SunTrust Bank Review

Large regional bank with a number of perks for account holders

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SunTrust Bank, which merged with fellow regional bank BB&T to create a new bank known as Truist in 2019, is now positioned as the sixth-largest bank in the United States, with a combined $442 billion in assets. Despite the merger, however, SunTrust and BB&T have retained their own branding and products. SunTrust offers an array of banking products with unusual perks to customers in 10 southeastern states and the District of Columbia. Here’s what you need to know about SunTrust to decide if it’s the right bank for you.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Seamless integration with digital payment applications

  • Multiple ways to earn cash back and other perks

  • Online, mobile, and text-based banking available

Cons
  • Only available in southeastern U.S.

  • Website not completely transparent

  • Low interest rates

Company Overview
  • Year Founded 1891
  • Official Website www.suntrust.com
  • Banking Products Offered Savings, checking, CDs, MMA, credit cards
  • Customer Service 24/7 (Automated) Phone: 1-800-786-8787

Pros Explained

  • Seamless integration with digital payment applications – SunTrust allows customers to link SunTrust Mastercard credit and debit cards and SunTrust Visa credit cards to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, and Click to Pay. This makes contactless payments an effortless process no matter which digital application you prefer.
  • Multiple ways to earn cash back and other perks – The SunTrust Deals program offers banking customers personalized offers to earn cash back by making purchases with their SunTrust debit or credit card at participating retailers. Customers can increase their cash back by 10% if they have the cash back deposited into any SunTrust deposit account.
  • Online, mobile, and text-based banking available – SunTrust customers can handle their banking tasks with a robust online banking portal. You also have the option of downloading the mobile app, available for iOS and Android, to your device, which provides a wide range of services, including mobile alerts. Customers can also handle a number of banking services via text message.

Cons Explained

  • Only available in southeastern U.S. – Despite being the sixth-largest bank in the United States, SunTrust is only present in 10 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Website not completely transparent – Interest rates are listed on the website based on your zip code, so it may be necessary to call the bank to learn what rates you can expect from interest-bearing accounts.
  • Low interest rates – The rates, when you do call to determine what they are, seem to be relatively low, even in a time when most banks have low rates.

Who Is SunTrust Best For?

SunTrust will be the right bank for customers looking for perks with their basic checking and savings options. It may be a particularly good fit for those who:

  • Wish to bank with a large and well-established institution
  • Reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, or the District of Columbia
  • Would like to receive cash back from their debit and credit card purchases and cash bonuses for putting that cash back into their SunTrust deposit accounts
  • Need a seamless integration with digital payment apps

What Does SunTrust Offer?

SunTrust has a wide array of banking products for its customers. These include:

Savings Account

This basic savings account can be a good way for new savers to get acclimated to the habit of setting money aside. SunTrust’s Essential Savings account offers no interest, but it also has no minimum deposit and no monthly fees whatsoever (provided you opt out of receiving paper statements, which cost $3 per month).

In addition, having an Essential Savings account gives you access to a 10% Loyalty Cash Bonus with a SunTrust Rewards credit card. You just need to redeem your cash back into a SunTrust Essential Savings account (or any other SunTrust deposit account) to receive the additional 10% loyalty bonus.

Overdraft Assurance Fee

Though overdraft protection is free, signing up for the Overdraft Assurance line of credit will trigger a $7 per month fee for the service. This $7 fee will be debited from your checking account each month.

Checking Accounts

The Essential Checking account requires a $100 minimum deposit to open and comes with a $7 monthly maintenance fee. However, you can have the fee waived by doing one of the following:

  • Make 10 or more transactions per statement cycle
  • Make $500 or more in total direct deposits per statement cycle
  • Keep a $500 minimum daily balance aggregated across all your deposit accounts
  • Open your Essential Checking account as a student and receive a five-year student waiver of the monthly maintenance fee

You will be subject to an overdraft fee of $36 if you overdraw your Essential Checking account, and you may be subject to up to six overdraft fees per day. However, this account comes with Default Decline, which means the account is set up to decline any ATM or one-time debit card transactions that may overdraw your account.

You may also opt for the Transactions Paid Option, which will authorize a one-time debit card purchase or ATM transaction when there is not enough money available in the account, though it will also trigger the $36 overdraft fee. You may instead choose overdraft protection and link your Essential Checking account to another SunTrust deposit account, credit card, personal line of credit, or Overdraft Assurance line of credit to cover overdrafts, with a fee of $12.50 per transfer.

Essential Checking account holders are also eligible for the 10% Loyalty Cash Bonus with a SunTrust Cash Rewards credit card.

There are three tiers of the Advantage Checking account at SunTrust, although all three offer 0.01% annual percentage yield (APY) on your balance. Like the non-interest-bearing Essential Checking account, Advantage Checking requires a $100 minimum deposit to open. All three tiers of Advantage Checking have a $20 per month maintenance fee that can be waived in one of the following ways:

  • By making direct deposits totaling $3,000 or more each month
  • By maintaining $10,000 total combined relationship balances across all of your SunTrust deposit or investment accounts
  • By holding a linked SunTrust Small Business Checking account, Lending account, or credit card

There are a number of perks that all three tiers of Advantage Checking share. These include a starter pack of 100 checks, access to up to four Essential Checking accounts with the monthly maintenance fees waived, three out-of-network ATM fees waived per billing cycle, SunTrust fees waived on incoming wire transfers, and free money orders and official checks.

