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FAQs: Questions about Debit Cards

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Frequently Asked Questions

Order, replace, activate, or lock a debit card
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How do I order a debit card?

Bank of America offers several convenient ways to order a debit card

On your mobile device

  1. Sign in to the Mobile app
  2. Select your account
  3. Scroll down to Account Management and tap Order a new card

Get the app

On our website

  1. Sign in to Online Banking
  2. Select your desired account and go to the Information & Services Tab
  3. Scroll down to Order new or replacement cards

Not an Online Banking customer? Enroll in Online Banking today

Contact Us

Schedule an appointment or call 800.432.1000

(Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.–10 p.m. or Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.–5 p.m., excluding holidays)

You will receive your debit card in 4 to 6 business days.

How do I replace my debit card?

Bank of America offers several convenient ways to replace your debit card

On your mobile device

  1. Sign in to the Mobile app
  2. Tap Menu from the navigation tool bar
  3. Scroll down to Manage Debit/Credit Card

Get the app

On our website

  1. Sign in to Online Banking
  2. Select your desired account and go to the Information & Services Tab
  3. Scroll down to Order new or replacement cards

Not an Online Banking customer? Enroll in Online Banking today

Contact Us

Schedule an appointment or call 888.624.2323 (non-U.S. call collect: 925.675.6195).

You will receive your debit card in 4 to 6 business days.

How do I activate my debit card?

Bank of America offers several convenient ways to activate a debit card

On your mobile device

  1. Sign in to the Mobile app
  2. Tap Menu from the navigation tool bar
  3. Scroll down to Manage Debit/Credit Card

Get the app

On our website

Sign in to Online Banking and activate your card

Not an Online Banking customer? Enroll in Online Banking today

Use your card

Use your new debit card with your current PIN to make a purchase or at any Bank of America ATM

Contact Us

Schedule an appointment or call 888.624.2323 (non-U.S. call collect: 925.675.6195).

How do I temporarily lock my debit card?

If you have misplaced your ATM/debit card and need time to find it, you can temporarily lock your card right from your Mobile Banking app or through Online Banking to help prevent unauthorized purchases and withdrawals. Then, when you find it, unlocking your card is just as easy.

Follow the simple steps below to lock or unlock your card:

On your mobile device

  1. Sign in to the Mobile app
  2. Tap Menu from the navigation tool bar
  3. Scroll down to Manage Debit/Credit Card

Get the app

On our website

Sign in to Online Banking and lock your debit card

Not an Online Banking customer? Enroll in Online Banking today

Debit card fees
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Are there fees for requesting a replacement debit card?

There is no fee when we replace an expired debit card, but there is a fee for each debit card replacement you request.  Fees also apply when you request rush delivery of a debit card or other debit access device.  Please refer to your Personal Schedule of Fees for complete details.

What are the fees for using an ATM?

There are no fees for Bank of America customers using one of thousands of Bank of America ATMs in the United States to transfer funds, make deposits, inquire about a balance and withdraw cash.

Fees may be assessed when Bank of America customers make withdrawals, transfers and balance inquiries from ATMs at other financial institutions. A fee may also be charged by the ATM operator or any network used for the transaction. You also may be charged a fee for a balance inquiry even if you do not complete a funds transfer.

Other account fees may apply to the transaction such as an excess withdrawal fee for savings.  Please refer to the Personal Schedule of Fees and the disclosure information that accompanied your card for other fees that may apply.

Are there any transaction fees for using my debit card?

Bank of America doesn’t charge transaction fees when you use your debit card to make purchases, but some merchants may impose a transaction fee or surcharge.

An international transaction fee may be charged for debit card purchases and ATM cash withdrawals.  Please refer to your Personal Schedule of Fees and the disclosure information that accompanied your card for complete details.

Are there any additional fees associated with chip cards?

There is no additional cost to have or to use your new card with smart chip technology. However, there are fees that may apply for each requested replacement of a debit card. (The replacement fee does not apply when we replace a card upon its expiration.) Please refer to your Personal Schedule of Fees for more details.

