The Fifth Third Real Life Rewards Card is a rewards World MasterCard which gives members the opportunity to earn points on everyday expenditures and also offers new account holders a low introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers. It is issued by Fifth Third Bank.
Card members earn rewards in the form of Real Life Rewards points at the following rates:
- 2 Rewards points for every dollar spent on gas and grocery purchases
- 1 Rewards point for every dollar spent on all other purchases
Unlike the Fifth Third Cash Rewards Card which has a spending cap of $1,500 per quarter on the 2% rewards rate, the Fifth Third Real Life Rewards Card has no spending limit. However, the 2% bonus rate is applied to purchases based upon the Merchant Category Code (MCC). Big retailers such as Costco and Walmart do not qualify as grocery stores (or gas stations) when using this card. If you routinely shop at big box retailers for groceries or gasoline, you will only receive the 1% reward rate on your purchases. Unused points will expire three years from the date they were earned.
Points can be redeemed for various Real Life Rewards through the Fifth Third Bank’s online redemption portal. These include:
- Cash Back and Deposits – Points may be redeemed as a deposit to your Fifth Third Checking or Savings account or as a check.
- Gift Cards and Merchandise – Points may be redeemed for gift cards from a wide variety of brand name restaurants and retailers.
- Loan and Mortgage Payments – Points may be applied as payments to a Fifth Third Loan or automatic redemptions may be set up to pay down a Fifth Third Mortgage.
- Travel – Points may be used to book travel reservations for flights, hotels, and car rentals through the Real Life Rewards self-booking tool (with TripAdvisor ratings).
It’s important to note that the redemption portal does not disclose how many points are required for rewards until after you have applied for the credit card. The catalog is available to prospective applicants to browse through but not the actual redemption rate. This may be an indication that the overall rewards rate is not that great.
New account holders receive a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles once your account is opened. After this time, the APR will be 12.99% to 23.99% based on your credit history and other factors at the time of approval. Members may request up to 10 balance transfers at one time. The minimum amount of each transfer must be $100. A balance transfer fee of $5 or 4% of the total amount of the transfer (whichever is greater) will be applied to each transfer. This fee is not waived during the promotional period. Transfers may take up to four weeks to process and post to your account.
A unique benefit of the Fifth Third Real Life Rewards Card is Cellular Phone Protection coverage which is available to all card members. This protection plan provides coverage against damage to and/or theft of your cell phone (at no cost). Up to two additional lines may be covered as long as the phone numbers appear on your wireless billing statement.
Cardholders receive these additional World MasterCard benefits:
- Price Protection – If you find a lower advertised price for an item purchased with the card within 120 days from the date of purchase, you may be reimbursed for the difference in cost. Restrictions and limitations apply.
- MasterCard Global Service – Provides 24/7 emergency customer service anywhere and in any language.
- Concierge Service – Provides exclusive access to dining and entertainment venues. Assists with making reservations and purchasing tickets.
- Travel Assistance Services – 24/7 assistance dealing with lost or stolen luggage, legal advice, emergency medical situations, and obtaining emergency cash funds.
- MasterCard Zero Liability – Protects you from any unauthorized transactions made on your card.
The Fifth Third Real Life Rewards Card charges card members a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made on the card while traveling outside of the U.S.
There is no annual fee associated with this card.
Below we have broken down the specific details of the Fifth Third Real Life Rewards Card to help you determine if it’s the right card for you.
New account holders receive a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles from the time of approval. Once this promotional period ends, your actual APR will be a variable rate of 12.99% to 23.99% depending on your credit score and other factors at the time of approval. This is a definite perk for people wanting to purchase a big ticket item and pay it off over the course of a year without incurring any interest charges. It’s also a good deal for anyone who has a high interest credit card balance and would like to move it to another card with a lower APR. Note: a balance transfer fee of $5 or 4% of the total amount transferred (whichever is greater) is applied to each transfer. This fee is not waived during the introductory APR promotion. Ten balance transfer requests may be submitted at once (the minimum transfer amount is $100) and each may take up to four weeks to process.
Simple rewards program:
Cardholders earn Everyday Bonus Real Life Rewards at the following rates:
- Two points for every $1 spent on grocery and gasoline purchases
- One point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
Fees, interest charges, cash advances and balance transfers do not count as purchases. Your rewards are based on net purchases (total of transactions minus any credits, returns or other adjustments).
Various redemption options:
Members may redeem points for a variety of rewards including:
- Cash Back and Deposits
- Gift Cards and Merchandise
- Loan and Mortgage Payments
Cell phone protection coverage:
Cardholders are eligible to receive Cell Phone Protection coverage which is available to all members at no cost. This plan provides protection in the event your cell phone is ever damaged, lost, or stolen. There is a $50 deductible per claim (two claims may be submitted during a 12-month period). The maximum benefit allowed per claim is $200 ($400 within a 12-month period). To obtain coverage, you must pay your wireless bills each month using your Fifth Third Cash Rewards Card. Your coverage will be activated on the first day of the calendar month following the first payment of your bill with the card. Up to two additional phone lines may be covered with this protection plan provided the numbers are listed on your wireless bill.
Additional World MasterCard benefits:
- Price Protection
- MasterCard Global Service
- Concierge Service
- Travel Assistance Services
- MasterCard Zero Liability
No annual fee:
Members are not charged an annual fee with this card.
Bonus reward rate has some fine print:
Anyone considering this card should be aware that the 2% bonus rate which is applied to grocery and gasoline purchases is based upon the Merchant Category Code (MCC). Big retailers such as Costco and Walmart do not qualify as grocery stores (or gas stations) when using this card. This means if you regularly shop at these types of retailers for groceries or gasoline, you will only receive the 1% reward rate on your purchases.
Harder to qualify:
The Fifth Third Real Life Rewards Card generally requires very good to excellent credit for approval (740+ FICO). Considering that is a mediocre rewards card at best, you may want to look at other options before signing up for this one.
Points do expire:
Unused points will expire three years from the date they were earned.
Murky redemption amounts:
Fifth Third Bank’s redemption portal does not disclose to prospective applicants how many points are required for rewards. The catalog is available to prospective applicants to browse through but not the actual redemption rate. The redemption rate is only accessible to actual cardholders. This sometimes is an indication that the overall rewards rate is not that great. NOTE: Banks often tout a high earning rate (2%) on certain purchases but then keep the redemption value extremely low.