Bank Of America Charges $10 Fee For Paying Parking Tickets

Reader Anthony writes that the financial warlocks at Bank of America have dreamed up a new fee to help pay for their subprime mortgage losses: a $10 fee to pay your parking tickets:

I was just going over my BofA credit card charges and noticed a $10 “Cash Equivalent Transaction” fee listed directly above a parking ticket payment for $30 I called them up and the rep. explained to me that BofA now charges $10 for paying parking tickets “or bail bonds” because they (somehow) consider it to be a cash advance. At first he offered to wave part of the fee. When I complained more, and told him I had not been notified of the fee policy, he waived the entire fee as a “one time only” convenience. I hate that bank.

There’s a perfectly reasonable explanation, Anthony. You tried to pay your ticket on 4/20, and the system was obviously high.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Uriel says:

    that sounds very illegal, collecting a fee on a government fine.

  2. bravo369 says:

    Under that logic, wouldn’t ANYTHING you charge to a credit card be considered a cash advance?

  3. differcult says:

    Wells Fargo has done this to me before. I opened a new account with PenFed and they needed $10 to open it, I used my credit card (because they said I could) and wellsfargo charged me $30 for a cash advance.

  4. I wonder if this is a byproduct of how those transactions are recorded. If the agency only accepts cash or debit (I know of a number that do) and the credit card was run as a debit card that would explain it. The credit card only sees cash coming out, not the nature of the transaction.

    Otherwise BOOOOOOOO. You cant arbitrarily decide that some types of transactions get extra fees.

  5. RINO-Marty says:

    Just another example of the free market at work. These idiots simply redefine a charge as a cash advance and start collecting fees. Any lawyers out there, please start filing paperwork for a class-action lawsuit and shut these clowns down.

  6. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    Bank of America is all kinds of suck. Seriously, get another bank.

    @bravo369: good point.

    I just got a parking ticket and found out if I pay with credit card, the city adds 10% as a convenience fee. Screw that too.

  7. KIRZEN2007 says:

    The original poster may actually want to “read” the T&C’s of his credit card, there are a lot of things that are charged as cash advances. Even something as seemingly harmless as a lottery ticket is considered a cash advance by some companies.

    Learn to read the stipulations of an agreement, before complaining about “changes” to said agreement, you may never have encountered a charge for a cash advance before, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t provisions in your T&C’s stipulating which things are considered cash advance purchases.

  8. tedyc03 says:


  9. azntg says:

    The card companies are slowly on a trend to count everything as a cash advance now, eh? What’s next?

    Are purchases going to be further subdivided that some will be subject to an additional fee and won’t be eligible for grace periods anymore too? Bullsh*t.

    @Dead Wrestlers Society: Agreed. Too bad they have a near monopoly in some places (saw for myself in Boston)

    The city adding that 10% is their way of passing the cost of processing credit cards to you, plus some profit for the processing company.

    And your issuer can double dip by charging another percentage as a cash advance fee, plus even more percentage as a cash advance interest rate (which isn’t subject to grace periods!)

  10. Pro-Pain says:

    Credit Unions FTW!

  11. civicmon says:

    Probably should have paid your parking tickets with pennies. BofA should have no problem selling you two or three thousand of them for the parking fine.

  12. bonzombiekitty says:

    Well, the poster says it was a credit card, not a debit card. Certain things is against the law to pay using credit, lottery being one of them.

    It’s possible in this municipality, you cannot use credit to pay for a parking ticket, so THEY run it as a cash advance. It may be on BoA’s end they just got a request for a cash advance, and they made no such decision like “oh this charge was for a parking ticket, so run it as a cash advance” (I doubt they can even do that), rather it was the municipality that charged it as a cash advance.

    The poster should check with the municipality that he paid the ticket to in order to see if they process credit transactions as cash advances. The blame may lie with the municipality here, not BoA.

  13. NoWin says:

    Municipal fines and the like are usually subject to the “cash advance” fee issue similar to the OP. The muni can not (often by law) lessen the fine (or, legally pay the processing fee for taking the card “out” of the total fine), so they can only be done via a cash-advance debit.

    If the OP goes to muni website or parking enforcement office, I’ll bet he’ll see the disclaimer that fees paid by a cc or debitcard are subject to the added service charge per a city or state general law.

