Banking » Reviews » Citizens Bank Review 2024: Good For Banking, Not For Savings
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Citizens Bank Review 2024: Good For Banking, Not For Savings

Citizen bank offers low rates on its savings accounts & CDs, and different types of checking accounts, as well as loans and credit cards
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

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Citizens Bank

citizens-bank-logo
citizens-bank-logo

Citizens Bank

Fees

$9.99 per month Can be waived if you make at least one deposit into the account each statement cycle

Our Rating

3.5
3.5/5

Current Promotion

None

APY Savings

5.00%

Citizens Bank is actually one of the oldest banks in America. It was founded in 1828 and has grown to the 15th largest banking institution with an estimated $161+ billion in assets. While Citizens Bank operates along the East Coast and Midwest, the bank has over 1,100 branches with an ATM network of over 2,900 machines across 11 states. However, Citizens Bank continues to grow.

Citizens Bank is FDIC insured, which provides account holders with up to $250,000 per depositor should the bank fail. The bank also has extended call center hours and online resources. However, consumer reviews for Citizens Bank are mixed, with many complaints relating to customer support and fees.

  • Monthly Service Fees are Easy to Avoid
  • Limited Overdraft Fees
  • Access to Financial Planning
  • Citizens Access
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Low Savings Rates
  • Multiple Overdraft Charges
  • Limited Branch Network
  • Limited CDs
  • Out of Network ATM Fees

Does Citizen Bank offer a free checking account?

Most Citizens Bank checking accounts have a monthly maintenance fee, but in many cases this fee is easy to waive. For example, with the basic checking account, you simply need to receive one deposit of any amount per statement period.

Is Citizen Bank worth it if I have bad credit?

Many of the Citizens Bank products are designed for those with strong credit. So, if you are looking for a comprehensive variety of banking services, you may be better suited to another bank or financial institution.

What's the main reason to skip Citizen Bank?

The savings rates are quite low, so unless you are using Citizens Bank with linked accounts, it is probably a better option to open a savings account with a competitor.

 

Citizens Bank Review

Banking Services
Credit Options
Savings Accounts
Mortgage
Checking Accounts
Government Mortgage
CDs
Credit Cards
Money Market Account
Debit Card
Investing Capabilities
Personal Loans

Citizens Bank Savings

Citizens Bank has several saving account options including:

  • One Deposit – This is the basic savings account from Citizens bank that only requires one deposit per statement period of any amount to avoid the monthly maintenance fee.

Additionally, the monthly fee is waived for account holders under the age of 25 or those over 65. While this account does not earn a particularly high rate, it is a good option for those who want a savings account to pair with their Citizens Bank checking account as you can use the account with the Savings Overdraft Transfer feature.

  • Quest – This savings account is paired with the Citizens Quest Checking account and it has no maintenance fee. It has no account minimums and you can enjoy unlimited ATM transactions even at non network machines with no Citizens Bank fees.
  • Wealth – This savings account is designed to pair with the Wealth Checking accounts and there is no monthly fee. You’ll earn interest on your balance with no account minimums. You’ll also receive up to $10 in refunds for any out of network ATM fees.

However, like similar traditional banks, the rates are lower than what you can with the top-rated savings accounts.

Citizens Bank CDs

Citizens Bank presents a pair of CD choices. The initial option is a traditional fixed-term CD, available exclusively online for either 14 months or 10 months, without any additional term variations. This 14-month CD mandates a minimum opening balance of $1,000. Presently, the offered rate stands at 2.75% – 5.50%. However, Citizen bank CD rates are not high as you can find the best CDs in the market.

However, should your term be under a year, the penalty is either equivalent to 90 days of interest or half of the outstanding interest yet to be accrued – whichever sum is larger. For CD terms exceeding a year, the penalty extends to 180 days. Furthermore, any premature withdrawal will also attract a supplementary transaction fee of $50.

CD Term
APY
10 Months
5.50% ($25,000 minimum deposit)
14 Months
2.75%

There is also a Breakable CD, with a term of three months to five years. This CD allows for you to make a one time withdrawal of your CD principal without incurring an early withdrawal fee.

Citizens Bank also offers an IRA CD, which requires a $250 minimum deposit and offers terms of one month to 10 years. These are subject to the IRA penalties and tax regulations.

Citizens Access: Get Higher Rates on Savings

Citizens Access

APY Savings

4.50%

APY CDs

3.45% – 5.00%

Promotion

None

Minimum Deposit

$0.01

Savings products are available via Citizens Access, an online bank without any physical locations. It belongs to Citizens Bank's division. This implies that you cannot access your Citizens Access accounts in a Citizens Bank branch; instead, you must do it online.

Citizens Access benefits from not having to pay the overhead associated with physical facilities as it is an online bank. This indicates that the bank can give its clients some of the finest interest rates by passing those savings to them.

You won't get checks, a debit card, or an ATM card for your Citizens Access accounts. But you might want to consider Citizens Access if you can handle the hefty deposit minimums and value high-interest rates.

