At a glance
Fifth Third World Debit Mastercard Review
- Annual/Monthly Fee: $3.95 per month
- Load/Reload Fees: $0
- Transaction Fees: $2.75 ATM fee; $1.50 ATM statement fee; 3% foreign transaction fee; $5 or 3% cash advance fee
- Rewards: Unlimited 1 Real Life Rewards point per $2 spent on purchases
- Load Options: Bank branch deposit, direct deposit, electronic financial transfer, mobile check deposit
- Other Benefits: Mobile bill pay, extended warranty coverage, Satisfaction Guaranteed (return protection within 60 days)
Fifth Third World Debit™ Mastercard® is better than your average bank debit card. Unlike most debit cards, it earns rewards: 1 Real Life Rewards® point per $2 spent, with no caps or restrictions on how much you can earn.
That’s not particularly impressive next to the best cash back rewards credit cards on the market, but it’s head and shoulders above the great mass of no-rewards debit cards. Real Life Rewards are worth up to $0.01 apiece at redemption, so $10,000 in annual debit card spending could net you a cool $50.
There’s a catch: Fifth Third World Debit Mastercard has a $3.95 monthly service charge, which works out to just under $48 annually. The fee is waived for users with Fifth Third Preferred Checking accounts or other high-end Fifth Third products, which themselves carry fees for those who don’t clear high minimum balance thresholds. To offset the annual fee with Real Life Rewards, you need to spend about $10,000 per year with this card – potentially a tough lift for frugal or low-asset users.
On the other hand, Fifth Third World Debit Mastercard waives some common reloadable prepaid debit card fees, such as load and balance check fees. And, unlike reloadable cards, it’s directly tied to your regular FDIC-insured Fifth Third Bank account – it’s just a better version of your standard-issue debit card.
Since Fifth Third World Debit Mastercard is not a credit card, you don’t need to pass a credit check to qualify. Simply go into your local Fifth Third Bank branch or call the toll-free application number to get started.
Earning Real Life Rewards
Fifth Third World Debit Mastercard earns unlimited 1 Real Life Rewards point per $2 spent on purchases. Points typically expire three years after they’re earned.
Redeeming Real Life Rewards
You can redeem for a wide variety of items, including cash (direct deposits, paper checks, loan credits, and more), gift cards, and airfare. Point values vary by redemption method, but can be worth up to $0.01 at redemption. That equates to a 0.5% return on spending.
There is a $3.95 monthly service fee. The fee is waived for customers with Preferred Checking accounts, which charge $25 per month to customers with less than $100,000 in cash and investments with Fifth Third Bank. It’s also waived for certain Fifth Third wealth management customers, who must also maintain high cash and investment minimums with the institution.
On the bright side, this card has no load fees, as it’s directly tied to the Fifth Third Bank account of your choice. Other fees include $2.75 per ATM cash withdrawal at non-Fifth Third ATMs, $1.50 per ATM statement, 3% for each foreign transaction, and the greater of $5 or 3% for cash advances.
Mobile Banking Capabilities
Fifth Third World Debit Mastercard is fully integrated with Fifth Third Bank’s mobile banking system. Most importantly, you can make mobile check deposits with a few taps and snaps on your phone. There’s no fee for this service. You can also access Fifth Third Bank’s bill pay system from your phone and earn rewards for every bill you pay.
Fifth Third Bank offers optional account alerts that you can customize as you see fit. Common alerts include deposits, credits, and low balance.
Fifth Third Bank offers an optional (opt-in) overdraft protection program for deposit account holders. When you attempt a checking account or debit card transaction that would normally result in a negative balance, Fifth Third immediately pulls from your Fifth Third savings account to cover the deficit. Unlike overdraft protection for credit card users, there’s no associated interest charge, though you do still have to pay the cash advance fee.
Extended Warranty Protection
One of Fifth Third World Debit Mastercard’s top Mastercard-backed enhancements is extended warranty protection, which doubles any manufacturer’s warranty with an original length of 24 months or less.
Another great enhancement is the Satisfaction Guarantee, which entitles you to refunds on attempted returns refused by the original vendor. To qualify, you must make the return attempt within 60 days of purchase.
- Mastercard-Backed, Consumer-Friendly Features. The extended warranty protection and Satisfaction Guarantee features are unusually generous for debit cards. If you’re using this card to purchase big-ticket items that you’d like to protect with a warranty or be able to return if they don’t work out as anticipated, both features will surely come in handy.
