BB&T Bank Review

FT Contributor  | 

Headquartered in North Carolina, BB&T Bank serves customers in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Despite robust online and mobile banking options, the bank doesn’t offer accounts for residents of other states. Recently, BB&T merged with SunTrust, creating a new bank that will be known as Truist. While the transition is underway, though, the bank will continue to use the BB&T name.

In its current form, BB&T offers an array of banking and financial services options, including checking and savings accounts, CDs, IRAs, and loans.

BB&T Types of Accounts

From children to seniors, BB&T has FDIC-insured account options for all phases of life and financial situations.

Checking Accounts

BB&T offers multiple checking accounts to meet the needs of a variety of customers. From simple accounts with a flat monthly fee to options for students and seniors, there’s an option for almost any situation.

BB&T’s basic checking account option is BB&T Fundamentals, which has no minimum balance requirements and charges a flat $5 monthly fee. A $50 deposit is required to open this account, which includes a debit card and access to online and mobile banking options.

There are options for avoiding monthly fees, however. The BB&T Bright Banking checking account is the most popular option, according to the bank. The $12 monthly fee is waived with direct deposits of $500 or more or an average daily balance of $1,000 or more. The minimum opening deposit is $50, and you can connect this account to a savings account for overdraft protection

Students under age 23 can opt for BB&T’s Student Checking Account, which has no monthly fees, no minimum opening deposit, no minimum account balance or direct deposit requirements. If you have a student account, the bank will reimburse two non-BB&T ATM fees per month.

Seniors also have a checking account option designed for them. Anyone over age 55 qualifies for a Senior Checking account, which waives the $10 monthly fee for direct deposits of $500 or more or a $1,000 average balance. Seniors get free checks and the option to withdraw money from a CD without penalty for medical expenses. The minimum opening deposit for this account is $100.

Finally, BB&T offers the Elite Gold Checking account for customers with high daily balances. If you have $25,000 or more in your checking account, or a mortgage with the bank, you can open one of these accounts. BB&T will waive the $30 monthly fee if you maintain a $25,000 balance, or your mortgage or loan initial balance was $150,000 or more. This account offers additional perks, such as higher rates on CDs and IRAs, free money orders, ATM fee reimbursements, and overdraft fee waivers.

CDs

BB&T offers certificates of deposit (CDs) with terms ranging from seven days to five years. Interest rates range from 0.01% to 0.75% depending on the length of the term and the amount deposited. A $1,000 opening deposit is required for CDs longer than 32 days, while $2,500 is necessary to open a CD with a term of seven to 31 days.

IRA Accounts

BB&T helps customers save for retirement with several IRA products, including traditional, Roth, and rollover accounts. Self-employed individuals can also select a Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP) IRA or a Savings Investment Match Plan (SIMPLE) IRA.

Money Market Accounts

For a savings account with check writing privileges, BB&T offers the High Performance Money Market Account. This account has a tiered interest rate ranging from 0.01% to 1.5% (for balances over $250,000), and requires a $1,000 opening deposit. As long as you maintain a $1,000 balance, the $12 monthly maintenance fee is waived. The bank also charges $12.50 for an overdraft transfer from your money market account, and any transactions in excess of six per monthly cycle incur a $15 per item fee.

Savings Accounts

BB&T touts its eSavings account as its most popular option. For this account, there’s no minimum opening deposit requirement and no monthly maintenance fees. All accounts earn 0.30% interest, regardless of balance, and interest is compounded daily.

However, this account’s interest rate is much lower than other banks’, and you’ll pay some steep fees if your account is overdrawn. Transactions in excess of the allotted six per monthly cycle are $3, and you’ll pay $3 for using another bank’s ATM, in addition to any fees charged by the ATM owner. Overdrafts and returned items are $36 each, and if your account remains overdrawn longer than seven days, you’re charged an additional $36. Although BB&T advertises eSavings as a way to avoid checking account overdrafts, there is a $12.50 fee for overdraft transfers of more than $5.

BB&T also offers a Young Savers account, with the same terms as the eSavings account. These accounts convert to an eSavings when the account holder turns 18.

BB&T Financial Services

In addition to banking, BB&T has additional financial services.

Investments

BB&T customers can access a range of investment products and advice through the bank, including stocks and bonds, college savings plans, and mutual funds. Managed account services and asset management accounts are also available.

Loans

If you need money for the purchase of a car, boat, or recreational vehicle, BB&T has loan options. They also offer personal loans and lines of credit, debt consolidation loans, and home equity lines of credit. Additionally, the bank has a product called Constant Credit, which provides up to $7,500 in overdraft protection you can borrow from as needed.

Mobile Banking App

In addition to online banking, BB&T has a full-featured mobile app. With the app you may make deposits and transfers, send money to others using Zelle, pay bills, analyze your spending, and set goals using online tools. You can also set alerts in the app to help you stay on top of your finances and spending.

Mortgages

Home buyers are able to access mortgages at competitive rates through BB&T. Financing your home with them also gives you access to certain banking products, such as Elite Gold checking.

BB&T Benefits

If you live in BB&T’s service area, there are some benefits to banking with them.

  • Lots of options: The bank offers a wide range of checking and savings products to fit any lifestyle and financial situation, as well as a full range of financial services. There are also plenty of branch locations, especially as the merger with SunTrust moves forward.
  • Easy to set goals: BB&T’s mobile app, U by BB&T, offers multiple tools to help you manage your money, and set and meet goals. The app analyzes your spending so you can see where your money goes, alerts you to bill due dates, and lets you know when your balance hits certain thresholds. You’re also able to see your credit score so you can stay on top of your credit.

BB&T Limitations and Complaints

For all of the benefits of banking with BB&T, there are some drawbacks, including:

  • Limited locations: BB&T Bank only has locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia as well as the District of Columbia. All other states are outside of the service area, and their residents may not open accounts.
  • Low interest rates: BB&T doesn’t pay interest on checking accounts, and the interest rates on savings accounts are lower than average.
  • Overdraft fees: Perhaps the chief drawback to BB&T accounts is the fee structure. Not only are overdraft fees high ($36) but the bank charges many fees that other banks don’t, such as overdraft transfer fees. Using an ATM outside of BB&Ts network can be pricey as well, and the bank doesn’t reimburse fees when you use a non-BB&T ATM.

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