  14. Scotus says:

    @KIRZEN2007: I didn’t think it was legal to buy lottery tickets with a credit card at all, but considering them a cash advance makes a lot of sense. When you consider the number of people (especially seniors) who drop $20 or more a day on lottery tickets, imagine what it would be like if they could just charge it.

  15. Lucky225 says:

    Just get a license plate like mine


    I get notices about parking tickets for OTHER vehicles all the time I don’t have to pay b/c it’s in error. Because of all the false positive parking tickets, I can use it as a defense on REAL parking tickets :P

  16. Lucky225 says:


    You can’t buy lotto tickets with anything but cash or a winning lotto ticket for ‘free ticket’. What’s funny is H-E-B grocery stores gave me this coupon book that had a coupon for “free texas lotto ticket” I looked up the law and their coupon is a misdemeanor :X

  17. homerjay says:

    @Pro-Pain: Don’t let Buran hear you say that! :)

  18. castlecraver says:

    @KIRZEN2007: Blame the victim FTW!

  19. Milstar says:

    @Scotus: all credit transactions have a small upfront set fee (like 35 cents)and like 2.5-3% of the transaction fee processing. SO that 1.00 dollar lottery ticket would only net the state less than 97 cents – the upfront fee.

    So I’m guessing BOA had to reclassify the charge as a debit or cash fee so the state/municipality didn’t take the fee hit. Same as the convience fee for paying your taxes by CC.

  20. Trai_Dep says:

    Isn’t any check use a “form of cash advance,” as it were? Or do they expect most non-gov’tal payees to never convert the check to money at some point?

    I think that, for clarity, BofA should simply charge a Fee fee and be done with it.

    Anyone need any OTHER reason to ditch BofA? Besides masochists?

  21. Trai_Dep says:

    Whoops, CC = check. Same difference, imaginary fees on BofA products.

  22. bonzombiekitty says:

    @castlecraver: I don’t think it’s really blaming the victim. First of all I’m not sure that the OP is a victim of BoA, but rather the rules of the municipality.

    Second of all I think it’s a valid statement. A lot of people claim to have never been informed of a change to some policy or claim to have never been told of some given policy, but have in fact been told; they just didn’t read it.

    It does happen quite a lot. To be honest when people claim to have never been told of something, I’m not inclined to believe them. I’d understand that they may not have been aware of it, and I’d give them some leeway because of it – but now they know.

  23. bonzombiekitty says:

    @Trai_Dep: I think there is a legal and regulatory difference between the two. For a cash advance, the CC gives YOU the money, for credit the CC gives the third party the money.

    It may be that due to the rules of the municipality, the transaction must be treated as though the CC company gave you cash and then you handed the municipality the cash.

  24. Buran says:

    @Scotus: I once asked about this when a station surprisingly let me add the cost of a ticket to my CC bill (I had the $1 in my hand, not expecting that). The clerk said it’s up to the store to set that policy. That was in MO.

  25. ViperBorg says:

    Contact the DA. It would be wonderful poetic justice for BoA to get fined from the Government for them fining you for paying a ticket.

  26. @KIRZEN2007: I can tell you for sure that in WA at least it is against the law to gamble with credit funds, and thus it would have to be processed as a cash advance.

  27. Lucky225 says:


    That’s incorrect, Cash Advance can be any ‘Cash’ transaction using your card. For example if you send money on paypal to your mom you’re technically supposed to choose the ‘quasi-money’ option, which WILL charge your card a cash advance since it’s not a purchase.

  28. balthisar says:

    I’ve paid speeding tickets with a credit card before. If there’s no PIN, then it’s not a cash advance? Only place to get a cash advance without a PIN is at the bank, isn’t it?

  29. Buran says:

    I paid a ticket 2-3 months ago with my BofA visa via a onetime number (don’t trust random merchants the city hires that I’ve never heard of). No fee. No convenience fee. Considering the vultures that are the St. Louis parking enforcement meter maids, I was shocked.

  30. BigElectricCat says:


    “Even something as seemingly harmless as a lottery ticket is considered a cash advance by some companies.”

    I can’t speak for other states, but in GA, merchants are not permitted to sell you lottery tickets of any kind if you pay with plastic. It doesn’t matter if you’re using credit or debit — they can’t do it.

