BB&T Bright Banking Checking Account Review

(2 out of 5) MyBankTracker Editor's Rating

BB&T Bank

As one of the largest regional bank in the United States, it’s not surprising that you would consider BB&T when looking to open a checking account.

The BB&T Bright Banking account is the bank's most basic checking account offering.

Having the right checking account is very important. It serves as the center of your financial life.

So:

Take your time finding the right one.

In this review, we'll break down everything you need to know about the BB&T Bright Banking Checking Account.

Then, you can compare it to other options before making your decision.

Track Your Money with "U by BB&T"

BB&T Bright Banking Account Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Built-in money management tools
  • Personalized debit cards
  • Mobile banking apps available
  • Monthly fee (can be waived)
  • Service fees are on the high end

For most people:

The checking account is likely to see a lot of action over the course of a month.

Your paychecks will arrive in the account, increasing its balance and each purchase you make will reduce the balance.

Because so many transactions occur in your checking account, it can be hard to keep track of your money and how much you have available to spend. BB&T offers a service called U by BB&T that can help you track your finances.

U by BB&T offers a number of money-tracking features.

Link external accounts

A big convenience:

You can link your non-BB&T accounts to the system, allowing you track all of your accounts from one convenient location.

You can view account balances and transaction histories all in one place.

This dashboard gives you an easy overview of your whole financial situation.

Stay on top of bills

You can also use the U by BB&T dashboard to monitor and pay your bills.

You can see the due date for each bill as well as the amount that you owe.

This makes it easy to track how much you’ll be paying over the course of the month. That will let you make sure you keep enough money in your account.

Budget and track spending

The kicker:

U by BB&T also lets you create budgets and track your spending.

Each time you make a purchase you can upload a copy of the receipt. As you spend money over the course of the month, you can track how much money you’re spending in each budget category and see how well you’re sticking to that budget.

If you ever want to see what exactly you bought in a certain transaction, you can view the receipt you uploaded.

Finally, you can sign up to receive account alerts by e-mail or text message.

You can be notified when your account falls below a certain balance or when a large payment clears the account. This can help you avoid overspending.

Avoid Fees with Overdraft Protection

One of the most common fees you’ll face with a checking account, other than monthly maintenance fees, is the overdraft fee.

That said:

No matter how closely you track your balance, you might find yourself trying to spend more money than you have available in the account.

When this happens, it is called overdrawing your checking account. The bank can then decide whether to deny the payment or allow the payment to go through, sending your account’s balance into the negatives.

In either case, you’ll be charged an overdraft fee.

Usually, this fee is quite hefty.

Unfortunately...

For the BB&T Bright Banking Checking Account, the fee is $36.

If you have a BB&T Savings Account, you can sign up for overdraft protection. If you would overdraft your checking account, money will instead be moved from your savings account to your checking account, automatically.

The fee for this service is only $12.50, and there is a maximum of one overdraft transfer fee per day. This can save you a lot of money if you wind up overdrawing your account.

Personalized Debit Cards

Personal finance is exactly that: personal.

While many banks have attractive debit and credit card designs, it can be nice to put your own mark on the financial tools you use every day.

BB&T gives you the option to personalize your debit card. You can choose from a few options.

  1. Choose an image from a huge gallery of photos that BB&T provides.
  2. Upload your own image to be printed on your card.

Personalizing a debit card is free, but getting a lost personalized card replaced, or getting an additional personalized card will cost $5.

Fees to Use Other Bank’s ATMs

BB&T operates a wide network of ATMs. Offering thousands of fee-free ATMs for customers to use.

Where BB&T falls short is in allowing customers to use other bank’s ATMs.

When you’re out and about, you might not be able to find a BB&T ATM. If you really need to withdraw cash, you’ll have to use an ATM owned by another bank.

Here's the deal:

If you do use another bank’s ATM, BB&T will charge you a $3 fee.

On top of that, you’ll be charged fees by the owner of the ATM. You could wind up paying $5 or $10 just to get access to your own money.

If you ever expect to need cash, you’ll want to plan ahead so you don’t have to pay the hefty ATM fees.

Earn No Interest

Some checking accounts give customers the chance to earn interest on the money they’ve deposited. The BB&T Bright Banking Checking Account does not pay interest.

If you want to earn interest, you might consider an online savings account, which is likely to provide highly competitive rates. 

Two Ways to Waive the Monthly Fee

Many bank accounts these days charge a monthly fee and the BB&T Bright Banking Checking Account is no different.

The account carries a $12 monthly fee, which can quickly eat into your account’s balance.

The good news is that it’s possible to avoid this fee if you’re willing to jump through a few hoops.

To avoid the fee, you must either:

  • Receive $500 in direct deposits
  • Have an average balance of $1,500

Before opening the account make sure that you’ll be able to meet those requirements every month.

Other Fees

The most common checking account fee is the monthly maintenance fee.

Overdraft fees are also common, but those aren’t the only fees that you can be charged.

