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Fifth Third Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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Fifth Third Bank

NerdWallet’s rating: 3.0 / 5.0


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Fifth Third Bank, based in Ohio, has a strong branch network across 10 states in the Midwest, South and Southeast. But beware of fees that kick in if you don’t have an average monthly balance of $1,500 across your accounts or meet other requirements. Harsh overdraft policies and low interest rates might also dampen your enthusiasm for the bank.

The bottom line

  • Regional bank that serves 10 states in the Midwest, South and Southeast
  • Fees on checking accounts and overdrafts are expensive, and can add up quickly
  • Savings, checking and certificate accounts have low interest rates when compared with other banks

» Want to see what your other options are? Check out NerdWallet’s best banks and credit unions

Checking

Fifth Third’s Essential checking account comes with access to the nationwide Allpoint ATM network. But the account offers no interest, and the monthly fee may end up applying only to those who can least afford it.

ProsCons
  • Great ATM coverage, with more than 45,000 ATMs across the country
  • No minimum deposit needed to open the account
  • $11 monthly fee, which is waived if you have $1,500 total across all Fifth Third accounts, spend at least $500 on a Fifth Third credit card a month, or meet one of a handful of other requirements
  • Monthly fee drops to $8 if you have $500 in direct deposits or more a month — other banks may waive the fee completely with similar direct deposit requirements

  • No interest rate offered
Account reviewed for rating: Essential checking

» Take a look at NerdWallet’s best checking accounts

Savings

With its bare-bones interest rate, the basic Fifth Third savings account won’t earn much. Add the conditional monthly fee into the mix, and you get an account that’s tough to recommend.

ProsCons
  • Goal Setter Savings account offers a bonus after you achieve a previously set goal, with some restrictions. The one-time bonus is equal to the total interest earned during the time your account is open. But the interest rate is so low that your bonus might not add up to much.

  • Monthly fee is waived for the first 6 months
  • Has a low interest rate of 0.01%; rates may vary by region
  • $5 monthly fee, unless you meet certain requirements, like owning a Fifth Third checking account or holding an account balance of $500 or more
Account reviewed for rating: Goal Setter Savings

» See interest rates upwards of 1% at NerdWallet’s best savings accounts

Certificates of deposit

Although Fifth Third offers CDs with a fair minimum-opening deposit, low rates mean low returns for customers. Compare its CDs to other banks’ with our tool.

ProsCons
  • A reasonable $500 minimum opening deposit for standard CDs
  • If you have at least $5,000, you qualify for promotional CDs with higher interest rates
  • Very low rates for standard CDs, ranging from 0.05% to 0.60%. Rates may vary by region.

» Want the best CD rate? Find out what banks are offering this month

Bank experience

Fifth Third has 1,300 branches across 10 states in the Midwest, South and Southeast, a lot for a regional bank. The bank has locations in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The bank can be reached by phone from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time on Saturdays. Twitter support also is available. Though rates are buried on its website, fees are generally easy to find, and the bank earns favorable ratings for its mobile app on both iOS and Android platforms.

Overdraft fees

If you have an account with Fifth Third, be careful not to overdraw; the fees can be steep. You’ll be charged $37 each time you overdraw your account, up to 5 times a day.

Even if you’re enrolled in the bank’s overdraft protection service, transferring funds from another account, a Fifth Third credit card, or a line of credit will cost you an additional $12 each time.

» Compare this to other banks at Overdraft fees: what banks charge

High minimums, high overdraft fees

If you tend to not have at least $1,500 in your bank accounts, the fees can add up quickly, so Fifth Third probably won’t be the bank for you. High overdraft fees and low interest rates on all accounts mean that you probably won’t see your money grow in any significant way. That said, a strong regional branch system and extensive ATM network means that people who prefer to bank in person will be able to access services more easily.

Amber Murakami-Fester is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: amufe@nerdwallet.com.

Updated January 9, 2018.


Ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, customer experience and overdraft fees.

Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.