“Keep the Change” by Bank of America – Reviews and Details

March 4, 2013 4 Comments »
“Keep the Change” by Bank of America – Reviews and Details

Yes, Bank of America is still running their infamous “keep the change” program in 2013, however, the account is far less enticing than it once was when initially released.

“Keep the Change” Account Details 2013:

Here is how it works – First enroll in both a Bank of America checking account AND a Bank of America Savings Account.  The checking account has no minimum deposit requirement, but the savings requires a minimum of $25.

Now every time you purchase something with your debit card (linked to your checking account) Bank of America will automatically round the item up to the nearest dollar. They will take this difference (always between $0.01 and $0.99) from your checking account after each purchase and stash it in your savings. PLUS, for the first 3 months Bank of America itself will also match this amount and deposit it into your savings as well. However, they will only do this for the first 3 months AND only up to $250 per household.

So keep in mind if you’re a family of four all opening a savings and checking account with B of A and wish to enroll in this “Keep the Change” program, you will all be splitting the $250 maximum match amount from Bank of America.

How much can you save with this program?

Below is an example we took from the Bank of America widget calculating your savings using the “Keep the Change” program. In the example below we have selected the dress shirt as a purchase. For this purchase, a total of $1.00 would be added to your savings account. Can you guess how much would be added to your savings if you purchased the ice cream cone?

If you said $0.28, you’d be correct! $0.14 of your own funds and $0.14 of Bank of America’s. Remember, B of A will match up to $250 for the first 3 months, then the savings will be all on you!

Screen shot 2013-03-05 at 1.24.11 PM

 

How much interest will you earn on your savings?

Practically nothing. Unfortunately, this is biggest downer of the account. Bank of America’s savings account rates are just as pathetic as their deposit rates. Currently they are pumping out measly returns of just 0.10% APY as of March 2013, and likely wont get much better throughout the course of the year.

While this interest rate is slap-in-the-face low, it’s still a variable one which means it will rise in the future when rates as a whole begin to rise again – just don’t expect this to happen anytime soon.

How many purchases will it take to get the full $250 match by Bank of America?

This depends on your purchases. Theoretically you could make 250 purchases at $1.01 each and receive the $250 ($247.50 to be precise) match after spending just $250 of your own money. That’s nearly 100 percent returns! However, it’s obviously far more likely you’ll end up spending significantly more to earn the $250 match by B of A – if you can even get the full amount, remember it expires after 3 months.

To get a better idea of how much matching you’ll likely get from B of A add the remainder from all your debit card purchases you’ve made over the last 3 months. You might want to include the remainders from your credit card purchases as well if you’ll be doing all your purchases with the Bank of America debit card during the promotional 3 month intro period.

Here’s an example of my last 3 days worth of purchasing and how much this would have added up to had I enrolled in B of A’s “Keep the Change” program:

Monday

$4.27 coffee and breakfast  ($0.73 remainder x 2 = $1.46 added to savings)

$8.12 lunch ($0.88 remainder x 2 = $1.76 added to savings)

$21.71 grocery store after work ($0.29 remainder x 2 = $0.58 added to savings)

0.58 + 1.76 + 1.46 = $3.80 total added to savings.

Tuesday

$3.91 coffee and breakfast ($0.09 remainder x 2 = $0.18 added to savings)

$47.20 gas ($0.80 remainder x 2 = $1.60 added to savings)

$9.55 lunch ($0.45 remainder x 2 = $0.90 added to savings)

$28.33 miscellaneous expense ($0.67 remainder x 2 = $1.34 added to savings)

1.34 + 0.90 + 1.60 + 0.18 = $4.02 added to savings.

Wednesday

$4.01 coffee and breakfast ($0.99 remainder x 2 = $1.98 added to savings)

$3.20 snack ($0.80 remainder x 2 = $1.60 added to savings)

$9.25 lunch ($0.75 remainder x 2 = $1.50 added to savings)

$18.23 miscellaneous expense ($0.77 remainder x 2 = $1.54 added to savings)

1.34 + 0.90 + 1.60 + 0.18 = $5.85 added to savings.

 

You get the idea.

 

I only worked this out for my first three days spending on my debit card this week. I’m guessing I could average a little over $5.00 per day once you take into account my weekend spending.

If $5.00/day is my average then over the course of the 3 month promotional period, I would have saved a total of $450.

Not bad, but I still didn’t max out the Bank of America matching feature. Half of $450 = $225 deposited by Bank of America in my $5 per day scenario.

Alternative Options to Bank of America’s Keep the Change:

The “Keep the Change” program is really just a cash back checking account in disguise during the matching period by Bank of America.

You may want to see how this account stacks up against other popular cash back checking accounts. For example, with Perkstreet, you’ll earn between 1 and 2 percent cash back from Perkstreet credited straight to your checking account. Some Perkstreet customers have earned up to $600 per year in cash back. See reviews here.

Compare B of A’s savings account rates to the top FDIC-insured savings account rates available nationwide from our database.

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  • nicole

    Can I just open the checking account and buy one item for a nickel every day and collect 95 cents for 250 odd days?

  • Ben

    I live in Maryland and mentioned this deal to my Bank of America teller and she had no idea what I was talking about, then I went to a b of a 3 blocks away and the teller acted like they opened a dozen new keep the change checking and savings accounts that day! i think this could be a bank by bank type of offer but thats just my experience. good luck!

  • zach

    @nicole: It is your money not BofA that the money is collected from. It is a way to help you the customer save your “own” money.

    example: You have a savings and checking account with BofA

    Savings has 100 dollars and Checking has 100 dollars.

    You realize at 2am that you really want a Bomb burrito from the local 7*11 and wonder on down and purchase said burrito for 2.36. Your Debit card will be charged 3 dollars and the change 0.64 cents will be sent over to your savings account.

    Savings now has 100.64 and Checking has 97…la-dee-da

    I do personally believe this is a great instrument of savings that BofA is offering, but they just don’t offer the high yield that I am looking for.

    I am more content with my DirectDeposit going to my savings account and transfering money to checking when needed. Also find an interest bearing checking account so your money isn’t sitting idle.

  • http://www.thepointsguide.com/ ThePointsGuide

    Didn’t know BofA started matching. Too bad I’m with Wells Fargo now, would have taken advantage of that at least for the first 3 months ;) Then would have continued racking up rewards points on some of my credit cards.