BB&T Bank Review

Is BB&T Bank a good bank?

BB&T is a community bank operating more than 1,700 locations in 15 states and the District of Columbia. The bank’s roots go back to 1872, and BB&T continues to grow and change.

In December of 2019, BB&T joined forces with SunTrust in what they’re calling a “merger of equals.” The result is Truist, a new financial institution projected to be the sixth largest bank in the U.S. Currently, BB&T customers work under the BB&T brand, and eventually, everything will shift to the Truist name.

What We Like
  • Free checking (after fee waiver) available at a brick-and-mortar bank

  • Potential for improvements if the merger is successful

  • Highly-rated app for managing your account

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively low rates for CDs and deposits

  • May need to visit a branch to get rates and product information

  • Must live in specific locations to open an account

Who Is BB&T Best For?

BB&T can meet the needs of consumers in BB&T’s service area who enjoy working with a brick-and-mortar bank. The bank may be most appealing to those who:

  • Are willing to go to a branch to learn about product features and rates
  • Live in one of the 15 states (and Washington D.C.) where BB&T operates
  • Want a savings account with no monthly fees
  • Have at least $500 of monthly direct deposits for a checking account fee waiver
  • Appreciate the option to bank with text messages instead of using an app
  • Want to disable their debit card with an app
  • Employ text and email alerts to keep tabs on accounts

What Does BB&T Offer?

BB&T offers a full range of banking services to individuals and businesses. You can turn to them for an everyday checking account and a credit card. The bank could be a good choice for more complicated situations, including financing for your business and retirement, too.

Offerings include:

  • Savings accounts
  • Checking accounts
  • Money market accounts
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Credit cards

eSavings

eSavings is BB&T’s most popular savings account. It offers an affordable way to start saving. The interest rate is relatively low, even for a brick-and-mortar bank, but it may be a useful place to store extra cash that’s easy to access.

  • Pays 0.03% APY
  • No minimum deposit required to open
  • No monthly maintenance charge
  • No ongoing minimum balance requirements
  • Can provide overdraft protection to BB&T checking accounts

Savings accounts typically allow for unlimited withdrawals at bank branches and ATMs. However, other withdrawals, like electronic transfers out of your account, are limited to six per month due to federal regulations.

High Performance Money Market Account

The High Performance Money Market Account offers tiered rates that depend on your account balance. To open an account, you must have a companion BB&T personal checking account.

  • Pays 0.01% to 0.05% APY, depending on your account balance
  • Minimum $100 required to open the account
  • Monthly maintenance charge of $12, waived with $1,000 balance
  • Checkwriting available from your this account
  • Debit card for spending and cash withdrawals

The rates shown online only apply to accounts opened online or by phone. Other rates may apply if you open an account in person.

Investor’s Deposit Account

The Investors Deposit Account, with a $10,000 minimum opening requirement, is designed for customers with a large account balance.

  • Pays 0.02% APY for on balances above $9,999 or 0.01% when your balance falls to $9,999 or below
  • Charges $15 monthly if your balance falls below $10,000
  • Write checks from your account

With the high opening and ongoing balance requirements, it’s not clear why you would choose this account instead of the eSavings or High Performance Money Market account.

Young Savers

The Young Savers Account is a starter savings account for children and teens under 18, and requires an adult as a joint account holder.

  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • No minimum to open
  • No inactivity fee for dormant Young Savers Accounts
  • ATM card for cash withdrawals
  • Rates available from your local branch

When the minor turns 18, the account automatically converts to a regular savings account, which may have monthly fees.

BB&T Fundamentals Checking Account

BB&T’s Fundamentals Checking is a basic checking account with a fixed monthly fee. There’s no way to dodge that fee, so this might be an option if you can’t qualify for other banks’ fee waivers.

  • $50 initial minimum deposit required
  • Monthly maintenance fee of $5 cannot be waived
  • No ongoing balance requirement
  • No direct deposit required
  • Free online bill pay
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Optional overdraft protection (fees apply)
  • Free debit card for spending and cash withdrawals
  • Text and email alerts
  • More than 2,400 free BB&T ATMs

Bright Banking Checking Account

Bright Banking is BB&T’s most popular checking account. Features are similar to the Fundamentals Checking account, but there are two ways to avoid the $12 monthly maintenance fee:

  • Combined ACH direct deposits of at least $500 per statement cycle into your account
  • Average checking balance of $1,500 or more

Getting the monthly fee waived makes this account a useful and affordable everyday checking account.

Student Checking

This is BB&T’s checking account specially designed for students aged 23 and younger. Upon their 24th birthday or college graduation (whichever occurs later), the account converts to a BB&T Fundamentals account.

Students might not have income from employment, so BB&T makes it easier to use this account.

  • No minimum deposit to open
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • No direct deposit required

Otherwise, the features are similar to BB&T’s checking accounts above. Unique benefits of the Student Checking account include:

  • One no-fee incoming wire transfer (domestic or international) per month
  • BB&T waives its fees on two non-BB&T ATM transactions per month
  • Linked savings account with no monthly fee

This account can help students learn about money and bank autonomously as they go through college.

Senior Checking

BB&T’s Senior Checking account is designed for customers 55 and older. It’s slightly easier to qualify for a fee waiver in this account, as compared to the Fundamentals account.

  • $100 minimum to open
  • $10 monthly maintenance fee can be waived with one of the following:
  • Combined direct deposits of at least $500 per month
  • Minimum average checking balance of $1,000

The Senior Checking account features are similar to BB&T’s other checking accounts, with a few additional touches:

  • Free standard BB&T checks, or discounts on other designs
  • One complimentary early withdrawal from a CD for medical emergencies

Elite Gold Checking

The Elite Gold Checking account may be a fit for those who have substantial investment or loan balances with BB&T. The account pays interest, but the amount is negligible.

