November 10, 2018

First Tennessee Bank Review: Account Good for You?

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What means the most to you when you look for checking and savings accounts? Is it the interest rate, monthly required balance, or something else? At First Tennessee, you won't find the highest interest rates, but you'll find customer service and a variety of fringe benefits that may make it worth opening an account.

As the name suggests, First Tennessee is headquartered in Tennessee. They also operate in a few other states in collaboration with Capital Bank. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this bank is its 43,000-ATM network, which means easier access to your own money with fewer fees.

Keep reading to see if First Tennessee Bank offers the services you need.

Services Offered


Each First Tennessee Checking account includes access to First Tennessee ATMs plus the more than 43,000 ATMS through the Allpoint ATM network, a free Visa debit card, and free digital and mobile banking.

  • Express Checking: You'll need $50 to open this account, but you don't have to worry about a minimum monthly balance. In order to waive the monthly service fee, you'll need to set up at least one monthly direct deposit. You can only receive statements online and you'll have access to CD rate bonuses. This account doesn't earn interest.

  • Classic Checking: You'll need $50 to open this account and you don't have to meet a minimum balance requirement. There is a small monthly service charge with no way to waive it. You do get unlimited teller visits with this account , but you don't earn interest.

  • Select Checking: With $50, you can open this account and you don't have to meet minimum balance requirements. You don't earn interest on this account, but you can waive the monthly service fee with one monthly direct deposit and at least 15 debit card transactions. You may be eligible for a CD rate bonus and one yearly refund of an overdraft fee.

  • Premier Checking: You can earn interest on your balance with this checking account, which requires a $50 opening deposit. You'll need a combined balance of $5,000 across all First Tennessee deposit accounts to waive the monthly service fee. You can use any ATM in the US free of charge (the host bank may charge a fee, though). You may also have up to two overdraft fees waived per year and have access to Premier Plus Banking (see below). You can earn bonus rates on CDs and have access to a cash rewards Visa debit card.

  • Premier Plus: You can add Premier Plus to your Premier Checking account for even further benefits. You will need a combined balance of at least $25,000 to waive the additional monthly service fee. You will have access to free standard checks, tiered interest rates, bonus CD rates, bonus rates on Money Market Savings accounts, and a discount on a safety deposit box.


First Tennessee only has a few savings/CD options, but they have decent benefits. You'll have access to your account through their digital banking service and have various ways to waive the service fees.

  • Money Market Savings: With just $50, you can open this money market savings account, which offers higher (tiered) interest rates than standard savings accounts. You'll have access to your funds via ATM or check, but you can't have more than six withdrawals in one cycle. You can have the monthly service fee waived with a qualifying checking account or a combined deposit balance of $5,000.

  • Traditional Savings: This is your typical savings account with a $250 daily balance requirement in order to waive the quarterly service fee. You can link your savings account to a First Tennessee checking account for easy access to your funds.

  • Add-On CD: Help your CD grow by continually depositing money into the account. You must deposit at least $25 at a time. You are also eligible to make one penalty-free withdrawal throughout the CD's term. This account offers higher interest rates than a standard savings account and the ability to set up automatic transfers.

  • Regular CD: With $1,000, you can open a traditional CD with a range of 1 month to 60 months. You can automatically let the amount roll over upon maturity, or you can withdraw the funds and deposit it elsewhere if you need access to it relatively soon.

First Tennessee Bank Customer Service: You can reach First Tennessee Customer Service at 1-800-382-5465. Representatives are available Monday - Friday from 7 AM to 10 PM and Saturday from 8 AM to 5 PM ET. You can also fill out an online Customer Service Request, but expect an answer to take between one and two business days.

Reasons We Like First Tennessee Bank

  • You can set up digital banking for many of the First Tennessee Deposit accounts. This gives you access to your accounts on your computer or even on your mobile phone. You can check balances, transfer funds, pay bills, and set up custom alerts.

