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Bank of America's Keep the Change Program

How the Bank of America Promotion Works

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Need some creative ways to save more? You might look at the Keep the Change program from Bank of America. Bank of America will round up every Visa debit card purchase to the next dollar and deposit the difference in your account. This page explains the Bank of America Keep the Change program -- and how it may or may not help.

Rounding Up

The main trick with the Keep the Change program is rounding. For each purchase you make, Bank of America rounds up the amount charged to your account. On their website, they show an example with a cup of coffee:

Coffee Price: $3.43

Round Up: $ .57 (Deposited to savings)

Total Charge: $4.00 (Charged from checking)

The extra amount is deposited to your savings account at Bank of America.

Matching Funds

In addition to the extra money you charge, Bank of America will add matching funds to your savings accounts. For the first three months they’ll match you dollar for dollar, and after that they’ll match 5% of your rounded up contributions.

What’s the catch? Bank of America will only give you a maximum $250 per year under this program. What’s more, they only make deposits to your account once per year, so those matching dollars aren’t compounding. Finally, the Bank of America savings account that they deposit your funds to has a low APY of 0.5%.

A Good Deal?

Is this a good deal? If you need a little extra help, this program might do the trick. Unfortunately, it’s not going to make a significant impact on your financial situation. You’ll have to save $5,000 per year (by rounding up) to get the $250 match after your first 3 months. If you’re able to save $5,000 per year, you might as well just deposit those dollars in a higher yielding account throughout the year. You might use an internet bank account, or you could save it for your future in an IRA.

While Bank of America may have good intentions, the program is probably not going to help you much. The program may be more of a strategy to generate interchange fees for Bank of America. Each time you use your Visa debit card as a “credit” transaction, Bank of America stands to earn about 2% of the total transaction amount.

You should also watch out for fees that eat up your rewards (or worse, cost more than you earn). Find out what it takes to avoid fees. A monthly $25 transfer into the account or a balance of more than $300 may be required.

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