For investors shopping for a money market account, the SunTrust Signature Money Market Savings Account, offered by SunTrust Banks (STI), is one to consider. It offers low fees for investors with high balances or regular monthly transfers. SunTrust maintains a solid reputation for customer service and has many physical branch locations, particularly in the Southeast region of the country. On the downside, this money market account pays lower interest than several comparable accounts from online banks, and its fees add up quickly for investors with low balances.

Key Takeaways

  • The SunTrust Signature Money Market Savings Account offers a no-fee for investors with high balances or regular monthly transfers.
  • SunTrust waives the $17 monthly fee for investors with a regular monthly transfer of at least $100 or a minimum balance of $10,000.
  • Account holders can access their funds through 1,400 branches, more than 2,100 ATMs, and by writing checks.
  • Interest is paid on the account in tiers and is compounded daily.

Money Market Accounts

A money market account is a type of savings account in which the bank invests your funds in a series of short-term, highly liquid, and very safe financial instruments, such as U.S. Treasury bills (T-bills), municipal notes, and certificates of deposit (CDs). Most money market accounts pay higher interest rates than standard savings accounts but offer the same level of safety. Like savings accounts, money market accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000 per depositor.

Money market accounts are viable investment vehicles for those who need to access their money in the near future but wish to earn at least a little interest on it in the meantime. For example, a person planning to buy a house in six months might take his down payment money out of the stock market and place it in a money market account. This way, his principal is protected and he still earns something on it.

SunTrust Signature MM Savings Account

The institution's Signature Money Market Savings Account helps account holders achieve their financial goals, giving them a vehicle in which to put their money for a variety of reasons including emergencies or long-term retirement planning.

The institution gives consumers easy access to their money at any time. Account holders can make transfers and write checks on their account, provided they don't go over the withdrawal limit. Like any other savings and money market account, this one falls under federal regulations, which limit the number of debit transactions to six per month.

Here's a list of the some of the basics of the account:

  • Minimum deposit to open: $100
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $17
  • Requirements to waive maintenance fee: Account holders can set up a $100 electronic transfer each month or maintain a $10,000 balance
  • Excessive withdrawal fees: Customers are charged $15 for each debit transaction if they go above the limit of six per month.

Customers are required to set up an automatic transfer of at least $100 or maintain a minimum $10,000 balance in order to waive the monthly maintenance fee.

Interest is paid out based which one of nine tiers the account balance falls into by the end of them month. The interest is calculated and compounded daily. Any fees that are charged to the customer may lower the amount of interest earned.

Advantages

Perhaps the biggest advantage of the SunTrust Signature Money Market Savings Account is that it is offered by a reputable bank that maintains a strong physical presence in many parts of the country. SunTrust has a solid reputation with its customers, including an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The bank has nearly 1,400 branches and more than 2,100 automated teller machines (ATMs) across 11 states and Washington, D.C. This may bode well with customers who prefer dealing face-to-face with someone for their banking needs, compared to many online banks that don't have branches. Its money market account is FDIC-insured for up to $250,000. Since it is very rare to hold more than this amount in a money market account, the entirety of a borrower's investment is protected in the highly unlikely event of a bank failure.

There's another perk for the institution's customers. For borrowers who maintain balances of $5,000 or more, or who agree to make regular monthly deposits of at least $100, the bank waives all account maintenance fees. The interest rate jumps substantially for account balances over $10,000. As of 2018, the account paid 0.01% interest.

Disadvantages

The highest interest rate offered on a SunTrust Signature Money Market Savings Account is 0.6%, and this rate only applies to balances of $10,000 or more. In effect, customers give up some yield for the convenience and reliability of a reputable brick and mortar bank. Strictly Banks that operate strictly online, including Ally Financial (ALLY)—which maintain no physical presence and thus have lower overhead costs—offer savings vehicles that pay higher yields. Sometimes, this can be as high as 1% or more.

Fees represent another disadvantage of the SunTrust money market account. As mentioned above, the institution imposes a $17 monthly fee on accounts that do not maintain balances of $10,000 or receive regular monthly deposits of at least $100. Each inbound wire transfer costs customers another $15 in a given month. Excess activity, such as withdrawals and transfers, also incur this fee.

The Bottom Line

The SunTrust Signature Money Market Savings Account is ideal for customers who prefer to conduct business with a longstanding, reputable bank that offers physical branch locations and are willing to pay a little more to do so. Those more concerned with receiving the highest yield possible and who do not mind conducting business entirely online may find a better fit with an online bank.