  31. Buran says:

    @homerjay: It *is* getting old but I wouldn’t have said a word if you hadn’t.

    Seriously, why do I get so much crap around here, when so many other people post exactly the same sorts of stuff I do?

  32. Wormfather says:

    Bank of America, Bank of opportunists.

    I know I keep saying it, but I could write a paragraph blasting them and there policies, but why should I when those six words sum it all up.

  33. UnStatusTheQuo says:

    Can’t say I’m surprised. It’s a bank. And of that already hard to trust subset, they are one of the worst.

  34. jsttheman says:

    Allow me to educate you. DO you read your fee disclosures? You’ll probably find this line, I have it in mine: “Cash Equivalent transactions are defined as money orders, foreign currency, and travelers checks from a non-financial institution, person to person money transfers, bets, lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, fines and bail bonds.”

  35. akede2001 says:

    I paid off my BofA CC and closed my bank accounts with them a couple months ago. They are a horrible bank.

    I’m not one of those people who get OD fees and complain about paying them, then get mad at the bank. While their fees are horrible, I did not receive OD fees and such on any of the accounts. Even though I’m a signer on two other accounts and still had a CC at the time, when I closed my primary checking account they disabled my online access. This prevented me from reviewing the other accounts which I’m a signer on.

    I closed my accounts with them them because of the horrible customer support hours, the horrible customer support, horrible web site uptime, horrible policies, and then they tried to increase my APR to something like 20% from the 15% I had. Pretty good credit rating, no late payments, no collections, I have two other CCs at mid balance (no more than $3k in total debt), a car loan which I’ve never been late on.

    When I received the notice about the APR increase, I wrote a check for $950 to pay off the balance and closed it out. Closed out my checking and savings account, and went back to Washington Mutual. Not much better of a bank, but at least I’m still flagged as an employee in their systems, and my accounts will forever be marked. Plus, the 4.75% APY on the savings account from WaMu was a nice incentive. I put several thousands of dollars in there. The APY is still around 3.5%– up around a good CD.

  36. exkon says:

    Just wondering, does ANYONE read their T&C of their credit cards anymore?

    “A cash advance fee may be assessed when making the following types of transaction types: Check Cash Advances, ATM Transactions, Direct Deposit Cash Advances, Bank Cash Advances, Overdraft Protection Cash Advances, Purchase of Cash Equivalents”

    “3 Cash Equivalent transactions are defined as money orders, foreign currency, and travelers checks from a non-financial institution, person to person money transfers, bets, lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, fines and bail bonds.”

    Being a good consumer also means reading the stuff you sign sometimes.

  37. Waiting for the obligatory troll to come in here and say “Just don’t drive a car”, or some other sanctimonious nonsense…

  38. homerjay says:

    @Buran: We only tease the ones we love. ;)

  39. Lucky225 says:


    And Casino’s ;)

  40. GearheadGeek says:

    @differcult: But you actually did receive a cash advance, not some ephemerally-defined “cash equivalent” since the money you pulled from your credit card was deposited into a bank account with PennFed that you could (in theory) have turned around and withdrawn. @exkon: makes the point that the T&C of some unspecified card includes “fines” along with other reasonable items like casino gaming chips and money orders that are more negotiable.

    The odd thing is the inclusion of fines, since they are NOT negotiable in the same sense. You can’t pay a traffic ticket and then say “Oh, I’d like to cash that traffic ticket in for the money I just gave you” like you can with a chip at a casino, so at the root of it, it’s the issuing back screwing you for the convenience of paying your parking or traffic fines with their card.

  41. GearheadGeek says:


  42. MD4Prez2032 says:

    Be aware that once you do a “cash advance” on your B of A credit card, your APR automatically goes up to 24%.

