the Advantage Checking Account, and you can select from three options:

  • SafeBalance: Offers free banking for students younger than 25
  • Advantage Plus: Suitable for everyday banking 
  • Advantage Relationship: Designed for customers with higher bank balances

Unlike Capital One, Bank of America doesn't pay interest on checking account balances. SafeBalance Accounts cost $4.95 per month unless you're a qualifying student or younger than 18. Meanwhile, Advantage Plus Accounts cost $12 per month, although the bank will waive the fee if you make a minimum monthly deposit of $250 or maintain a balance of at least $1,500. Finally, Advantage Relationship accounts cost $25 per month unless you maintain a balance of at least $10,000 across your linked accounts. 

Therefore, Capital One could be better if you're unsure whether you can meet the requirements to waive fees with Bank of America. However, while both banks offer convenient online banking services, Bank of America provides a broader range of money-management tools. All account settings include custom alerts, customized rewards and savings tools, which could be an advantage if you want help keeping on top of your budget. 

Savings Accounts

If your main priority is earning as much interest on your savings as possible, Capital One has a significant edge over Bank of America. Most Bank of America Advantage Savings accounts offer 0.1% APY on balances of any size, although some customers will qualify for rates of up to 0.4%. Meanwhile, Capital One's 360 Performance Savings account offers a rate of 1.70% APY on any balance. 

Another potential advantage of a Capital One savings account is that you don't need to make a minimum initial deposit, maintain a certain balance or deposit schedule or pay monthly fees. Meanwhile, Bank of America savings accounts cost $8 per month after the first 6 months, although the bank will waive fees if:

  • You maintain a balance of at least $500
  • You link your savings account to an Advantage Relationship account
  • You're younger than 18
  • You're younger than 25 and a student

CDs (Certificate of Deposit Accounts)

Capital One also comes out on top regarding CD account interest rates. It offers three CD APY rates depending on your preferred term:

  • 1-year term: 2.40% APY
  • 2-year term: 2.80% APY
  • 5-year term: 3.25% APY

Meanwhile, Bank of America offers standard term CD accounts lasting between 28 days and 10 years, yielding 0.03% APY. Other CD accounts may offer up to 0.05% APY. 

Capital One allows you to open a CD account with any amount. Meanwhile, Bank of America requires a minimum deposit of $1,000 for standard CD accounts and $10,000 for featured accounts. 

Credit Cards

Given its history as a credit company, it's hardly surprising that Capital One offers a broader range of credit card options than Bank of America. However, both banks have a pretty impressive selection. 

If you want a cashback credit card that lets you customize your preferences, Bank of America comes out on top. Its Customized Cash Rewards card allows you to earn 3% cash back on your chosen category, 2% on groceries and 1% on any other category. However, Capital One could be better if you eat out regularly, as its Savor Rewards card offers a whopping 4% cash back on dining. 

BankAmericard from Bank of America could be an excellent option if you want to transfer a balance, as it offers 0% APR for the first month on balance transfers (within 60 days) and purchases. 

If you have a poor credit rating, Capital One's Platinum Secured card could help you rebuild your credit worthiness. Customers can access a limit of up to $200 by making a refundable deposit. Bank of America also offers credit building cards to help you establish a credit history.

Is Bank of America or Capital One More Trustworthy?

Bank of America has a Fitch rating of AA-, which means it's financially healthy and can meet its commitments. Capital One has a slightly lower A-rating, although this rating still denotes decent financial stability. 

When it comes to customer reviews, there's little to set Capital One and Bank of America apart. Both have a 3.8-star rating on Consumer Affairs, and customers of both banks mention excellent client care. Several Capital One reviewers say the bank helped them rebuild their credit, while Bank of America reviewers cite robust fraud detection. 

The area where Capital One receives the most negative feedback is its high APR rates for credit rebuilding cards. However, high APR rates are standard for this type of product, and Capital One advertises its rates clearly on its website. Meanwhile, some Bank of America customers mention that the bank's automated telephone systems can be challenging to navigate. 

Should I Choose Bank of America or Capital One?

Whether you should choose Bank of America or Capital One depends on which products you need and your financial priorities:

Choose Capital One If:

  • You want to earn as much interest as possible on your savings
  • You want to avoid account maintenance fees
  • You want to open a savings or checking account with a low starting deposit

Choose Bank of America If:

  • You want to make investments through your bank
  • You need home financing options
  • You want a customizable cashback credit card
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