Citibank Review: Is It the Right Bank for You?

Citibank has a variety of accounts, but are they the best?

City Bank of New York was created in 1812 as one of the first rival banks outside of Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Throughout the years, the financial institution has presided over the creation of the Panama Canal, World War I and World War II and, in 2012, it celebrated its 200th anniversary.

Today, Citibank offers banking products to customers and businesses. If you’re curious about opening an account with Citi, consider how its bank accounts and investment options can support and grow your money by exploring these topics:

Who Is Citibank Best For?

Citibank is a large, competitive financial institution with nearly 700 branches throughout the U.S. (over 1,800 overseas). With a growing number of online-only banks like Ally Bank and Synchrony Bank, Citibank offers a personal banking experience that may be appealing to you.

Here are some of the pros and cons of banking with Citibank.

Pros and Cons of Banking With Citibank
ProsCons
It’s a one-stop-shop for small business and personal banking700 branches available in the U.S.
Citibank offers in-person investment services with a wealth management financial advisor and mortgagesMost account packages have a monthly service fee

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Who May Want To Skip Citibank?

Usually, banks that offer low annual percentage yields and interest rates on their accounts make up for it in high accessibility of physical branches. Citibank offers 700 physical branches, yet has comparable APY rates to Wells Fargo, a bank with over 5,000 branches. Online banks like Ally Bank and Discover Bank are able to offer high APY rates because they do not have to cover the overhead cost of physical locations. Perhaps there is a Citibank near you and the convenience is worth it. Otherwise, you may want to skip Citibank.

What Citibank is best for and worst for may depend on what you desire in your financial experience

What Is Citibank Best For and Worst For?
Best for:Worst for:
Face-to-face teller serviceComparatively low checking and savings APY rates
In-person investment services with a wealth management financial advisor and mortgagesSmall number of physical branches compared to Bank of America’s 4,000+ branches in the U.S.
Access to accounts via mobile app
One-stop shop for small business and personal banking

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Types of Accounts Available

Citibank offers an array of banking products, from checking accounts and savings accounts to Citibank credit cards, certificates of deposits and IRAs. While the options are plentiful, each bank account has rates and fees that deserve close examination.

Citibank Account Features, Fees, Rates and Rate Comparisons
AccountFeatureFeesRatesRate Comparison
CheckingSimple Checking via Basic Banking Package

Affordable Access Checking via Access Account Package

Basic Banking: $12 monthly service fee

Access Account: $10 monthly service fee

No interest on either Basic Banking or Access AccountWells Fargo’s Everyday Checking also has no interest with a $10 monthly service fee
Interest CheckingFull-feature relationship banking via The Citibank Account Package

Priority banking with dedicated support via Citi Priority Package

Banking and wealth management via Citigold Package

Citibank Account: $25 monthly service fee

Citi Priority: $30 monthly service fee

Citigold: N/A

Citigold: 0.03% APY, 0.03% standard interest

Citi Priority: 0.03% APY, 0.03% standard interest

Citi Account: 0.01% APY, 0.01% standard interest

Ally Bank’s interest checking APY is 0.10% for balances under $15,000 and 0.6% for balances above $15,000
Savings AccountSavings made simple with automatic transfer options via Citi Savings 

Citigold: N/A

Citi Priority: N/A

The Citibank Account: $25

Basic Banking and Access Account: $4.50

Citigold: 0.04%-0.15%APY and standard interest

Citi Priority: 0.04% – 0.15% APY and standard interest

The Citibank Account Package: 0.04%-0.13% APY and standard interest

Basic Account Package: 0.04%-0.06% APY and standard interest

Access Account Package: 0.04%-0.06% APY and standard interest

Wells Fargo’s Way2Save: 0.01% interest rate and APY
CDsFixed interest rates throughout entire term with Fixed Rate CD

Interest rate automatically increases every 10 months with Step-Up CD

Withdrawal full balance + interest sans penalty after first 6 days of funds with No Penalty CD

Early withdrawal fees for Step-Up CD and Fixed Rate CDFixed Rate: 0.25%-1.75% for 1-year term