  43. castlecraver says:

    @bonzombiekitty: Sure, I’ll give you that. But I’m not convinced it’s strictly a policy issue on the consumer’s end. I think it’s unlikely BoA (or any credit card issuer) can surmise the exact nature of the charge (whether or not it’s a fine, lotto ticket, etc) on their own, and count on the entity originating the charge (the police dept) to put the charge through as a cash advance as opposed to a credit or debit. It’s probably the case that the CC processing system that the police department uses requires them to put it through that way. That assumed, it would make more sense for the police department to put some kind of conspicuous notice on the ticket stub that any fines charged to a CC will be put through as a cash advance. Most CC holders are well aware that these transactions carry hefty fees, and no, most CC holders don’t read that deep into the fine print. And honestly, how often would one have to pay fines or buy bail bonds enough to consider it might be a cash-equivalent transaction (moreso than say… purchasing postage stamps, gold, or paying taxes which could arguably be considered similarly cash-equivalent to a traffic fine, all of which you can do with a credit card without it being considered a cash advance)?

    All I’d ask for is a little more explicit disclosure at the point of payment beyond the fine-print that you probably filed away long ago. I don’t think it’s really reasonable to expect your normal CC user to recall exceptions like that as they pertain to relatively rare and aggravated circumstances, especially when they can turn out to be so costly.

  44. krom says:

    I must go to a very different Bank Of America than the OP, because my Bank Of America consistently issues Visas, and my online bill looks nothing at all like his.

  45. blainer says:

    Had this happen to me, as well. CSR explained that they informed customers of this in a mailing. He was happy to waive the fee when I asked.

  46. krom says:

    This is yet another hyperbolic, missing-info story bashing BOA. I start to wonder if WaMu et al are hiring people to troll Consumerist with half-explained, bullshit stories.

    People, when you try to convert your credit card to cash, that’s called a cash advance. This includes using your CC to add money to another credit, bank, or other monetary account. Likewise is going to a participating bank and using your credit card to “buy” cash from them. Or using your CC in an ATM to get cash. Or using one of those CC checks.

    What sort of BOA MC does Anthony have? Where does he live? Was it a municipal ticket or state ticket? If so, from where? Did the BOA rep actually say they charge fees on traffic tickets, or is that a connection that Anthony simply presumes as a result of the circumstances? Is it really BOA, or the ticketing authority, that caused it to be a cash advance transaction?

  47. blainer says:

    @akede2001: Why do you have “thousands of dollars” in a savings account, but maintain a $3000+ balnace on credit cards?

  48. chemmy says:

    I pay parking tickets in NYC online with my Citibank debit card. Bank takes it out just fine. NYC adds a $2.00 convenience fee.

    Just got one in the mail… Maybe I should mail them a check. That should be inconvenient for them and will save me $1.59 (since i have to pay for the stamp)

  49. Buran says:

    @homerjay: Awww, I didn’t know you cared! ;)

  50. elislider says:

    i JUST yesterday had a problem like this with BoA. i went to the bank to get a cash advance on my credit card for $170. the tellers didnt know what the fee was for getting the cash advance (wtf?) and they said i had to call. so i called and the guy said it was 3%. checked my card yesterday and i was charged $10, while 5% would be $5.10

  51. highmodulus says:

    B.of A.- Satan’s Bank and Trust.

    Sadly they bought Countrywide (who owns my home loan- I am not looking forward to their various “revenue enhancement” schemes). Sigh.

  52. bonzombiekitty says:

    @elislider: 5% of 170 is 8.50

  53. bonzombiekitty says:

    @bonzombiekitty: Oh ok, I see your typo, you meant “…while 3% would be $5.10”

  54. @krom: I don’t think WaMu needs to do anything to bash BoA. They earn it themselves. I watch BoA screwing my friends from the comfort of my credit union account quite often.

  55. Trai_Dep says:

    @bonzombiekitty: “A lot of people claim to have never been informed of a change to some policy or claim to have never been told of some given policy, but have in fact been told; they just didn’t read it.”

    Only because BofA blizzards its customers with dozens of modifications, with arcane opt-out procedures, monthly.

    When my MBNA card switched to BofA after their buy-out, I received literally a half-dozen “enhancements” to the card agreement. I had to opt out by sending separate letters to a different address to all of them. After finding the change buried on the 4th page of a 7pp form of densely packed legalese.

    Things like, “We’re excited to offer binding arbitration to your agreement,” “We’re ecstatic to hike your rate to 30%,” “We’re creaming our pants at the notion of shortening your billing cycle,” and “We’ve just bukkake’d our intern over the chance of changing your due date whenever the whim strikes us”.

    “…But if you’d like to not take advantage of this then [follow a 5-step process that makes cashing in a free iPod rebate seem easy].”