You should be aware of the other fees that may be charged on your checking account, such as:

BB&T Bright Banking Account Fees

Type Fee
Monthly Maintenance Fee $12
Non-BB&T ATM $3
Overdraft Fee $36
Returned Item $36
Stop Payment $35
Deposited Item Returned $12
Domestic Wire Transfer (incoming) $15
International Wire Transfer (incoming) $15
Cashiers Check $10

Other BB&T Checking Options

If you're interested in becoming a BB&T banking customer, but aren't sold on this checking account, check out other additional checking account options also offered by this bank:

BB&T Fundamentals

The BB&T Fundamentals checking account is a simple, basic checking account that's convenient and easy on your budget.

This account is best for consumers that are concerned about balance or direct deposit requirements, and do not have other deposit or loan accounts with BB&T.

The Fundamentals account features all of the great resources offered by BB&T, plus no minimum balance requirement or direct deposit requirement.

Depending on where you are located, this account has a $3 or $5 monthly maintenance fee. That fee cannot be waived so it's important to weigh all of your options before you decide to pay that fee just to have this bank account. 

Here's some of the main fees and features of the account:

BB&T Fundamentals Checking Account Fees

Type Fee
Monthly Maintenance Fee $3 or $5
Minimum Opening Deposit $50
Stop Payment Fee $34
Overdraft Fee and Not-Sufficient Funds (NSF) Fee $36
Non-BB&T ATM Fee $2.50
Cashier's Check $10
Negative Account Balance Fee $8 per day if account remains overdrawn for 7 days
Overdraft Protection Transfer Fee $12.50
Deposited Item Returned Fee $12
Incoming Wire Transfer Fee $15


BB&T Elite Gold

As BB&T's most exclusive checking account, the Elite Gold Checking account is an interest-bearing account that features a variety of premier benefits and fee-waivers.

This account is best for people who have a mortgage or other high balance accounts with BB&T, want free or discounted checks, and want a second checking account with no maintenance fee.

In addition to those great perks, this account also features:

  • No-fee money orders, official checks and other banking services
  • Bonus rates on CDs and IRAs
  • Two (2) overdraft protection transfer fees waived per month
  • No BB&T fees for four (4) non-BB&T ATM transactions per statement cycle

Although this account comes with a $15 monthly maintenance fee, there are two (2) different ways to avoid this fee:

  • Have $15,000 combined deposit balance in checking, savings, Money Rate Savings, High Performance Money Market, Investor’s Deposit Account, CD, IRA, and/or investments through BB&T Investments or Scott & Stringfellow, LLC, or
  • Have a personal BB&T mortgage of $150,000 or more, aggregate original loan amount

We've highlighted the main fees and features of this account below:

BB&T Elite Gold Checking Account Fees

Type Fee
Monthly Maintenance Fee $15
Minimum Opening Deposit $100
Stop Payment Fee $34
Overdraft Fee and Not-Sufficient Funds (NSF) Fee $36
Non-BB&T ATM Fee $2.50 (4 transactions waived per cycle)
Cashier's Check $0
Negative Account Balance Fee $8 per day if account remains overdrawn for 7 days
Overdraft Protection Transfer Fee $9 (first 2 transfers per month are waived)
Deposited Item Returned Fee $12
Incoming Wire Transfer Fee $0
Money Order $0


Standard Convenience Features

Your checking account is the hub of your financial life, so you want to make sure the account is easy to use.

Having a difficult or annoying checking account will only make managing your money harder.

The BB&T Bright Banking Checking Account offers standard convenience features.

Online and mobile banking

You can manage your account online or through the bank’s mobile apps.

You can use the bank’s site or app to view your balances, transaction history, or to transfer money between accounts.

Automatic transfers

You can also set up automatic transfers. This can be helpful if you want to save a certain amount of money each month.

An automatic transfer will move money to your savings account every month without you having to do anything.

The app’s mobile check deposit feature also allows you to make deposits directly to your checking or savings account without having to visit a bank or ATM.

Online bill pay

BB&T also offers standard features such as online bill pay to help you avoid the annoyance of writing checks to pay your bills every single month.

This feature is free.

How Does It Compare?

The checking account is the most common type of bank account in the United States.

What that means is that you have plenty of options to choose from if you decide that you want to open a new checking account. Taking the time to find the right account can get you a great deal.

When you’re looking for a new checking account, don’t just consider national bank chains.

Local community banks can offer better deals that meet the needs of local customers.

Credit unions tend to be very customer-focused because they are owned by their customers.

Online banks offer low-fee accounts with high interest rates.

All in all, consider the following factors when comparing checking accounts:

  • Monthly fee
  • Minimum deposit requirements
  • Fee waiver requirements
  • ATM access

The Final Verdict

The BB&T Bright Banking Checking Account is an unexciting account. It offers basic features but charges a hefty fee if you can’t meet the waiver requirements.

It’s most compelling feature, the U by BB&T money management software can be replaced by many free alternatives, such as Intuit’s Mint.

If you need to open a new checking account, look into an online checking account for lower fees and the chance to earn some interest.

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