The best aspects of Citizens Access accounts are their high-interest rates. Your funds can continue to grow because neither the savings account nor the certificates of deposit (CDs) impose a monthly fee. Interest accrues everyday at the bank and is paid out monthly.

Citizens Bank Checking

Citizens Bank has several checking account options.

  • One Deposit: This is a simple checking account that has an associated debit card and check writing privileges. There is a monthly maintenance fee, but this is waived if you have at least one deposit per statement period with no minimums. There are also no minimum deposit requirements for this account.
  • EverValue: As the name suggests, the EverValue account is designed for those who want value with no overdraft fees. The account has no minimum balance requirements and there are reduced fees for paper statements, money orders and non network ATM use. The EverValue is not an interest-bearing checking account, and the modest monthly maintenance fee cannot be waived.
  • Quest: The Quest Checking account is interest bearing and is designed for customers who have a linked investment account. This account has relationship benefits including no fees for out of network ATM machines, and no fees for stop payments, personal checks, wire transfers or money orders.

There is a monthly maintenance fee, but it can be waived if you make minimum deposits per statement period or maintain a combined balance across your linked Citizens Bank accounts.

  • Private Client: This is Citizens’ premium checking account and it offers some exclusive banking perks. There are no monthly maintenance fees, but you do need to maintain a $200,000 combined balance across your eligible accounts.

The account offers access to a team of financial experts and professionals to access financial planning services. However, there are also preferred rates on both deposit accounts and eligible lending products.

  • Student: This checking account is designed for the under 25s and has no monthly maintenance fee. There are no Citizens Bank fees for using out of network ATMs, but there are also no overdraft fees or fees for overdraft protection plans.

Citizens Bank Mortgage & Personal Loan

Citizen Bank has limited lending products, including mortgages and personal loans.

 

Citizen Bank has a homebuying service that rewards its borrowers in select states.

You can apply online for a Citizen Bank mortgage, and there are interest rate discounts if you sign up for automatic payments. Several Citizens Bank mortgage products include conventional mortgages, ARMs, home equity loans, and refinancing.

While there is nothing special about the closing costs, if you use the Citizens homebuying service, you could benefit from a cash reward of up to $6,500, which you could use to offset your closing costs.

 

Citizens Bank offers personal loans with no origination or late fees. Additionally, the loans have no prepayment penalties, which can significantly reduce the overall cost of your loan. Discounts are available if you have a qualifying account or enroll in autopay.

Loans are available from $5,000, and while you need to have strong credit to qualify, Citizens does allow for co-applicants. So, if you struggle to be eligible on your own, you can improve your credit profile with a co-applicant.

You can use the proceeds of your loan for practically any purpose, including vacations, vehicle purchases, debt consolidation, or home improvements.

However, you cannot use the loan for business-related purposes, purchasing securities, or funding post-secondary education. Upon approval, you can expect to receive your loan funds via ACH payment within two business days.

Citizens Bank Credit Cards

Citizens Bank has a limited selection of credit cards with just two options. The bank aims to make choosing the right card simple.

As the name suggests, this card is the option for those who want to earn cash back on their purchases. However, there are no complicated reward categories or varying cashback levels.

You can earn cash back on everything you buy with no spending limits. The card has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and no penalty APRs for late payments. There is also a 0% APR introductory rate for balance transfers.

Citizens Cash Back Plus™ World Mastercard®

The Clear Value Mastercard is designed for those who want to pay as low a rate as possible. There is an introductory rate for balance transfers and purchases, but even after this time, if you’re carrying a balance, you can reduce your charges.

The card has no annual fee and the card benefits package includes baggage delay and travel accident insurance.

Citizens Clear Value® Mastercard®

The Citizens Private Client™ World Elite Mastercard® offers enhanced benefits to Private Client Checking account holders through CitizensPlus™ program. Moreover, the annual fee of $195 is waived for customers with Citizens Private Client™ Checking accounts. 

Cardholders earn a consistent 2% cash back on all purchases, along with perks like TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry Fee Rebate, access to airport lounges at 1,300+ global airports, and comprehensive travel insurance covering accidents and baggage delays (up to $500K).

Citizens Private Client™ World Elite Mastercard®

Pros and Cons of Citizens Bank

As with any financial institution or product, there are both positives and negatives associated with Citizens Bank.

Pros
Cons
Monthly Service Fees are Easy to Avoid
Low Savings Rates
Limited Overdraft Fees
Limited Branch Network
Access to FInancial Planning
Multiple Overdraft Charges
24/7 Customer Support
Limited CDs
Out of Network ATM Fees

While some of the Citizens Bank accounts have monthly service fees, the waiver criteria is quite straightforward and in many cases it is easy to avoid paying the fee.

Citizens Bank does not charge overdraft fees on items that are $5 or less. Additionally, there are overdraft protection features on many accounts to help you avoid paying charges.

