Citi Bank Review

Is Citi a good bank?

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Citi—also known as Citibank—was born more than two centuries ago in 1812 as City Bank of New York. It's the fourth-largest commercial bank in the United States with $1.45 trillion in assets, more than 60,000 ATMs, and locations throughout the U.S., many located in California, New York, and Texas. Our in-depth review will help you determine whether banking with Citi is right for you.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • High-yield savings account rate available in some areas

  • Rewards points and miles available with certain accounts

  • Multiple ways to avoid monthly banking fees

  • Features tailored to a wide variety of customers

  • No minimum opening deposit for most accounts

Cons
  • No option for a standalone savings account

  • Many fees to navigate

  • Complicated checking account choices or “packages”

  • ThankYou Points earnings system isn't simple

  • Lackluster CD rates

Company Overview
  • Official Website www.online.citi.com
  • Bank Product Offerings Savings, checking, CDs, credit cards
  • Customer Service You can reach Citi by phone, chat or through the Citi app.
  • Year Founded 1812

Who Is Citi Best For?

Citi’s considerable banking options should appeal to consumers who prefer to bank with a larger financial institution with many brick-and-mortar locations and ATMs. In particular, Citi may be a good fit for you if want to:

  • Earn a competitive return in an online high-yield savings account
  • Earn ThankYou rewards points for everyday checking account use 
  • Use your high-net-worth account while traveling or living abroad
  • Combine points with a Citi ThankYou Rewards credit card
  • Earn miles in the AAdvantage mileage program in conjunction with a Citi/AAdvantage credit card 
  • Access full-service banking and you live in California or a state where Citi has a location

What Does Citi Offer?

As you would expect from a bank of its size, Citi offers a full range of accounts and services. However, Citi bundles checking and savings accounts into six different “packages,” some of which may not be available where you live. You’ll also need to carefully select the account right for you, as fees and perks vary wildly. 

Accounts

Savings Accounts

Citi Savings Accounts
Name Fee Fee Waiver Who is this Citibank account best for? APY as of 9/30/2020
Citi Accelerate $4.50 Maintain an average daily balance of at least $500 Customers who want a great APY without high minimum balance requirements. 0.70%
Citi Savings $4.50

Maintain an average daily balance of at least $500

Those who want an account with an APY and fees that are easy to waive. 0.04% to 0.13%, depending on balance
Citi Miles Ahead None N/A Account is available only to Citi/AAdvantage credit card holders. No interest earned

Citi Accelerate Savings

Citi Accelerate Savings is a high-yield savings account that must be opened alongside one of the numerous banking package options, or opened by a current Citi customer. Once you’ve done that, this account pays up to 0.70% APY, although rates are determined by your residential address, among other factors.

The features depend upon which banking package you select, but in general, the account lets you:

  • Transfer money between Citi and non-Citi accounts
  • Add to your balance through recurring automatic transfers 
  • Earn ThankYou reward points if linked to an eligible checking account

You must maintain a balance of at least $500 to avoid a monthly service fee. You can apply online, through the Citi mobile app, or by calling.

Citi Savings

If you don’t live in a ZIP code serviced by Citi Accelerate Savings, you’ll have to settle for the regular Citi Savings account. This savings account’s APY ranges between 0.04% and 0.13% depending upon your savings balance and which type of checking “package” you’re in. There’s no minimum deposit required to open a savings account, and it’s possible to earn Citi ThankYou rewards with the account. 

Regarding checks, you have the ability to write checks from the account, and can also use the mobile check deposit service. This account is available in a package with all Citi checking accounts except the Citi Elevate account and Citi Miles Ahead account. 

Monthly fee: $4.50, waived if you maintain an average balance of at least $500.

Citi Miles Ahead

This savings-only account for Citi/AAdvantage credit card holders doesn’t charge a monthly service fee or fees for non-Citi ATM use, and can earn you 25% more AAdvantage miles on your everyday spending. However, the account is by invitation only. The program’s direct invitations depend upon residential location, and not all Citi/AAdvantage credit cardholders are invited. You must maintain a required $10,000 minimum deposit while participating in the Miles Ahead program.

For the first $50,000 in purchases you make using your eligible card, you’ll earn 25% more miles, which are then added to your AAdvantage account. So, for $25,000 in purchases, you'd earn 31,250 miles.

If you’re already a Citibank customer, you can’t convert your existing package to this package. You must make a new deposit into the Citi Miles Ahead account.

Checking Accounts

Citi has more account types than most banks, so we've created a table to help you differentiate between them.

