The TRIO® Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank is a cash-back card that offers bonus rewards on some of the most common spending categories, albeit with spending limits that could seriously cramp your style. The card comes with a sign-up bonus and a break on interest for balance transfers. It’s offered by Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank, which has branches and ATMs in 10 states.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. You’ll get bonus cash back — just not a whole lot of it
Depending on how you spend money, that could boost your overall earnings rate to 1.5% or more, which would rank it among the better cash-back cards. However, the $1,500 quarterly limit on spending eligible for bonus rewards is rather low — it comes out to just $500 a month for combined groceries, gas, restaurant and drugstore spending. The more you spend, the more likely it is that you would be better off with a simple, flat-rate card that pays an unlimited 1.5%, 2% or more on all purchases.
Use our calculator to estimate your annual rewards and your overall rewards rate on the TRIO® Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank.
2. You can earn a modest sign-up bonus
This card offers a sign-up bonus worth $100 — not as big as what’s offered by some other cash-back cards, but not nothing, either. Here’s how you get the bonus, as described by Fifth Third Bank: “Earn a new account bonus worth $100! Earn 10,000 bonus points which can be redeemed for $100 cash back, simply spend $1,000 within 90 days of opening your account.”
Note that rewards on the card are actually given as points — Real Life Rewards points, to be exact — which have a value of a 1 cent apiece when redeemed for cash back. Other redemption options include merchandise, loan and mortgage credit, travel and other experiences.
3. There’s a 0% period for transfers, but also a fee
New cardholders get a 0% Introductory APR on Balance Transfers for your first 12 billing cycles after the account is opened, and then the ongoing APR of 15.99% - 24.99% Variable APR. That’s nice if you have high-interest debt you’d like to pay down. There is, however, a balance transfer fee of 4% of the amount of each transfer ($5 minimum).
4. The annual fee is $0
It doesn’t cost anything to carry this card, so you can keep it open (which can help your credit scores) even if you move it to the back of your wallet. It also makes a good companion for international travel, as it has no foreign transaction fees.
5. The cell phone protection perk isn’t too impressive
If you pay your wireless phone bill with the TRIO® Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank, you’re eligible for Fifth Third’s cell phone protection program. This benefit comes with some pretty big strings attached, though. Details:
- The protection is only supplemental coverage, meaning it will reimburse you for damage or theft that is not already covered by another insurance policy, such as your homeowners or renters insurance. It kicks in only after your benefits on other policies have been exhausted.
- Cell phone protection covers up to $200 per claim after you’ve paid a $50 deductible (maximum two claims in a 12-month period). Two hundred bucks isn’t much when modern smartphones cost hundreds of dollars. By contrast, Wells Fargo’s cell phone coverage pays up to $600 per claim, has only a $25 deductible and doesn’t require you to use up other insurance policies first.
The guide to this benefit says “electronic issues, such as inability to charge, mechanical or battery failure, where there is no evidence of physical damage, are not covered under this program.” For more details about the TRIO® Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank’s cell phone protection perk, go here.