The account’s features include:

  • Earn 0.01% APY on your balance
  • $100 minimum to open
  • $30 monthly maintenance fee, waived with one of the following:
  • $25,000 combined deposit or investment balances with BB&T during each statement cycle
  • BB&T mortgage with an original loan amount of at least $150,000

Perhaps more important than the interest earnings, the Elite Gold Checking account offers a range of free or discounted services:

  • Free or discounted checks
  • Money orders and official checks at no additional charge
  • Complimentary 3-inch by 5-inch safe deposit box
  • Two fee-free overdraft protection transfers per month
  • Four non-BB&T ATM transactions per statement cycle with no fee from BB&T
  • Additional checking account with no maintenance fee

Special CDs

BB&T’s CD specials come with a variety of terms, and rates may only be available for a limited time. These rates tend to be the highest available at BB&T.

  • Minimum $1,000 to open
  • Fixed rate for the term you choose
  • For deposits over $100,000, contact BB&T for customized rates and terms
Special CD Rates (as of July 28, 2020)
Term APY
7 months 0.05%
13 months 0.05%
23 months 0.05%

CDs at BB&T may have early-withdrawal penalties if you remove funds before the CD matures. That’s a common practice at most banks and credit unions. 

Standard early-withdrawal penalties at BB&T are:

  • Terms less than three months: The greater of $25 or all interest earned
  • Terms of three months to one year: The greater of $25 or three months of simple interest
  • Terms of 13 to 23 months: The greater of $25 or six months of simple interest
  • Terms of 24 months or more: The greater of $25 or 12 months of simple interest

Personal CD

BB&T’s Personal CDs pay a fixed rate for terms ranging from one week to five years. The longer the term you agree to keep the CD, the higher the rate. Currently, BB&T’s CD rates are unimpressive, and you can earn substantially more at other banks.

  • $1,000 minimum for terms of 32 days or more
  • $2,500 minimum for terms of 7 to 31 days
Personal CD Rates (as of July 28, 2020)
Term APY
30 days 0.01%
90 days 0.01%
180 days 0.01%
270 days 0.01%
360 days 0.01%
18 months 0.01%
24 months 0.01%
30 months 0.01%
36 months 0.01%
48 months 0.01%
60 months 0.01%

Can't Lose CD

BB&T’s Can’t Lose CD is slightly more flexible than traditional CDs at BB&T. If you like your rate, you can add funds to an existing certificate after 12 months.

  • As of July 28, earn 0.01% APY
  • $1,000 required to open
  • 30-month term
  • Add up to $10,000 to your CD after 12 months

After the first 12 months of your term, you can potentially withdraw funds from a Can’t Lose CD with no penalty. The rules for withdrawals can be complicated, so check with BB&T before you exercise that option.

Although the Can’t Lose CD allows some flexibility, there are more flexible products with higher rates from the top banks for CDs.

Stepped Rate CD

With a Stepped Rate CD, your rate rises each year. BB&T publishes the APY you receive for each year on these 4-year CDs, so you know what to expect ahead of time. Unfortunately, the rates are somewhat low to begin with.

  • Minimum $1,000 investment
  • Deposit additional funds, up to $10,000 per year
  • Potential for penalty-free withdrawals after 24 months 
Stepped Rate CD Rates (as of July 28, 2020)
Term APY
Year 1 0.01%
Year 2 0.02%
Year 3 0.03%
Year 4 0.04%

Credit Cards

BB&T offers several different Visa credit cards as well as prepaid debit cards. Whether you’re trying to accumulate rewards or save on interest, you may be able to find a card that fits your needs.

  • BB&T Bright
  • BB&T Spectrum Cash Rewards
  • BB&T Spectrum Travel Rewards
  • BB&T MoneyAccount
  • BB&T Visa Gift Cards 

Other Financial Products From BB&T

BB&T offers a broad range of other financial products and services:

  • Home purchase loans
  • Home equity loans and lines of credit
  • Personal loans
  • Auto loans
  • IRAs
  • Investment management
  • Self-directed investments
  • Business bank accounts
  • Business loans and lines of credit
  • Business credit card

BB&T Customer Service

BB&T and SunTrust ranked 18th and 19th of 26 banks in overall satisfaction for the Mid-Atlantic region of the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study. The two banks received an overall grade of “about average".

But when it comes to credit cards, BB&T excelled as a regional issuer, winning the regional category of J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study.

Customer service is available by phone every day from 6 a.m. to midnight Eastern time. 

How to Bank With BB&T

To get started, visit BBT.com or call 800-BANK-BBT (800-226-5228). As with any financial institution, you need to provide personal information when opening a bank account.

The Bottom Line


Benefits:

BB&T has a strong and growing presence for consumers who want to work with a brick-and-mortar bank. For everyday banking needs, it’s relatively easy to qualify for fee-free checking with direct deposit of at least $500. Also, the bank allows you to use technology the way you want, with text banking, automatic alerts, and an app that users seem to love.

Drawbacks:

Like most brick-and-mortar banks, BB&T’s rates on savings accounts and CDs are minimal. It’s hard to justify keeping a substantial amount with the bank when online banks offer significantly higher earnings. In its current version, BB&T is not easy to work with: You may need to visit a branch to get specific information about new accounts, and you can only bank with BB&T if you live in the bank’s service area.

Article Sources

  1. BB&T. "Certificates of Deposit Rates." Accessed March 30, 2020.

  2. BB&T. "Certificates of Deposit." Accessed March 30, 2020.

  3. J.D. Power. "2019 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study: Mid-Atlantic." Accessed March 30, 2020.