Lost or stolen debit cards and transaction disputes
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How do I dispute a transaction?

We recommend that you contact the merchant prior to calling us about a dispute as it's generally faster and simpler for you to attempt to resolve the question with the merchant directly before going through the dispute process.

Dispute a debit card transaction

On our website

  1. Sign in to Online Banking
  2. Select your account
  3. In the Activity Tab find and select the transaction you are disputing and click dispute this transaction

Not an Online Banking customer? Enroll in Online Banking today

Or please call us at 877.366.1121.

What should I do if my card is lost or stolen or if I notice fraudulent debit card transactions?

Contact us immediately by calling 800.432.1000 (Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. or Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., excluding holidays; outside the U.S. call collect: 315.424.4022).

Bank of America offers two other convenient ways to notify us that your card has been lost or stolen

On your mobile device

  1. Sign in to the Mobile app
  2. Tap Menu from the navigation tool bar
  3. Scroll down to Manage Debit/Credit Card

Get the app

On our website

You can also notify us by signing in to Online Banking and requesting a replacement card.

Not an Online Banking customer? Enroll in Online Banking today

How do I temporarily lock my debit card?

If you have misplaced your ATM/debit card and need time to find it, you can temporarily lock your card right from your Mobile Banking app or through Online Banking to help prevent unauthorized purchases and withdrawals. Then, when you find it, unlocking your card is just as easy.

Follow the simple steps below to lock or unlock your card:

On your mobile device

  1. Sign in to the Mobile app
  2. Tap Menu from the navigation tool bar
  3. Scroll down to Manage Debit/Credit Card

Get the app

On our website

Sign in to Online Banking and lock your debit card

Not an Online Banking customer? Enroll in Online Banking today

Debit card PIN
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How do I change my ATM or debit card PIN or request a new PIN?

If you don’t know your PIN: Schedule an appointment or call 800.432.1000 (Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-10 p.m. or Sat-Sun 8 a.m.-5 p.m., excluding holidays) and we will mail you a reminder.

If you do know your PIN: Visit a Bank of America ATM and select More Options then Change PIN. You can also change your PIN or make your new PIN request at a financial center or by scheduling an appointment

What should I do if my ATM or debit card PIN isn’t working?

Contact us immediately by calling 800.432.1000 (Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-10 p.m. or Sat-Sun 8 a.m.-5 p.m., excluding holidays) or schedule an appointment.

Is there a difference between signing a receipt and using my PIN (Personal Identification Number) to authorize a debit card purchase?

No. Whether you sign or use your PIN, there is no difference in how much you are charged.

If you select debit you will use your PIN and enter it in on the merchant keypad. If you select credit you may be required to sign a receipt to authorize your purchase.  A signature may not be required for certain transactions such as internet, mail order and pay-at-the-pump gas purchases.  Your options may differ depending on the merchant.

Digital wallets and virtual cards
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How does a virtual card relate to your debit card?

A virtual card has a unique number that's different from the number on the physical debit card it's linked to. So, it cannot be accessed from your digital wallet if your mobile device is lost or stolen. You can use your virtual card with your mobile device to conveniently make purchases on the go, just like your physical debit card.

Learn more about Apple Pay® »

Learn more about Android Pay »

Learn more about Samsung Pay »

Learn more about Microsoft® Wallet »

Debit card authorization, pending and final transaction amounts
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What is an authorization?

When you use your debit card to make a purchase, the merchant will request an authorization—in other words, an approval—for the transaction. An authorization confirms that your account is open and active and that there are enough funds available to cover the purchase amount at the time of the request. The purchase amount sent by the merchant for authorization varies by merchant type. Many merchants request an authorization for the exact purchase amount, but some merchants may send an authorization request for a nominal amount such as $1 or an estimate that is more or less than the actual purchase amount. The authorization hold amount reduces your available balance and will remain on the account up to 3 business days when your debit card is swiped or inserted in person, or up to 5 business days when used for an internet, phone or mail order transaction. When the transaction is presented to the bank, the actual purchase amount is deducted from your account. Some internet, phone and mail order merchants send items in multiple shipments. When this happens, a single authorization is placed on the account and the authorization hold amount is reduced as each item ships. The hold will remain on the account up to 5 business days or until the authorization amount is reduced to zero, whichever occurs first.