  • The mobile app has a large variety of functions to help make banking easier. You can set up Quick Glance to see your account balances without logging in, deposit checks remotely, and freeze your debit card. This comes in handy if you think your card was lost or stolen. It prevents anyone from using it until you locate it again.

  • You can set up your Visa debit card with Apple Pay. This eliminates the need to use your physical card at retailers that accept Apple Pay. This may help to keep your card secure and lower the risk of the number being stolen in a skimmer.

  • You can set up automatic savings. Sometimes paying yourself first is hard. If you tend to spend before you save, you can set it up so that money is automatically transferred from your checking to your savings or CD. This way, you are forced to save without any effort.

  • Your accounts are covered by FDIC insurance. If First Tennessee were to go out of business, your money would be safe. You'd receive reimbursement from the FDIC up to $250,000 per account.

  • First Tennessee is a part of the Allpoint ATM network. This gives you access to more than 40,000 ATMs throughout the country. If you tend to travel outside of the Southeast, you'll likely still be able to find an ATM where you won't pay a surcharge (at least through First Tennessee).

  • You can find a wealth of financial tips on the First Tennessee website. It's clear to see that First Tennessee representatives want to make sure their clients are as educated as possible regarding financial topics. You can find a wealth of information, tips, and how-to's in their "Learning" section.

  • ATM transactions conducted by 8 PM Monday - Friday will count as a same-day transaction. This gives you a little more time to squeeze that bank transaction in and have it available on the next business day. Any transactions conducted after 8 PM or on weekends will be processed the next business day.

  • First Tennessee offers an overdraft waiver on any overdrafts equal to $5 or less. This can save you a significant amount of money on overdraft fees. Of course, you should get your account in the black as soon as possible, but having that little cushion can be reassuring.

  • If you have a Cash Back Visa debit card, you may earn cash on regular purchases. You are automatically enrolled in the program if you have a Cash Back Visa debit card. You don't have to "opt-in"to the deals, like other banks. If there is a deal and you meet the requirements, you'll see the cash back in your account.

First Tennessee Bank Routing Number: The main routing number for First Tennessee Bank is 084000026. However, you should look at the bottom left corner of your checks to see if your routing number differs. Each state has their own routing number that you should use for faster processing of your transactions.

Reasons You May Want to Look Elsewhere

  • First Tennessee only serves customers in five states. If you don't live in Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina or South Carolina, you will be unable to bank at First Tennessee.

  • The First Tennessee overdraft charges are hefty. Not only do they charge more than many other banks for an overdraft, they can charge it up to four times per day. Their extended overdraft fee, though, doesn't kick in unless you are over-drafted for more than 15 days.

  • First Tennessee charges a large number of fees that you may overlook. Not only will you pay monthly service fees, but you may also have to pay for use of your ATM card, for paper statements, cashier's checks, or a custom Visa debit card. Even if the fees seem small, they can really add up.

How It Compares

  • Regions: You can find Regions Bank in 15 different states. Their checking account offerings are similar to First Tennessee's offerings, as only one account earns interest. Regions does offer a larger selection of savings, CDs, and IRAs to help you save for all stages of life. They also have a rewards program similar to First Tennessee's cash back rewards program.

  • SunTrust: SunTrust is a Southeastern bank that prides themselves on top-notch customer service. SunTrust offers a comparable number of checking and savings accounts to First Tennessee, but you need $100 to open any account. SunTrust also offers a cash back rewards program, and each checking account comes with a small number of free checks.

  • Bank of America: Bank of America is one of the larger banks in the U.S. They have limited account options, but many people choose them for the convenience of their locations throughout 37 different states.

Bottom Line

Choosing the right bank for your checking or savings accounts is an important decision. You have to look at the big picture. What fees will you pay and will you qualify to earn interest? Your best bank is the one that gives you the greatest return on your deposits while charging the fewest fees. Will First Tennessee be that bank? It depends on your situation and how you fall into their various categories for checking and savings accounts.

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