Citi Checking Accounts
Name Fee Fee Waiver Who is this Citibank account best for? APY as of 7/6/2020
Basic Banking $12

One qualifying direct deposit and one qualifying bill payment per statement period OR maintain $1,500 or more combined average in linked accounts OR the first listed account owner is 62 or older

Those looking for a basic package with paper checks, and those over age 62. No interest earned
Access Account $10 Maintain $1,500 combined average monthly balance in eligible linked (checking and savings) accounts, or make one qualifying direct deposit or qualifying bill payment per statement period. Those seeking an online-only package, with no need for  paper checks No interest earned
Citi Elevate $15 Maintain an average balance of $5,000. Those with a large pile of cash for the minimum monthly balance, and who seek an online-only account with higher interest earnings and no ATM fees. Below $9,999:
0.20%
$10,000-$24,999:
0.30%
$25,000+:
0.60% 
Citibank Account $25 Maintain a combined monthly balance of $10,000 or more in eligible linked accounts For customers who need a standard checking account with more services and features compared to Basic Package, including the ability to earn ThankYou points. 0.01% APY 
Citi Priority $30 Maintain a combined average monthly balance of $50,000 or more in eligible linked accounts For those who could benefit from personal wealth-management advising, online trade capabilities, and more ThankYou points. 0.03% APY 
Citigold $0 Maintain a combined average monthly balance of $200,000 in eligible linked accounts. Aimed at high-net-worth individuals who enjoy travel, full-service investment advising and services, and  more ThankYou points with fewer requirements.  0.03% APY
Citigold International $100 Maintain an average daily relationship of $200,000 or more.

For those who may need up to $5,000 per day from ATMs (amount will depend on your minimum monthly average), and access to a team of multilingual financial advisors, portfolio reviews, and no foreign exchange fees


 
0.01% APY for deposit accounts in U.S. dollars
Citigold Private Client $125 Maintain $1 million in combined relationship accounts. For clients who need to take out $5,000 per day from ATMs, or desire access to exclusive Citi-hosted events, free outgoing online wire transfers, and investment counselors. 0.03% APY

Basic Banking 

As the name indicates, Citi’s Basic Banking Package has the least features of all Citi accounts, although it does offer unlimited check writing.

An overdraft fee could be charged when you don’t have sufficient funds to cover Citi transactions. Citi will only charge up to four overdraft fees in a single day. Citi offers two ways to avoid overdraft fees, both of which also involve more fees: Use Safety Check, which links your checking account to your savings account ($10 fee for each transfer to cover your overdraft transactions) or apply for a Checking Plus variable-interest credit line ($10 per day when overdrafts are covered). 

Access Account 

The Access Account package has the lowest monthly fee of Citi’s checking accounts and is geared for an online-only banking experience. Customers access Citi’s apps and online services to move money with this completely paper-free account (including no paper checks). Perhaps best for students, this account can help you avoid overdraft fees by not approving transactions that exceed your account balance.

Citi Elevate

This Citi “digital-only” banking package is only available in select ZIP codes, and requires a higher monthly minimum ($5000) to avoid fees. But this is a good, low-frills account to combine with Citi Accelerate savings if you’re eligible and want to earn a higher savings rate.

Citibank Account 

This more-comprehensive, standard checking account comes with no ATM fees for non-Citi ATM use, and standard banking features such as check writing. You can also earn up to 75,000 Citi ThankYou Points through everyday banking activities, although for a Citibank Account you must also complete both bill payment and direct deposit each statement period to earn your monthly points. You’ll receive a 0.01% APY interest rate for checking. 

Citi Priority 

The Citi Priority package features professional strategies and guidance from Citi Personal Wealth Management Priority Advisors over the phone or in a branch. Other features include a checking account paying interest at 0.03% APY, more Citi ThankYou rewards for everyday banking activities than the Citibank Account offers, and waived fees on non-Citi ATMs.  

Citigold 

For clients who can maintain high monthly balances, the Citigold package offers a dedicated team, including a relationship manager and professional financial advisor. It may be a good fit for those who frequently travel, with reduced or waived wire transfer fees, foreign exchange fees, foreign currency delivery, access to emergency cash, and reimbursements of non-Citi ATM fees. The interest earned on Citigold checking accounts is 0.03% APY. Citigold members can access concierge services, admission and discounts to museums and cultural institutions, and admission to Citigold Lounges worldwide. 

Citigold International

The Citigold International package permits up to $5,000 in withdrawals per day from ATMs (depending on your minimum monthly average), and will charge a monthly service fee of $100, unless you maintain an average daily relationship of $200,000 or more. You’ll have access to a team of multilingual financial advisors and portfolio reviews, with no Citi fee for using non-Citi ATMs and no foreign exchange fees. The checking account earns 0.01% APY interest for accounts in U.S. dollars. 