Step-Up CD: 0.76% APY for 30-month term

No Penalty CD: 0.50%-1.01% for 1-year term

Ally Bank’s High Yield CD: 2.00% APY for 1-year term
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)Roth and Traditional IRA

Insured Money Market Accounts

IRA CDs

Day-to-Day Savings

Traditional and Roth IRA: no fees

CD: Early withdrawal fees

Insured Money Market Account and Day-to-Day Savings: monthly service fees that are linked to different account packages

 

Insured Money Market Account: 0.20% APY

IRA CD: 18-month Variable CD: 2.14%

Day-to-Day Savings: 0.01% APY

Ally Bank:

IRA High Yield CD: 2.00% APY, 1-year term.

IRA Raise Your Rate CD: 2.05% APY, 2-year term

IRA Online Savings: 1.80%

 

Investment (Nonbank) OptionsAnnuities

Advisory (Managed) Accounts

Bonds (Fixed Income)

Stocks (Equities) and Options

Insurance

Sophisticated Products for Complex Needs

Retirement Savings

Mutual Funds

Education Savings

Trust and Estate Planning

Securities-Based Lending

Speak to a Citi Personal Wealth Management Advisor for further details at 877-357-3399Speak to a Citi Personal Wealth Management Advisor for further details at 877-357-3399N/A
LoansLarge purchase with Personal Loans and Lines of Credit

Borrow money with Citibank  Home Equity

Buy a house with a Citibank Mortgage

Fees are dependent on your payment structure, including your APRPersonal Loans: 7.99-23.99% APR

Mortgage Loan: 4.509% APR for 30-year fixed-rate loan

Bank of America purchase rate: 3.750% APR for 30-year fixed-rated loan for $250,000

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Checking

Basic Banking Package and Access Account Package are the two noninterest-earning checking accounts that Citibank has to offer. While they both have similar features, the biggest difference is Basic Banking allows you to write unlimited paper checks while Access Account does not allow you to write any paper checks.

Features

  • With both accounts: pay bills online, open an account with $0 balance, use the transfer service Zelle, deposit checks from the mobile app

Pros

  • Access to over 60,000 ATMs in the U.S.
  • Ability to use Citi Entertainment rewards with your Citi Debit Card
  • Receive balance alerts and payment alerts

Cons

  • No interest earned from account balance and monthly service fees

Learn More: Citibank Checking Account Review: Customer Satisfaction and Savings

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Interest Checking

Citibank’s Citigold, Citi Priority and The Citibank Account all offer great ways to earn interest with your account balance. You can also receive Citi ThankYou Rewards on these accounts.

Features 

  • With all three accounts: pay bills online, open an account with $0 balance, use the transfer service Zelle, deposit checks from the mobile app

Pros

  • Access to over 60,000 ATMs in the U.S.
  • Ability to use Citi Entertainment rewards with your Citi Debit Card
  • Receive balance alerts and payment alerts
  • Have waived fees on non-Citibank qualifying ATMs

Cons

  • Interest rates are comparatively low
  • There are monthly service fees for Citi Priority and The Citibank Account

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Savings

Citi Savings is an interest-earning savings account that can be linked with a Citibank checking account. Linking the account allows for automatic transfers and Citi ThankYou Rewards.

Features

  • Ability to write checks, FDIC insured, set up balance and deposit alerts with this account and deposit checks into account via Mobile Check Deposit

Pros 

  • No minimum opening deposit
  • Easy to transfer funds between Citi and other financial institutions
  • Citigold, Citi Priority and The Citibank Account have no fees on standard checkbook orders (The Citibank Account’s first checkbook is only free)

Cons

  • Monthly service fees for every account package except Citigold and Citi Priority
  • Comparatively low APY rates to online savings accounts at Discover or Ally Bank

See: Citibank Savings Account Review: Account Variety and Customer Service

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Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

Citibank offers a Fixed Rate CD, Step-Up CD and No Penalty CD. All three CDs are FDIC insured and are great ways to make savings more profitable in the long term. CDs are great ways to earn money toward upcoming large purchases like college or a trip around the world.