    Clearly disadvantageous, clearly something that no sane customer would opt for, clearly hoping enough customers will not be alert enough, or anal enough, to overcome their con job.

    It’s a pattern of BofA. This is far from their first swing of the bat. Flee them. Flee!!

  56. whydidnt says:

    Most likely the transaction in question was submitted as a cash advance, that’s why the fee was charged. Almost every CC agreement I have seen in the last 2 years, including those from my consumer friendly CU charge a Cash Advance Fee, it is almost always $10.00 or 3% of the amount advanced whichever is GREATER.

    They charge this fee for a couple of reasons, the first is that they typically receive a percentage of your “normal” charges. The amount they collect depends on the merchant agreement, but for small vendors it’s typically in the 3% range. They also want to discourage people from taking small regular advances (that’s why the $10.00 minimum) as folks that do that could use those advances to pay the bill itself which would put them at risk of a default. And of course, they like the extra income it provides.

    Folks, it’s a very rare circumstance that taking an advance on credit card is a good idea. Paying 3% upfront, just for the right to pay an additional monthly interest charge makes very little sense. You are much better off to use the card for things you normally pay cash for, like gas, groceries, coffee, etc. and using the unspent cash for your other needs.

  57. dustinwwhite says:

    They also charge $12 just for RECEIVING a cash wire transfer. Banking! What a scam!

  58. chrylis says:

    @Lucky225: Um, care to relate how you got that coupon book? O:-)

    (Also, it’s probably OK for them to give you a ticket; it’s not a sale.)

  59. Lucky225 says:


    Cashed my income check, everyone who cashes a check gets the coupon book, and it’s illegal to give lotto tickets away as well — they even gave me a RECIEPT for the purchase with coupon.

  60. Jenng says:

    OMGOSH!!!! Why do people continue to bank with BofA? It’s just mind boggling to me. Maybe they do so that they call write consumerist and complain about how they get nickel and dimed to death… How many more stories so we really need to read about crappy BofA or Crap-Mart? There are plenty of banks to choose from people!!!!! I’ve never had any of the problems at my credit union that are in all these stories on Cosumerist. POWER OF CHOICE PEOPLE you know its a crappy bank/store but you continue to do business with them and complain.

  61. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Dead Wrestlers Society:

    So it’s cheaper to pay with pennies. Or better yet, mixed change. That’s your excuse if they ask why.


    It’s Bank of AMERICA. True patriotic Americans all do their banking there. Pinko.

  62. KIRZEN2007 says:


    You ‘can’ but your credit card simply chooses to push it as a cash advance, hit you with a cash advance fee, and start charging intrest on it with no grace (following the cash advance rules).

    You can buy -anything- with a credit card, fundementally if you walked 6′ over to the ATM and took $1000 out of the ATM as a cash advance, you could walk out onto the street and have essentially used your credit card to buy hookers and blow for your friends. You may not be able to put it on your credit card as a normal C/C purchase, but its unlikely there’s a law against it (IANAL, your state/country’s laws will vary)

  63. Coles_Law says:

    I’m actually OK with classifying a bail bond as a cash advance-unless you skip town, you get the money back. Parking ticket though? No way.

  64. StevenJohn says:

    The government agency can not reduce the fine. $100 is $100.

    If the CC charges a fee for processing the card, and the government agency paid the fee out of the proceeds, in a manner of speaking the goverment agency woould be reducing your payment of the fine. $100 is only $97.

    Illegal under government rules.

    So the CC processing company back charges the processing costs on the card holder. Perfectly legal in the fine print of your card’s terms.

    BTW my city water department has a sign that says water bills paid by CC will result in the processing fees being added to your bill.

  65. tcp100 says:

    @blainer: If he has a 0% balance on the cards, it makes a lot of good sense to keep the cash in the bank earning interest vs paying off the debt which is costing him nothing. Debt != “EVIL”.

    As for the cash advance stuff, anything that’s an instant (not delayed) payment that’s irreversible by the bank is a cash advance. A parking ticket counts as that.

    Best Buy doesn’t get your credit card money the second you swipe the card; they get monthly cycle payments, sometimes even longer – and BoA (or any bank) earns interest on that float and has lower risk due to the delay.

