Fifth Third Bank was launched as Bank of Ohio Valley in 1858. Five years later, it was acquired by Third National Bank. In 1908, a merger with Fifth National Bank resulted in the company’s unusual name, though it was originally hyphenated as Fifth-Third National Bank. Numerous mergers and acquisitions over the years—including the acquisitions of Enterprise Federal Bancorp, Ashland Bankshares and South Florida Bank Holding Corp.—have produced tremendous growth. Fifth Third Bank now boasts well over 1,300 locations across the nation, with more than $940 million in operating revenue. They provide a wide range of banking and financial services, including investment advice, consumer lending, title insurance and payment processing. They offer a number of different credit cards with a range of options, fees and rewards to meet various needs and financial situations.

 

Rank Chart
APR
Reward Options
Our Score
#1
8.24 - 18.0%
8.3
#2
11.24 - 23.24%
8.0
#3
11.24 - 23.24%
7.9
#23
fifth_third_bank
11.24 - 24.24%
6.5

The Good

APR Range

Credit card APRs with Fifth Third Bank offer 0% Introductory APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for either the first 12 or 15 billing cycles after the account is opened. (The length of the introductory period depends on the card).

Fifth Third’s Cards have ongoing APRs ranging from 11.24% to 24.24%. When compared to companies offering similar cards, Fifth Third is competitive. Put another way, their rates fall within the industry average. Take Chase Bank for example. Their credit card APRs range from 13.24% to 23.24%. Or PNC Bank, whose APRs range from 10.24% to 22.24%. This puts Fifth Third’s APRs right in the middle.

Annual fee range

Annual fees for Fifth Third Bank cards also look appealing. Their annual fees range from $0 to $79. What makes their annual fees so appealing is that the majority of the cards they offer have no annual fees. The ones that do, such as their Fifth Third Preferred Card®, offer 2 opportunities to waive the annual fee. If approved for the card, the annual fee is $0 for the first year. Cardholders can also waive the fee by becoming a Preferred Program Member. Quite frankly, the chance of waiving the fee is unlikely after the first year, since being a Preferred member requires a combined account balance equal to or greater than $100,000. We still find their annual fee offers superior to the competition, since it is rare that the majority of a company’s credit cards (especially rewards cards) have no annual fee.

Foreign Transaction Fees

If traveling and using your credit card, Fifth Third charges foreign transaction fees of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars; however, they do not charge this fee for all of their cards. Their Fifth Third Preferred Card®, for example, has no foreign transaction fees. Three percent is the standard fee for all the credit card companies we reviewed, leaving Fifth Third on par with everyone else. We found some companies also offered one or two cards with no transaction fees—typically a business or rewards travel card. But there remains a number of companies that do not offer cards with zero foreign transaction fees and Fifth Third exceeds this with their current offer.

Cards Offered

Fifth Third Bank offers customers several credit cards. These include:

  • Fifth Third Preferred Card®
  • Real Life Rewards® Credit Card
  • Fifth Third platinum card
  • Cash Rewards Card
  • Fifth Third Stand Up To Cancer® Credit Card
  • Fifth Third Secured Card
Options for Rewards

Several of Fifth Third’s Rewards cards offer valuable benefits for customers. Here’s a list of some of their best rewards options:

Their Real Life Rewards® Credit Card has no limit to the points you can earn. You earn points when using your card to pay for dinner, movies, gift cards and for paying down any Fifth Third loan. This card also offers Bonus Rewards. For every $1 spent on gas and grocery store purchases, you earn 2 Real Life Rewards® Points. You also earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases made with your card.

Also noteworthy is this card’s MasterCard Airport Concierge™ services, which allow an authorized meet and greet agent to assist you every step of the way to help make the overall travel experience seamless and stress free. For example, they can reserve a car service for you by the time you get off the plane or find the number for you to call. This service is available at over 450 airports internationally.

The Cash Rewards Card is also our favorite. It has a special introductory rewards online offer where you can earn Unlimited Cash Back plus 10,000 Real Life Rewards® Points ($100 cashback) when you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of your account. The card also offers the opportunity to earn 2% cash back for every $1 spent (up to $1,500 in spend each calendar quarter) on gas and grocery store purchases. It is 1% cashback for each calendar quarter over $1,500).

Security

When it comes to security protection, Fifth Third is very thorough.
Here’s a list of their top security measures and technology:

  • Identity Theft Resolution Services: provides cardholders help with resolving identity theft issues from notifying credit bureaus, to replacing your credit card, to completing an identity theft affidavit.
  • Cellular Phone Protection: protection against damage to, or theft of, your cell phone, as well as the first two additional phones listed on your wireless billing statement.
  • Price Protection: If you find a lower price for an eligible new item you purchased with your Real Life RewardsSM Credit Card, you may be eligible for reimbursement of the price difference.
  • Zero Liability®: prevents you from being held responsible for unauthorized purchases made on your Fifth Third Bank card.