When you do not have enough available funds in your account to cover everyday non-recurring debit card purchases or ATM withdrawals, we will decline the transaction and you will not be subject to overdraft fees for those declined transactions. If you have enough available funds in your account to cover part of an everyday non-recurring debit card purchase, but not the full amount, some merchants will accept those available funds as partial payment and then allow you to pay the balance of your purchase from another source, or will allow you to reduce your purchase to fall within your available balance, such as by reducing the number of items in your cart.

What could cause a pending transaction or authorization amount to be different from my final or actual purchase amount?

A pending transaction or an authorization amount may vary from the final or actual purchase amount in situations where there is an estimated authorization amount or a tip is involved.

Here are a few examples that show how a pending transaction or authorization amount might be different from the final amount:

  • At a restaurant, an authorization is requested prior to a tip being added.  The final purchase amount will include a tip you add.  Some restaurants may add an estimated tip to the transaction total when requesting an authorization.  Because of this practice, your final purchase amount may vary from the authorized amount.
  • At a hotel, they are allowed to request an authorization for an amount based on the length of your stay and applicable taxes.  An estimated amount for incidentals may also be made. Cruise lines and car rental companies may also follow this practice.
When will the final purchase amount replace the pending amount and be posted to my checking account?

It may take several business days for the final purchase amount to replace the pending transaction amount on your account. The pending transaction reduces your available balance. When the transaction is presented to the bank, the final or actual purchase amount is deducted from your account, usually within 3 to 5 business days.  (3 business days when a card is swiped or inserted in person or 5 business days when used via the internet, phone or mail order transaction).

Where can I use my debit card to inquire about account balances, transfer funds, or withdraw cash from my account?

You can get these services at any Bank of America ATM across the country and at many ATM networks worldwide. Some services may not be available at non-Bank of America ATMs. Fees may apply for the available services at non-Bank of America ATMs. Please refer to the Personal Schedule of Fees and the disclosure information that accompanied your card for other fees that may apply.

Other debit card questions
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How is a debit card different from a credit card?

You can use a debit card just like a credit card wherever Visa or MasterCard cards are accepted.  However, when you use a debit card, the purchase amount is deducted from your Bank of America checking account.

How can I link additional accounts to my debit card?

You may link up to 15 eligible accounts to your debit card by scheduling an appointment or calling us at 800.432.1000 (Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. or Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., excluding holidays)

What is an affinity debit card?

Affinity debit cards have all the same benefits as the standard Bank of America debit card while highlighting on the card one of many charitable causes, special interests, organizations, sports, colleges and universities. Affinity debit cards are available with eligible checking accounts.

To request an Affinity debit card Schedule an appointment or call 800.432.1000 (Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. or Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., excluding holidays)

What is a chip card?

A chip card is a standard-size plastic debit card that contains an embedded microchip as well as the traditional magnetic stripe. The chip encrypts information to help increase data security when making transactions at terminals or ATMs that are chip enabled. More about Chip Cards

How do I add a photo to my debit card?

To add a photo to your debit card, simply Schedule an appointment. We'll take your picture and your photo-enhanced debit card will be mailed to you. (In some cases, a replacement fee may apply. Please refer to your Personal Schedule of Fees or Business Schedule of Fees for more details.)

How can I help avoid problems if I plan to use my debit card while traveling domestically or internationally?

To help prevent an interruption in credit card or debit card access when you travel domestically or internationally, we recommend that you set a travel notice on the card(s) you plan to use while traveling.

There are two ways to do this:

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