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FAQs: Questions about Debit Cards

  • Hide How can I activate my debit card?

    There are 3 ways to activate your new debit card:

    • Call 888.624.2323 (non-U.S. call collect: 925.675.6195)
    • Use it with your current PIN to make a purchase or at any ATM. (Non-Bank of America ATM fees may apply. (Please refer to your Personal Schedule of Fees for complete details.)
    • Sign in to Online Banking
  • Show 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). You can also notify us by signing in to Online Banking and requesting a replacement card.

  • Show What is a chip card?

    A chip card is a standard-size plastic debit card that contains an embedded microchip in addition to a magnetic stripe. The chip encrypts information to help increase data security when making transactions at a chip-enabled terminal. More about chip cards

  • Show 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.

  • Show Are there 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.

  • Show 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.

  • Show 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.

  • Show 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 the gas pump, the station requests an initial authorization prior to dispensing fuel and determining the final amount of the purchase. Many pay-at-the-pump gas purchases are initially authorized for $1 no matter what the final purchase amount is.
    • 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.
  • Show 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).

  • Show What if I see an error on my pending transaction history?

    Call us at 800.432.1000 (Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. or Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays) or visit a banking center.

    Find a banking center

  • Show How do I dispute a transaction on my ATM or debit card?

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

    To dispute a debit card transaction, please call us at 877.366.1121.

  • Show Can I withdraw cash from a teller at a Non-Bank of America Banking Center?

    Yes, but there may be a fee associated with the transaction.  Please refer to your Personal Schedule of Fees for complete details.

  • Show How can I request a debit card?

    There are 3 ways you can request a debit card:

    You will receive your new debit card in 5 to 7 business days.

  • Show What is the fastest way to get my debit card?

    Sign in to Online Banking or visit a financial center to make your request. Your new card will arrive in 5-7 business days

  • Show How do I add a photo to my debit card?

    Simply visit a banking center. We'll take your picture and your photo-enhanced debit card will be mailed to you. (In some cases, a replacement fee may apply. See the Personal Schedule of Fees for complete details.)

  • Show How do I replace my ATM card with a debit card?
  • Show 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.

  • Show How do I change my PIN (Personal Identification Number) or request a new PIN?

    To request a new PIN or change your PIN when you don’t know your PIN: Call 800.432.1000 (Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. or Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., excluding holidays).
    To change your PIN when 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 banking center.

  • Show What should I do if my PIN (Personal Identification Number) 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 visit a banking center.

  • Show How can I 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 2 ways to do this:

    • Sign in to Online Banking and enter your trip details
    • Call 800.432.1000 (Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. or Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., excluding holidays)
  • Show 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.

  • Show 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.

  • Show 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.

  • Show How can I link additional accounts to my debit card?

    You may link up to 15 eligible accounts to your debit card by 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). You can also visit a banking center.

  • Show What is a specialty debit card?

    Specialty 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.  Specialty debit cards are available with eligible checking accounts.

    To request a specialty debit card, call 800.432.1000 (Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. or Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., excluding holidays) or visit a banking center.

  • Show How do I set up alerts to track my debit card and account activity?

    Bank of America offers you a wide variety of alert options that deliver important information such as your available balance, when a direct deposit is posted, when a debit card payment over a certain dollar amount occurs and much more. Learn more about Alert options

  • Show What is a virtual card and how does it relate to my debit card?

    Virtual cards are the digital form of your eligible physical debit cards stored within a digital wallet. These have a different number than your physical debit card, so your card number won’t be exposed from your digital wallet if your mobile device is either lost or stolen. Virtual cards can be used like physical debit cards to conveniently make payments on-the-go. You still get all the rewards, benefits and securities your card provides. Learn more about digital wallets

  • Show What is Apple Pay™ and how can I use it on my iPhone® 6?

    Apple Pay is a mobile wallet that uses virtual cards, the digital form of your eligible debit cards, to allow you to conveniently make purchases with your iPhone 6. Learn more »