These features, when compared with the majority of credit card companies, are highly competitive. There is a “top ten” list of credit card companies who offer similar benefits and one or two offer even more. Citi, for example, offers identity theft protection. Fifth Third would do well to incorporate an identity theft feature—and a fraud alert feature like Citi offers.

Also, these features are not offered for every single card. The only benefits offered across the board are Cellular Phone Protection and Zero Liability®. This does not make Fifth Third inferior to other company’s cards because the majority of them do not offer the same features for every card, either.

Unique Features

If there’s anything that makes Fifth Third Bank stand out from the crowd, it’s their travel rewards card benefits. Here are the ones we found worth mentioning:

  • MasterCard Rental Insurance: covers damages (physical damage and theft) to a rental vehicle when your Real Life Rewards Credit Card is used to initiate and pay for the entire rental transaction.
  • MasterAssist Travel Assistance Services: offers help with lost or stolen luggage, medical care, emergency cash, and even the local lingo for domestic and overseas travel.
  • MasterRental Insurance: Provides protection when you rent a car by reimbursing you for the repair or replacement of covered losses to your rental vehicle.
  • 24/7 Emergency Assistance: assistance in situations that your Real Life RewardsSM Credit Card is lost or stolen, both at home and when you’re traveling.
  • Travel Assistance Services: a 24-hour, toll-free phone service for help with lost or stolen luggage, medical care, legal advice, emergency cash and general travel requirements.
  • Travel Accident Insurance: When you pay for your air, bus, train or cruise transportation fare with your card, you are eligible to receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage.

We found these features to be offered with some major companies who offer Visa and Mastercard rewards benefits. However, these features in their totality are still are not offered by a number of credit companies, making them unique.

Building Credit/Student Cards

Customers needing an opportunity to build their credit will be happy to find that Fifth Third Bank offers a Fifth Third Secured Card. This card offers most of the same benefits of a regular credit card while building or rebuilding your credit history with every use. Fifth Third shares your important account information with the 3 major credit bureaus to help you build your credit history There is a lower annual fee of $24 (when compared to other companies’ annual fees of $50 or more) and you can start with a $300 deposit in a secured Fifth Third interest-earning savings account. The credit line for the card is tied to the amount of money in your savings. Purchases made on your secured credit card will be charged to your card and not deducted from your savings account. After reviewing other companies we found some exceptions who offer zero annual fees on their secured cards—a better offer for customers struggling to build credit with less money.

Unfortunately, we did not find a student card offered by Fifth Third for college students. There are several credit card companies, both major brands and smaller banks, who offer at least one student card.

The Bad

Customer support

If you need customer support, Fifth Third Bank offers limited customer support hours Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST on Saturday and no hours on Sunday. This is less attractive when compared to many companies offering 24/7 phone support hours. However, they do have 24/7 phone support for lost or stolen credit cards. In light of this, there may be other issues that can arise outside of business hours that need to be addressed immediately rather than waiting for Monday or for business hours to begin. Fifth Third definitely could improve in this regard.

Late Payment

Fifth Third charges cardholders a penalty charge of up to $35 for late payments. This falls within the average range for the overwhelming majority of credit card companies. It caps off at slightly less than a few companies we also reviewed. For instance, State Farm’s credit cards go up to as much as $37. Overall, credit card late fees for most companies go up to $35, so as far as late fees go, lower late fees would of course be ideally recommended, but as it stands, Fifth Third Bank’s late fees are in line with everyone else.

The Bottom Line

Fifth Third Bank offers a good variety of credit card options to meet a number of needs and preferences. For customers with excellent credit, it is possible to obtain a credit card with really good APR, as low as 11.24%. However, Fifth Third also has an option for people with poor credit, their Secured MasterCard. Though the Secured MasterCard lack any rewards or perks, it provides a reasonable solution for people who otherwise might not be able to acquire a credit card. Also, with their Stand Up To Cancer credit card, customers who are philanthropically-minded can feel good knowing that a percentage of all of their purchases goes toward cancer research.

Fifth Third Bank’s reward points program is nice, if not particularly impressive. In most cases, cardholders are only getting 1% of their purchase price back. One exception to this is that gas purchases pay back at 2%. Still, most of their cards have no cap on reward points, which is nice. Overall, most of Fifth Third’s credit cards have respectable fees and decent rewards. For cardholders with poor credit history, Fifth Third’s Secured MasterCard is one of the few options on the market that is not a scam and won’t take advantage of their unfortunate financial situation.

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