Truist Bank Review: Will The Newly-Merged Bank Improve the Customer Experience?

GOBankingRates Score

4.3
Our Take: The new Truist will expand the footprint of both BB&T and SunTrust and potentially offer better terms and service to SunTrust customers.
  • Rates
    4.5
  • Customer Service
    4.5
  • Fees
    4.0
  • Services & Accessibility
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • A wide array of account choices
  • Low fees for BB&T customers
  • Potential for improved terms for SunTrust depositors
  • Allows for early withdrawals on some certificates of deposit

Cons

  • The continued existence of BB&T and SunTrust could confuse prospective customers.
  • Bank interest rates may not make interest-bearing accounts worthwhile.

About Truist Bank

Truist is the new bank formed after BB&T acquired the assets of SunTrust bank. The two banks completed the merger on Dec. 6, 2019. During the merger announcement, Truist said that the transition to what the company calls the “full Truist experience” would take place over the next two years.

For now, separate BB&T and SunTrust branches remain in operation. As of this writing, one must visit either the BB&T or SunTrust branches or websites to open or manage accounts. However, Truist depositors can now use BB&T or SunTrust ATMs without incurring out-of-network fees.

This union has turned the Charlotte-based bank into the 6th largest bank in the U.S., holding about $473 billion in assets. The bank serves about 10 million households in 17 states as well as numerous business customers. In addition, GOBankingRates named Truist Bank the Best Regional Bank of 2021 in its annual Best Banks rankings.

Truist Bank Products

PRoduct Key details
Checking Account Options for lower-income families, seniors and students.
Savings Account BB&T provides no maintenance fees or monthly minimum balances.
Money Market BB&T offers unlimited withdrawals.
CDs Higher interest than regular savings account with SunTrust’s short-term CDs.

Truist Bank Checking Account

Both the BB&T and SunTrust sides of the company have a wide array of checking account options. Additionally, the company waives ATM fees when using either a BB&T or SunTrust ATM. GOBankingRates also ranked Truist Bank’s checking account offerings as one of the Best Checking Accounts of 2021.

BB&T Checking Account Features

  • Monthly Maintenance Fees: $0, $5, $10, $12, $30
  • Minimum Balance: $0, $1,000, $1,500, $25,000
  • Loyalty Rewards: No
  • Interest-Bearing Checking Available: Yes

SunTrust Checking Account Features

  • Monthly Maintenance Fees: $0, $7, $20
  • Minimum Balance: $$0, $500, $10,000
  • Loyalty Rewards: Yes
  • Interest-Bearing Checking Available: Yes

Pros

  • BB&T has options for lower-income families and seniors.
  • BB&T Elite Gold checking available to those with a BB&T home loan of at least $150,000.
  • SunTrust Essential checking available to students.

Cons

  • SunTrust offers no options for seniors or low-income families.
  • SunTrust offers limited free out-of-network ATM transactions.

Truist Bank Savings Account

BB&T offers savings accounts for specific purposes. However, its most popular savings account is its eSavings account. The SunTrust part of the company has an Essential Savings account that offers similar benefits.

Features

  • No minimum balance
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • Ability to use savings for checking overdraft protection
  • No-fee online statements

The only difference is BB&T savings account holders can make unlimited withdrawals from the branch or a BB&T ATM. Those with a SunTrust Essential account have a limit of six withdrawals per month.

Pros

  • No maintenance fees
  • No monthly minimum balance
  • Unlimited withdrawals at BB&T branches

Cons

  • The Merger in progress can cause confusion.
  • SunTrust limits the number of withdrawals.

Truist Bank Money Market Account

Money market accounts are savings and checking hybrid accounts. Depositors can earn interest comparable to a savings account while having the flexibility to spend that comes with a checking account.

The BB&T and SunTrust branches both offer money market accounts with the following features:

BB&T Money Market Account Features

  • Opening Deposit: $100
  • Tiered Interest Rates: Yes
  • Withdrawals: Unlimited at branches
  • Monthly Maintenance Fee: $12
  • Minimum Deposit to Avoid Fee: $1,000

SunTrust Money Market Account Features

  • Opening Deposit: $100
  • Tiered Interest Rates: Yes
  • Withdrawals: Limited to six per month
  • Monthly Maintenance Fee: $17
  • Minimum Deposit to Avoid Fee: $10,000

Pros

  • BB&T offers unlimited deposits, transfers, withdrawals.
  • BB&T has a lower monthly maintenance fee.
  • SunTrust waives maintenance fees with at least $100 per month in automatic transfers.

Cons

  • BB&T does not waive the maintenance fee with automatic transfers.
  • SunTrust limits withdrawals of any type to six per month.

Truist Bank CD Account

Both of Truist’s banks allow depositors to take out certificates of deposit. These products offer higher interest rates in exchange for locking up one’s money for a specified period. Here’s a review of the options available at each financial institution.

BB&T CD Account Features

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $1,000
  • CD Terms (lock-up periods): 7 days-60 months
  • Interest Rates (APY): 0.01% – 0.05%

SunTrust CD Account Features

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $2,000
  • CD Terms (lock-up periods): 7 days-10 years
  • Interest Rates (APY): 0.05% – 2.30%

Pros

  • BB&T offers limited early withdrawals without a penalty.
  • SunTrust pays more in interest and includes options for longer terms.
  • Higher interest than regular savings account with SunTrust’s short-term CDs.

