Citizens Access Review: How Does This Online-Only Bank Stack Up?

4.5
Our Take: Citizens Access is the online bank backed by Citizens Bank, N.A. and dedicated to low costs, high rates and outstanding customer service. The bank has a limited product line, but it excels where it focuses, which is on rates and fees.
  • Rates
    5.0
  • Fees
    5.0
  • Customer Service
    5.0
  • Service & Accessibility
    3.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • No-fee savings and certificates of deposits
  • High interest rates
  • Simple, straightforward account opening process

Cons

  • Only one type of savings account available
  • No access to local branches and ATMs

About Citizens Access

Citizens Access opened for business in July 2018, but its parent company has been in the banking industry for 190 years. Headquartered in Rhode Island, Citizens Financial Group has nearly $180 billion in assets and branches in 11 states in New England, the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest. With solid savings options for customers, GOBankingRates has ranked it as one of the Best Savings Accounts 2021.

As an online bank, Citizens Access does not have physical branches but is top-rated in its services and offerings. In fact, GOBankingRates has ranked it as one of the Best Online Banks of 2021 in its yearly list. It does not provide ATM or debit cards, so all transactions take place on the bank’s website or over the phone.

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Citizens Access Products

Citizens Access has a limited product line. This Citizens Access review covers the following savings options:

Product Key Details
Savings Account
  • $5,000 minimum deposit
  • 0.40% APY
  • FDIC insurance
CD Rates
  • $5,000 minimum deposit
  • Five rate terms
  • No-penalty liquid CD available

Citizens Access has two savings products: an online savings account and CDs.

Citizens Access Savings Account

Citizens Access offers a single savings account, dubbed the Online Savings account. Although there are no promotional or teaser rates for this account, it does come with a 0.50% annual percentage yield. Additionally, GOBankingRates has ranked it as one of the Best Savings Accounts of 2021.

Features

  • 0.40% APY
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5,000
  • No fees
  • FDIC insured

Pros:

  • FDIC-insured deposits
  • No fee

Cons:

  • High minimum deposit requirement
  • A limited number of products

Citizens Access CD Accounts

Citizens Access offers two types of CDs — an online CD account and a liquid CD account. Online CDs have five maturities, ranging from one year to five years. Rates are tightly clustered but run between 0.10% APY and 0.25% APY. The liquid CD comes in a single term but can be cashed in at any time with no penalty.

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Features

  • Terms ranging from 11 months to 5 years
  • Guaranteed fixed rate of interest
  • FDIC insured
  • Flexible interest payment options

Pros:

  • High APY across all maturities
  • No fee to open
  • Liquid CD option available

Cons:

  • Minimum deposit of $5,000
  • No short-term or long-term CDs

Banking Experience

If you’re used to visiting a local branch or monitoring your account through a mobile app, banking at Citizens Access is a different experience. Read on to see why.

Customer Service

You can contact Citizens Access customer service via secure online message or at 888- 201-6505. The bank responds to secure online messages within 24 hours. No live chat is available at present.

Telephone service lines are open during the following hours:

  • Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. EST
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. EST
  • Sunday: 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. EST

Accessibility and Branch Availability

Citizens Access does not have local branches or ATMs. All transactions take place electronically, so you have to link your accounts to an outside account.

Mobile and Digital Experience

Despite being a completely online bank, Citizens Access has no mobile apps for either Android or iOS. You can access all of your account information on the website anytime you use your Citizens Access online login.

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The website provides some basic educational information about savings, including a savings calculator, liquid CD comparison and CD rate comparison calculators, plus information on building a CD ladder.

Convenience and Ease of Use

Opening an account with Citizens Access takes less than five minutes. Here’s the account-opening process:

  1. Select a product and the deposit amount.
  2. Enter your personal information.
  3. Accept the account terms.
  4. Create a username and password.
  5. Fund the account.

Key Information box:

Citizens Access Fees

Citizens Access does not charge fees, unlike many competitors. This includes maintenance fees, account opening fees and overdraft fees that are frequently charged by other banks.

Citizens Access vs. Competitors

Citizens Access is not the only top-rated online bank on the market. Before opening an account, it helps to do a thorough Citizens Access bank review to see how the bank stacks up to its competitors.

Bank Best For
Citizens Access Customer who prefer top rates over access to branches
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Customers who want high interest rates without minimum deposit requirements
Ally Bank Customers who prefer online banking but want access to full banking services
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    Citizens Access vs. Marcus by Goldman Sachs

    Both Citizens Access and Marcus by Goldman Sachs are online banks backed by bigger financial institutions. But Citizens Access prioritizes keeping fees low and rates high. Marcus by Goldman Sachs may be a better choice if you can’t meet the Citizens Access minimum deposit requirement.

    Citizens Access vs. Ally Bank

    Citizens Access and Ally Bank meet different banking needs. You can stow away money in a Citizens Access account and keep it out of sight. Ally Bank offers a full range of banking products, making it a better choice for someone who prefers doing all of their banking online.

    Final Take

    The bottom line is that what Citizens Access does, it does very well. Citizens Access gets high marks for certain features. Specifically, you won’t pay any fees banking with Citizens Access, and you’ll earn solid APYs on savings and CD accounts.

    If you’re just looking for a no-cost place to stash some extra cash and earn high yields, Citizens Access fits that bill to a tee. Consider opening an account today to take advantage of these benefits.

    Sponsors of

    Editor’s Favorite

    There’s an advantage to not having immediate access to money you’re saving for a specific purchase. Citizens Access is a good option for anyone prioritizing saving. You get top rates without the temptation of an ATM card.

    Citizens Access FAQ

    Here are answers to some of Citizen Access' more commonly asked questions.
    • Is Citizens Access the same as Citizens Bank?
      • Citizens Access is a direct-to-consumer bank backed by Citizens Bank.
    • Is Citizens Access FDIC insured?
      • Yes, Citizens Access is a member of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Deposits are insured.
    • How long does it take to open an account?
      • You can open an account online in as little as five minutes.
    • How can I contact Citizens Access?
      • You can call Citizens Access at 888-201-6505 or send a secure message through its website.
    • Does Citizens Access offer free money for signing up for an account?
      • No. At this time, Citizens Access does not offer free money for signing up for an account.

    This article has been updated with additional reporting since its original publication.

    Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 8, 2020.

    This content is not provided by Citizens Access. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Citizens Access.

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    About the Author

    After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.

    Citizens Access Review: How Does This Online-Only Bank Stack Up?
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