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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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A regional bank based in Ohio, Fifth Third has a strong branch network across 10 states in the Midwest, South and Southeast. But beware of fees that can snowball if you don’t have a total of $1,500 across your accounts at all times. Harsh overdraft policies and low interest rates might also dampen your enthusiasm for the bank.

The bottom line

  • Fifth Third is a 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

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best banks and credit unions in the Midwest

Our Ratings
Checking
Savings
Certificates of deposit
Customer experience
Overdraft fees
Overall

Read on for more information about Fifth Third Bank’s checking and savings products, CDs, customer experience and fees.

Checking

Fifth Third’s Essential checking account has its pros and cons. Being a part of the Allpoint ATM network means access to a machine is never difficult no matter where you are in the U.S. 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
  • A low minimum deposit of $50
  • $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
  • No interest rate offered
Account reviewed for rating: Essential checking

» MORE: 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.
  • 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

» MORE: 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.

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.

Customer experience

Fifth Third has more than 1,200 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, and Twitter support also is available. Its website is generally easy to use.

Overdraft fees

If you have an account with Fifth Third, be careful not to overdraw; the fees can be steep. Your first overdraft will cost $25, followed by $37 for every time your account is overdrawn after that, up to 10 times a day. Starting May 2, 2017, the fee will be $37 for each overdraft, and the maximum daily overdrafts will drop from 10 to 5. 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.

» MORE: Overdraft fees: What banks charge

High minimums, high overdraft fees

If you tend to not have at least $1,500 in your bank accounts at all times, the fees can add up quickly, so Fifth Third probably won’t be the bank for you. With the bank’s high overdraft fees and low interest rates on all accounts, 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 April 21, 2017.


Ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s overall rating is a weighted average of each category: checking, savings, CDs, 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 tech and customer service. Several Nerds contribute to each financial institution’s ratings to ensure consistency and accuracy.

What the ratings mean:
5 stars out of 5 — Among the very best
4.5 stars out of 5 — Very good; only minor caveats for most customers
4 stars out of 5 — Good; issues that might make a difference to some customers
3.5 stars out of 5 — Fair; make sure strengths and weaknesses are a good match for you
3 stars out of 5 — Poor; proceed with great caution
2.5 stars out of 5 (or below) — Best to avoid