Fifth Third Bank Review

Fifth Third Bank is one of the largest U.S. banks that serves 10 states throughout the Southeast and Midwest. The bank was founded in 1858 and currently keeps its headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. Fifth Third employs 20,000 people at its more than 1,200 full-service locations. It’s known as a reliable option for people who prefer in-person banking.

However, Fifth Third’s fees are higher than the competition — unless you jump through some hoops to get out of them. And the interest rates on its standard savings and CD accounts are lower than the competitors’ rates.

Fifth Third Bank at a glance

Pros
  • Over 1,200 branch locations
  • Several checking and savings account options
  • Higher interest on promotional account
Cons
  • Low standard CD rates
  • Higher fees than competitors
  • Cannot remotely open an account

 

What’s interesting about Fifth Third

Fifth Third has many locations across 10 states — Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. The bank also offers customers fee-free access to its 2,500 ATMs, plus thousands of more partner ATMs all over the country.

Many of the bank’s accounts charge a monthly service fee, but if you maintain a certain threshold balance, those fees can be waived. Also, Fifth Third offers online and mobile banking through its app and customer service hours every day of the week except Sundays.

Things to consider

Fifth Third’s fees are quite high. For one, the overdraft fee is $37, a bit higher than other banks. But the bank can charge you the overdraft fee up to 5 times in one day. You could potentially pay $185 in 24 hours if you don’t realize you have overdrawn your account.

Also, the savings and CD rates are lower than other banks offer. So, your money won’t be multiplying as much as you’d like while it’s in your account unless you qualify for a promotional deal.

Checking and savings accounts

To open an Essential Checking Account at Fifth Third, you don’t need a minimum deposit. However, it does come with an $11 monthly fee for anyone with less than $1,500 in their combined accounts. The bank will waive the charge if you spend at least $500 on a Fifth Third credit card, are a member of the military or have a student ID. Fifth Third offers other checking accounts with higher interest rates, but they require a balance of at least $20,000.

The savings rate at Fifth Third is not great for the basic account — it’s a mere 0.01% APY. Plus, there’s a $5 fee unless you also have a Fifth Third checking account or meet other specified requirements. Another savings account offers a higher interest rate of 0.10% APY, but you’ll need at least a $25,000 balance.

To hold an account at Fifth Third, customers have to make sure they qualify to have the monthly fees waived — and you might not get a whole lot of return for the extra work.

Money market accounts

Fifth Third offers what it calls a Relationship Money Market Account, which has the best interest rates that the bank provides. A money market account costs $5 per month, except for customers who qualify for a waiver. Members don’t pay if they:

  • Hold a Fifth Third Checking Account
  • Maintain an average balance of $500
  • Are under 18 years old, or
  • Are a member of the military

Additionally, you can continue to write checks and use your money while it gains more interest than in a standard savings account. However, Fifth Third’s money-market rate is subpar when compared to the competition. The APY on the standard account starts at 0.02% and, for those with a balance of more than $250,000, increases to 0.40%. This rate is lower than many other money-market accounts available through different institutions.

CDs

A certificate of deposit account is excellent for individuals hoping to earn more interest than with a standard savings account. You can open a low-yield CD through Fifth Third with a $500 deposit. The account has no monthly fee, unlike many of their other savings options. However, their starting rates are very low. If you have only $500 to put toward a CD, the interest rate will start at 0.05% APY. The bank does offer higher-interest accounts, but they require $5,000 to open. If you have $5,000 that you can leave alone for at least 11 months, you can qualify for a competitive interest rate starting at 2.26% APY.

Overall, Fifth Third’s CD rates are low when compared with online competitors. If you have over $5,000, however, it might be an unfavorable option. The bank charges a penalty for early withdrawal, though, so be thoughtful when deciding on the length of your term.

Credit cards

Fifth Third offers only three credit card options: The TRIO® Card, the Truly Simple® Card and the Secured Card.

The TRIO® Card offers an account bonus of $100 for new customers, plus 3% cash back at restaurants and 2% back at grocery and drug stores. The card also gives 1% cash back on all other purchases. The APR is 0% for the first 12 months and then increases to 15.74% to 24.74%. Also, there’s no annual fee. One great feature: they charge no international transaction fees on credit purchases. This card’s perks are competitive with the rest of the market.

The Truly Simple® Card is meant for people who hold multiple high-rate cards who want to consolidate into one. The card offers 0% APR for the first 15 billing cycles, which then increases to 13.74% to 24.74%. Plus, there’s no annual fee. The Secured Card targets customers who need to rebuild their credit. The customer’s credit behavior is reported to all three credit bureaus and has an annual $24 fee.

Personal loans

With Fifth Third, customers can borrow unsecured loans from $2,000 to $25,000, but that limit is extended to $500,000 for secured loans when backed by any connected Fifth Third investments, CDs or money market accounts. Interest rates for secured loans are low, never topping 8.64% while unsecured loans can range from 6.99% to 19.24% APR. If possible, it’s best to use the secured loan option for personal loans because of its low interest rate. But if you find that you can’t make payments on that secured loan, your collateral will be used by Fifth Third to pay back the loan.

Mortgage loans

Customers looking for the standard spread of home loans and financing will find plenty of options available from the buffet of mortgages that Fifth Third offers. You can browse and choose from fixed-rated mortgages, ARMs, jumbo loans, construction loans, FHA and VA loans. Fifth Third has even created a mortgage product specifically for residents, fellows and new physicians or established physicians and dentists. Fifth Third is a great option to explore due to its wide variety of home financing products that can meet a variety of financial situations and lifestyles.

Mortgage refinancing

Fifth Third bank offers mortgage refinancing, plus it has some pretty sweet ways to save money on your mortgage refinance loan. You can get a .50 discount point credit for setting up auto-payments from your Fifth Third checking account. It also offers low interest rates on mortgage refinancing, and there are ways to save $1,000 on your closing, too.

Home equity loans and HELOCs

Fifth Third Bank offers its version of a HELOC under a product called the Fifth Third Equity Flexline, which comes with low introductory interest rates and no closing costs. The payments are interest only during the draw period, which is 10 years, and it will issue a Mastercard to make it easy to take advantage of the money from your line of credit when you need it. The interest rate is variable, but you have the option to lock in your rate for a $95 fee.

Car loans

Fifth Third Bank offers standard auto financing and refinancing products. The minimum loan amount for a new car loan with Fifth Third is $2,000 and the maximum you can borrow is $80,000. A relationship discount is added for any connected Fifth Third account to make automatic payments, but refinancing customers can enjoy that same discount if they’re a new customer to Fifth Third. Interest rates hover around 4%, making this a solid option for refinancing as well as new auto loans.

The final word

Customers who prefer to go in person to do their banking and who live in one of the 10 states Fifth Third serves would enjoy banking with this institution and would also benefit from some of their perks and rewards, particularly with credit cards.

Anyone living outside of the states that Fifth Third branches are in wouldn’t get the benefits of having lots of physical locations, so they could likely find a better option. And those who wish to gain interest aggressively will probably want to look for better rates elsewhere unless they are starting with a large enough sum of money.