Citizens Bank has the Citizens Checkup feature, which provides free financial planning services. Depending on your account tier, you may even be able to have exclusive access to a team of financial professionals.

Citizens Bank has a 24/7 customer helpline, so you can access the customer support team at any time of the day or night if you have a query or concern.

While some customers may be able to access preferential rates, generally, the Citizens Bank savings rates are on the low side.

Citizens Bank has a low physical presence and there are no branches in 39 states.

Citizens Bank has a $35 overdraft fee and if you don’t have overdraft protection or sufficient savings funds, you could be charged the overdraft fee as many as seven times per day.

 This is more than most banks and with a banking slip up, you could be stung with $245 in overdraft fees in just one day.

Although you can choose a CD term to suit your requirements and preferences, Citizens Bank has limited CD options, which may hinder some investing strategies such as CD laddering.

Some accounts will incur an out of network ATM fee, which can quickly add up if you don’t have a machine or branch in your local area.

Citizens Bank Customer Service

Citizens Bank offers a 24/7 customer service phone line, but its customer support has mixed reviews. The bank has a Better Business Bureau ranking of B, but its Trustpilot rating is a mediocre 1.2/5.

The bank has numerous complaints logged from consumers which include issues with getting a response from the customer support team, fees and charges and delays with account closures.

The Citizens Bank website is fairly comprehensive and there is a help section with answers to common questions. If you do want an answer to a specific query or you need to speak to someone, your only options are a phone helpline or to make an appointment to visit a branch. Since Citizens has such a limited branch presence, this is a little lacking.

However, Citizens Bank does have a highly rated app for both Android and iOS devices, which may make managing your account and customer service issues a little easier.

How to Open a Citizens Bank Account?

Citizens Bank allows customers to open an account online in most cases. This can be accomplished in a few simple steps:

  1. Click Apply: You’ll find a detailed product page for each type of account and financial product. Once you select the account you’d like to open, you just need to click “apply” to proceed to the application.
  2. Complete the Application Form: After you click “apply”, you’ll be directed to an application form that you’ll need to complete with personal details such as your full name, address, phone number, email and Social Security Number. If you’re already a Citizens Bank customer, many of these fields will be prefilled for you.
  3. Provide Supporting Documentation: Citizens Bank will guide you through the application process including how to submit your supporting documentation. You will need to provide proof of your ID and address. Example documents include government issued IDs such as a Driver’s license or passport and utility bills.
  4. Submit and Await Approval: Once you complete the application, you simply need to click submit and await an approval decision. Depending on the specific account, you may have an immediate response, but in most cases, you can expect an approval decision within a couple of days.

FAQs

As with other banks, you’ll need to provide your personal information and support your application with proof of your ID, such as a government issued ID and proof of your address. You will also need to provide your Social Security Number.

Yes, Citizens Bank is FDIC insured, which provides up to $250,000 of coverage per depositor in case that the bank fails.

Citizens Bank does have an investment arm, but there is no specific service to buy gold. However, you may be able to buy gold shares via an EFT or through stocks.

Citizens Bank offers joint checking account options, which may appeal to you and your partner. However, you must assess whether the account features meet your requirements and preferences. 

Here's our top rates joint checking accounts.

The Smart Investor Banking Reviews: Methodology

The Smart Investor team extensively reviewed hundreds of banks and credit unions. We assessed them based on four main categories, each with specific features:

  • Diversity of Products and Their Attractiveness (40%): We extensively analyzed the breadth and appeal of each bank's product offerings, including savings accounts, checking accounts, loans, investment options, and more. Higher ratings were assigned to banks with a diverse range of products that are attractive in terms of interest rates, fees, terms, and additional features. This category provides insights into the variety and value of the bank's offerings, crucial for meeting customers' diverse financial needs.

  • Account Features (30%): This category delves into the features and benefits accompanying each bank's accounts. We scrutinized factors such as promotions, deposit and withdrawal options, ATM accessibility, online and mobile banking functionalities, as well as additional perks like overdraft protection and rewards programs. Banks offering comprehensive and convenient features received higher ratings, reflecting the overall value of their accounts to customers.

  • Customer Experience (20%): A positive customer experience is paramount in banking, so we evaluated each bank's performance in this area. This included assessing the ease of account opening, quality of customer service, availability of support channels, and overall user satisfaction. Ratings were based on factors such as responsiveness, efficiency, and the bank's commitment to meeting customer needs, ensuring a seamless and satisfactory banking experience.

  • Bank Reputation (10%): The reputation of a bank is a critical consideration for customers. We examined factors such as financial stability, regulatory compliance, and public perception to determine each institution's overall trustworthiness and reliability. Higher ratings were awarded to banks with strong reputations, reflecting their credibility and ability to inspire confidence among customers.

  •  

By considering these categories, individuals can make informed decisions that align with their financial needs and preferences, ensuring they choose a bank that offers competitive products, excellent features, a positive customer experience, and a solid reputation.

Picture of Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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