Cons

  • Funds are locked up during the CD term.
  • Low rates may not make the lock-up period worthwhile.

Banking Experience

As mentioned before, Truist continues to operate as BB&T and SunTrust. This means customers will not yet find a Truist bank branch or a mobile app of that name. Hence, to open and use an account, one must either visit BB&T or SunTrust.

Customers can call either bank between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST Monday-Friday or 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST on Saturday.

Mobile Apps

Like the banks themselves, depositors at both banks will eventually use a Truist banking app. For now, they may also access their accounts via the BB&T or SunTrust mobile apps.

BB&T’s app has earned a 4.7 rating on Google Play and a 4.8 rating at the Apple app store, SunTrust’s rating stands at 4.1 on Google Play, with a 4.1 rating on the Apple app store.

How To Open a Truist Bank Account

Customers who want to open a Truist account have two options. They can visit a BB&T or SunTrust branch. Or they may also visit the BBT.com or SunTrust.com websites.

BB&T & SunTrust Key Information

  1. Customer Service Numbers
    • BB&T: 800-226-5228
    • SunTrust: 800-786-8787
  2. Routing Numbers
  3. Promotions
  4. Bank Hours
  5. Logins

Truist Bank Fees

Banks will levy fees on many services, and Truist is no exception. Customers who bank under either the BB&T or SunTrust name could encounter these levies:

BB&T Fees

  • Maintenance Fee: $0, $5, $10, $12, $30
  • Overdraft/NSF: $36
  • ATM Fee (Non-BB&T, Domestic): $3
  • ATM Fee (Non-BB&T, International): $5
  • Wire Transfer Domestic Incoming: $15
  • Wire Transfer Domestic Outgoing: $30
  • Wire Transfer Int’l. Incoming: $18
  • Wire Transfer Int’l. Outgoing: $65

SunTrust Fees

  • Maintenance Fee: $0, $7, $17, $20
  • Overdraft/NSF: $36
  • ATM Fee (Non-SunTrust, Domestic): $3
  • ATM Fee (Non-SunTrust, International): $5
  • Wire Transfer Fees: Contact bank for details

Truist Bank vs. Competitors

Although Truist stands out on many levels, other banks can exceed its offerings in certain areas.

Bank Best For
Truist Fewer limits on withdrawals with savings, money markets
Chase Those who need ATMs outside of the U.S.
PNC Bank Those who want to earn as much interest as possible
Bank of America Wealthy can qualify for numerous fee waivers

Truist vs. Chase

Chase can serve customers nationwide and offers ATM access outside of the U.S. with no fees. However, Truist serves customers well on savings accounts and money markets, as account holders can potentially benefit from unlimited withdrawals or a money market with lower fees.

Truist vs. PNC Bank

For those who can maintain a higher minimum, PNC will offer higher interest rates. But Truist requires a lower monthly balance to avoid the maintenance fee.

Truist vs. Bank of America

As a regional bank, Truist cannot match the international service Bank of America can provide to its clients. Nonetheless, Truist tends to charge lower fees to smaller clients than does Bank of America.

Final Take

Truist is a bank in transition. Admittedly, the fact that its two banks still operate as separate entities under the old names might cause confusion. It could also create some customer service issues, as the BB&T division tends to offer more favorable terms to depositors.

However, since BB&T was the purchaser as its transition to Truist began, BB&T’s terms might be more likely to prevail. Once Truist completes the integration, a more extensive customer base will benefit from the banking services that have allowed Truist to grow over time.

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    Editor’s Favorite

    Amid the coming merger, Truist’s strength lies in the flexibility it brings to the average bank customer. The company offers a money market where even customers on a limited budget can have the maintenance fee waived relatively easily. Moreover, the fact that the bank can provide unlimited savings account withdrawals and an ability to make an early CD withdrawal helps Truist stand apart.

    FAQ

    • What Does Truist mean?
      • According to Dontá Wilson, the chief digital and client experience officer at Truist, the name signifies "true" to the company's legacy, "trust" as in honesty and transparency and "stand for better" regarding both technology and customer experience.
    • Where can I find a Truist bank branch?
      • Nowhere yet. It continues to operate banks as BB&T and SunTrust during the transition. Both parts of the company will rebrand as Truist.
    • Can I open a new account with Truist?
      • Yes. However, customers will have to open these accounts at either a BB&T or SunTrust branch or website. These new accounts will eventually become Truist accounts.
    • Can BB&T and SunTrust customers bank at either bank?
      • Yes. BB&T and SunTrust customers can also make deposits and withdrawals from either bank's ATMs and be considered in-network.
    • Where is Truist located?
      • The Charlotte-based bank operates branches in 17 states in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Southeast and Texas.
    • Does Truist offer free money for signing up for an account?
      • Customers can earn a $200 bonus for opening a BB&T Bright Banking or SunTrust Essential checking account. They must complete two qualifying direct deposit of at least $500 within 75 days for the BB&T account or within three months for the SunTrust account. The BB&T offer expires on Dec. 31, 2020. The SunTrust offer expires on Jan. 4, 2021.

    Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 2, 2020.
    This content is not provided by Truist Bank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Truist Bank

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    About the Author

    Will Healy is a freelance business and financial writer based in the Dallas area. He has covered a variety of finance and news-based topics, including the stock market, real estate, insurance, personal finance, macroeconomics, and politics. Will holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Texas A&M University, a Master of Science in Geography from the University of North Texas, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas.

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