- Mobile Check Deposit Capabilities. If you don’t have time to visit (or don’t even live near) a Fifth Third branch, you can deposit paper checks into your account with a handy mobile check deposit app.
- No Load or Spending Limits. You never have to worry about hitting a load or spending limit here, though your bank account balance is limited in practical terms by the $250,000-per-account FDIC insurance cap. Many reloadable prepaid cards do have strict load limits, which can crimp consumers with larger budgets and higher spending needs.
- No Load Fees. This card has no load fees. You never have to pay anything to add to your account balance. That’s a big advantage over many prepaid cards, which can charge $2 to $5 per load – often with higher fees for cash loads.
- 1 Real Life Rewards Point per $2 Spent. This card earns 1 Real Life Rewards point per $2 spent. That works out to a 0.5% return on spending, assuming a $0.01-per-point redemption value. While low by the standards of most credit cards (including those on our lists of the best travel rewards credit cards and best small business credit cards), it’s notable that this debit card offers rewards at all. Many don’t.
- Overdraft Protection for Fifth Third Bank Account Holders. Fifth Third Bank deposit account holders can take advantage of this card’s overdraft protection program, which insulates them from hefty overdraft fees or embarrassing returned items.
- No Credit Check Required. If you have less than perfect credit, don’t worry: this card doesn’t require a pre-approval credit check. All you need is a Fifth Third deposit account and a few bucks to make your initial deposit. Needless to say, this is a major point of distinction with rewards-bearing credit cards.
- $3.95 Monthly Service Charge Is Hard to Avoid. Fifth Third World Debit Mastercard’s $3.95 monthly service charge works out to nearly $48 per year. And it’s hard to avoid – you have to have Fifth Third Bank’s highest-tier regular checking account (Preferred Checking) or a wealth management relationship with the bank to get it waived. Since Preferred Checking normally has a $25 monthly service fee and wealth management clients pay substantial fees on their investments, the cure may actually be worse than the disease.
- High ATM Fees. This card imposes a $2.75 fee for each ATM cash withdrawal at non-Fifth Third ATMs. If you live outside Fifth Third’s trade area, this could significantly add to your cash costs.
- Doesn’t Build Credit. The flip side of the “no credit check” requirement: this card doesn’t help you build or rebuild your credit. If you’d like to improve your less than stellar credit, look to any of the secured credit cards on our list of the best secured credit cards to rebuild credit.
- Can’t Carry Balances. You can’t carry balances on this card. That’s a big (and negative) point of distinction with credit cards, which allow you to carry balances from month to month if you’re not able to pay off your purchases in full at the end of each statement period. Carrying balances can lead to costly interest charges, but the trade-off is worthwhile for many consumers. Plus, you can minimize your interest expenses with one of our best low APR interest credit cards.
- Points Expire 3 Years After They’re Earned. Real Life Rewards points earned with this card expire 3 years after they’re earned. If you use this as a secondary or tertiary spending aid and go long periods without checking your point balance, this could pose a problem. Make sure to check and redeem your points every so often, even if you’re not a heavy spender.
- No Sign-up Bonus. This card has no sign-up bonus. If you’re looking to juice your point earnings right out of the gate, you’ll want to look for a different rewards debit card.
Fifth Third Bank primarily operates in the Midwest and Mid-South – a decent swathe of the United States, but far from coast to coast. If you don’t live near a Fifth Third branch, you can still qualify for the company’s online banking, debit, and credit card products by applying online or calling the toll-free application hotline. In fact, Fifth Third Bank sometimes makes our monthly list of the best bank account promotions – a distinguished honor, given the competition.
Fifth Third World Debit Mastercard Review
The Fifth Third World Debit™ Mastercard® is ideal for Fifth Third banking customers with less than perfect credit and healthy budgets. The rewards program isn’t generous by most rewards credit cards’ standards, but it’s head and shoulders above most debit cards’. If you struggle to qualify for top-tier rewards credit cards, take a hard look at this product.
Key benefits include the consumer-friendly Mastercard enhancements, the mobile check deposit, the unlimited loading and spending capabilities, the lack of load fees, the decent rewards program, the overdraft protection for Fifth Third account holders, and the lack of credit restrictions.
Drawbacks include the $3.95 monthly service charge, the high ATM fees, the fact that it doesn’t build credit, the fact that points expire after 3 years, and the inability to carry balances.
Overall, this is an above-average debit card for rewards-seeking consumers whose budgets can handle the monthly service charge.