Features

  • Citibank’s Fixed Rate CDs offer a guaranteed interest rate for the entirety of your CD term, whether it be three months or five years. The APY on a Fixed Rate CD for a 1-year term is 0.25% for a deposit under $25,000 and 1.75% for a deposit above $25,000.
  • Step-Up CDs offer an automatic interest rate increase every 10 months with a 30-month CD term. The composite APY is 0.76%.
  • No Penalty CDs offer a chance to withdraw funds after six days from the initial deposit without any penalty fees plus a guaranteed fixed interest rate throughout its whole, 12-month term. This APY of this CD is 0.50%-1.0%.

Pros

  • The Step-Up CD banking product increases interest unlike most CDs.
  • The No Penalty CD is also unique because withdrawal fees are very common for bank CDs.

Cons 

  • All three CD products offer comparatively low APY rates to online bank CD products.

More: Citibank CD Rates Review: Premium Rates for Priority Clients

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Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

Citibank has three IRA approaches: Traditional/Roth IRA, IRA CD or a Money Market Account. Which banking product is best for you depends on where you are in your life and finances.

Features

  • Traditional/Roth IRA:
    • A Roth IRA requires you to pay taxes on your IRA funds, but you won’t be taxed later on when you withdraw. This would be a good choice for someone who believes that the tax rate will only get higher when it is time for them to cash-out, so they’d rather be taxed now. Contributions to your Roth IRA are not tax-deductible. An additional bonus of Roth IRAs is you can withdrawal funds at any time. These specifics are not unique to Citibank.
    • A Traditional IRA does not require you to pay taxes on your IRA funds, but you will be taxed later on when you withdraw. This is a good choice for someone who believes the tax rate will be lower than what it is currently. Contributions to your Traditional IRA are tax-deductible up to a certain limit. You can only begin to withdraw funds without an IRS penalty from your Traditional IRA after 59 1/2 years old. You do not have penalty-free access to your funds until you are 70 1/2 years old. These specifics are not unique to Citibank.
  • IRA CD: 
    • This functions similarly to the other CDs that Citibank offers. You have the choice between an 18-month Variable CD at 2.14% APY or a Fixed Rate CD for up to 5 years at an APY of 1.25%.
  • Money Market Account:
    • If you’re hungry for some compound interest in your life, look no further. Citibank’s retirement Money Market Account product offers an APY of 0.20% with a $0 minimum opening balance. There are no term limits to a Money Market Account.

When it comes to your decision between a Roth and Traditional IRA, the pros and cons are subjective to your retirement plans. However, the CD and Money Market Account banking products are worth exploring.

Pros

  • You cannot be taxed on an IRA CD or Money Market Account when you withdraw funds like you would be with a Traditional or Roth IRA.

Cons

  • The 18-month Variable CD and Fixed Rate CD have comparatively low APY to other financial institutions.
  • The Money Market Account has a comparatively low APY to other financial institutions.

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Investment (Nonbank) Options

Citibank has an array of investment options to consider. Each one is unique to a specific need, so be clear what your goals are before diving into these products.

Features 

  • Annuities
  • Advisory (Managed) Accounts
  • Bonds (Fixed Income)
  • Stocks (Equities) and Options
  • Insurance
  • Sophisticated Products for Complex Needs
    • This is an alternative to traditional stocks and bonds.
  • Retirement Savings
  • Mutual Funds
  • Education Savings
  • Trust and Estate Planning
  • Securities-Based Lending

Pros and Cons

Because of the specificity of each one of these investment opportunities, the pros and cons should be weighed out with a Citi Personal Wealth Management Financial Advisor. These advisors can be reached over the phone at 877-357-3399.

The Advisors are available on weekdays from  9 a.m.-7 p.m. EST. 

The Investment Services are available on weekdays from 8 a.m.9 p.m. EST and Saturdays 9 a.m.7 p.m. EST. 

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Loans

If you’re looking to expand your life with a big project or considering buying a home, Citibank offers loans to meet your needs. You can apply online, over the phone or in person at one of Citibank’s branch locations.

Features 

  • Personal Loans and Lines of Credit: For large purchases or future products.
  • Home Equity: You can use your money on big projects like home repairs or other life needs.
  • Citibank Mortgage is there for you when buying your home and properties.

