BB&T Bank has been around for over 150 years and is one of the largest banks on the East Coast. It has branches in 13 states, but it also offers both mobile and online banking that is convenient and fairly easy to use. The bank offers a variety of accounts that can be combined a number of ways to fit your lifestyle. If you’re careful with your finances, there can be some benefits of banking with BB&T.
BB&T at a glance
|Minimum Savings Deposit||Maximum Savings APY||1-Year CD Rate||J.D. Power Survey Score||Key Benefit|
|BB&T||$0||0.03%||0.10% APY||N/A||Variety of account options|
What we like about it
Perhaps the biggest plus for BB&T customers is the variety of accounts and investment options. Since the bank has been in existence for so long, the company has had time to develop different accounts for different purposes and lifestyles. This means that almost anyone can find something that works for them.
Also, if you live on the East Coast, you’ll have a large network of ATMs and branches to choose from. Even if you’re not a go-to-the-bank person, the option of online and mobile banking apps makes skipping the branch a viable option.
Things to consider
The biggest drawback to BB&T is its fee structure. Almost every account except for student and children accounts has fees associated with it. It is possible to avoid those fees, but you’ll have to be careful to follow all the guidelines and restrictions in order to do so.
Overdraft fees are high: $38 compared to a national average of $30. They can be charged up to six times a day, meaning that even a small banking error can turn into a costly mistake. Even if you have overdraft protection set up, you’ll be charged a fee of $12.50 for every account transfer the bank does for you unless the amount is under $5.
If you live paycheck-to-paycheck and don’t maintain minimum balances and a very close eye on your accounts, these fees can eat into your balances quickly, so hyper-awareness is key.
BB&T checking accounts
There are five different checking options with BB&T. The student checking option is for students 24 and under, and those under 18 will need a parent to co-sign. Senior Checking is for those customers 55 and older, and BB&T Fundamentals is the bank’s basic checking account for those who want a simple, effortless account and aren’t worried about earning interest. The Bright Banking checking account comes with more benefits, but there are minimum balance and direct deposit requirements. The fifth option is the Elite Gold checking account for those who carry higher balances and want to earn interest on their money.
All of these accounts, with the exception of the student account, have fees that can be waived. Senior checking has a $10 monthly fee, but this can be waived with more than $500 in deposits or a $1,000 minimum balance. BB&T Fundamentals has a $5 fee that can be waived with similar restrictions. Bright Banking has a $12 fee that can be waived by meeting certain requirements, and the Elite Gold account requires that you have a mortgage or a $25,000 minimum balance to avoid any fees and earn interest.
BB&T savings accounts
There is some good news on the savings side of things. There are four types of savings accounts, and all but one of them are fee-free. The eSavings account is BB&T’s most popular, because while it does not earn much interest, it is a safe place to park your money.
The bank offers a Young Savers account for children under the age of 18 that also has no minimum balance or fees associated with it. The Investor’s Deposit account has a $10,000 minimum deposit but will earn tiered money-market rates, which can be significant depending on market conditions. It’s a great place to store money when you’re between investments.
If you spend a lot of money on medical supplies or equipment or you have a high-deductible medical insurance plan, BB&T does offer an HSA account. These types of accounts offer some tax advantages if you contribute directly to them pre-tax through your employer. There is no minimum balance, but there is a $5 monthly fee for using this service.
BB&T money market accounts
If you have a minimum of $1,000 dollars to invest, you can earn competitive money-market rates through BB&T’s High-Performance Money Market account. The tiered rates vary based on market conditions and the balance you carry in the account. The highest APY a money market account with BB&T can garner is 1%, only with balances above $250,000. Other than that, it might not be worth it compared to other financial products and rates.
When it comes to CDs, BB&T also has a variety of options. It offers a multitude of CDs, varying from 7-day to 60-month terms, a variety of minimum opening deposits, and interest rates ranging from 1.5% to 2.25% APY. You can also set up a standard CD, but customize it with certain options, like an add-on CD that allows you to add money at any time, a College Saver CD that generally spans a longer term and earns a higher interest rate, or a Home Saver CD to help you save for a down payment on a new home.
All of these choices can be paired with other BB&T investments that enable you to make your money work better for you.
BB&T IRA accounts
From SEP to Roth to traditional IRAs, BB&T has a variety of offerings, with investments in mutual funds, ETFs, and more to choose from. They offer help for retirement planning and can coach you on how to reach your retirement goals.
Fortunately, the fees associated with BB&T IRAs are small and competitive with other banks that offer similar retirement accounts.
BB&T credit cards
When it comes to credit cards, there are three different choices at BB&T. You can opt for Low APR cards, which is good if you carry a balance often. The second offering is a rewards card, which offers cash back on a variety of purchases. If you put those rewards in your BB&T checking or savings accounts, the bank will give you a 10% bonus. Neither of these cards has an annual fee.
The final card BB&T offers is a travel rewards card. With this card, you’ll earn double miles on travel expenses and will still earn miles on other purchases. Other perks include an $85 credit toward TSA PreCheck, and bonus miles the more that you spend. Initially, there is no annual fee, but then it is $89 every year after that.
There are two ways to invest with BB&T: self-directed investing where you do the research and the work, or managed investing where a professional does the investing for you. There are several options you can invest in, from stocks and bonds to mutual funds and ETFs. Keep in mind that the fees for trades are a little high at $14.95 each. If you think you’ll trade often, there are cheaper options out there for you, especially if you manage your own investments.
The bottom line
If you live paycheck-to-paycheck and even small fees can derail your finances, BB&T may not be the right bank for you. You’ll have to be hyper-alert and hyper-aware of balances and spending to avoid paying them. However, if you keep high minimum balances and are looking for a place to invest, BB&T may be the right bank for you. Just be aware that it is still important to pay attention to fees rather than just interest rates. Figure out what it is costing you to have that account, and make sure that what you earn is greater than those fees. Otherwise, you’re not really coming out ahead.
For a variety of accounts and a number of ways to combine them that will fit your lifestyle, BB&T is a bank well worth checking out.