Citigold Private Client International 

Citigold Private Client allows clients to take out $5,000 per day from ATMs but charges $125 for a monthly service fee unless you maintain $1 million or more in combined relationship accounts. It comes with access to exclusive Citi-hosted events, free outgoing online wire transfers, and investment counselors.

Callout: Citi also offers Private Bank, International Personal Banking, and Global Executive Banking account types for wealthy or internationally based individuals who need more customized services, such as converting your foreign-currency salary to U.S. dollars.

Certificates of Deposit

Citi offers three types of CDs, with terms ranging from three months to five years. Rates are somewhat low, which is pretty standard for traditional brick-and-mortar banks. CDs are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

Citibank warns that interest rates may vary depending on a number of factors, including your home address, account balance, and account package type (which checking account you have). To receive the best rates, you must have a linked Citigold or Citi Priority account. 

Fixed Rate CD

Citi offers a guaranteed interest rate for the term of the CD, with terms ranging from three months to five years. It doesn’t matter how much you deposit—your APY is the same throughout the term.

Citi Fixed Rate CD Rates (as of Aug. 26, 2020)
Term APY
3 months 0.20%
4 months 0.40%
5 months 0.05%
6 to 11 months 0.10%
1 year 0.20%
13-15 months 0.10%
2 years, 3 years and 4 years 0.15%
30 months 0.10%
5 years 0.20%

All CDs renew automatically at maturity for the same term initially selected. At renewal, you’ll have a grace period of up to seven calendar days to make a change to your terms or to deposit or withdraw funds. With the exception of the No Penalty CD, early withdrawal penalties of up to 180 days of simple interest may apply if you cash in your CD before maturity.

Step-Up CD

The Step-Up CD has a 30-month term length with three automatic rate increases every 10 months for a composite APY of 0.17% as of July 15, 2020. The minimum opening deposit is $500.

Citi Step-Up CD Rates (as of Aug. 19, 2020)
Term Rate
First 10 months 0.10%
Months 11-20 0.15%
Months 21-30 0.25%

No Penalty CD

Citi’s No Penalty CD provides a guaranteed interest rate for the term of the CD, which is 12 months. You can withdraw the full balance and interest without any penalty any time after the first 6 days.

The minimum opening balance is $500, and the rate remains 0.15%.

This rate is lower than the no-penalty CDs you could find at online banks, with the same minimums or even less. 

Credit Cards

Citi has an extensive list of credit cards that fit every type of consumer. Whether you’re looking for a break on interest or a way to earn rewards, rebuild your credit, or separate business expenses, Citi has a card you may want to investigate.

Other Financial Products From Citi

Citi also offers a wide range of other financial products

  • Car loans
  • Home loans, including purchase, refinance, fixed-equity loans, and lines of credit (HELOCs)
  • Personal loans and lines of credit
  • IRAs 
  • Investment services including self-directed trading, robo-investing, and professional advising 
  • Private banking
  • Small business banking, loans, and services

Citi Customer Service

Citi ranks highest in customer satisfaction among banks in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Retail Banking Advice Satisfaction Study, receiving high marks for providing advice and guidance through digital channels. However, direct banks (online banks) still tend to rank higher in customer satisfaction. 

The variety of services and pricing offered is an attempt to encourage the idea of “relationship banking,” including special mortgage pricing for those with large Citi deposits. 

Citi provides a variety of customer service options. Customers can chat with a representative online or through the app (available on iOS or Android), call customer service, or venture into a branch during business hours. The app can be used for mobile deposits.

How to Bank With Citi

To open an account, visit Citi.com or go into a branch. You’ll need to provide a few pieces of personal information when you’re opening an account, which is standard for U.S. banks.

The Final Verdict

Benefits

If you have one direct deposit or you can pay one bill each month from your account, there’s a good chance you can use at least one checking account for free. A competitive savings APY (for a brick-and-mortar bank) allows you to earn interest on your extra funds, particularly in the Accelerate Savings account. And since Citi has an extensive range of banking products and services, you can keep your money management within the same institution. Customer service options ensure you can get answers to your questions around the clock.

Drawbacks

While the savings rate is competitive for brick and mortar, the CD rates are meager compared to online-only or direct banks. As a larger institution, Citi offers more products and services, but these offerings are more complicated than necessary, made even more so with the differing fee waiver requirements and standards for ThankYou points qualification. If you don’t maintain a minimum balance in some accounts, you may need to change packages to one with fewer benefits. 

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
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