    The $10 you’re paying for a cash advance (and read your terms; my BoA card doesn’t charge a cash advance fee, but the interest rate for one is stupid) pays for those differences. Banks make $0 off such transactions outside of fees and interest.

    But duh, this is the consumerist. Banks should be non-profit government regulated organizations that charge no more than 2% interest simply to cover operating costs. (Oh, wait, if that were the case, people on here would bitch at them when they requested you not take stacks of deposit slips and make paper airplanes out of them.. see USPS box article..)

    There is such an animal, you know (credit union).

    Anyways, this is nothing new. Try buying a money order with a credit card at 7-11 some day. Same deal. Read your Ts&Cs, and yeah, avoid BoA. (I was forced in. My card was MBNA.)

  66. bwcbwc says:

    They forgot to mention the minimum transaction fee on your cash advance. It’s a bit clearer on their “convenience” checks: 3% of transaction, minimum $10 max $99. So best to do your cash advances in amounts > $3,300. FirstUSA/Chase is worse on the transaction fees (max $149), but with good credit, you can get an ongoing rate of 4-5% for the duration of the balance, where BofA will only give you 5% (well 4.99%) for about 8 months.

  67. landsnark says:

    BoA == Worst. Bank. Ever.

    These BS fees are demonstrably part of their business model. Do not do business with this bank unless you have all day to skim their Terms of Service for these such fees.

  68. figureout says:

    Must be a new business model for revenue generation with Public Storage as well. I paid my bill by phone recently and got a recording that they are now charging a $10.00 Convenience Fee. Absolutely NO notification to “customers” which of course promotes excellent “customer satifaction”

  69. Orv says:

    @MD4Prez2032: Actually, I’m pretty sure the 24% APR applies only to the cash advance itself. Unfortunately, because they apply payments to lower APR balances first, you’ll be paying that 24% for a while on that part of the balance unless you don’t have a month-to-month balance on your card.

  70. igr001 says:

    Bank of America also charged me a $10 cash advance fee when I used their credit card to pay for parking using a multi-space parking meter in Washington DC. So to pay for 2 hours of parking on the street which would normally cost $2,bank of america charges excessive and predatory fees. Apparently paying a parking meter with a bank of america credit card is counted as a quasi-cash transaction which is subject to a $10 minimum fee and a higher interest rate. I have used other credit cards to pay for parking meters in the past and have never had them charge me these ridiculous fees. I will most likely be canceling all of my bank of america credit cards in the future and i suggest you do the same.

  71. Anonymous says:

    I have been fighting with BOA all year so far. They have a new scam now. They have now discovered how to make millions in one day by scamming their own clients. After a conversation with a bank manager who explained to me what they do is take off larger amounts first and then smaller amounts which means that they automatically bounce the smaller amounts due to the larger amount using up the funds.
    Now if you had a balance of $500 in your account and you used your debit card for let’s say 10 small payments of about $20 each which will leave you a balance of $300. Suddenly there is another amount that comes off your account of about $400 which you forgot about for some doctor’s bill or something. Now at this point everything is pending in your account which allows them to fiddle the books. What they do is take the large amount off first, even though it was the 11th transaction in your account. This will leave $100 in your account and of the 10 previous transactions only 5 of them make it through and you will go into overdraft for $100. Then they hit you for the balance of the 5 transactions at $35 each which will be $175 in overdraft fees.
    The manager and customer service will tell you that this is what the clients want. I have not found one BOA client who actually agrees with their new scam, they are actually angry about it. They also will refuse to take your money off your account as they receive it. They will rather leave it pending so that they can once again fiddle the books.
    With everyone in debt and struggling financially, if 100,000 clients overdraft on one transaction, in one day BOA makes a clean $3.5 Million. I am sure the figure is larger than that –easy money.
    When you go on line to complain to customer service they just send you back very patronizing emails on how you should conduct your account.

  72. dilbert144 says:

    BoA charges me 2000% interest, man am I a sucker. I have a 59 cent charge at a special promotion rate on my card in addition to the normal charges. For some reason BoA calculates interest for it separate than the others. Every month there is a $1.00 finance charge on that 59 cent balance which is their “official” minimum charge. They won’t leave me pay off that 59 cents until the entire card is paid off. So $12 a year on 59 cents is over 2000%.