Pros

  • Personal Loans and Lines of Credit: If you are Citigold or Priority customer, you’ll receive a 0.25% discount.
  • Home Equity: You can a Fixed Rate Home Equity Loan for up to a 30-year term.
  • Mortgage: You can speak to Citi’s mortgage representatives, who have an average customer rating of 4.84 out of five stars on Zillow.

Cons

  • There are no real cons to these loans. Personal Loans and Line of Credit, Home Equity and Mortgage APR rates and terms are all very competitive.

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How To Bank With Citibank

You have four options when it comes to banking with Citibank:

Technology

If you’re not afraid of technology, you can chat with a Citibank assistant online as soon as you log in to Citibank’s online banking. You can also bank on the Citibank Mobile App which is available on Apple and Android smartphones.

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Fees

Citibank has five different banking packages that almost all have fees (excluding the top tier: Citigold package). Explore each banking package to see the fees and how to waive them.

  • Citigold 
    • Fees: None
    • How to avoid fees: You need a combined $200,000 monthly balance in all linked deposits.
    • Citi Priority
      • Fees: $30 monthly service fee
      • How to avoid fees: You need a combined $50,000 monthly balance in all linked deposits.
      • The Citibank Account
        • Fees: $25 monthly service fee, $2.50 withdrawal fee with non-Citibank ATMs
        • How to avoid fees: You need a combined $10,000 monthly balance in all linked deposits or linked Citi Savings Account to waive both fees.
        • Basic Banking Package
          • Fees: $12 monthly service fee, $4.50 unlinked Citi Savings monthly service fee, $2.50 withdrawal fee with non-Citibank ATMs
          • How to avoid fees: You need a combined $1,500 monthly balance in linked checking accounts; one qualifying, completed direct deposit and one qualifying completed bill pay in checking account; and have $500 monthly balance in Citi Savings Account to waive both monthly service fees. There is no way to waive a non-Citibank ATM withdrawal fee.
        • Access Account Package 
          • Fees: $10 monthly service fee, $4.50 unlinked Citi Savings monthly service fee, $2.50 withdrawal fee with non-Citibank ATMs
          • How to avoid fees: You need a combined $1,500 monthly balance in linked checking accounts, one qualifying completed direct deposit and one qualifying completed bill pay in checking account, $500 monthly balance in Citi Savings Account to waive both monthly service fees. There is no way to waive non-Citibank ATM withdrawal fee.

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        Availability of Funds

        Your money’s availability will depend on how you deposit your funds into your checking and savings accounts.

        • Check Deposited With Bank Teller or ATM: Funds are available the next business day after the business day of your deposit.
        • Direct Deposit and Wire Transfers: Funds from electronic wire transfers and direct deposits are available the same business day as the deposit.
        • Cash Deposit: Funds are immediately available.
        • Mobile Check Deposit: This depends on the User Agreement policy for your service. You can research your specific service to find your specific fund availability.

        Learn More: How To Find Your Citibank Routing Number

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        Is Citibank Worth Your Wallet?

        This depends on the type of banking experience you enjoy. Certainly, Citibank is a more traditional bank, with physical branch locations, compared to the online-only banks.

        Benefits

        • In-person, face-to-face banking experience where you can develop a relationship with a teller or bank manager.

        Drawbacks

        • Comparatively low APY rates on your account balances.

        Overall, Citibank is not ideal for a customer looking to earn more money on their account balances. The only highlight for Citibank is that it may be convenient for you if a physical branch is easily accessible or nearby. While Citibank is certainly a large and successful financial institution, consider other financial institutions for a more traditional banking experience or an online-only bank for a more modern experience with higher APY rates.

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        More From GOBankingRates

        Rates and fees are subject to change. This content is not provided by Citibank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Citibank.

        About the Author

        Jared Nigro is from Pittsburgh, which is obvious by the way he gravitates toward cheese at parties. He is a comedy writer from The Groundlings Sunday Company, Upright Citizens Brigade and has his own digital show on Comedy Central called “Broken People.” When he isn’t being funny, he’s reading books on debt and finance and listening to his favorite finance podcast, ChooseFI.