The big benefit of Advantage Checking, however, is the Loyalty Cash Bonus, and that’s where you see the difference among the three tiers. The first tier, Advantage, is when you carry a balance between $0 and $25,000, and it means you receive the 10% Loyalty Cash Bonus with a SunTrust Cash Rewards credit card. You reach the Advantage Choice tier when your balance is between $25,000 and $100,000, which makes you eligible for a Loyalty Cash Bonus of 25%. Reach the Advantage Preferred Tier with a balance of $100,000 or more and you are eligible for a 50% Loyalty Cash Bonus.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

SunTrust offers two CDs. The Personal CD is a traditional CD, requiring a minimum deposit of $2,000 and available in terms ranging from seven days to 10 years. However, when we called customer service on May 20, 2020, to determine the CD rates (as they are not all listed online), Investopedia was not provided with rates for all terms. Here are the rates that are available online in Texas as of June 16, 2020.

SunTrust also offers the Advantage CD, which provides one penalty-free withdrawal per term and also allows CD holders to continue to add funds to the principal after the account has been opened. The Advantage CD has a $1,000 minimum deposit and is only available in a one-year term.

The Advantage CD also offers higher interest rates if you set up a recurring monthly automatic transfer of at least $50.

SunTrust Personal Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
Term APY Minimum Deposit
Six Months 0.25% $2,000
12 Months 0.30% $2,000
18 Months 0.30% $2,000
24 Months 0.30% $2,000

Credit Cards

You have your choice of four different MasterCard credit card options with SunTrust, each geared toward a different consumer need. Every card on this list qualifies you for a Loyalty Cash Bonus if you have your cash-back rewards deposited into a SunTrust deposit account.

  • SunTrust Secured Credit Card For those who are working to build or rebuild their credit, this cash-back secured card offers you the best of both worlds.
  • SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card – This no-annual-fee rewards card offers 2% unlimited cash back on gas and groceries, and 1% unlimited cash back on all other qualifying purchases.
  • SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card – You’ll pay no annual fee in the first 12 months with this card, but you can expect to pay $89 per year thereafter. With this card, you will receive 3% unlimited cash back on qualifying travel purchases, 2% unlimited cash back on qualified dining, and 1% unlimited chase back on all other qualified purchases.
  • SunTrust Prime Rewards Credit Card – This no-annual-fee card has an unusual promotional offer: When you sign up, you’ll receive a three-year APR at the prime rate for any balance transfers you make within the first 60 days of opening the account.

Other Financial Products Offered By SunTrust Bank

SunTrust also offers the following products in addition to those listed above:

  • Car loans
  • Purchase mortgages
  • Refinance mortgages
  • Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs)
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
  • Self-directed trading
  • Managed investment portfolios
  • Private banking
  • Financial Advisors
  • Business loans

SunTrust Customer Service

SunTrust’s customer service line is available for automated service 24 hours a day at 1-800-786-8787, and the website offers a full menu of service options to help any banking customers needing assistance at any time of the day or night. However, the lack of transparency on the site extends to customer service information. For instance, the site does not provide information on what hours the call center is open to reach an actual human customer service rep.

SunTrust’s app, however, is well rated on both the Apple and Google Play stores, at 4.1 and 4.4 respectively.  J.D. Power also notes that SunTrust has high satisfaction rankings among customers but was not included in the 2019 National Banking Satisfaction Study because its merger with BB&T (which is also highly rated) had not yet completed at the time of the study.

How to Bank With SunTrust

SunTrust makes it very easy to open an account online. Customers living in one of the 10 states served by the bank (and the District of Columbia) can also drop into one of the 1,406 branches or stop at one of the more than 2,000 ATMs for their transactions. The mobile banking options also make it easy for SunTrust customers to bank on the go, including using digital payment apps and text-banking.

Verdict

While the lack of online transparency may make comparing SunTrust to other banks a little more difficult, this financial institution offers a number of solid perks with its myriad products and services. Though SunTrust’s rates for interest-bearing accounts and CDs may be relatively low, the Loyalty Cash bonuses may make up for these unimpressive rates.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of banks. We collected over 20 data points across more than 80 banks—including products available, interest rates, fees, and accessibility—to ensure that our content helps users make the right decision for their savings and banking needs.

Article Sources

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  1. Media.Truist.com. "BB&T and SunTrust to Combine in Merger of Equals to Create the Premier Financial Institution." Accessed June 15, 2020.

  2. Apps.Apple.com. "SunTrust Mobile App." Accessed June 15, 2020.

  3. Play.Google.com. "SunTrust Mobile App." Accessed June 15, 2020.

  4. J.D. Power. "TD Bank Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction in J.D. Power National Banking Study." Accessed June 15, 2020.