SunTrust Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

SunTrust Bank offers customers access to about 1,200 SunTrust branches in the Southeast, though its merger with BB&T to form megabank Truist will likely offer many more options. Rates on savings accounts and CDs are low.

Margarette BurnetteDecember 17, 2020
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Overall bank rating

SunTrust
  • Savings

  • Checking

  • CD rates

  • Banking experience

  • Overdraft fees

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: SunTrust Bank is merging with BB&T to form a new bank, Truist. It is the sixth-largest bank in the country. SunTrust is keeping its own branding for now, however, and customers have access to about 1,200 SunTrust branches in the Southeast. As with many large banks, rates on deposit accounts are low.

Pros

  • Highly rated mobile apps.

  • Access to more than 2,000 SunTrust ATMs, and cash-withdrawal privileges at BB&T ATMs.

  • Savings account has no monthly fee if you opt for e-statements.

Cons

  • High overdraft fees.

  • Low rates on savings products.

Full review

SunTrust Essential Savings

SunTrust Essential Savings

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.01%

With $0 minimum balance

The Essential Savings account has no monthly fee if you sign up for electronic statements, and there’s also no minimum opening deposit requirement. But you can find other savings accounts that offer the same benefits and earn much higher interest rates.

» Want to see more options? Check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts

Essential Checking

Essential Checking

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
Monthly Fee

$7.00

Waived with $500 minimum balance

SunTrust’s Essential Checking account has a $7 monthly fee, but it’s easy to waive. To avoid the charge, you either need to initiate at least ten transactions each statement cycle, have $500 or more in qualifying direct deposits (say, from a paycheck) per cycle or keep a minimum $500 daily collected balance. You can also open an account as a student and have fees waived for up to five years. That said, other banks offer checking accounts that don’t charge monthly fees.

Customers have access to 2,000 SunTrust ATMs, and can withdraw cash from an additional 2,400 BB&T ATMs with no ATM fees. Essential Checking does not earn interest.

» Looking for more checking choices? Check out NerdWallet’s best free checking accounts

SunTrust CD

SunTrust CD

1.0

NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY

0.05%

Minimum Deposit

$2,000

The SunTrust 12-month CD has a low rate of 0.05% APY. The bank also offers online CD options with 6-month, 18-month and 24-month terms, but they have similarly low rates. APY may vary by location. You’ll need $2,000 to open a CD, which is about average for large banks, but other institutions pay better rates and have lower minimum deposit requirements.

» Want to see higher yields? Check our list of best CD rates for the month

Banking experience

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

If you have questions about your account, you can reach a customer service specialist six days a week:  Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. You can also access your account through SunTrust’s mobile apps, which earn high ratings in app stores.

For now, SunTrust customers have access to about 1,200 branches, mostly located in the Southeast.

Overdraft fees

2.0

NerdWallet rating 

You’ll want to keep a close eye on your SunTrust account balance. If it goes negative, the bank charges a steep $36 overdraft fee per transaction, with a max of six charges a day. In addition, if your balance stays negative for five consecutive business days, the bank charges another $36 “extended overdraft fee.” That’s slightly higher than the average overdraft fee for large banks, which is $35. Many online banks and credit unions have much lower charges and charge them fewer times per day.

To avoid the high fees, you can link another SunTrust account as a backup. That way, if you make an overdraft transaction, the bank will automatically transfer funds to cover the charge. But there is still a $12.50 transfer fee each day this occurs.

You can also opt for a special overdraft line of credit to avoid a negative balance, but the line of credit costs $7 a month, whether it’s used or not. It is rare for a bank to charge this type of ongoing fee for overdraft protection.

SunTrust Essential Savings

SunTrust Essential Savings

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.01%

With $0 minimum balance

The Essential Savings account has no monthly fee if you sign up for electronic statements, and there’s also no minimum opening deposit requirement. But you can find other savings accounts that offer the same benefits and earn much higher interest rates.

» Want to see more options? Check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts

How does SunTrust compare?

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.50%

With $0 minimum balance

APY

0.50%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

RATING 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, banking 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.